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Pastoral 2016

Empowering Youths for Christ

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No matter where Christian youths live, they face immense challenges to their faith and holiness. No one can concisely describe those odds stacked against them. The challenges they encounter are no more just matters arising from their own fleshly lusts and enticements of friends, but also from the internet social media that (directly or indirectly, openly or subtly) seek to undermine their faith and Christian values.

Another dreadful influence on Christian youths come from certain youths who profess to be saved but live a worldly life. There is enormous pressure on Christian youths – even from within the church – to act like the world. Be it in the area of their beliefs, speech, conduct, entertainment, activities or dressing, Christian youths are pressurized to follow the worldly trends.

I believe that young people ought to be the “frontline” of our churches’ spiritual army. For they are, to a great extent, the “face” of our churches. Young people make a statement about their churches, just as they do about their families. The churches and families with godly and well-mannered, strong and enterprising children have much to rejoice, while ungodly and ill-mannered, lazy and lethargic young people bring disgrace to their churches and families.

In Psalm 127:4-5, we are told of the blessedness of well-guided youths - “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

We do know of certain young men of biblical times who have been endued with great measure of divine strength and wisdom to win their spiritual battles. Do we not remember youthful Joseph, Samuel, David, Josiah, Daniel, Timothy and many more standing up for the LORD in their times? May our youths today be like them in displaying unusual maturity and ability.

For the empowering of her youths to stand for Christ, the church is provided with the best spiritual resources. We are not without aid in guiding our youths to victory in the spiritual battles waged against them. Christian parents, church leaders and youths themselves need to avail themselves of those divine provisions for the equipping and empowering of Christian youths.

The Word of God – the Bible – is the youths’ first and foremost resource. The apostle John says in 1 John 2:13-14, “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one… I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” John here speaks of strong and triumphant youths of the church. He is not referring to their physical strength, but their spiritual strength which comes through spiritual resources that God provides.

Many physically strong young men are being taken captive by the devil. They are “wrestled to the ground” and chained by worldliness in the pit of sin. As enlisted soldiers of Christ’s army, they need something far greater than natural vigour to fight their spiritual battles. As Scripture exhorts, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10); and “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Christian youths must be exhorted to yield to God in devotion and ceaseless prayer so that they may be empowered in the might of God.

Gethsemane Defenders’ Ministry

“Battle for the Bible”

This month, Gethsemane Defenders’ Ministry will be holding two lectures (23 & 30 October) in conjunction with this year’s Reformation Sunday.

Reformed and Presbyterian churches traditionally observe Reformation Sunday on the last Sunday of October, marking Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The 16th century Reformation was indeed a battle for the Bible, and one of its battle cries was “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone).

Knowing the history of the church will enable us to be informed and better equipped Christians for the spiritual battles of our time. So please plan to attend.

 

23rd October (1.30pm – 3.30pm)
“16th Century Battle for the Bible”
  by Andrew Koh

30th October (1.30pm – 3.30pm)
“21st Century Battle for the Bible”
by Prabhudas Koshy

Their spiritual strength, as 1 John 2:14 says, comes from the Word of God that abides in them. The Word is not kept out of their lives, but always embraced, studied, believed and obeyed. When the Word is kept within them, they shall be always empowered and equipped to fight and win their battles. The Word of God makes the youths pure. Psalm 119:9, 11 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word… Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It establishes them in their spiritual walk and keeps them from faltering – “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide” (Psalm 37:31). When His Word remains in His people, it makes them followers of Christ, for Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Jesus also promised that the Word-abiding Christians will achieve great things for the Lord through prayer – “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

The victory of spiritually empowered Christian youths is guaranteed – “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:13, 14). With the strength and wisdom of the most Holy God, they shall have victory over the wicked one, even the devil.

All the young men (and women) of Christ must fight against the devil. They cannot make peace with him. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). All those who are saved have already tasted the victory – “ye have overcome the wicked one.” In Christ we have victory. He has defeated the devil on the cross. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). They who have found their strength in the Lord and His Word will overcome all the ploys of the wicked one.

Final conquest is sure!
They have strength of the Lord in them.
They have God’s Word within them;
They have the devil under them.

 

 

Dear Pastor,

We, as a family, have been greatly blessed by your preaching for the past twelve years. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has given us salvation, peace, obedience to God and hope in our life. We thank God for the timely instructions received from the Word of God through your preaching. At the same time, God has also blessed us with good health and a job. We would like to share our blessings with you. Please use this token of our love for the purchase of insulin pump or for your medical use.

May our God keep you and sustain you for many more fruitful years in His service. We rejoice with you in Christ Jesus.

Truly, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)

A Gethsemane family.

 

Pastoral Exhortation