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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 9, 2017

When I look in my hymnbooks I find no hymn on the church at war – but one. Only one on the church militant, and only one verse in that hymn! There are fifteen hymns on “security.” There are thirty-two hymns on “praise.” There are twenty hymns for “children.” There are twenty-one hymns of “adoration.” But there is only one hymn on the church “militant” – the church at war! And only one stanza in that one hymn, and it doesn’t tell us how to wage war! Here is the only stanza in the entire hymnbook that tells us we are at war with the Devil and demons! Mr. Griffith just sang that one stanza.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices, Loud your anthems raise!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
   (“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

That is the only stanza in the only hymn that tells us we are at war with Satan and his demons! And that one stanza has been removed from all modern hymnbooks! The stanza was removed in 1957. Even worse, the entire hymn has now been removed from nearly all modern hymnbooks! Christians in the Western world don’t even know that there is a battle going on. We are asleep. The Southern Baptists lose a quarter of a million people every year from their churches. One thousand of their churches close their doors forever every year! This includes our BBFI churches as well. Prayer meetings have been turned into Bible studies or done away with completely. Sunday night services are being closed in churches everywhere in the Western world. This includes our BBFI churches. So-called “preaching” has been turned into dry-as-dust Bible exposition. Real evangelistic preaching is dead. I don’t know any pastor who knows how to prepare an evangelistic sermon – much less how to preach one! I don’t hear of evangelistic preaching in any of our churches today. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. He said,

      God knows the Christian Church has been in the wilderness for many a long year. If you read the history of the Church before about 1840 you will find that in many countries there used to be regular revivals...almost every ten years or so. It has not been like that. There has only been one major revival since 1859...We have passed through one of the most barren [lifeless] periods in the long history of the Church...and it is still going on...Do not believe [anyone] that suggests we are out of it, we are not. The Church is in the wilderness (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Revival, Crossway Books, 1992 edition, p. 129).

Why are our churches so dead? We have tried to have life by singing choruses for forty minutes! We have tried to whip up people’s emotions with snare drums and guitars. But it has not helped! Nothing that’s been done has helped us – nothing has helped Baptists or Charismatics to experience a God-sent revival. I repeat – nothing has helped us!

What is the answer? We don’t know who we are fighting! We don’t even know we are in a fight! Please turn to page 1255 in the Scofield Study Bible. It’s Ephesians 6:11 and 12. Please stand as I read verses 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. The New American Standard Bible translates verse 12 like this,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [a human enemy], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12 NASB).

Dr. Charles Ryrie said, “The believer’s enemies are demon hosts of Satan, always assembled for mortal combat” (note on Ephesians 6:12). This is the unseen battle – the spiritual battle with Satan. We have no power and no zeal to fight Satan and his demons. We don’t even know we should be fighting them! Satan has put us to sleep! Even that one stanza in “Onward, Christian Soldiers” is wrong. It says, “Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise!” No – they do not! The demons are not afraid of “shouts of praise!” They laugh at “shouts of praise!” They laugh at Baptists singing choruses! with snare drums! and electric guitars! They laugh at Charismatic shouting! They laugh at us for thinking we can scare them off by making noise and pounding on drums!

We must not think we have an easy task. One of the greatest tools of Satan is to make us think that we can have God’s presence in revival easily, “For we struggle not against flesh and blood.” We are called on to wrestle, to struggle against the demon powers of darkness.

We must not think it is easy to wrestle and struggle against these powers! First of all, we live in a culture controlled by them. I have noticed that revival comes far more often in heathen lands than in the Western world. It is because we in America and the West live in a culture deeply controlled by a mighty demon who holds us in his power. We must struggle against rulers of the darkness of this world. As Dr. Unger translated it, “Against the world rulers of this darkness.” Dr. Ryrie said, “Evil angels 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). Dr. Unger calls them “the world rulers of this darkness” (Biblical Demonology, Kregel, 1994, p. 196). In Daniel 10:13 the ruling demon was called, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” Today the “prince of the West” controls America and her allies. The ruling demon has been allowed to have power to enslave our people to materialism. The demon of materialism controls America and its allies. The demon of materialism hinders our prayers, enslaves our people, and prevents revivals. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was one of the few great preachers who understood that. He said that this demon has blinded the minds of non-Christians and has wrecked our churches. He said, “The whole idea of God has virtually gone...belief about God and religion and salvation [is] dismissed and forgotten” (Revival, ibid., p. 13). This has happened because of the work of the great demon of materialism, the demon I have called “the prince of the West.”

There are nations in the Third World where the ruling demon of materialism does not have the same power it does in our culture. Millions of young people in China, in Africa, in Indochina, even in Muslim nations – millions of young people there are becoming Christians.

But in America and her allies young people by the millions are leaving the churches. The pollster George Barna tells us that 88% of those raised in the church leave our churches by about the age of 25, “never to return.”

How does the great demon of materialism control them? They are controlled by pornography, which they gaze at on the Internet for hours. They laugh at prayer, but are hypnotized by social media for hours on end. They grab their smartphones the moment they wake up in the morning. They check their smartphones more than 150 times a day, according to a recent report. They are drugged into a hazy lethargy by marijuana. They are literally controlled, from morning until night by gadgets that connect them to the materialistic demons. They spend nearly every free moment gazing at their smartphones. They gaze at them like the ancient Israelites gazed at their idols in the time of the prophet Hosea. I say that social media is the idol used by Satan to control the minds and hearts of our young people today! And the vast majority of preachers think it’s cool and modern! They don’t even realize that they are dealing with demonic forces, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones said! No wonder our churches are so worldly and so weak!

It got so bad in the time of the Prophet Hosea that God said to him, “[Israel] is joined to idols: let him alone” (Hosea 4:17). That nation was given up by God. They were left alone, alone under the power and control of demons – enslaved by demonic forces!

We bring them to church. But God is not here. They can feel that God is not here. The prophet Hosea said that 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 for several weeks now. He isn’t gone because He doesn’t exist. Oh, no! He’s gone because He does exist! That is why He has left us alone. He is altogether holy. He is altogether angry with us. That is why He has left us alone. That is why we don’t have His presence among us. That is why the Holy Spirit is gone. That is why we don’t have revival!

We bring them to church. We give them a birthday party and a nice meal. We show them a cartoon. But that is all we have for them! We feel like the importunate friend who said, “I have nothing to set before him” (Luke 11:6). His friend came but he had nothing to set before him! Nothing but a little food and an old cartoon. Nothing of God to set before him! And the parable ends with these words, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

But we don’t want to go back and do what we did last year. Our lethargic sleepiness and laziness would rather have a church without the Holy Spirit. Just go through the routine. Why cause a stir? Why bother us? Let us sleep on in our drowsiness. We don’t want to go back to the hard work of prayer and fasting for God’s presence and power.

We did not have a single revival in our church for forty years. Why not? I preached many times on revival. But we never had one. Every time we emphasized revival there was a terrible backlash. People got angry. People left the church. We actually got afraid to emphasize revival. Instead of a blessing it seemed like a curse! It was largely because the majority of the people in our church were unconverted. Those who wanted revival were a small minority. We were overwhelmed by those who were unconverted. But gradually they left. Most of our people are converted. I felt it was time to pray for revival again.

There were now enough real Christians to outnumber those who had false conversions. So we started to pray for revival. There were enough of us who believed in God that He did answer us. Jesse Zacamitzin got saved. Minh Vu got saved. Danny Carlos got saved. Ayako Zabalaga got saved. Timothy Chan got saved. Joseph Gong got saved. Julie Sivilay got saved. Baiyang Zhang got saved. Andrew Matsusaka got saved. Alicia Zacamitzin got saved. Thomas Luong got saved. Tom Xia got saved. Erwinn Luu got saved. Jessica Yin got saved. Robert Wang got saved. Susan Chu got saved. Virgel Nickell got saved. 17 people got saved. Dr. Chan got revived. John Samuel Cagan surrendered to preach the Gospel. Aaron Yancy and Jack Ngann became deacon candidates. Christine Nguyen and Mrs. Lee became prayer warriors.

But we had to fight the Devil and his demons almost every night! Dr. Cagan wrote this in his day by day account of the revival. “Dr. Hymers said as he read this diary he noticed two things. First, when God the Holy Spirit was present, great and mighty things happened. Second, when God was not present, nothing happened.” During the revival one man attacked me and left the church with his family. And one young woman left the church. They reacted the same as old “Open Door” people. Things like that show clearly the face of Satan in opposing revivals.

Jack Ngann wrote about the conflict with Satan in prayer. Jack was praying with Aaron Yancy. He said, “We began praying for the presence of God. When I began my second prayer, I started feeling lightheaded and on the verge of fainting. There was difficulty constructing prayers and I told Aaron that I was unable to continue. Aaron then began to pray and he also experienced difficulty organizing his prayers. We felt that there was a large demonic hindrance and we began to pray on our knees for the demonic presence to be lifted while pleading the Blood of Christ. I ended up prostrate on the floor with my face down. We began to pray a third cycle in these positions and we began to sense that God had broken through the gloom and the demonic presence was lifted. We knew that the meeting was going to be crucial. This happened at about 4:00 PM.”

That night, in the evening service two hours later, I preached on why the churches in America and the West don’t have revival. The sermon included the complete testimony of John Cagan. When I gave the invitation Mr. Nickell came forward with tears and admitted he was lost. Dr. Cagan counseled him and he trusted Jesus and was saved. Now we know why Aaron and Jack Ngann had such a struggle with Satan in prayer two hours earlier!

On New Year’s Day I preached a sermon titled, “A Year of Hell – A Year of Revival!” I said that we had experienced real New Testament Christianity – which is spiritual warfare.

“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 6:12).

The battle is won only through real warfare in prayer.

On Tuesday John Samuel and Dr. Cagan will travel to India where John will preach in three different evangelistic crusades. I am asking everyone in our church to come on Wednesday evening for a prayer meeting – no evangelism. We will spend an hour praying for conversions in John Cagan’s meetings, and another hour praying for God to come down in revival in our church. I am asking all of you to be here for this important prayer meeting on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM.

I have not preached the Gospel tonight. But I preach it all the time in every service. Jesus died for your sins on the Cross. He shed His holy Blood to cleanse you from all sin. He is alive on the right hand of God praying for you. Trust Jesus Christ Himself. He will save you from your sin and from God’s judgment. I pray that you will trust Jesus soon.

Dr. Cagan and John Cagan, please come and sit in the two chairs in front of this pulpit. They will be leaving on Tuesday to go to India for three weeks. John will preach in evangelistic crusades in three different cities there. Everyone in the congregation, please come forward and pray for them.

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 Dr. C. L. Cagan: Ephesians 6:10-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Onward, Christian Soldiers” (by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).