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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, February 5, 2017

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5).

A group of people in the church at Corinth launched an attack against the Apostle Paul. They were the same unconverted people that Paul spoke of earlier. They said Paul was weak and not a true Apostle. They were like some people we had in our church – people who attacked me in a church split. We had to fight the Devil to have this great church in the civic center of Los Angeles. Some of these wicked people said Paul wasn’t a real Apostle. So Paul told them to “Examine themselves, whether they were in the faith.” This verse could be translated, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” Paul told them to look at their own hearts and their own lives to see if they were really saved. To “be in the faith” means to be a real Christian. Those people attacked Paul, as the group who left our church attacked me. Now most of them don’t go to church at all. The rest went off to weak new-evangelical churches. I personally think very few if any of them were real Christians.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove [or test] your own selves.”

The Apostle Paul tells you to examine yourself. He said to test yourself to see if you have saving faith in Christ. If you do not examine yourself now God will examine you at the Last Judgment. God sees every sin you have committed. He has written down every sin in your heart and every sin you have committed. He will read your sins out of His books. When you die your soul will stand before God and be judged. You must examine your sins now, or God will examine them and judge you for them, and you will be “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). You must examine your thoughts, and words and outward sins now, before you die. For it will be too late to be saved from the fire of Hell when you die. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith” now. For it will be too late to be saved after you die. If you do not repent and trust Christ now you “shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” (Revelation 14:10, 11). That is why you must examine yourself now – for it will be too late after you die to be saved.

You can’t walk into our church without instantly feeling that we are following the old paths. The first thing you see when you walk in is a series of paintings. All of them are preachers of long ago – Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, John Wesley, Martin Luther, Spurgeon, James Hudson Taylor, Dr. John Sung, and others from the past. The next thing you will see is that every man in our church has on a suit and tie. It is required. If they don’t have a tie and white shirt we loan them those things. If they refuse it, they don’t get in. Harsh? Perhaps, but it is the old way and we are not going to change. The ladies must have on a modest dress. That is the old way, and it is the right way. As Dr. Tozer said, “The old way is the true way.” When you come into the auditorium a piano and an organ are playing old-fashioned hymns. There are no guitars or drums to be seen or heard throughout the service. All of the hymns we sing are old-fashioned. There are no modern choruses. The only “special music” is a solo, which is sung by our senior deacon, a man in his sixties – who sings an old-fashioned hymn before the preaching. And we always preach from the old King James Bible.

Someone may say, “You must have a church full of old people!” No, we don’t! The majority of our people are under the age of thirty! And about twenty-five percent of them are college-age or high school age. Very few of them were raised in any church. Most of them have been brought into the church by vigorous evangelism from nearby colleges and high schools.

Everything we do, we believe in challenging the modernist
      churches. We believe in thinking differently.
The way we challenge those churches is by making better
      Christians than they do.
And we really do make better Christians than they do!
      Do you want to be one?
(Paraphrased from Start With Why, by Simon Sinek, p. 41).

Come here for a few months, and experience a real conversion, and you will be a better Christian than any of the “modernized” churches produce! You will be the best Christian anybody knows!

There are very few churches today that walk in the old paths. They do not follow the old way taught by Christ and the Apostles. They do not preach the old way of the Reformers, or the Puritans, or the evangelists of the 18th and early 19th centuries. They walk in the new ways, the false ways that began with the Pelagian heretic Charles Finney – ways that have produced in our time a strange brood of decisionists, including the new-evangelicals, the charismatics, the antinomian Bible students and the neo-Calvinists (who speak on Calvinistic doctrines, but do not search the hearts of their hearers as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Spurgeon and Dr. Lloyd-Jones did). I am not going to waste your time explaining all these fruits of Finney. I will simply say that we can group them all together as new-evangelicals. They call themselves “new-evangelicals”! And they are right, because what they all teach is new. I do not believe that everyone in those churches is lost. But those who are saved are only a remnant in our time. If you want to read about the “old evangelicals” buy a copy of “The Old Evangelicalism” by Iain H. Murray. You can get it in our bookstore or buy it online from On the back jacket is Dr. A. W. Tozer’s quotation, “The old way is the true way and there is no new way” – no new way that can help you become a real Christian. As the prophet Jeremiah said,

“Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

I will now contrast the old way which leads you to salvation – and the new way that will lead you to eternal punishment.

1. First, the old way starts with God and His glory; the new way starts with man and his needs and feelings.

Oh, in the “new way” they mention God. But He is not the God of Scripture. He is not the sovereign God of the Bible. He is not the God who chooses who He will save and who He will leave in their sin. The God of the “new way” is not the God of the Bible, of whom the Apostle Paul said,

“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth” (Romans 9:18).

The new way never speaks of the fact that God chooses who He will save, and leaves everyone else to go to Hell. When was the last time you heard a preacher say that about God? You have probably never heard about the real God of the Bible. The Bible calls Him “a mighty God and terrible” (Deuteronomy 7:21). The Bible calls Him “the great and terrible God” (Nehemiah 1:5) and again God is called “the great, the mighty, and the terrible God” (Nehemiah 9:32). And we are warned, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). “For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

Have you ever heard a pastor or priest speak about that God – which the Bible calls “the living God”? (Hebrews 10:31). Have you heard a preacher who says God chooses a few people to be saved and leaves everybody else on earth to go to Hell? Christ said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Or did you hear them talk about a small unimportant God who will save everyone – a God who serves you and your needs – instead of the terrible God, who is the “living God”? You say, “I don’t want to hear about your terrible God! I won’t come back to this church!” OK, don’t come back! Go on believing in “your own God.” But remember, your own God is not the real God. And you will never be saved and become a real Christian unless you first believe in the “living God” of the Bible.

2. Second, the old way makes you think about your sin, which the real God will punish in Hell; while the new way makes you think about your needs and feelings.

Did you ever hear a pastor or priest tell you that you were deeply sinful? That you heart was twisted and dirty? That your “heart is deceitful…and desperately wicked”? (Jeremiah 17:9). That unless you are truly converted you will “go away into everlasting punishment”? (Matthew 25:46). Or is the pastor you heard like that Fuller Seminary preacher Rob Bell, who says everyone will go to Heaven, even Hitler. Yes, he said that! (Love Wins)? If Fuller Theological Seminary was any good, they would rescind his degree, and send back his money.

You say, “I want my needs met by a sweet, soft preacher. I’m not coming back to this old-fashioned church that preaches against my sin and tells me I’m going to Hell!” OK, go ahead and leave us. Go and believe Joel Osteen’s sweet little “sinner’s prayer” – after which he says on his TV show, “We believe that if you said that prayer, you just got born again.” Go ahead and believe him. But I call preachers like him false prophets, lying preachers who are going to Hell themselves! Tell them I said that, and leave it in the manuscript and on the video!

3. Third, the old way makes you think about your sins, especially your secret sins and the sin of your heart; the new way makes you feel good about yourself.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) said, “Man naturally [has] only self love” (“Man is a Very Evil and Hurtful Creature”). Self-love, but no love for God. No love for anyone but yourself – because you are, as Jonathan Edwards said, “a very evil and hurtful creature.” Why are you like that? Because you inherited a sinful nature (original sin) from Adam, the father of the whole human race! That is why you love only yourself. “No, no!” someone says, “I love my husband.” Do you? Then why do you rebel against him and complain against him night and day? The truth is that you love only yourself!

Make no mistake about it, you do not love God. You only come to church to see your friends. If one of your friends leaves this church, you will leave too. This will prove what a hypocrite you are! This will prove that no matter what you said about loving Christ and trusting Him, you were only deceiving yourself. You were a false Christian all along. You disguised yourself as a Christian. You put on a false smile and friendly look, but you are not a Christian. You only put on the disguise of a Christian, as many people put on a false disguise at Halloween! No, the truth is that you do not love Christ. You only love yourself. Only yourself! Only yourself! Only yourself! The Bible says, “In the last days… men shall be lovers of their own selves” (II Timothy 3:1, 2). That’s why you have no time to read the Bible. No time to pray. No time to go to evangelism – but you have plenty of time, hours of time, to play video games and look at TV and filthy pornography. No time to come to church on Saturday night and Sunday night – but plenty of time to go to the movies! Why are you like that? Because you love only yourself! No love for God. No love for Jesus. Only love for yourself. Admit it! Admit it now – or you will never repent and become a real Christian by trusting Christ. .

The “new” way is exactly the opposite of the old way – which we believe. The “new” way lets you walk to the front of the church and say a quick sinner’s prayer. Then they baptize you right away! Many Baptists will hate me for saying it, but I have to tell you the truth. They baptize you as quick as they can, right after you make a so-called “decision.” Why do they baptize you right away, often in the very same meeting? They don’t do it because they love Jesus! They don’t do it because they believe the Bible! They do it because they love only themselves! They don’t care about you at all. They only care about how many baptisms they can report. I think pastors who knowingly do that are not saved themselves! Tell them I said that, and leave it on the manuscript and video.

You say, “I don’t like that. I don’t like you telling me I have no love for God. I don’t like you telling me I only love myself. I’m not coming back to this church again!” OK, don’t come back. But remember, this old preacher told you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – about yourself! And I’m not going to stop doing it no matter what you say or do. Some young people say, “I can’t bring my friends here because you preach too hard.” No, my darlings, that’s not the reason – and you know it! You don’t bring your friends here because you don’t care about their souls! You don’t care about their souls at all – because you only love yourself! Wipe that ugly expression off your face and think about what I’m saying! This is exactly where you need to bring the lost kids you know! Why? Because this is the only place I know of near here where they might get saved! That’s why! If you loved them as much as you love yourself, you would tell them, “Come to church with me! It’s hard core! It’s old-school! But it’s the best church in downtown L.A., and it’s filled with young people just like you and me.” That’s what you’d tell them if you were a real Christian. But you are not. You’re just a fake! Just a person who loves yourself. Just another lost kid.

Wednesday night an unsaved girl told me she wouldn’t listen to me because I yelled too much. I told her, “You have been here many years, and you are still lost and rebellious. I think I need to yell even louder!” Yes, louder – and louder – and louder. If you saw some blind person walking on the freeway, wouldn’t you yell? “Get off that freeway or you’re going to die!” That’s why I yell – because I love your soul. Preachers who never yell don’t love you at all. They only want your money! And you will never experience a real conversion until you admit to God and to yourself how sinful and selfish you are. You have to be convicted of your secret sins and the sins of your heart. You have to feel with David, “My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). That is the old way of conversion. You have to come under conviction of sin, or you will never see your need for Christ dying to pay for your sin, and shedding His Blood on the Cross to cleanse you from all sin.

4. Fourth, the old way was to examine yourself; the new way is just to play around in church until you leave and go back to a life of sin.

Our text says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves” (II Corinthians 13:5). That is the old way. Examine yourself to see if you are really saved. Jonathan Edwards said, “See to it that [you] have not only pretended convictions of sin; but a proper mourning for sin. And also, that sin is burdensome to [you] and that [your] heart is tender and sensible.”

This is what you must feel or you will have a false conversion. Some of you have heard or read other people’s conversions. The conversion testimonies you heard or read were memorized by you. I can tell by reading some of your conversion testimonies that they were only memorized by reading Sheila Ngann’s, or hearing John’s powerful testimony. You just came under a little conviction and then copied the main things they said! You have not had a real conversion, only a memorized one from someone who had a real conversion. I am going to read most of John Cagan’s testimony. As I read it, examine yourself. As I read John Cagan’s testimony ask yourself, “Did that really happen to me? Or did I just copy what he said?” Listen carefully to each word and ask yourself if that really happened to you. If it didn’t you had a false conversion. And sooner or later you will leave our church, as many others have done. You have to have a real conversion or you will leave our church when the Devil comes for you.

June 21, 2009
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 associated myself with those who hated God. God began to work on me. Those weeks prior to my conversion I 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. (John in an unsaved state was just as mad at me for preaching loud as that girl I told you about).

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 tormented. (If you have never felt tormented by your sin, you have never been saved!)

While Dr. Hymers was preaching, my pride was trying desperately to reject it, and 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 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 worst possible sinner I could be and that God was righteous to condemn me to Hell. (That is the only feeling you need. Jonathan Edwards said you have to feel that or you will never be saved.) 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 trust Jesus. I was “trying” to get saved, I was “trying” to trust Christ and I couldn’t, I just could not (figure out how to come) to Christ, I could not decide to become a Christian, and it made me feel 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. (The old preachers called that “the Gospel vise”). I felt my sin pushing me down to Hell. Yet my stubbornness was forcing tears away. (Tough guys don’t cry. He’s a tough guy. But God pushed him and squeezed him in the Gospel vise until he cried.)

Suddenly the words of a sermon preached years before entered my mind: “Yield to Christ! Yield to Christ!” 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 remember 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.

After hearing John’s testimony, did that ever really happen to you? If it didn’t you need to be truly converted. You need a real conversion, not a copied one. What must you do to have a real conversion? First, think about how sinful your heart is, so sinful that you did not really repent and trust Jesus. So sinful that you tried to trick us by just learning the words. Am I right? Then you must really turn away from the sin of your heart and life. And you must really come to Jesus and be washed clean in the Blood He shed for you on the Cross. Come down here to the altar, and we will pray for you and counsel you while the others go upstairs to have lunch. Come now. Come here right now! Amen.

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 (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.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Psalm 51:1-3.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Old-Fashioned Way” (by Civilla D. Martin, 1866-1948).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5).

(Revelation 20:15; 14:10, 11; Jeremiah 6:16)

1.  First, the old way starts with God and His glory; the new way starts
with man and his needs and feelings, Romans 9:18;
Deuteronomy 7:21; Nehemiah 1:5; 9:32; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29;
Matthew 22:14.

2.  Second, the old way makes you think about your sin, which the real
God will punish in Hell; while the new way makes you think about
your needs and feelings, Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 25:46.

3.  Third, the old way makes you think about your sins, especially your
secret sins and the sin of your heart; the new way makes you feel
good about yourself, II Timothy 3:1, 2; Psalm 51:3.

4.  Fourth, the old way was to examine yourself; the new way is just to
play around in church until you leave and go back to a life of sin,
II Corinthians 13:5.