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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2016

All over this city tonight there will be preachers and priests speaking on the Christmas story. But most of the preaching, even in our fundamental Baptist churches, is not right tonight. When I was a boy I heard great preaching. I remember listening to Billy Graham when he was in his youth and he could preach a whole sermon without notes at the top of his lungs – electrifying! The great W. A. Criswell, of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, preached great, moving sermons – and Dr. Rice and others. But their voices are stilled now. Billy Graham at 98 years old can’t speak. All the rest are dead. And today I have a “beef” against the way men preach. As Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “They preach without passion and without pathos,” particularly here in the United States. If you go to a liberal church you will find they give the same type of sermon that you hear in a so-called fundamentalist church. Our fundamental preachers, like Paul Chappell in Lancaster and others, have all slid down, have slid away – like Jerry Falwell’s son, have slid away from real preaching to giving a little story to keep the old ladies happy that pay the bills. But in this church as long as I live we will have old-time preaching, old-fashioned preaching, preaching that saves men from Hell!

Please believe me when I tell you I have nothing against Paul Chappell. I have nothing against Jerry Falwell’s son. But I do have something against the way of preaching that they use. It’s the same as in a liberal Presbyterian church where they don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ. It’s boring. It is not soul-stirring. It is not soul-moving, and it doesn’t get people saved!

A man doesn’t have to be in real good shape or real good health to preach like that – like the old-timers did. I’ve seen a photograph of two man having to lift Dr. John R. Rice up out of a wheelchair so he could grab hold of the pulpit – and he still had the power – not in his voice, but in his message. The message was powerful enough that people could be saved.

And that doesn’t happen just by somebody walking down the aisle, shaking the preacher’s hand. A great dark cloud has come over the churches in America. Men don’t preach like John the Baptist, or they’d get their heads cut off by the old ladies that pay the bills. They’d be criticized – one criticism and they’re scared. I want to tell you something. Nobody in this room and nobody in the audience out there on our website – I’m not scared of any of you. I’m going to tell you what you need to hear. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you will need to hear.

We blame ISIS for the problems that are going on – another bombing down here. And people say, “Oh, we need Donald Trump to save us.” So let me tell you this, and this is going to upset some of you preachers. Donald Trump is not going to make America great again. Because America can never, ever be great again until you preachers start preaching like the old-timers did. And don’t baptize somebody – a five-year-old child walks down the aisle and you baptize him without asking him a question. You’re going to have to answer before God for that sacrilege!

You say, “Nobody will listen to you.” I want to tell you something, preacher. 6,200 people watched my sermons yesterday – one day – on the Internet and on YouTube. Six thousand, two hundred people. There’s very few preachers in this country that could get that kind of a worldwide response. Somebody, somewhere wants this kind of preaching. And you’d better give it to him, or America’s gone!

Now, I prepared this sermon in fifteen minutes. I got a Christmas card yesterday. I opened it this morning, and it was a Christmas card from a girl who’s been in our church for a long time, in an unsaved state. Her name is Ayako. I’m going to read to you some of the things that Ayako said in the Christmas card. Before I read it, let me tell you, we had some absolutely astonishing conversions in our church this year. I think we’ve had more conversions than we have had in any other year.

If you’d listen to the people – if you preachers would listen to the people instead of just baptizing them quick – you’d find out that you have a lot of lost people in your church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said, “They preach as though they think everybody in their church is saved.”

Do you know how long I was in a Baptist church before I was saved? I was a member of a Baptist church and attended every service for seven years without being saved. When I was 13 years old the people next door, Dr. and Mrs. McGowan, had two children about my age. And they took me with them to the First Baptist Church of Huntington Park. I had gone to Catholic Mass several times, but I had never been in a Protestant church. I had never been in a Baptist church. And they were having what they called a “revival meeting,” using Charles Finney’s definition rather than the definition of the Old-School preachers.

I don’t remember one word that man said. We were up in the balcony. I can see it in my mind’s eye. I was 13 years old. It was my first time in a Baptist church, and they had a so-called evangelist. This is all I got out of it. I was a 13-year-old boy for the first time in a Baptist church. People sang different. And then the man stood up to preach. Now he was an old-style preacher in his delivery, and possibly in his doctrine. But all I got out of it was that he had on a gray suit – I can see it – and he had a bright green tie on. And as he preached the tie swung back and forth. At the end of the sermon my friend, who was about a year younger than me, the McGowans’ boy – they started to sing, and they said, “Come down.” So the McGowans’ boy got up and he went down, and I thought, “That’s what you’re supposed to do.” And I followed him. The pastor or the deacons didn’t say one word to me, except to take down my name and ask if my parents cared if I was baptized. And I said, “No, they don’t.” They were separated. I wasn’t even living with them. I could do anything I wanted.

And so the pastor told me and the other young people that had come, “Come back a couple of nights later and be baptized.” Well, that’s what Mike McGowan was going to do, and so I thought, “That’s what you do.” So I went with him and the McGowan family down to the church a couple of nights later. And they took us into a room, Mike and I and a bunch of other kids. And they put beautiful white robes on us. And they baptized me. Now, I could have been a Mormon. I could have been a Jehovah’s Witness. I could have been an atheist, a Buddhist, a Muslim. They never asked me. They never said one word. They just baptized me. They thought the sermon converted me, I guess, although I don’t remember anything he said. I’d never heard a sermon before. All I remembered was the swinging green tie. I guess that’s all you had to do was look at a guy’s green tie, and they’d baptize you.

And that kind of monkey business has been going on for far too long in America. I went seven years as a lost Baptist boy. You see, I thought the way you become a Christian is to be good. After all, the first time I went to that Baptist church – all I knew about Christmas – it was about Christmas time – was songs like this:

You better watch out, You better not cry,
You better not pout, I'm telling you why;
Santa Claus is coming to town.

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

You better watch out, You better not cry,
You better not pout, I'm telling you why;
Santa Claus is coming to town.
   (“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by John Frederick Coots, 1897-1985
      and Haven Gillespie, 1888-1975).

That was on the radio everywhere in the late 1940’s and 50’s,

He sees you when you're sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

And that’s what many believe. That’s what many people in this auditorium – some of you, visiting – that’s what you think Christmas is all about. “You better be good. You better not pout. You better not cry. I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.” Want to know who inspired this song? Satan! The Devil! The archfiend that wants you to go to Hell! He’s the one behind this song that tells you you can be saved by being good! The Devil! That’s not the Christmas message! Get that paper [with the song lyrics] out of here! I don’t want to look at it – Satan’s gospel – the gospel of the Devil! “Be good and you’ll go to Heaven.” You try to be good and go to Heaven, and you will burn for eternity in the Hell that is prepared for you!

Now, just a second. You’ve tried to be good sometimes, haven’t you? And yet you know you are not good. It’s not Santa Claus that’s coming to town. It’s Jesus Christ. He’s coming again. And when Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes, you’re going to be in trouble, because you are a sinner at heart and by nature and by practice.

You are a sinner, and that kind of Christmas will not ever, ever get you saved like Ayako. And Santa Claus is not Santa Claus. Santa Claus is Satan himself. Satan himself has come disguised as a holy angel, the Bible says. There is no Santa Claus. When you tell a kid there’s a Santa Claus and put candies in a stocking, and put presents under the Christmas tree, and tell them Santa Claus did that, you are lying to them. Later when you tell them about Jesus, they’ll think you’re lying too! If you talk about that kind of a Christmas you will send your children to Hell! Don’t let them do it, pastor! Don’t let them do it! It sends kids to Hell, and you will be responsible!

They go to church on Christmas Eve and they’re singing and singing and singing with robes on. Dr. Rice used to call them “bathrobes.” They come out in their bathrobes and they sing and sing and sing, and sing and sing and sing, and nobody’s paying any attention. And then the preacher or the priest stands up and says, “Be good children at Christmas time.” That’s a damned lie and it ought to be exorcised – yes, ekballo, cast out as a demon from our churches! Ekballo – cast out!

Now last Sunday morning I preached on “Christmas in Hell.” The Devil himself thought, “That’s too harsh. Don’t preach on Hell at Christmas.” But my friend, Hell and Satan and demons – that’s the behind-the-scenes story of Christmas. You’ve got Herod. You’ve got the ones who went out and tried to kill all the babies. Satan is all through the Christmas story. They never mention that part.

Dr. A. W. Tozer wrote an essay called, “The Bible World is the Real World.” The world presented in this book (the Bible) is the real world. I have nothing against decorating the church for Christmas time. A Protestant, by the way, if you didn’t know this – the Christmas tree was invented by a Protestant, in fact the first Protestant, Martin Luther. The Christmas tree is not Catholic, it’s Protestant. You didn’t know that. Read something, preacher. Read something besides The Sword of the Lord and maybe you’ll learn something!

It’s not the same Sword of the Lord as when Dr. Rice had it. “Oh, you’ll get comments on that!” Send them in! Send them in! I’ll read them to the people! Everybody knows it’s watered-down gush today. Like it is in virtually all of our fundamental Baptist churches. The sermons are no better than a Roman Catholic priest gives or a liberal Bible-rejecting Protestant gives. No better. No better. It’s all the same. Nobody listens. Nobody pays attention. They all go home – lost – because they haven’t had the law and the Gospel presented to them!

Somebody will say, “You’ll scare all the kids away.” Listen, we’ve got more kids, we’ve got more young people in our church percentage-wise than any church I know of. Ayako, stand up. That’s the girl that got saved. That beautiful young girl got saved when I preached on “Christmas in Hell.” If you want girls like that to get saved in your church, preacher, you better start preaching the old-fashioned way. That girl sent me a Christmas card. Here’s what she wrote:

Dear Dr. Hymers:

I cannot thank you enough for truly caring for my soul and counseling me and praying for me. I thank God for you, for keeping the Gospel central in our church, and for always preaching on sin and Jesus’ love and Blood and righteousness to save us. Thank God, Dr. Hymers, for keeping on fighting instead of retiring. [I could have retired. I’m 76 in a couple of months and I’ve had cancer. It’s apparently gone, but it may come back. Everybody dies. But I won’t retire. And she noticed that.] She said, “And thank you for teaching us to stand up for what is right and not fear men.”

Ayako Zabalaga

For several months, after I preached a sermon I was kind of feeble and could barely go up the stairs. Then I found out I will probably not die from cancer. My strength came back. Now I started preaching the way I used to preach. Dr. Cagan said, “The lion is back in the pulpit.” So I’m going to give it to you straight without a chaser. This is the message of Christmas! Not that Bing Crosby junk, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” Turn in your Bible with me to page 1073 in the Scofield Study Bible. It’s Luke, chapter two, beginning with verse eight.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-16).

You may be seated. Please close your Bible.

In a lot of churches they have you take notes. They want you to keep your Bible open and take notes. It’s the most foolish thing I ever heard. Like you’re in a school room, learning how to become a Christian. Young people, listen to me. You cannot learn to be a Christian. You can learn to be a Buddhist. You can learn the catechism and become a Catholic. You can learn the Bhagavad-Gita. You can learn the Koran. You can learn every other religion. You can learn to be a Mormon. You can learn to be a Jehovah’s Witness. But you cannot learn to be a born again Christian! It can’t be learned! To become a real Christian there must be a change. There must be a struggle. One side of you says, “Do it.” The other side says, “Don’t.” Somebody says, “You’re crazy.” Somebody else said, “It’s right.” And you’re all confused and wound up and twisted up inside.

Not like this boy. He’s not all twisted up inside. He comes for the fun of it. That’s why they don’t become Christians. How can you become a Christian when you think you can learn it? It’s not learned, it’s experienced, when you’re churned inside with your sin, and you can’t get rid of your sin, and then at last you say, “Jesus, You are the only one that can save me!” Then you’ll be converted, and not before – you’ll go to Hell with the other Chinese kids! You phony hypocrite! You still think you can learn it. I call you a phony hypocrite going to a Devil’s Hell!

Now some of the preachers watching on YouTube or on our website will be saying, “You’ll never get any converts like that.” Let me tell you, preacher. You never get any converts at all. You baptize lost people every Sunday and you don’t even know it, because you don’t ask them anything. You don’t find that they’ve had a struggle with sin. You don’t find that they give it up finally, and have trusted Christ. You don’t care – especially the Southern Baptists. Oh, the Southern Baptists want to rack up how many they baptized. They could care less how many of them got saved. I’m telling you how to get saved, not how to be baptized, not how to join the church, but how to be saved from Hell and from sin!

And it’s all right here in those verses that you’ve heard so many times. In so many churches. But it never grabbed hold of you. It was just something the preacher said. It was just something the priest muttered before he gave out the Eucharist. It wasn’t real to you. So on this Christmas Eve, in these few minutes, I’m going to talk to you about real Christianity. This sermon is called “The Christmas Story is Real!” It’s real!

I. First, the shepherds were real.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8).

Ha, ha, “I saw that on a Christmas card.” I saw it in person. The Shepherds’ Field is still there to this day. I walked across it. It was a real, real field. There were real, real sheep. And there were really, really men that were watching over them. They put it on so many Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas cards that people think it’s a phony story. It’s a real place, and I preached right beside it. Right beside the Shepherds’ Field, I preached a sermon in the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem. Yes, there is a place called Bethlehem. I preached in the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem. Yes, there’s a real field. There were really shepherds there. It’s real! It’s all real! There’s nothing fake about it!

The Bible world is the real world. Somebody didn’t just come down and write this on a piece of paper. God wrote this Word. “All Scripture is given by theopneustos – by God’s breath.” This is the God-breathed Word of God. This is real. What you’ve been hearing is false. Santa Claus is false. The twinkling lights in the Americana or in the mall where you go – that’s all fake, it’s phony! There’s no reality to it! But there’s a real field. There were real shepherds there. That is real. I’ve been there. I know that’s real!

II. Second, the angels were real.

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them” (Luke 2:9).

Do you mean to tell me that angels are real? Oh, absolutely! I have seen an angel with these eyes. I have talked with an angel. Let me tell you the story. I had an old car. I wasn’t like you kids – you can bust your car and the next day they’ll buy you a new one. I was a virtual orphan. So I had an old car where the gas meter didn’t work. It was Christmas time. It was cold. And every Saturday night I would drive Mr. Wilkerson from the First Chinese Baptist Church to his apartment in Pasadena. The gas gauge said there was gas in it. I let Mr. Wilkerson off and started back down the Pasadena Freeway. I came to a place. One of these boys says, “I know exactly where it is.” Jack Ngann – stand up – you know exactly where it is. There’s a turn. There could have been thousands of people. Just around that corner the car ran out of gas. The next car couldn’t see me; there’s a curve like this. The next car that comes around there is going to rear-end me. I tried to choke it and push it a little farther and couldn’t do it. It stopped right in the lane. You know how the Pasadena Freeway is. The Democrats who run this city – you know how they do it. They fix the streets about once every 200 years. They raise money for the streets and put it in their own pockets. The Republicans do the same thing. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, but I know Democrats run this city, and I know what the streets look like. So the money raise from your taxes goes into their pockets, not into the streets.

So the car stopped. The next car that comes around is going to rear-end me. I jumped out of the car. I read someplace, “Get out of the car.” So I jumped out of the car and I heard, “Beep. Beep, beep.” Mr. Ngann knows the place, he knows exactly where I’m talking about. There’s a chain link fence that keeps you from getting out. “Beep, beep, beep.” And I looked up, and there was a man. He jumped out of his Volkswagen, and he had this strange contraption in his hand. He put a hook on the end of a can of gasoline. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know what it was. It looked like a cross between a telescope and a fishing pole. He wound it up like this, like this, and the gas can came over the fence. He said, “Put it in.” I put it in. I threw the can back. I reached in my pocket. “What can I pay you?” He said, “Get out of here. Get out of here. I do this every night!” I got in the car and turned it on, and I drove away. And I thought, “I do this every night?” How does he know where to go? How does he know at midnight that a boy’s car would run out of gas in that dangerous place? “I do this every night.” I saw an angel of God that night. You can laugh, you can mock. But there was real gas in a real can, and a real man standing across the fence that really drove away in a Volkswagen, and he said, “I do it every night.” That man was an angel sent from God to save me, so I could preach to you tonight!

The Bible says in Hebrews 13:2, “Some have entertained angels unawares.” I am sure, I am certain, that there are angels. No problem. No problem for me. Another time I was driving down the freeway, always to the Chinese church. I was driving along and it was raining. Some of you boys know exactly where that is, where the pillars are and it goes around like this. It’s a place where you’re coming from Bell, from Maywood, that area, and it goes into the other freeway, and it goes like this – and there’s big pillars there. And the guy in front of me slammed his brakes on. I slammed my brakes on. The car went around and around. The pillars went by. Around and around and around. And then it stopped. It may have gone around two or three times, but it seemed like it went around ten or fifteen times – at least two or three. I looked out, and it curves like this, and those huge pillars were there. How did that happen? My car was going the wrong direction. The rain was still falling. I turned the engine on. I turned the car around. I drove to the church. I sat down in a pew at the back, and I was shaking. Somebody came over to me. It might have been Mr. Wilkerson or one of the boys. The boy said, “What’s wrong with you, Bob?” I said, “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.” “Oh, yes, I would.” I told him where it happened. He said, “That couldn’t happen.” I said, “Oh, I know.” The car stopped. The rain was falling. I could see cars coming. I could hear the angels’ wings. Literally, I could hear the angels’ wings. It was angels who saved me that night.

I could tell you five or six more stories. I don’t know how many times you’ve seen an angel and didn’t know it. You’ve entertained angels, been with them – unknown, unawares. You see, every human being on earth believed in angels not long ago, only yesterday. Everyone in the Western world in my great grandfather’s day believed in angels.

But Satan came in. Satan came in through Semler and took the Bible away from us. Satan came in through Darwin and took creation away from us. Satan came down in Charles G. Finney and took conversion away from us. We no longer live in my great grandfather’s world. “If you can’t feel it, it’s not real.” And that’s what’s so wrong with some of you kids that are looking for a feeling. You see, my grandfather would be called a pre-modernist. My father was a modernist. “If you can’t see it, it’s not real.”

You’re post-modernists. Your whole generation are post-modernists. “If I can’t feel it, it’s not real.” And that’s what kept that girl from being saved all those years. She had come forward and she’d say to me, “I’ll trust Jesus.” She’d get down on her knees. She’d pray. She’d get back in the chair. I said, “Did you trust Jesus?” “No.” “Why?” “Why?” Maybe a hundred times. “Why?” “Because I can’t feel Him.”

Now there are churches where you get a feeling, all right. You can go to a church where they’re babbling in tongues and jumping up and down, and you’ll get a feeling. But it will be demons that you feel. It will not be Jesus Christ!

You see, Jesus Christ is not a psychiatrist. He didn’t come to give you some feeling so – “Uh, I’ve got it now.” I’ve known hundreds, perhaps thousands of people – I have never met a person that had a feeling who was a real Christian. Not one. Not one! Not one that was a real Christian. They were always depending on the feeling. They were never depending on the Blood of Jesus Christ! So I have never known a person – they talk in tongues, they jump up and down. They have feelings. But they never speak about the Blood of Christ. They never speak about the Cross. They never speak about the resurrected Christ. Christ is not their God. Feelings is their god! Their god is feeling, not Christ! It’s not the Holy Spirit, it’s a demon!

Oh, yes. “You believe in demons too.” Oh, yes. See, if your parents were divorced and you had to live in houses where they didn’t want you. Like I did when I was a little boy, where they got so drunk, so drunk that they’d break windows out. They got so drunk that they’d drive a car through the side of the house. That really happened. It stopped four feet from the bed when I was seven years old. Right through the side of the house. When you grow up like I did, you know there are demons. You know there’s a Devil. You know that these things are real because you have experienced what they do to people!

Yes, there were real shepherds. Yes, there was a real field. Yes, there were real angels.

III. Third, there was a real Saviour.

A baby was really born there. I’ve seen the place where he was born. The Catholics put a star there. I have a photograph of my boys reaching out and touching the star. They weren’t supposed to. But I wasn’t supposed to sit in George Washington’s chair in Philadelphia. When nobody was looking I climbed over the rope and sat in George Washington’s chair. Glad I didn’t break it!

There was a real Jesus. He was really born of a virgin. Now, you tell me, preacher, how can you believe that He was born of a virgin? Easy! Because He wasn’t like anybody else I know. He wasn’t even like me. See, I’m a sinner. Everybody I else I met is a sinner. We sin in different ways. But the heart, the heart, is not right. The human heart is not right. Your heart is not right. Because we’re all born sinners, inherited from Adam.

Now, you could have taken King Herod, the man who tried to kill Jesus, and you could have nailed King Herod to the cross, and he wouldn’t have saved anybody. He was a sinner. You could take the people that came to watch him die on the Cross, and you could nail every one of them to the cross, but they wouldn’t save anybody. Because every one of them were sinners. Jesus saved me. How do you know? I’ve been preaching 58 years. I went to 20 schools. Because I was always the new kid, I got the heck beat out of me. You want to know how many high schools I went to here in L.A.? Huntington Park High School, Bell High School, Belmont High School, John Marshall High School, and Metropolitan High School. I went to five high schools. And when you go to that many schools, and when you live in that many houses with people drunk, drugged that way – there’s only one person here on this platform who went through that experience, and that’s Aaron, right there. When I get in trouble – when you’re raised like that your emotions go up and down – when I get in one of those tailspins, he’s the man I call. Stand up. That’s the man I call, because he’s got the same background. He’s seen a man killed. He knows what cocaine does. He knows. So, you’re going to take a kid like that from a ruined background? I didn’t know anything. I knew how to read. I knew how to write. I knew how to add. I knew how to subtract. And a little bit of division. When I went to college I flunked out. Of course. Of course. I didn’t know anything. And I was in turmoil all the time, because I was trying to be saved by being good. When you live in that kind of a drunken mess, you know, usually kids go along with it. But I didn’t. I put my Bible under my arm one Sunday morning. Isn’t it funny how you can forget everything and remember one thing? I can remember that. I put my Bible under my arm. There were bodies all over the floor. The house smelled like a cigarette, marijuana, whatever. I put the Bible under my arm and I walked through that mess, and I thought, “I don’t want to be like you.” And I went to church. And I couldn’t get the idea out of my head – to be a Christian I had to be perfect. And I couldn’t be. The more perfect I tried to become, the more evil I knew my heart was. I will be 76 years old in a couple of months. I’ve been preaching for 58 years. How did it happen? A kid raised like that in a hell-hole? A kid raised like that amid drunks and drugs and killings and cars bashing through houses and moving and moving and moving – I could not live with my parents. How could a kid like me be a preacher for 58 years, in a black suit, preaching the Gospel? And you look at me, and you think, “There’s an upstanding man.” I have three earned doctor’s degrees and one honorary doctor’s degree. Now, how could a kid like me do that, if Jesus didn’t save me? Salvation is real! Look at me! Salvation is real! Look at me! Salvation is real! Look at him (Aaron)!

Because Jesus went to the Cross, without sin, and shed His Blood on the Cross. My goodness ran out. And I knew I was lost. I had been a licensed Baptist preacher – a licensed preacher like we licensed John Cagan the other night – I had been a licensed preacher for three years. I had preached many sermons. I knew it was all false. And then one morning Jesus came to me.

I had tried to come to Him. I went forward till I almost wore the rug out in the church. I dedicated my life. I rededicated my life. I quit smoking, to be a Christian. That was hard. I’d been smoking since I was 13 years old. I had crawled on my hands and knees down to the altar, time after time, Sunday night after Sunday night, and I knew it was fake. And then one morning, 10:30 in the morning, September 28, 1961, Jesus came and saved me. Because I couldn’t save myself. He saved me. And that’s why I’m here preaching for 58 years.

You say, “I’m not sure Jesus can save people.” Take a look at me. Take a look at Aaron. Take a look at some of these other guys here. I don’t want to mention what they did. Every man on this platform was a sinner. Stand up. Especially that guy. He’s a big guy. I don’t want to tell you about him. He’s going to be a preacher too. Why? Because Jesus is real. He really came. He was really born in that manger. I don’t care if you call me a terrible man. The Koran said He didn’t go to the Cross, but I know He did.

“Oh, you desecrated the Koran.” All right. I’ve been here 76 years. Blow me up. The Koran said He didn’t go to the Cross, but I know He went to the Cross because He couldn’t have saved me if He didn’t. And He shed real Blood, and that real Blood is still in Heaven. I don’t care what John MacArthur said, it’s really in Heaven because it washed my sins away, and it couldn’t have done that if it wasn’t preserved!

There were real shepherds. A real field – I’ve been there. There were real angels – I’ve seen angels. Oh, I forgot to tell you. I forgot to tell you about the man who danced with angels. When you go upstairs to go in to eat, look just to your right. There’s some photographs of a man with a clerical collar. Not a Catholic priest, a Lutheran pastor. They put him in prison – the fascists, Hitler – they put him in prison for preaching the Gospel. After Churchill won the war, they let him out for a few months, and then the Communists came, and they put him in prison again. He learned Morse code. He’s in a cell, totally black, no window. Tap, tap, tap. He preached the Gospel in that cell to the man in the next cell. When they moved that man he did it to the other man. He led several people to Christ in that dark cell. At night, what did he do? He wasn’t an American. He was from Romania. In that Romanian prison – I knew him very well. He spoke here many times. He had to sit down when he preached, because the bottoms of his feet had big scars on them from being beaten across the feet. Look at the picture of him. It shows him with his shirt off, and a big hole in his back, from a red hot poker being pushed in. The rats would chew his feet. Almost everybody they put in that place died. He didn’t die. Here’s why. He exercised every night. He was a Jew. That makes it even more impossible. He was an atheist and a Jew. He was converted and became a minister. He spent fourteen years in that hole for preaching the Gospel. He was a tall man, about six-three. And he danced all night long. You know how the Jews dance. He danced all night long and the angels came down. There was no light in the cell. Total darkness. And Richard Wurmbrand danced with the angels. He did that for hours, and I think that exercise is what kept him alive while most of the others died. He was the greatest Christian that I have ever met. And I have just about met all of them, including Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, Lee Roberson, and W. A. Criswell. I’ve met all of them. But the greatest Christian I’ve ever met was Richard Wurmbrand. The others in that prison went mad. They died from tuberculosis. But Wurmbrand lived on. He got tuberculosis himself. He almost died. They put him in a ward where everybody died. He went around to all the sick men, crawling on his hands and knees, leading most of them to Christ while they were dying of tuberculosis. But Wurmbrand lived through it, and I know why. The rest of them just sat in their cell. Richard Wurmbrand danced with the angels all night, and it kept him alive, that exercise. Richard Wurmbrand was a real man – you’ll see a photograph of him with me upstairs – and he really preached in this church, and he preached the Gospel in this church!

IV. Fourth, there was real faith.

That night there was real faith. What did they do?

“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste [in a hurry], and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:15-16).

They had never seen anything like this. But it was revealed to them. And they came to Jesus.

Notice something. There were a lot of Bible teachers. The scribes – that’s all they did. Great rabbis like Nicodemus, who had the entire first five books of the Bible memorized. The shepherds didn’t go to the scribes. They didn’t go to the great rabbis. They didn’t even think about learning how to be a Christian. They just came to Jesus.

And they came with haste. You say, “Well, I’ve got to wait a long time to be saved.” My wife was saved the first time she heard me preach the Gospel. And my beautiful little wife is one of the best Christians I’ve ever met. She got saved the very first time she heard the Gospel: Jesus died for my sin; He rose from the dead; trust Him. It’s simple.

They came with haste. They came in a hurry. Ayako didn’t come with haste. Because she wasn’t looking for Jesus. She was looking for a feeling, right? Put your hand up. Am I right. Stand up and say I’m right. [She said], “Exactly right.” She was looking for a feeling. So she came a long, long time, and didn’t get saved.

Mr. Griffith, did you get saved the first time you heard the Gospel, or was it the second time? Stand up. [He said], “The first time I heard the Gospel.” The first time that man heard the Gospel. You know what he was? Come over here. He looks like a banker or something like that. They sent him to Korea in the Army. When he came back everything had changed. It was 1965. Drugs were everywhere. It blew his mind. Am I telling it right? [He said], “Yes.”

So he got on a motorcycle. How many have ever seen “Easy Rider”? A few old-timers. He got on a motorcycle and he came all across America, to Hollywood, him and another guy. You’d call them today, “Hell’s Angels.” The other guy said, “There’s a fellow down the street here that preaches real hard on Hell. Let’s go over there and cause trouble.” So this guy and the other guy came in a little late. They sat on the back row. And I was preaching on Hell that night. I preached on Hell. I gave it all I had. And the big Hell’s Angels guy that sat next to him said, “Let’s get out of here.”

But Mr. Griffith said, “Wait a minute now. I want to hear the rest of what he has to say.” The other guy ran off. And Griffith got saved. Can you sing, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”? This is a man that got saved the very first time he heard the Gospel. [Mr. Griffith sings.]

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
   I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land;
   I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
   And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
   This world affords today.
(“I’d Rather Have Jesus,” words by Rhea F. Miller, 1922;
     music composed by George Beverly Shea, 1909-2013).

Before I preached this sermon Mr. Griffith sang this song by Dr. John R. Rice,

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Of a virgin mother born,
   Laid in manger cradle, wrapped in swaddling clothes and warm,
Birth cry in a darkened stable, in the inn no room,
   Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God, to share earth’s gloom.
Jesus, Baby Jesus, there’s a cross along the way.
   Born to die for sinners, born for crucifixion day!

Jesus, Baby Jesus, Son of God and Son of man,
   Tempted, poor and suff’ring, No one knows us as He can!
Holy, righteous, blameless, fitting sacrifice complete,
   By His blood atonement, God and sinners in Him meet.
Jesus, Baby Jesus, there’s a cross along the way.
   Born to die for sinners, born for crucifixion day!
(“Jesus, Baby Jesus” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980;
      first and last stanzas with chorus).

Now, if that man, a drunken biker, got saved the first time he heard the Gospel, you could do the same thing. All you have to do, and this is the big one, all you have to do is admit to yourself that your heart is full of sin and rebellion against God. That’s the biggest part of it, you know. John Cagan, come and give them your testimony. This is a church kid. This kid was raised in church and he hated it. He hated to hear me preach and he wanted to be bad. Tell them about it. [John Cagan speaks.]

      I wanted nothing to do with God. I was living my entire life as if He had nothing to do with me. I purposefully made my life against God. That means I hated this church and I hated the pastor. And so whatever the pastor had to say from the Bible, from God, I had no ears for it. I didn’t listen at all.
      But the more I began to live for myself, the worse I felt. And so I reacted by living worse and being worse and feeling more and more hatred against God, against the pastor, against the church. And God responded by giving me more and more grace, so that it came to a point that I could not think without feeling pain.
      I had a struggle within my heart and within my life that was agonizing. I could not sleep because I was so angry and depressed at the same time, and when I would finally go to sleep I wouldn’t rest, and when I woke up I felt worse. And I knew inside that it was because of who I was, of my sin, of my rebellion against God. But I did not want to admit it. I wanted to live for myself.
      And so the more that I distracted myself and the less I thought about it the worse I felt, until it became all I felt. I came to church that Sunday morning totally resolved to not trust Christ. I came to church that morning with no interest in God.
      But I came to church that morning under the heavy burden of my sin. And as the pastor preached I realized how sinful I was. And I knew that I could not change. I knew I could not reform. I knew that I was lost. And this made it worse. I was helpless. I was helpless and I was hopeless, and there was one way out, and that was not acceptable. I would not trust Christ.
      And so the conflict became about my will and the will of God, and the more that God decided that He was going to have grace on me, the more I decided that I would not listen to what He would have to say to me.
      But I realized how sinful I was. I did not think highly of myself. I thought of myself as, as low as I could be. I saw how it was affecting my world, my family, the people around me. I was bringing everyone down. I could not help it because I myself was a ruined sinner, dead in sin.
      And yet Jesus loved me. And yet Jesus died for me. And it was so real that He died for me, that His Blood was shed for me. That was God’s final argument. “Jesus died for you. He will save you.”
      And I yielded to Christ. I gave up myself, my life, my hope, my ambition, everything I wanted to be that was against God, I had to let that go before I could trust Jesus.
      But that itself was not trusting Jesus. I had to trust Jesus by faith. I had to trust Him because He was my only option. My only hope of salvation. Salvation from my sin and from myself.
      And so I did. I trusted Jesus by faith in a moment. And He washed my sins away with His Blood. And He has made all the difference.

Let’s stand together, please. Our Heavenly Father, we pray that…someone here tonight will trust Jesus, will recognize their sinful heart and come to Jesus, and be cleansed pure white by His Blood, transformed by Christ into a new creature. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Look up, please. The dinner’s waiting upstairs. And you are dismissed. If you would like to talk to me or ask me a question, or talk to me about being converted and becoming a real Christian, John Cagan and Dr. Cagan and I will be waiting here for a while. All you have to do is come here and talk with us. If you have to go to the restroom, go and then come back. We’ll be here. If you want a few words of instruction about sin and how to be saved from that sin by the Blood of Jesus, come and talk to us. You are dismissed. Amen.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
      “Jesus, Baby Jesus” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980; first and last stanzas).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-16).

I.   First, the shepherds were real, Luke 2:8.

II.  Second, the angels were real, Luke 2:9; Hebrews 13:2.

III. Third, there was a real Saviour.

IV. Fourth, there was real faith, Luke 2:15-16.