Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 215 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 36 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




A TRAGIC CHRISTMAS STORY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 23, 2001

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).


This is the Sunday before Christmas. Most pastors will be speaking of the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of mankind. I wish them well in their preaching. We need to hear about Jesus, of whom it was said by the angel of the Lord,

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins”

(Matthew 1:21).

I wish God would let me preach on the birth of Christ this Christmas Sunday morning. But God has spoken to my heart – and He has given me a dark and tragic message, rather than one filled with the light and comfort of the Christmas story.

I must speak the words that God has given me for this occasion. This sermon, therefore, must not be a pleasant one. It must upset many who hear – and challenge the rest of you with a disturbing, frightening, even ghastly message.

It is a sermon based upon the saga of an American boy, just twenty years of age, who left his wealthy home in Marin County, near San Francisco, and joined the Taliban, the terrorist group in Afghanistan. There this twenty-year-old boy became a soldier of Allah, and fought alongside Moslem radicals against everything that modern America stands for. I will trace his pilgrimage from middle class America to fanatical Islam. I will try my very best to help you learn from his story some great truths that you, as young college students, need to hear.

I. First, John Walker Lindh came to hate the hedonistic, anything goes,
way of life in our nation.

How did John Walker Lindh become transformed into an anti-American zealot and a companion of Osama bin Laden in his war against our nation? Time magazine has a detailed story on Lindh in its December 17 issue, titled “The Taliban Next Door” ( Time, December 17, 2001, pp. 36-38). Time asks a probing question about him:

At 16, John Walker [Lindh] was a quiet California kid. At 20, he was a Taliban warrior. How did he get from Marin County to Mazar-i-Sharif? (ibid., p. 36).

I will give you the steps he took in his conversion to terrorist Islam. His pilgrimage to the Moslem religion was reported in Newsweek magazine (December 13, 2001, p. 5). The Newsweek article tells us that John Walker Lindh

…can be at least partly understood as a product of…a reaction against – the culture and mores of a certain time and place. He was born in 1981, a year after the end of the so-called Me Decade that gave rise to a host of self-improvement and self-realization fads. His adolescent years were spent in Marin County, north of San Francisco. Marin County has been gently mocked by the cartoon strip “Doonesbury” as the epicenter of the self-esteem movement, a land of hot tubs, Rolfing and est, a bastion of moral relativism where divorces were for a time listed alongside marriages in the newspaper. Walker was named John after John Lennon, the Beatle. His father says he was not bothered when his two sons rejected the “strict Catholic manner” of his own upbringing. His mother was a child of the ‘60s who dabbled in Buddhism and home-schooled John for a time. He was sent to an elite alternative high school where students were allowed to shape their own studies and had to check in with their teacher only once a week.

Walker discovered his passion for Islam online, after sampling other possibilities. At the age of 14, under the handle “doodoo,” he was visiting Web sites for hip-hop music with particularly crude raps on sex and violence. In one e-mail posting, he scorned a critic of hip-hop as a “worthless d—rider.” In one e-mail at the height of his fascination with hip-hop, he appeared to pose as an African American, writing, “Our blackness should not make white people hate us.” But as he got older, he veered to a very different direction. He began visiting Islamic Web sites, asking questions like, “Is it all right to watch cartoons on TV or in the movies?” His family says that the turning point [came] at the age of 16 when he read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” which describes the conversion to Islam of the famous black militant…young Walker soon became pretty militant himself…Selling off his hip-hop CD collection on a rap music board, he converted to Islam.

He began wearing Islamic dress, a long white robe and pillbox hat, and calling himself Suleyman. His flowing robes raised…eyebrows, even in Marin County, which is deeply tolerant of almost any form of self-expression…”That’s not your normal Marin County attire,” says a former neighbor…Walker’s parents [did not want to call] him “Suleyman” (he remained “John” to them).

At about this time, late 1998, Walker’s parents were [divorcing]…Their teenage son became obsessed with memorizing the Quran and the Sharia, Islam’s…fixed rules for living.

I think that extended Newsweek quotation makes it quite clear why John Walker Lindh turned against the modern American way of life.

One thing is quite clear in the story of John Walker Lindh – he rejected the modern mores and values of American society. He rejected the man he was named after – John Lennon. He rejected the moral and spiritual looseness of his parents. He totally rejected his weak, typically effeminate old Hippie father.

Why did he do that? Newsweek points out:

Lindh was critical of America as a land that exalted self above all else. Americans were so busy pursuing their personal goals, he said, that they had no time for their families or communities. In the Islamic world, by contrast, he felt cared for by others. “In the U.S. I feel alone,” he said. “Here I feel comfortable and at home”

( Newsweek, December 13, 2001, p. 2).

Loneliness! There you have it! American young people like John Walker Lindh feel lonely. Their parents aborted or otherwise ruined their brothers and sisters, so they aren’t at home. With virtually no family life, these kids are alone. Both parents have gone their separate ways – so they aren’t at home. The parents moved him from Maryland to California at ten, so he lost all his childhood friends. His mother rebelled against her Catholic husband and became a Buddhist, so he had no spiritual stability. They put him in a liberal school that made Malcolm X a hero and belittled or didn’t even mention Washington, Lincoln or any of the other true heroes of America.

They gave John Walker Lindh nothing emotionally or spiritually. They handed him a book about Malcolm X – and then they wonder why he believed it!

Writing for NBC News, Richard Rodriguez says

One suspects a lonely child [of course – after his parents ripped him out of school in Maryland!]…one wonders about the other kids at school, the pot, the sex, the routine chaos of American adolescence, the empty big house, the pimpled movies at the mall, the idiot gangs of jocks and goths (msnbc.com/news, December 13, 2001).

Isn’t that the way you see America, young person? Doesn’t the modern American way of life make you sick at the stomach, like it did John Walker Lindh? Aren’t you sick of our whole stupid, meaningless way of life?

I hate – yes I hate – the way these old Hippies – like Lindh’s parents – have ruined America! I hate his parents’ hedonistic heathen way of life every bit as much as John Walker Lindh does! The Bible says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

II. Secondly, John Walker Lindh rebelled against the moral and spiritual
decadence of his old Hippie parents, and their generation.

Listen to me for a minute. I’m older than your Hippie parents. I’m from the generation before your parents were born. And all of my life I have hated what your parents believe. For forty years I have hated what your Hippie parents think and believe. I am against your parents and their generation. And I can fully understand how you young people, you college-age people, today are against the Hippie way of looking at things.

My sons and I were watching a TV program on the 100 greatest rock songs. These were voted on by the old Hippies. They voted the Beatles as number four, Bob Dylan as number three, Aretha Franklin (of course – always politically correct) as number two, and Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones as number one (“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” as the number one rock song of all time). As I watched those old video clips of Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger, I remembered how much I hated their music and their message back in the sixties. I listened to the Beach Boys, something happier and more positive. Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan were singing about drugs and political correctness and free sex. I knew they were no good then – and I know it now!!! I agree with you completely – your parents’ generation has nothing to offer you! Bill Clinton’s generation is no good! They are spiritual degenerates. They are moral relativists. They are rootless materialists. They are baby-murdering abortionists. They are Christ-rejecting, church-rejecting, libertarianists. I reject your parents’ way of life – and I don’t blame you, or John Walker Lindh for doing the same thing! Reject the old Hippies! Throw out their way of life! Join this church and become a Fundamentalist Baptist! Leave your parents’ way of life and join this church – and become a real Christian!

Young person, have you ever wondered why your parents didn’t take you to church every Sunday? Young person, have you ever wondered why your parents divorced? Young person, have you ever wondered why your house was so cold and so lonely?

I will give you the answers to every one of those questions – it’s because your parents were not real Christians! It’s as simple as that!

Young person – do you want to get divorced some day? Young person – do you want to grow up and have a cold and lonely house? No? Then you have to join this church, come to Jesus Christ – and become a fundamentalist Baptist – a real Christian! Do it! Do it! Do it now!

That takes me back to our opening text, in Exodus twenty. In the Second of the Ten Commandments, God said:

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

The main sin of America is idolatry. Your parents and their old Hippie generation made idols out of drugs, and sex, and libertarianism. They “worshipped and served the creature [the world and themselves] more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). The old Hippies were worried about saving trees and whales – while they murdered 40 million babies – and left you alone in front of the TV – in an empty, lonely house!

The old Hippies made idols out of trees and whales. They smoked weed and became Hindus and Buddhists and free thinkers. They could handle everything – except militant, serious Christianity. They wanted any god at all – as long as it wasn’t the serious God of the Bible.

And so God “visited the iniquity of the fathers upon the children” (Exodus 20:5). No wonder you’re so confused and emotionally messed up. Your parents quit going to church regularly and they raised you as an American heathen! Your parents really screwed you up!

III. Which brings me to the last point of this sermon – John Walker Lindh
made the wrong choice and came up with the wrong answer.

You must leave the way of the old Hippies to find happiness and to cure your loneliness. But where do you turn when you leave your parents’ way of life? John Walker Lindh turned to the false faith of the Moslems. He turned to their false God – Allah. He turned to the Satanic false book, called the Koran.

The correct answer cannot be found in Islam. The correct answer is found only in Jesus Christ – and in a fundamentalist Baptist church! There is no other real answer to the problems you face in life!

Jesus Christ is the answer to your unhappiness! Jesus Christ is the answer to your loneliness! Jesus Christ said:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ is “the way.” He is the way to God. He is the way to Heaven. He is the way to life, and joy, and peace. He is the way – and the only way – to forgiveness, and peace with God.

Jesus Christ is the truth. Christ is the perfect embodiment of truth. That’s what Christmas is all about – the true God being given to us in human flesh! Jesus Christ is the truth!

And “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” said Jesus. And He was right to say that! The old Hippies, your parents, have said for years that there are many ways to reach God. But your parents are dead wrong! There is only one way to find the true God – and that is through Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

You see, no other religious leader died to pay for your sin. And no other religious leader rose physically from the dead. Only Christ did those things. John Lennon cannot forgive your sins. Mohammed cannot forgive your sins. The Buddha cannot forgive your sins. They are dead gods. Only Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, arose flesh and bone from the dead! Only Jesus Christ is alive right now – up in Heaven at the right hand of God. Only Jesus Christ can forgive your sins, and save you from punishment in Hell. That’s why you must be converted to Christ. Jesus said:

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Now, how do you get converted to Christ? First, you must come back to this church every single Sunday – to hear the gospel. That is critical – if you want to become a real Christian, if you want to be truly converted.

Secondly, you must go through the inward turmoil and struggle of conversion. You must inwardly come to the place where you distrust your own mind, and hate your own sin. You must come to the place where you literally hate your own sinful nature.

And then, you must turn to Jesus Christ, with full and complete faith in Him alone. The Bible says:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”

(Acts 16:31).

As the Puritan hymn writer Joseph Hart put it:

The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through His Blood.

(“The Moment a Sinner Believes” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

When you put the full weight of your belief on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, He will forgive your sins and you will be converted – by Him.

In conclusion, it all starts when you come back to church here tonight and next Sunday – and on the night before Christmas, on Christmas Eve. This church will cure your loneliness and preach to you the gospel. Dr. Leonard Zunin, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, said that the biggest problem facing young people today is loneliness. Psychoanalyst Dr. Erich Fromm said, “The deepest need of man is…to leave the prison of his loneliness.”

These psychiatrists were exactly right. And in my forty-four years of pastoral ministry, I have become convinced that your loneliness can only be overcome by making time for church – every time the door is open. Why be lonely? Come home – to church!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Matthew 1:21; John 14:6.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Put Christ Back Into Christmas" / “Ye Must Be Born Again”
by William T. Sleeper (1819-1904).


THE OUTLINE OF

A TRAGIC CHRISTMAS STORY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).

(Matthew 1:21)

I.   He came to hate the hedonistic, anything goes, way of life
in our nation, Romans 1:22.

II.  He rebelled against the moral and spiritual decadence of
his old Hippie parents, and their generation,
Exodus 20:4-6; Romans 1:25.

III. He made the wrong choice and came up with the wrong
answer, John 14:6; Matthew 18:3; Acts 16:31.