It’s easy to believe the lie that we’re alone, even when surrounded by people. We get caught up in busyness or run to quick fixes as a solution, yet we still feel lonely. In this message, we look to God’s Word to answer the question, “Will I be forever alone?”
All right, ladies and gentlemen. Let's go! What is up to all of our friends tuning in live to The Porch Houston, Porch Indianapolis, Porch Austin, my special friends in The Porch Northwest Arkansas, and of course my friends here in the house tonight at The Porch Dallas. How are we doing? We are kicking off our first series of 2021 together tonight, and we are calling it Fortune Telling.
For my extra-spiritual people, please save your emails. Don't freak out on us. By doing this series, we are not endorsing that you guys go visit fortune tellers. Please do not do that, because let's face it, after 2020, no one knows what the future is going to look like. There is only one who knows what the future is going to look like, and that's who we're going to talk to tonight and about tonight, and his name is God. He is the only one who knows our future.
So what we're going to do with this series is our team has gathered around, and we're like, "Man, if God is the only one who knows our future, what do we think is the one question that young adults in their 20s and 30s navigating through their young adult years would ask? If they got one question to say, 'Hey, what is this about my future?' what do you think they'd ask?"
What we've dedicated ourselves to do through this series is take words from the past, aka God's Word, the Bible that was written thousands of years ago, and tell you how it applies to your present reality and to your future reality. Because God's Word doesn't change. It does not return void. It can be used today. There are so many things and so many questions that we're asking that God has already given us an answer to.
So before we get to the question that we're answering tonight, speaking of words from the past. I do this thing if we're friends on Instagram (shameless plug) where I kind of self-deprecate and humiliate myself by sharing old Facebook memories. If you guys did not know, I don't know why anyone would knowingly do this, but you can go to Facebook and go to what is called your memories and see statuses that you made from years ago.
I'm talking Facebook doesn't let you forget anything. It takes you back to like day one, 10-plus years ago. What I do is I screenshot those memories, and then I go over to my Instagram because only my mom and my grandma are on Facebook anymore. I go over, and I take it to Instagram and post it on my story, and I let people into a more angsty, teenager, youthful JD.
It's quite humiliating, and I thought I would share some with you guys tonight if that's okay. This is a safe place. So here we go. Ten years ago, on August 19, I let her know, "I can't go on without u." Not y-o-u, just u. I hope she saw it, bro. August 8, ten years ago, I said, "I believe that a woman should be so lost in God that a man must seek him to find her." I was that guy. I was that guy.
I was the preacher's kid, okay? I didn't know any better. Nine years ago on August 20, someone hurt JD. I said, "When it comes down to it, you just can't trust anyone these days. You live, you learn." I mean, who hurt you? Who hurt you that bad to post about it on Facebook? I thought this one was interesting. Here we go.
Nine years ago on February 2, so this morning I'm checking it. Today is February 2. I said, "People stay busy…" This is deep, okay? I'm 18. "People stay busy in order to not be alone because when you are alone, it's quiet…which allows time for your mind to think, and then you start to focus on reality. Boo." What's so funny about that is I posted that nine years ago not knowing that today I'd be asking God for all of us, "Will I be forever alone?"
That's the question we're answering tonight. Is, "Will I be forever alone?" If you got to ask God your one question, we think that a lot of people want to know, "Hey, is this it? Am I single as a Pringle for the rest of my life? Is it just me, or am I going to be forever alone?" Even JD at 18 knew everyone hates being alone. No one likes being alone.
I've said, do you know why we don't like to be alone? Because when you're alone, it gets quiet and we're forced to think. When we're forced to think, we're forced to come to grips with reality about how much life actually sucks at times. Think about 2020. When you're sitting there and you're forced to be alone and think, a lot of us don't like the thoughts that come to our minds.
One, we're faced to realize, "I'm alone." That's scary. Or two, "Man, 2020. These things are really getting out of hand. The political world is crazy. Everyone just seems so hateful on Twitter and Instagram. Everyone just seems to be blowing up all the time. Man, quarantine has really hurt a lot of people. The world has never been more in a wreck. There are so many people who have lost jobs. There are so many people who are sick."
We hate being alone. Not only that, when you think about it, being alone is so bad that America has literally made one of the worst punishments out there, which is something called solitary confinement. We literally force people to be around nobody because even our government knows people who go alone, there is nothing worse than that. You literally are driven insane. You go insane. We hate being alone.
If you've had corona, you know that yeah, the body aches are bad, the fever and the chills are bad, but the worst part is having to literally be alone with no human contact for that many days in a row. It's awful. We hate being alone. We hate being alone so much that we'll do anything to claw out of it. We fill our time. We fill our schedule.
We're always on Instagram. We're always Snapchatting. We're always FaceTiming. We're always texting and calling and being around people and going out and filling our schedule and doing and doing and doing because we do not want to be alone. But if busyness is the solution, why does busyness not fix our loneliness? Why do we still feel so alone?
Why do we not fully feel known? Why do we not fully feel trusted or loved? Why do we still feel so misunderstood, like no one really gets us? Why do we still feel alone, even though we're always around people? What's up with that? We hate it. So that's all I think we ask God, "Hey, will I be forever alone? Because I don't want to be." I know you don't want to be.
Because that's why when you feel alone, you run to pornography, because even if it means that I have to interact with someone sexually through a screen, it's better than sitting here alone. I'm bored. I'm lonely, might as well. Or you'll run to a dating app or hook up with a stranger who you barely know because you want to fill some void. You want to feel some kind of intimacy, and you want to lower your standards if it just means you don't have to sit in your loneliness.
That's why on the weekends, you're like, "Man, I know I should actually go to church, but yet again I got invited to go out. And I'll go out and get high and I'll get drunk and I'll get into stuff I know I shouldn't be getting into because at least it makes me feel like I have friends. I don't have to just sit alone. I can't really find church friends. It's kind of hard to start a new life and do this community thing and this church thing in the midst of a pandemic."
So as an escape, we run to the world, but that is not going to fix your loneliness. I think tonight God has something to say from his words from the past, the Word, the Bible about the reality of our loneliness. So while we're kicking off this series, you can go ahead and write down, if you're a note taker, "Will I be forever alone?" God, what do you have to say to that?
The first answer is no. Why? This is deep. Ready? Because God is with you. God is with you. Duh! It's simple, right? Did everyone here know that God was with them? Yes? Yeah. I don't think so! I really don't think I even fully can comprehend what it means to know that the God, the Creator of the universe, the Maker of everything we see… The Bible says he just spoke it into existence.
The God who has never been defeated has gone before and won wars, who has done everything that you know, who has created who you are, he is literally with you. I think that if I understood that reality fully, it would change a lot about the way that I live and view my life. I think if I heard the words and the reminder that, "Hey, God is with me," I would have no choice to be like, "What? Let's go! God is with me! That's the greatest news I've ever heard!" But we just forgot.
Or we've normalized it or we've let what society tell us, what movies tell us, what church in the past has told us, that person told you, the way your parents talk about God, the traditional Catholic church you were raised in, all the different things, you let those things dictate your view of God. Therefore, when you hear reminders like, "Hey, you'll never be alone because God is with you," you're like, "Eh, but come on. Will I ever be married? That's what I really want to know."
God is looking at you. You come to him, and you ask the question, "Hey, is this the way it's going to be? Will I always feel lonely?" He's like, "What do you mean? No! Because I am with you." That's the greatest news that we can start 2021 off with saying. Tonight is going to seem like I'm kind of telling you the duhs of Christianity. Like, "Come on, bro. We knew that."
But if you knew that, if you believe that God was with you, why does your life look the way it does? Think about it. If I put your life right now on these screens, do they declare, "God is with that man or that woman" or does it declare, "Fear is with them. Worry, doubt, anxiety, depression, loneliness, addiction." Is that what it declares?
Because tonight God wants you to know that those things were never meant to define you, but he was because he is with you and in you and goes before you. So what did he do? What did God do to make sure that you and me could be secure to know that God was with us? He gave us the greatest story of all time. It's like a movie. I'm about to take you all in.
I hope that everyone in this room has heard this story, but I'm about to tell you what we, as the church, call the good news, the gospel. Because I think there's no better way to start off 2021 than just laying out the story that we base our whole life on as Christians. Do you all agree with that? Do you need to be reminded of the gospel?
Do you all love to be reminded of the gospel, of the good news? I know I need it every single day. So we thought, "Hey, what a better way than to show people the extent that God went for them to show them, 'Hey, I am with you. Wake up!'" Because there's an Enemy out there, and his name is Satan. Since the very beginning of time, he has had this same play.
He is not crafty. He is not creative. He has the same play, and it is to convince you that you are alone, even worse, to convince you that you're forever alone. He wants to tell you, "Hey, because God is not with you, because God is not for you, everything else around you is. That person is. That drug is. That alcohol is. That party is. Those things are for you and with you. Go do those things. That's what your life has found."
He tried to tell you that God is not with you, and he will try to do everything right now to distract you from this moment, but I am about to tell you the greatest story that is true. This is history. This reset the calendar. This is in the Bible that has never been proven wrong, that has stayed the same, has stayed consistent. This is the narrative.
This is the whole Bible right here, the lengths that God went through for you and me to show us that he is with you and he loves you and he is for you and he is never going anywhere. This is it. Genesis 1:1, the first verse of your Bible, it says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And he filled it.
Everything that you see: the mountains, the oceans, the grass, the trees, he created it all in six days and said that it was good. On the last day, he made something really special: man and woman. He created man and woman, but he didn't just say that these people were good. He said they were very good because he made them in relationship with himself.
He made them to know him and to make himself known. All he asked of them was, "Hey, would you love me, and would you trust me? I'm going to give you everything that you could have. It's going to be called the garden of Eden. It's going to have all the fruit, all the shelter, all the animals, everything you could need to be fully satisfied in me. You're also going to have my presence."
God walked with Adam and Eve, man and woman, in the garden. We see that in the beginning of Genesis. He walked with them. They had everything their heart could desire. He said, "But would you trust me? The only thing I ask for you to do is not to eat from…" He planted this tree called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because he knew what was best.
He knew what man would do with that kind of knowledge. So he said, "Would you just trust me? I've got this. I'm God. Do not eat from that tree. Everything else? Have your way. Just don't touch that guy." So not even three chapters into our Bible, man and woman, Adam and Eve, do exactly what you and I would've done.
The Serpent, Satan, he comes down, and like I said, he begins to twist God's Word and convince Adam and Eve, "Hey, did God actually say…?" Like you guys. What he might say to you is, "Hey, did God actually say that he will always be with you, because… Hello? Have you looked around at 2020? When was the last time that you heard from God?
All these Christians talk about hearing from God. Do you ever hear the voice of God? Do you even know what it sounded like? Does God actually speak? Is God actually here? Are your prayers actually just hitting the ceiling? When was the last time that you felt God? Haven't you been feeling really alone lately? Hasn't God seemed to be withholding from you? Is he good? Does he actually know what's best?"
And he lies to you. He says, "No, but I do. Trust me." Back in Genesis 3, Satan looks at Adam and Eve, and says, "He doesn't want you to eat that tree because it's bad for you. He doesn't want you to eat it because it's good for you, and he knows that if you eat it, you'll be like him. So go ahead. Try it." It says, "So when _ [Eve] _ saw that the tree was good for food…and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to _ [Adam]_ …and he ate."
Boom! That was when everything changed. Light turned to darkness. Sin entered the world and plagued humanity for the rest of the Bible. Sin came, but the beauty of that is when you flip over to the New Testament and see in Romans 5:8 it says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners…"
That when Adam and Eve, all the way to you and me today, and that every sin we commit moving forward, "While we were still sinners…" He made a plan to send Christ to die for us. Not when we got perfect, not when we got things figured out, not when we started going to church. That while we were in our sin, God made a plan to send Jesus to die for us.
He made that plan from the very beginning. God set a plan in motion in Genesis, chapter 3. He said, "Through Eve, through you, I'm going to send a Messiah." Another word for that is Savior. He is going to come into the world and save the world from sin. Because God knew at that point, man and woman were doomed. That sin, because he was holy, separated man from God. That sin, when we choose ourselves, would separate us further and further and further.
Mankind just got further and further away from God. So God chose this people by the nation of Israel, the Jews, to represent his glory to the world. Here's what you need to know about the entire Old Testament. The Old Testament is just tracking the story of that people group known as the Israelites, the Jews.
God said, "Hey, if you would just trust me," like he asked Adam and Eve and like he asks us today. "If you would just trust me, you would see that I am with you and I am for you and I love you." But man did not trust God. Man wanted to be lord of their own lives, like we do today. They chose their own way and their sin took them further and further and further away from God.
Therefore, they felt alone. God said, "Man, if you want to be alone, if you really want to live life like you're alone, then have your way. Taste what it's like without me." For 400 years at the end of your Old Testament in the Bible, God was silent. It's understandable for the Israelites to think that they were alone because God was silent, not leave, but he was silent for 400 years.
The story does not end there because when you open up to Matthew, chapter 1, the first page in your New Testament, here is what we read. Guys, this is life changing. Matthew 1:23. You want to ask the question if God is with you, if you're alone? Here's what it says. "Look! The virgin _ [Mary] will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means…" What? "'God is with us.'" _ What does it mean? God is with us. Say it one more time? God is with us. That is the best news ever!
God said, "Hey, I love you so much that I'm going to take on bodily form, through my Son Jesus, and we're going to send him down. To make sure that I secure that you know in 2021 that I am for you and that I love you, I'm going to send my Son. Just because I'm so wildly crazy, I'm going to name him Immanuel, another name for Jesus, which means God is with us."
What did God do to secure his love for you? To make sure that you knew that he was with you? He sent his one and only Son to die for you. That's how the story continues. God knew that we would need a sacrifice for our separation between us and God, and so Jesus Christ came down. You've heard this story. He came down to carry our sins.
He knew that there was nothing that we could do, so he bore every sin on the cross. The Bible says that, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus lived a life for 33 years. He was a young adult, but he did something that you and I could not do. He lived a perfect life, making him the perfect sacrifice.
They beat him because of it. They mocked him for calling himself Jesus. The Jews made fun of him. They pulled out his beard. They beat his flesh. They put a robe on him and took it off and on and off. Then they made him carry his own cross up a hill, and then they nailed him to the cross. On that cross, he said, "I know. I know in 2021 there are going to be people who don't believe that I am with them, but look at me. I don't care. I love them. I love them."
Immanuel, God with us. Jesus on the cross to remind you today, "Hey, I know the world seems hard. I know your sin seems great. I know you feel alone, but I'm with you. How much do I want you to know that? I'm going to die for you so you don't have to let your sin separate you from God, but so you can be with him forever."
It's that God with us can be a reality. It's that one day we could die because Jesus died. He didn't just stay dead. He was buried in a tomb for three days, but on the third day he rose in victory, defeating sin, defeating our sin, defeating death once and for all. Because when he rose, we now one day get to rise from our death and be with God.
Not only is God with us in the form of Jesus through his death, burial, and resurrection, but now we get to go and be with God in heaven because Jesus said, "It is done. It is finished." No more separation. No more feeling alone. No more wondering, "Am I ever going to find someone? Am I ever going to fulfill this need?" No, because you have all you need in Jesus. That was what he did.
That's what God went through to make sure that when you ask the question, "Man, am I going to be forever alone?" he is like, "No, remember? I sent my Son." God was with us in the form of man, and he died so that you would never have to be alone. You get to be with God. Guys, that is why we call it the good news. It's not just the good news; it's the best news.
It is what we stake our life on. I guarantee you if someone walked in here right now, and we're like, "Hey, are you a Christian? Do you believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and died and rose again for you?" and he held a gun to my head, I would say, "Yes! I do believe that! You can take me because I'm going to go be with God because he came to be with me. God is with me."
Guys, that is great news. If you don't have that in your life, you're missing out. You are missing out and you are being sold a counterfeit life, a life that promises joy and happiness, but you'll always be searching because that is the only place that life is found. It's in Jesus. The best part is it still doesn't end there. Look at this. Jesus, before he dies, look at his disciples. He looks at his Christ followers, and this is what he tells them in John 14, verses 16-18.
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you."
Jesus is looking at his disciples, and he is like, "Hey, I'm going to die. I'm going to rise again from the dead three days later. Then I'm going to ascend, I'm going to go up (you know, all mystical-like) to heaven, but then the Holy Spirit is going to come down, and he is going to be in you for those who are in Christ."
He is going to literally come and dwell inside of your body. How does that happen? How do we become in Christ? How do we know that God has saved us? Romans 10:9 says, "…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." It's that simple.
If there's someone here tonight who has never heard the story that I just told and said, "Yeah, I'm putting all my chips in; I believe that story." if you would confess and say, "I believe that Jesus died for me," and believe that in your heart, the Bible says that you will be saved. But guys, it isn't just words from your mouth. It is a life that you surrender. It is a call on your life.
The Bible says, Jesus says right here, if you would do that, confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you will be saved. Then when you are saved, here's what Ephesians 1 says. It's a lot of Bible. Listen up. Okay, here we go. "God's purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ…" That's what I was talking about in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel.
"…would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles…" That's us. Gentile is just a word for a non-Jew. "…have also heard the truth…" That's what you just heard. When I shared the good news, the truth. "…the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ…" What I just read, when you believe in your heart that Christ saved you. "…he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago."
Holy Spirit kind of has this weird aura about it. Is this some ghost? Do I feel it? Does it hurt when it comes inside of me? I think a lot of people have a lot of questions about the Holy Spirit and it kind of freaks people out. It's like, "Can I be like p'zah! and the Holy Spirit can do power stuff now that I have him? What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit?"
It's the way of saying that God comes and dwells in you through the Holy Spirit. He is in you through the Holy Spirit. Here's what the Holy Spirit does. He does a lot of things for the believer. One of the things the Holy Spirit does is he convicts you. Do you know that voice? When you start to try to follow God and you start to dive into your Bible and start living for God for the first time?
The things that you used to do were really sinful and wrong, it was kind of like eh, but then once you gave your life to Christ, suddenly you felt really guilty after you did them? Anyone ever experience that? It's like, "Why do I suddenly feel so bad about this?" That's the Holy Spirit. He does this thing called convicts you. It's your conscience.
He tells you, "Hey, light and darkness cannot coexist. Light is in you now, so get that darkness out of here." That's what that conviction is. He encourages you. He speaks to you when you read God's Word. He helps you understand God's Word. He gives you discernment. He helps you make choices of what God's will is for your life. He guides you in God's ways.
He helps you when you need to fight temptation. You think you don't have the power? The Holy Spirit gives you the power. You don't have the power, but the Holy Spirit in you has plenty of power to help you fight temptation. That Holy Spirit is in you. It says right here in that verse in John that it will never leave you. That it's in you.
So when you ask the question, "Man, will I be forever alone?" the answer is no. If you are in Christ, it is impossible because the Holy Spirit is in you. God is dwelling in you. God dwells in you spiritually through the Holy Spirit until you go to be with God physically in heaven. That Holy Spirit is how you can know, "I am not alone. God sent his Son so I can know that I'm never alone."
It's like, "So what, JD? I've heard that story my whole life. I've heard that story so many times, and it's just like, why do I still feel so alone then? Why is this so hard?" The reality is the Bible says in this world, you will have suffering. God does tell us that hard times will come. Loneliness will come. A desire for a different way of life will come. So what do we do?
It's really practical, guys, and I think this is why we're starting 2021 off this way, because I know that I need a reboot every year of reminding myself how to remember that God is with me. The first one is just spend time with God. Look at your schedule and ask yourself, "Do I just spend time with God?" Not just give him a little devotion a day, a five-minute Jesus Calling journal I read in the morning and post about it on my Instagram with my latte and be like, "Jesus things."
What does it actually look like to spend time with God? It means knowing his Word, reading it. Not being okay with the status quo when you read something and it's like really a big name, and you're like, "Uh, skip forward. Okay, Jesus loves you. There it is." No. Take time knowing God's Word. Guys, I know it's tough.
I know sometimes when I'm reading the Old Testament… To this day, I'm reading Leviticus, and it's like, "Don't eat pork, and don't get tattoos." I'm like, "What does that mean?" It can be hard. I get it. It's a big book. I, for one, don't like reading, but I'll tell you this. I am learning to love the Word of God, and I believe that you can too, but you have to spend time with him.
Here are just some really helpful easy handholds. Pick a time, pick a place, and have a plan. Pick a time. For me, it's the mornings. If I don't do it in the morning, I'm probably not doing it. I'm just being honest. Pick a place. That might be your little nook in your kitchen. It might be in your bed. It might be while you're driving in your car, audiobook. I don't know. For me, I like going to the coffee shop. I'm basic like that. Pick your place, and then have your plan.
Watermark, if you don't have a church that gives you a Bible reading plan, we have a great one called jointhejourney.com. I would highly encourage you to write that down. This year, we are reading through the Bible together. It's really simple.
All I have is this. It's online, though, and it just has the entire Bible to read in a year. I just go through and I cross it out every day. If you can see right now, I missed some days. I'll catch up, okay? But I have a plan. This is going to guide me to read the entire Bible in a year. So ask yourself, "Do I have a plan in 2021 to devote myself to spend time with God, to really learn about him and study his Word?"
As you study his Word, second thing, pray. Pray and talk to him. How do you expect to know anyone deeper on a deeper level if you do not communicate? God gave us the ability, because we have the Holy Spirit that we just talked about, to communicate with him. Through the Holy Spirit, we get to talk to God. So take time. If you don't know how to pray, grab some people around you. Say, "Hey, how do I pray?" It's that simple.
What I've learned a great place to start is this right here. Open up these hands, and say, "God, here. I don't know what I'm doing. I need you. I need you today. Life is hard. Temptation will come. That computer is waiting for me when I get home. That girl is going to text me tonight. That guy is going to hit me up tonight and Snapchat me.
The worries, the anxieties, and the job, and the daddy issues and all those different things are going to be waiting for me. That toxic relationship is waiting for me. So here." You see what God will do with this kind of posture. You see what God will do with that kind of prayer. He loves it when his sons and daughters come to him and say, "Here, Father." He loves to provide for his children.
Test me on it. I am sure of this. I have seen it in my friends' lives, in my life personally, all around me that you cannot start with the simple, two basic principles of reading your Bible and praying and your life not radically change. Try me. Try me. Start tomorrow. Read your Bible, pray, and email me and let me know how your life starts to change.
Then, thirdly, remind yourself of the gospel every day. Do you want to be able to fight that lie that tells you that you're forever alone? Remind yourself of the message I just proclaimed. It's this simple. "I was dead in my sin, separated from God, but he loved me so much he said, 'I want to be with you,' so he sent his Son down to earth to die for me. He rose from his death, and I believe in that. Therefore, I don't have to fear loneliness because the gospel is true for me and I believe it. God is with me."
Guys, I need that reminder every single day, every day. When my sin comes crouching, when the Enemy reminds me of my mistakes and tries to tell me that I am damaged goods or that I am not even worthy to be up here right now or he tries to tell me that I don't know what I'm doing and I need to take control of my life because I start freaking out, I have to remind myself of the gospel every single day, and you do too.
Do you want to know that you are not alone? Remind yourself of the story of the extent that God went to prove that he is with you. The beauty of this is God did not just leave us here, just drop us off to figure out all this out on our own. He is not just like, "Hey, go in your room and sit Indian style and be like, 'God."
He wants you to have a way to be surrounded with people to remind you that you're not alone, so the answer to the question, "Will I be forever alone?" is no, because God did not create you to be alone. How do I know this? Genesis 1, talking back to when God created man and woman. In verse 26, it says, "Then God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.'"
Verse 27: "So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Notice that language: in our image, to be like us. What that tells me is that God exists in community, in we, in us, in our. God is not just one being. We actually call him what is known as the Trinity, three in one.
It's really confusing, actually. I still don't understand it, but what it means is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is a three-in-one being. It says that he made us in his image, which means that he created us to also not want to be alone, to live and exist with one another in our mentality, in we mentality, in us mentality.
That's why it feels so good to come here and be encouraged together: because God never designed for you to be alone. He made you in his image. Just like he sees, you see. Just like God gets angry, you get angry. The only problem is you get sinfully angry. He gets righteously angry, but we won't get into that. God, just like he loves, you have the ability to love because he made you in his image.
Everything you are, God made in his image. One of those things that is so unique is he said, "Let us make man and woman in our image." You are designed to want to be with others. So what did he do to ensure that you will not have to live life alone? He instituted two things that I want to remind you of. This is the fun stuff to talk about. This might start to answer what you're actually wondering tonight.
The first thing that God gave us to remind us that he is with us is the gift that we call marriage. Let's go! Marriage, yeah! Who is ready to get married one day? Yeah? Okay, okay. Who is afraid of it? Who is terrified of marriage one day? Okay, yeah. That's right. It's all you people who are over here like, "Am I going to be forever alone?" Anyway, we'll talk about that.
God gave us this gift. He didn't have to do this, but he gave us this gift called marriage. Let's read about it. In the beginning of Genesis, it says in Genesis 2, verse 18. "Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.'" Even God knew it is not good for man to be alone. Look at him. He just looks so pathetic right there. So what did he do?
He knew what to do. It says, "'I will make a helper…'" Ladies, by the way, it does not mean that you just belong in the kitchen and cleaning the house and helping the man. Can I get an amen? That is not what that means. God even calls the Holy Spirit our helper. With a woman comes power. That's what he means in a helper.
So he says, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him." He calls her his wife. It says in verse 22. "Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. 'At last!' the man exclaimed. 'This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called "woman," because she was taken from "man."' This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."
This shows me that we serve a good, good Father because he knew. I mean, can you imagine the world right now if it was just a bunch of men? Lord! He knew it was not good that man should be alone. So out of man, he created woman, and then he instituted this beautiful thing to forever remind each other, "Hey, you're not alone. I am with you. I'm even going to remind you that through the gift that is marriage."
Some of you right now when you hear the word marriage, you're like, "Man, I don't know about all that. Like, I'm riding solo. That's me. I have this thing. I'm climbing the ladder of success. I'm good on my own. I don't know about marriage." Let's just be honest. You're just hurt. You're just hurt. Hey, I'm being serious. Something happened to you that told you, "Hey, that's not for me."
Maybe some of you, there is the caveat that God could be calling you to singleness. Others of you who have elevated marriage and made it some idol in your life, you need to look at the other side of the coin and go, "Would I be okay with submitting to God's call in my life if it were singleness?" You need to stop running from that. Both people have to stop running.
The person who is afraid of marriage because of their hurt and the person who is afraid of being single because they don't believe that God is enough. God gave us marriage, and if he has called you to marriage, then he has called you to participate in a gift. I know a lot of times the world paints marriage as a thing that's not a gift from God. We have distorted the institute that is marriage and what God always intended it to be.
The rom-coms have distorted it. The Bachelor has distorted it. Your parents' divorce distorted it. That person who hurt you and abused you and cheated on you made you believe that a good marriage never was possible for you. Because you look at your parent's marriage, and you're like, "I don't want anything to do with that." But that's not God's design for marriage. Marriage is a gift.
I, for one, cannot wait, and I pray that God would allow me to partake in that gift. I'm saying, "Lord, please bring it in 2021. Let me be married." I'm just prophesying it. The statistics would say that most people in this room are going to be married one day. You know that, right? We are young adults now. Gulp! It's time. It's time.
Guys? It's time to put your big boy pants on. You're about to start providing for a woman. Women? It's about to start knowing how to be the helper that God called you to for a man. It's time to start committing. If you're not ready to partake in this gift of marriage (we always say this here) why are you even in the game? Because God wasn't here to play games.
He was here to design marriage for a purpose, and that purpose is that that husband and wife can look at each other and go, "Hey, this institution here is to point us to a God who, just like we are one with each other, he is one with us. Just like we are with each other until death do us part, he is with us always." That's what marriage was supposed to do.
So God, in his goodness, said, "Hey, I don't want to leave you alone. I'm going to give you this thing called marriage." The reality is, like I said, a lot of us will get to partake in that, but what if we don't? What if you don't get married? What if God has called you to singleness? He still did not leave you out to dry.
The second thing that he gave us, the second institution that he gave us to remind us that God is with us is his church, his church. Marriage is even supposed to point you to the church. In the same way, the church is supposed to point you to the reminder that, "God is with you because God's people are with you."
Another way for saying the church is God's people or what we say a lot here is community. Living life with the people of God. Those last two words are really important: people of God. Because I think a lot of times the reason why we are surrounded by people and yet still feel so alone is because they're not people of God. They're people who are living for themselves.
When everyone is sitting around living for themselves, that means that no one is pouring into one another, which means that every single person in that group feels alone because they're all so self-absorbed. But God's people are other-people focused. Here's what the book of Hebrews says. Hebrews 10:24-25: "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
That is the mission of the church. That we're supposed to meet together, remind each other of truth, and encourage one another until we see the day of Jesus drawing near until he comes back and takes the church home. That's our job. When you see someone going, "Man, I just feel alone. I've been praying for marriage for like three years. It seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. I can't find a job. I'm miserable. I'm depressed. I'm full of anxiety."
It is the job of the people of God to encourage one another and say, "Hey, God is with you, just like God has always been with us since the beginning of time. He is with you." When you cannot see past your own self, it is the people of God's job to remind you of who you in Christ. It's your job to do that for other people. Sure, the church can be messy. Life on life, this kind of life, signing up for this kind of life, living this authentically and doing this kind of life with people is going to get messy. Do you want to know why?
Because it's imperfect people helping imperfect people. But the beauty of that is it's imperfect people helping imperfect people be reminded that they serve a perfect Savior. He is the one who we look to, who we remind each other of. So right now again, if I put your life on the screen, how are you doing? Are you a part of the church of God? Are you a member of a local church?
What I mean by that is, have you gone through a membership class and signed a covenant and said, "Hey, I'm going to go all in and invest with this church and be the body of Christ and serve the mission of this city with the body of Christ and use my gifts to help the church." Have you taken that next step or is church just something that you go and consume? It's like a buffet.
You're like, "I'll take the worship over here. I'll take the teaching over here. I'll take the aesthetic over here. I'll take the Instagram story over here." Is that how you view church? Because that's not God's church. I am calling you tonight to take that step deeper and be a part of the church. We have an amazing opportunity every Tuesday at this thing called First Step up in the Loft, right up the stairs across the Town Center.
It's where you get to go and sit in a circle and you get to take that next step of faith of saying, "Hey, I'm done just going to church on Easter and Christmas. I'm going all in. I am serving as a member of the body of Christ. Sign me up." You can do that tonight after this service. I would encourage you to be the church.
When you become the church, you start to live with members of the church. You start to do life on life, this thing we call community. How are you doing with community? Do people fully know you? Because you can never feel fully loved until you are fully known. I am convinced of that.
There were things in my life that, before I came to this church, I was convinced I was taking to the grave: sins, riddled with sexual immorality, pride, decisions I had made in my past, moments of abuse, secrets, insecurities that riddled me. I didn't want people to know that I thought less of myself than everyone else did.
I didn't want people to know that I didn't think I was that manly or worthy. I didn't want people to know that I didn't think that women found me attractive. I had all these insecurities that I never talked about. I just walked around with this image going, "Yeah, I'm just the perfect Christian guy." That's what I thought it meant to follow God. That's not living authentically.
I came here, and I started seeing people actually do life on life and spend time together and love each other and be fully known, therefore they were fully loved. I sat down with one of my best friends, who is here tonight, and I said, "Hey, I am not fully known," and I let him have it. Some of you guys wouldn't even know where to begin.
You'd be like, "Uh, so, sometimes I'm afraid of the dark." Like you just wouldn't even know what to say, and that's okay. But what I'm telling you is, it is up to the people of God to remind you of the things of God. There's one thing that the Enemy is going to convince you that's not true of God, and it's that you cannot be fully known and fully loved, but I'm here to tell you that you can.
God fully knows you and fully loves you. So grab people. Ladies, grab some ladies of God. Men, grab some men of God, and take them aside and go, "Man, I've never been fully known. I've never had that kind of friendship. I know how to talk sports, sure. I know how to talk about hookups, sure." Or ladies, "I know how to talk about The Bachelor or that boy drama or that girl drama, but I've never actually experienced life on life like that." But that's why God gave us his people. That's why he gave us the church: to remind us, "Hey, you are never alone."
I'll close with this. Because I can say all these things and I can be up here on this stage, and be like, "Yes, go. God is with us. Believe it. Preach the gospel to yourself. Read the Bible. Pray more." You're like, "Man, I've tried that." I know there are some really, really dark times represented in this room tonight. It can be really hard to believe, maybe because of what you've done in your past or what you're doing currently that God actually desires to want to be with you and that you're not alone.
Today when I was scrolling through my Facebook memories, I was reminded of a time where I was reminded that I wouldn't be alone. Because today is February 2, and out of all days, I was asked to teach tonight. I was scrolling through the Facebook memories, and I was triggered by this picture. It's a picture of me and my dad at this event called Finish Strong on February 2, 2015, six years ago today.
One of my favorite things to do up here when I get the chance to speak is to talk about this man, because my dad changed my life. My dad reminded me of truth. He was the church to me. He was community to me. He is one of my best friends, but in college, I've told this before, I got the news, "Your dad is going to die in seven months of cancer." So what we did is he came to me like he always did, and he was like, "Man, I want to go out reminding people that God is with them, that they're not alone."
So we planned this event Finish Strong at my college campus. On February 2, 2015, two thousand students came into this room that seated 900, and we packed inside of this room. My dad shared his story of the day that the gospel intersected with his life at the age of 33. He told this story, and all of a sudden, he asked people, "Hey, if you want to believe and put your faith in Christ, come down to the front." I just remember all these students coming down, coming down, coming down.
We had to open up the door because the line went out the door. Music is playing. Emotions are high. People are crying. I walked up on the stage just to soak it all in. It was kind of like this. I just start weeping. My dad, on this day six years ago, walks up to me. He just gave the message of his life, and he puts his arm around me, and I'm just like, "This is amazing, but why do you have to die? Why, God? Why does he have to die? This is a good man. Why does he have to die?"
My dad looked at me, and was like, "Hey, God is going to use this in your life. God is going to be with you. God has got you." I'm like, "Man, I don't want God. I want my dad." He is like, "God is going to be Father to you more than I ever could be." He sat there and he tried to remind me of truth in that moment. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to hear it for six months after that.
I went off the deep end. I went to partying. I left my church. I left my friend group. I went drinking. I went to chase… And guess what? I started to do life on my own because I didn't believe that God was actually with me. Because if he was with me, then he would care about me. If he cared about me, then he would've saved my dad from cancer. My dad died a few months after that night.
I believed that I was alone. It was miserable, but I'll never forget it. New Year's Eve after I pushed everyone away from me and I literally was alone bringing in the New Year, I laid there and I begged God to show himself to me. I did that prayer where I said, "I'm afraid. I don't know what I'm doing, but will you be my Father? Will you help me see that I'm never alone?"
Guys, I wish I could tell you that it has just been fun and I've felt the presence of God in my life in a mighty way, but that's not true. Every holiday… My mom is happily remarried. She is with his family on the holidays. My siblings are all married, and they're with their in-laws. I am sometimes stuck here in Dallas. Yeah, luckily I have God's church around me and people around me to remind me that I'm not alone, but it doesn't help the feeling that when I lie there on Christmas Eve that I sure do feel alone.
I think the solution is a dad or the solution is marriage, but guys, the solution is that I choose to believe that God is with me. Tonight, you have a choice. You can keep taking control and trying to do life on your own, but you have a choice: to believe the lie that you'll be forever alone or that your life can radically change if you would start to live like God is with you and in return, you want to be with him.
So choose that life. Choose to be with the God who longs to be with you. I don't know what your future holds. As we talk about the future a lot in this series, I don't know if you're going to be married. I don't know if you're going to make more friends or grow your Instagram following. I don't know if you're going to get that fix to convince you that you're not alone.
I don't know, but one thing I do know is that God will never leave you. God is with you, and he is everything you need. I just bet he is waiting for young adults in Dallas, Texas, to actually believe and live a life that says, "I am not alone. God is with me." If you would live like that, let's see what he will do with the futures represented in this room tonight. Let's pray.
Father, I know that there are circumstances like mine where there has been death or cheating or sickness, anxiety, depression, job loss, cancer. There are so many things represented here tonight that have convinced your people that maybe they will be forever alone. Maybe marriage just isn't actually for them and that sounds awful. Or, "Man, why does no one pick me? Why have I not been chosen for a date?"
They sit, and they feel so alone. God, I wish that right now I could snap my fingers and everything would change and that we would actually be fully convinced. I know until we are in heaven and we are actually physically with you, we will spend our lives learning what it means more and more to live like we are not alone, but until then, would you give us patience? Would you give us grace?
Would you give us steadfastness? Would you give us endurance as we learn what it means to be sons and daughters of a Father who will never leave us or forsake us?
Help us to remember the gospel, the good news, every single day, to learn more about your Word and what it says for us, and to pray and talk to you more and open up our hands to you, to spend time with God's people in God's church being God's church and living life being fully known and fully loved by each other and, more importantly, by you. Would you take that obedience and change our futures forever with it? In your name I pray, amen.