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THE SELF-REVELATION OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, January 26, 2020


Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with how we know what we know. How can we know about God? In rationalism, we sit down and think about God. But since no one has seen God, the conclusions people draw about God are not based on facts, but on one’s imagination.

Revelation is the only way we can come to a knowledge of God. The Christian churches teach that God reveals Himself through the Scriptures, through the conscience, and through Christ. So, God is not who we think He is. God is a Spirit who reveals himself in three ways.

I. First, God reveals Himself through nature.

Immanuel Kant was a far-famed philosopher. Kant said that the teleological argument for the existence of God is the most respected argument. The teleological argument is based on what we see in the world. What we see is very complex and reveals the Creator of it as a complex and powerful being – i.e. God. It is important to realize that little children are instantly aware of the teleological argument. Little children are never atheists. When you ask them, “Is there a God?” they will invariably point to a cloud in the sky, or a flower in the yard and say, “God made that.” So the natural theology of little children is the teleological argument for the existence of God, “God made the flowers and the trees.”

The teleological position is also the universal view of pre-modern people, who often become Christians quickly. Millions of people in China have come to Jesus in recent years. Turn to Romans 1:20 (page 1192 in the Scofield Study Bible).

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Tonight there are more Christians in China than in all of Europe, North and South America combined! This is in spite of Communist pressure not to become Christians. The sophisticated Communists cannot stop simple young Chinese people from trusting Jesus, and being saved by Him!

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When I was a member of a Chinese church, I led one of my Sunday School students to Christ, a boy of about 11 years old at the time. His father didn’t get mad until the boy told him he wanted to be baptized. His father flew into a rage, and refused to let him come back to church. I went to see the father at his business. The man grabbed a broom and drove me out of his store.

Later the father changed his mind, and let his son be baptized. As the years went by, the father noticed that his boy became a better son after trusting Jesus and baptism. Later, the father himself trusted Jesus and was baptized! I have personally seen that happen in many Chinese families!

That boy is one of my friends to this day! His father had thought the boy was too young to make a decision to be a Christian. But the opposite was true – the father had become too worldly and self-assured. But his son, with a child’s heart, came quickly to Jesus and was saved!

I remember when I was a small child. I went out in the back yard and looked at the flowers. I lay down in the grass and looked up at the clouds. No one told me about God. None of my family were Christians. I just looked at the flowers and the clouds, and knew that there had to be a God who created them! Later I trusted Jesus and was saved.

I’ve been reading a little book by Miss Marie Monsen, a Norwegian missionary to China. With faith, Miss Monsen trusted Jesus, and God used her to bring about the great revival that is going on right now in the People’s Republic of China, with tens of thousands of Chinese people trusting Jesus, and being baptized as new Christians! Jesus said,

“Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16; p. 1101).

II. Second, God reveals Himself through conscience.

But there is a second way that God calls people to Christ – through their consciences. Turn to Romans 2:14, 15 (page 1193 in the Scofield Study Bible): Stand as Mr. Song and I read it.

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14, 15).

You may be seated.

When we are young, it is easier for us to become Christians. But, as we grow older it becomes harder and harder for people to trust Jesus and be saved. Often our Chinese people think it’s because they are wiser. But I have found that is not true. It becomes harder because their sin defiles their consciences! The Bible says, “even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15). The more the mind is defiled by sin the less the conscience is able to work properly. After a while the “conscience [is] seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:2). “Seared” is a medical term that refers to cauterization. Dr. MacArthur correctly says, “False teachers can teach their hypocritical lies because their consciences have been desensitized, as if the nerves [that connect to their consciences] had been destroyed and turned into scar tissue by the burning of demonic deception” (note on I Timothy 4:1). I have often been surprised by the depth of sin men can go into, when they allow Satanic forces to defile their consciences!

As people grow older the light of conscience, spoken of in Romans 2:15, becomes defiled by sin. That is why you should listen to your conscience while you are young. And that is why conversions to Christ become fewer and fewer as people age. And that is why you should repent and trust Jesus while your conscience is young and still tender.

III. Third, God reveals Himself through Jesus Christ.

The Christ of God is the main revelation of God. Look at Romans 3:21-24 (p. 1194 in the Scofield Study Bible).

“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:21-24).

Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. God sent Jesus into this world to seek and to save sinners like you and me. John 1:14 says,

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; p. 1114).

The full revelation of God is in His only begotten Son, Jesus. But you must be born again by repenting and trusting Jesus.

Miss Marie Monsen was a Norwegian missionary to China in the first part of the 20th century. God used Miss Monsen to lead many Chinese people to Christ. Many of these were outward Christians, but without the new birth.

An evangelist came to Miss Monsen. This man preached the Gospel, but was not yet born again. She said to him, “Have you been born again?” To her surprise this preacher said, “No, I do not know that I have.” He went away, knowing he was not born again! But he was crying all the time. Someone said to this preacher, “Why are you weeping?” He said, “Because I am such a great sinner.” The other man said to this preacher, “Don’t you always say that Jesus saves sinners?” The preacher said to Miss Monsen, “In a moment Christ became a living reality, and I was filled with peace when I trusted Him.” Miss Monsen said to him, “It must be that very day you were saved.” He said to her, “Yes, I understand that now. Now I can tell others how to be saved.”

Next a pastor came to Miss Monsen. She said to him, “Are you born again?” Very seriously this aged pastor said to her, “I wish I knew.” She asked him how he felt. He told her that he preached to others, but he did not know the peace of Jesus Himself. She said to him, “I have to tell you that you are an unsaved man. You have been a blind leader of the blind.” Later this Chinese pastor came back and told her, “I have been a hypocritical pastor.” He trusted Jesus and was saved! Then he said to Miss Monsen, “I who was totally blind now see.” After that the pastor told many people how to be born again by trusting Jesus Christ!

Christ’s death on the Cross paid the full penalty for their sin. When you trust Christ, the Blood He shed on the Cross will cleanse you from all sin, and you will have peace with God and be born again! The great theologian Augustine famously said, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Christ.” It is our prayer that you will come back next Sunday and hear more about how Christ can give you peace with God.

Please stand and sing the last song on your song sheet, “Redeemed.”

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
   Redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child, and forever, I am.
Redeemed, redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
   Redeemed, redeemed, His child, and forever, I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus, No language my rapture can tell;
   I know that the light of His presence With me doth continually dwell.
Redeemed, redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
   Redeemed, redeemed, His child, and forever, I am.

I know I shall see in His beauty The King in whose law I delight;
   Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps, And giveth me songs in the night.
Redeemed, redeemed, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
   Redeemed, redeemed, His child, and forever, I am.
(“Redeemed” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

Amen. Heavenly Father, please bless the food we will have now. And bless each person who came tonight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


THE OUTLINE OF

THE SELF-REVELATION OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

I.    First, God reveals Himself through nature, Romans 1:20; Luke 18:16.

II.   Second, God reveals Himself through conscience, Romans 2:14, 15;
Titus 1:15; I Timothy 4:2.

III.  Third, God reveals Himself through Jesus Christ, Romans 3:21-24;
John 1:14.