Summary: A warning to our youth and a charge to our parents: the liar is speaking! Do not listen to him. Hear the Word of the Lord!
Can you think of some faith disturbing experiences you have had since becoming a Christian?
Some things that shake faith are sudden. But by far the most common faith destroyer is a long term acid that dissolves faith away a layer at a time until finally faith is so weak it becomes useless and fails. Samuel Clemmons, better known as Mark Twain, the humorist agnostic American author and lecturer, married Olivia Langdon who was a bright, optimistic woman of faith in Jesus Christ. Through the years he consistently took sarcastic jabs at her belief in God and Jesus. “Livy” he called her, “If God is so good, then why does he allow this or that?” As time passed he noticed that her usual cheer and positive spirit waned and she took on a darker and depressed countenance. She quit attending church and reading the Bible and having prayer. Finally, he told her, “Livy, if it will help you, why don’t you return to your faith?” She replied, “I can’t, it is all gone now.”
Luke 18 records where Jesus asked this haunting question when he spoke of his coming again, “7 now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?
8 "I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"
What happens when the faith of God’s people is disturbed, or shaken, or worst of all, fails? What are some things that can cause this and how can we ready ourselves to stand the trials and tests that will surely come?
God’s word gives us the hope of Jesus Christ’s return as a constant motivation for faith and purity. The details surrounding how and when Jesus will return are obscure. But the clear teaching that Jesus will indeed return is consistent throughout the New Testament. There is a handout for you with just a few of the statements of scripture that remind us and encourage us and warn us of Jesus’ sure return.
Jesus calls his followers “the light of the world and the salt of the earth.” Satan is working hard to put out that light and contaminate that salt. One of his chief tools is oppression and affliction or persecution. Last week we talked about that in some detail. One of the things I said last week that I want to repeat today is that persecution is alive and well today and particularly in our school systems among the peers of our kids. David Proctor and I were discussing our study of 2 Thess. 2 last night. He told me that at the game there was dancing with the music at I suppose the halftime that was cheered for by the crowds but was suggestive and more like pornographic than artistic.
A few weeks ago I had a discussion with one of our young members who had just finished middle school and is now in high school. This young Christian observed that in sixth grade the majority of the class seemed to believe in Jesus and spoke positively about their faith, but by the eighth grade most of them seemed to have lost what faith they had.
Three years of being shaken, disturbed and deceived had done its dirty work of destruction. I can’t help but think, what will the next four years do?
God once told Jeremiah, (12:5) "If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
The acid work of temptation and a constant sinful environment has the potential to destroy faith! That is, unless you choose to love God and the truth of God instead of the world and its temporary lusts. For those who love the pleasures of wickedness more than God, just listen to verses 9-12 of 2 Thess.
I have been listening to Christian Radio and hearing some disturbing statistics. It seems that studies are showing that there are fewer and fewer youth in America who claim to have faith in Jesus Christ or the Bible as God’s word. There was a time when even parents who didn’t go to church, took their kids there. Now even that generation is old and the kids they dropped off at church are now taking their kids to ball games and other activities on Sundays. God’s word is plain: Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. What happens to the generation that does not hear God’s word? And what do these hear?
Yesterday I got this “The Week” magazine which is a secular news magazine. In it is this article: The power of pop music. Listen: (the article describes a recent study of 1450 early adolescent youth over a period of three years. It showed that 50% of those who listened to songs that depicted boys as insatiable sexually and girls as willing sex objects in provocative lyrics began having sex within two years. The conductor of the study said that the message sinks in. He also said that teens will deny that, but, he said, “It is the music, and it seems to define and shape their behaviors more than anything else.”)