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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, October 20, 2019

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased” (Matthew 21:12-15; page 1028 Scofield).

That is one picture of Jesus in the New Testament. He is the Lion of Judah in these verses. This is the Jesus you hardly hear of in most evangelical churches. Yet it is this Jesus that becomes needed in times of apostasy. We are living in a time of deep apostasy today. I received a copy of Christianity Today sent to all pastors who subscribe to that magazine. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a full page article on sex with robots. I’ve got a copy of it here with me if you’d care to see it after the service. The idea proposed by Christianity Today was this – that pastors must learn to accept sex with robots among their church members. That is how low evangelicals have become in our time.

Dr. David F. Wells said, “Evangelicals now stand among those who are on the easiest terms with the modern world, for they have lost the capacity of dissent. The recovery of dissent is what is most needed” (David F. Wells, No Place for Truth, p. 288). Dr. Wells goes on to say that the Apostle Paul would not be welcome in evangelical circles today. He would “probably be condemned [and] left to pass his closing days in a home for the aged” (ibid., p. 291). Isn’t that what’s happened to the old men of yesterday? Who quotes Dr. John R. Rice today? A. W. Tozer is called a heretic and a wild-eyed “mystic.” They call him that because Tozer said things like this – “The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I have much respect for” (“Worship: The Missing Jewel in the Evangelical Church”).

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What does Christ think about the worldliness of evangelicalism? “Jesus went into the temple…and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves” (Matthew 21:12). We need to unloose the Lion of Judah in our churches today!!!

Dr. Wells is a renowned theologian at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He said this:

“The vast growth in [evangelical numbers] in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s should by now have revolutionized American culture. [But] it has been absorbed and tamed [by men like Olivas and Chan]…the presence of evangelicals in American culture has barely caused a ripple” (ibid., p. 293).

Nobody knows they exist!

I’ve been called a “cult” leader for saying the same things that Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. A. W. Tozer and Dr. David Wells have said. Why single out me? Dr. Wells said, “Conformity is a powerful force in the evangelical world, and it quickly stifles lone dissenters” (ibid., p. 295).

But I will not stop radical preaching! Why not? Because people need to hear it – now more than ever!

Not long ago I was asked to teach the Bible on television. I was only asked to change one thing. The man who wanted to hire me said I must teach the Bible verse-by-verse, and I must stop preaching sermons like this. I thought about that, but not for long. I may be old, with arthritis in my knees. I may not be able to stand up and speak with the same power I once did. But I thought, Richard Wurmbrand could not stand up to preach. The Communists had beaten the bottoms of his feet to a pulp and he couldn’t stand up to speak. But he sat down always to speak in our church. And both Dr. Cagan and I were greatly inspired by his preaching. So I will sit and I will speak. But I will not speak against Communism as he did. Instead, I will speak against new-evangelicalism!

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. I wish I had saved it, but it got thrown away. It was on the front page of the newspaper. It gave the statistics of the churches today. It was shocking to read that the evangelical churches dropped severely in numbers in the last ten years, some twenty, some thirty percent. That’s what happened in the Temple when Jesus, “cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple.”

But after Jesus purified the Temple, we read that wonderful things happened. Look at Matthew 21:14 and 15,

“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased” (Matthew 21:14, 15; p. 1028).

The blind and lame came to Jesus in the Temple, when He cleansed it, “and he healed them” all (21:14). Then the young people, who had probably not been there very much, heard Jesus speaking there, and cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (21:15). The only ones who were “displeased” were the chief priests and scribes – the evangelical leaders of that time!

Twice in the last thirty years, we have had church splits. They came both times when timid men called for me to “stop preaching so hard.” Some gullible people thought they might be right – and followed them. They focused their meetings on “fellowship” rather than hard preaching. But after a while the people began to drift away. The same thing is happening in the second group. Their meetings are all centered on “fellowship,” comfort and protection – security-oriented. While our meetings were challenge-oriented, adventure, and expansion. Security and comfort do not appeal to young people. Research shows that young adults are the least likely to attend church. To most young people church is irrelevant. The churches that split will be made up of women and older adults, 50 and up. Young adults 18 to 29 will not be there in the near future. Why? Because young people are bored. Young people are bored by the safety and peacefulness of evangelical churches today.

Jesus told the early church to take risks, be adventurous and daring. David Murrow says, “If we want to [get rid of] our reputation as a place for little old ladies of both sexes, we must recapture the challenge of following Jesus. When young people see the church as a place to find a challenging life, they will come” (First edition of Why Men Hate Going to Church, p. 21).

When Jack Ngann first came here, he thought the new-evangelicals might be right after all. I told him to go to Calvary Chapel for several weeks. Then come back and talk to me. He almost ran to come back with us! Amen!

Let me tell you how the early Baptist churches grew in early America by giving you one example among many. Rev. James Ireland was put in prison for “preaching the Gospel of the Son of God.” His enemies tried to blow him up with gunpowder. When that didn’t stop him, they tried to smother him to death by burning sulphur under his window at the jail. When this failed, they tried to hire a doctor to poison him. All this failed. James Ireland continued to preach to the people from the window of the jail. Then his enemies built a wall around the jail so the people could not see the preacher. But that failed too. The people gathered to hear him preach and a handkerchief was tied to a long stick, that stuck up above the wall so the preacher could see when they were ready. The preaching continued and the enemies of the Baptists gave up! That’s how our forefathers overcame their enemies and built the first Baptist churches in the State of Virginia! Amen!

I have spent weeks holed up at home, ready to give up. But last night God spoke to me – “Hymers, go back and overturn the tables of the moneychangers.” And I said to God, “OK. I’ll do it if it kills me!”

Here is what I need. I need an army of young men and women to go out and take San Gabriel for Christ! Don’t “share it” – take it! I need you to go out there and get names, and get excited, and we will bring in the young people! It won’t be easy! It will be hard. It will take courage! Think twice about it! No emotion, please. Say, “Dr. Hymers, if you will preach a hard Gospel, we will go to bring them in.” Amen. If you say, “Yes” to that, get out of your seat, and come up here and kneel. Then I’ll pray for you and tell you what to do. Younger people only. Come on, right now! Amen!

If you are reading this sermon, or watching it on our website, get your pastor to preach this sermon and challenge young people like we have here tonight. Amen.

I will make you fishers of men,
   Fishers of men, fishers of men.
I will make you fishers of men
   If you follow me!
(“I Will Make You Fishers of Men” by Harry D. Clarke, 1888-1957).