Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."


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Of Thoughtlessness, Impiety and Fear of Men

We follow on from last week’s article to consider other dangers that young people might fall into unawares, if we were careless in our walk with Christ.

 THOUGHTLESSNESS 

Lack of thought is one reason why so many are lost today and why many more lose their salvation. Begin with the end in mind; think of the consequences of your actions and decisions.

Esau never gave a thought to his birthright; all he cared about was filling his stomach (Gen 25:27-34). Simeon and Levi must avenge their sister Dinah; they thought nothing of slaughtering innocent lives and the trouble their action would bring to their family (Gen 34). 

Solomon said, “Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established (Pro 4:26). Some young people would say, “Why so serious?” Christians, young and old, have to be serious about certain things in life. Spiritual warfare is a serious thing, salvation is a serious thing. Heaven and hell are serious things. 

PLAYING AT RELIGION 

Contempt of religion does not only apply to people who disbelieve in God or any religious system. It refers also to playing religion. One can be physically present for worship services and Bible classes, but the heart is far away. 

Some people come on Sundays as a mundane routine. Some come for reasons other than worship and fellowship of the saints. They cannot empathize with the psalmist who wrote, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD (Ps 122:1).” 

Religious jokes may sound rather harmless at times, but beware it does not lead you to take religion lightly. If it is worthwhile to have a religion, it is worthwhile to be sincere and earnest about it. 

You have to decide for yourself – between you and God – if you are going to take Him seriously. What will be your compass in life if you reject the Bible? The remaining alternative is the path to destruction. Yes, the Bible is difficult at times; of course it is as it reveals the mind of God to us. If you truly believe the Bible is the word of God, beware that you do not hold it in contempt.

Never laugh at religion. Never make jokes of holy things. Never make fun of those who are serious and in earnest about their souls.

 FEAR OF MEN’S OPINIONS

 The wise man says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe (Pro 29:25).” Peer pressure can influence for good or it can lead to a downfall. “Be not deceived: Evil companionship corrupt good morals (1Co 15:33 ASV).” 

During the formative years of youth, it is easy to allow one’s mind to be influenced by the things one takes in – through friends, reading, TV shows, mass media, etc. Younger folks tend more than older folks to be concerned about what their friends will think or say of them. The fear of rejection and ridicule can prevent a youth from taking up godly habits of reading the Bible and praying. 

Herod was afraid of what his guests might think of him and so he had John executed (cf. Mark 6:17-28). Pilate feared the Jews so he had Jesus crucified. Fear of others’ opinion is a type of bondage. Learn to say ‘no’ if it leads to sin. The counsel of the wise man is, “…if sinners entice thee, consent thou not (Pro 1:10).”

God says, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth…(Isa 51:12-13)?” 

Remember the words of Jesus, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mat 10:28).” Only live to please God, and He can make others pleased with you. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Pro 16:7).”

Again, God says, “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation (Isa 51:7-8).”

Learn to say in your heart, “I fear God, and therefore I need fear no man.”

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Of Pride and Pleasure in Youths

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psa 119:9).”

Youth is a wonderful time of learning and of service to the Lord when health and energy are usually at its peak. Hope for the future looks bright and appealing; the sky is the limit. However, there are areas of dangers the young especially must take note of. These are dangers that can sabotage the spiritual development.

They could destroy anyone at any stage of life. The youth, however, will do well to learn to be vigilant against them from their young age.

 PRIDE

Pride is said to be the oldest sin in the world. Pride caused Adam and Eve to be thrown out of Eden. They were not contented with their lot and wanted to be like God. By their pride, they let sin into the world.

Pride closes people’s ears to the gospel and turns everyone to his own way. Some youths are impatient and rude to elderly people, especially their parents, and will not stop to listen. They think they know enough of everything and are full of conceit of their own ‘wisdom’. They demand independence and their own way.

Rehoboam was like that. He despised the counsel of the older, experienced men who served his father and listened to the advice of the young men of his generation (2 Kings 12). Sadly, there are many like him.

Beware of pride. Do not be proud of your own abilities, strength, appearance, and cleverness. Do not be proud of your own self or your talents of any kind. Pride in young people is a mark of ignorance and inexperience.

Scriptures set before us the excellence of a humble spirit. We are warned not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think (Rom 12:3). We are told that if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know (1 Cor 8:2). How strict the command to put on humbleness of mind (Col 3:12); and also to be clothed with humility (1 Pet 5:5).

The Lord is our best example. He washed the disciples’ feet and said “ye should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).” It is written, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor (2 Cor 8:9).” And again, “He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Php 2:7-8).” To be proud is to be more like a child of the devil than a child of God.

 PLEASURE

Youth is the time when you are generally most healthy and strong. Death seems far away – if you even think about it at all. Youth is also the time when you are least burdened with earthly cares. However, youth is also the time when desires and passions are strongest and constantly seek for indulgence.

Pleasure-seeking comes in many forms beside wholesome activities. You are aware of the immorality openly portrayed on mass media and pop culture. Sexual innuendoes are aplenty almost everywhere – the dressing, the suggestive body language, etc. Lascivious, drinking parties are also touted as activities that young people should indulge in, more so if you want to be popular and accepted.

Be on your guard against things that give temporary excitement, please the senses and gratify the flesh, but keep your mind from the standard of Christian conduct. Be careful you do not become like one of those the Bible calls “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Tim 3:4).”

The NT is full of warnings against worldly pleasure. “…abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Pe 2:11); “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth (Col 3:5); “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal 5:24)”; “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection (1 Cor 9:27)”; “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Rom 13:14).”

Solomon indulged in worldly pleasure and in the end concluded that it is all vanity.

There are more than these two potential dangers for everyone to look out for, which we shall see in the next bulletin, Lord willing. Let us continue to take heed unto ourselves.