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

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, March 22, 2020

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”
(Romans 8:7; p. 1201 Scofield).

This is an extremely important verse of Scripture. The unconverted person sees God as an enemy. This is true even if the person has been sitting under Gospel preaching for many years. But it usually does not become clear at first. For instance, little children seem to be like angels. But when they reach puberty they rebel and their real nature is revealed. Then they see God as their enemy. They will even see their pastor as an enemy, and their godly parents as enemies.

Church splits are always the result of total depravity. I have personally witnessed five church splits. All five of them rose out of total depravity. Here is one you may not have heard about.

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In 1925 Andrew Gih formed what he called the “Bethel Worldwide Evangelistic Band” in China. A little later Dr. John Sung was invited by Andrew Gih to be with them. Soon Dr. Sung became the main evangelist on the team, with thousands converted and mighty outpourings of revival. Leslie Lyall described John Sung as “the greatest evangelist China has ever known.” Andrew Gih was the leader of the Bethel Band. He was a teacher who always taught in the afternoon, with John Sung preaching evangelistic sermons to the great crowds that came to hear him in the evenings. Can you guess what happened? In 1934 Andrew Gih began to speak of “the growing dissatisfaction of the Bethel leaders with John Sung’s contribution. Gih complained that Dr. Sung did not teach on the eradication of sin, and that Sung attracted converts to himself, so his work would not last.” That night Dr. Sung spoke to 1,000 students. There was great rejoicing over the hundreds of young people who were converted.

A few days later a telegram was given to Andrew Gih. The telegram told Andrew Gih to leave Dr. Sung and organize two new evangelistic bands. Andrew Gih had pledged to work in partnership with Dr. Sung. But he broke fellowship with Dr. Sung and left. John Sung saw Andrew Gih off at the station with great sorrow. Leslie Lyall said, “John Sung and Andrew Gih rarely met again” (Leslie T. Lyall, A Biography of John Sung, p. 147). Although Mr. Lyall did not say so, it was obvious that Andrew Gih was jealous of Dr. Sung’s gifts of evangelism.

Galatians 5:19-21 gives a list describing total depravity. I will quote part of this list from the ESV translation for clarity, in modern English.

“Enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy” (Galatians 5:19-21).

In 1960 I personally met Dr. Andrew Gih. He was now an old man. He came to the First Chinese Baptist Church looking for a job as pastor. His preaching was dry and lifeless. Total depravity had robbed him of the blessings he lost when he caused a split with Dr. John Sung. Thankfully the church did not call him as pastor. We waited until Dr. Timothy Lin was called. As I have said, Dr. Lin reminded me, in many ways, of Dr. John Sung. Dr. Lin led our small Chinese church into the greatest revival I have ever witnessed!

I believe in total depravity. Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we might be. Total depravity means that we are completely corrupted spiritually and morally. It means that no part of us is untouched by sin. I first encountered total depravity when I was a teenager. The people next door took me to a Baptist church when I was thirteen years old. I thought the young people there were Christians. But I was shocked to discover that they were totally depraved!

Total depravity comes to us from Adam. The Apostle Paul said,

“By one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19; p. 1198).

That man was Adam. The reality of Adam’s sin is described in Genesis 3:4-8. That horrible old Bible critic Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) had a hideous face. One man who looked at a photo of his face said, “He looks demon possessed.” It is the angry face of a totally depraved sinner, who hated God and attacked God’s Word at every opportunity! In his book, How to Read the Bible with Understanding, Metzger said that the account of Adam’s sin is “not to be read as history…and cannot be treated as strictly historical” (Metzger, The New Oxford Annotated Bible). That is the same garbage I heard at a liberal Southern Baptist seminary. I was not surprised when I learned that Metzger’s autobiography did not give any references to [him having] a personal salvation experience. David W. Cloud declared that Dr. Robert L. Sumner said he “trusts Meztger, and rebuked [Cloud] for labeling Metzger a liberal” (O Timothy, January 2020, p. 10). Dr. Sumner was a friend of mine. I excused him for being wrong because he probably did not know much about Metzger. But Cloud was right. Metzger was a total liberal who denied the account of Adam’s sin and fall!

But the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, believed in the Fall of man in Adam. Paul said, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…” (Romans 5:12; p. 1197) and “By the offence of one judgment came upon all men” (Romans 5:18; p. 1198) and “By one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19). I believe the Apostle Paul, not the demon-blinded liberal Bruce Metzger! How else did the whole human race become the enemies of God? How else did the whole human race become totally depraved? How else could God say in Romans 3:9-19,

“We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:9-19; p. 1194).

Yes, how else could the Word of God say, “All the world [became] guilty before God” (Romans 3:19; p. 1194)? How else could Dr. A. W. Tozer say,

“The Fall was a crisis [that] affected every part of man's nature, moral, intellectual, psychological, spiritual and physical…sin in his heart has overflowed into his total life, affecting his relation to God, to his fellow men and to everyone and everything that touches him”? (“Born After Midnight”).

Why else would the great theologian Augustine (354-430) say that Adam’s first sin was “the wicked desire to please himself, and open sin was but its consequence”? Why else would the classical theologian William G. T. Shedd say, “All men are propagated from Adam and inherit his sin”? Why else would Adam’s first son Cain murder his brother Abel? All of these things come from mankind’s TOTAL DEPRAVITY – inherited from the first sinner ADAM!!!

One man!

Why else is sin seen in all mankind, without a single exception? The only answer is – total depravity!!!

“By one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19; p. 1198).

Without total depravity, why would J. Richard Olivas let this church pay for his tuition, to do his graduate degree, and let this church pay for his wife to become a nurse – and then split this church and try to take all its members?

Without total depravity, why would Waldrip and Chan conspire to destroy this church by creating the most Satanic church split we have ever seen?

Why would a godly pastor’s son become an atheist?

Why would a God-gifted preacher throw away his life to become a law clerk?

Why would a very intelligent son of the church think he could earn his salvation after hearing hundreds of evangelistic sermons preaching Christ as the only Saviour?

Why would a highly intelligent woman “throw herself under the bus” by leaving her fundamentalist church to attend a loose new-evangelical one?

Why? Why? Why?

Why did Andrew Gih throw his gifts away by betraying the greatest evangelist China has ever produced?

Why? Why? Why?

Because of Adam’s rebellion against God – which produced TOTAL DEPRAVITY!!! THAT’S WHY!!!

I believe in total depravity. I began to believe in it at church when I was a teenager. The people next door took me to a Baptist church when I was thirteen years old. I thought the young people there were Christians. But I was shocked when I saw that they were totally depraved!

Total depravity does not mean that we are as bad as we could be. Total depravity means that human beings are completely corrupted morally and spiritually. It means that no part of us is untouched by sin. No action of ours is as good as it should be. Human hearts are dead in sin. According to the Word of God all humans are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; p. 1251). Their “understanding is darkened,” and they “are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18; p. 1253). The Bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they [are] born” (Psalm 58:3; p. 626). “There is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 53:3; p. 624). “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5; p. 623). That is total depravity! That is why we are lost!!!

In the New Testament we read the same message of total depravity. The Apostle Paul said, “Both Jews and Gentiles…are all under sin. There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God… There is none that doeth good, no, not one… the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes… all the world [has] become guilty before God” (Romans 3:9-19; p. 1194). That is total depravity!

And that is what I saw with my own eyes among the teenagers at a Baptist church – when I was thirteen years old! Total depravity!!!

And then I saw a church split there!!! What I saw in that church split was truly horrible! It is described in Galatians, chapter 5. I am giving part of it here from the English Standard Version (the ESV translation), not to correct the KJV, but only to give the words in modern English.

“Enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV).

I saw the adult members of that church throw hymn books at each other! I saw one man beaten to a pulp by two deacons of the church. I saw the godly pastor resign and flee from that church. I saw the raw rebellion of the church – in total depravity!!! I fled from that church and said that I would never go back as long as I lived. The total depravity of those people made me flee from them in anguish and disgust!

But one thing saved me. God showed me that He is real by His grace. I was not yet saved, but I knew, by prevenient grace, that God was real. Once I asked my mother why a group of pastors didn’t like me. Mother said, “It’s because you believe in God.” She knew the difference, and that is why she finally got saved!

God’s prevenient grace called me, and would not let me go (irresistible grace). He still comes to me when I am alone. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek… Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies… I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:8, 11, 13; p. 611).

I was not a particularly good boy. But God’s grace took me to the First Chinese Baptist Church. I trusted Jesus, was cleansed by His Blood, and baptized by my Chinese pastor, Dr. Timothy Lin – a true man of God, what I call “the real deal.” I do not think of myself as a very good man. But I believe in God. I believe in God because He revealed Himself to me by His grace.

I cannot fully understand why God did this for me. I often think, “How did I get saved? Why have I stayed in church for all these years? Why am I still preaching the Gospel after 62 years? Why have others gone away, while I keep on?” I can only answer these questions by election. The Bible says, “God hath…chosen you to salvation” (II Thessalonians 2:13; p. 1272). The Reformation Study Bible says, “We believe now only because we were chosen” (page 1630). “It is a wonder that God should choose any of us” (ibid.). John Newton (1725-1807) was amazed that God had chosen a sinner like him. He wrote,

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
     And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
     The hour I first believed!
(“Amazing Grace” by John Newton).

“It is a wonder that [God] should choose to save any of us”!!!

“By one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19; p. 1198).

Augustine (354-430) said that Adam’s first sin was “The wicked desire to please himself, and the open sin was but its consequence” (City of God, volume 3). And so, “Death passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12; p. 1197). Dr. William G. T. Shedd said, “All men are propagated from Adam and inherit his sin.” This was proved when Adam’s first son Cain murdered his brother Abel. No one was murdered before Cain murdered his brother. It happened because Adam’s sin was imputed to his son Cain! Also, sin is seen in all mankind without exception. Thus mankind became totally depraved.

Total depravity is seen in the corruption of humanity in its moral and spiritual nature. It has ruined man’s consciousness of God. The Bible says that men are “willingly ignorant” (II Peter 3:5; p. 1319). Men desire to be ignorant. Their consciences are defiled (I Timothy 4:2; p. 1276). They do not have “a good conscience” (Hebrews 13:18; p. 1305). Being raised in church does nothing to erase the defilement of one’s conscience. “Church kids” are notoriously rebellious. They tend toward sexual sin and lewdness as soon as they reach puberty.

Their natural depravity causes them to hide themselves from mature Christians. Almost the entire reason for them being influenced to leave the church and go with Kreighton was based on their desire to be “free” to indulge in sensuality. That is the essence of Antinomianism – a result of total depravity!

Total depravity makes God their enemy, “friendship [with] the world is enmity [toward] God” (James 4:4; p. 1309). They hate what is good and love what is evil by nature.

There are those who “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us” (I John 2:19; p. 1322). Dr. W. A. Criswell said, “Their departure was actually to demonstrate that saving faith, and hence, real fellowship was absent” (Criswell Study Bible, note on I John 2:19). “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19; p. 1329). “Not to have the Spirit, is not to have spiritual life…in other words to be an unbeliever” (The MacArthur Study Bible, note on Jude 19). Leaving a fundamental church and going to a new-evangelical church is a sure sign of depravity.

The results of the original sin of Adam have come down to all his descendants – all mankind. The results include:

  1. All are under a curse, Galatians 3:10 (p. 1243).
  2. All are children of the Devil, John 8:44 (p. 1127).
  3. All are controlled by the Devil, Ephesians 2:2 (p. 1251).
  4. All are the slaves of sin, Romans 6:17 (p. 1199).
  5. All have a sinful heart, Jeremiah 17:9 (p. 790).
  6. All have darkened hearts, Romans 1:21 (p. 1192).
  7. All are enemies of God, Romans 8:7, 8 (p. 1201).
  8. All are children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3 (p. 1251).
  9. All are dead in sin, Ephesians 2:1 (p. 1251).
  10. All are doomed to die, Hebrews 9:27 (p. 1299). Every cemetery shows that the Bible is true – “It is appointed unto men once to die” – because of TOTAL DEPRAVITY! That’s why!

The death of man is threefold,

  1. Physical death, the separation of the soul from the body.
  2. Spiritual death, the separation of the soul from God.
  3. Eternal death, called “the second death” – Dr. R. A. Torrey said, “The second death is a place of conscious and unending torment.” – “tormented with fire and brimstone… And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” (Revelation 14:10, 11; p. 1344).

Here is the end result of total depravity!

But the Scriptures say that God provided one way for sinful man to be converted from the awful penalty of total depravity.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, “came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15; p. 1274). The 53rd chapter of Isaiah gives a powerful picture of the death of Jesus, His scourging, His crucifixion, in our place. He shed His Blood to cleanse all our sins (I John 1:7; p. 1321), “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” It is through Jesus’ torture and death in our place that we may be saved from the curse of sin, and have peace with God. That is the only way ruined sinners can be saved. “Ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah, what a Saviour!” Jesus Christ said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6; p. 1135).

Dr. A. W. Tozer said, “The Christian church has only one reason for being – that is to show forth the life and mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.”

Charlotte Elliott’s great hymn has been a means by which many sinners have been saved by Jesus. Have you sung it too often to think of the words? I hope not.

Just as I am, and waiting not, To rid my soul of [sin’s] dark blot,
To Thee whose Blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yea, all I need in thee I find, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
(“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871).