WHAT OUR YOUTH REALLY NEED
There is much reason for concern today as to what our young people are being taught, and how they are being led. Are they really being rooted and grounded in the faith? Are they being taught the truth on the distinctive nature of the church, instrumental music, miracles, creation vs. evolution, authority of elders, the work and worship of the church—and a host of other crucial issues that separate the body of Christ from religions of man? Beloved, just because we who are older in the faith may know the answers to these problems does not mean our youth automatically do! Only by properly training our young people can we guard against their loss. Entertainment and spiritual candy will not cut it! Let’s look at four things today that our youth really need, things that I fear they are not getting in many places.
Our Youth Need Pure Bible Teaching!
Though young people have special trials and temptations peculiar to their age, the answer is not entertainment and pabulum! The answer to overcoming sin is the same for everybody: “By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer” (Psalm 17:4). Concerning the righteous man, the Psalmist says, “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31). How do we overcome sin and temptation? By hiding God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). Our youth need to be taught the Bible so that they will be strengthened in faith (Romans 10:17) and mature as Christians (I Peter 2:1-2; II Peter 3:18), rather than be tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) and destroyed (Hosea 4:6). “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9). We must not be afraid to teach our young strong Bible sermons. They need to hear these things to build a strong church for the future.
Our Youth Need To Be Taught To Respect Authority
A failure to respect authority is disastrous (Leviticus 10:1-2; II Samuel 6). God has placed authority in the home (Ephesians 6:1), in governments (Romans 13:1-7), and in the church (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28), and failure to respect any of these is sinful. Even when we do not agree with the expedient decisions of those in authority, we must respect them and not rebel. One reason ancient Israel went from “scarlet to dunghill” (Lamentation 4:5) is that “the faces of elders were not honored” (Lamentation 5:12). Our youth need to be taught to respect those in authority, even when they disagree with them.
Our Youth Need to be Taught to Consider the Consequences of Their Actions
Being able to look ahead, and to understand thevalue of Bible Study, properly chosen friends, selecting a Christian mate, andso forth, is true wisdom. Paul tells us that “whatsoever a man sows, that shallhe also reap” (Galatians 6:7). Moses’ comment in Deuteronomy 32:29 is priceless: “Oh, that they were wise, that they would understand this, that theywould consider the latter end.” Ouryouth need to be drilled to look ahead, think ahead, plan ahead—“If I dothis, what will be the result?” We willotherwise one day look back and ask ourselves, “What reward did I get fromthose things of which I am now ashamed?” (Romans 6:21). The attitude of “Well, I’ll do what I want towhen I want to do it and nobody is going to stop me” will lead straight to thepig-pen (Luke 15:16). In Ecclesiastes11:9, Solomon says, in essence: “Go ahead, youth, enjoy ourselves. Live it up. Follow your heart and whatever your eyes see that you want, go after it.” But then comes the punch line: “But know thou, that for all these things Godwill bring thee into judgment.” Learning to consider the results is something we all need to do. But, prayerfully, many of our youth will learn it while yet young.
Our Youth Need A Good Example from Parents and Old Christians
Paul wrote, “Noneof us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7). Christian parents are spiritual criminals when they smoke, drink, curse, lie, dress immodestly, etc., in front of their children.
These parents may think such is having no effect upon their children, but they could not be more wrong. Parents are to raise their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), and are a large part of that is setting the proper example.
We need more parents like Abraham, who God said “will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord” (Genesis 18:19). We need more fathers like Joshua, who declared that he and his house would serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15). We need more mothers like Hannah, who said concerning her son, “I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life” (I Samuel 1:11). We need fewer parents like Eli, whose “sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (I Samuel 3:13); or like Aaron, whose flippant attitude toward God’s laws rubbed off on his sons (see Exodus 32:24; Leviticus 10:1-2). When we have mothers like Lois and Eunice, we will have sons like Timothy (II Timothy 1:5; 3:14,15).
Children, with their implicit, unconditional trust in their parents, will learn early to love the things Mom and Dad love, and hate the things Mom and Dad hate. Thus, when Christian parents show that their first love is God and His Word, likely the children will learn to love spiritual things, too. If we show, even subconsciously, that we are more interested in the world and earthly junk than the Lord’s cause, do not be surprised if the children grow up the same way. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Our youth need the proper example in lifestyle and attitude from older Christians.