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THE LONELINESS OF CAIN – A SIGN OF THE TIMES!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, July 9, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth”
(Genesis 4:12).


On June 23, USA Today featured a front page report on the alarming increase of loneliness in our society. The article said, “Americans have a third fewer close friends and confidants than just two decades ago” (USA Today, June 23, 2006, p. A1). Think of it! People today have one third fewer friends than they had 20 years ago! And the report said that 25% “have no one to confide in” – no friends at all! (ibid.). And the article said that this is “a sign that people [are] living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past.” I believe that news report was exactly right.

Sociologists and psychologists are telling us that people are lonelier today than at any other time in modern history. And loneliness hits young people the hardest. Many college-age and high-school-age young people become so lonely and depressed that they commit suicide. I think that’s the main reason suicide is the number two cause of death among young people ages eighteen to twenty-five. Loneliness! It’s literally destroying the lives of many young people today.

The punk rock group “Green Day” recorded a song that has been played repeatedly on the radio for over a year. It’s a song that young people have responded to all over the world. The title of that song is “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” I don't recommend rock music, but that is what many young people are listening to today.  

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt the heartbreaking emotion of loneliness? The American Sociological Review did a recent study on loneliness. The study said that in 1985 the average person had three friends, but today the number had “dropped to two, and one in four had no close confidants at all” (ibid.). Think of it! One out of every four people have no close friends at all! And nobody is hit harder by loneliness than your generation of young people. Dr. Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University, said, “You usually don’t see that kind of big social change in a couple of decades” (ibid.). “Also, research has linked social isolation and loneliness to mental and [even] physical illness” (ibid.).

Why are young people experiencing so much loneliness today? I believe there are several reasons for the dramatic increase of loneliness in our time.

I. First, loneliness is rooted in the fall of mankind.

The Bible teaches that God created the first human beings without sin and placed them in a perfect environment, in the Garden of Eden. But the first human beings rebelled, and sinned against God. Theologians call that “the Fall,” because mankind fell from their original righteousness into sin. And God said to them,

“Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:17).

The whole human race fell “under the curse” (Galatians 3:10). “By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Romans 5:18). The world came under a curse, and mankind experienced sorrow and loneliness as a result.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, had two sons named Cain and Abel. Because of sin, Cain murdered his brother Abel and God pronounced an even worse curse on him. God said to Cain,

“Now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand…a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth”  
      (Genesis 4:11-12).

Cain became a fugitive, a transient, a lonely wanderer on the earth. Because of his sin, he became an outcast, wandering alone across the fields and mountains. He walked alone, just as that modern punk rock song by Green Day put it,

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated [cut off] from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18).

I am convinced that loneliness is a by-product of original sin and is rooted in the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Human beings have experienced varying degrees of loneliness ever since, throughout history. But today the problem of loneliness is even greater. The USA Today article said that people are “living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past” (ibid.). Why has loneliness increased so much in the modern world? That takes us to the second point.

II. Second, loneliness increases as modern man becomes more like Cain.

God said to Cain,

“A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth”
      (Genesis 4:12).

The Scofield Study Bible said, “Cain…is a type of the mere man of the earth. His religion was destitute of any adequate sense of sin, or need of atonement…[he] is angry with God [and] refuses to bring a sin offering” (note on Genesis 4:1).

Cain was a “man of the earth.” He did not want God. His name means “acquisition” (ibid.). He was only interested in what he could acquire, how much money he could make, how much pleasure he could have. He disliked his brother,

“Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” 
      (I John 3:12).

The great German reformer Martin Luther said, "The world is a monster so perverted in matters pertaining to God that it hates, persecutes and kills [good Christians].  This perverseness...it derived from its father Cain."  

The Bible predicted that mankind would become like Cain at the end of history, right before the end of the world, and the Second Coming of Christ. I believe that we are living in that period of time today. Every sign seems to indicate that we are living in what the Bible calls, “the last days.” The Apostle Paul gave a prophecy that seems to fit our time more than any other. The Apostle said,

“In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”
      (II Timothy 3:1-2, 4-5).

I am convinced that this describes the social situation that has produced so much loneliness today. People have become like Cain. It’s a sign that we are now living near the end of time. I think it is interesting that USA Today called it a “sign.” The article said that the increase of loneliness is “a sign that people [are] living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past” (ibid.). I think it’s one of the signs of the end of the world as we know it. And God said to Cain,

“A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth”
      (Genesis 4:12).

Green Day sang that song, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Many young people are lonely because they are living like Cain, living as though God isn’t important.

“Men shall be lovers of their own selves” (II Timothy 3:2). Self-centered people are so concerned about themselves that they have no room for real friends, or God. They only try to make people like them so they can use them. Such people are bound to be lonely.

They are “covetous” (II Timothy 3:2). The Greek word translated “covetous” means “money lovers.” They love money so much that they work on Sunday instead of coming to church. Every time they should be in church, they are either working to make more money, or studying, so they can earn more money later. Their lives are centered on “getting ahead” and making money. Their lives are not centered on God and the church.

Oh, they may very well have “a form of godliness” (II Timothy 3:5), but it is only a “form.” The Greek word means “the outward form.” Cain had an outward form of religion, but he was not saved. The Scofield Study Bible says, “Cain’s unbloody offering was a refusal of the divine way” (note on Genesis 4:7).

The Bible teaches that your sin must be cleansed by blood, for

“without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).

There is no remission, no pardon for sin, without the shedding of blood. Cain knew that. His parents taught him that. He knew that he needed to bring a blood offering to God. But he refused. When his parents said, “Will you come to Christ?” he made various excuses. So there was “no remission,” no pardon for his sin.

I wonder if you are not like Cain this morning. Do you think only about yourself? Do you think you will get to Heaven without the Blood of Christ? Do you think you are good enough the way you are?

Look deeply into your heart. Isn’t it full of sinful thoughts? Don’t you sometimes think about that? How can a person as selfish and sinful as you hope to get into Heaven unless your sins are cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ? If you go on like you are, you will one day fall into Hell, which is the loneliest place in the universe. In Hell you will be “a fugitive and a vagabond” for all eternity (Genesis 4:12).

III. Third, Christ came to pardon sin and cure loneliness.

The Bible says,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
      (I Timothy 1:15).

Christ does not save us through His moral teachings, important though they be. We could study the moral teachings all of our lives and not be saved. Many people have done that. The main reason Christ came was not just to give us moral teachings, but to pay the penalty for our sins on the Cross. The Bible says,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
     (I Corinthians 15:3).

Christ atoned for all our sins on the Cross. He

“redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree [on the Cross]” (Galatians 3:13).

Christ not only died on the Cross to pay for our sins. The prophet Isaiah said that by His suffering,

“He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).

The grief and sorrow of loneliness were borne by Jesus on the Cross. By pardoning our sin through His crucifixion, He bore our “sorrow” and “grief” as well.

When you come to Christ by faith your sins are immediately cancelled and pardoned. The great griefs and sorrows of life are healed also. “With his stripes,” when they flogged Him with a whip before they nailed Him to the Cross – with those stripes, that cut great gashes in His back – we are healed from the many griefs and sorrows produced by sin, including the grief and sorrow of the horrible loneliness so many young people experience before they are converted by true faith in Christ.

“He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”

on the Cross (Isaiah 53:4). He will heal the sorrowful loneliness that many of you, like Cain, experience in your lives.

“And with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

The Bible says,

“He healeth the broken in heart” (Psalm 147:3).

In his recent book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam said,

Why people have fewer close friends is unclear…The chief suspects [include] living in the suburbs [where they don’t know even their neighbors] and spending more time at work… leaving them less time to socialize or join groups. And people have more entertainment tools such as TV, iPods and computers, so they can stay home and tune out (USA Today, ibid.).

But these modern gadgets do not take the place of real friends, and these machines cannot bring you into a personal relationship with God and give you real friends in the church. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Only He can heal your loneliness and keep you from walking the streets alone at night, without real, lasting friendships – and without an intimate relationship to God.

With all of our modern entertainment and gadgets, like cell phones, we are still cut off from true friendships with man and God. Only Christ has the answer! That is why I urge you with all my heart to come back to this church. Listen to the preaching. Be converted and God will become the greatest friend you have ever had. And then come fully into the fellowship and friendship of this Baptist church, and God will give you a new set of friends who will stick with you and not let you down. That’s why we say repeatedly, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Jesus Christ,”

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Christ will become the best and truest friend you ever had in your life if you will come to Him, repent of your sins and fully trust Him with all your heart by faith. And then Christ calls you into the local church. Here in the church you will find friends that last a lifetime. I have several Christian friends who have been close to me for over forty years, and some close Christian friends of mine go back fifty years or more. I can call them or visit them almost any time, night or day. I could show up on their doorstep unannounced, and they would welcome me with open arms.

You, too, could overcome the loneliness that destroyed Cain when he was a young person like you. Don’t be like Cain. Why be lonely? Come home to church! Why be lost? Come home to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for

“He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).

Why not come home to church again next Sunday? In fact, why not come back tonight? There is no better place than church to make lasting friends that will cure your loneliness. Why not come to Jesus, the Son of God, and have your sins pardoned, and find peace with God and happiness through all eternity? As I have said many times, the “happiest place on earth” is not Disneyland! You can go there alone and find it to be the loneliest place on earth! Come home to church and trust Christ. This local church is the friendliest place in Los Angeles. Come on home and be with us next Sunday! Better yet, come back and enjoy the preaching, fun and Christian fellowship here tonight – at 6:30. You’ll be glad you did! Let us stand and sing the first song on the song sheet, “Come Home to Dinner.” Hold your song sheet up and sing it good and loud.

(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 by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 4:1-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (by Green Day, 2004).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE LONELINESS OF CAIN – A SIGN OF THE TIMES!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth”
(Genesis 4:12).

I.   First, loneliness is rooted in the fall of mankind,
Genesis 3:17; Galatians 3:10; Romans 5:18;
Genesis 4:11-12; Ephesians 4:18.

II.  Second, loneliness increases as modern man becomes
more like Cain, I John 3:12; II Timothy 3:1-2, 4-5;
Hebrews 9:22.

III. Third, Christ came to pardon sin and cure loneliness,
I Timothy 1:15; I Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 3:13;
Isaiah 53:4-5; Psalm 147:3; John 1:29.