My last message was directed to young people who have been raised in the church but who are now feeling a bit lost and confused – drifting away, questioning, disillusioned. I want to continue that message here today. There is so much more to share, and I hope you’ll listen.
Young people: You’re growing up now, in a time of transition. The outside world is calling, enticing you. It looks exciting, and you want to be an adult, live life in the “real world,” no longer constrained by the innocence of childhood. I understand. You find yourself longing for the knowledge and freedom of adulthood. But what does “grown up” mean to you? How do you picture that? Driving a car? Drinking alcohol? Smoking? Trying drugs? Swearing? Being able to get in to R-rated movies? Having sex? This is usually how the world portrays adulthood to young people…. as carnal, crass and “dirty.” Forbidden fruit. Satan presents it this way to entice you, to lure and tempt you into making terrible, impulsive, life-destroying decisions.
But if you think it over, you’re smarter than that, and you DO know better. That’s not REALLY how grown-ups act. REAL adults, REAL MEN AND WOMEN OF CHARACTER, don’t act this way. Think about it. Would you want your parents to be irresponsible drinkers, hooked on drugs, sleeping around, swearing every other word? Of course not. You’d be ashamed to call them your parents. You love that your parents are Godly people of integrity. So why not emulate THEM? Why are you so hostile to the wisdom they want so badly to share with you? Why, as a young person, are you so angry? Why are you so eager to dabble in what you already KNOW is wrong?
I understand what you’re going through. The world is calling your name, and it’s filled with all sorts of “adult” things that you can’t wait to try. You want to KNOW about those things, you want to LIVE all those experiences. You want to be an adult and enjoy all the things you believe you’ve been missing out on. But let me assure you, there are two paths you can take in your life: a wide Superhighway, which MOST people take… and a narrow, winding path full of hills and valleys, rocks and obstacles, low-hanging branches and dangerous wolves and snakes along the way.
So you have two choices: the EASY way or the hard way. Both roads seem to be heading in the same direction right now: toward adulthood, toward the “Real World.” But the Superhighway seems so much faster – and better. Plus, just about all your friends are already on it.
But if you could step WAY back and get the big picture, you’d see that the Superhighway actually goes in one direction, while that “other” road – the hard one – is heading the complete opposite way… and THAT road doesn’t look like much fun at all. In fact, it not only looks ridiculously hard to travel, there doesn’t seem to be any point in going that way… why would ANYONE choose to travel like that when there’s this nice, smooth Superhighway, ten lanes wide, with no speed limits… no limits of any kind?
I had to make that very same choice myself many years ago. When I was your age, I was confronted with all the same temptations that appeal to you now. Only today, it’s on a whole other level. It’s hard to imagine all the stuff vying for your attention in today’s world of high technology. Knowledge of the carnal and obscenely perverse is just an internet click away providing instant gratification – and you can access it 24/7 on the cell phone your parents provide for you.
Of course, you HATE hearing this message. I know that. I’m “raining on your parade.” Plus, you probably feel you’ve heard all this stuff a hundred times already. “Blah, blah, blah, blah….” “Another sermon from another ‘holier than thou’ Bible thumper…” Well… thanks for the warm welcome… But I hope you’ll give me a chance here. Because one of two things are about to happen: either you’re going to waste 13 minutes of your life listening to what I have to say, OR you just might come to realize that I know a thing or two that you don’t… and a seed will be planted that will CHANGE the entire direction of your life, for the better. You may decide to get off that Superhighway at the next exit and begin heading in the completely opposite direction – because YOU WILL KNOW that’s the RIGHT direction you must go in order to “do life right.” Given what’s at stake, isn’t this worth a few minutes of your time?
Let me ask you a question… How old are you? 12? 13? 17? 21? Maybe 24, already living in the “real world?” Let me ask you something: have you ever known anyone younger than you? Of course you have. Maybe you have a little brother or sister. If you’re 12 and your little brother is 6… imagine that. You are TWICE as old as he is. Do you think, at 12 years old, being twice as old as your little brother, that just MAYBE you have learned, and you know a few more things than he does?
What about if you’re 17…. have you learned a little more than your kid sister who’s only 12? And if you’re 21 now… aren’t you a little more “grown up” than your friends and siblings still in high school? Haven’t you gained some knowledge through life experience that others who are younger than you have not? I could go on, but you get the point.
You see, I’m MUCH older than you. I have YEARS of experience that you just DON’T. That’s just a simple fact. I’ve lived through all the milestones in life that still lie ahead of you… adolescence, dating, marriage, buying a house, raising a family… and yes, I’ve made plenty of mistakes too… but I have LEARNED, and I am here to tell you, you don’t HAVE to make the same mistakes I did. The sooner you get on the right road, the less heartache you will have to live through. You can avoid SO MUCH NEEDLESS grief and so much wasted time… if you will only listen and seek Godly wisdom now. Ecclesiastes tells us, “Seek your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come…”
Let’s start with the basics: there are two forces at work in this world. Good and Evil. God is good; Satan is evil. God is our Creator, and the Creator of all things. He has given us all the ancient wisdom of the ages, written down and preserved through eons of time in the pages of His Holy Scriptures, the Bible. There is no other Book in the world like it, and it is a miracle that it still exists today. Though Satan, demons and evil men have tried for thousands of years to destroy these Scriptures, they are more available today than ever before. The harder the devil tries to stamp out God’s Word, the more God’s Word flourishes.
And consider this: if the Bible isn’t true, if it doesn’t really contain the VERY WORDS OF GOD HIMSELF, if it has no importance, why is it that oppressive governments ban it and burn it? If the Bible is just a book of fairytales, why does the devil hate it so much?
Now, let’s talk about YOU. God created you, and you are a special, unique soul. The Bible says He “knit you together” in your mother’s womb. Before you were even born, He knew you because He MADE you. You are not a reincarnated, recycled spirit, as some false religions will teach. You are unique, special, one-of-a-kind.
Now, God wants to be your Father, but there’s a problem. You see, as human beings, we are separated from Him by our sin. All of us are born with sin in our hearts. This is evident at the youngest of ages. Just watch how even babies play together…. you don’t have to teach them to be selfish because they are BORN that way, with selfish, sinful hearts. Yes, even these precious little ones are born with sinful, human natures. They don’t need to be taught to be sinners; they need to be taught to WILLFULLY CHANGE the road they are on: instead of taking that Superhighway we talked about, they must learn to follow the other path, the one known as The Way… it is the way BACK to God, the Father. This “path” is the ONLY way back to the Father, and it is the path of Jesus, who is “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”
God doesn’t want robots, and He never forces anyone to follow Him. You can always tell a false religion because it FORCES people to comply. In contrast, the one TRUE God gives mankind the freewill to choose which path he will take. He WANTS us to love Him, and return to Him by choice… but if He FORCED us, that wouldn’t be real love, would it?
Now, have you noticed that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today, even despite the fact that it is horrifically violent and obviously evil? Why do you suppose that is? It is because there is a battle going on – a SPIRITUAL battle between the forces of good (God) and the forces of evil (Satan). The things we see taking place in our world today are not just coincidence. We are seeing, before our very eyes, a life-and-death battle between good and evil, for the very souls of men, women and children the world over… and the devil wants YOUR soul as a prize to call his own too.
But with your God-given freewill, you have the ability to choose the path you are going to take in life. You can take that Superhighway that MOST of the world chooses. Or you can take the narrow road, the hard road, that leads to life … the one that leads to God.
Many young people become confused and disillusioned because their youth leaders and pastors all promised that if they just “asked Jesus into their hearts,” everything would immediately be easier, nicer and better. Instead, life became harder, and tougher. They were never told the TRUTH that all those who seek to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus WILL be persecuted.
The Christian life is NOT for the weak. It takes courage, strength and Godly character. But they were promised a smooth, Superhighway in the other path. Instead, the more they tried to live the Christian life, the rockier the road became. Having never been discipled in the full counsel of God, they came to the conclusion that although Christianity may “work” for some people, it didn’t “work” for them, so they abandoned that rocky, narrow road and jumped on the Superhighway with so many more options, so much more perceived “freedom,” and smooth pavement, bypassing all the hills and valleys, rocks and obstacles, and perhaps worst of all, ridicule.
Christianity “doesn’t work for you,” you say. Well, let me ask you one very pointed question here: what sort of god is it that “WORKS” for YOU? Are YOU that important that God should WORK for YOU? Or, should WE be the ones SERVING God, our Creator? You see, the false teachings of modern religion tell us that God is our errand boy, there to grant our every wish. How conceited and narcissistic is that? Others abandon God altogether, choosing to live as atheists, so that they need not answer to God anymore at all.
To Satan, it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care if you worship Islam or Buddha or Krishna or the Earth or believe that YOU YOURSELF are “god” – all these belief systems travel comfortably, side by side on the Superhighway.
You see, the Superhighway has LOTS of lanes and plenty of room for the heavy traffic it carries. There is room for all of it on the Superhighway. It’s a comfortable, smooth ride. The world will approve (and DOES APPROVE) and celebrate ALL forms of “religion,” all forms of “diversity,” all forms of “sexual preference” and perversion. We even celebrate the demonic with a HUGE interest in horror, death, blood and gore as “entertainment.” We’ve celebrated the murder of babies here in America for more than 40 years, and we call it “women’s healthcare.” We celebrate men having sexual relations with men, and parade our lewdness and nakedness around in the public square and call it “equality.”
You see, ALL these things travel happily, side by side down the Superhighway together, and the world celebrates ALL of it… the Superhighway is welcoming, accepting and affirming of ALL these things.
There is only ONE thing that is NOT ALLOWED on the Superhighway, and that is God. So let me ask you: if the Superhighway is so “welcoming,” “accepting” and “affirming,” how come the God of the Bible isn’t welcome too? COULD IT POSSIBLY BE that the Superhighway is controlled by Satan, while the narrow, difficult path is The Way to God – the ONLY way to God?
In Matthew 7, verse 13, Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few ever find it.”
In the 1980s, there was a hard-rock band called “AC/DC,” which had a hit song called “Highway to Hell.” Adolescent kids loved it because it had all the elements of the forbidden fruit that Satan uses to tempt us: a celebration of sin, debauchery and a lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll, portraying Hell as the ultimate “party.” Sadly, many of those ‘80s kids never got off the Highway to Hell… they CHOSE that Superhighway, that broad, easy road, and it did, indeed, lead them to their ultimate destruction, eternity in hell.
How senseless, how needless and how awful. But today, even now, God sets before us a choice and gives us the freewill to decide between life and death, blessing and cursing…. and the choice is ours to make. Please consider these things, pray and ask the Lord to open your eyes and your heart, and grant you the desire for wisdom to do life right. God bless you as you seek to know the truth.
Audio CDs and transcripts of this message are available when you call me at Wisconsin Christian News, (715) 486-8066. Or email Rob@WisconsinChristianNews.com and ask for message number 169.