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CALVINISM - HOW CHRIST BECOMES
VALUABLE TO SINNERS

preached by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Monday Morning, September 5, 2016

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).


Dr. Hymers wrote this sermon. It is my honor to preach it to you. Dr. Hymers preached on this verse three Sunday nights ago. He said that Jesus gave Himself to those tortures. He was tortured to heal your soul of sin. He said Jesus allowed Himself to be nailed to the Cross as a substitute for sinners – to save you from judgment and Hell.

There were many lost people here when our pastor preached that Sunday night. But not one lost person was moved by the torture Jesus went through to save them. Not one lost person was moved to trust Jesus by that sermon on Isaiah 50:6,

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

Why didn’t Christ’s suffering and death cause you to trust Him? Why didn’t it move you to trust Jesus and be saved? I will tell you why in this sermon.

I. First, Christ’s suffering and death mean nothing to you in your present state.

In fact Jesus’ suffering is not important to you. Your very nature sees no value in Jesus. The Bible says, “He is despised and rejected…and we hid as it were our faces from him…we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). In your condition you feel no need for Jesus. You see no value in His suffering and death.

There are two reasons unsaved people are here this morning. But neither one of them has anything to do with Jesus and His death on the Cross. Some of you are here because you have been in this church for a long time. You are here out of habit. You are not here because you want to be saved. You are here because that is what you do when we have meetings – you come out of habit. But you do not feel within yourself that you need Jesus. You are only here because it is what you always do. It is your custom to be here. It is what you always do. It has nothing to do with Jesus and His suffering for you. You have already heard about Jesus’ suffering. In fact you knew what I am going to say the minute I read the text.

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

You said, “Oh, I see. He is going to preach on Christ dying to save people.” You know what I’m going to say before I even start preaching.

So you shut your mind and think about something else. Perhaps you think how tired the preacher looks. Perhaps you think that he didn’t sing one of the songs very well. Or maybe you think about what you are going to do after the service, or what you are going to do the next day. Or you may think about something else. You will think of almost anything but Jesus Christ and His suffering sacrifice for sin. Anything will do! Anything but thinking about Jesus! Jesus is not esteemed by you. Jesus is not important to you. “He is despised and rejected” by you. You are comfortable as you are. You feel no need for Him. You don’t care about him at all.

My son, John Cagan, was like you. He had been in church all his life. He came to the inquiry room again and again. He was only interested in saying the right words so he could be baptized and become a member of the church. He went on and on trying to learn the right words so he would be accepted. He scoffed at the sermons, and had no respect for the things I told him in the inquiry room. He didn’t think much about the suffering Saviour. Jesus had nothing that he needed. That’s the way all lost “church kids” think. Jesus is not important to you. Not at all.

Or perhaps you are a new person. You haven’t been here very long. So the sermon was somewhat interesting to you. You listened as Dr. Hymers spoke about the back of Jesus being cut to ribbons by the whip they beat Him with. You found it somewhat interesting when he said they pulled out pieces of His beard by the roots. You listened as he said that they spit in Jesus’ face. These were interesting facts to you – but nothing more. Maybe you think you need to remember these facts so we will accept you as a Christian. Or maybe you don’t even think that deeply. Maybe you are only here because you are lonely and like being here with friends. That’s as deep as it goes. You are just here for the fun and fellowship. It has nothing to do with the suffering of Christ on the Cross. You are just here to be with the other young people. You don’t care about Jesus at all. Christ’s suffering and death mean nothing to you in your present state.

II. Second, God may make some of you aware of your sins.

You may then be concerned about your sins. You may say with the Psalmist, “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).

My son John was a “church kid.” He hung out with other “church kids” who didn’t like being in church. They snickered and laughed at the people who were Christians. They disrespected Dr. Hymers as the pastor. They scoffed and made fun of those who were saved. They hung out together and made jokes about the church.

But then, God began to make John think about his sins. John said, “God began to work on me…to very definitely convict me of my sin. But I rejected all thoughts about God and conversion. I refused to think about it, yet I could not stop feeling tormented.”

Some of you wonder how that could happen to a rebellious teenager like John was. When I tell you that is the first step in a real conversion, you smile and think you know more about it than we do. You think you are a special person who doesn’t need the Blood of Jesus. You think the pastor is mean when he points out your sins. “Why does he keep pointing out my sins?” Isn’t that what you think? When he tells you your sins, don’t you run and tell someone how mean he is? Don’t you sometimes wish that he was a sweeter, nicer pastor? Don’t you sometimes wish that he wasn’t so old-fashioned and mean? That was what John thought. He said, “While Dr. Hymers was preaching, my pride was trying desperately to reject it, not to listen, but as he preached I could literally feel all my sin…I was counting down the seconds till the sermon would be over, but the pastor kept preaching.”

Isn’t that the way you sometimes feel when Dr. Hymers preaches on your sins? Don’t you sometimes wish he wouldn’t name your sins? Sex sins. Pornography. Rebellion against the pastor. Unbelief. Making fun of good Christians. Hatred of the way your parents are. Ashamed of your mother’s zeal. Hatred of your father’s strictness. Don’t you hate him for naming your sins like that? Don’t you wish he would preach “come home to church” to the new kids – and leave you alone? Be honest with yourself. You hate him for preaching to you. Sure you do! Of course you do! You hate him with a smoldering anger. “Why doesn’t he die so we can have a sweeter pastor?” Haven’t you sometimes felt that way? Then, isn’t it true that you are a sinner, a sinner who hates being reminded of your sin? You think, “Why does he do it? Why does he do it?” He does it because he has to do it! He has to do it to awaken you to your sin! He does it to try to keep you out of Hell! I pray that God may make some of you feel the guilt of your sin – as John Cagan did! He said, “I could not stop feeling tormented.”

III. Third, God may make you feel the depravity, rebellion and wickedness of your own heart.

The Psalmist said, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” (Psalm 90:8). The secret sins of your heart are terrible in the sight of a holy God. He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart. He knows the secret lusts and anger of your heart. He knows your heart rejects Him. He knows your heart loves sinners and hates godly people. John said, “I knew I was the very worst possible sinner I could be and that God was righteous to condemn me to Hell.”

Unless you feel that rottenness of your own heart you will not see your need for Jesus and His Blood. George Whitefield was the greatest evangelist ever produced in the Western world. George Whitefield said, “Before you can have peace with God, your conviction must go deeper, you must be convinced of your own corrupted nature, the total depravity of your own heart.” John said, “By Sunday morning…I was thoroughly exhausted. I began to hate myself, to hate my sin and how it made me feel.”

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt hatred toward yourself? Have you ever hated your sin? Have you ever hated the way it makes you feel? You drag yourself to church. But you wish you weren’t here. You sit during the sermons, but you wish you were somewhere else. You don’t want to be in church. But you don’t want to be in the world either. You hate everything. Don’t you? Your whole life is a mess and you don’t know what to do about it. Isn’t that right? Isn’t that the truth? Hasn’t God begun to make you feel the rebellion and wickedness of your own heart? Isn’t it true that God has made you hate yourself? Isn’t it true that you hate your life? Yes! I know there is someone here this morning who feels that! You hate everything in your life! It’s true! It’s true! It’s true! You don’t want to be a Christian. Yet you know that nothing in this world will satisfy you. This is the way God shows you how awfully lost your heart really is!

IV. Fourth, God then shows you that you cannot do anything to get rid of this awful feeling.

When under conviction the sinner tries to do something to make himself feel better. John said, “I was ‘trying’ to get saved. I was ‘trying’ to trust Christ and I couldn’t. I just could not will myself to Christ, and it made me feel so hopeless.” He could not force his way to Christ. He could not make himself trust Christ! He couldn’t trust Christ! He had to trust Christ. But he couldn’t do it! That is called “the Gospel vise.” You have to do it – yet you can’t do it. When a person gets “squeezed” in the Gospel vise, he may be very close to conversion. “I have to come to Christ, but I can’t do it, no matter how hard I try!” Squeezed in “the Gospel vise.” The purpose of God putting you in this vise is to show you that you cannot do anything to save yourself. You have to trust Christ – but you can’t do it! John said, “I just could not will myself to Christ, and it made me feel so hopeless…I was stuck in this conflict.” Great! I’ve never heard it said better! “It made me feel so hopeless.” Wonderful! That’s exactly what you must feel! You will never be saved until you feel hopeless. That’s what it means to be lost! It means you cannot change your own nature. It means you cannot change your own heart. It means that you are a prisoner of sin and have no power to free yourself. It means you have no hope! At last, you are lost – lost in your own eyes. I no longer have to tell you you’re lost! You know you are lost! Now you can say truthfully,

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

Now you can appreciate what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. Now you can see why Christ had to suffer! Now you can give thanks for Jesus suffering to save you!

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

V. Fifthly, you are now ready to come to Jesus, now ready to rest in Him alone!

Now you will hear Jesus say,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

John said, “There was no action or will of my mind but with my heart, with a simple resting in Christ, He saved me! He washed my sin away with His Blood! In that single moment, I stopped resisting Christ. It was so clear that all I had to do was trust Him. I can recognize the exact instant it ceased to be me and it was only Christ…I did not need a feeling. I had Christ!...I am so thankful for the grace God gave me…for so forcefully drawing me to His Son, because I would never have come to Jesus on my own.”

It is only through this process of grace that God awakens a sinner to hate sin, to see the sin of his heart, to find he cannot do anything at all to save himself, and finally to come to Jesus and be saved by His death on the Cross, cleansed by the Blood He shed there, and made alive with Him by His resurrection from the dead! How far along are you in this preparation of the heart? Read this sermon again and again. Also read John’s testimony, which is attached. See how it applies to you. Ask God to take you through the same preparation of the heart John went through. Ask God to draw you to Jesus, for without Jesus you have no hope, none at all, either in this life or in the life to come. Amen.

MY TESTIMONY

by John Samuel Cagan

I can remember the moment of my conversion so vividly and intimately that words seem so small compared to how great the difference Christ made. Before my conversion I was full of anger and hatred. I took pride in my sins and I enjoyed causing people pain, and associated myself with those who hated God; to me sin was not some “mistake” to be regretted. I had intentionally set myself on this way. God began to work on me in ways I could have never anticipated as my world began to quickly crumble around me. Those weeks prior to my conversion felt like dying: I did not sleep, I could not smile, I could not find any form of peace. Our church was having evangelistic meetings and I can clearly remember scoffing at them as I would completely disrespect my pastor and my father.

The Holy Spirit began to very definitely convict me of my sin in that time, but with my entire will I rejected all the thoughts I had about God and conversion. I refused to think about it, yet I could not stop feeling so tormented. By the Sunday morning of June 21st, 2009, I was thoroughly exhausted. I was so tired of it all. I began to hate myself, to hate my sin and how it made me feel.

While Dr. Hymers was preaching, my pride was trying desperately to reject it, to not listen, but as he preached I could literally feel all my sin on my soul. I was counting down the seconds till the sermon would be over, but the pastor kept preaching, and my sins became endlessly worse and worse. I could no longer kick against the pricks, I had to be saved! Even as the invitation was given I resisted, but I just could not take it anymore. I knew that I was the very worst possible sinner I could be and that God was righteous to condemn me to Hell. I was so tired of struggling, I was so tired of everything I was. The pastor counseled me, and told me to come to Christ, but I would not. Even as all my sin convicted me I still would not have Jesus. These moments were the worst of all as I felt as if I could not be saved and I would just have to go to Hell. I was “trying” to get saved, I was “trying” to trust Christ and I couldn’t, I just could not will myself to Christ, and it made me feel so hopeless. I could feel my sin pushing me down into Hell yet I could feel my stubbornness forcing my tears away. I was stuck in this conflict.

Suddenly the words of a sermon preached years before entered my mind: “Yield to Christ! Yield to Christ!” The thought that I would have to give up to Jesus so distressed me that for what seemed like forever I simply would not. Jesus had given His life for me. The real Jesus went to be crucified for me when I was His enemy and I would not yield to Him. This thought broke me; I had to let all of it go. I just could not hold onto myself any longer, I had to have Jesus! In that moment I yielded to Him and came to Jesus by faith. In that moment it seemed as if I had to let myself die, and then Christ gave me life! There was no action or will of my mind but with my heart, with a simple resting in Christ, He saved me! He washed my sin away in His Blood! In that single moment, I stopped resisting Christ. It was so clear that all I had to do was trust Him; I can recognize the exact instant when it ceased to be me and it was only Christ. I had to yield! In that moment there was no physical feeling or blinding light, I did not need a feeling, I had Christ! Yet in trusting Christ it felt as if my sin was lifted off my soul. I turned from my sin, and I looked to Jesus alone! Jesus saved me.

How Jesus must have loved me to forgive the least deserving sinner who had grown up in a good church and still turned against Him! Words seem to fall so short of description of my conversion experience and in expression of my love for Christ. Christ gave His life for me and for this I give my all to Him. Jesus sacrificed His throne for a cross for me even as I spit on His church and mocked His salvation; how can I ever sufficiently proclaim His love and mercy? Jesus took my hate and anger away and gave me love instead. He gave me more than just a new start – He gave me a new life. It is only by faith that I know that Jesus has washed all my sins away, and I find myself wondering how do I know in my lack of concrete evidence, but I always remind myself that “faith is the substance of things not seen” and I find peace knowing that after careful thought my faith rests on Jesus. Jesus is my only answer.

I am so thankful for the grace God gave me, the many chances he extended to me, and for so forcefully drawing me to His Son because I would have never come to Jesus on my own. These are just words, but my faith rests in Jesus, for He has changed me. He has always been there, my Deliverer, my Rest, and my Saviour. My love for Him seems so small compared to how much He loved me. I can never live for Him long enough or sincerely enough, I can never do too much for Christ. Serving Jesus is my joy! He gave me life and peace after all I had known was how to hate. Jesus is my ambition and direction. I do not trust myself, but put my hope in Him alone, for He has never failed me. Christ came to me, and for this I will not leave Him.

 
WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

(END OF SERMON)
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THE OUTLINE OF

CALVINISM - HOW CHRIST BECOMES
VALUABLE TO SINNERS

preached by Dr. C. L. Cagan

“I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).

I.    First, Christ’s suffering and death mean nothing to you in your
present state, Isaiah 53:3.

II.   Second, God may make some of you aware of your sins,
Psalm 51:3.

III.  hird, God may make you feel the depravity, rebellion and
wickedness of your own heart, Psalm 90:8.

IV.  Fourth, God then shows you that you cannot do anything to
get rid of this awful feeling, Romans 7:24.

V.   Fifth, you are now ready to come to Jesus, now ready to rest
in Him alone! Matthew 11:28.