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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Wednesday Evening, August 16, 2017

“How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

This is a very important text. It tells us to ask God for the Holy Spirit. I happen to be a Christocentric preacher. That means I always think of Christ, and I constantly want you to think of Christ. Why? Because “Jesus Christ himself [is] the chief corner stone” of the church! (Ephesians 2:20). But we can never know Christ without the Holy Spirit revealing Him to us. Jesus Himself said so. Christ said this of the Holy Spirit,

“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you” (John 16:14).

Or as a modern translation puts it, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”

If you are still lost it is because the Holy Spirit has not made Christ known to you. All you can do is look for a feeling, or all you can do is learn something about Christ. But you can never know Christ Himself until the Holy Spirit makes Jesus Christ Himself known to you. If you refuse to acknowledge your sin and refuse to think how awful your sin is, the Holy Spirit will never make Christ real to you, and you will never be able to trust Jesus Christ Himself! The old-timers called this the “felt Christ.” You will never have the “felt Christ” as long as you make excuses for your sin. As long as you go on feeling sorry for yourself you will never know the pardon and peace of a “felt Christ.” But my sermon tonight is not directed to you who are lost sinners. Instead, I am speaking to those who are already born again converts to Christ. We need the Holy Spirit too. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives we dry up, wither away, and become powerless and joyless Christians.

If you, as a Christian, are not filled with the Spirit again and again you will become downcast, dejected, bitter, depressed and miserable. I know very well how that feels. I have always had a tendency to feel sad and hopeless. This comes no doubt from a tragic childhood. In times of depression it is very difficult for me to feel happy. If I let that go on I become grumpy and irritable, no fun to be around. These moody periods can usually not be overcome by anything but a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit in my life. Often I find release by taking up a hymnal and softly singing the great old hymns and Gospel songs. Then the Holy Spirit comes down and refreshes my despondent soul!

May I be very blunt tonight? If you cannot come out of your despondency and sorrow, you probably have unconfessed sin in your life. If you let it go on your heart will fester, and you will become progressively bitter, and tormented. Only a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit can cure you. And the Spirit will not come to heal you until you recognize your selfishness, for all bitterness, in the end, can be traced to selfishness of one sort or another.

Sometimes a kind word can help us. And that is one of the main reasons we need revival. We need to confess our faults one to another, and pray for one another that we may be healed. When we confess our faults to another Christian and are prayed for by them, it can be like a drink of cold water on a hot August day! For instance, my friend Jack Ngann sent me a card that I keep on my desk. This is what Jack said to me,

Dear Dr. Hymers,

      I would like to thank you for your faithfulness all these years. I have often thought that the reason there is a remnant during this apostasy is because of God using you, and as the years come and go, the more evident it becomes...and as we draw closer to the great end-time revival and the return of our precious Jesus, the truths you preach may very well be part of the spark that helps to light the flames of that revival...May your ministry continue to blossom, and your preaching echo throughout eternity. I love you, pastor.

Yours in Christ,
Jack Ngann

P.S. By the way, the reason we can close with the words “In
       Christ” is because of your ministry.

I am sure that Jack was in a revived state when he wrote those words. They lift my soul and make me happy every time I read them.

All of us need to minister to each other like that. It is the Holy Spirit who moves us to encourage each other.

Then, too, it is the Holy Spirit who makes church services a blessing. Without the Holy Spirit all the sermons begin to sound alike. After the service people brush past us and we go out of the church feeling worse than when we came in. We feel dry and heavy hearted unless the Holy Spirit is present. Dr. Tozer said, “Why a man still clings to the [torn] relics of religion is hard to say. The manly thing would be to walk out on the Christian faith and put it behind him along with other outgrown toys and discredited beliefs of childhood, but he rarely does. He kills the tree but still hovers passively about the orchard hoping for fruit that never comes” (“The Wrath of God: What Is It?”).

I watched a wonderful little movie about Evan Roberts the other night. He was a boy of twenty-six who worried about the fact that the churches were cold and dying. Then God came to him in the night and taught him what to say. For a few months in 1904 and 1905 Evan Roberts preached what God told him to preach. He preached it with great power and zeal, all night, almost every night. The young people came first, as they always do in revival. Then the others came. Evan Roberts preached a very simple message. His message had only four points.

1.  Confess all known sin, receiving forgiveness through Jesus

2.  Remove anything in your life that you are in doubt about or
feel unsure about.

3.  Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly.

4.  Publicly confess the Lord Jesus Christ.

He gave his little message of four points with the great zeal of a strong young man – and the people came to hear him. A few came at first. Then there were hundreds. At last there were thousands! After a few months he preached no more. But his little message went out from Wales to Europe, to Africa, to China, and to India. The revival that came in 1904 and 1905 has been called the greatest revival of all time – for it did give birth to the great revival in Korea and, later, in China and India.

Evan Roberts’ sermons were very short. Here is one of them.

God’s three great gifts to the world are the Bible, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. Have you received them? We will read the Bible in vain, if we read it only on Sunday. Once you behold Christ as your Saviour, you will be hungering and thirsting to read the Bible, and will overcome all obstacles in the way. God’s second gift is His beloved Son...Have you ever thought how difficult it was for Abraham to place his son on the altar? If you have, you can think of the feeling of the Father, giving His own Son. That is a feeling that cannot be described. If the Father has given Him, have you received Him? Remember, He will not come to stubborn people. If you are disobedient, ask Him to bend you, to bend you...Sooner or later you must be bent. Either grace or wrath must bend you. If the church is on its knees, the world will be on its feet. Do all to glorify Him, and remember to do it, as He asks. I was on fire with a desire to arouse the churches in Wales, but I was not allowed to go at once. I had to wait from three weeks to a month, in order to learn the great lesson of giving the glory to God. As soon as I was able to say, “May it all be to Thy glory,” I was allowed to go. Now we must have four things in order to receive the Holy Spirit. (1) You must obtain full and complete pardon for the sins in your past. (2) Is there anything doubtful in your life? If so, it must be removed and done away with. If you have to ask the forgiveness of brothers and sisters, bend to the work at once. We must rid the churches of all bad feelings – all malice, envy, prejudice, and misunderstanding. Do not bow in prayer until all offences to others have been forgiven. But if you feel you cannot forgive, bend to the dust, and ask for a forgiving spirit. You will get it then. (3) Complete and immediate obedience to the Holy Spirit. (4) A public and personal confession of Christ.

Send a great revival to us, Lord.
Send a great revival to us, Lord.
Send the Holy Spirit, promised in Thy Word,
And send a great revival to us, Lord.
   (“Send a Great Revival to Us, Lord” by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952;
      altered by the Pastor).

The Bible says,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (I John 4:18).

How do we overcome the fear of rejection? By perfect love! But how do we get “perfect” love? Not by saying “I love you! I love you!” Look at I John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” How do we do that? It isn’t easy. We are afraid to do it. We might be rejected!!! But we have to do it if we really and truly want revival. We must force ourselves to do it. Please read I John 1:9 and 10.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:9, 10).

Confessing our sins is the key to revival. If we have sinned against God it is enough to confess our sins to Him in tears. Not just in words, but in tears, as they do in China, as they do in all real revivals. Brian Edwards correctly said, “There is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction” (Revival, p. 115). Again, he said, “There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin” (p. 116). “The reason for deep conviction is so that people will feel their sin and hate it” (p. 122). Conviction of sin is the key to revival! If we have sinned against God, we can confess to God in tears, and He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Stand and sing, “Search Me, O God.”

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

You may be seated. We have never had a full revival because we have always made “ourselves a place apart Behind light words that tease and flout (scoff, sneer at, mock, joke about).”

But, second, we must go deeper. Turn to James 5:16. Please stand as I read it.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16).

You may be seated. The Applied New Testament Commentary gives this comment on James 5:16,

To have true fellowship means that we confess our sins to each other. When we do this we shall receive spiritual healing. We must not hide things from each other.

Every Christian has faults toward others. Because of our inherent selfishness we all gradually backslide in our love for each other. Someone in the church says an unkind word to you, or about you. Someone doesn’t seem to care about you. Someone didn’t appreciate the work you do for the Lord. Someone did something to upset you. Someone hurt your feelings. We must not hide our faults from each other. To have God’s presence is a very precious thing. Holding on to our hurts and grievances stops us from loving one another. “Frequently this deep conviction of sin leads to open and public confession...where wrong relationships [are] put right...before the glory and the joy, there is conviction, and that begins with the people of God. There are tears and godly sorrow. There are wrongs to put right, secret things, furthest from the eyes of men, to be thrown out, and bad relationships to be repaired openly. If we are not prepared [to do] this, we had better not pray for revival. Revival is not intended for the enjoyment of the church, but for its cleansing. We have an unholy church today because Christians do not feel sin and [confess it to one another in tears]” (Edwards, Revival, pp. 119, 120).

We cannot rejoice in our hearts until we confess our sins to each other in tears. This happens repeatedly in China. Why not in our church? Are we too proud to confess our faults? Are we afraid of what others will think? The Devil uses this fear to stop us from confessing. The Devil knows he can keep us from the joy of revival by making us afraid of what others will say about us. The Devil knows that making us afraid will keep our church in weakness and disadvantage. Fear of what others will think stops us from confession and the healing of our souls. Isaiah said, “Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die...and forgettest the Lord thy maker” (Isaiah 51:12, 13). The Bible says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare” (Proverbs 29:25). Please stand and read Proverbs 28:13. It’s on page 692 of the Scofield Study Bible. Everyone read it aloud!

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

“Search Me, O God” – sing it.

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

“Spirit of the Living God”! Sing it!

Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
Melt me, mold me, Break me, bend me.
Spirit of the living God, Come down, we pray.
   (“Spirit of the Living God” by Daniel Iverson, 1899-1977;
      altered by the Pastor).

You may be seated.

Christ said “Blessed are those that mourn.” That refers to those who confess their sin and cry over it. Sin is a great problem to those who long for revival. Revival always makes us think of inner sins that the world does not see. Revival throws light on the inward sins of our hearts. When he was encouraging his congregations to prepare for revival, Evan Roberts told them that the Holy Spirit would not come down until the people were prepared. He said “We must get rid of all bad feelings” – all bitterness, all disagreements, all anger. If you feel you can’t forgive someone, bow down and pray for a forgiving spirit – be willing to go to the other person and ask for forgiveness – only then will you feel the sweet presence of God. Only the clean Christian can feel the love and holy presence of God. The joy of revival cannot come to an unholy church like ours until we admit our sin and confess it with tears. Only then will we feel the joy of God’s presence. Our sister will play “Fill All My Vision” as we give you an opportunity to pray for confessions tonight. Pray for the Holy Spirit to show you and others what sins need to be confessed tonight. Go to each other, two by two or three and pray hard for confessions tonight. Now stand and sing “Fill All My Vision.” It’s number 17.

Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray,
   Let me see only Jesus today;
Though through the valley Thou leadest me,
   Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, every desire
   Keep for Thy glory; my soul inspire,
With Thy perfection, Thy holy love,
   Flooding my pathway with light from above.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy holy Image reflected in me.

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

Be ready to confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. Now sing “I Want To Pass It On.” It’s number 18 on your song sheet.

It only takes a spark To get a fire going,
And soon all those around Can warm up to its glowing,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You spread His love to everyone, You want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring, When all the trees are budding,
The birds begin to sing, The flowers start their blooming,
That’s how it is with God’s love, Once you’ve experienced it,
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring, You want to pass it on.

I wish for you, my friend, This happiness that I’ve found,
You can depend on Him, it matters not where you’re bound,
I’ll shout it from the mountain tops, I want my world to know,
The love of Christ has come to me, I want to pass it on.
   (“Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser, 1969; altered by the Pastor).

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 11:11-13.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Fill Me Now” (by Elwood H. Stokes, 1815-1895).