So what is the answer then when it comes to our youth -- our most precious commodity? I think there are several easy steps. First of all, we need to stop baptizing children. Yes, I know how advanced your little Suzie is but I simply refuse to accept that an eight year old fully conceptualizes sin. What's the big deal? Well you set up a chain of events where the child and parents think salvation has occurred where it has not and that can have long lasting affects. How can we be sure it has not occurred? Because we seek the Savior due to the weight of our sin becoming unbearable -- not because our youth leader thinks it makes for good photo opportunities. Do you know many eight year olds who are burdened by the weight of their sins? They key word there is SIN. Not guilt for doing something "bad." Secondly, we need to get back to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ:
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. -- 1Corinthians 2: 1-2 (NIV)
I did not come to you with flat screen televisions and slick marketing. I did not come to you with rock concerts and faux worship music. I did not come to you with pizza parties the schemes of man. I did not come to you with prosperity in this life and a purpose for you in your community. I did not come to you with a seeker friendly message, and emergent church movement, and a bloodless Christianity. I did not come to you with rampant secularism and a desperate desire to fit my little church into your big world. I did not come to you with relevance and compromise. No beloved -- I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Why? Because only Christ and the cross have the power to defeat the enemy. Only Christ and the cross have the power to overcome this world. When we instead feed youth the world dressed up as Christ -- eventually they figure it out. Why stay in a church that acts like the world it pretends to speak against? Why line up with the hypocrisy? Why do the adults...
For the record, I am not against pizza parties, and things the kids can do that are more "youth focused." Those things however should be in support of the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- not in lieu of it. It all must start and end with Christ -- both in the downstairs Youth Hall and the upstairs sanctuary. Then when the world comes along to tempt them -- they will possess the real power of God inside of them. They will be able to tell what they have is different. What they have is better. I once heard a pastor say that three youth gave their lives to Christ at a youth rally because of the new plasma televisions the church had purchased for the Youth Room. Lord forgive us. The key verses today come from Paul, exhorting his young prote'ge', Timothy. It highlights for us that we need to expect more from our youth than we give them credit for. If we would just be a godly example to them we can expect them to be a godly example in a godless world. The answer as always is provided. In church, stick to the Scriptures, encouraging people and teaching them sound doctrine. Stay away from the skinny jeans and plaid shirts. The Gospel always has been enough beloved -- and it always will be.
Reverend Anthony Wade -- February 19, 2013