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THE GREATEST PROBLEM
FACING YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, June 22, 2003


You have come here this morning from many religious backgrounds. Most of you have never been in a Baptist church before. We want to welcome each one of you. And I believe we will have something to say to you that will help you.

We went out to the college campuses, and to the streets where young people gather, and we invited you to come and be with us this morning. And we're glad you came - because I believe that college-age young people like you are the most important people in America. The whole future of our nation, and our churches, will soon be in your hands.

The Baby Boomers are already passing off of the scene, and the world will belong to you sooner than you realize. This generation,  your generation, the X Generation, holds the key to the future. If we are to have revival, it must come to your generation! If we are going to have good churches, they must be made up of your generation! So, we welcome you here this morning. Thank you for coming, and God bless you!

Now I want you to turn in your Bible to Psalm 142:4, to that passage of Scripture that Dr. Chan read earlier in the service. And let's all stand together for the reading of God's Word. I am going to preach this morning on "The Greatest Problem Facing Young People Today." Our text is Psalm 142:4.

King David wrote these words to describe an event that happened to him years earlier, when he was just a young person. David said,

"I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

The last six words of that verse will be my text this morning,

"No man [literally, no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

You may be seated.

King Saul had become a demon possessed madman. When the evil spirit entered him, he became a killer (cf. I Samuel 18:10-11). He became so inflamed with jealousy that he tried to murder David - and David ran for his life to escape from being killed.

"And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath" (I Samuel 21:10).

But King Achish discovered who David was. He knew Saul was after him. So David had to leave that place also. David ran far away

"…and escaped to the cave Adullam" (I Samuel 22:1).

Here, in Psalm 142, David tells us about his lonely days and nights, hiding from the murderous King Saul, in the darkness of that cave. Dr. John Gill says,

The Psalm represents the troubles of David, and of the Messiah [Jesus] his antitype, and is applicable to any soul in distress (John Gill, D.D., Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume IV, p. 297).

We will take Dr. Gill's divisions and look at these words from those different angles this morning.

"No man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

I. First, the Psalm represents the troubles of David.

This young man was alone. His friends were gone. King Saul was against him. David was in trouble. There seemed no way out. He felt the crushing weight of loneliness. He said,

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

Have you ever felt that way?

One college student told me, "I've been terribly lonely." She felt the pain that so many young people experience today. A young man said to me, "I've never been able to hold on to friends. Something always happens to separate us." A teenager told me, "I'm so lonely I don't know what to do." A short time later he committed suicide. What a terrible and tragic end!

According to several polls, college-age young people are particularly tormented by loneliness. These surveys indicate that the college campus doesn't seem to draw people together into permanent relationships. According to Dr. Leonard Zunin, a prominent psychiatrist, loneliness may well be the worst problem confronting young people in our culture. A recent Gallup poll indicates that nearly fifty percent have experienced "intense loneliness." The other fifty percent also experience varying degrees of loneliness. Think of it! Nearly one hundred percent of college-age young people have feelings of depression and anxiety related to loneliness!

Have you ever felt the pain of loneliness? This young man, David, expressed those feelings when he said,

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

Nearly half of today's young people have parents who are divorced. Even in families where the parents are still together, there is little emotional communication in most homes. Seventy-five percent of today's young people have mothers who are away at work when they come home from school. Teenagers spend an average of three and a half hours alone every day. Author Josh McDowell says,

We should not be surprised that [a] generation which suffers through parental divorce, comes home to an empty house, spends an inordinate amount of time alone, and sits for hours in front of a TV or computer monitor is also [a] generation that feels disconnected from adults and exhibits at-risk behavior. When young people's painful sense of aloneness is not adequately dealt with, their anger and fear may escalate into violence and tragedy (Josh McDowell, The Disconnected Generation: Saving Our Youth From Self-Destruction, Word Publishing, 2000, p. 11).

And the Internet is not the answer! Technology cannot take the place of other living human beings! McDowell says,

Today's youth are logging on to the Internet for more than just information and entertainment. Increasing numbers of young people are using e-mail and chat rooms in an attempt to connect socially with others. Yet people who are seeking emotional and relational connections on-line are finding electronic relationships unfulfilling, a cheap substitute for in-person friendships and interaction. A study out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh reveals that the more hours a person spends on the Internet, the more depressed, stressed, and lonely he or she feels (ibid., p. 9).

The Internet is truly "a cheap substitute" for real friends! Where are they when you need them? A machine cannot replace real friends! No wonder so many young people feel like David, when he said,

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

Many of you feel like Cain, who said,

"Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond [a restless wanderer] in the earth" 
     (Genesis 4:14).

The Bible says,

"Woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt that your computer and television aren't enough? Have you ever felt that these machines are a "cheap substitute" for a close family and real friends? Have you ever felt like a restless wanderer in the earth? Have you ever been afraid that you might fail - and there wouldn't be anyone there to help you? Have you ever felt the fear and pain of loneliness? Have you ever felt like young David when he said,

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4)?

If you have felt some of those things, I have news for you - there is an answer! You have come here this morning to hear a motivational message that will make you a winner - and that's exactly what I am going to give you - right now! Jesus Christ is the answer to your loneliness, and fear, and sin! Come to Christ and get saved!

That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ and He will save you" - from sin, loneliness, from fear, from Hell, and from the grave!

There is joy, and happiness, and peace, and hope, and love waiting for you in Christ! The Apostle Paul gave these tremendous words of encouragement to every young person who comes to Christ,

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God…But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him…And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement" (Romans 5:1-2, 8-9, 11).

Think of the wonderful words in this passage: "Peace with God"! "Rejoice in hope of the glory of God"! "His love toward us"! "We shall be saved from wrath through Him"! "We also glory in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, be whom we have now received the atonement"!

Dr. Rice was right!

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.
     ("Oh, What a Fountain" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

II. Second, the Psalm represents the troubles of Jesus, the Messiah.

"No man no one cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

Those words perfectly reflect the suffering that Jesus went through to save you from sin and its consequences. The prophet Isaiah said,

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

The loneliness that you feel was borne by Christ - in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then on the Cross.

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

The night before He was crucified, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.

"And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch" (Mark 14:32-34).

But they didn't do what He asked. Instead, they went to sleep - and Jesus was left alone, in the darkness of a deep recess in the Garden.

It was alone the Saviour prayed
    In dark Gethsemane.
Alone He drained the bitter cup,
    And suffered there for me.
Alone, alone, He bore it all alone;
    He gave Himself to save His own,
He suffered, bled and died alone, alone.
       ("Alone" by Ben H. Price, 1914).

As Jesus prayed there in the Garden, the Roman soldiers came marching in, and arrested Him for preaching the Gospel.

"Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled" (Matthew 26:56).

Jesus was now completely alone, facing criminal charges. All His friends and all His Disciples were gone. They dragged Him to court - and then they nailed Him to a Cross.

As He hung there, dying on the Cross, He was even forsaken by God. As He died on the Cross, Jesus cried out,

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" 
     (Matthew 27:46).

The word translated "forsaken" is from the Greek word "enkataleipo," which means "to leave behind, to abandon" (Vine). J. C. Ryle says,

There is a deep mystery in these words, which no mortal man can fathom…At that awful moment the iniquity of us all was laid upon Him to the uttermost…He bore our sins. He carried our transgressions…When he said, "Why hast Thou forsaken me?" He implied that God had for the time withdrawn from Him the sense and vision of His comfortable presence (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew, Banner of Truth, 1995 reprint, pp. 394-395).

The Bible says,

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" 
      (II Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus died alone, cut off from His friends, cut off from God. Jesus could truly say,

"No man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

And Jesus died alone to pay the penalty for your sins. The prophet Isaiah said,

"He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5).

And we are also told by the prophet,

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

I believe that this is why Jesus died completely alone. I believe that He bore the grief and sorrow of your loneliness. Loneliness is a by-product of sin, and Jesus bore the full weight of sin and all its by-products on the Cross.

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4).

Dr. Gill says,

Christ not only assumed a true human nature, capable of sorrow and grief, but he took all the natural sinless infirmities of it…and to all the sorrow and pain arising from them; the same sorrows and griefs he was liable as we are…and hence…he healed the diseases of the soul, by bearing the sins of his people… (Gill, op. cit., volume V, p. 312).

I believe that the loneliness you feel was borne by Christ on the Cross! And Christ can heal "the diseases of the soul." Christ can heal your loneliness - because He carried the pain of it to the Cross! He bore the grief of loneliness on the Cross - to heal you from sin and loneliness!

When you come to Christ, your sins are forgiven, and your loneliness is healed! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Christ! Dr. John R. Rice speaks of Christ dying on the Cross better than I ever could,

There all the sins of the world were upon Him,
Hung there to die as an off'ring for sin.
God turned His face away, Left Him to suffer,
Paying man's debt his redemption to win.
Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.

Jesus could truly say,

"No man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

And that is why He can cure your loneliness - and forgive every sin you have ever committed - and help you put your life together, and become the kind of person you want to be. Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ!

III. Third, the Psalm is applicable to any soul in distress.

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

The two loneliest places in the universe are the grave and the darkness of Hell. Two of our most well-known actors died in the last few days - Gregory Peck and Hume Cronyn. I liked Hume Cronyn. I disliked Gregory Peck in everything except Hitchcock's "Spellbound." I never liked him in anything else. He looked like a smug, self-satisfied liberal to me. Those kind of people ruined America and made it the shabby mess it is today. But I was looking at the tomb they buried him in, under the altar at the cathedral here in L.A. A cold marble slab covers his coffin, which is placed in a niche. It's a lonely, cold, gray place. Isn't that the way all burial places are? No matter what they do to try to make it look better, every cemetery is a dark and lonely place.

And every human death is a tragedy. It doesn't matter if you are 87 years old, like Gregory Peck, or 91 like Hume Cronyn - or if you are a little child, or a teenager. When you die, you are alone. No one can go with you down into that coffin. No one can go with you when they burn your body in cremation. You are alone when you die. And then you will be alone in Hell. In the sixteenth chapter of Luke, Jesus told about a rich man who went to Hell. He was all alone, cut off from others in that place of torment.

The loneliness of Hell and the loneliness of death are indescribably horrible. The unsaved dead will say,

"No man [no one] cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

Often the thought of death, and the shortness of life, makes young people depressed and fills them with distress.

When my grandmother was buried, I stayed behind after everyone else left. I watched them shovel the dirt into Mom Flowers' grave. Her body was left there alone, under the earth. That was an unforgettable experience I had as a teenager - seeing that. The grave is a lonely place. And that is where you are going!

But here's the positive side to the message. David was alone in Adullam cave, hiding in the darkness. But he didn't stay there! God brought David out of that cave and took him to safety! And that's a picture of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! David escaped from the cave Adullam! And Jesus Christ escaped from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea! God took David out of the cave, and God took Jesus out of the grave! The cave of Adullam was empty. David was gone! The tomb of Jesus was empty. Jesus was gone!

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

And because Christ lives, you can live also - if you are born again. When you experience the new birth, the resurrected Christ becomes real to you. You encounter the risen Christ. Your sins are washed away by His Blood. You receive Christ, and you experience the new birth. Jesus said,

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

We are not here simply to tell you how to have a better life. Overcoming loneliness is important, but important as it is, there is something far more important - and that is the salvation of your soul. And that happens when you are born again. That's why Jesus said,

"Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

The new birth occurs when you encounter the resurrected Christ. When you actually come to Christ, He washes your sins away with His Blood, and you are born again. The new birth is the most important thing that could ever happen to you.

Christ is alive! Christ has risen from the dead! You can know Christ personally! You can be born again! The living Christ can save your soul from sin, Hell, and the grave.

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said" (Matthew 28:6).

Oh, what a fountain of mercy is flowing,
Down from the crucified Saviour of men.
Precious the blood that He shed to redeem us,
Grace and forgiveness for all of our sin.
     ("Oh, What a Fountain" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 142:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Oh, What a Fountain" (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE GREATEST PROBLEM
FACING YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"No man cared for my soul" (Psalm 142:4).

(I Samuel 18:10-11; 21:10; 22:1)

I.   The Psalm represents the troubles of David, Genesis 4:14;
Ecclesiastes 4:10; Romans 5:1-2, 8-9, 11.

II.  The Psalm represents the troubles of Jesus, the Messiah,
Isaiah 53:4; Mark 14:32-34; Matthew 26:56; 27:46;
II Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:5.

III. The Psalm is applicable to any soul in distress, 
Matthew 28:6; John 3:3, 7.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."