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A PLACE OF COMFORT IN A DESOLATE WORLD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, June 29, 2003



Many of you have come here this morning for the first time. We went out to several college campuses, and to other places where young people gather, and we invited you to come and be with us. And you came! And we are glad you did! Even though you may never have been in a Baptist church before, we welcome you, and we want you to feel at home. We like having you here!

I remember the first time I went to a Baptist church. I was just thirteen years old, and the people next door took me to a service like this. I liked it and I've been coming ever since! And we hope that you will like it, and come to be with us again!

I believe that young people like you are the most important people in America! The entire future of our nation, and our churches, will soon be in your hands. Your generation, the X Generation, holds the destiny of the nation, and the world. If we are going to find a better way to live - it's up to your generation to find it for us all. If we are going to have real 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 this morning. God bless you and thank you for coming!

Now this morning I am going to speak on the subject, "A Place of Comfort in a Desolate World." I want you to turn in your Bible to Psalm 27, the Psalm that Dr. Chan read earlier in this service. This is my favorite Psalm, and one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It has many wonderful thoughts in it, especially for young people. I hope you will read this Psalm often, especially when you are discouraged and lonely. David experienced much loneliness, and many other problems, when he was young. But he found that God was able to help him in all his difficulties. And I believe that God can help you as well.

Let us stand together. I want us to read two verses from this great Psalm. Notice verse four,

"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 enquire in his temple"
   (Psalm 27:4).

Now look at verse ten,

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

You may be seated.

David had been close to his parents. They came to him while he was hiding in a cave from King Saul (I Samuel 22:1-4). The king went insane and was trying to kill David, so he hid in a cave, and his parents came to comfort him. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have parents like that - who would stand behind you no matter what happened? My mother was like that. She was my teacher, and my friend, and my supporter. I still miss her every day, even though she has been dead for over five years.

But David knew that his parents wouldn't be with him forever. He knew that he would lose them sooner or later. He said,

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

There are a number of things we can learn from these words.

I. First, we all lose our earthly families sooner or later.

Did you know that almost fifty percent of young people your age have parents who are divorced? It usually brings a great deal of confusion and loneliness to those of you whose parents separate. And often those whose parents are not divorced still feel alienated from their parents - not as close to them as they would like to be.

Many of you came home to an empty house - because your parents are working or doing something else. And they don't seem to have time for you. Author Josh McDowell says,

Today's adolescents are primarily the offspring of baby boomers [the Hippie Generation]. The teenage population is more than twenty-two million strong. They are perhaps the richest, most populous, best educated, and most physically fit generation in history. Our young people are growing up in a prosperous society with unprecedented career opportunities and access to a virtually limitless amount of information (Josh McDowell, The Disconnected Generation, Word, 2000, pp. 8-9).

Yet something has gone wrong! Many young people feel lonely and "blown away" much of the time. Many young people wonder if life is worth living. Suicide is the number three cause of death for those between 14 and 22 years of age. In the midst of all our prosperity and luxury, how did this happen?

I'll tell you how it happened. America was blessed by God. We had three of the greatest revivals in the history of Christianity. Our churches were filled with people who loved God. We became the greatest nation on earth. But we have turned away from the God of our forefathers. We became fat and proud. We stopped going to church. We stopped praying. We turned away from God to entertainment, and debauchery, and sin.

"But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked…then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation…Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee" (Deuteronomy 32:15, 18).

And as God said to ancient Israel, so He says to America,

"I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them…The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin…" (Deuteronomy 32:23, 25).

We have lost the blessing of God in our nation. We have murdered 42 million babies by abortion - and God has turned against us.

"Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters…and the land was polluted with blood"
      (Psalm 106:37-38).

As a direct result of sin, our families are torn apart. Our children have turned to drugs. Our streets are dark and dangerous. Our houses are empty shells of loneliness and despair. And young people like you have become the victims and slaves of sin - alone in a cold and barren city, without love, without hope, without laughter, without singing, without joy, and without hope! You may not have put it into words, but I know most young people will agree with me when I say that America is ruined!

And you feel it. You feel the loneliness. You feel the hopelessness. Even when you go to a party, or a rave, or a dance - you sense that people aren't really connected. You feel alone in the crowd. You can drive down Hollywood Boulevard - there are cars all around you - but you still feel alone. You can walk down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. People are milling all around you. But you still feel alone! You go home, but all there is for you is a computer or a TV. Where are the people? TVs and computers are only machines! Machines can't help you! Where are the people? Where is the cure for loneliness? No one seems to have the answer.

At college, your professor tells you there is no God. He says that the Bible is full of lies. But he, himself, has no answers to the great problems of life. He goes home to smoke dope by himself - because he is so lonely. That college teacher has no answers that can help you!

Your life is a mess. You don't know what to do about it. And nobody seems to be able to help you! I was talking with a psychologist at my gym the other day, before I went swimming. I said, "How can you stand listening to people's problems all day?" He said, "Who's listening?" I thought about that. Who is listening? Who does have the answer? That psychologist isn't even listening. Your parents don't have time to listen. Your friends don't really care enough to listen. And there is a vacuum, an emptiness, a loneliness, that every young person feels today. At the end of his life, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway said, "I feel like a burned out tube in a radio." Shortly afterward he committed suicide. He had everything money could buy, but he was depressed, and lonely, and afraid. Many people in America feel like Hemingway this morning.

But I have news for you! God will listen to you! God can help you!

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ!"

Yes, we all lose our parents and our families sooner or later, in one way or another. But if you come to Christ and get saved, you can say with David,

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

II. Second, when earthly family and friends forsake us, the Lord will take us up.

What a wonderful promise the Bible gives to every person who comes to Christ, "The Lord will take me up." The Lord will receive me! The Lord will be with me!

Commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry said,

The nearest and dearest friends I have in the world, from whom I expect most relief…when they die, or are at a distance from me, or are disabled to help me in time of need, or are unkind to me or unmindful of me, and will not help me, when I am as helpless as ever [a] poor orphan was that was left fatherless and motherless, I know the Lord will take me up, as a poor wandering sheep is taken up, and saved from perishing. [God's] time to [help] those that trust in Him is when all other helpers fail…With Him the fatherless find mercy…God is a surer and better friend than our earthly parents are or can be (Matthew Henry, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson, 1996 reprint, volume 3, pp. 271-272).

"The Lord will take me up." I know that this verse sounds meaningless to you now. I know that God doesn't seem real to you now. It sounds like an empty promise - because God is far away from you - now. And the reason for this is your sin. The Bible says,

"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you" (Isaiah 59:1-2).

The sin in your heart and life has separated you from God. That is why He seems unreal to you. You are separated from Him by your sin.

But God loves you, even though you are a sinner by nature and by practice. God loves you even so. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sin, and remove the separation that exists between you and Him. The Bible says that Christ

"was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 4:25-5:1).

What a wonderful promise - "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"! You can have that. You can have peace with God if you become a born again Christian.

Saved! Saved! My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone!
Saved! Saved! I am saved by the blood of the crucified One!
      ("Saved by the Blood" by S. J. Henderson, 19th century).

You can come to Jesus Christ, and have your sins washed away by His Blood. You can literally be born again, as Christ said in the third chapter of John. Wouldn't you like to be born again - and start life all over with Christ as your Saviour? Wouldn't that be wonderful?

III. Third, what God has provided for us in the local church.

Our second text is Psalm 27:4. David said,

"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 enquire in his temple"
      (Psalm 27:4).

David was speaking of the Tabernacle, translated here as "temple." But Dr. Gill, good Baptist that he was, correctly tells us that the Tabernacle was "typical…prefiguring the churches in gospel times" (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989, volume III, p. 642).

"That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." Dr. Gill says,

Not in Heaven…rather in the church of the living God, which is the house of God, and pillar of truth, where true believers in Christ have a place and a name…where the Lord granted his presence, and where to dwell the psalmist counted the greatest happiness on earth…as long as he lived (ibid.).

I agree with Dr. Gill! Amen and amen! The "greatest happiness on earth" is to dwell in the house of the Lord, the church of the living God! Note that David says "dwell." "That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." The Hebrew word translated "dwell" is "yashab" and it means "to inhabit, to dwell, to remain" (Strong). The idea is that I live here. The church is my home much of the time.

My old pastor used to say, very often, "Let us make the church our second home." I still agree with him! When we say "the church," we are talking about this local church, this body of believers in Christ. Dr. Harold B. Sightler said,

In a real sense, the church is a family of children, of believers, of dearly beloved and adopted ones with God, our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, our elder Brother. A family of the redeemed we are (Harold B. Sightler, D.D., The Church, Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1983, p. 71).

The Bible calls the church, "The whole family" (Ephesians 3:15, cf. 3:10). The local church is a family, a second home, a home away from home. The Apostle Paul said,

"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house"  
      (I Corinthians 16:19).

These people in Asia were so close as the family of God that the church actually met in their house! It is wonderful to have real friends in the local church, like they did! As Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago,

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus, as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family, the family of God.
     ("The Family of God" by William Gaither, 1970).

Some of you may have been to Mass at a cathedral. It was cold and unfriendly. No one knew each other. They all left quickly after the Mass was over. That won't help you! That won't overcome your loneliness or introduce you to Christ for salvation. And that isn't a New Testament church at all! Read the Book of Acts, and you will see that I am right. A real church is the friendliest place on earth! A real church is the happiest place on earth! The Disney people call Disneyland "The Happiest Place on Earth," but they are wrong! This local, New Testament Baptist church is the happiest place on earth! That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus - and get saved!" Then you will understand the meaning of David's words,

"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 enquire in his temple"
      (Psalm 27:4).

Come on home - to church! Come on home - to Christ and get saved! Come on home - and get into the family of God!

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His Blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus, as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family, the family of God.
     ("The Family of God" by William Gaither, 1970).

Come on home to church next Sunday! Come on home to Jesus. Get born again. Get into God's everlasting family in this church! We will do you good!

"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 enquire in his temple…When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:4, 10).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 27:1-14.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "The Family of God"

(by William Gaither, 1970).

THE OUTLINE OF

A PLACE OF COMFORT IN A DESOLATE WORLD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"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 enquire in his temple…When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:4, 10).

I.   We all lose our earthly families sooner or later,
Deuteronomy 32:15, 18, 23, 25; Psalm 106:37-38.

II.  When earthly family and friends forsake us, the Lord will take
us up, Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 4:25; 5:1.

III. What God has provided for us in the local church, Ephesians 3:15;
I Corinthians 16:19.

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