Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Biblical Passages for Those Who Parent or Work with Teens Pt 2

My blog over the next few weeks will be devoted to my work with students. Next year will mark 20 years that I have been involved in Christian Education and I wanted to reflect a little on my ministry philosophy and set some goals for the future- see the original blog at www.jayopsis.blogspot.com


II TIMOTHY 3:1-9  "1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."

Passage 1 (yesterday) was more optimistic- be patient- God will get them where they need to be.

Passage 2 is more pessimistic- there is a downward spiral that doesn’t offer much promise to change.

Every time I read the above passage I get sad. I grieve over the slow decay of society and pray for renewal. Oh Lord please rend the heavens and delay this decay! 

Yet, it is important to be realistic- the city of man will have a consistent testimony throughout history- and the bottom line is not a pretty picture.

G.K. Beale has a very interesting quote regarding this: “Worldliness is what any culture does to make sin seem normal and righteousness seem strange.” 

The list above is where all of us are headed without an intervention. Don’t I see these base impulses in myself? At my core nature I am selfish-materialistic-arrogant and boastful- autonomous- slanderous, especially of the weak or downtrodden- an addict- an animal self and a diabolical self- pursuer of leisure and pleasure more than a pursuer of God- living in a Christ haunted land – holding to my rituals- but cold in my relationships. I am manipulative. The more I learn, the less I know. And the fruit is shameful.

The application of this verse is to combat the decay and the trend. What tools are at my disposal to see that this ‘default mode’ is resisted at every point?

Fortunately, the gospel takes aim right at the root of the issue. The renewal that comes in by embracing justification by grace through faith strikes a mighty blow to this cycle of cynicism and addiction. The employment of all the means of grace can stop and reverse these deadly trends and issues.  

For me personally, and for those who dwell in these communities of faith, it is incumbent to encourage and stir one another up in love and good deeds- to memorize, study, and meditate on God’s Word, to assemble for worship, to proclaim Christ, and participate in the sacraments to fight against the domain of darkness.

Have we not grown weary of the ineffective programs and snappy slogans? We must all agree with Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones “ I am never tired of saying that the church does not need to embark on some new methodology or program but must herself start living the Christian life.”

What can we do to inspire young leaders to fight against this 'default mode'? This is my largest goal and constant prayer!

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