The longer I am in youth ministry, the more I realize how much this generation needs to be reminded of the truth of the Gospel.The Gospel…
A Gospel that tells them they are loved. Not just a little bit of love – but love that would send an innocent man to His death…for them! That they are worth dying for! A love that does not change – nothing they can do can lose any of God’s love and earn any more…it is perfect!
A Gospel that tells them they have hope. Even with the bullying, with the feelings of loneliness, the difficulties in their academics…there is hope. Philippians 3:20 says our citizenship is in heaven…we are just visiting this world that is full of sin & destruction…there is so much hope that awaits you.
A Gospel that tells them they have a purpose. Their purpose is to spread this GREAT NEWS. They have a voice, they have something to share, they have the key to LIFE…which leads us to our passage. Read I Timothy 6:19-21.
Remember these two verbs from this passage: Pursue & Avoid
Pursue: Check out the end of verse 19 – “TRULY LIFE”
First, little background/context here – this is a the end of a message Paul was giving to the rich – not to care so much about earthly treasures…but to care about the eternal. Live for what truly matters – “take hold of that which is truly life” – How? Pursue the eternal. There is so much out there for this generation to hold onto…just hoping it will bring them LIFE.
They are out there searching – hoping life has so much more. Thinking…this can’t be all there is…emptiness just filling their souls. Like they are hanging on the edge of a cliff and reaching for something…anything to save them. But they keep grabbing for things that don’t hold up, sending them further down the cliff.
Pursue LIFE. Eternal life. Let me ask you this: Do we give this example to this coming generation? When we show them – the Christian life – it’s where it’s at! This is THE life! According to Pew Research – Rise of the Nones (those with NO religious affiliation) that is growing in this country – Most given reason for breaking off w/ religion they were raised in because…they become disenchanted. They were disappointed in Christianity! Why? Could it be we aren’t living like this is the ONLY way? We live like there are other options. Is it worth it to us? Worth dying for? Is it THE LIFE? OR Do we live boring, risk-free, non-committal Christian lives? Is it any wonder this generation is saying no thanks?
The Christian life is HARD, takes sacrifice, will produce persecution…it better be WORTH IT! Does our life, our passions, our speech, our actions…do they prove to our children that the Christian life is worth it?
This is how we pursue – 5 steps
- We talk about God in our home – According to the College Transition Project – 1in 8 teens talk to their moms and 1 in 20 to their dads about faith in their lives.
- Serve Together – Let’s drop off cookies at the neighbors together, come paint VBS sets together, and visit the elderly together…and then get ice cream after. Ok?
- Church is a priority – Not in a legalistic way…but in a “We love the Bride of Christ” kind of way…and we WANT to be there to learn, serve, and worship.
- Share your faith – Not just daddy or mommy…but all of us share. In our schools, our jobs, our ball teams, our band concerts our neighborhoods…LIFE of faith.
- Love Others – Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love others, love the lost…and prove it by your actions.
End of verse 20 reminds me of:
- The philosophy professor at the secular college that wishes to disprove religion
- The rants of the atheists in our media aimed to humiliate anyone that believes in a higher power
- The theory that many call “science” claims the world was formed by a big bang & the existence of the universe was result of millions of years of chance
The world will call this knowledge – it is false – and our children need to hear the truth from us. Avoid pointless arguments that get you nowhere…instead live by faith, share about what faith has done in your life, and love others – these are hard to argue. We fight on FB – when we should offer a conversation at a coffee shop. We badmouth a child’s friend – when we should invite their parents out to breakfast. We get worked up in politics when we should be on our knees in prayer
What we want for our kids – verse 20…so we can do all we can to avoid verse 21. The minute we water down the Gospel at our church or in our home – is the moment we fail. We fail our Savior, we fail our responsibility, & we fail our children. We guard the Gospel and avoid false teaching in our homes – with the hope of them staying firm in their faith. Is this full-proof, money back guaranteed? Not in this fallen world…but… The more you talk about God in your home, protect the truth, and live it out…the greater the chance this coming generation will follow and stay firm in their faith.
Listen to the entire sermon here (9/4/2016)