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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, February 24, 2018

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

We are now being told that this passage has no special application to our time. The Reformation Study Bible has many good notes. But it is wrong when it says “the last days” in verse one covers the entire church age. It refers us to I Timothy 4:1 which they say “is not a period just prior to the second coming of Christ.” John MacArthur follows them by saying, “the last days refers to this age, the time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus.” Then MacArthur backs off and speaks of “epochs” growing worse and worse. Thus MacArthur tries to blend his former Dispensationalism with his newly embraced Calvinism. I don’t believe it. “The last days” of this passage refers to the last days – not to the whole time of Christianity – and not to one of several “epochs.”

There has never been a period like this before. Never such a wholesale apostasy as we see today. Never a “perilous” time like what we see today. Leonard Ravenhill was better when he said, “These are the last days.”

Nikolas Cruz grew up in “the last days.” He has confessed to killing seventeen people in the Florida high school massacre a few days ago. Nikolas Cruz claimed to hear voices in his head. The police referred to these voices as “demons.” Cruz said “they told him what he needed to do to launch the deadly assault” (Fox News 2/15/18).

Maybe they were demons. But this wasn’t the first problem the nineteen-year-old boy had. “Between 2011 and 2016 authorities responded to 39 calls” to where he lived. The police came 39 times for issues “from domestic disturbance to child/elder abuse.” Cruz was described by other students as a “weird kid” and a “loner.” No wonder! He had been adopted. His adopted father passed away earlier. His adopted mother, the only mother he ever knew, died several weeks earlier, in November. His girlfriend dropped him – and he was kicked out of school for getting in a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. He was “crashing” in the trailer of a friend. His defense attorney called him a “broken human being.” A neighbor said that he “escaped his misery” by playing video games for “15 hours a day.” One newsman “noted that modern action films, TV shows and video games outdo themselves in depicting gun violence committed so casually and with such frequency that viewers become dangerously numb to it” (USA Today, 2/20/18). The neighbor said he played video games all day. “It was kill, kill, kill, blow up something and kill some more, all day.”

The gun control people went wild – as usual. Government should outlaw guns. OK, but can the government outlaw “broken human beings”? Won’t they find new ways to act out their rage? Won’t they make pipe bombs, or light buildings on fire, or use knives or rocks? In Paris a terrorist ran over several people with a truck. Would outlawing trucks have stopped him? But the gun control people are sure that the government can “outlaw” these troubled kids. Or is it true that where these guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have these guns? Can we really outlaw homes broken by divorce, kids without God, kids with no hope, kids with no homes – can these really be outlawed? The Los Angeles Times received 263 letters about the shooting. Only five of those letters said gun control is not the answer. Does this show that people are beginning to think? No – it only means more people are brainwashed by the liberal media!

I own a few guns. But I never use them. It makes me sad that I live in a country that is not able to raise kids that can control themselves! It makes me sad that the FBI was told about this kid very clearly ahead of time, but did nothing. It makes me sad that the school knew about him, but did nothing. And it makes me boil with anger that a kid with no parents wasn’t helped by a single church or a single Christian – in a part of the South with untold thousands of evangelical Christians, and a church on every corner! Everybody from the FBI to the church on the corner failed to stop this kid. But we are being told that the federal government can do better. Excuse me – but I don’t believe it! They caved in on marijuana. They can’t stop the flow of illegal drugs. But people are dumb enough to think they can keep kids from getting illegal guns! If it wasn’t tragic – it would be laughable!

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin posted a video on his Facebook page last week urging lawmakers and “everyone who is in a position of influence” to consider how to repair the nation’s cultural fabric, which he said is “getting shredded beyond recognition.” The governor blamed “a culture of death that is being celebrated by violent video games, TV shows and music.” And one parent wrote, “Guns aren’t the problem. The current culture is the problem.”

I think that’s right. “The current culture [of America] is the problem.” To explain that I will give you the story of John Walker Lindh. John was a twenty-year-old boy from Marin County, the richest county in California. John left his wealthy home to join the Taliban, the terrorist group in Afghanistan. There he became a Muslim radical in 2001, to fight against everything that the “current culture” of America stands for. John Walker Lindh was like Nikolas Cruz. Here is John’s pilgrimage from a normal American kid to a killer. See how closely he resembles Nikolas Cruz – who killed 17 people in a high school a few days ago.

I. First, John Walker Lindh came to hate the anything goes
way of life in our nation.

How did John Walker Lindh become transformed into an anti-American zealot and a companion of Osama bin Laden in his war against our nation? Time magazine had a detailed story on Lindh, titled “The Taliban Next Door” (Time, December 17, 2001, pp. 36-38). Time asked a probing question about him:

At 16, John Walker [Lindh] was a quiet California kid. At 20, he was a Taliban warrior. How did he get from Marin County to Mazar-i-Sharif? (ibid., p. 36).

I will give you the steps he took in his conversion to terrorist Islam. His pilgrimage to the Moslem religion was reported in Newsweek magazine (December 13, 2001, p. 5). A Newsweek article tells us that John Walker Lindh

…can be at least partly understood as a product of…a reaction against – the culture...of a certain time and place. He was born in 1981... His adolescent years were spent in Marin County, north of San Francisco... the epicenter of the self-esteem movement, a bastion of moral relativism where divorces were for a time listed alongside marriages in the newspaper. Walker was named John after John Lennon, the Beatle. His father says he was not bothered when his two sons rejected the “strict Catholic manner” of his own upbringing. His mother was a child of the ‘60s who dabbled in Buddhism. He was sent to an elite alternative high school where students were allowed to shape their own studies and had to check in with their teacher only once a week.
      Walker discovered his passion for Islam online, after sampling other possibilities. At the age of 14... he was visiting Web sites...with particularly crude raps on sex and violence...The turning point [came] at the age of 16 when he read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” which describes the conversion to Islam of the famous black militant…young Walker soon became militant himself… he converted to Islam.
      At about this time, late 1998, Walker’s parents were [divorcing]…Their teenage son became obsessed with memorizing the Quran.

I think that extended Newsweek quotation makes it quite clear why John Walker Lindh turned against the modern American way of life.

One thing is quite clear in the story of John Walker Lindh – he rejected the modern values of American society. He rejected the man he was named after – John Lennon. He rejected the moral and spiritual looseness of his parents. He totally rejected his weak, typically effeminate old Hippie father.

Why did he do that? Writing for NBC News, Richard Rodriguez said,

One suspects a lonely child [of course – after his parents ripped him out of school in Maryland!]…one wonders about the other kids at school, the pot, the sex, the routine chaos of American adolescence, the empty big house, the pimpled movies at the mall, the idiot gangs of jocks and goths (, December 13, 2001).

Loneliness! There you have it! American young people like John Walker Lindh feel lonely. Their parents aborted or otherwise ruined their brothers and sisters, so they aren’t at home. With virtually no family life, these kids are alone. Both parents have gone their separate ways – so they aren’t at home. The parents moved him from Maryland to California at ten, so he lost all his childhood friends. His mother rebelled against her Catholic husband and became a Buddhist, so he had no spiritual stability. They put him in a liberal school that made Malcolm X a hero and belittled or didn’t even mention Washington, Lincoln or any of the other true heroes of America.

They gave John Walker Lindh nothing emotionally or spiritually. They handed him a book about Malcolm X – and then they wondered why he believed it!

Isn’t that the way you see America? Doesn’t the modern American way of life make you sick at the stomach, like it did John Walker Lindh? Aren’t you sick of our whole stupid, meaningless way of life?

I hate – yes I hate – the way these parents have ruined America! I hate his parents’ hedonistic heathen way of life every bit as much as John Walker Lindh does! The Bible says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

II. Secondly, John Walker Lindh rebelled against the moral and spiritual
decadence of his parents, and their generation.

Listen to me for a minute. I’m older than your parents. I’m from the generation before your parents were born. And all of my life I have hated what your parents believe. For 60 years I have hated what your parents think and believe. I am against your parents and their generation. And I can fully understand how you young people, you college-age people, today are against their way of looking at things.

I knew they were no good then – and I know it now!!! I agree with you completely – your parents’ generation has nothing to offer you! Their generation is no good! They are spiritual degenerates. They are moral relativists. They are rootless materialists. They are baby-murdering abortionists. They are Christ-rejecting, church-rejecting libertarianists. I reject your parents’ way of life – and I don’t blame you, or John Walker Lindh for doing the same thing! Throw out their way of life! Leave your parents’ way of life and join this church – and become a real Christian!

Young person, have you ever wondered why your parents didn’t take you to church every Sunday? Young person, have you ever wondered why your parents divorced? Young person, have you ever wondered why your house was so cold and so lonely?

I will give you the answers to every one of those questions – it’s because your parents were not real Christians! It’s as simple as that!

Young person – do you want to get divorced some day? Young person – do you want to grow up and have a cold and lonely house? No? Then you have to join this church, come to Jesus Christ – and become a real Christian! Do it! Do it! Do it now!

The main sin of America is idolatry. Your parents and their generation made idols out of drugs, and sex, and libertarianism. They “worshipped and served the creature [the world and themselves] more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). They were worried about saving trees and whales – while they murdered 57 million babies – and left you alone in front of the TV – in an empty, lonely house!

They could handle everything – except serious Christianity. They wanted any god at all – as long as it wasn’t the serious God of the Bible.

And so God “visited the iniquity of the fathers upon the children” (Exodus 20:5). No wonder your friends are so confused and emotionally messed up. Your parents stopped going to church regularly and they raised you as an American heathen! Your parents really screwed you up!

III. Third, John Walker Lindh and Nikolas Cruz made the wrong choice
and came up with the wrong answer.

You must leave the way of the pagans to find happiness and to cure your loneliness. But where do you turn when you leave your parents’ way of life? John Walker Lindh turned to the false faith of the Moslems. He turned to their false God – Allah. Nikolas Cruz bought a high-powered rifle and shot 17 people to death. They both made the wrong choice, the wrong answer!

The correct answer cannot be found in Islam or killing people. The correct answer is found only in Jesus Christ – and in a fundamental Baptist church! There is no other real answer to the problems you face in life!

Jesus Christ is the answer to your unhappiness! Jesus Christ is the answer to your loneliness! Jesus Christ said:

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

Jesus Christ is “the way.” He is the way to God. He is the way to Heaven. He is the way to life, and joy, and peace. He is the way – and the only way – to forgiveness, and peace with God.

Jesus Christ is the truth. Christ is the perfect embodiment of truth. Jesus Christ is the truth! And “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” said Jesus. And He was right to say that! Your parents have said that there are many ways to reach God. But your parents are dead wrong! There is only one way to find the true God – and that is through Jesus Christ.

No other religious leader died to pay for your sin. And no other religious leader rose physically from the dead. Only Christ did those things. John Lennon cannot forgive your sins. Mohammed cannot forgive your sins. The Buddha cannot forgive your sins. They are dead gods. Only Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, arose flesh and bone from the dead! Only Jesus Christ is alive right now – up in Heaven at the right hand of God. Only Jesus Christ can forgive your sins, and save you from God’s judgment! That’s why you must be converted to Christ. Jesus said:

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

Now, how do you get converted to Christ? First, you must come back to this church every single Sunday – to hear the Gospel. That is critical – if you want to become a real Christian, if you want to be truly converted.

Secondly, you must go through the inward turmoil and struggle of conversion. You must inwardly come to the place where you distrust your own thinking, and hate your own sin. You must come to the place where you literally hate your own sinful nature.

And then, you must turn to Jesus Christ, with full and complete faith in Him alone. The Bible says:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

As the Puritan hymn writer Joseph Hart put it:

The moment a sinner believes,
And trusts in his crucified God,
His pardon at once he receives,
Redemption in full through His Blood.
    (“The Moment a Sinner Believes” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

When you put the full weight of your trust on Jesus Christ, He will forgive your sins and you will be converted.

It all starts when you come back to church here next Sunday. This church will cure your loneliness and preach to you the Gospel. Dr. Leonard Zunin, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, said that the biggest problem facing young people today is loneliness. Psychoanalyst Dr. Erich Fromm said, “The deepest need of man is…to leave the prison of his loneliness.”

These psychiatrists were exactly right. And in my sixty years of pastoral ministry, I have become convinced that your loneliness can only be overcome by making time for church – every time the door is open. Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be a lost soul? Come to Jesus, trust Him and be saved!

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“In Times Like These” (by Ruth Caye Jones, 1902-1972).



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, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

I.    First, John Walker Lindh came to hate the hedonistic, anything
goes, way of life in our nation, Romans 1:22.

II.   Second, John Walker Lindh he rebelled against the moral and
spiritual decadence of his old Hippie parents, and their generation,
Romans 1:25.

III.  Third, John Walker Lindh made the wrong choice and came up
with the wrong answer, John 14:6; Matthew 18:3; Acts 16:31.