Young people, you are a distinct and very important part of the church. You are the future leaders of God’s Church and must prepare yourselves to maintain the truths of Scripture held forth by the Church. Paul directs Timothy in chapter 3:15, “Know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Fathers, mothers, pastors, elders, teachers, young people’s leaders, and all of God’s Church express with John in the third epistle, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” If you have that truth revealed to you through faith, then James tells us you will show that faith by your works. Now the question is, since you are “peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14), what can you do to be an asset to the church?
First and foremost, you must continue to walk and grow in truth through constant prayer and study of God’s Word. You need strength from God to be part of the “pillar and ground of the truth.” Isaiah 40 inspires the weary and humbles the young by saying, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as of eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Studying Scripture is very hard work and demands a lot of time, but the spiritual rewards are very gratifying. If you are studying the prophecies of Daniel or the act of justification as taught in Romans, you need to do more than simply read the chapter(s). You must “search the Scriptures” as Christ commanded the Pharisees in John 5:39 for “they are they which testify of me.” When searching through the Bible, it is extremely helpful to have ready access to cross references, commentaries, study guides, and a concordance. Remember, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Let’s talk about the power of prayer. The real power of prayer is often overlooked. You will not change the will of God through prayer, so what good is prayer? Prayer will make you more conscious of God’s will and bring you closer to God and His people. When praying, apply God’s Word to your surroundings and circumstances, remembering in everything to give God the glory, and ask Him what He wills you to do. If you pray about the needs of the congregation, you will be mindful of her needs and hopefully pricked in your heart to help in any way you can. When praying for the sick, you are mindful of their needs for comfort and God’s continuing mercies of which they are reminded by your visit. When praying for the poor, you can give of what God has given you. You must also pray to “be not weary in well doing”!
It is then through Bible reading and prayer that you have a deep and clear sense of what your calling is in the church; and from which you receive strength and courage to be zealous in good works. Keeping this in mind, let’s see how we can put this into practice.
In some ways, young people, these are the best years of your lives. You do not have the afflictions of old age or the grave responsibilities of raising a family. This is the time to busy yourselves with doing good works for God’s people. “Remember now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12:1). Satan is very clever in tempting young people with the sinful pleasures and vanities of youth. Do not give the best years of your life to Satan!
What can you do within the church? Be active! Come to society and catechism (post confession as well), and sacrifice your time and energies preparing for these meetings. Visit the sick, lonely and down-hearted. Assist the needy. You don’t have to be a pastor, elder or deacon to help members of your church. Neither do you have to act as a society when helping, but rather “Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in Spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Tim. 4:12). You must be an example to all God’s people. Encourage young people around you to seek the kingdom of God rather than the sinful pleasures of youth—even when it’s not the popular thing to do. Fellowship with the younger and older generations, the rich and the poor, the simple and the wise, the strong and the weak, the meek and the bold; for we are “all” God’s people.
How you conduct yourself outside the church is also important to the church’s well-being. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Defend the truth and let it be known you are a child of God both in deed and conversation. When you pass up an opportunity to witness, ask yourself: “Is it because I am ashamed of the gospel and fear for my own honor and reputation?” When your Arminian friend remarks about God’s love for all mankind, be ready to point out the truth of Scripture. Your actions are also very important, for remember you show your faith by your works. Not only must you witness but you must be careful not to fall into the ways of the world. Be on your guard; for “The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him” (Psalm 37:32). You must not be a bad example and let the world point its finger and say “Aha!”
Being a good witness in your home is also very important to the church. Your younger brothers and sisters are watching you closely and are often caught saying, “Well, if he (she) can do it, so can I.” Your parents will also be encouraged by your good works. The spiritual well-being of the family is the life and breath of the church.
“What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deut. 10:12).