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 (Manna 12)
Youth and the Church
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Youth and the Church

The future of a country or a family depends very much upon its youths. This also applies to a church. Youths have great influence on the future of a church.

Youths are the strength of the church. During the time of Moses, God instructed him to select men who were above twenty years of age; men who were strong and capable for war. The total number selected was 603,550. They were the guards of the nation of Israel who fought against the stronghold of the enemies (Num 1:3, 46). Similarly, youths of today should also strive to be the soldiers of God, strong and formidable, to engage in spiritual warfare (2 Tim 2:3).

Youths are teachers to children. Elect of the Old Testament times appointed teachers to instruct their children of the laws of God (Rom 2:20). The church has set up religious education classes to teach the truth to the young. The most suitable teachers are the youths.

Youths are the successors of the church. Moses not only served the Lord, he trained up Joshua to be his successor (Ex 33:11; Num 27:15-20). In order to bring about a steady growth in the church, the leaders must train up youths in the church (cf. Mk 3:14,15).

Youths should be conscious of their commission. Moses was brought up and educated in the palace. Later he forsook his position, wealth and enjoyment and chose to suffer with the Israelites in order to deliver them from the clutches of Pharaoh (Heb 11:24-26). Esther was an orphan. Yet God made her the Queen of Persia. She was not conscious of her commission until she was reminded by Mordecai that the existence of her people was at stake because Haman, the prime minister wanted to annihilate the entire race. On learning the terrible news she fasted for three days after which she risked her life by petitioning the king to save her own people. Ultimately she succeeded in saving her people from the plot of Haman (Esth 3:12-4:17; 9:1-5).

The driving force that moves one to serve the Lord is the realization of God’s will and commission. Youths of the True Jesus Church must understand the commission of the church to revive the apostolic church and to preach the gospel of salvation to all parts of the world (Amos 9:11; Col 1:25-28; Mt 24:14). Everyone should sacrifice and to live for Christ (cf. 1 Cor 9:16-17; Rom 14:7-8).

Youths need to be equipped. Having zeal alone will not qualify one for the ministry. One needs to undergo spiritual training (cf. 2 Tim 2:21 ; Eccl 10:10).

Study the truth. Joshua learned the laws of God from Moses (Josh 1:7-8; 11:15). Timothy received the truth from Paul (2 Tim 3:14; 1:13; 2:9-10). One who does not know the truth is unworthy to be a leader in the church (Mt 15:14; Hos 4:6).

Learning to work. Elisha followed Elijah, the twelve apostles learned from Jesus and Timothy learned from Paul (1 Kgs 19:21; Mk 3:14-15; Acts 16:2-3).

God made full use of Moses and Elisha because they had moulded themselves to be humble and pure vessels of God (Num 12:3; 2 Kgs 4:9). To have God working with us two things must not be lacking: humility and obedience. The Lord told His disciples to learn from Him for He was gentle and lowly (Mt 11:29). Paul also told Christians to be humble and to be submissive (Phil 2:1-8).

Learn to trust the Lord. We have to rely on the Spirit of God to accomplish His task (Zech 4:6). David was able to overcome Goliath and Paul endure sufferings because they entrusted everything to God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight” (1 Sam 17:34-37, 45-49; Phil 4:1 1-13; Prov 3:5-6). The church should ensure that every youth has a role to play. It should enlist youths into working committees. However, training must be given before they are to perform their duties. Youths who are humble, faithful and conscientious should be gradually entrusted with more important tasks so that they may take up weightier responsibilities in future (Ex 18:13-27; Num 27:20).

Generally, youths have the enthusiasm but because of their inexperience, they tend to get puffed up. They also lack spiritual nurture and so they err in their speech, attitude, conduct, and also in their work. Leaders of the church should treat them as babes. Accept them and forgive them. Teach them with love and truthfulness so that they may have a chance to correct themselves. Remember: to accommodate a person is to gain a person. Barnabas received Saul when others dared not. Eventually Barnabas gained Saul. Barnabas had compassion on Mark and accepted Mark when Paul could not accommodate. Later he gained Mark. He had given these two a chance. Later both Paul and Mark did mighty works of God (Acts 9:26-27; 11:25,26; 15:36-39).

Finally, pray for them. When Joshua and the Israelites were fighting against the Amalekites, Moses went up to a hilltop and prayed for them (Ex 17:8-13). When youths are given work to do, leaders of the church should not stand aside to find occasion to criticize or rebuke them for their errors. Instead, they should thank God for giving such youths to the church. Furthermore, they should ask God to increase their strength so that they may bring glory to the name of the Lord (1 Sam 12:23; 2 Cor 1:11).

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