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by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, July 2, 2017

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

There is a story you tell yourself. It is an idea that you hold to despite your ability to know truth from lies. You believe in a fairy tale. You believe somehow that your life will be happy. In the sunny days of your early life, you began to believe that things in your life would work out for the best. Even as you get older and you begin to see things differently and events happen in your life that challenge this idea that you believe in – you do not realize that life is not filled with happiness. You continue to feel that the best days of your life will be in the future. Despite your belief, your decisions are little more than an attempt to avoid pain in even its most harmless forms. You feel lonely. You feel depressed. Yet, you try to ignore what is really wrong with your life. You feel a strange grief enter into your life when nobody else is around. Your days became more tiring, but you still manage to get through them somehow. You get through the days of your life, but you cannot really explain why you do. Your world loses its glow and is darker now. You dislike your own experience of living. Yet, you do not see your life, for what it really is, without God. If you had, you would hate your life, and you would want above anything else in the world, for your life to change. The Bible describes such a moment:

“Therefore I hated life…for all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 2:17).

I. First, you are without God.

Your life has not suddenly gone wrong yet. You plan and predict your life to steadily improve. You are looking forward to a better experience of your life, but you cannot say why you live your life at all. You exist, without really living. You are directionless. You are meaningless. You are without God. You go on in your life without God, but you do not sense what the consequence of that reality is. You get older, and more experienced, and wiser, but you do not see the world for how awful it really is; instead you embrace it. Your own hypocrisy stains even the highest of your ideals. You do not notice how little the world cares about you or how little you care for it. You reach for the warm blanket of happy deception to protect you from the cold shadow of reality that exists all around you. You are living a lie. You are so distracted in your life that you cannot explain yourself. Do you ever stop and notice who you actually are? Do you examine yourself? If you do, you can expect a certain sadness to soon follow. The Bible says,

“For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow”(Ecclesiastes 1:18).

Your life is empty. Do you feel that your life is empty? Do you feel like everything is wrong? Do you feel like you are in so much trouble and nobody can help you? The experience is like feeling that you have caught an irreversible condition. Like you had been walking along, and suddenly you turned the wrong way, and now you are lost. You must experience this feeling. You must not get rid of it. You must experience what it is to know that you are without hope. You must be drenched in despair. You must be soaked in sadness. You must expose yourself to the truth. You must know that you are without hope. You must know that you are empty. You must realize that you are without God in this world, for it is the truth.

“That at that time ye were without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

You are living life without God, and without God, there is no hope. Some of the greatest thinkers of all time have wandered around this well of hopelessness until they finally fell in. They discovered that their life was without meaning. What was it all for? There seemed to be nothing worth living for, and so death was turned to as an answer. Young men committed suicide. Young women turned to drugs. The whole world lost itself on the Internet.

But you have not felt this way. You have not felt this way, not because there is something different about you, but because you are not paying attention. You have to be always preoccupied. You have to look away from the abyss. You would prefer to believe in lies so long as it gave you comfort. You soothe the open wound in your life with the ointment of distractions. People have always tried to fill that hole in their hearts with something. You have tried to fill that hole in your heart, haven’t you? You have tried to fill it with pleasure. The Bible describes such attempts:

“I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure, and hold, this also is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 2:1).

You can numb the pain with enjoyment, for a while. You will succeed only in running from the truth. After all your fun, you will still be empty. After your laughs and smiles, you will still be without hope. You have tried to fill the void in your life. You have tried to find meaning in this world. You tried to find some relief to quiet your soul from trouble. You tried to make things better. But though they seemed better, they never get better. You cannot find real satisfaction. You cannot find peace. The Bible says,

“All things are full of labour: man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8).

You go on through your life in emptiness never realizing the truth. You are so drunk on the lies you tell yourself you can hardly walk your life in a straight line. You are so high on fun that you cannot see why you need change at all. You have fooled yourself. You have fooled yourself into believing that there is something out there. You have been deluded into believing that there is something worth living for. But you are wrong. The Bible says,

“For all [man’s] days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night” (Ecclesiastes 2:23).

Thought, followed to its logical conclusion, arrives at the answer: there is no meaning in life. That is a hard truth – most try to reject it, but the most honest and insightful thinkers knew the truth. The truth is that life has no meaning, that there is a “hole” in reality, and that all attempts to fill that “hole” are empty.

You must discover: that life is hopeless, and meaningless, and cold, and empty, and terrible. But you do not want to. That is why you do the things you do. You are trying to escape. You do not want to feel that way. You are looking for relief. You are trying to find something to help pass the time away. You are trying the internet, or friends, or love, or school, or work, or something else, but you are searching for a dream, for a lie, for a hope that cannot be found, because life is meaningless, when it is without God. Your life is hopeless and you must feel it. Your life is meaningless and you must fear it. Your life is cold and you cannot warm it. Your life is full of endless emptiness. Your life is this way because it is without God. Is this acceptable to you? Is that the way that you want to live and die? The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said that there is a “God-shaped vacuum” in our hearts. There is something missing in your life, and what is missing, is the presence, the fellowship, and the hope of God.

II. Second, you must have God.

This is the great theme of history. Man was meant to be with God. Man was meant to have the rest and joy of God. That dream, that hope, that heavenly sort of living was meant to be our life. Man is God’s greatest creation. We were created in His image, with the capacity for love and thought and happiness that would glorify God forever, until it was ruined. Life was exactly the way it should be, until sin was introduced to life by Adam. We inherited the loss of the presence of God when Adam fell into sin. Because of sin, God separated Himself from man. Because of sin, we became without God. The Bible says,

“Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2).

God is a Just and Holy God. When man fell into sin, God could not overlook it. Sin had to be addressed by God. Sin had to be punished. One of the punishments or results of sin was that man now had to live life without God. The punishment for sin is death, and life, without God, ends in little more than a few shuddered moments of dying. Everyone has sinned. The Bible says,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

You have sinned. You have inherited a sinful nature from the Fall of man. But you have also added to this offence sins of your own. You have sinned in your actions. You have done things that you know are wrong. You have tried to cover them up, but God sees everything that you do. You have sinned in your thoughts. You have thought things that you would never want anyone to know about. You believe that nobody knows what you may think, but God does. You have sinned in your desires. Your entire nature is selfish. Your heart is dirty. And even though your friends and family cannot see your heart, God can see your heart. The Bible says,

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).

You are a living offence to the holiness of God. But even in your offence to God, you were still so loved by God, that God sent His own beloved Son into the world to die in your place. The Bible says,

“But God commendeth [shows] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus Christ came into this world on a rescue mission. Mankind was ruined in the Fall. All of humanity was corrupted by sin. Your life had been cursed from ages past to be lived in terrible emptiness. But Jesus came to save you. Jesus came to die for your sins on the Cross to satisfy the penalty for your sin. The Bible says,

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:23-25).

Jesus is the only way to be united with God. Jesus had to absorb your sins on the Cross so that you can be clothed in His righteousness and be presented to a Holy God. You could never have God without Jesus. You would be forever sinful, and forever without God, and forever doomed to live this world in emptiness and nothingness. But you can have Jesus by faith, if you trust Him. There is only one way to calm your restless heart. You must have God. But you cannot have God without Jesus. Jesus said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus is the way. Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the way to have your sins forgiven. Jesus is the way to have peace in life. Our pastor, Dr. Hymers, went through an agonizing experience in his early life. He could not help but realize how cold and empty life was at an early age. He was tortured by this fact. All around him, others who also realized it fell into drunkenness, or drugs, or suicide. He felt doomed as well. He knew that he had to find an answer, or expect that his life would be destined for destruction. But he also began to know that there were no answers in this world. God showed him that without God, there was no hope. Therefore, he made God his priority. He did everything he could to please God, but he could never find rest, until he found Jesus.

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).

Dr. Hymers would be the first to tell you that Jesus literally saved his life. Dr. Hymers has had a very difficult life. His son Robert Leslie said, “My father’s life proves the existence of God, for it is a miracle.” His life had been so difficult, that when he was writing his autobiography, he became deeply discouraged. He looked over his life, and saw what only the years of experience could teach: that life is hard, and then you die, and nobody escapes. He was saddened. But Dr. Hymers looked over his life, and he saw what had made all the difference. He saw that everything was hopeless, and meaningless, and cold, and empty, but then there was Jesus! He saw that through Jesus, his life had been turned into a miracle. He sat down, and saw his life, and he saw what Jesus had done for him, and he decided to write another chapter. Because of Jesus, he had not been defeated. Because of Jesus, he had a wonderful story to tell.

“That at that time ye were without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).

That is what you must have. You must have a divine intervention into your life. Your life must be more than just distraction layered upon distraction. Your life must be more than a lie you tell to drug yourself into a sleep until you die. Your life should be lived in such a way that glorifies God. You must have meaning and hope and purpose. Your life must have God, or else you will never really live at all. Therefore your sins must be forgiven. You must have redemption by Blood. You must have Jesus. You must be washed in the Blood that Jesus shed for you on the cross. You must be saved. You can be saved, if you trust Jesus. If you trust Jesus by faith, you will be saved, and then it could be said of you:

“That at that time ye were without Christ…having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13).

Dr. Hymers, please come and close this service.

WHEN YOU WRITE TO DR. HYMERS YOU MUST TELL HIM WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE WRITING FROM OR HE CANNOT ANSWER YOUR E-MAIL. If these sermons bless you send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and tell him, but always include what country you are writing from. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is at (click here). You can write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can. If you want to write to Dr. Hymers by postal mail, his address is P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. You may telephone him at (818)352-0452.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song: Romans 3:10-18.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“It Took a Miracle” (by John W. Peterson, 1921-2006).



by Mr. John Samuel Cagan

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).

(Ecclesiastes 2:17)

I.   First, you are without God, Ecclesiastes 1:18; 2:12, 1;
Ecclesiastes 1:8; 2:23.

II.  Second, you must have God, Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23.
Romans 3:10-12; 5:8; 3:23-25; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:12-13.