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

A lesson given at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, August 9, 2020

Hymn Sung Before the Sermon:
     “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” (by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

Have you ever read a biography of Christmas Evans? (1766-1838). It will help you to read it. Read about great preachers.

Now turn to Psalm 27 (p. 611 Scofield) and you will get an idea of what Christmas Evans went through. Please stand as I read it.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Psalm 27:1-14).

You may be seated.

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It surprised me recently to read a short biography of Christmas Evans. The hardships he went through were quite similar to mine.

One of the greatest problems I have had in my life has been recurring bouts of deep, black depression. Earlier in my autobiography (Against All Fears, p. 21) I wrote about my “mood swings.”

The drunken fights, the yelling and screaming, the loneliness and fear of my childhood, left a permanent mark on my mind that never goes away completely…. In times of stress these mood swings can be devastating…

Sometimes I am literally crushed by depression. How do I overcome it?

1. By spending time alone with God.

2. By re-reading Tortured for Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.

3. By waiting on God (Psalm 27:13-14).

4. By claiming my “life-verse” – Philippians 4:13.

5. By learning from experience that this too shall pass.

6. By not making sudden decisions until the depression lifts.

Here is a Scripture verse that usually helps me:

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31; p. 748).

Dr. Roy Branson said, “There is a deeper sorrow than any testimonies ever describe, for there is a sorrow so terrible, so destructive of the fiber of body, mind, and soul that no one ever tells of it. We bear it alone among men. No passing years can ever enable us to tell of it, for the pain of remembrance will be too great. And who could understand? Only God” (Dear Preacher, Please Quit, p. 59). “Wait. You will walk, you will run, you will fly once more on eagle’s wings. Wait.”

The Apostles were beaten for preaching the Gospel, “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name” (Acts 5:41; p. 1156).

Strength comes from accepting persecution. Turn to Luke 6:22-23. Stand as I read it.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets” (Luke 6:22-23; p. 1080).

You may be seated.

Here is how persecution strengthens us:

1. It identifies us with Jesus.

2. It is for His sake.

3. It stores up rewards in the Kingdom.

4. It identifies us with the prophets and Apostles.

5. It makes us worthy of Christ’s name.

6. It can strengthen our resolve.

Strength also comes by doing right.

Do what is right. When we do right in God’s eyes nothing else really matters. John the Baptist did right when he lost his head at about the age of 33. Abraham did right and became wealthy. Dr. Branson said, “Do right and don’t worry.” Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., said, “Do right if the stars fall out of their sockets.” Great strength comes from that simple idea – Do what is right no matter what happens!

Strength comes through progressive steps, through dying to self, by claiming specific promises in the Bible, by doing right, by studying others in the Bible that gained strength in times of trouble. God’s strength is always enough for whatever we must face.

The Pastor’s Insight

Please turn to II Timothy 3:15-17 (p. 1281). Stand as I read it.

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:15-17).

You may be seated.

Dr. Branson said, “Notice that this passage of Scripture said that the man of God is furnished unto all good works.”

Many times people go to someone other than their pastor about their problems. The other person (even another pastor) is simply not qualified to deal with these problems, “any more than a butcher is qualified to build spaceships,” said Dr. Branson!

On I Timothy 4:11, II Timothy 2:2, Titus 1:9, and 2:15, Dr. Branson said, “It is clear that Paul placed the responsibility for the spiritual program of the church, in its entirety – not only the preaching, but also the teaching and selection of those who carry out the spiritual program of the church – solely on the shoulders of the pastor… The pastor, and the pastor alone, will give account to God for what goes on in his church.” Turn to Hebrews 13:7.

“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Hebrews 13:7; p. 1304).

Now turn to Hebrews 13:17.

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17; p. 1304).

Dr. Branson said, “The people have the responsibility to follow their pastor’s leadership as one who has the spiritual rule over them, and who watches over their souls.”

Turn to Ephesians 4:11-12 (p. 1253). Stand while I read it.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

You may be seated.

Our senior deacon went to another preacher, and held secret meetings with him, because that deacon thought I was wrong when I told him he was not qualified to be a pastor. This “other preacher” did not understand why I told the deacon he was not qualified to preach.

This “other preacher” hated me, and broke fellowship with me, for ordaining Dr. Christopher L. Cagan as the associate pastor. I’m glad I did not listen to this “other preacher,” though. We would not have been able to endure the church split this “other preacher” caused by siding with the deacon who was not called to preach! By the way, this “other preacher” is a hyper-Calvinist, who wants to “lord it over” other pastors!!!

The following paragraph by the deacon who split our church reveals that he does not have the gift of pastoring a church:

There are some here that have given their heart over to open rebellion and will not talk to the pastor over their sinful condition but instead seek the comfort of the company of their friends. Others live in secret sin thinking that simply coming to church will eventually save you. But you are dealing with God whose eyes “are in every place beholding the evil.” Some of you think you are a Christian yet you never have thoughts of God, Heaven, or even really winning a soul. Some of you think you are a Christian yet you never have thoughts about God, Heaven, or really even winning a soul. All of your conversations with others shows that you only have thoughts of this temporal world and the world of the spirit is not real to you at all. Be honest about your life. Do not lie to yourself. The Bible says that you are “wise to do evil, but to do good [you] have no knowledge.” You will not humble yourself and admit your sin. Why not? Because in your pride you derive much pleasure in doing what you want to do. But in the end you are the big-time loser. You think you are wise but you just got [tricked] by the “deceitfulness of sin.” If you do not repent of your sins your heart will become so hardened that it will be beyond all hope of recovery.
     (Quotation from the sermon, “The Subtilty of Evil,” July 12, 2020, page 7 of manuscript.)

That is what this man said right before giving the invitation! It should not surprise us that no one responded! It also should not surprise us that he has not had a single conversion during nearly two years of “preaching” like this!

Thank God that Dr. Christopher Cagan knows how to preach – though this little “deacon” is already “lost in the woods”!!!

Regarding Dr. Branson’s book, Dear Preacher, Please Quit, Dr. W. A. Criswell said this,

“Mandatory reading for every minister. A wealth of pastoral wisdom to avoid the mine field of disaster. Thank God for such a forthright, honest, and Biblical challenge.”
             – Dr. W. A. Criswell.

I understand that the “deacon,” who was not called to preach, has never read the book endorsed by Dr. Criswell – who was one of the two or three greatest preachers of our time!

Dr. Branson’s (1) “Dear Preacher, Please Quit” and (2) “Church Split.” Get them and read them! I am once again asking everyone who hears this message to read them all the way through.

Stand and sing our hymn, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb;
And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize, And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight, if I would reign; Increase my courage, Lord!
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word.
      (“Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).


If you are not yet saved, I want you to trust Jesus Christ. He came down from Heaven to die on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin. The moment you trust Jesus, His Blood will cleanse you from all sin. I pray that you will trust Jesus.