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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, May 29, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…" (II Timothy 3:1-2).

The other day I dug out a book I used when I was studying at Los Angeles City College years ago. The first chapter of my college textbook on philosophy gave this dramatic insight:

We are living through what many people call a "world revolution." Changes are occurring which reach to the very foundation of human life and society…personal fragmentation that leads to insecurity…in the climate of the modern world a sense of impending disaster, a rootlessness of the person, a pervasive tenseness…the invisible breakdown in our civilization, the erosion of values…the denial of any distinction between good or bad, right or wrong, the reversion to sub-human levels of conduct…Man has rapidly extended the range and quantity of his knowledge, but…he suffers from intellectual and emotional insecurity, because he is uncertain about the meaning of life, the nature of the world in which he lives, and the kind of life he wants to live (Harold H. Titus, Ph.D., Living Issues in Philosophy, American Book Company, 1964, pp. 2-4).

That is a nearly perfect description of the modern world, "A rootlessness of the person…sub-human levels of conduct…a world revolution…personal fragmentation that leads to insecurity…the invisible breakdown in our civilization." That is an accurate description of our culture and our nation today.

Rootlessness! Personal fragmentation! Insecurity! Loneliness! Despair! Where did all this come from? The Bible says,

"Perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves" (II Timothy 3:1-2).

An extreme emphasis on self-love has produced such an intense individualism, such an emphasis on independence and individual rights, that each person stands alone - in a world without God!

R. C. Sproul said, "We encounter the influence of existentialism virtually every day of our lives and in virtually every sphere of our culture" (R. C. Sproul, Ph.D., Lifeviews, p. 49). Atheistic existentialism has taken over our culture - and its themes are emptiness, helplessness, pessimism and loneliness. For instance, take the words of one of the most popular songs that young people are listening to today, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day. It says,

I walk the empty street on the Blvd. of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone
My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone.
   ("Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Green Day, 2004).

That's pure existentialism! It could have been written by Sartre or Kafka, or Nietzsche! And the existential loneliness young people feel comes directly out of a warped over-emphasis on individualism and self-love.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals." We have become so absorbed with our own independence, and our own individual desires, that there simply isn't room for anyone else, and "I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone." No wonder you walk alone!

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

"He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals." There's simply no room for anyone else in your life!

I. First, the "American idiot" walks alone.

It's all through our society. Self-love drives young women to have their babies cut out of their wombs and thrown into a trash can. I read about one teenager who went to her prom and was dancing. After a few minutes, she went to the bathroom, had the baby in the toilet stall, killed the baby and flushed it down the toilet, and then went back and started dancing again! That is a true story. I realize it is extreme, but it does illustrate the self-love of a whole generation of women for whom personal "choice" is more important than their own children.

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

Need I say that these women who kill their babies will not have grandchildren? The result of self-love is loneliness.

What about men that run off and leave their wives and children? They wind up in some flea-bitten hotel room - alone. The result of self-love is loneliness.

What about women that want to "broaden their horizons" - so they leave their husbands and start a career? Soon they will be sitting alone in front of a TV, with no meaning, or purpose, or family. The result of self-love is loneliness. My wife has two fine boys and a house full of other kids night and day. She will never be lonely.

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

The title of the CD, from which that song, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is taken, is called "American Idiot." Good title! "American Idiot." What a nation of idiots we have become! People are actually such idiots that they think it's smart to send their teenaged child two or three thousand miles away to go to a secular college! "American Idiot." Nation of fools. Can you imagine any other generation being as stupid as a mule? And then they wonder why there aren't any young people in their churches! And then they wonder why their children are so spread out for the rest of their lives that they hardly ever see them! They were so in love with themselves that they got rid of their children as quick as they could. Now they wonder why they are alone, with an "empty nest"! American idiot!

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

And then there's the "American Idiot" way of dealing with the elderly. They shove them into a "rest home." Of course! After living a life of selfishness and isolation, what else would you expect? You wouldn't expect them to suddenly become normal, would you? No, they will remain "American Idiots" until they die - and then the idiots will have themselves cremated and their dust scattered - to make absolutely sure that they are totally independent - even in death - and not "confined" to a definite grave someone might visit! American idiots to the end! They are not even willing to give their offspring a place to go and put flowers!

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

"He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals."

I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone. I walk alone.
I walk the empty streets on the Blvd. of broken dreams
While the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone.

Hah! No wonder you walk alone!

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves."

You see, when you're too big an idiot to care about anybody except yourself - why, of course, you'll walk alone! "He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals." What else is new? The "American Idiot" walks alone!

And I'm not letting young people off the hook, either. You can't blame your parents if you, yourself, become so absorbed in self-gratification that you refuse to sacrifice some of your "freedom" to become part of a church family.

II. Second, the "American idiot" needs Bible Christianity.

You see, the reason the American idiot walks alone is because he rejects Bible Christianity. If you reject Bible Christianity you are going to walk alone - one way or the other. People who are so in love with themselves that they have no room for Christ or the church are sure to walk alone.

"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof"
    (II Timothy 3:5).

You may have the outward shell of Christianity, but you cannot become a real Christian so long as you are a lover of your own self above all others, so long as "self" is more important than anything else in your life.

When you come to Christ in a true conversion, there is a break with self-interest and your new interest is Christ and His cause. That's why a true conversion brings you into the communion of the local church. A true conversion brings you into the body of Christ, into the local church.

That is one of the weaknesses of modern evangelistic preaching. Too often today the message is "come to Christ," with little or no mention of the local church. For years Billy Graham told people in great detail about repentance and faith and, then at the very end, his final words were, "And go to church on Sunday." But, for the last several years, he has stopped giving even those few words about the necessity of the church.

And yet this is critical. The New Testament does not teach a Christianity separated from the local church. The epistles of the New Testament were written to local churches. The Apostle Paul spoke of

"The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15).

The Greek word translated "church" is "ekklesia." It means "the called out ones." We are called out of the world by Christ - and into the local church. The Southern Baptist evangelist Junior Hill says, "If any method diminishes the role of the local church, it is not of God." I agree with him on that point!

That's why we say, in every Sunday morning service, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!" We cannot diminish or downplay the importance of the local church!

"But," someone may say, "that would require a change in my life! Why, I would have to change all my priorities if I were to make this local church the center of my life! Can't I just say a quick 'sinner's prayer' and go on with my self-centered life?" The answer, of course, is "no, you can't!" True repentance requires you to make Christ and His cause the very center of your life! New Testament Christianity is always focused on the local church. The Bible says,

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Rootlessness! Insecurity! Loneliness! Despair! "I walk the lonely streets on the Blvd. of broken dreams, where the city sleeps, and I'm the only one and I walk alone." Yes, and you will always walk alone - until you decide to stop being self-centered and come headlong into the full fellowship of the church - and come headlong to Christ, who said,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

Take Christ's yoke upon you. Come to Christ. Come fully into this church. That's the way to be changed from an "American idiot" into a real Christian!

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

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: II Timothy 3:1-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling" (by Will L. Thompson, 1847-1909).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…" (II Timothy 3:1-2).

I.   The "American idiot" walks alone, II Timothy 3:2.

II.  The "American idiot" needs Bible Christianity, II Timothy 3:5; 
I Timothy 3:15; Acts 16:5; 2:47; Matthew 11:28-29.