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SECULAR MEDICAL SCHOOL SAYS
GOD HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, September 19, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5).


I read a news story in the Los Angeles Times not long ago. The byline of the news story made this surprising statement,

Research, including brain imaging studies, concludes that teens who are religious are better off in significant ways than their secular peers (Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2004).

Although I was surprised to read that in the newspaper, I knew it was true long ago. I was converted as a young person. I know beyond any doubt that my life has been much better than if I had not become serious about God as a young person. Without Christ and the local church, I would never have finished high school. I dropped out, but went back because I wanted to become a Baptist preacher. I was motivated to go through college at night in my twenties by the thought that God wanted me to do something for Him with my life. My faith in God, and membership in a church like this one, changed the whole course of my life. Because of God and the local church, I went on to graduate from two colleges, and three theological seminaries, earning two doctoral degrees, and an honorary Doctor of Literature degree.

God gave me the strength and help I needed to start this church and lead it through the years.

And it all started when I was a young person. I can say with great joy,

"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5).

This takes us back to the Los Angeles Times byline,

Research, including brain imaging studies, concludes that teens who are religious are better off in significant ways than their secular peers (ibid.).

The Times article went on to give information from a study done by the Dartmouth Medical School, which

…concluded that young people who are religious are better off in significant ways than their secular peers…Religion has a unique net effect on adolescents above and beyond factors like race, parental education and family income…poor children who are religious will do better than poor children who are not religious (ibid.).

Furthermore, the article said that there is an increase of interest in religion among young people today. It said,

A social groundswell may be underway, as a larger proportion of teenagers than a decade ago say religion is important. In 2001, about three out of five teenagers said religion was "pretty important" or "very important" to them - a significant increase… The biggest jump occurred among young achievers who anticipated finishing four years of college…They are swelling the enrollment at Christian colleges at three times the rate of other degree-granting schools. Religion is getting bigger in teenagers' lives, and the Dartmouth panel's findings may suggest to some that it should (ibid.).

Although this study at the Dartmouth Medical School was done from a secular perspective, I believe that it does show the value of faith and church attendance for young people today. Here are three benefits given by the Dartmouth Medical School Commission.

I. First, the Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Religious congregations
benefit teenagers by affirming who they are, expecting a lot
from them and giving them opportunities to show what they can do."

That's exactly what we do in this church. We "affirm who [you] are." We give young people like you answers from the Bible concerning the great questions of life - Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Jesus said,

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

Christ is the way! Christ is the truth! Christ is the life! Christ is the way to God!

The Bible teaches that you are a unique person, created by God to love and serve Him. But then the Bible says that you "have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And the Bible says that "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). God created you to love and serve Him, but you have been cut off from God by your sin. The Bible says,

"Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you" (Isaiah 59:2).

That's where Jesus Christ, the Son of God, comes in. John 3:16 is the most well known verse in the Bible.

"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).

God loves you. He does not want you to perish in sin. That's why God sent Jesus, His "only begotten Son," to die on the Cross. Christ died there to pay the penalty for your sins, and to cleanse you from sin by His Blood. The Bible speaks of

"Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood" (Romans 3:24-25).

Christ rose physically from the dead. He is now alive, seated at the right hand of God the Father, in Heaven. When you come to Christ, your sins are paid for, and you are cleansed in the sight of God by His precious Blood!

And then the Dartmouth Commission said, "Religious congregations benefit teenagers by…expecting a lot from them and giving them opportunities to show what they can do" (ibid.). That's what this church is all about. We are here to benefit you by expecting a lot from you, and by giving you opportunities to show what you can do! This church is built on young people like you. Come to Christ and get saved! Come into this local church and go to work for Christ! Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Come and help us make this church a beacon of light for young people in the Los Angeles area!

II. Second, the Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Adolescents are
hard-wired to connect to God."

The study said, "What sets religious groups apart…and makes a surprisingly big difference to kids - is that they promote a 'direct personal relationship with the Divine'" (ibid.). The study said that young people like you are "hard-wired" to connect with God. Although they expressed this in secular terms, I tend to agree with them. You are hard-wired to connect with God! Most conversions occur before the age of twenty-five. Those are the cold, hard statistics. Most people find God while they are young. And the Times article said, "A social groundswell may be underway." Many young people today are coming to Jesus Christ. They are discovering the age-old truth proclaimed by the Psalmist,

"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5).

III. Third, the Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Religion or
spirituality may influence young people's brain circuits."

The Times article ended by saying,

Panels of academics and medical practitioners don't usually refer to "the Divine." But these experts couldn't ignore what the data suggested, in particular two things: Religion or spirituality may influence young people's brain circuits, reducing their levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and personal devotion is twice as likely to protect them from risky behavior as it would adults (ibid.).

That's a secular way of saying that when you encounter Christ, He changes the way you think. That's what the word "repentance" means in the Bible - a change in the way you think. Jesus said,

"Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

And that's exactly what I'm asking you to do this morning - repent and believe the gospel! Let God change your way of thinking, and come to Jesus Christ, His Son. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He rose physically from the dead. He is now alive, up in Heaven, at the right hand of God. Come to Christ. Trust Him. He will wash away your sins with His Blood. He will give you everlasting life.

"Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

That is our message to young people - and to everyone.

"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5).

This is the way out of darkness! This is the path that leads from desperation to joy! This is the road from hopeless depression to unspeakable glory and everlasting life!

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
     Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
     Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of earth's sorrows into Thy balm,
     Out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
     Jesus, I come to Thee.
("Jesus, I Come" by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God!


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 71:1-6.
The Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Jesus, I Come" (by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

THE OUTLINE OF

SECULAR MEDICAL SCHOOL SAYS
GOD HELPS YOUNG PEOPLE!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth" (Psalm 71:5).

I.   The Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Religious
congregations benefit teenagers by affirming who
they are, expecting a lot from them and giving them
opportunities to show what they can do," John 14:6;
Romans 3:23; 6:23; Isaiah 59:2; John 3:16; Romans 3:24-25.

II.  The Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Adolescents
are hard-wired to connect to God," Psalm 71:5.

III. The Dartmouth Medical Commission said, "Religion or
spirituality may influence young people's brain circuits,"
Mark 1:15.

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