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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Why Such a Bleak Future Expected among Young People

Proverbs 6:6-11 (ESV)
6  Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
7  Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
8  she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
9  How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
10  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
11  and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

I read a couple of teen novels lately. Both presented a dystopian future. Both novels are wildly popular among the teens. It helped me understand what is going on among a lot of young people their age and somewhat older. They are living in the moment because their vision of the future is bleak. 

Our culture today is creating many people in the younger generations who do not wait nor do they want to work for what they are enjoying. They spend what they have right away. They do not invest in education or relationships. They are sexually active without any commitment. They are in huge debt and depending upon government handouts to continue their present lifestyle. They are irresponsible in their living. They are creating the dystopian future I read of in the teen novels.

There was a time when people said, "Study hard; work hard, pray hard and you will find yourself doing much better than you could imagine." Why have we stopped saying that? Why aren't we preparing for a better future? Have we lost the value of hard work?

I see this among many of the young ministers too. They don't want to go to school to learn the disciplines of those who came before them. They have no interest in Greek and Hebrew. They don't care about solid hermeneutics. They don't want to hear the history of the church's past. They believe that they can start a new church and have thousands coming within a few years without studying any of this. They don't care that those who follow them have a weaker theology than they have. They don't care that they haven't made disciples of Christ. They want to be successful without the baggage of biblical standards of excellence.

This is all a huge example of selfishness when you think about it. They want things they have never earned. They seek blessings without the grace of Christ. They want what they want now without drinking from the cup they have been given.

Maybe that's why many of these churches started by those who didn't prepare preach messages to young people which demands no commitment. These messages tell them that God has wonderful plans for them without any commitment on their part. In fact, they can leave their lifestyle unscathed by the presence of Christ in their lives. They can continue to be as sinful as they want because God's love will cover it all.

I wonder if these people are falling away as fast as they come to believe in this fairy godmother god. This god requires nothing and gives nothing but the best. How long do they live this way before they realize the emptiness that this produces? And when they do, where do they turn?

Maybe they consider a dystopian future. This is the emptiest future they can imagine. It reveals the acts of the flesh without the grace of God. It hopes in a savior who will change this future.

O yes, these teen novels do hope in a savior. This savior comes to rescue them from their future without any commitment on their part. When will anyone learn that this is the reason for such a bleak future? Changing the moment will not change anything as long as the flesh remains in control.

Have you ever heard of someone who won the lottery who was bankrupt in a few years? Their millions are gone. They have no friends. They never changed the way they lived and thus reaped the same future they already had despite a respite given by millions of dollars. The problem was never the amount of money they had. Their problem was how they treated the money. The flesh did not change so the future followed the same path.

But I imagine a much different future for people I want them to completely commit themselves to God and His disciplines. These committed people seek Him in the good times as well as in the bad. They always prepare by obeying Him in every day. They pray, believe and work. They see a much better future than they could imagine without God.

Yes, I know that is swimming upstream in this culture. I know that it will not fill my church like telling them of a God who loves without any commitment expected from them. I know that it takes hard work to produce a culture of people whose whole outlook is changed from bleak to bright. I know but I believe it is the only true future which is better than the one they have imagined.


Craig Godfrey said...

Yep, I hear you!

Teens / young adults are a product of their post-modern environment.

They have been taught to question everything regardless of how black or white. This is supposed to impress us with their decision-making skills - but rather just displays their immaturity.

They have been programmed to respond with non-committal, long-winded vagueness. This is supposed to impress us with their intelligence, but rather shows us how our educational institutes have left them intellectually bankrupt.

They want everything instantly, easily, quickly - trying to show us how hip they are with all the modern trends - but instead shows us their laziness and self-absorption, and how much of a blatant disregard they have of the trailblazers and forefathers before them.

Only the gospel has the power to break through this armour of enamour. We must overcome our frustration of how easily they fend off the arrows of the Word, and keep going.
I think the best way to view them is like we would a cult - keep hammering them with prayer and scripture until the Lord either opens their eyes, or closes the door on them.


Anthony Chia said...

What I will quote here, from Scripture, they are referring to believers (and NOT non-believers), but how often do we hear these being preached about by pastors or preachers. It is wrong to go about our discipling or teaching the flock, as if these texts below do NOT exist in Scripture or that they are NOT applicable to us, as believers or that they are of "old order or old dispensational stuff" no longer applicable to us.

Romans 8:17 Amplified Bible - And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

Oh, this,we do hear it preached, but preached with often the last part omitted. In those preaching, we are told we are God's children; we are co-heirs with Christ, of the Kingdom of Heaven; we are told we will share His glory, but NOT the suffering bit (or the suffering bit just glossed over).

Some preachers even promote sharing of God's glory presently! The sharing of God's glory here is referring to the sharing of Christ's glory in the future, in our after-life. Please we are NOT to take any of God's glory, presently. We rejoice in The Lord always, but it is NOT to take any of God's glory.

Jesus modeled for us: He suffered, and then He entered (back) His glory upon His resurrection. Did Jesus share in God's suffering while He lived (as a man)? My answer is yes, for God the Father suffered at His giving of His own Son to be born as a man, to suffer and die on the Cross; Jesus shared in the Father's suffering by being the sacrificial lamb. I am NOT saying that we are to be the Saviour of the world, to die on the Cross, literally. There is only one Saviour, and he is Christ Jesus, but we do need to model after Jesus, and we do need to take up our cross and follow after Jesus. The way and the patterning has been given us, and can be seen in the life of Jesus.

That is why we are exhorted to ask ourselves how Jesus would decide if He is now in our situation of life. Christ Jesus' non-self and non-flesh gratification lifestyle is the model lifestyle for us; His self-less posture is the posture we are to emulate. Jesus could have lived a luxurious king-like indulgent lifestyle but he did NOT. Jesus did NOT go after the things of the world; had he wanted that, He could taken up the offer of Satan who offered Him the world when He was tempted by Satan (Matt 4). Jesus lived a simple lifestyle so that nothing gets in the way of Him doing the will of the Father. Jesus lived a sacrificial life for the Father; that sacrificial life is suffering. Even so, Jesus' life was with peace and joy from righteousness; and that is what the Kingdom of God is about (Rom 14:17-18).


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

Another text is 1 Pet 4:12-17. To follow after Jesus will necessitate some suffering on our part, only that what I suffer and what you suffer may NOT be the same things or to the same extents. At the same time, Scripture also said that God is a debtor to no one. In other words, ultimately, you will be more than "repaid" by God. It may NOT be that if you sacrifice an apple, God will repay you with an apple, but you will get your satisfaction. The Apostle Paul, for example, from Phil 3, we can see he did NOT have to wait till he passed on, to perceive whatever he has sacrificed or lost was nothing or garbage even, when compared with what he would gain, in Christ Jesus.

Here is 1 Pet 4:12-17 - 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Did Jesus ever indicate that suffering or sacrifice is needed to inherit the Kingdom of God? Yes, He did. One place in Scripture recorded for us, on this, is the story of "the rich young ruler", where Jesus asked him for a (or another) sacrifice - to give up on his material riches, to give away his material wealth to follow The Lord, in simplicity of lifestyle. (Another is Luke 14:26, but we will not go into it, here)

The participation in the sufferings of Christ, we have seen above, is mentioned in the writing of the Apostle Peter. The same participation in Christ's sufferings, is seen in the Apostle Paul's writing; we see it mentioned in Phil 3:10-11. And if we read on, in vv 17-21, we see the sufferings or sacrifices are in the context of our living, in how we live.

Phil 3:10-11 - 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Phil 3:17-21 - 17 Join together in following my {apostle Paul} example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

But bro Anthony, are you sure we are to point this out to people, wouldn't it scare away the people? Firstly, we are NOT to sugar-coat the Gospel, there is no need to do that, and we do NOT need to cheapen the grace of God! Jesus, for example, told the rich young man what was required, right upfront, even. In fact, else where in Scripture, we also read that people have to count the cost before they follow Jesus. The Kingdom of God is for any Tom, Dick and Harry, and it is NOT for any Tom, Dick and Harry! It is for any Tom, Dick and Harry who would conform to who God is, NOT for those who refuse that. Secondly, the life lived following and being led by The Lord, is a good life, is a abundant life, and is a life where even when we walk in the valley of the shadow of death, we need to fear nothing, for The Lord is with us, and He comforts (Ps 23). Even if we are NOT comforted in this life, and we pass on, we can be sure that we will be comforted after-life, when we have conformed to who He is.

Pro 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Training a child in this context means that it begins with the Bible, as “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training…” (2 Tim 3:16). Such teaching and training will make them wise for salvation (2 Tim 3:15); equip them to do good works (2 Tim 3:17); prepare them to give an answer to everyone who asks them the reason for their hope (1 Pet 3:15); and prepare them to withstand the onslaught of cultures bent on indoctrinating them with worldly values. It is our fault when we heed NOT God's instruction such as Pro 22:6.

Anthony Chia, high.expression