Wow is "Word on Wednesday" which is a part of the youth ministry at our church. WOW is all 6th-8th Grade Students. This program draws about 25 youth weekly most (90% or more) who do not go to any church regularly and is purely evangelistic. This is not training up of youth already in the faith, or who have families that are a part of the household of faith. We do a lot of frivolous stuff, then we preach and teach, and then we do it again the next week. What follows is today's teaching:
Too often you view me as a mere teacher, and I view you as mere students, but the things we talk about are far more weighty, far more serious, and have a far greater impact than any math problem, book report, or piece of American history. You see, the things we talk about here have eternal significance, you will use the math you are learning for the next 70 years, yet the truths we speak of will affect you for more than 700 years, yes more than 700 million years. I want to talk to you about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no power point, no music, no youth room, this is too serious for that.
You see I believe we should have a good time, and I believe that there is a time and a place for playing Dodgeball, apples to apples and such, but... this far outweighs that. Let’s be honest guys, the whole reason that we play games and have food is in order to get you together to hear a message. That is our whole purpose in this. So today I want to teach you yet again on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, just plain and simple. Listen, people over the centuries have died for this message. As we speak there are missionaries walking into towns and villages to preach this message who will not come out alive, it is not some small thing. So let’s chop it up, let’s talk.
God created this universe, He really did. Atheists have worked hard at disproving it coming up with big bangs, and super molecules and so on, but they still cannot answer how it all got started... we know from the first verse of that the bible that “IN THE BEGINNING GOD...” This is really important. I do not really care what you think about evolution, and fossils and everything else, there is one reality you must see, and that is that the God has created this universe and has power over it. So what! Well we need to know some things about this God. First, He is personal, in other words He is not just some great cosmic spirit, or some old grandpa in the sky, He is active, and powerful in creation right now. Second we must know what He is like. He is Holy... in other words He is totally perfect, totally righteous, and totally different than us. Sometimes we think of God as being like us only a lot bigger, but that is not the case at all. Think of this, what is more like God, a powerful holy angel, or a piece of bacteria in the toilet. The answer is neither, because nothing is like God, He is more awesome than anything. It is like saying what is more like a person, gravel, or sand, well neither of them are like people. God is different than us, a lot different. So we cannot just say, well I would never punish someone and God is like me only better so He also would never punish someone. You cannot say that, because God is totally different than you. God is merciful, and patient with us, but at the same time He is perfect and just. Just, means fair. We call the judges on the supreme court justices, and they are supposed to be just. A judge that is just pronounces penalties for law breakers that are the equivalent to the laws they break. If you get a speeding ticket, you pay a fine, if you kill someone you get life in prison, if you rob a bank, you go to jail for awhile and so on. The penalty fits the crime. God is just, so He will penalize people according to their crimes. So that is a little bit about God, and we could talk forever about Him and not even get close to explaining Him. We do not have that long, so we will move on.
When talking about the Gospel we must talk about who God is, which is what we just did, we must also talk about people. Who here has told a lie? – Hmmm... all of you. What do you call someone who tells lies? A liar. The bible says a lot about liars, let’s just look at a couple verses...
A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape.
"But... all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
Whoa... God has a pretty heavy punishment for liars...
Who here has used the name of God the same way they would use a curse word. Like if you get mad saying ‘God!’ or “Jesus Christ” the same way someone may use a four letter word? Do you know what that is called? Blasphemy, what do you call someone who Blasphemes? A blasphemer. Now because of time I am not going to go into the verses about blasphemy, but let me tell you the punishment is just as bad as for liars.
Who here has been disrespectful to parents? Did you know that the God is so righteous that He even equates that sin with murder and adultery! You will find that in Romans Chapter 1, verse 30. Let me tell you, God is just, and this lying, blaspheming, and this disobedience to parents will not go unpunished... period. Now we have talked about 3 of the ten commandments, honoring parents, not lying, and not blaspheming. What about stealing? Have you ever done that? Are you a thief? Or what about having idols, worshipping things other than God, like athletes and actors, and actresses. Or how often have you looked at someone of the opposite sex like they were an object, and lusted about them, or thought improper sexual thoughts about them? Did you know that is also something that God hates... Now every one of you here is guilty or has been guilty of breaking many, if not all of the Ten Commandments!! This is no laughing matter. Remember God is merciful, and patient, but He is also just, and if God is going to be just, then He must punish your sin according to His laws. In other words, by your own admission you have sinned sins that deserve eternal punishment in Hell. Every single one of you! Do you think that God is going to forgo His own justice and just let you into Heaven and ignore your sin? Check this out:
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD. (Proverbs 17:15)
Yeah, so if God forgives without punishing, by His own command He would become an abomination. Do you think that God is willing to become and abomination? Of course not, He would cease to be God! So how can He forgive you?
Ok, check this out... there is this big theological word I want to teach you, it is called expiation. Yeah, expiation, the word is not important, but what it means is really important. If you, by faith put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, it means that all of your sin was placed on Him. What does that mean, well essentially it means that because of your sin, Jesus became no longer innocent. He prayed before He was put on trial, and agreed to take your sins upon Himself, He agreed to do even more than that. He actually agreed to give you His perfect standing with God, in exchange for your sin. Now remember what we said about all those broken commandments, and the punishment they deserved?
God actually poured out that punishment upon Jesus, who was indwelt with the Christian’s sin. So if you believe, and have faith in Him, your sin has been punished already!
Why would Jesus (God the Son) and God the Father be willing to do this? Well it is because God is love! You see God loves you enough to endure the agonies of Hell for you, so that you would not have to. Sometimes people say hell is too strict of a punishment, but realize that Jesus endured more of Hell than anyone will ever have too, because he endured Hell for millions of people, so His punishment was a million times worse than the worst of sinners. You can never say that God is not fair, if anyone is not fair it is you, because He has done all of this for you, and you still do not give Him the time and worship He deserves.
So what is the application of all of this? Well do you believe? How do you know? Even the devil knows what happened on the cross, but knowing what happened and actually believing it are two totally different things. If you really believe this, your life will be changed, the way you think will be changed, the things you love to do will be in line with what God loves, and over time you will become more and more like Him. If you believe, you have begun to hate sin, and get disappointed when you find you have sinned. If you do not believe you can sin as often as you want and never really be bothered that much about it.
So the question I ask is “Are you a real believer? Do you understand the message that I gave? More importantly, is there something in you that wants to change, that wants to be like Christ, that wants to love God more and seek Him more? If there is today, or if there ever is, pull me aside, I would love to speak with you, and pray with you. If not, well you have heard the warnings, and sin will not go unpunished. Pray tonight before you go to bed, pray when you wake up, pray when you have free time, ask God to forgive you, ask Him to give you faith in Jesus. He will give faith and save everyone who truly seeks Him... not just lip service, but truly seeks Him.