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Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is


by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018

The title for this message is taken from an illustration given by John Cagan in his very first sermon. Elderly preachers like me are usually very cautious to borrow a phrase from the first sermon of a beardless neophyte. But John’s first sermon was so excellent that I asked him to preach it a second time last Sunday. It was not really an expository sermon, but it was an exhortation. The great Apostle told us that exhortations would no longer be preached in the end-time apostasy. In the time in which we live, conservative homiletic teachers tell their students to only preach expositions, which invariably become little but dry-as-dust Bible studies, given by little men like Kreighton Chan, to little groups of weak-hearted people, usually “stolen” from more vigorous and masculine churches! But in the Chan split they only got about 6 little girls and 4 backslidden adults. They hoped to cripple us at Christmas, but we don’t even miss them!

But although John Cagan’s first sermon was not an exposition, it was a much needed exhortation. And that is why I asked him to preach it again last Sunday.

The first illustration he gave was about a man named Dr. Forman. This doctor works on cancer patients. Most young doctors don’t want to do that because all their patients die. But Dr. Forman had a different vision. This doctor came to work every day thinking, “Cure! Cure! Cure!” Because of men like Dr. Forman, many people like my dear mother, are now cured from cancer. And that is why our pastor Dr. Hymers thought about the cancer of church splits. Dr. Hymers had the same vision – “Cure! Cure! Cure!” And because of the leadership of Dr. Hymers we are now stamping out church splits. Because Dr. Hymers has that vision, he is leading our church to victory over the cancer of church splits! And because of what my father, Dr. Cagan, does in supporting Dr. Hymers – our church will never die! We are stamping out the cancer of church splits. Our church, in the very heart of Los Angeles, will never die. We shall go on for ever! And then John Cagan said this:

I must admit to you that I [myself] have had doubts about that… I also hesitated to believe the challenge Dr. Hymers [gives] us. You too may shake your head in disbelief. After all, the evidence indicates that Christianity [in America] is dying… [You too may think that handful of little girls was right to go with little Dr. Chan, to have a little group meet in his little house, to listen to his dry little sermons]. To live the same little way. That may seem like the more comfortable way. But there is a better way. It is given by the Apostle Paul, who said,

“Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

The Bible says that patience develops experience (Romans 5:3-4). Experienced to know that we will not be misled by the false doctrines of people like the small handful of girls (of both sexes) who followed their little leader Kreighton L. Chan.

May God give all of you a bigger vision than they have. The people who started to follow Moses out of slavery in Egypt, because they rebelled against Moses, their leader, all but two of them died in the wilderness, their dead bodies eaten by ravenous vultures. They never even saw the Promised Land! They wanted to split from the “church in the wilderness.” The Devil told them to follow people like Chan and Griffith back to Egypt. Back to little “house” churches. Back to a lifeless religion. Back to an “easier” way of life. But the Devil tricked them! All but two of them died in the wilderness of the world – without blessings, without joy – without hope! The Apostle Paul said, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [examples]: and they are written for our admonition” (I Corinthians 10:11).

Now the Devil himself is the author of church splits. Dr. Merrill Unger, of Dallas Theological Seminary, spoke of “ruinous divisions” in his classic book, Biblical Demonology (Kregel, 1994, pp. 174-180). Dr. Unger said that church splits [factional divisions] are “a deadly and damnable satanic device, utterly destructive of Christian oneness… disunity and disharmony…must be [accepted as] the direct and destructive work of Satan and demons” (ibid., p. 177).

We are now living in the last days, the time of apostasy directly before the Great Tribulation. We are now in this time of apostasy (see II Timothy 3:1-4:5; I Timothy 4:1,2). That’s why we must be very aware of Revelation 12:13, 14. While this speaks directly of the Tribulation period itself, Dr. Unger points out its application in today’s time of apostasy (ibid., p. 218). Please turn to Revelation 12:11, 12; page number 1341 in the Scofield Study Bible. Stand as I read these two verses from God’s Word.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:11, 12).

You may be seated.

My radio teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, said this on those verses:

Victory for [true Christians] comes through three avenues which are mentioned in this section:

1.  “The blood of the Lamb”…The many references to the blood
of the Lamb necessitates its being on display in heaven…If
any of us overcome, it will be through the blood of the Lamb.

2.  “The word of their testimony”…The place to give a testimony is out yonder in the world, when you are up against that godless, blaspheming crowd. Let them know that you belong to Christ…There is something strengthening in that. There is something that makes a man stand tall when he gives a testimony like that…The Lord Jesus says, “If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33)…The Greek word ‘martus’ means ‘witness.”

3.  “They loved not their lives even unto death.”

Here is what you need: the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and love for [Christ] above everything else…

I read Tortured for Christ several times a year now. Richard Wurmbrand suffered for Christ in a Communist prison for fourteen years. They beat his feet until he could not stand to preach. They made great holes in his body with red-hot pokers. They put him in a freezing refrigerator. They beat him until he was so sick and weak that he got tuberculosis. It was a miracle that he lived at all. Then he escaped. He preached in our church sitting down, for his feet were so damaged that he could not stand to give a whole sermon.

Dr. Chan had a photograph made with Pastor Wurmbrand. But Dr. Chan and Mr. Griffith did not have Wurmbrand’s faith. You do not get a martyr’s faith by having your photograph taken with a man like Wurmbrand. Wurmbrand’s faith came from “by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of his testimony, and [he] loved not his life even unto death.”

If you want to overcome church splits, you should read Tortured for Christ several times. I wish every Baptist and every new-evangelical would do that several times a year. It is a short book. Get it and read it. Then, when you lose a friend or two in a church split – you will not run off and hide with Chan, Griffith, and their little group of emotional women and weak men. Instead, you will stand tall and strong like my wife Ileana, Mrs. Salazar, Dr. Cagan and the martyrs in the Muslim world – who risk their lives to read my sermons on the Internet, as they will undoubtedly read this sermon. Then you will be able to sing this hymn, without being a hypocrite and a church splitter,

Must I be carried to the skies
   On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
   And sailed through bloody seas?
(“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

Then we will be enabled to overcome church splits forever!

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Jack Ngann:
“Who is on the Lord’s Side?” (by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879).