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SUICIDE!by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of
Lord’s Day Morning, September 3, 2000
"And in those days shall men seek death"
An average of 75 Americans take their own lives by suicide every day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country. The largest number of those who commit suicide are young people under the age of thirty. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students ages 20 to 25 years old. More than 35,000 people take their own lives every year in America. The world-wide figure for suicides is 1/2 million people every year. Over one thousand people in the world commit suicide each day, with ten times that number attempting it without success.
Factors most commonly associated with suicide are death of a loved one, loneliness and social isolation, chronic illness, psychological disturbances, alcoholism and drugs. The highest suicide rates occur among doctors, psychiatrists and dentists, higher than any other occupations. Think of it! Doctors, psychiatrists and other health-givers are among the highest groups who commit suicide! They can’t help themselves! How can they help you? In case you hadn’t noticed, things are out of control, friends!
Sweden, like the United States, has a high standard of living and a highly industrialized society. This small country already has what many American socialists say is their goal for the United States.
Poverty and unemployment are almost unknown in Sweden. Medical care is socialized. It is "free" for everyone. Government pensions are given from the cradle to the grave. Swedish parents are given a grant of money at birth for each child, plus an annual allowance.
Sweden’s "sex freedom" is known the world over. Eighty to ninety percent of their young people have had sexual experiences before marriage. There is little sexual repression of any kind.
Yet Sweden has the fourth largest number of suicides - higher than any other Western nation in the free world. A larger percentage of people - and a far larger percentage of Swedish women - commit suicide than do Americans.
However, in Sweden, church attendance is at an all-time low. Less than 8 percent attend church regularly. That’s the reason! You can have lots of money, and lots of health care, and lots of sex - but if you don’t have God and the local church, you don’t really have anything worth living for! That’s why you need to come back next Sunday! You need God. You need to be forgiven by Christ, the Son of God. You need to be in this church every time the door is open!
Think of it. Suicide is the number two killer of college-age young people! Many young people who never actually kill themselves have thought about it. Psychiatrists tell us that most young people have at least thought about it, and fantasized about it. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to find out what the Bible says about suicide.
I. First of all, people commit suicide because they come to the place where they hate life.
Depression is one of the leading reasons for suicide. One man in the Bible became so depressed that he said,
"(I) choose strangling and death rather than my life.
I loathe it" (I hate life) (Job 7:15-16).
But Job didn’t kill himself because he knew God. But he became very depressed.
Someone may say, "This sermon doesn’t apply to me. I’m not going to commit suicide." One man from the Philippines said, "Dr. Hymers’ sermons don’t apply to me. I went to Catholic school. Don’t worry about me. My family is religious. I’m OK." Jesus said, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). These sermons do apply to you. You need to give up your idea of running back and forth to your country. Settle down here, in this church, and make sure you are born again so you don’t go to Hell.
Many young people who will never commit suicide still become depressed. Young people tell me all the time that they feel lonely and depressed. You wonder if you can make it in life. You wonder if you’ll ever find the right person to marry. You wonder if you’ll be a success. And you’re afraid that happiness will elude you. You’re sometimes afraid that you’ll never be completely happy or fulfilled.
And most young people are lonely. There’s an empty, lonely, aching spot in your heart - even when you’re in a crowd.
I was talking to a boy who works at the gym where I swim every day. He’s about 20 or 21 years old. A friendly blue-eyed young man. The other day I overheard him say this to another person, "I went down to the Mayan, a night club in downtown LA, a few streets over. I danced with those Spanish girls until 4:00 AM. I didn’t get to bed until 5:00 AM, and I came to work at 8:00 - but I don’t feel too bad." I thought, "You can do that when you’re twenty. But wait a few years!" That kind of partying will sap away the strength of your youth and you’ll be an old man before you should be. You can’t live a wild life like that without it ruining your body and destroying your soul.
But there are so many young people like him. Why does he go there all night? He’s lonely and depressed. He’s looking for excitement.
Most young people are like him. You’re lonely. With all our leisure time and our alcohol and our entertainment and our drugs - none of it has taken away your emptiness and loneliness. Many young people have told me that Los Angeles is one of the most lonely places on earth.
You may go to the dance hall like that boy at my gym. Everyone is jumping to the music. The lights are flashing on and off and the rhythm is pounding. The room is jammed with the bodies of pulsating people.
But you’re alone! Somehow you’re still alone - even in that crowd of people. Alone in the crowd!
How many lonely people are there in this city? How many of you feel lonely and unfulfilled? Are you searching for a real friend? Are you looking for someone who will understand you and care about you? How many of you feel all alone at times?
And that’s why you need to come here - to this church - every time the door is open! Make this church your second home. Let the people in this church become your new family. Let this preacher become like your grandfather and the people in church your new brothers and your new sisters. You’ll find Christ here. You’ll find love here. We will be the best family and the best friends you’ve ever had. Come and be with us in the family of God. Come and be with us in this church every time we meet! Become part of our home and our family!
There’s no need for you to live a barren, depressed, lonely and meaningless life. Come to Christ and come with us. There’s a better way to live!
People will try to stop you from coming to Christ. Parents and friends will often try to stop you from coming to church. Many who call themselves evangelicals or Pentecostals will try to stop you from coming, especially if you’re getting serious. Catholics will try to stop you from coming. One young man was driving without a license. He got a ticket on Thursday. His Pentecostal family (which was supposedly saved in 1998) said to him, "Stop going to that Baptist church. You wouldn’t have gotten a ticket if you had been driving on Sunday like you were supposed to." These people actually thought that if he had missed church and been driving on Sunday he wouldn’t have gotten a ticket. They tried their best to keep him from going to church, which they blamed for the ticket. My question is this, "Don’t they give tickets on Sunday?" They will say almost anything to keep you from coming back to this church, even something as ridiculous as that.
Yes, many people become so lonely that they go into deep depression - and some even commit suicide. Because they don’t have Christ. They don’t have the hope and peace that only Christ can give. They come to the place where they actually hate life. They hate the way they feel much of the time.
II. And then, secondly, people attempt suicide for two main reasons
1. Either it’s a cry for help
2. Or it’s an attempt to escape.Many young people who attempt suicide don’t really mean to kill themselves. They are really crying for help. They’re saying, "I can’t make it! I’m hurting! Please, somebody, help me!" They are signalling for help by an attempted suicide.
But suicide is the wrong way to cry for help. You might slip up and really kill yourself!
One woman I knew drove her car off of a hill in the Whittier Narrows. It was a signal. It was a cry for help. But the next time she drank a glass of weed poison, that you’re supposed to put on the lawn. This time no one found her for about 10 hours. She crawled around on the floor of the garage for ten hours. When someone finally did find her, she was still alive, but it was too late. She died in the hospital. I conducted her funeral. It was a hideous, horrible experience. You could smell that weed poison seeping out through the edges of her coffin. I could smell it for days afterward. Horrible!
And suicide is horrible. It’s often an attempt to escape. You want to escape from the great problems and sins of life.
Suicide is not the only way that people try to escape from their problems and sins. Many young people block their minds out with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to escape from the reality of a meaningless life. Others use sex or cheap thrills of one sort or another to feel better - to forget their boredom and their lonely, loveless existence.
They call it "escapism." That’s why many young people watch endless television or play video games by the hour. They want to escape. They want to escape from a life of boredom, without real meaning and without hope.
But the Bible asks this question:
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"
God sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross to pay for your sins. The Blood of Christ can wash your sins away if you will come to Him and be converted. Christ did not stay in the grave. He rose from the dead, literally and physically, on the third day after He was buried. And Christ ascended into Heaven. He ascended into another dimension. And the Bible teaches that He is alive in that other dimension, in the heavenlies, right now. And you can come to Christ. He will forgive you and save you and convert you. Jesus Christ can give you hope and forgiveness. That is the great salvation which God has prepared for you.
But what if you neglect that salvation? "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" That’s what Saul did. Saul neglected God. He turned to his own way. He turned deeply into sin. Saul gave his life to sin. Finally, God gave up on Saul.
He was a big, strong, intelligent young man. You could see the top of his head as he walked through a crowd. He was tall and handsome and smart. But this young man got too smart for his own good. He thought he didn’t need God anymore. He threw himself deeply into sin.
And one day God let him go, and his mind snapped. He committed suicide. And Saul said to a young friend of his, "Stand...upon me and slay me: for anguish is come upon me" (II Samuel 1:9).
That’s also what happened to Judas. He fooled around with sin and dabbled in sin. He tried it. Then he tried it again. He was young. He was strong. He thought he could get away with it. But one night the devil got ahold of him and wouldn’t let go. And his mind snapped too. He went out and put a rope around his neck and hanged himself - he hanged himself from the limb of a tree. As he was writhing there, hanging by the neck, the limb broke, and his body fell a long way down a cliff - and his stomach broke open and his bowels gushed out and he died. He waited too long. He fooled around with sin too long. And his mind snapped and he killed himself and went to Hell. He is called "the son of perdition," "the son of Hell.
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"
Do not neglect Christ. Do not neglect salvation. You need to come to Jesus Christ. You need to have your sins washed away in the Blood of Christ. You need to come back to this church on Sunday - and you need to come every Sunday. That’s the way to escape from a lonely and meaningless life. And I pray to God that you’ll do it.
Scripture Read Before Sermon: Revelation 9:1-6
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Eternity"
The outline of
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
"And in those days shall men seek death"
I. People commit suicide because they hate life, Job 7:15, 16.
II. People attempt suicide for two reasons
1. A cry for help, Revelation 9:6.
2. An attempt to escape, Hebrews 2:3; II Samuel 1:9.