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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, July 1, 2018

Turn in the Bible to Luke 9:23. It’s on page 1086 in the Scofield Study Bible.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

“He said to them all, If any man.” He is talking to all of them. All Christians are called to be disciples – those who follow Christ. We must be willing to deny ourselves. We must be willing to step outside our comfort zone and follow Christ. Dr. Thomas Hale said, “Let us never suppose that there are two kinds of Christians: one kind that follows Jesus and suffers with Him, and a second kind that leads an easy life. There is only one kind of true Christian; that is, a disciple...they must be ready to suffer...for Him” (Thomas Hale, M.D., The Applied New Testament Commentary).

Dr. Neal Weaver is my friend. Last Tuesday night I read his book, Leadership Mentality. It is a good book. Here is the part that really grabbed my attention,

“Leaders must be visionary. They literally must see it before it exists...I am told of an incident that happened at the dedication of Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney was already dead...One guest said, ‘I just wish Walt could have seen this.’ An associate stepped up to the microphone and said, ‘Oh, he did. He saw it first.’ Virtually all worthwhile projects began in the mind of a visionary leader” (Dr. Neal Weaver, Leadership Mentality, pp. 43, 44).

From the very beginning I had a vision of a church run by young people, to make disciples of other young people. I made some mistakes and had to correct them. But the vision never left me. Now I believe it is time to make the vision come to life in our church. We have learned how to have a converted church membership. We have developed young people to lead the church, people like Rev. John Cagan, Mrs. Hymers, and a group of dynamic young deacons. Now I believe we are ready to create a church that produces young disciples of Christ who are ready to help other young people become disciples too!

Last week I preached on this vision three times. When he heard that it would require discipleship, one new guy said, “It’s too hard for me. I’m not coming back.” That would have been enough to scare us in the past. But we are now Calvinists. As Calvinists we know that Jesus was right when He said twice, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16; 22:14). Many hear the call to discipleship, but few respond to it. Those who become disciples are the elect. God’s calling is irresistible to the elect. The elect become disciples because of God choosing and drawing them. So now we never worry about those who draw back from following Jesus.  We know the elect will become disciples, regardless of the hardships they go through as soldiers of the cross! The words of my favorite hymn say it all,

The Master hath called us; the road may be dreary
   And dangers and sorrows are strewn on the track;
But God’s Holy Spirit shall comfort the weary;
   We follow the Saviour and cannot turn back;
The Master hath called us, though doubt and temptation
   May compass our journey, we cheerfully sing:
“Press onward, look upward,” through much tribulation;
   The children of Zion must follow their King.
(“The Master Hath Come” by Sarah Doudney, 1841-1926).

Jonathan S. Dickerson said that 45 percent of evangelical Christians will die in the next 20 years. That means the number of evangelical young people will go down from 7 percent now to “about 4 percent or less – unless new disciples are generated” (The Great Evangelical Recession, Baker Books, p. 144).

What is our goal? It is to help you become a successful Christian, so you can help others become successful Christians. Our goal is to help you become a gold medal winner for Christ! A young champion for Christ! To help you stand out as a leader in the midst of the apostate darkness of this dying world!

I like President Trump. He has new ideas and he has created literally thousands of jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. We are at peace with North Korea. Jerusalem is now recognized as the capital of Israel. He has many good ideas. But he is not a Christian. Don’t believe any of those charismatic leaders who say he is a Christian, for he is not, and many of them aren’t either! But President Trump is dead wrong about one thing – the wall! He says the wall will keep out the “bad” people. Wrong again! Why? Because the “bad” people are already here, that’s why! That is why we focus on winning the young people that are here. They are the “bad” people. We must work to bring the elect among them to become disciples of Jesus Christ!

That is why I pay little attention to books like Battle Cry for a Generation: The Fight to Save America’s Youth. It is endorsed by Sean Hannity, a Roman Catholic, and Ted Haggard, a pervert. And the introduction was written by Charles Colson, a man who never stopped smoking and drinking. People like that have nothing to say that will help save young people today! Nothing to say! Neither does Senator Rick Santorum, who also endorsed Luce’s book. The Republican Party is a secular organization. And a secular organization cannot do the work of God! Only God can do the work of God! That is why I left the Republican Party two years ago!

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone;
   The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor, Each piece put on with prayer;
   When duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there.
(“Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” by George Duffield, Jr., 1818-1888).

You may say, “But the problems facing young people are too great. Our church is too small.” Don’t forget Gideon’s Army! Don’t forget that Christ changed the world with 11 fishermen! Don’t forget that a tiny group of Moravian Christians started the modern missionary movement. Don’t forget the little group of Methodists who brought in the First Great Awakening.

You say, “But living Christianity is a lost cause!” Remember that Patrick J. Buchanan said, “Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.” I am calling you to come and make our church here in the darkness of Los Angeles a light to America, and to the world!

Our little inner city church already has a world-wide influence through the Internet. A million and a half people world-wide came to our website last year! Can we really make a difference? Yes, we can! With God’s help, yes, we can! It was President Theodore Roosevelt who said,

“The greatest victories are yet to be won. The greatest deeds are yet to be done.”

I am 77 years old. I was being treated for cancer. I almost gave up. I let Rev. John Cagan preach most of the sermons. I almost quit. But I came back last weekend and preached three times – at the top of my lungs! Rev. John Cagan said,

Dr. Hymers keeps battling for our church and for God. I have seen him drag himself into the pulpit and preach...with legs that will barely carry him, and his stomach cramping, he stands firmly in the pulpit, strengthened by Christ. And how does he preach? Like a lion! His weakest sermon is more dynamic than you will hear almost anywhere else! That’s why preachers all over the world preach his sermons in their pulpits.

And they will preach this sermon too! And they will be inspired by these sermons on discipleship too! Who knows what God will do with these sermons as they go out to the whole world in 40 languages!

Turn to Christ. Trust Him and be saved from sin by His Blood sacrifice on the Cross. Become Christ’s disciple. I say to all young people who hear this sermon what Paul said to his young friend Timothy,

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (II Timothy 2:3).

Stand and sing hymn number 1. Sing it!

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord.
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
    (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).