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THE CAUSES AND CURES OF THE LONELINESS
YOUNG PEOPLE EXPERIENCE TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, September 26, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm 102:6-7).


The Los Angeles Times recently ran an article which indicates that many young people are taking religion more seriously today. The article said,

A social groundswell may be underway, as a larger proportion of teenagers than a decade ago say religion is important…They've sustained a decade-long growth in the number of high school Bible clubs. 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… (The Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2004, page E-11).

This trend is also occurring on secular college campuses, where students are now often more religiously conservative than their Hippie-generation teachers. Many young people are now more interested in God than the radical leftist ideals of their professors.

What is the cause of this new trend? I believe that many young people today have seen that the social ideals of the radical left have not helped our nation. I believe that this new generation of young people is looking for stability, lasting friendships, and they are looking for the meaning of life. These interests are bringing many of them to re-examine the teachings of the Bible, particularly, the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

One of the driving forces behind this new interest in God is the loneliness that so many young people experience today. Most high school and college-age young people feel an aching loneliness inside. One young person expressed those lonely feelings by saying,

I want to be special to someone, but there's no one who cares about me. I can't remember anyone touching me, smiling at me, or wanting to be with me…I am so lonely I can hardly stand it (quoted by Josh McDowell, The Disconnected Generation, Word, 2000, p. 11).

That young person experienced the pain of loneliness that the Psalmist spoke of when he said,

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm 102:6-7).

Your age group is called the "X Generation." The very name of your generation comes from a man named "Malcolm X." He felt totally cut off and alone in American society. So many young people identified with Malcolm X's feelings of disenfranchisement and loneliness that they named your generation after him, the X Generation - lonely and cut off from meaningful relationships, in a world without love and without lasting friendships. Have you ever felt lonely? Let's think about that.

I. First, think about the causes of loneliness.

Adam was lonely in the Garden of Eden. It was a perfect place to live. Everything was provided for him. Yet he was alone. Many young people have great advantages today - a TV, a car, money, and their own computer. Yet they are alone. Their father has either left or is too preoccupied to spend time with them. Their mother is working. If they have brothers and sisters, they are gone most of the time.

You can get on the computer and chat with people on-line, but there's a flatness to it. Somehow it isn't the same as talking with real people. After spending hundreds of hours playing video games - alone - you sense that there's got to be something more. Don't you sometimes think, "Is that all there is to life?"

When God saw that Adam was alone in the Garden, He said,

"It is not good that the man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18).

It was not good for Adam to be alone. And it's not good for you either.

A young friend of mine went to see his parents in another country last summer. He spent a lot of money to make the long trip to see them. But his mother left abruptly on an unannounced business trip just before he arrived. And his father spent most of the time holed up in his room playing games on his computer. My friend was left alone in the house. The abandonment and loneliness he felt in his parents' house is a common experience of young people today.

Then there is the problem of constant moving and changing. Many of your parents move every few years - always, it seems, to make more money, or to achieve some other advantage. I know how that feels. I actually went to twenty-eight different schools before I graduated from high school. I remember how it felt to always be the "new kid" in my class. I always felt like an outsider. No wonder! I was always the "new kid."

Have you ever felt like that? Then, when you graduate from high school, they talk about sending you away to college. Right at the time when you need stability more than ever, they put you through this hideous "rite of passage." They send you "away" to some distant school, and the pain of loneliness is often unbearable, especially during the first semester. I think that's one of the reasons that suicide is the number two cause of death among young people, closely following automobile accidents. Many of those who commit suicide simply can't stand the loneliness any longer. But suicide is not the answer to loneliness. You have an eternal soul, and you will be even more lonely in Hell.

Jesus told about a rich man who died and went to Hell.

"And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments" (Luke 16:23).

Christ described this man as being so lonely in Hell that there was no one there to give him a drink of water to cool his tongue (Luke 16:24). I warn you that suicide is not the answer to your depression and loneliness.

II. Second, think about the cures of loneliness.

When God saw the loneliness of Adam, He said,

"It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18).

God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs, out of his side,

"And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Genesis 2:22).

The Scofield Study Bible has a note on Genesis 2:23 which says, "Eve, type of the Church as bride of Christ."

God took Eve out of Adam's side to be his bride and helper. And God took the Church out of the wounded side of Christ to be His bride and to be your helper. Eve was taken out of Adam's side to be his help meet, so he would not be alone. The Church was taken out of the side of Christ, wounded by a spear when He was on the Cross, so that the local Church could help you overcome loneliness.

God wanted Eve to be Adam's help meet. And God wants the church to be your help meet. Adam must have rejoiced with happiness to discover he had a friend and companion for his journey through life. And you will rejoice and find happiness through the lasting friends and companions you make in this local church. The church will always be here for you. That's the way it was in the local church at Jerusalem.

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" (Acts 2:46).

There is great joy and happiness in joining the fellowship of a local church. Involvement in a church like this is the God-given cure for loneliness. That's why we say repeatedly, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

You will graduate from high school. You will graduate from college. The friends you make there will graduate too. Gradually you will lose contact with them - and be alone again. But you never "graduate" from the local church. Even when you die, you are translated into

"the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven" (Hebrews 12:23).

That's why we sing,

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land.
O, who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.
    ("On Jordan's Stormy Banks" by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!
    ("When We All Get to Heaven" by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920).

Friends will be there I have loved long ago,
Joy like a river around me will flow,
Yet just a smile from my Saviour, I know,
Will through the ages be glory for me.
O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me.
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me!
      ("O That Will Be Glory" by Charles H. Gabriel, 1856-1932).

Our text said,

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm 102:6-7).

Spurgeon said, concerning this verse,

The Psalmist likens [compares] himself to…birds which are commonly used as emblems of gloom and wretchedness…he seemed to himself to be as a melancholy [sad and lonely] bird sitting among the [ruined] palaces (C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Pilgrim Publications, 1983 reprint, volume IV, p. 420).

Dr. Gill said,

The Jews had flat roofs upon their houses, and here birds of solitude would come and sit alone in the night seasons, to whom the Psalmist likens [compares] himself; being either forsaken by his friends and acquaintance; or, being in melancholy [sad and lonely] circumstances, he chose to be alone, mourning over his sorrowful state and condition (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume IV, p. 127).

You may feel forsaken by friends and acquaintances. Or you may have chosen to be alone. Either way, if you feel as lonely as a solitary bird on a rooftop, the time has come for you to do something about it. Don't go off alone, after this service is over! The Bible says,

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together"
     (Hebrews 10:25).

Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins on the Cross. Christ rose physically from the dead, and ascended back to Heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God - waiting for you to come home to Him so He can wash away your sins with His Blood, so you can start a new and better life with Him in the happy fellowship of this local church.

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


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 2:18-24.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"It Is No Secret" (by Stuart Hamblen, 1908-1989).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE CAUSES AND CURES OF THE LONELINESS
YOUNG PEOPLE EXPERIENCE TODAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm 102:6-7).

I.   The causes of loneliness, Genesis 2:18; Luke 16:23-24.

II.  The cures of loneliness, Genesis 2:22-23; Acts 2:46;
Hebrews 12:23; 10:25.

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