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SPIDER-MAN AND YOU

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 15, 2002


"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not" (Proverbs 1:10).


I don't often base a sermon on a comic book or a video. And yet I feel I should speak on Spider-Man this morning for two main reasons. First, because the movie and video are so wildly popular that nearly every young person who is brought to our church has seen it. Our church is centered around young people, high school and college-age kids. Nearly all of our evangelism is focused on seven colleges in the Los Angeles area. Dozens of young people come to our church from this evangelistic outreach. Many of you were never involved in any church before coming here.

You have little knowledge of the Bible. It isn't your fault. Your parents just didn't think it was very important to get you into a Bible believing church when you were small. So you came here not knowing much about the Bible or Biblical Christianity in a local Baptist church like this one.

Although you don't really know the Bible, you do know about Spider-Man. So I am going to use his story to tell you some truths from the Scriptures, that I hope will help you.

Second, Spider-Man's experiences are a lot like yours. He's your age. Peter Parker (who is Spider-Man) is a typical young person in our time. He is an X generation young person. That's why so many young people of your generation relate to him.

Here are four simple points from the Spider-Man video that can help you understand yourself, and your relationship to God and the Bible.

I. First, Spider-Man feels like a loser.

The hero, Peter Parker, is a dorky American teenager filled with the fears and doubts young people experience today. He feels like a loser. He is avoided by the popular kids in his high school and ignored by the girl he likes.

Spider-Man is definitely one of us. The girls never found him that attractive. He didn't have much money. Even after a day of righting wrongs, he still had to go home and do the laundry.

Before Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, he feels like most young people do today. Yours is the X generation, the generation nobody wanted. Your generation is a lot smaller than the Hippies. Most of you were killed off by abortion - forty million of you. If you made it past the abortionist's knife, you then had to go through the divorce or dysfunction of your parents, child abuse, recession, crime, drugs, and societal turmoil. Xers are often "latchkey" kids, who come home to an empty house, while parents and older brothers and sisters have other things to do. Like Peter Parker (Spider-Man), your generation largely grew up lonely, and feeling unwanted.

I know exactly how many young people feel today. My parents divorced. I was moved from one place to the other, going to so many schools that I made no permanent friends. I was deeply lonely and deeply unsure of myself as a young person. I was like a forerunner of your generation. Now nearly all young people feel like I did.

But I found out a secret. Even though it seemed like I was unwanted, I found out that God wanted me. Even though I was lonely, I found friendship in the local church. That's why I preach so strongly today, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church - and to Christ!" The Bible says:

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

II. Second, Spider-Man lives in a dangerous world.

The second thing about Peter Parker (Spider-Man) that is familiar to so many young people today is that he lives in a very dangerous world. He is constantly confronted by powerful villains like Doc-Oc and the Green Goblin.

Kids can relate to that today, because we live in such a dangerous time in history. The Muslims might spray our city with anthrax or smallpox. We might be bombed with a nuclear weapon. Added to all this, there are many bad people that are out to get you. You feel that.

The Bible teaches that there are real demons, and a real Devil - who is out to destroy you. The Bible says,

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary [your enemy] the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).

Yes, there is a real Devil - and he really wants to get you! You have no power of your own that can overcome him. He is too strong, and too clever, for you to overcome on your own. But Jesus Christ is more powerful than the Devil, or any demon. When you come fully to Christ, He will deliver you from Satan, the enemy of your soul. That's why I am asking you to get into this church every Sunday - no matter what comes up. Make a plan to be here. Be with us on Christmas Sunday night - for the banquet. Be with us on Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas. Don't let the Devil pull you away for anything! Come to Christ. He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He arose physically from the dead, and overcame the power of Satan by His bodily resurrection. And Jesus Christ is alive - up in Heaven, at the right hand of God. You can come to Christ and He will save you! He said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Christ is on your side. The Devil is against you. Come fully into this church. Come fully to Christ - and He will save you!

III. Third, Spider-Man's mentors are older people.

The third thing about Spider-Man that is similar to many young people is that his mentors and guides are older people. Peter Parker's aunt and uncle take care of him after his parents are gone. He follows the advice of his uncle, who tells him, "With power comes responsibility." It reminds me of our text,

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not"    (Proverbs 1:10).

Many young people today are looking for older people who will point the way, and tell them how to make it in life. Here in our church there are deacons, like Mr. Griffith, Dr. Chan, and Dr. Cagan, to point you in the right direction. There are other leaders, like Mrs. Salazar, Mrs. Cagan, and Mrs. Hymers, to help you learn how to live a better life. I am here, as the pastor, to offer advice. Listen to us. We are older than you. We can help you learn how to live the Christian life. We can point you to Christ. Don't listen to those sinners out in the world. Listen to us, and you will find a better way to live.

"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not"
   (Proverbs 1:10).

IV. Fourth, Spider-Man stands for traditional values.

Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is not a Hippie. He is not rebellious. He wants to do right. He stands for the traditional values of right against wrong.

Many young people today are sick and fed up with the confusion of the post-modern world. These young people are looking back - to the traditions and beliefs of the past - for guidance. Good! I agree with you! The Bible says,

"Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Theologian Robert Webber says, "[Young people] are not interested in the Boomer [Hippie] approach. Instead they want to return to a more stable time, a period of tradition…the tradition of very old times" (Robert Webber, "How Will Millennials Worship?" in Reformed Worship, Number 59, p. 3). I think he is right.

And what better place to go back to the old paths, the old ways, than in our church? We preach from the good old King James Bible. We sing the great old hymns of the historic Christian faith. We believe in the old-time religion!

Give me that old-time religion!
Give me that old-time religion!
Give me that old-time religion!
It's good enough for me!

It will get us all to Heaven!
It will get us all to Heaven!
It will get us all to Heaven!
And it's good enough for me!

That's why I am saying to you young people,

"My son [my daughter], if sinners entice thee, consent thou not"
      (Proverbs 1:10).

Many preachers never tell young people the clear-cut things they need to do if they hope to be converted. Now, the first thing is to come back here to church! That's why we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" If you do that - and keep doing it every Sunday, there's a fairly good chance you will get saved. But if you don't come back here to church, there is little hope for your salvation. Get into the "groove," and be here every Sunday - no matter what happens! Be here for the Christmas banquet, the Sunday night before Christmas! And be sure to be here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas! Don't miss that Christmas Eve service - the night before Christmas. We will celebrate the Lord's Supper. Be here on Christmas Eve. We will have a meal. We will sing Christmas carols. I will preach my special Christmas sermon. You simply must be in those meetings, and hear those sermons, or you will not get saved!

As I said, the Devil is very powerful. He is the leader of a vast army of demons. The Bible speaks of "the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). The Scriptures tell us that Satan has a kingdom, including his subjects, the demons (Matthew 12:26-27). Demons are the devil's agents in his kingdom of spiritual darkness. And the kingdom of Satan is very strong and very large. We must never underestimate the power and greatness of Satan's empire.  Spider-Man is attacked by the Green Goblin.  The Green Goblin pictures demons and Satan.  They are out to destroy you.  You must resist the Devil and the demons, and be in church on Christmas Eve!

And remember that the Devil will do everything possible to keep you from being here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas. He may use your lost friends to try for Christ to try to pull you away from church on the night of Christ's birthday. Satan may use your lost parents to pull you away from church that night. Jesus said, "A man's foes [enemies] shall be they of his own household" (Matthew 10:36).  Jesus said:

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37).

Invite your parents to come with you the night before Christmas. If they won't come, leave them behind and come yourself, for a couple of hours. Don't let anything keep you away from Christ's birthday party!

Now, that's a very practical, clear-cut thing you can do - if you are serious about becoming a real Christian. Be here on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas - for Christ's birthday party. Don't let anything in the world keep you from being here!

Jesus said:

"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).

The Devil will do everything he can to get you to forget about what I said this morning. Don't let him do it! Put Christ back into Christmas! Be here for Jesus' birthday party on Christmas Eve - the night before Christmas!

" Don't wish me "Merry Xmas" nor "Happy Holiday,"
Put Christ back into Christmas on this blessed Holy Day.
Put Christ back into Christmas, Like on that silent night
When the star of Bethlehem gave way to new born Light.
Let all the world give glory to Christ, the King of Kings;
Let children hear the story of love our Saviour brings.
Put Christ back into Christmas, while shepherds watch and pray,
As angels sing the glory of Our Lord on Christmas Day!
     ("Put Christ Back Into Christmas")

Put Christ back into Christmas! Be at the banquet on Sunday evening, December 22nd! And also be at the Christmas Eve service on Tuesday night, December 24th! Do it! Do it! Do it!

Yes, there is a Devil! There are real demons, horrible, dark, and weird. And the demons want your blood! The demons want your soul - in Hell! The only means of escape is Jesus Christ! Come home - to church! Come home - to Christ!


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Proverbs 1:10-23.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Give Me That Old-Time Religion" (Traditional Spiritual)

THE OUTLINE OF

SPIDER-MAN AND YOU

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not" (Proverbs 1:10).

I.   Spider-Man feels like a loser, Acts 2:47.

II.  Spider-Man lives in a dangerous world, I Peter 5:8; Matthew 11:28.

III. Spider-Man's mentors are older people, Proverbs 1:10.

IV. Spider-Man stands for traditional values, Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 25:41;
Matthew 12:26-27; Matthew 10:36-37; Luke 8:12.

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