Young people, one of the areas in your life in which you must take care is who you take as your friends. The friends which you surround yourself with now can have serious impact on the rest of your life. If you seek after worldly pleasures you will find yourself associating with unbelievers. As you progress down a wicked pathway you will find your life intertwined with the life of unbelievers. If you befriend yourself to those unbelievers and your friendship continues to develop over a period of years, you may find yourself in a dire predicament. One day your conscience will be troubled to the point that you are driven to repentance, and you will have to make major changes in your life-style. You will find yourself in a situation in which you must now deny these friends in order to serve Christ. This is a nasty situation which can be avoided if you are careful now about who your friends are. Read Deuteronomy 13, especially verses 6-10.
Will the friends that you now have be with you forever? If the great tribulation was upon us, would your friends stand at your side as you deny the Antichrist and face certain persecution? Would they suddenly disappear from your side, only to reappear on the other side with those who taunt and ridicule you for your confession? Beware of those who are your friends only for the “good times” or because you give them something that they want, only to forget you when your usefulness wears thin. Read Genesis 40, especially verse 23.
The closest friend that we will ever have will be the one that we take as our husband or wife. If we seek after our mate in our own wisdom we will utterly fail in this quest. If we seek out our lifelong companion on the basis of physical attributes we will surely be disappointed in the end. Anything that is built is only as strong as the foundation upon which it stands. Seek after your lifelong mate through prayer to God. God will reveal the right one to you in His appointed time. Learn the hard lesson of the strongest man ever to live made weak because of the woman that he chose in his own wisdom. Read Judges 16.
Who should be our friends? How do we know who is our true friend and who is a false friend? The answer is readily available. Turn to the Word of God for therein is wisdom. Does your “friend” turn away from you when you discuss the Word of God with him? Then turn away from him. True friends will be excited by the Word of God, they will accompany you to the house of prayer on the Lord’s day. They will give their very life in order to save yours. Read John 15, especially verses 12-15.
Is there anything on this earth that can be compared to the holiness of God? Is there anything in this creation that can make us truly glad? The line at the Lottery counter grows longer as the jackpot increases, and man becomes excited at the prospect of winning the prize as if this would finally make him truly happy. What folly! Man boasts of the riches of this world and tramples underfoot the Word of God at the same time. In doing this he turns away from the only source of true joy. Seek the kingdom of God, especially on this Lord’s day. Read Psalm 4.
The pathway unto which God has directed us is not an easy pathway. The wicked follow an easy pathway. They live each day as they please, doing whatsoever their wicked heart’s desire. But the righteous person follows a narrow pathway. He cannot do whatever he desires. The Spirit that dwells in the elect strives against the lust of the flesh. The sinful flesh of the elect strives against the Spirit. The Bible spells out for us what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit. Which pathway do you walk? Read Galatians 5, especially verses 19-26.
Amusements and worldly pleasures belong to the works of the flesh. Galatians 5 spelled this out for us. Notice that drunkenness and revelry are included in the list of those things which manifest the works of the flesh. It may seem like harmless fun to party (revelry). This is an easy pathway to follow. In fact, you could spend the rest of your life “partying” and “having a good time”. But remember this lifetime is only for a moment. It is as a wisp of smoke that appears for a moment and then is quickly whisked away. Flee from the works of the flesh and spend your time growing strong in the Spirit. Read Job 21, especially verses 12-13.
You cannot live your life as you please. You cannot seek after worldly pleasures all the week long and then visit the house of God on Sunday and expect that everything will be all right. God will vex your soul if you live in such a manner. There will be no peace in your heart, and you will doubt your own salvation. Worldly pleasures choke the Word of God in the heart. Pray each and every day for strength to turn away from worldly pleasures and busy yourself in the study of God’s Word. Then you will bring forth good fruit. Read Luke 8, especially verses 14 and 15
Oh, to be like the rich and the famous! If only I could be as smart and successful as the powerful business man, then my life would be full of pleasure. If only I could be as talented as the famous athlete or as well liked as the popular movie star. I could then live in a beautiful mansion and enjoy all the riches and glamour. My life would be a dream world come true. Just think of what I could do with all that money! I could get all that I ever wanted. I could mingle with great people and enjoy parties that would blow your mind. Then the Word of God slapped me in the face and I woke up. Read Proverbs 21, especially verse 17.
Seeking after worldly pleasures is a dangerous business. To profess yourself to be a Christian by going to church on Sunday, but then living the rest of the week serving the lusts of the flesh is fooling yourself and blasphemy to God. You cannot grow spiritually as long as you live this way. In fact, you will grow in sin the longer you walk this pathway. Sin has a snowball effect. Once you excuse one little sin in your life you start the ball rolling. As you continue in this sin your excuses for it become easier to find and the transgression becomes your knowledge. You begin to disregard the judgements and works of God, and you lose His knowledge. Read Isaiah 5, especially verses 11-14.
The wicked man will never admit that he is a fool. On the contrary, he makes himself out to be a wise man. He is extremely confident in the pathway which he has chosen. He makes himself out to be a happy man. He ridicules the idea that his way is sin and there will be a price to pay. He is quick to find “mistakes” in the Bible and then quickly sets it aside as though it could not possibly be a factor in his life. But deep down inside his heart he knows otherwise, for God has put the knowledge of His wrath into the heart of every man, and every man knows that one day he will have to answer to his creator. Read Isaiah 5, especially verses 11-14.
It’s Sunday again. This is a great joy to those who have been busy this past week denying the lusts of the flesh. For those who are serving the lusts of the flesh and yet professing to be good Christians, this day comes as somewhat of a nuisance to them. They must now take time out from their “fun” and visit the house of God so that they may appear to others as though they walk uprightly. It soothes their troubled consciences, but the preached Word quickly leaves them, and they are lost again in their sin as long as they remain unrepentant. If you are serving the lusts of the flesh and are troubled by a guilty conscience, turn to God in prayer of repentance from the heart. Meditate upon His law day and night, and He will give you the strength to turn away from sin (no matter how great you think the sin is) and to walk uprightly. Then that unspeakable joy will fill your heart and you will be at peace. Read Psalm 1.
If you are considering taking up a certain act that you know is sinful, seek God for strength to turn away from the temptation. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you can enjoy the sin for a time and then turn away from it later, before it has serious consequences in your life. Do not deceive yourself by believing that because you are still young you may enjoy sin, since you will always be able to turn away from it when you are older and more responsible. Sin always leads to greater sin. That’s why Satan always tempts first with small, simple sins, and once you’re in that sin’s grasp he is able to tempt you into even greater transgressions. Read Matthew 14, especially verses 6-10.
The world says “Don’t worry, be happy!” and “If it feels good, do it!” But if we live our lives according to the instruction of God’s Word, we will find that the world’s recipe for the good life is folly. This is because the world attempts to gain happiness through worldly pleasure. The world stresses the good times. The wicked always want to appear to be happy. Mourning, to him, is not a good thing, and the talk of death is to be avoided at all time. But God gives us good things, and He also gives us adversity. Therefore, a wise man will consider both and will realize that man can gain nothing by his own strength. He then turns to God in all things and is satisfied with His way. Read Ecclesiastes 7, especially verses 2-4.
The news is not good for those who have given themselves over to worldly pleasures. In the day and age in which we live there is much to be sought after in this world of high technology. But consider the end of it. For the end of a man of the 90’s is the same end to which the men of old came. It is amazing how some people will strive to make great gains here on this earth, only to leave it all behind in the matter of seconds it can take to die. So lay up for yourself treasures in heaven and take heed to the words of judgement delivered by Isaiah against those who have given themselves over to worldly pleasures. Read Isaiah 47, especially verses 8-15.
What can we say then? Are we to walk as prophets of doom and gloom? Are we all to walk with sober faces, never able to crack a smile? Are we never to enjoy life and its earthly pleasure? Not at all. For there is a time and a season for all of these things. But it is all a matter of priorities. Certainly we can enjoy some of the pleasures of this present life, but it must be done according to God’s instruction as it is found in His Word. We must first seek after Him and His kingdom, not after our own heart’s desire, for that is when we run into trouble. So go ahead and enjoy what God has given to you, but do it according to His rules, not your own. Read Matthew 6, especially verses 19-21 and verse 33.
Sometimes it is easy for us to worry about the welfare of the Church. We become concerned for the pure preaching of the gospel which we have as it has been handed down from generation to generation, especially in the day and age in which we live. Apostasy abounds all around us. False churches spring up everywhere and threaten the truth of Scripture with all their popular, heretical teachings. But we need not worry, for our mighty God holds the Church in the palm of His hand. He has determined the course of the Church and its entire history from beginning to end since before time began. Predestination and the preservation of the Church are great works of God’s almighty hand. Although the devil battles against it and even, at times, appears to be close to wiping the Church out, he will always fail. God’s plan will be completed without change as He has planned it from eternity. Read John 10, especially verses 27-29.
One of the greatest crimes of our time is the abominable act of abortion. To hear of the horrible stores of how abortions are performed is enough to turn one’s stomach. We are told how the unborn are literally torn limb from limb and removed from the womb. We hear horror stories of botched abortions and terrible complications, both physical and mental, for the mother who has fallen into this sin. The killing doctor stands tall in his pride before the face of God and proclaims that this is not murder. He tells us that the baby he pulls from the womb is not human, but only a mass of tissue. Obviously, he has rejected God’s infallible Word and gives no heed to the origin of the soul. God knows us all from eternity, and I believe that it is at conception that we receive our soul. Read Jeremiah 1, especially verses 4 and 5.
Go to God’s house today and give Him praise for He is greatly to be praised. The heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing, even as the earth quakes all around them and though they are surrounded by the signs of God’s judgement. Yet they imagine that they will somehow escape the inevitable end which is to come. They imagine they will create a new earth, an earth in which everyone lives in peace and harmony. They imagine they will solve all of the problems which plague this present day, and they will succeed. But that will be the day in which they all bow before the Antichrist. That will be the day when Christ will come in great glory and mighty power to crush their wicked kingdom like so much dry clay. Put your trust in God and His everlasting Word. Read Psalm 2.
We tend to be quite rebellious in our teenage years. This is a trying time in a young person’s life. For many years, we have been totally dependent upon our parents for everything that we did. Now we are at that point in our lives where we re-evaluate ourselves and our surroundings. We wish to be independent, but we lack the resources that are needed to live on our own (which would be a foolish thing to do anyway) so we feel as though we are stuck in our situation with nowhere to go. So we rebel. We disobey our mother and father and the rules that we are still obligated to obey. Some of us fall into grievous sins such as drunkenness, riotous living, pot smoking, adultery, etc. Check yourself. You may have embarked on a dangerous pathway, a pathway that may swallow you up and waste many years of your life. Repent and read how harsh God’s judgement is on those who do not. Read Deuteronomy 21, especially verses 18-21.
The world certainly does hate the truth that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. It detests the idea that there is more to this world than meets the eye. It will not admit that there is a heaven and a hell. It battles against the truth that every person will live forever, whether it be in eternal damnation or eternal communion with God. The world says that you are born, you live, and then you die, end of story. It creates its own theory of the origin of all things. It comes up with this ridiculous story of how all things came into being on their own in a natural process that has been taking place for billions of years. Wicked man is lost in his pride, for he esteems himself to be so great that he is even now able to determine by his own technology the very creation of the heavens and the earth. Wicked man is a fool. A wise man fears the LORD. Read Proverbs 1, especially verse 7.
We are all as the foolish, wicked man in our natural state. However, God has wrought a great work in us and has delivered us from the blindness of the reprobate soul. I thank God each and every day for this wondrous work that He has performed in me. My hope is that you thank Him also continually for the work that He has wrought in you. But, we are still in our sins while we are yet on this earth, so there is a great struggle for us to face every day. Each day I find myself in danger of being carried away in my own pride. This is why we must go to the Word of God every day, to be reminded of our weakness and His strength which He has given unto us. We must humble ourselves anew every day and seek God’s instruction. We must trust in the Lord and not in our own wisdom, which is foolishness. Read Proverbs 3, especially verses 1-10.
God hates the wicked. This is a hard statement, especially when we take into consideration the heretical teachings that abound today. Many there are today who say God is love. They say God wishes to bestow His love on all men. If only wicked man would open his heart, change his own will, then God would love him too. But this flies in the face of what we find in the Scriptures. Read the Psalms! Read Proverbs! God does not wish for the wicked to be saved, only to be denied by the wicked man’s decision to turn his own face away from God. The reprobate sinner is lost due to his own disobedience and sin, and he has his appointed place in hell. Read Proverbs 15, especially verses 8, 9, 11, 26, 28, 29, and 32.
Apostasy abounds all around us. Most of the false churches are easily identified because they have departed so far from the truth. Others are not so easy to identify because they appear to be very pious and righteous in their walk and talk. But the one thing that is always a dead giveaway of false teaching is the denial of the true Jesus Christ. Those who proclaim that God loves all men, that Christ died for all men, that His atonement is for all if only man would make the decision to accept it, set up before themselves a false image of Christ. God has great love. God is Love. But God’s love is for His elect, those whom He has foreordained to eternal communion with Him, namely, His Church. God’s hatred rests upon the wicked. Those whom he has fore-ordained to eternal damnation He leaves in their sin and misery. Be thankful, young people, for the place that God has given you in the Protestant Reformed Church where you may hear the pure preaching of the Word every week. Do not despise it, but grow strong in it that you may be ready to answer those who say that God loves all men. Read Romans 9, especially verses 10-18.
The wicked man is lost in his sin. There is no way he could ever make the choice to let Jesus come into his heart because his heart hates Jesus and has fully rejected Him. The wicked man has the knowledge that there is a God and that this God hates sin and will punish sin; but due to the totally depraved nature of his heart man cannot, of his own power, ask Jesus to come into His heart. God saves, and God alone, by His grace and mercy. Wicked man rejects God and serves Satan. He cannot receive spiritual things because the Spirit that reveals these things to the heart of man is not in Him. When the wicked man finally stands before the judgement seat of God he will bow down before God and acknowledge God’s righteousness. He will then go to his appointed place knowing that he is worthy of it due to the guilt of his own sin. Read I Corinthians 2, especially verse 14.
Once again we are glad to go up to God’s house on this day to give praise and glory to His name and to hear the pure preaching of His Word. Be glad for the heritage which God has given us. Pray that He will maintain the pure preaching that we have in our Protestant Reformed Churches. It did not come about by some coincidence that we have this pure preaching in our midst. Our mighty God has preserved the truth for us from the days of old. This truth was bought for us through the blood of many faithful servants of the Lord. Do not take it for granted, but hold it dear to your heart and grow in it. Read Psalm 145.
Each and every one of us must busy ourselves each and every day in the study of God’s Word. We must busy ourselves in prayer every day, asking God for wisdom and instruction as we study His Word. We live in a day and age when many are led astray by false teachings and worldly philosophy. Do not be fooled into thinking that you will be able to stand in the evil day that is to come by taking lightly today the study of God’s Word. The anti-Christian kingdom will come with a powerful, persuasive, man-pleasing, worldly gospel. If it were possible, it would deceive even the elect. So prepare yourself today by faithful study and prayerful meditation on His Word. Read II Corinthians 11, especially verses 3, 4, and 13-15.
The anti-Christian kingdom will come, for God has told us of it in His infallible Word. We see the workings of it already round about us. There is a striving for universal peace and a universal church. It no longer makes any difference how you worship or whom you worship. As long as you accept the worship of others and their gods, your worship and your god is okay too. But we, His true Church, know that there is only one God, and He must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Therefore, we are called by Him to reject the worship and the false teachings of those whose religions do not follow the one truth of God’s Word as it is revealed to us by the working of His Holy Spirit in us. Now is not the time to be making changes to the Word of God. Now is not the time for “renewal” or “revival”, but it is time for reformation. It is time to turn away from worldly doctrines and time to return to the Truth as it has been handed down from generation to generation. We must cling to the teachings of our forefathers, not looking for new doctrines that please worldly men. Read II Thessalonians 2, especially verse 15.