Anthony de Mello said “We inoculate the young with religion – so that they won’t catch it when they become adults!”
When we give mixed messages to our youth, we end up inoculating them against a lifetime of following Christ, they can see through our hypocrisy and ‘do as I say, not as I do “charade
We need to preach the whole council of God, not just the parts we like, not just the parts that don’t step on toes, not to make or keep friends….but the full message of hope and repentance to our young people.
We know John the Baptist preached God’s word even in the face of beheading. John was imprisoned and lost his life because he preached to Herod that he was in an unlawful marriage. It is easy for us to want to avoid difficult passages or scripture and perplexing teachings. It is so much easier to teach the things we can all agree on and everything will be fine. But God has not called us to teach a “different” gospel as Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:6-7 it is no gospel at all if it takes away from Christ.
We cannot simply teach the things that will keep us out of trouble or will avoid controversy. The word of God must continue to be taught even if we do not like it. We must keep preaching to the world that immorality is sin and sin is not acceptable to God.
We cannot change His message and we cannot avoid His message. All we can do is preach the message in love, with the understanding that we were the same as them. We all need the blood of Christ. We all need the grace of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11; ESV)
We are constrained and we are compelled by God’s law. We need to know what we are doing wrong so that we can make sure that we continue to stand in God’s grace. We do not want our youth to walk away from God. So we need to know what he says and make the changes in our lives to receive his grace. John could not change the message and could not keep quiet in the face of sin. We cannot either and disciples of Jesus. If we truly care about people and we truly care about their eternal souls, then we must have the courage to teach the whole message of God, even if people disagree, walk out, sever friendships, or even suffer persecution. Look at Luke 3:19 and notice that John not only preached against Herod for his unlawful marriage, but also “for all the evil things that Herod had done.” It sounds like John hounded Herod about his sinful life.
One of the things I have been meditating on over the last five weeks out of the pulpit is, I need to make sure I teach the Word of God, the whole council, without compromise. Not in a winner take all, battle royal but out of love and compassion.
My prayer…..Lord don’t let me preach mixed messages! To young….or old