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HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A RUINED CULTURE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lords Day Morning, October 8, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ (Ephesians 4:17-20).


You came to church this morning because we invited you. We went out to the streets and colleges and asked you to come and be with us. And you did come. And we are so glad you did! God bless you! Thank you for being with us this morning!

But you may be thinking, Why did these Christians invite me to church? What do they want to teach me? What do they want me to believe? We arent going to pull any punches. Were not going to hide anything from you. We are here to tell you exactly what we want you to learn from the Bible. I am going to speak on How to Escape from a Ruined Culture.

We are here to tell you that this world is ruined. It has been ruined by mans sinful rebellion against God. It has been ruined by the foul, rebellious interplay of demons and Satan in the minds of the vast multitudes in our city. And we are here to call you to come out of the ruined and sinful lifestyle of this city and we are calling on you to leave the sin-ruined world and come into this local New Testament Baptist church. And we are calling you to come fully into this church, and become a regular in attendance at every service.

Why do we do that? Because that is what God wants us to tell you, whoever you are, that you can find a better life through Christ! Some of you have never been in a Baptist church before. Some of you are Roman Catholics, some are Buddhists, we have recently had Mormons here, and even a Christian Scientist, and a few scraggly new evangelicals (to use Dr. Harold Ockengas term for them, coined by him in 1948). To each of you, from whatever background, we say without apology, that America has gone wrong. In fact, we say that the whole world has gone wrong and is about to be plunged into fiery judgments, earthquakes and plagues sent by God upon this sinful civilization.

The old-fashioned home is fast becoming a thing of the past. Parents are separating and divorcing at an alarming rate. Many young people feel the loneliness of broken homes. Even in families where divorce has not occurred, many of you feel terribly lonely. You often feel so lonely you dont know what to do about it. That is a common feeling among young people today. And you wonder what life means. Many young people are saying, Who am I? Why am I here on earth why am I living? And where am I going? I encounter many young people who have no hope for the future in our crumbling, decadent civilization.

But thats where God comes in! He provides the answer to those confusing questions. He has given us His Word, the Bible, to point the way out of darkness, confusion, and loneliness. God has provided this local church to help you find friends, to help you overcome the deep inner torment of loneliness and fear. And, most of all, God sent Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross and rise from the dead, so that your sin can be forgiven and you can become a true, happy child of God through Him!

The passage from the Bible which I just read, in Ephesians 4:17-20, gives three main things that God calls you to experience, to get out of the mess our world has fallen into. They are very simple things. Listen carefully to them.

I. First, God calls you to a new way of life.

The Apostle Paul said this to the young Christians, and others, in the city of Ephesus. What he said to them applies directly to you today. Please stand and read Ephesians 4:17 out loud.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind (Ephesians 4:17).

You may be seated.

God is telling you not to live as the other people in our city live. He is telling you not to walk, that is, not to live the way the non-Christian people do in this paganized city of Los Angeles. God is calling you to experience a whole new way of life in Christ, right here in this local church! God is saying, in so many words, Why be lonely? Why go on living a godless, hopeless, lonely life? Come home to church! Why be lost, without a knowledge of the great love that God in Christ has for you? Come home to Jesus Christ, who loves you so very much that He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin and bring you home to God!

Wonderful, wonderful Jesus,
   In the heart He implanteth a song:
A song of deliverance, of courage, of strength,
   In the heart He implanteth a song!
(Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus by Anna B. Russell, 1862-1954).

II. Second, God calls you to a new relationship in Him.

Look at the end of verse 17 and verse 18. The Apostle Paul said,

walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart (Ephesians 4:18).

Look up please.

The Apostle Paul told us that we have been called to a new relationship to God. The Gentiles walked, or lived, in the vanity of their mind. Dr. Gill said, The phrase is expressive of the emptiness of the mind; it being naturally destitute [lacking] the knowledge, fear and grace of God; and of Jesus Christ, of the knowledge of him, faith in him, and love to him (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume III, p. 92).

Having the understanding darkened. The spiritual understanding of unconverted people is very dark and ignorant, said Dr. Gill (ibid.). What is the cause of unconverted people being so ignorant of God? Matthew Henry said it is, Because of the blindness or hardness of their heart. It [is] not because God did not make himself known to them by his works, butthey [are] ignorant because they [want to] be so. Their ignorance proceeded from their obstinacy and the hardness of their hearts, their resisting the light and rejecting all the means of illumination and knowledge (Matthew Henrys Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, volume 6, pp. 568-569).

This passage of Scripture shows the universal blindness of the human heart. Only Christ can open your blinded heart. Only Christ can bring you to God. That is why Christ came. That is why Christ sent forth preachers, like Paul, to proclaim the Gospel,

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:18).

God calls you to a new relationship to Him, through Christ Jesus. Thats why the Apostle said,

in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

When you come to Christ by faith,

Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).

What a wonderful thing it is to have the blindness of your heart enlightened by faith in Christ! What a marvelous thing it is to be reconciled to God by the death of Christ on the Cross! How great it is to have your sins washed away by the Blood Jesus shed there for you!

Wonderful, wonderful Jesus,
   In the heart He implanteth a song:
A song of deliverance, of courage, of strength,
   In the heart He implanteth a song!

III. Third, God calls you from sin to Christ.

Please stand and read verses 18 through 20 aloud.

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ
     (Ephesians 4:18-20).

You may be seated.

God calls you out from our sin-blinded culture. He calls you out from among them to come by faith to Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God says,

Come out from among them, and be ye separateAnd [I] will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

And the Lord Jesus Christ said,

Come unto meand ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).

Christ died on the Cross to pay the full penalty for your sins. His Blood can wash away all your sins, and you will be reconciled to God the Father. Come to Jesus! He has risen from the dead! He is alive now, seated on the right hand of God in Heaven. Come to Christ, and trust Him, and you will be saved!

Wonderful, wonderful Jesus,
   In the heart He implanteth a song:
A song of deliverance, of courage, of strength,
   In the heart He implanteth a song!

Please stand and sing heartily hymn number 3, "Jesus, I Come."  Lift your song sheet up and sing it out loud and clear. 

(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: Matthew 11:28-30.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus (by Anna B. Russell, 1862-1954).


THE OUTLINE OF

HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A RUINED CULTURE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ (Ephesians 4:17-20).

I.   God calls you to a new way of life, Ephesians 4:17.

II.  God calls you to a new relationship in Him; Ephesians 4:18;
Acts 26:18; Ephesians 2:13, 19.

III. God calls you from sin to Christ, Ephesians 4:18-20;
II Corinthians 6:17-18; Matthew 11:28-29.