Paul told the young preacher, Timothy, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Tim. 4:12). The eyes of the world are upon our youth. Much is expected from young people today. Each succeeding generation seems to be brighter, and more accomplished than the preceding ones. At Northeast we are blessed with an exceptionally great group of young people. I would put them up against any congregation's youth. By “young people” I am including our young married couples as well as our younger boys and girls. When Paul wrote to Timothy of his “youth,” he is believed to have been around 35 years of age. Today our parents, our schools, and our society expect much from our youth. God also expects much from our youth; and what God expects is far more important than what anyone else expects.
God expects you to remember Him. Solomon said, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1). Solomon continues to give graphic pictures of the ills and problems of growing old. He is encouraging us to remember God in youth before those days come. In other words, he is telling us to give the best years of our lives to God.
According to statistics 90 out of 100 who are ever saved, are saved by age 18. If you include up to age 25, it increases to 95%. If as a young person you have never obeyed the Gospel, and you have reached the age where you know right from wrong, then you need to obey the Gospel of Christ immediately, and dedicate your entire life to Him. Believe the Gospel (John 8:24; Heb. 11:6), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31), confess Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Matt. 10:32), and be buried with your Lord in baptism for the remission of your sins (Rom. 6:3-4; Acts 2:38). Why not consider this important step and be saved today? This is a decision that you will never regret!
God also expects you to be dedicated. When you become a Christian, you are dedicating your life to Him. You do this because He died for you (Rom. 5:8). The Bible gives us examples of youth who dedicated themselves to God. Read of Daniel (Daniel 1), David (I Sam. 17:32-58), and Jesus (Luke 2:42-49). Dedicate all that you are to the Lord. This includes your bodies (Rom. 12:1-2), your heart (Matt. 12:37; Prov. 3:5; 5:23)—indeed all that you are. Dedicate your future to the Lord, all that you hope to be. Your future plans for obtaining an education, marriage, and job should be dedicated to the Lord. These plans should be made in view of “how can I best serve the Lord, and make it to heaven when this life is over?” A marriage partner and a job should both be selected in view of making a selection that will enhance—not hinder—your life as a child of God (I John 1:1-3).
God expects you to accept responsibility. This is a sign of maturity. It seems that there are a great many people in our world who refuse to accept responsibility. Many want to blame every wrong thing they do on someone else. It is either our parents, friends, our lot in life, or even society that is often blamed for our sins. It is time for us all, young and old, to grow up and accept responsibility that comes our way. The one-talent man of Matthew 25 was not condemned because he only had ability to take care of one talent; he was condemned because he refused to accept the responsibility to do what he was capable of doing.
Some misunderstand the position of young people in the church. We often hear people say, “Our youth are the church of tomorrow.” There is some truth in that, because the older ones will eventually go the way of all men (Heb. 9:27). However, our youth that have obeyed the Gospel are also part of the church today. Young people, accept your responsibility and serve in every way possible.
Evangelism is an area in which you can fulfill your responsibility. There are those that you can reach that would not even consider talking to the preacher. Invite them to worship with you, or set up a Bible study with them. Encourage them to enroll in a Bible Correspondence Course. You may be able to assist in teaching a Bible class. You can certainly participate in our visitation plan. It is set up in such a way that both young and old can take part. And by all means, accept the responsibility of attending all the worship services and Bible Study programs.
It is obvious that what God expects of youth, He also expects of middle-aged and elderly Christians as well. May God help us, both young and old, to do all these things that He expects of us. Will YOU accept the responsibility of obedience to God?
Paul M. Wilmoth