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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, October 3, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

Last week I read in the newspaper about two teenage boys who went to a "rave," a wild party, a few blocks from our church here in downtown Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times said,

    Two teenage boys were shot and killed and two others injured at a party in the garment district downtown Saturday night…
     Officers arrived at the building in the 800 block of South Spring Street around 10:30 PM…
     They found a group of about 100 "unruly" young people gathered in the streets and on the sidewalks.
     As officers were trying to persuade the partygoers to go home, they heard a gunshot, which they believed came from inside the building.
     More shots "were heard from inside the building and people began to run in all directions"… "Several people inside the building were kicking the picture glass window to get out."
     Officers found two youths, both 16, lying on the floor inside the building…They were taken to the County-USC Medical Center, where they were both pronounced dead (The Los Angeles Times, September 27, 2004, p. B-3).

The Daily News said that the

…boys were fatally wounded at a rave party in downtown Los Angeles…The victims were pronounced dead within minutes of each other shortly before midnight Saturday (The Daily News, September 27, 2004, p. 7).

Those boys went to a wild party last Saturday night. They both ended up dead. That party was only 11 blocks from our church. We were having a service for young people here at our church when those boys were killed. What a shame that they didn't come to church! They would still be alive this morning! Our church provides a safe alternative for young people like that. Don't go to a wild "rave"! Come home - to church on Saturday night - and on Sunday night as well!

But why did those boys go to that wild party? The answer is simple. They were lonely. Psychiatrists and sociologists tell us that loneliness is the greatest problem facing young people today. One teenager told me, "I'm so lonely I don't know what to do." But he wouldn't come home to church. Shortly afterwards, he committed suicide. Various polls tell us that nearly 100% of college-age young people experience feelings of depression and anxiety stemming from loneliness. How do you find the answer? How do you overcome loneliness? Let's think about that for a few minutes this morning.

I. First, the wrong way to overcome loneliness.

Obviously those two young men who were killed at the "rave" last week were trying to overcome their loneliness the wrong way. The Bible tells us about two brothers named Cain and Abel. They lived together, but they were not in harmony. They were not in unity. Our text says,

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

But Cain and Abel did not experience that unity. They were together, but they did not have unity. And the Bible says,

"Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother…" (I John 3:12).

The Devil got ahold of him, and Cain murdered his own brother. They were together, but they were divided by the Devil.

That's the way so many young people feel today. You can be in a crowd, and yet you feel alone. Some evil force seems to separate you from others - even in a crowded room. When my friend John was a young person, he had an experience like that. He 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 in the room. But it wasn't just me. Everyone else in that room would have felt the same way, had they slowed down enough to be honest with themselves. I began…to realize that I was lonely because I was lost (Dr. John S. Waldrip, "Cure for the Lonely Heart," May 2, 2004).

We fill our schedules with wall-to-wall events…But despite all the people and all the activity, we rarely connect deeply with others. We have become a society of acquaintances more than friends (ibid.).

And that's where Christ and the local church come in. They are God's alternative to the loneliness of our culture. 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!"

II. Second, the right way to overcome loneliness.

God does not want you to remain lonely. God said,

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

And our text says,

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

Great Spurgeon said, of our text,

Behold. It is a wonder seldom seen, therefore behold it! It may be seen, for it is characteristic of real [Christians], therefore fail not to inspect it!...Pause and gaze upon it! It will charm you into imitation, therefore note it well! (C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Pilgrim Publications, 1983 reprint, volume VII, p. 129).

It is "good" and "pleasant" for Christians to be together in the local church. This unity in Christ, and in the church, is God's answer to man's loneliness.

There is a physical dimension to loneliness. You must come into the local church to experience a Divine healing of your loneliness. That's why the Bible says,

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

Nowhere does the Bible teach isolated Christianity. Christianity can only be experienced in the community of the local church. We are called on

"…to dwell together in unity" (Psalm 133:1).

That's what the early Christians did. At the great local church in the city of Antioch they had wonderful fellowship and unity. The Bible says,

"And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people"
      (Acts 11:26).

That's the physical dimension. You must come into the local church to experience God's healing of your loneliness. And don't just come for an hour or so on Sunday morning. Come fully into the church. Come back tonight at 6:30. Come on Saturday night at 8:30. That's the way to begin to experience the unity that cures your loneliness.

But there is also a spiritual dimension to God's cure for loneliness. This is often neglected, but it should not be. The spiritual aspect is actually the most important.

Coming to church will not ultimately help you unless you become spiritually converted. Jesus said,

"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

You have to be converted. That means you must humble yourself, admit that you are lost, and then receive Christ in a new and living way. The Bible says,

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).

When you receive Christ by faith, you come into the full unity of the local church. Notice our text said,

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

We become "brethren" when we receive Christ and are converted. Then we truly become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Then there are no racial divisions. Then there are no social or ethnic divisions. We become one in the family of God. And that's why Jesus prayed,

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21).

When "the world" sees our unity and love in the local church, then they, too, will believe in Jesus. That's why Christ said,

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).

And that's what we are trying to practice here in this local church.

Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He arose physically from the dead on the third day. He appeared to the Disciples, and five hundred people. Then He ascended back to Heaven. He is now seated at the right hand of Almighty God. You can come directly to Jesus, the Son of God. And when you come to Him, He will cleanse every one of your sins by His precious Blood, and you will be converted, saved for all time and for all eternity.

"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

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


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 4:8-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Softly and Tenderly" (by Will Thompson, 1847-1909).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).

I.   The wrong way to overcome loneliness, I John 3:12.

II.  The right way to overcome loneliness, Genesis 2:18;
Hebrews 10:25; Acts 11:26; Matthew 18:3; John 1:12;
John 17:21; 13:35.

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