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IN THE MEANTIME, YOU ARE ALONE!

by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, April 23, 2017

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).


The world has left you with a powerful, empty feeling. It has left you with a feeling of loneliness. This feeling of loneliness is different, in that it persists deeper and longer than sadness. It reminds you that even though you are happy for this moment, the moment is passing very quickly now, and soon you will return to your place of emptiness. The world has left you alone, and being alone is deafening in its silence. You are left with the feeling of a growing darkness that seems impossibly irreversible. Being alone is made only more terrible by the fact that it is experienced by the very source from which it is caused. Nobody knows that you are lonely. If they knew, you would not be lonely for long. There is nobody there to feel sorry for you. Life just goes on for everyone else, as they leave you all alone in yours. There is no one there to express their concern, their love, their sharing in your sufferings. If you were slowly dying in the hospital, at least someone might know and someone might care. But nobody knows when you are lonely. Because of this, nobody cares. You exist, tortured by your own consciousness. The world leaves you to be afflicted by yourself. They are not there for you, and so you are left to be there with yourself, and you are not enough. You know that you are not enough and you feel it, and that is the worst feeling in the world.

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

I. First, the world has left you alone.

You are alone in this life. But this is not the way you want your life to be. So you begin to turn in search of the warmth of love like a plant turns in search of the warmth of sunlight. You imagine that love feels like heaven. You imagine that love will be the best thing in the world, but you haven’t quite felt it yet. So you turn and bend and shape your life like radar hunting for the smallest signal. But, in the meantime, you are alone.

The world has taught you to medicate this loneliness with entertainment. You consciously or unconsciously keep yourself distracted. Video games are your morphine. The movies are your bandages. The effort to introduce laughter and enjoyment into your life is your obsession. You have become an addict to enjoyment. You are wandering from dose to dose of enjoyment. You do this so that you do not have to experience the darkness of feeling that lurks in every moment of stillness. The world does not want you to realize what it has done to you. The world has used you, and will continue to use you, until it has used you up. The world has nothing to offer you. Your life is hopelessly lonely in this world. You tell yourself that this will not last forever. Someday, it will change. Someday, someone will find you. Some beautiful girl or boy will find you. Some perfect group of friends will accept you. You tell yourself, that this is not forever. But it will last forever, and in the meantime, you are alone.

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

Nobody could stand to live this way, and neither can you. Therefore, everything in your life is designed like a rocket, to lift off and escape this terrible world that is life being lived alone. Society all around you encourages you to try to escape your current reality. The world tells you that maybe if you could make enough money, you could escape it. Maybe if you could buy a big house, and a fast car, the people you want to be with would finally want to be with you. Maybe if you studied enough, and worked enough, your parents would accept you. Maybe if you exercised and worked out enough, that boy or girl would notice you. Maybe if you wore nicer clothes, people would look in your direction. But in the meantime, you are alone.

But the world is making empty promises. You are chasing something you know you will never catch, yet you are desperately trying to make yourself go faster. You do not want to be who you are. You do not want to be like you are. You do not want to be what the world has left you to be: an outsider, a resource, a battery to be used up and then thrown away. You want it to be different. That is why you buy things. That is why you do things. That is why you work, and study, and play. You are trying to earn a life that is good enough that others will want to be in it. But in the meantime, you are alone.

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

You have moments when you feel that you will be unsuccessful in your attempts to be good enough. Unfortunately, your suspicions are correct. Despite what marketers would make you believe, you will never buy your way out of loneliness. Despite what universities and colleges would teach, your education will only aggravate your felt situation. The smartest and most educated people who ever lived were agonizingly alone. Your bank account buys you nothing but more anxiety. Your car gets you nowhere but places you never really wanted to be. Your education teaches you how to notice and measure things you cannot enjoy. You are working, and studying, and playing so hard towards a goal you will never reach, and in the meantime, you are alone.

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

II. Second, the church has left you alone.

The truth is, if you had to earn someone’s acceptance, it was never really acceptance at all. If you had to be someone else to be loved, you were never really loved at all. You need real acceptance, real love, and real care. But you will never find this in the world. When God created the world, everything was perfect. But even in this perfect, God-created world, there was still something wrong. God saw the first thing that was wrong, and God said,

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

Even if you could live in a perfect world, it would still not be good that you should be alone. If you are honest with yourself, you know this to be true. But where would you find such friendship, and love, and care? Everyone seems to be really only looking out for themselves. Does a place of love and care really exist? Such a place does exist, although it is almost extinct today. Such a place was set aside by God for the purposes of reaching people like you. God decided that this place should be set aside to offer you acceptance, and love, and care. This place does exist, and it is the church.

The church is not a magical building. The church is not a special time of the week. The church is the people of God. Unfortunately today, most churches really are just buildings and times of the week. Sadly, most churches are not the people of God. The church was intended by God to reach out to people like you, but the churches have failed. Instead, many churches prioritize themselves. The church was to be distinguished by one characteristic: the church was supposed to be made up of people who have been saved. But because churches are not made up of people who have been saved by Jesus, they have become no different from the rest of the world. Just as the world does, the churches have left you to be alone.

The church was meant to be different. The church was meant to be a place of love, and care for people. But more and more, people began to realize that when the churches saw a person, they only saw something they could get out of them. That is not the way that Jesus behaved. But most churches have shut Jesus out. And because the church has shut Jesus out, they no longer have anything to offer you, and are no different from the world. And so the churches are wounded and dying. Jesus must be central in a church. No program, or teaching, or musical performance can replace Jesus Christ! Because only the love of Christ can make a difference in a person’s life.

In this church, we are attempting to be a church as Christ intended. We are trying to be like the church that was centered on Christ and His love. We are praying for revival, so our church will be even more centered on Christ and His love! The Bible describes the Christ-centered early church that we are striving to be like,

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat [their food] with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:46).

We are not perfect, but we believe in Jesus, and we follow Him. We invite you to be a part of our church. We invite you to be a part of our family – “our church family.” We invite you to help us as we seek even more of Christ’s love! Our vision is a church where people can experience real Christian love and acceptance. We want to build a place where people can really be helped and lives can really be changed by Jesus. But even this church will let you down. This church is not perfect. This church also has some selfishness. Come help us as we pray for an outpouring of Christ’s love! We invite your life to be lived next to ours. Come be with us, so that in the meantime, you will not be alone.

III. Third, Jesus calls you from the loneliness of the world to Himself.

Because it is looking out for itself, the world has left you alone. But you are also looking out for yourself. You have left people to be alone. You still leave people to be alone. The absence of God is evident in your life. You are separated from God. You are separated from God, and you do not really know it, but you feel it. These feelings are a reaction to sin. Sin is the source of your loneliness. Sin is the source of selfishness. Sin has corrupted the world and caused the world to be selfish and cruel. Sin has corrupted your heart as well. Sin is the source of the darkness and heaviness of your soul. But Jesus came to save you from sin in all of its weariness and pain. Jesus 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 in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

There is someone who loves you and cares for you and knows your every problem and concern. He is the only place you will find real acceptance and love, He is the man Christ Jesus. You cannot help but be a sinner. But Jesus is the friend of sinners! Jesus is the greatest friend of all. Jesus was the friend of even the most rejected people of His time. While He was ministering on earth, the religious elite criticized Him for being the friend of sinners.

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children” (Matthew 11:19).

They criticized Jesus for being the friend of sinners, but He was not ashamed of their company. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. Jesus came to save the lost. Jesus came to pursue those who the world has left lonely and broken. Jesus came for those who were sick, and in need of a physician. The world has not cared about you. The church has not cared about you. But Jesus loves you. Jesus came to pursue you, even at the cost of His own life. Jesus said,

“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:12-14).

Jesus did not just talk about caring and loving you and proceed to do nothing about it. Jesus was not a hypocrite. Jesus loved you so much, that He was willing to come down to earth from the majesty of heaven. Jesus loved you so much, that He was willing to be mocked, and spit upon. Jesus was willing to come down from Heaven and die on the cross for your sin. Jesus loved you so much that He was crucified for you. Jesus experienced suffering, loneliness, and death on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. This is why Jesus is the greatest friend of all. The Bible says,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

You are a sinner, and because of this, you will be alone and separated from God forever unless you trust Jesus. You need your sins to be forgiven. You need your sins to be cleansed from your record. You need to trust Jesus. Trust Jesus, and you will be saved. Trust Jesus, and find rest for your soul. Trust Jesus, so that you can be accepted in the sight of God. Once you trust Jesus, you are safe forever in His hands. You will walk through the days of your life with the God of the Universe. You will have a Saviour that will never let you go. Trust Jesus, and be freed of the loneliness of sin and the world. Dr. Hymers, please come and close this service.


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(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song: Acts 2:42-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (by Green Day, 2004).

THE OUTLINE OF

IN THE MEANTIME, YOU ARE ALONE!

by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

“Woe to him that is alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

I.    First, the world has left you alone, Ecclesiastes 4:10.

II.   Second, the church has left you alone, Genesis 2:18; Acts 2:46.

III.  Third, Jesus calls you from the loneliness of the world to
Himself, Matthew 11:28-30, 19; 18:12-14; John 15:13.