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Songs Sung Before the Sermon, led by Dr. Hymers:
“Fill All My Vision” (by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985)
“Search Me, O God” (Psalm 139:23-24)


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Thursday Evening, September 15, 2016

Please stand and turn to page 1255 in the Scofield Study Bible. It’s Ephesians 6:11 and 12.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

You may be seated.

These verses show how the demonic hosts of Satan are the enemies of true Christianity. The New American Standard Bible translates verse 12 like this,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against powers, against the world [“rulers,” Unger] of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NASB).

Dr. Merrill F. Unger said, “The most interesting designation of the evil spirit forces... is ‘The world rulers of this darkness’...these evil ruling spirits” (Biblical Demonology, Kregel Publications, 1994, p. 196). Dr. Charles Ryrie gave this comment on Daniel 10:13, “The prince of the kingdom of Persia...A supernatural creature who tried to direct the rulers of Persia to oppose God’s plan. Evil angels [demon ‘world forces’] seek to rule the affairs of nations... the battle between good and evil angels over the control of nations continues” (Ryrie Study Bible; note on Daniel 10:13).

I am convinced that there is a ruling demon that has taken control over America and the Western world. The Scofield center note on Daniel 10:20 says, “demons are concerned in behalf of the world system of Satan.” This note refers to “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” This “prince” was a leading demon that controlled the Persian kingdom. Today the “prince of the West” controls America and her allies. And the main demon controlling America and the West has been given power to cause our civilization to become totally materialistic. This ruling demon of materialism prevents revivals, hinders our prayers, and enslaves our people. What has this ruling demon done to our people? Speaking on demons, Dr. Lloyd-Jones told us what this demon power does. He said the demon power has blinded our people’s minds. He said, ‘the whole [idea] of the spiritual is gone. The very belief in God has virtually gone...this belief about God and religion and salvation [is] dismissed and forgotten” (Revival, Crossway Books, 1992, p. 13). This has happened because of the work of “the prince of the West” and the lesser demons under him.

That isn’t true of other nations. There are nations in the Third World where the great demon of “materialism” does not rule with the same force he does in America and the West. Millions of young people in China, in Africa, in Indochina, even in Muslim nations – millions of young people are being converted. Millions of them are becoming real Christians. But in America and the West, young people by the millions are leaving the churches. And very few young people are becoming real Christians in America and the Western world. Our churches are powerless. Our prayer meetings are deserted. Our young people have no passion for God. We are told that 88% of them leave our churches by age 25, “never to return,” according to pollster George Barna. They are caught up in pornography, which they look at for hours on the Internet. They are caught up in drugs like marijuana and Ecstasy. They laugh at prayer, but are hypnotized by social media for hours on end. They have smartphones in their hands all the time. They are literally under the control of these gadgets. They spend every free moment gazing at them. Gazing at them like the ancient Israelites gazed at their idols in the time of the prophet Hosea. Social media is the idol used by Satan to control our young people. And nearly all of our pastors in America and the West don’t even realize why their churches are so worldly and weak! They don’t realize they are dealing with demonic forces, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones said!

It got so bad in Hosea’s time that God said, “[Israel] is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). The nation was given up by God. They were abandoned by God. They were left alone, under the power of demons. Under powerful demons that enslave our own young people to pornography, marijuana, and social media by the hour! By the demons that chain young people to lost friends. The type of demons that enslave young people to materialism, that enslave some of them to careers that prevent them from becoming spiritual Christians, that enslave others to the endless pursuit of sex outside of marriage and pornography. “[Israel] is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). Some of you here tonight are enslaved by demonic forces.

You come to our church. But God is not here. You can feel that God is not here! The prophet Hosea said, they go... “to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them” (Hosea 5:6). God is gone! He has left our churches. He has left our church. He is absent. He is not absent because He doesn’t exist. He is absent because He does exist! God does exist – and that is why He has left us! He is altogether Holy. He is altogether angry with our sin. And that is why He has left you alone. Alone in your house. Alone in your prayers. Alone even in our church. Alone without sensing God’s presence. I know from my own experience how horrible I felt when I came to church as a teenager in a Caucasian church and God was not there for me. I was alone – right there in church. Alone, as Green Day put it in a popular song,

Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone.
   (Green Day, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” 2004).

I know how you feel. I walked alone on the streets of Los Angeles when I was a teenager, alone, when I was young like you! I was even alone when I was in a Caucasian church, before I joined a Chinese Baptist church. Oh, yes! I remember what it felt like! And I hate it! I hate the demon of materialism that destroyed love in your home, that destroyed your happiness, that destroyed your heart and made you so lonely. I hate the demon that made our church cold and unfriendly. I hate the sin of America that stole from you the good things God meant for you to have! Some of you ran after one presidential candidate because he promised you everything. But he walked away and left you with nothing! So did most preachers. They promised you everything. But they had nothing real to give you! You are under the blinding influence of demons! And because of those Satanic influences you are alone! God has walked away from America and the West! God has left us alone because of our sin! And God has left you alone because of your sin.

We have got to have God in our church! We have got to have His presence with us! We cannot help you young people. We cannot help you at all. We cannot help you unless God comes down. We must repent of our sins! We must weep when we pray. Our prayers are only words unless we weep! They weep in China and God comes down! Without God we have nothing to give you young people! We can give you a party. But we cannot give you God! We can give you a basketball game. But we cannot give you God! And if we cannot give you God we have nothing for you. Nothing to cure your loneliness! Nothing to cheer your hearts! Nothing to save your souls! You come to us, and we have nothing to set before you. Nothing but a party. Nothing but a birthday cake! Nothing but an old cartoon. We have nothing to set before you, nothing to help you, nothing to save you from the fire of Hell! We have nothing for you unless we have God! Nothing but a hymn or two, nothing but the words of a prayer. Nothing but a half dead sermon. We are barren. We are helpless. We have nothing you need. We have nothing for you if we don’t have God!

Two Saturday nights ago, I asked you to recite our memory verses. Several of you recited them.

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-3).

I could feel God come down as some of you recited those words. I was moved within myself. My heart was moved with the power of God. I gave an invitation. No sermon was preached. No prayer was given. Just those words,

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence” (Isaiah 64:1-3).

And Mrs. _____ prayed with tears! And then Jason ______ groaned and cried out with a loud voice. Rebekah ______ came crying to the altar. Someone called out, “What about Abraham ______?” He started to come. But he turned around and fled. Three men ran after him. Demons came out. Tears were shed. Pleadings were made. Peace finally came to him. A couple of days later he was saved! Then Christina ______ came. John Cagan said a few words to her before I called him to speak to another person. She came to Jesus on her own – and Dr. Cagan heard her testimony and said, “She has passed from death unto life.” She was saved by the Blood of the crucified Saviour. After praying with Abraham ______, Jack Ngann and I sang the Doxology. We had 13 hopeful conversions in three days, August 18, 27 and 28. I told that to one preacher and he said, “You are experiencing some revival.” True, but it started with conversions. It usually starts with Christians confessing their sins. But only 4 Christians confessed their sins and were revived. Only four Christians! The rest of you were as cold and lifeless as ever.

Q_____ ______ is over six feet tall. A big African American with an angry face. He fell to his knees and cried until his whole face was covered with tears. He was the final person saved last Sunday night.

But I noticed two things in those meetings that troubled me, and still troubles me. The first thing that troubled me was the fact that you didn’t rejoice over the 13 people who were converted. They were checked two or three times by Dr. Cagan. He said they were saved. You did not rejoice. Not even when I told you Dr. Cagan heard them and said they were hopefully saved. Only Jack and I sang the Doxology spontaneously! No shouts of praise. No praises to God. Only tepid applause. Only a mild, lukewarm applause. Not a single shout of joy that you read about in revivals. You who are Christians did not rejoice over 13 conversions in those short meetings! No smile! No Hallelujahs! No shouts of joy that I have seen in revivals. No outbursts of thanksgiving that you read about in written accounts of revivals of the past! Nothing joyful. Only a little lukewarm applause when I read the names of those who were saved. I thought you would stand and shout “Praise God” with thunderous applause. But, no. Just a little, polite applause – over such a tremendous victory! That was the first thing that troubled me.

The second thing that bothered me was the fact that only four long-time Christians in our church were revived in those meetings. Only four! Every other Christian remained as cold and emotionless as ever! One person said, “I was revived. But not like Mrs. _____.” My dear brothers and sisters, if you did not become like Mrs. _____, you were not revived at all! You were not touched by God at all if you did not become like Mrs. _____!

I asked John Cagan why there was so little revival among those of you who are saved. He said you were cynical and unbelieving. I think he was right. A great move of the Spirit came and 13 people were converted, but you were cynical. You didn’t believe it. We had a great move of God, but you didn’t really believe it. Why didn’t you really believe it? I’ll tell you why. It is because there is something wrong with you! There is something terribly wrong with you! You had no tears of joy. You had no joyful response. You had no joy because your heart is wrong. And your heart is wrong because you have not examined it carefully. You have been tricked by Satan. You don’t even realize it. You don’t even realize that you have been tricked by the “wiles of the devil.” You don’t even realize that the Devil has tricked you and deceived you! Oh, how can you ever become “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”? How can you ever “wrestle against” the Devil if you don’t even know he has tricked and deceived you? (cf. Ephesians 6:10-11). Dr. Merrill F. Unger of Dallas Theological Seminary said, “[Christians] who would be spiritual and live victoriously face a tremendous conflict with Satan and demons, [demons] who vehemently oppose true spirituality and Christian usefulness” (Biblical Demonology, Kregel, 1994, p. 101).

Brothers and sisters, we must examine our hearts. We must confess our sins, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11). Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “One of the main causes of the [bad] state of the Church today is that the devil is being forgotten...The church is drugged and deluded; she is not aware of the conflict at all” (Christian Warfare, Banner of Truth, 1976, pp. 292, 106). Not aware of the conflict at all. Not aware that your sins have dulled your heart. Not aware that unconfessed sin has separated you from God!

How can we overcome the Devil? We must first of all ask God to show us the sins in our hearts. We must truthfully pray,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my
thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me”
   (Psalm 139:23, 24).

Do not rest in the work you do for the church. Many of you work hard in our church. You work hard, but you have sins in your hearts. Do not even rest in your prayers. You may pray every day and still have wickedness in your hearts. I asked one man in our church, “Are you OK?” He said, “I’m OK.” He really thought he was OK. But then I pointed out a strong sin that was ruining him. He said, “I never thought of that as a sin.” Could that be true in your heart? Could there be a sin in your heart you never thought of?

You remained faithful to our church when others left in the church split. Don’t rest in that! You could remain steadfast in our church and still have a sin in your heart that you “never thought of.” Some of you are praying for your children to be saved. But your prayers have not been answered. Could it be that there is some hidden sin in your heart? Some sin that you never thought of. But it is a sin, and now I pray that you will feel it. Your prayers for your children will not be answered unless you confess your sin. The Word of God says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Only clean Christians can have their prayers answered. You have prayed for your brother or sister to be saved. But your prayers have not been answered. You may comfort yourself by saying that you are “praying through” until the answer comes. But you can never “pray through” for them the way you are. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). But, you say, “It’s only a little sin.” The Devil told you it was “little” – but you must see that it is blocking your prayers. You must confess the sins of your heart to God. You must confess them or the Lord will not hear you.

The young evangelist Evan Roberts was greatly used in the 1904 revival in Wales. Evan Roberts said, before the Spirit comes in revival, “We must rid the church of all bad feelings – all malice [hatred, bitterness], envy, prejudice [judging others], and misunderstandings [disagreements, pride]. Do not pray until all offences [with others in the church] have been [confessed] and forgiven, but if you feel you cannot forgive, bend to [your knees], and ask for a forgiving spirit. You will get it then” (Brian H. Edwards, Revival, Evangelical Press, 2004, p. 113)... “In normal times Christians hold on to those things...But in true revival the secret sins will be brought...into the minds of the Christian, and there will be no peace until all is confessed” (Edwards, ibid., p. 114).

At the Chinese Baptist church in 1969 and 1970 there was terrible conviction of sin among the Christians. I saw it. Sometimes the conviction of sin was crushing. People wept uncontrollably. But there is no such thing as a revival [among Christians] without conviction and sorrow. On one side of the auditorium someone began to weep. Then everyone was weeping. The meetings went on for hours with confessions, weeping, praying and soft singing. Everyone forgot what others would think. They were face to face with God.

There is no revival without Christians having deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin. The silence was interrupted by the sobbing of those Christians God was dealing with. My Chinese pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin, knew what to do. He let this happen because he knew from his experiences in China that this was God moving among His people. It was the most wonderful series of meetings I ever saw. How I pray that we will see God do that in our church. We had a “touch of revival” when four Christians were convicted of the sins of their hearts and confessed it. The Holy Spirit came down and 13 lost people were converted. But every other member of our church was completely unmoved. If 13 people were converted when only four Christians were revived, think of what could happen in our church if 15 or 20 of you confessed the sins of your heart like Mrs. _____ did! Will you confess your sins tonight? Or will you go home tonight without joy? Without confession? Without tears? Without a revived heart? As cold and dead as ever?

Mr. Kyu Dong Lee said, “I am one of ‘the 39.’ I stayed in our church when my friends and others left in the great church split. I was saved. When Dr. Hymers said I was backslidden, I thought, ‘What more do I need? I am already converted. What more do I need?’ I didn’t realize I had lost my first love for Jesus. Dr. Hymers quoted Revelation 2:4 and 5, ‘I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent’ (Revelation 2:4, 5). Then I realized that I was not like I was when I was first saved. I used to weep tears of joy when we sang songs like ‘Just As I Am’ and ‘Amazing Grace.’ Now I just sang the words without any love or joy. Now my prayers were loud, but my prayers were just words, good words, but only empty prayers. I still prayed with order and argument, but I just prayed them without really expecting God to answer me. My loud prayers were just words. They were empty prayers. I knew then that I needed to confess my sins, the sins of my heart. I remembered that the Bible says,

‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (I John 1:9).

I remembered that the Psalmist prayed, ‘Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation’ (Psalm 51:12). I remembered that he said, ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise’ (Psalm 51:17).”

Mr. Lee was one of “the 39” who saved our church from bankruptcy. He was a faithful deacon candidate. He sat on the platform behind me when I preached. He was an example to our people. He said, “What more do I need?” Then God showed him he needed to confess the sins of his heart. He came forward and confessed his sins. He cried so hard that his face turned red. And God forgave him and restored joy to his heart. Now he prays with tears and with the joy he had lost. He said, “We have empty prayers. We have waxy smiles, false smiles, when we shake hands in the fellowship. No real love. Only false smiles.”

Mr. Lee is a leader in the church. But how can you lead the church if you have lost your first love? You can only lead our young people into the same empty religion you have. Every leader in our church needs to confess their sin, or there is no hope for our church. I said, “People who visit us think our church is great. They don’t realize that we have only a false religion without real love. Our church will soon become just another dead evangelical church unless our leaders and our members feel their need for God, confess their sins with tears, and are restored by the Blood of Jesus, who shed His Blood to heal our hearts, and give us the holy love we used to have when we were first saved. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Brothers and sisters, we will never have real love in our church unless many of us, old and young, confess our sins.

I am praying that you will hear me and confess your sins tonight. Please stand and sing, “Search Me, O God.”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
Try me and know my thoughts:
And know my heart;
Try me and know my thoughts;
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.”
   (Psalm 139:23, 24).

Now sing, “Fill all my vision, let naught of sin.”

Fill all my vision, let naught of sin
   Shadow the brightness shining within.
Let me see only Thy blessed face,
   Feasting my soul on Thy infinite grace.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

Please do not be afraid to come and confess your sins here at the altar. Please don’t be afraid to come. Please do it so our church can live again.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Revive Thy Work” (by Albert Midlane, 1825-1909).