Discipling Young Christians into a Davidic Generation

1 May 2014 by Jason Law CM –

 

There is an unfortunate trend out there in the world today. Many young people are increasingly finding the Church and Christianity irrelevant. Christians are staggered by this; how could our relationship with our Creator be considered irrelevant? In my opinion, much of this boils down in how we deal with the lives and souls of people. We are so skillful now at winning souls for Christ, thousands sometimes in massive rallies, but we lose sight of the most important part of a Christian’s life.

As Christians, we know that the call of Salvation in a person’s heart and their response is a result of God’s work. Yet, we also see so many falling out of the most important relationship in their lives. It is not the way we evangelize that is the problem, but if we think our work is done at the moment a person receive Christ into their hearts, we are mistaken. On 27th April 2014, Pr Nicky Ling shared in KAOG about the importance of discipleship, especially among the young generation.

 

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Pr Nicky Ling

 

Taking a look at Jesus’ time on Earth, there is a prominent pattern. Jesus did not just instantly start off His ministry. He had to show the way to us in a physical baptism, not for His sake, but for our sakes. The baptism is a commitment to a relationship with God, and the first thing Jesus did after that was to go into the desert for 40 days, where He was put through a series of test by satan. Even in His ‘formational’ years, a huge part was spent on preparation. In His ministry, He kept His circle of followers small, and cultivated an intense culture of discipleship amongst them. If even the Son of God had to do this, how much more so do we as humans. 

 

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The problem is many young people nowadays find this boring. As they grow older, they lose interest in Spiritual matters. They pull away, become distant, and very soon, they start missing or stop completely from going to church. Without care and supervision, they mix with the wrong company, the false values of the world start to seep into their lives, and ultimately they are lost to the world. No matter a person’s age, the same scenario can occur to a person’s spirit when there is a lack of fellowship or discipleship in the body of Christ. The Church and parents have a serious responsibility to our young people and believers in Christ.  

 

Why Are We Losing Them?          

Pr Nicky shared that the foundational years of a young Christian are the most important ones in their lives. A huge part of the values and importance they place on their Spiritual lives depend on the type of company they keep. The people they spent the most time with will often have the most influence on them, and even King Solomon who was supposed to be the wisest man in the world, was influenced by the systems of the world.

 

Solomon and His Harem James Tissot

 

Proverbs 12:26 counsels that the righteous person choose their friends with care, and that the ways of the wicked is a snare. The warning is repeated in Proverbs 22:24-25, and among the very first verses in the Book of Wisdom illustrates the importance of the type of company a person keeps (Proverbs 1:10-19). The influences of a wrong company will lead to a gradual drift away from God, and desensitization to sin when the pressures mount from being outnumbered. Exodus 23:2 and Romans 12:2 state very clearly that God doesn’t want us to be influenced by the systems of the world. 

  

Proverbs 1:10-19

New International Version (NIV)

10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
    do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us;
    let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
    let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
    and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
    and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
    we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
    do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
    they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
    where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
    they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
    it takes away the life of those who get it.

              

Important Responsibility of Parents

 

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Both natural and spiritual parents have an important role as guides and teachers in God’s Kingdom. Young believers have an important role as future leaders. These two generations of believers go hand- in-hand. As Christian parents, we need to develop a young generation that know the meaning and confidence founded in Matt 5:14-16 (echoed in Luke 8:16) and 1 Timothy 4:12.

 

Matthew 5:14-16

New International Version (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Timothy 4:12

New International Version (NIV)

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

 

Proverbs 20:7 and Ezekiel 16:44 remind us that children often become like their parents. Like it or not, our children are watching us. If what they see reflected in their parents are an indifferent attitude to the Spiritual life, wrong priorities in life such as materialism, and the lack of importance they place on such things as family time, it will leave a deep impression and effect on them. We need to learn to understand our youths and get involved in the lives of our young Christians. Some may hate us for a time because of their misunderstanding of our concern, but one day, the seedling will produce its fruits.

 

Foundations of a Christian’s Life

The foundations of a Christian’s life are laid down through the careful attention we pay to the Word of God (Hebrews 2:1). It is by listening and obeying the Word of God that faith grows, and we cannot compromise on the process of discipling young believers towards this. Christianity is a community faith.   

 

A healthy and happy mixed race family

 

Evangelism is only half of the story. Jesus did not come just to share about the Kingdom of God; it mattered to Him that what He shared had a profound and meaningful role in the lives of people. All the things He did would be meaningless if the only thing He did was to share the Word without taking it deeper.

We need to teach our young Christians how to read, and most importantly, how to understand the Bible so that it comes alive and become personal to them. In our lives, we need to exhibit whatever we confess to believe in innate action. The Church has to show conviction and strength both as a single body and in its individual members. Young Christians need to know the dangers of sin, and why it is so important that sin is not tolerated. And also very importantly, and something which many churches seem to have neglected, young Christians need to see other Christians and the Church as a united people who love and respect each other.   

 

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Beyond that, we also need to help them to grow, by giving them guidance and opportunities to do so. Pr Nicky shared from the passage of 1 Samuel 17:28-30 and contrasted it with 1 Samuel 17:37 to illustrate this.  In 1 Samuel 17:28-30, David’s elder brother, Eliab, treated David with contempt, and David was emotionally wounded by this. In 1 Samuel 17:37, after Saul had tried to offer David his armour and they found that it couldn’t fit, David stated his faith in the God who had delivered him from past dangers, and, based on this faith, Saul gave David his blessing to go out in battle.   

 

1 Samuel 17:28-30

New International Version (NIV)

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.

1 Samuel 17:37

New International Version (NIV)

37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

                                                           

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Different generations often have different ways of doing things. David went out without armour and with only a sling, but finished off by using Goliath’s own sword on the giant. Don’t make our methods the focus of our Christian lives. Try to understand those from other generations and get to know them. Don’t despise them, but instead invest in them. The call of discipleship is one of the most important areas in their lives, and we need to reach out in understanding towards them so that they will be empowered for Christ. They need to know that, in the end, it is our common ground through our relationship with God that matters. 

 

 

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References for pictures

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