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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 13, 2018

“And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and [“brothers, relatives” NIV] and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated [by] all men for my name's sake” (Luke 21: 16, 17).

The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied this would happen in the “last days” – the very time in which we live. For a long time we thought things like this only happened in pagan countries – certainly not in America! But now we live in the prophesied “last days.” The Bible says, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (II Timothy 3:1). A famous Bible teacher named Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “‘Perilous times shall come,’ which means grievous or desperate times are coming” (Thru the Bible, volume V, p. 409). Every sign points to the fact that we are living in the last days, right now, tonight! Dr. Thomas Hale said, “In the last days, families will be torn apart because of Christ. Those in a family who do not believe in Christ will oppose those who do. These things will happen before the end of the world. Indeed, these things are happening today” (The Applied New Testament Commentary, note on Mark 13:12). But Christians have hope! Christ is coming again! When Jesus comes down from Heaven He will establish peace throughout the earth! He is coming again! Stand and sing the chorus!

He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, He is coming again,
With power and great glory, He is coming again!
   (“He is Coming Again” by Mabel Johnston Camp, 1871-1937).

But until Jesus comes we will go through dark days. Jesus said, “When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).

“Ye shall be parents.” We can hardly imagine a mother that betrays and persecutes one of her children for becoming a Christian! And yet I have met such mothers. When I was pastoring a church in Marin County, the wealthiest county in California, a young woman came to our church and became a Christian. I could hardly believe it when that sweet Christian girl told me her mother had kicked her out of the house because of her new-found faith in Jesus. I put on my suit and tie and went to see that mother. It was a big, expensive house. I knocked on the door and the mother answered it. I told her I was her daughter’s pastor. Could I come in and talk with her? That mother invited me into her lavish living room and offered me a seat. I could smell liquor on that mother’s breath. I asked her what I could do to persuade her to let the girl come home again. The woman snarled at me with an angry look on her face. She said, “I could put up with her running around and having sex. I could stand it when she started taking drugs.” Then that mother’s eyes turned beady and her face turned red. She looked like a mother from Hell. She screamed at me, “But I will not put up with her becoming a CHRISTIAN!” She screamed the word CHRISTIAN like it was the most horrible thing in the world – worse than free sex! worse than drugs and debauchery. “I will not put up with her becoming a CHRISTIAN!” She stood up and screamed it at me! I knew it was no use reasoning with her. I left her expensive house in great sadness. That mother never let her Christian daughter come home. The girl had committed the “unpardonable” sin of becoming a Christian. Her poor daughter had to move in with some other young women in our church. She was cut off from her mother forever.

Some time later I heard that her mother had died in a drunken fit. They found that poor woman dead on the carpet of her mansion.

What happened to her daughter? She grew to be a strong Christian woman. She married a fine Christian young man. They went out as missionaries to Europe. They have beautiful children and are a happy couple, sharing the Gospel of Christ with lost young people in Europe. This church sends that wonderful young couple missionary money in our mission offering every month. She recently sent me an email thanking me for leading her to Christ, and for supporting them in the great Christian work they are doing with young people in Europe.

That was the first time I heard of a mother who kicked her child out for becoming a Christian. I have been a preacher for over sixty years. Back in the 1950s, when I first started preaching, things like that never happened. But it is becoming more and more prevalent as we move into the “last days” prophesied by Jesus. Just a few weeks ago another girl in our church was kicked out of her home by angry parents who were furious that she came to our church and became a Christian.

That is difficult for me to understand. I am a father of two sons and a grandfather of two beautiful young girls I have let them know repeatedly that they are always welcome to come home. My boys are not perfect. But both of them are here with me and my wife in church every Sunday. So are my granddaughters. No matter what happens to them, they know that if I hear a knock on the door at midnight, and they say, “Papa, can I come home tonight?” my wife and I will always be there for them. Sure, I tell them when they are wrong. And I obeyed the Bible and sometimes spanked them for wrongdoing when they were younger, as Dr. John R. Rice told us to do in his book, “The Home: Courtship, Marriage and Children.” But I would never “kick them” out for trying to be good Christians.

It is my prayer that every mother and father here tonight will do the same with your children. What attracts them to our church? As we grow older we tend to forget how lonely it is for young people today. When the home is not a welcome place, young people look for an alternate place to ease their loneliness. I know. My parents divorced back in the early 1950s when divorce was less common. I was forced to live in houses where I wasn’t wanted. I was consumed with loneliness. My friend was so lonely he committed suicide. If I had not gotten into church and become a Christian, I doubt very seriously that I would be alive today. The church became my second home. And the Lord Jesus Christ saved me from sin and a wasted life. I graduated from college and have three earned doctor’s degrees. I will give every parent who is here tonight a copy of my autobiography so you can read my story.

Perhaps you don’t understand why your children want to be here in church so often. I appeal to you – isn’t it better for them to be here than out with some kids taking dope? Isn’t it better for them to be here several nights a week than hanging out with a bunch of drunks and having free sex? Common sense will tell you that I am right.

If you don’t understand why your children love to be here in church, why not come with them to our church next Sunday? You may come to love Jesus as much as your children do! Jesus said,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

We offer, not only your children but you – the wonderful rest and peace that Jesus gives. He died on the Cross to pardon our sin. He rose from the dead to give us a new and better life. Why not come with your children next Sunday? It could change your whole life and give you peace and joy that will satisfy you and give you hope in these dark days!

God bless you, and thank you for coming tonight! Father, please bless each person here tonight. And please bless the food we are about to have. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“In Times Like These” (by Ruth Caye Jones, 1902-1972)/
“The Love of God” (by Frederick M. Lehman, 1868-1953).