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WHERE ON EARTH CAN YOU FIND
TRUE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, July 11, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).


I am going to spend a few minutes this morning explaining the theme of our church to you. Our theme is this: "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

That sums up our basic message in two short sentences. It starts where you are. Most people are lonely today. We live in a high tech world, but modern technology has not given us friendship. In fact, technology has driven us apart. We drive to work alone in a car. We sit alone in front of a computer or TV set. Families are torn apart because it is so easy to jump on a plane and fly somewhere else to live, or go to school. Science and technology have given us many benefits, but they have also robbed us of intimacy, close friendships, and family life. That is the reason so many people feel lonely today.

I believe that the local New Testament church is the answer to your loneliness. That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!"

But we go on to say, "Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God." We say that because it is true. Again and again, the Bible says that you are lost without Christ. Jesus said,

"The Son of man is come to save that which was lost"
     (Matthew 18:11).

Jesus said,

"This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).

The Apostle Paul said,

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost"
     (II Corinthians 4:3).

This sinful old world is lost. Thousands of people in this city are lost. They don't know God, and they don't know how to be saved from sin. That's where the gospel of Christ comes in. The Apostle Paul said,

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth"
     (Romans 1:16).

As an old song puts it,

We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around, Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
    ("Jesus Saves" by Priscilla J. Owens, 1829-1907).

This sinful old world needs to be saved. And no one but Jesus Christ can do it! You need to be saved. And no one but Jesus Christ can do it! That's why

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth"
    (Romans 1:16).

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

Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus. But where do you learn these things? Where can you experience them? In the local church, that's where!

I. First, we experience the love of God through the local church.

"Jesus said"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment" (Matthew 22:37-38).

Notice that this is a commandment. We are not saved by trying to keep this commandment - or any other commandment! This commandment to love God is part of the law. You cannot be saved by trying to keep the law. You cannot be saved by trying to love God. The Bible says,

"By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).

In the local church you learn that you are unable to love God. You learn that your heart is actually in continuous rebellion against God,

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).

You can't love God! The commandment to love Him shows that you are a sinner.

"When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died"
     (Romans 7:9).

When the commandment to love God hits you with full force, you realize that you cannot love Him as you should, and all hope of earning your own salvation dies.

That's where Jesus Christ comes in. The Bible says,

"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" (Romans 5:8-9).

Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins - including the sin of not loving God as you should. Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for that sin - and to cleanse you from it with His Blood!

That's the reason we repeatedly say, "Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!" Do it! Do it today! When you come to Jesus, you experience the love of God,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

When you are converted, you experience the love of God through the message of the gospel of Christ, which you heard in the local church.

II. Second, we experience love for each other in the local church.

Jesus said,

"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:39).

Lost people out in the world often quote that verse. But they don't experience the reality of it. They just quote it, or allude to it - but they don't really experience it. How could they - since they haven't been converted? Love for each other is a truth from the Spirit of God which "the world cannot receive" (John 14:17). All that the world can offer is a counterfeit, a false fellowship, a false friendship.

They say they will be there as your friend always - but they aren't there when you need them. You go to a party and the lights are flashing, and the music is loud - but when the party is over, where are they? There you are - alone again!

But that's not the way it is in the local church! Here the fellowship never ends! Here the friendships go on - throughout time and eternity! That's why the Bible says,

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:7-8).

"Every one that loveth is born of God." One of the ways we know that we are saved is by loving each other. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also"
      (I John 4:20-21).

We experience love for each other in the local church. We know that we are converted if we love the brothers and sisters in the local church. The Bible says,

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (I John 3:14).

Wonderful fellowship! Joyful friendships! Everlasting communion - experienced in the local church!

Blest be the tie that binds Our hearts in Christian love,
The fellowship of kindred minds Is like to that above.
     ("Blest Be the Tie" by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).

III. Third, we attract lost people from the world by our love
for each other in the local church.

Please stand and turn with me to John 17:18-21. These are the words of Christ. Let us read these four verses aloud.

"As thou [God the Father] hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:18-21).

You may be seated.

Jesus said that the world would believe the gospel of Christ when they saw the unity and love of a local church. And that is exactly what happened at the church in Jerusalem. They had "favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Why did they have "favour with all the people" in that local church? Simply because all the people saw how much they loved each other (cf. Acts 2:46)! We attract the world by loving each other.

"That they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21).

Now turn to John 13:35. These, again, are the words of Christ. Let us read John 13:35 aloud.

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

That is our theme! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost - come home - to Jesus, the Son of God!

Please turn to the last hymn on your song sheet. Let us sing it together.

I've wandered far away from God, Now I'm coming home;
The paths of sin too long I've trod, Lord, I'm coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Never more to roam,
Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I'm coming home.
   ("Lord, I'm Coming Home" by William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921).

(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I John 4:7-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Blest Be the Tie" (by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).

THE OUTLINE OF

WHERE ON EARTH CAN YOU FIND
TRUE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP?

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40).

(Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:24; II Corinthians 4:3; Romans 1:16)

I.   We experience the love of God through the local church,
Matthew 22:37-38; Romans 3:20; 8:7; 7:9; 5:8-9;
John 3:16.

II.  We experience love for each other in the local church,
Matthew 22:39; John 14:17; I John 4:7-8, 20-21; 3:14.

III. We attract lost people from the world by our love for each
other in the local church, John 17:18-21; Acts 2:47, 46;
John 13:35.

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