I'm to give a short talk to "young people" this weekend. I'm surprised they'd ask me for a "short talk," as they all know I just never shut up. But I've been thinking about a short talk, and it's led to some interesting thoughts.
I've been thinking about what three things I'd like to tell "young people" if I've only got a few minutes. Perhaps it's just self-centeredness, but I've found three things I need to remind myself repeatedly... like several times a day. So in no particular order, here are the three points I think I'm going to bring up in this "short talk":
God has spoken We believe the Bible is the Word of God: God wrote a Book of what He wanted to say through inspired men. They wrote down His actual words. Given how much time I spend listening to everyone else's words, it shames me how little I spend listening (or reading) God's.
One danger I've brought up again and again is that of putting our understanding of God's words in place of His words. Over and over again, I've realized that someone (I or someone else) has subtly and quite unintentionally misquoted Scripture. It's not that we set out to corrupt God's words, it's that we confuse our understanding of what He said with what He actually said. The best remedy for this is to immerse ourselves in His words. So all the commentaries on my bookshelf may be excellent books, but they're not God's words. The hymns in the hymnbook may be helpful, but they're not God's words. We need to put His words first, our understanding of them second.
Christ has risen Christianity essentially reduces to belief in the Resurrection. Almost everything we believe is a result of it; and the Scripture repeatedly takes us back there for doctrine, practice, and encouragement. Steve Brown said something along the lines of, "If a dead man really got up and walked, that changes everything." He's right. We believe a dead man got up and walked around, and that is the central and defining point of our faith.
There are two results of this truth that I need to be reminded of every day: first I am to walk in newness of life, second He is coming back to raise me like He was raised. So some day my body will be changed into incorruptible immortality, but in the meantime I am to live in the power of His resurrection.
Finally, God will judge the world through Christ The world isn't a permanent fixture: it is on a collision course with God in judgment. The day is coming when every man, woman, and child will stand before Christ in judgment. I need to remind myself about this several times a day. The world feels like a permanent place, but it's not. God created the heavens and earth with a purpose: there's a point to all this. Reminding myself of the Goal helps to keep me on track.
There are many other things that would be worthwhile giving a "short talk" about, but these three seem to hang together for me. They're things I remind myself every day, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who needs it daily.