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TWO CURES FOR LONELINESS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, September 12, 2010

“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 Psalmist compared himself to three birds, “a pelican of the wilderness,” “an owl of the desert,” and “a sparrow alone upon the house top.” He feels the loneliness that is illustrated by these birds – the lonely pelican in the wilderness, the lonely owl in the desert, the sparrow alone upon the roof of a house. Spurgeon said,

The Psalmist [compares] himself to…birds which are commonly used as emblems of gloom and wretchedness…he seemed to himself to be as a [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 on their houses, and here birds of solitude would come and sit alone in the night seasons, to whom the Psalmist [compares] himself; being either forsaken by his friends and acquaintances; or, being in [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).

Most high school and college-age young people feel like that today. Polls show that loneliness is a major problem facing young people today. One young person told Josh McDowell, “I want to be special to someone, but there’s no one who cares about me…I am so lonely I can hardly stand it” (quoted by Josh McDowell in The Disconnected Generation, Word, 2000, p. 11). That young person experienced the pain of loneliness spoken of by the Psalmist,

“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).

But God does not want you to be lonely! In the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). I believe that is as true today as it was before the Fall – “It is not good that the man should be alone” – or the woman either! God does not want you to be lonely! That is why God has provided two cures for loneliness.

I. First, God has given the local church to cure your emotional loneliness.

Young people have great advantages today – a TV, a car, money, their own computer – and many other advantages that previous generations never had. Yet they feel lonely. Their fathers have either left, or they are too preoccupied with other things to spend time with their children. Their mothers are often working. If they have brothers and sisters, they are gone most of the time.

You can turn on a computer and “chat” with people on-line, but somehow that doesn’t really help. Somehow it isn’t the same as having real friends. They may be virtual people, but they are not real. You cannot have satisfying friendships with people through a computer! After spending hundreds of hours playing video games – alone – you may begin to sense that there’s got to be something more, something real! Don’t you sometimes think, “Is that all there is to life?”

Then there is the problem of constantly moving. Many parents move every few years – always to make more money, or to achieve some other “advantage.” They never seem to think about what this does to their children. They are always the “new kid” in class, always an “outsider.” I know exactly how that feels. I went to over twenty different schools before I graduated from the twelfth grade. I was always the “new kid” – always an “outsider” – always lonely. No wonder, with all that moving! Have you ever felt like that? My friend Dr. John S. Waldrip did. He was moved from one school to another as a child.

“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).

That’s the way he felt. Did you ever feel that way? When he was young Dr. Waldrip said,

I was in a night spot that was filled to overflowing with young men and women. There I stood, in a crowded room, completely alone and disconnected from everyone else…

Did you ever feel that way – alone in a crowd? Then Dr. Waldrip said,

We fill our schedules with wall-to-wall events…But despite all the activity, we rarely connect deeply with others. We have become a society of acquaintances more than friends (John S. Waldrip, Th.D., “Cure for the Lonely Heart,” May 2, 2004).

“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).

But God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). That is one of the reasons Jesus Christ created the local church – to cure your emotional loneliness! Christ does not want you to be alone. That is one reason He said,

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

When you graduate from high school or college, people will say, “Keep in touch,” or “I’ll see you soon.” But that seldom happens. You go off in different directions. But you don’t “graduate” from your local church! Even when you die, you join one another in Paradise! That’s why I wrote that little song Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago,

The big city people just don’t seem to care;
They’ve little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you’ll be aware,
There’s food on the table and friendship to share!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!
     (“Come Home to Dinner” by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.;
        to the tune of “On the Wings of a Dove.”)

Sing the chorus again!

Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

II. Second, God has given His Son, Jesus, to cure your spiritual alienation from Him.

When our first parents sinned in the Garden, they were alienated, separated, from God. Adam “hid” himself from God (Genesis 3:10). They were “sent…forth” from the Garden (Genesis 3:23) – and from intimate fellowship with God.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men…” (Romans 5:12).

By sin, the entire human race became “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5). The Scofield Study Bible’s note on Ephesians 2:5 says, “Spiritual death is the state of the natural man…alienated from the life of God…” Ephesians 4:18 says that mankind in its natural state is,

“Alienated [separated] from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

Separated, excluded, alienated from God – mankind wandered in darkness, spiritually dead, cut off from God. But God, in His love and mercy, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, down from Heaven to bring reconciliation between God and sinful man. The Bible says,

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).

We were enemies of God by nature (Romans 8:7). But God sent His Son Jesus to die on the Cross – to pay fully for our sin. And He raised Jesus from the dead to give us life! Jesus is now in Heaven, at the right hand of God. When you come to Jesus your sins are atoned for, and you are cleansed from “all sin” by His precious Blood (I John 1:7). The Bible says,

“You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21-22).

When you come to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, your sins are paid for by His death in your place – and God can receive you as His child. The Blood of Christ will cleanse your sin. The resurrection of Christ will give you the new birth. You will be born again as a child of God! You will no longer be separated from God. You will no longer live alone in the world. You will no longer be like a pelican in the wilderness, an owl in the desert, or like “a sparrow alone upon the house top” (Psalm 102:6-7) – for you will then be a child of God! Please stand and sing hymn number three on your song sheet.

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 my sickness, into Thy health, Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself, Jesus, I come to Thee.
   (“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

(END OF SERMON)
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Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 102:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Come Home to Dinner” (by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.).

THE OUTLINE OF

TWO CURES FOR LONELINESS

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).

(Genesis 2:18)

I.   First, God has given the local church to cure your
emotional loneliness, Genesis 2:18; Matthew 16:18.

II.  Second, God has given His Son, Jesus, to cure your
spiritual alienation from Him, Genesis 3:10, 23;
Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:5; 4:18; Romans 5:10; 8:7;
I John 1:7; Colossians 1:21-22.