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ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, November 17, 2019

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst” (Amos 8:11-13; p. 939 Scofield).


At about 7:45 AM last Thursday morning Nathaniel Burhow grabbed a gun and started shooting his classmates. Dressed in black, Nathaniel killed two other students. Three more students were also shot. Then this boy shot himself in the head. This was the way Nathaniel celebrated his 16th birthday that day. The newspaper said, “92 mass shootings” have occurred in recent months. “Four of those shootings were at high schools or colleges” (L.A. Times). The newspaper said the killer was “an enigmatic and troubled classmate, dressed in black.”

Why? Why are seemingly normal students killing each other on campuses all across the country? The killer’s parents had separated. His father died in 2017. His parents had fought over his custody.

I think Dr. A. W. Tozer reached for an explanation in his essay on “Spiritual Suffocation.” Dr. Tozer said, “Mining companies used to take live [canaries] into the mines to detect the presence of dangerous gasses. If there was a high concentration of poison, the bird would fall down and die in the bottom of the cage...Take a [bird] underground where there is black damp and pollution and it quickly dies of suffocation... Sin has ruined us. We listened to that serpent, the devil. We have gone down into the isolated, dark, poison-infested pockets of the world, and lost men are dying everywhere of spiritual suffocation!” They called Dr. Tozer “a 20th century prophet” in his own lifetime.

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In another message, Dr. Tozer said, “We find people everywhere – pretending and playing a game. Deep within their beings, they are almost overwhelmed by their great loneliness, by their sense of being orphans in the final scheme of things. The result of this aching sense of loneliness and cosmic orphanage is the inward question, ‘What good is it to be a human being? No one cares about me!’... this sense of having been put out of the father’s house, and the feeling that follows when the house is burned down and the father is dead.” (“The Lonely Human”).

The liberals in politics say, “Take away their guns and all will be well.” But they are wrong. I know, because I myself felt like that boy when I was young.

“Joker” is the number one movie young people are attending today. Don’t see it. It’s too graphic! It shows how a young man can be isolated, lonely in a crowd, asking himself, “What good is it to be a human being? No one cares about me.”

As a teenager I was taken to a Baptist church by the people next door. But it didn’t do me any good. The pastor was a nice enough man, but he was afraid of angering his congregation. So most of his sermons did not deal with the problems facing a young man like me. His sermons went right over my head!

The prophet Amos spoke of “preaching” like that when he said, “In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst” (Amos 8:13). To this day, 65 years later, I know that I would have committed suicide if the grace of God had not moved me to another church, where the preacher reached my heart with “the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst” (Amos 8:11-13).

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said that very little of the Word of God is going out in America today. He said, “We are beginning to see the famine of the Word of God in this country... Even the young people will faint for thirst after the Word of God.” About 50 years after Amos wrote this, the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by God.

Dr. McGee said, “God tells any church or nation that, if they will not hear His Word after He has given it to them, He will withdraw it from them. I think we can see this happening in America.”

These mass shootings are a warning from God. A warning against our materialism and greed. We murder thousands of babies by abortion. The lesson is clear to a student dressed in black: “What good is it to be a human being? No one cares...” “If it’s OK for a ‘doctor’ to kill a baby in the 9th month of pregnancy – why shouldn’t I kill a few kids on my campus?” These kids have learned the lesson well – human life is cheap, and it is worthless. If our society really wants to stop these shootings, we should shut down the abortionists, not go after the National Rifle Association! We should back up our pro-life President – and tell Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to go fly a kite!

But there is something else we should do as Christians. Something far more important than partisan politics. We should take the word of Jesus Christ far more seriously than we do. For Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15; p. 1069). You may say, “I couldn’t do that!” But you could bring a lost relative, or a lost friend, to hear me preach the Gospel! You might stop some young person from being a mass shooter by doing that! Bring a brother or sister to church with you! Bring a friend or relative to church with you! I promise you that they will hear a clear-cut message of the Gospel from this pulpit! Please turn to Matthew 11:28-30. 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; p. 1011).

Stand and sing, “I Will Make You Fishers of Men.” Now sing, “Win One for the Lord.”

If you are still not saved, come and stand here at the front right now. Dr. Cagan will present you the Gospel from “The Evangelism Explosion.” The young people who are studying that method should come as well, to hear Pastor Cagan give them the good news of Jesus!