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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, April 14, 2018

The people of Israel thought that judgment would never come because the prophecy was delayed. Others thought that judgment was far off because of its delay. But God said that the prophecy would be fulfilled, and the time of judgment would not be put off any longer. God’s day was not over.

The evil idea that God’s judgment lies far off in the future has been used by Satan from Ezekiel’s day right down to the present.

“He prophesieth of the times that are far off.”

Satan wants you to think that judgment is not very important, because it will not come for a long time. Thus many young people put off their conversion because they think they have plenty of time. “Conversion prepares us for eternity, but we are far off from it now.” They say, “There is plenty of time to be saved later. Dr. Hymers, you preach about things that are for many days to come, and about times that are far off.” Most young people don’t say that, but that is the secret thought some of you have. With that thought you resist the conviction of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit says, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15; 4:7). You try very hard to deceive yourself, and not think seriously about Heaven and Hell. But your delay is wrong. You must not say, “The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off.”

What if the message I preach to you does speak of your future state – of going to Heaven, or going to Hell? Yet even so the day of God’s judgment is not very far away. Suppose you live to be eighty or even ninety years old. Young man, suppose God spares you until your hair is white, young woman, suppose your youthful appearance escapes death until wrinkles appear in your face – still, how short your life will be! I am now seventy-seven years old. Looking back, it seems like I have only lived a few years. Time seems to go by more and more quickly the older I get. Every year goes by more quickly than before. Months and weeks fly past faster and faster and the older one gets, the shorter one’s life appears. No wonder Jacob said, “Few and evil have been the days of my life” (Genesis 47:9). Yet he was extremely aged at 130 years old. You are short lived at best. We come into the world and go out of it, like a meteor that flashes through the sky which has remained the same for thousands of years. Stand next to a redwood tree that has been alive since the time of Christ, and you will feel like an insect that only lives two or three hours!

I went through the index at the back of my life story. I counted 159 people I knew, who are now dead. In the first chapter of my book I said, “I cannot check these memories now, because most of those who could have helped me have died.” Aaron Yancy already experienced the death of his grandparents in England. Soon he will lose his father, then his mother, then his brother. In what feels like a few more weeks, Aaron will be an old man with white hair and all the people he knows now will only be a faded memory of days gone by. Mrs. Fern Maxwell lived down the street where I was staying. I held her hand as she breathed in deeply and then let the air out. I waited for her to breathe again. But she didn’t. She was dead. I had to pry my hand out of hers. Three people I once knew committed suicide. My stepfather was a plumber. He bent over on his hands and knees to listen through a pipe. He didn’t move. His co-worker said, “Bill.” There was no answer. The worker touched his shoulder. Bill fell over, stone-cold and dead. Marilyn Maxwell was a pretty girl at one of my high schools. She sent me a photo of herself then and now. She was nineteen in the first photo, and very aged in the second one. I would not have recognized her if I saw her walking down the street! Don’t ever say, “These things are for a far off time.” No! No!

Young people, you can’t be sure that you will live to be forty. You can’t even be sure you will live to the end of this year! As close to you as tomorrow is, do not boast that you will live even that long. Your body may be in a coffin before tomorrow night! When you close your eyes and go to sleep tonight, you may not live to get out of bed in the morning. It is clear that salvation must not be put off for a time that is far off. The weakness of your life makes it necessary to seek salvation now. You are not far from your grave. You are closer to death than you were when I started preaching this sermon. Some of you are closer to death than you think you are. Do not think that I preach about “times that are far off.”

Travelling is very dangerous. It is even dangerous to cross the street! People die at home. Many die at work. Many die at school. A needle can kill you as well as a sword. A burn may end your life as easily as a battle. Do you ever climb a ladder? You may fall and never rise again. Automobile accidents kill people instantly. Death has already struck some of your former friends. How can you say that I am talking about things that are far off? Don’t be so foolish. I hope that these warnings will lead you to trust Christ now. You must not think that I am trying to scare you without a cause. Doesn’t your own mind tell you that you are in constant danger? The time is short. Shouldn’t you seek Christ right now?

Remember also that even if you escape from accidents and sudden death, there is one great event that may end your life unprepared for eternity. Have you forgotten that Christ said He will come a second time as “a thief in the night?” The lost will be “eating and drinking” just as they were when Noah entered into the ark. They knew not until the flood came and drowned all of them. The sound of a trumpet will proclaim that Jesus has suddenly come to take out the Christians – and you will be left behind! Would you then be able to tell me that I am speaking of “far off things?” Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly.” I pray that you will not say that the Lord delays His second coming. That is what the wicked servant said who was then cut in pieces! The sinful mockers say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” Don’t be a mocker. Listen to the unfailing words of prophecy, “Behold, I come quickly.” “Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” We have our theories of when the rapture will come. But what if we are wrong? What if the rapture came tonight? The Christians would be lifted up to meet the Lord in the air. And you would be left behind to go through the horrible time of trouble. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout – then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” When will that happen? There are several theories. But what if the one you believe is wrong? Then you will be left behind to go through the horrors of the Great Tribulation.

Man and wife asleep in bed,
   She hears a noise and turns her head – he’s gone.
I wish we’d all been ready.
   Two men walking up a hill,
One disappears and one’s left standing still,
   I wish we’d all been ready.
There’s no time to change your mind,
   How could you have been so blind?
The Saviour called, but you declined,
   The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
You’ve been left behind, You’ve been left behind.
   (“I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by Larry Norman, 1947-2008;
      chorus altered by the Pastor).

“The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them...and they shall not escape.” Oh, the horror you will experience if you are not ready! Oh, the terror you will feel if the other young people here tonight are raptured to meet Christ in the air – and you are left behind to be tortured by the Antichrist!

The Son has come and you’ve been left behind,
   You’ve been left behind,
      You’ve been left behind,

I am sent by God to plead with you young people. To remind you that you are acting unkindly toward Christ, who suffered and died to save you. God sent His Gospel to you, and you have not received it. He has sent His Son to suffer on the Cross to save you. And you have despised Him and rejected Him. How can you bear to live forever in Hell, at enmity with the God who loves you? You say, “Would He forgive me?” Why do you ask that question? Is it because you do not know how good He is? Stop saying that I am talking about things “of a far off time.”

You are in danger right now! You remain an enemy of God right now. He is a just God, and every sin you commit is recorded in His books. On the day of judgment God will read every sin you have committed, every sin you have thought about, every sinful word you have said, will be read out of His books – at the last judgment. The danger you are in is that any moment you may die and appear before God to receive punishment for your sins. I am telling you tonight that there is instant forgiveness for all the sins of those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will trust Jesus Himself all your sins will be forgiven and washed clean from God’s books by the Blood of Jesus Christ!

Jesus suffered for your sins on the Cross. Jesus can be your substitute. When you trust Jesus Himself, He becomes your substitute, to pay the penalty for your sins on the Cross. Either you go to Hell to pay for your own sins, or you may trust Jesus, and He pays the price for you on the Cross! Will you trust Jesus Himself right now? Are you going to remain in danger of eternal punishment? Are you willing to live in danger for another day? Are you willing to slip down into the open jaws of Hell? Remember, God’s patience will not last forever. I want you to be forgiven and saved from the wrath of God now!

The moment you trust Jesus Himself, you are saved from judgment and Hell. Why wait any longer? Why wait for a feeling – when you can have Jesus? Why wait for assurance – when you can have Jesus? Why analyze your thoughts – when you can have Jesus? Why doubt any longer – when you can have Jesus?

Young people, present salvation – salvation right now – is God’s message to you tonight. The Devil wants you to think that “the vision is for many days to come, and the prophecy for times that are far off.” Stop listening to the Devil in your mind. Shut him off! Stop listening to him now. Can you answer my arguments? If you can’t, I plead with you to immediately trust Jesus now! He will save you – not in the future, but right now! Jesus died on the Cross and shed His Holy Blood to save you. Only trust Him. Only trust Him. Only trust Him now! He will save you! He will save you! He will save you now!

In loving kindness Jesus came My soul in mercy to reclaim,
   And from the depths of sin and shame Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me, With tender hand He lifted me,
   From shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me!

He called me long before I heard, Before my sinful heart was stirred,
   But when I took Him at His word, Forgiv’n He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me, With tender hand He lifted me,
   From shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me!

His brow was pierced with many a thorn, His hands by cruel nails were torn,
   When from my guilt and grief, forlorn, In love He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me, With tender hand He lifted me,
   From shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me!
(“He Lifted Me” by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).

Will you trust Jesus tonight? He is trustworthy. Jesus is truthful and honest. Trust Him. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Depend on Him. Rely on Him. John Cagan said, “My faith rests on Jesus.” Emi Zabalaga said, “I collapsed into the waiting arms of Jesus...He saved me.” Trust Jesus and He will save you.

Love is a wonderful thing. The best card I ever received was from my wife Ileana. She wrote, “Robert, I love you with all my heart and soul. Love always, Ileana.” I look at that note every day. The greatest love of all is that Jesus loves you. That’s why He died for you on the Cross. He loves you. Trust Him and you will love Him too. I pray that you will trust Jesus tonight. Amen.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He Lifted Me” (by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).