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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 4, 2016

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

God created the first man from the dust of the ground. I never believed that as a young person. I believed in the theory of evolution until the fourth week of September, 1961. On September 28 of that year I had a sudden change, a life-changing conversion. In that one week everything changed. One of the most important changes was a firm belief in the Bible. From that moment on I realized that evolution was a fraud, mere science fiction, as false as the Book of Mormon, as false as the Koran. In my conversion my mind changed from belief in Darwinism to a total commitment to the verbal inspiration of every Hebrew and Greek word in the Bible. Now I knew in my very soul that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (II Timothy 3:16). Since every word of Scripture was God-breathed (theopneustos) there was no possible error in the Bible – for every word of it – from Genesis to Revelation – was given to the men who wrote this holy Book! The Bible said, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). I knew then that God created the first man, and man did not evolve from lower life forms. I knew that the Genesis record of man’s creation was literally true and I knew then that evolution was a Satanic lie.

Then God put the man in a beautiful Garden, a garden full of all kinds of nutritious and delicious fruit. Many of these healthful trees and fruits no longer exist because they were destroyed by the Great Flood.

But in the middle of the Garden there were two very important trees – the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave Adam only one law to keep, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The word “knowledge” in Genesis 2:17 comes from the root word “yada.” It means “to be acquainted with, as a familiar friend” (Strong). If they ate of the forbidden fruit they would be addicted to it. One sexual experience outside of marriage remains in the mind forever because the man who does it is now acquainted with it. One or two experiences with certain drugs gives the person a feeling that leads to addiction. His innocence is gone forever. Eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would destroy man’s innocence forever, ending first in spiritual death and finally in physical death.

The Devil knew that very well. That is why he tempted the man to eat the forbidden fruit. He knew that the man would lose his innocence and become a sinner forever. Giving in to this temptation would ruin the man’s conscience. He would be a sinner forever. His conscience would die the moment he ate the forbidden fruit. He would hide from God now. His soul would be “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). He would be “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). He would have a carnal mind and see God as an enemy (Romans 8:7). Not only would he die spiritually, but his body would age and end in physical death. As a dead man he would not be able to “receive the things of the Spirit of God”… for now the truths of God would be “foolishness to him” (I Corinthians 2:14).

But even worse, his ruined nature and spiritual death would be inherited by all his offspring, by everyone on earth, for “by Adam’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19; KJV, ESV). “Therefore…by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Romans 5:18). “Adam’s original sin means that sinfulness marks everyone from birth with a heart inclined toward sin…this inner sinfulness is the root and source of all actual sins; it is transmitted to us from Adam [or inherited]…we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners, born with a nature enslaved to sin” (The Reformation Study Bible; note on page 781). “Man…dead in sin is not able by his own strength to convert himself” (Westminster Confession, IX, 3).

Adam’s sin is transmitted to all his offspring (the whole human race). That fact is proved. It is proved by the fact that the first child of Adam was Cain, who murdered his own brother (see Genesis 4:8). Thus you are a child of Adam. You are a sinner by nature. Nothing you do or say can save you. Nothing you do can help you be saved. By nature you are a sinner. Coming to church will not save you. Your prayers will not save you. Being as good as you can will not save you. Nothing – I repeat – nothing you do or say can save you. You are a lost sinner. Some of the worst sinners I have ever known are preachers – men who study the Bible every day. Some of the most disobedient sinners I have ever known were born from Christian parents, but they grew up to be rebellious, rebellious against God, rebellious against Christ, rebellious toward their parents, rebellious against everything they have learned in church. They may know the Bible well, but they rebel against it. They rebel against the pastor who preaches the Bible. They rebel because in their hearts they hate the truth. I have known “church kids” who are as wicked as the Devil. Girls raised in the church who enticed young men to have sex with them. The next Sunday they sang hymns like they were little angels, when in fact they were wretched sinners. I have known “church kids” who were the young men that had sex with those girls and then bragged about their sin in front of younger boys, thus imprinting in the minds of little boys the lust that could destroy them.

You say, “I have never done that!” But you have thought about doing it. You have done filthy things in your mind, haven’t you? Jesus said that is as much a sin as doing it!

You say you love God, but do you obey Him? Do you love God with all your heart? Do you love to read the Bible every day? Do you love to spend time alone with God in prayer each day? Or do you spend your free time playing video games or watching sports events on TV – never thinking of spending that much time in prayer or Bible reading? I say that shows you do not love God – not really – you only talk about loving God. But you really despise God. You really love only yourself. Think! Isn’t that true? Aren’t you really a sinner who despises God? Aren’t you afraid of the pastor? Why are you afraid of me? Isn’t it because I make you think about God and sin? Isn’t that why you are afraid of me?

Didn’t you really like John Cagan’s sermon on how to date? You sat up straight and listened intensely. You don’t do that when I preach on sin, salvation and Christ! The thought of dating someone seems far more interesting to you than hearing me preach on Christ – on His death on the Cross to save you from sin. If it does, and you know that I am right, it proves that you are a rebellious sinner with no real love of Christ in your heart. Admit it. You have to admit and feel that you are a lost sinner. You have to admit it or there is no hope for you. No hope for you at all!

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Confess the inner sinfulness of your sinful heart now, or you will spend eternity in the lake of fire! This is the truth. I am speaking to you like an adult. This is not a sweet little Sunday School lesson. This is not a sweet little talk by Joel Osteen. This is not a verse by verse exposition by John MacArthur. This is a good old-fashioned sermon to wake you up. This is an evangelistic sermon of the Old School. This is a sermon that God may use to wake you up to the fact that you have a sinful heart, a heart that is dead in sin. I am talking to you like every preacher should talk. I don’t want your money! To Hell with your money. I want your soul. I want to see you saved by Jesus. I want to see God convert your sinful heart, change it and make it clean with the Blood of Christ. That’s what I want. I want you to be changed into a happy Christian instead of the hypocrite you are now! A hypocrite is a person who looks like a Christian, but inside has a heart “full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness…ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27, 28). And you like the way you are. Your heart is so sinful that you try your best to look like a Christian – but look at your heart! Your heart is full of sinfulness, lust and unbelief. Your heart is as rebellious as Cain’s heart was.

Genesis 5:1, 3 proves that Adam’s sin ruined the whole human race. That is why your heart is dead in sin. In Genesis 5:1 we see that “God created man, in the likeness of God made he him” (Genesis 5:1). But Adam rebelled and sinned away his innocence. Then we read that Adam “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image” (Genesis 5:3). When Adam was innocent it is said that he was created in the likeness of God – innocent as God! But after he sinned he fathered “a son in his own likeness” – guilty of sin, a sinner by nature! (Genesis 5:3).

And that is the likeness you were born with – you are a sinner by nature like Adam when he rebelled. You are a sinner by nature. Your parents are sinners by nature. Everyone you know in school or at work is a sinner by nature. Incorrigible sinners who can’t do one thing to change their evil hearts. “What?” you say, “My mother has a sinful heart?” Yes! Her heart is as rebellious and sinful as yours, or any other offspring of Adam. The whole human race was ruined, and death comes to all. It all comes because of Adam’s sin. Mark, he was warned. Mark, he had no reason to disobey. Mark, he knew full well he would die and that he would ruin every other person that would ever be born. Mark, Adam, who was such a nice clean man – was transformed by sin into a monster! Every sane person hates Hitler because he murdered six million Jews. But Hitler was as innocent as an angel when compared to Adam. Hitler killed six million people. But Adam killed the whole human race! Billions upon billions of people! Adam ruined your heart. Adam made you a church-going hypocrite – he made you a hypocrite who cannot change his heart – a hypocrite headed for Hell, and who deserves to go there because of his inherited sin nature, and because he rejects the only person who could save him – Jesus, the last Adam. The first Adam gave you a rebellious and sinful heart. The last Adam, Christ, is the one and only person who can give you a new heart. Only Christ can take away your stony heart and “give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). That is what regeneration is. That is what the new birth is.

Now we come to the hard part. How can a person who cannot change their heart ever be saved? You must be regenerated. Regeneration is an extremely important doctrine. I don’t hear preachers speak on it now. No wonder our churches are dying! The word “regeneration” refers to an act of God which changes the heart and transforms it from death to life. Christ called being regenerated being “born again,” a spiritual transformation, the creation of a new heart by an act of the Holy Spirit, an act in which a person is changed from a son of Adam to a son of God. Regeneration is an act of God alone, an act in which He makes the dead heart, inherited from Adam, alive again. The new birth is needed because your heart is dead before you are regenerated.

The best testimony I have ever read from a young person is the testimony of John Cagan. It is so correct that one person who read it told me it couldn’t have come from a fifteen-year-old boy. This man accused me of either writing it myself, or at least correcting it and adding to it. But John himself is sitting here on the platform with me. He can assure you that I did not write it or change it in any way – nor did his father, Dr. Cagan. We have had people saved by merely reading it or by hearing it read.

The death of man’s heart in the first Adam had to be reversed, It had to be made alive again by Christ, the last Adam. This is made very clear by the Apostle Paul,

“By the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Christ]… For as by one man's [Adam’s] disobedience [the] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Christ] shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:18, 19).

Again, the Apostle contrasts Adam and Christ,

“The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit” (I Corinthians 15:45).

Only Christ (the last Adam) can bring the dead heart of a sinner to life. Christ changes the heart from slavery to sin into a new heart, a heart that loves God. This work begins when God’s Spirit convicts you of your sinful heart (John 16:8). Then the Spirit of God reveals Christ to you (John 16:14, 15). Finally God draws you to Christ (John 6:44). Those three steps in regeneration are shown in John Cagan’s testimony. In the first paragraph John speaks of his evil heart inherited from Adam. In the second paragraph, John speaks of how God convicted him so strongly that he was tormented by it. He said, “I began to hate myself, to hate my sin and how it made me feel.” In the third paragraph John tells how his sinful heart hated my preaching, and of his rejection of Christ. It was a titanic struggle between his sinful heart and God, and his inability to come to Christ. In the fourth paragraph John tells us of thinking about Christ suffering on the Cross to save him from sin. This thought broke down his stubborn will and he finally rested in Christ. Finally, at the end of his conversion John says, “Christ gave His life for me and for this I give my all to Him… for He has changed me.” You bet! He was a nasty teenager! But now he is a man of God!

Next month John Cagan will enter a theological seminary to prepare to become a Baptist minister.

Whoever you are – you are a lost sinner, with your heart dead, dead because you are chained in Adam’s sin. If you are like that, Jesus Christ is your only hope – for He alone “can break the power of cancelled sin and set the prisoner free” as Charles Wesley put it. There is power in Christ to change your heart and cleanse it with His own Blood. Trust Him and He will save you.

If you would like to speak to us about salvation from sin by Jesus, please come and speak with Dr. Cagan, John Cagan, and me. You come and speak to us while Mr. Griffith sings “In Jesus” two times, all three verses.

I’ve tried in vain a thousand ways
   My fears to quell, my hopes to raise;
But what I need, the Bible says,
   Is ever, only Jesus.

My soul is night, my heart is steel –
   I cannot see, I cannot feel;
For light, for life, I must appeal
   In simple faith to Jesus.

Though some should laugh, and some should blame,
   I’ll go with all my guilt and shame;
I’ll go to Him because His Name,
   Above all names, is Jesus.
(“In Jesus” by James Procter, 1913).

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song: Romans 5:17-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“In Jesus” (by James Procter, 1913).