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FOLLOWING JESUS TO BUILD A NEW CHURCH!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
Pastor Emeritus

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, February 9, 2020


Please turn with me in the Bible to Matthew 16:18 (p. 1021 Scofield), the second half of the verse,

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b).

We are starting a new church in the San Gabriel Valley. We will be very careful to follow Jesus on this matter. We will pray and submit to Jesus so He can say, “I will build my church.”

Last Sunday night I spoke on “Victory Through Jesus!” In that sermon I told you how God led Dr. Cagan and me to leave the inner city of Los Angeles – and start a new church in a suburb of Los Angeles. We would start a new church, and call it, “The Chinese Baptist Tabernacle of Greater Los Angeles.” This vision started as God told us to obey what Jesus said to His Disciples in Matthew 10:14,

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that…city, shake off the dust of your feet” (Matthew 10:14; p. 1009 Scofield).

Again, I remembered what happened when the people in Antioch rejected the Gospel,

“Then Paul and Barnabas [grew] bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles… they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:46, 51-52; pp. 1167, 1168).

Another saying of the Lord Jesus Christ had already been illuminated to me,

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6; p. 1003).

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Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “We are not to give that which is holy unto dogs or cast our pearls before swine; there is a judgment that we need to make” (note on Matthew 7:6). The Reformation Study Bible adds this, “Believers should not continue to preach to people who have rejected the gospel with contempt and scorn” (note on Matthew 7:6).

I recognized this truth regarding street preaching. I myself preached out on the streets for many years. To my knowledge this activity produced very few converts. I only won two people by preaching on the streets of Los Angeles for years. I stopped our people from doing that when they went to a Sodomite parade, and the people they spoke to bit them and spit on them, trying to infect them with the AIDS virus.

But it was also a verse that applied to our own people, who refused to become normal Christians. After they came into our church, they continued to commit great sins of the flesh after hearing sound Bible teaching for years!

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21; p. 1247).

They learned to parrot the words of salvation. But they continued to act like lost people!

Finally, after 44 years of trying our best to get them to leave the culture of the inner city, we decided to stop “casting our pearls before swine.” We said, “Let those with the culture of the inner city go on in sin.” We said, “Goodbye to you who want to live like that. We bid you goodbye forever!” The Bible says,

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17, 18; p. 1234).

“My heart has no desire to stay.” It’s #3 on your song sheet! Stand and sing it!

My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
   Though some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
   For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright;
   But still I’ll pray till Heaven I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
(“Higher Ground” by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1926).

Deacons who tried to get into a fist-fight with a preacher nearly 80 years old – good bye! Deacons who tore a church to pieces for their own benefit – good bye! Women who stopped their children from serving the Lord – taking them back to the world! – Good bye! They were like the “mixed multitude” that led the Israelites into confusion in the wilderness – good bye!

Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Sing it with me!

Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

The “mixed multitude” of the inner city was gone! They were not needed! They only caused trouble and confusion. Forty-four years in the inner city was more than enough! We walked away! We walked toward a new future with Christ as our guide! No more divisions! No more secret meetings! No more rebellion and confusion! We will make the prayer of the Apostle Paul our watchword,

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10; p. 1212).

We prayed for God to send revival for decades. But the inner-city people were too rebellious to receive it! Now they are gone. We cast off the dust of the inner city from our feet! We will always have a Spanish translation by headphones in the new church. We will continue to preach to the whole world through the multiple translations on our website.

Let the inner city “mixed multitude” fester and fight and envy each other. We will obey the Word of God!

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17, 18; p. 1234).

“I want to live above the world” – stand and sing it!

I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
   For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Amen. You may be seated.

Now turn with me to I Corinthians 16:9 (page 1228). Dr. Cagan, please read I Corinthians 16:9 out loud in English. Dr. Cagan only. Stand and read it.

“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” (I Corinthians 16:9).

Thank you. Now, Mr. Song, please read it in Chinese. (He reads it in Chinese).

The ESV translates it like this,

“For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (I Corinthians 16:9 ESV).

It appears that a great door for effective work has opened already among the Chinese young people of the San Gabriel Valley. We have already received a number of Chinese young people as visitors in our church, even though we are still meeting in downtown Los Angeles. One Chinese young person has already trusted Jesus. Another one is coming regularly, and seems open to trust Jesus. The “door” of evangelism seems to be opening wide for us, especially among young Chinese people.

But before we get too joyful over this, please remember that there will be many adversaries. We are not going to Heaven! We are going to win new young people to Christ. But the Devil will oppose us! We can count on it! The Apostle Peter reminds us that “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith” (I Peter 5:8, 9; p. 1315). Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, please don’t think it will be really easy for us to have new conversions and new disciples. The Devil will always be the enemy. That is why we must have a great deal of prayer. Everything we do must be done in serious prayer. Pray over everything we do! Pray by name for every visitor and every new person. Pray for Dr. Cagan’s sermons on Sunday mornings. Pray for my sermons on Sunday evenings. Prayer is the tool Christ gave us to overcome our adversary the Devil. Pray for God to give us the Holy Spirit to help us evangelize and take care of the new people. Jesus said, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13; p. 1090).

Now turn to Acts 14:22 (p. 1169). Stand and read it out loud together.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

You may be seated.

This is a key verse for those who are thinking about becoming Christians, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” The word “tribulation” there is “thlipsis” in the original Greek. It means “pressures” or “troubles.” Your non-Christian friends may try to pressure you not to come to church. Even some of your non-Christian parents may tell you not to spend so much time in church. You must resist what they say. You must “through (many pressures) enter into the kingdom of God.”

We who are Christians already must pray long and hard for Christ to help each newer person to resist the pressures and be enabled by the Holy Spirit to “enter into the kingdom of God.” And you who are new here must also pray for yourselves to be able to resist the Devil’s pressures and become solid Christians! You must “through (many pressures) enter into the kingdom of God.”

Please stand and sing number 3 on your song sheet one more time.

My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
   Though some may dwell where these abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
   For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright;
   But still I’ll pray till Heaven I’ve found, “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
   A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
(“Higher Ground” by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1926).