Young People, these are the outlines for the discussion groups at the convention. Read and study them to be prepared to take an active part.
1. Meaning of light
a. Scriptural references: John 3:19-21; Eph. 5:8; I Thess. 5:4-8; I John 1:5-7.
b. We can make the following distinctions:
1) Physical light — light is movement, travelling at the rate of 186,000 miles per second, taking up into itself the image of things, revealing them to the perceiving eye. We can, therefore, speak of the light of the physical eye.
2) Rational light — this is the light of the understanding, the mind. We often speak of it in this sense: working on a problem, for example, we say: “I see it.”
3) Spiritual light
a) God is light.
1] Light is a spiritual concept, not merely knowledge. Then darkness would be merely ignorance.
2] Light in God is that eternal movement within the Triune God whereby He knows and loves Himself and beholds Himself in the sphere of eternal goodness and perfection.
b) Light for us is that spiritual movement of God’s grace and Spirit upon the elect sinner, translating him out of the darkness of sin and causing that sinner to turn to the living God, to know Him and to love Him, and to walk as children of the light in the midst of the world. Darkness in Scripture refers to sin and death, the hatred of God, and light means to know God and love Him with all our heart and mind and soul and strength.
2. The subject before us calls our attention to our calling to be shining lights in our speech and reading. We prefer to treat our reading first.
Shining Lights in our Reading
A. Why do we discuss our reading first?
1. This reading includes many things.
a. It includes our hearing. After all, what we read enters our consciousness through the ear. All reading material is adapted fundamentally to the ear.
b. It includes all the “instruction” we receive through television.
c. It includes all the books and magazines we read.
d. The whole field of instruction is meant here.
2. The ear is fundamental.
a. Jesus’ miracle as recorded in Mark 7:31-37.
1) We should read this scriptural narrative.
2) Why does Jesus first put His finger into his ears and then spit and touch his tongue?
3) The ear must be opened first before the tongue can be loosed.
b. Let us understand.
1) We are by nature conceived and born dead in sins and in trespasses, full of sin and darkness.
2) Before we can speak unto God’s glory, that glory and praise of God must first enter into us. We must first receive the grace of God before we can speak of it.
3) Here, of course, I am discussing this reading with covenant young people whose ears have been opened.
B. What do we read?
1. Indeed, there is so much reading material available.
a. Think of all the trash on the market.
1) What an abundance of rotten, filthy, corrupt, sexy novels.
2) What an abundance of corrupt paperbacks. I have seen our young people looking at all this stuff in our drugstores. How repulsive these paperbacks are!
3) Think of all this stuff on the television screen. All these movies. And remember, movies are wrong. Apart now from the evil of impersonating another, life may and cannot be played, whether you attempt to play the life of a sinner or a saint. Why is this true?
4) And then, of course, there is an abundance of so-called spiritual literature, in which the truths of the Word of God are undermined, distorted and denied.
b. And then there is so much good reading material available: the Bible, Beacon Lights, the Standard Bearer, our radio sermons, commentaries, Sunday School pamphlets, the books of Rev. Hoeksema, Rev. Engelsma, Professors Hanko, Decker and Hoeksema, etc. And when you avail yourselves of all these, there are clean books for relaxation. And also books to increase one’s learning.
2. So, what do you read?
a. Do you fill your souls with trash?
b. Do you watch movies, either in the theaters or in your homes on television?
c. Do you read the Bible, regularly?
d. Do you read Beacon Lights, regularly, and also the Standard Bearer? There are certainly things in the Standard Bearer we can read. John writes this of the youth in 1 John 2:12-14. Does this characterize you?
e. Do you prepare for your society meetings? Are you ready to discuss? Or, do you visit during the meeting instead of taking part in the discussion?
f. Are you walking as shining lights in your reading? Remember, what you read and digest controls and affects very seriously your spiritual life.
Shining Lights in our Speaking
A. We are always speaking.
1. As such:
a. This does not necessarily mean that we speak audibly.
b. We also speak within ourselves to ourselves. What else is thinking than that we speak within ourselves to ourselves? And this we do constantly.
2. Tremendously serious!
a. We must speak. And when we speak we always speak concerning God.
1) We have been created image bearers of God. What does this mean? See Rev. Hoeksema’s Triple Knowledge, Vol. 1, Lord’s Day 3, Chapters I and II.
2) We cannot ignore the Lord. We must speak concerning Him, whether for Him or against Him. Always we deal with God’s Name, His revelation of Himself, in all His works and also in Christ. And we will always do one of two things: reverence that Name or use it in vain.
b. How serious this is!
1) When we speak, we do so consciously and knowingly.
2) We know how we should speak. We know when we are speaking evilly. And we are surely responsible for what we say; we are held accountable.
B. What is our speech?
1. Scriptural references: Eph. 4: 15; 5:4 and 19; I Tim. 4:2, 5:13. To these passages many more, of course, can be added.
2. Do we indulge in profanity, in filthy, sexy talk? I am informed that there are young people, attending our schools, who are guilty of this. Are you guilty of it?
3. Do you speak nonsense, things that do not and cannot edify?
4. Is your speaking only about carnal things, the things of this world? It is said that the mouth will speak of that whereof the heart overflows.
5. Reading and speaking. They are inseparably connected.
C. What our speech should be.
1. We should speak unto the glory of God.
2. We should speak unto the edification of the church and of the people of God, our fellow young people.
3. We should speak as condemning the wicked, also when our fellow young people speak wickedly.
4. And this we can do only through prayer and the study of the infallible Word of our God.