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A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
and given by Jack Ngann, Pastor
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Afternoon, December 10, 2023

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
(Hebrews 13:8; p. 1304 Scofield).

It was in the dark night that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of Christ. The world is dark again today. It is against the backdrop of this world in darkness that the Christmas message takes on meaning.

Dr. Carl F. H. Henry was a famous evangelical theologian of the twentieth century. Toward the end of his life Dr. Henry wrote a book called Twilight of a Great Civilization. Here are several quotations from it. Dr. Henry said,

Our generation is lost to the truth of God…For this loss it is paying dearly in a swift relapse to paganism…The barbarians are coming. A whole generation is growing up with no awareness of regeneration [the new birth]…Savages are stirring the dust of a decadent civilization and already slink in the shadows of a disabled church (Carl F. H. Henry, Ph.D., Twilight of a Great Civilization, Crossway Books, 1988, pages 15-17).

A decade after his bitterly contested nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Robert Bork said,

Our culture is in decline in almost every area, from popular music to religion (Christianity Today, May 19, 1997, p. 30).

He said that we are becoming

…a brutalized and chaotic culture…plunging to ever more sickening lows (Robert H. Bork, Slouching Toward Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 140).

Billy Graham said, “We are a society poised on the brink of self destruction” (Los Angeles Times, May 3, 1996, p. A-10). Jesus said,

“Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars…For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold”
     (Matthew 24:6-12; p. 1033).

That prophecy of Christ seems to be coming true in our time. Every day we hear dire predictions of global warming, terrorism, war, the abortion holocaust, famines and the ravages of new diseases. We see change and decay all around us. And we may ask, “Is there anything permanent? Is there anything that doesn’t decay and fall apart?” The Bible says that there is something that never changes.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

I. First, Christ was the same yesterday.

The Bible tells us that He is

“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”
     (Revelation 13:8; p. 1342).

Dr. Gill said, of that verse,

[Christ] was fore-ordained, before the foundation of the world, to redeem his people by his blood (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume III, p. 793).

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (II Timothy 1:9; p. 1279).

The Bible teaches that Christ is the eternal Son, begotten not made, the eternal Second Person of the Holy Trinity. We can say, with the Apostle Paul, that God

“created all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9; p. 1252).

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17; p. 1262).

And we can say with the Apostle John,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3; p. 1114).

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

And it was “yesterday,” in a past time, that Christ came down from Heaven to live on this earth.

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4; p. 1245).

That’s what Christmas is all about – the incarnation of God the Son! He came down from Heaven, was clothed in human flesh, and dwelt among us! The sins of mankind were placed on Him in the Garden of Gethsemane,

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44; p. 1108).

They arrested Him and beat Him with a whip. They nailed him to a cross, where He died “for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3). But “he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:4). When He had risen from the dead, He said,

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39; p. 1112).

“And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:51; p. 1113).

All of that happened in the past. But our text goes on to say more, which leads us to the next point.

II. Second, Christ is the same today.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day…”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

The prophet Isaiah said that God

“shall prolong his days” (Isaiah 53:10; p. 760).

Speaking of that verse, great Spurgeon said,

“He shall prolong his days.” Yes, bless his name, when he died he did not end his life. He could not long be held a prisoner in the tomb. The third morning came, and the Conqueror, rising…burst the iron bands of death, and came forth from the prison house, no more to die. He waited his forty days, and then with shouts of sacred song, he “led captivity captive and ascended up on high.” “In that he died he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth he liveth unto God,” no more to die.

Now by his Father’s side he sits,
     And there triumphant reigns,

the conqueror over death and hell (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Death of Christ,” The New Park Street Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1981 reprint, volume III, p. 72).

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day…”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

God has prolonged His days, and Christ is as alive and real today as He was in the past – when He died on the Cross and rose bodily from the dead. The Apostles in their early ministry could hardly ever preach a sermon without telling the people “He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive!” For instance, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter “lifted up his voice” (Acts 2:14) and said,

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted… hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:32-33; p. 1151).

And there on the right hand of God up in Heaven, the risen Christ,

“Ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25; p. 1297).

Someone is praying for you to be converted. Many of you have Christian mothers and fathers who are praying daily for your salvation. But there are some poor young people here this afternoon who may hang their heads and ask, “Is there no one to pray for me to be saved?” Why, yes, of course there is! The greatest man of prayer who was ever born is praying for you! And His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He ever lives to pray for your salvation in Heaven! Jesus is praying for you! And soon His prayers will be answered. Soon you will come under conviction, see your need for Him, and rush into His waiting arms, because He

“Ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25).

It is the same Jesus who prays for the salvation of your soul, the very same Jesus, who walked the streets of Jerusalem, and died on the Cross for your sins. That same Jesus will continue to pray for you until you are converted. And I believe that His prayer for you will receive as happy an answer, as our prayers did for a girl in our church who came to the edge of death a few weeks ago. He raised her from physical death, and He will raise you from death “in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), because

“He ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25).

He is,

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day…”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

He is the same today as ever He was. And I believe His prayers for you will soon be answered. How happy we will all be then, when you turn to Him who loves you, and are saved – in answer to His prayers! But there is one more thought in our text, which takes us to the last point of this sermon.

III. Third, Christ will be the same for ever.

Please read our text, Hebrews 13:8, aloud. Read it good and loud, emphasizing the last three words.

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

Though I believe that Billy Graham was wrong on “decisionist” salvation, I wholeheartedly agree with him when he said,

The Bible teaches that tomorrow Christ will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is an hour in God’s time when Christ will return to this world. The Bible is clear in declaring that Christ will…return. God [has not] forgotten the world, and from the burning embers of a smoldering civilization, God will shape and form a [Kingdom] in which Christ will be King…Thus Christ will at long last have taken his rightful place to rule this earth (Billy Graham, D.D., “The King is Born,” Decision Magazine, December 2007, p. 5).

When that day comes Jesus will return from Heaven, and He will have a name written on His clothing which says, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). What a glorious day that will be when,

“The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever”
     (Revelation 11:15; p. 1340).

Then the full meaning of our text will be plain for all mankind to see,

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

He is coming again, He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, He is coming again,
With power and great glory, He is coming again!
     (“He Is Coming Again” by Mabel Johnston Camp, 1871-1937).

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”
     (Hebrews 13:8).

And one more word. The unchanging Christ is available to you this afternoon. Come to Him. Trust Him, and He will blot out of God’s record every sin you have ever committed, or ever will commit! And He will save your soul for ever and ever, throughout eternity. May you come to Jesus soon! In His name. Amen.