Worldliness and Young Evangelicals

Introduction

You are probably wondering what I mean by the title, well in the phrase “young Evangelicals” I am basically referring to Bible-believing young adult Christians and particularly who are in good Bible-believing churches. This generation of evangelical young adults is very much consumed with the things of this world and we lose sight of what really matters. So in this article I want to give an example of two young adult Christians who gave up everything for Christ. Then I want to show from the Bible that the things of the world are temporary, and show an alternative route we should take as Christians with practical recommendations. It is my prayer that you find this article helpful as you think through these things.

Disclaimer

Before I officially start, I want to make certain things clear. Firstly, I am not saying that every Bible-believing young adult Christian should be in full-time ministry. In fact the Lord has called us in different career paths and we should all honour and glory him wherever we find ourselves. Secondly, I am not denying that we have genuine needs, in fact we all have responsibilities especially here in Africa where we even have extended family to take care of. Maybe you are about to get married or you already are married, and have a growing family, which means more responsibilities. So I want you to read this article with these two points in mind.

Examples of young adult Christians who gave up everything for Christ

There was a period were young adult Christians were known for zeal and passion for the Glory of God, love for Christ and a heart for people who do not know Christ. They were so passionate that they chose to leave their comfortable lives (Jobs and health security etc), to go the ends of the world to take the gospel. Where is that Zeal for God, the love for Christ and the heart for lost souls that young adult Christians were once known for?

I want to share two real life stories of two young adult Christians. There is a friend I have come to know in recent years, he is now serving as a full time church planter. This is his story, he went to university and when he completed his studies he got a very good job, very stable job and was getting a big salary. He felt the call to full time ministry early on in his life, and this was upon his heart through out and eventually he chose to leave the comfort of his job, a good salary and all other benefits that came with it, to pursue full time ministry. He is an African by the way.

I also want share the Story C. T. Studd (1862-1931). He was from a very wealthy family, and was a student at Cambridge, he became a very good cricketer and even ended up playing for the England nation team. There was a time when one of his brother was very sick and he came to the realization that the life he is living now will not count for eternity. He answered the call to ministry and went to China as a missionary with seven other students from Cambridge. This is what he said about his life “I know that cricket would not last, and honour would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worth while living for the world to come.”1

The things of this world are temporary

Mostly today what you find with young adults is this vision of finishing university, getting a stable job, get married and after that acquire as many assists as possible. Assets like a beautiful house, the most fancy car and have children and take them to private schools. After or beyond that there is nothing else to leave for. This is the Namibian dream so to say or rather a dream of every young adult. Sadly this is not just true for non-believers it is also true for Christians as well. Now there is nothing wrong with having such ambitions in life, in fact it’s good, but if that is your all-consuming passion and drive in life then you are in complete trouble my friend. The things of this world are temporary, they are vain, they all come to an end.

The Bible seriously warns us against pursuing them. Let’s consider Matthew 6:19-20, the Bible clearly warns that we should not store treasure on earth because of its temporary nature. Moth and rust will destroy it and Thieves will break in and steal, but in contrast we are told to store treasure in heaven because it is of a permanent nature and Cannot be destroyed by anything.

Another passage that warns us against pursuing the things of this World is 1 John 2:15-17 (read), preaching on that passage Pastor Conrad Mbewe says this “The world is passing away, it is a sinking ship, along with it’s desires. Now friends this is a very practical subject, it affects the decisions we make everyday. Think for instance in terms of your own studies toward your career. You have put in hours of sweat, burned the midnight candle, put aside so many other activities. Social and spiritual activities, in order for you to get appropriate grades and finally your qualification. This of course enables you to get a job, it enables you to buy whatever you want to buy. The more educated you are the more the capacity to get the things you finally want to get. And then you die and meet God your maker, and he asks you, what have you got to show me for the love and care I gave? And you look back and everything you have lived for has gone up in flames.”2

Imagine living your whole life and when you die you have nothing to show God for it, because you have been pursuing the empty and temporary things of this world. Reflect and consider, are you living with eternity in view or are all your investments in temporary worldly pleasures. Where do you spend most of your time, energy and resources? If it’s not on eternal things that you need to repent of your love for the world and things of this world and pursue Christ.

I want to offer you an alternative, I want to suggest that there is something you can be involved in that will have an eternal impact on people’s lives.

What counts for Eternity

Let me suggest to you that the thing that will have a lasting impact on a person’s life is when they believe in Christ. The salvation of souls is that thing that will last for eternity, if you share the gospel with a person and they genuinely repent of their sins and believe in Jesus for their salvation, that is what will last for eternity. The Bible says “whoever believes in the son has eternal life” (John 3:36). The Bible says “for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6:23. Wouldn’t you want to be part of this marvelous tasks of leading people to Christ so that may have eternal life.

Paul is a good Example of this, I want us to look at some of the ways in which he expresses this truth. Acts 20:24 says this “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul was determined to do that which the Lord Jesus Christ has called him to, to testify of this gospel even at the expense of his life. He was more concerned about pleasing the Lord than preserving his own life, he knew that sharing the gospel was more valuable than preserving his own life. Do you see the way Paul is thinking? This is very different from what almost every Evangelical young adult is thinking today.

This is what he says in 2 Timothy 2:10 “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Paul was willing to endure everything to sharing gospel with many people that those who are elect (chosen by God before the foundation of the World) to have their salvation in Christ with eternal glory. He knew that this is something that had eternal value, that it produces eternal results and so committed his life to it.

Most of us Christian young adults today say this by the way we live “I endure everything that I may obtain that dream job, that dream house, that dream car, that dream family so that when I die I have nothing to show for eternity but at least I lived quite comfortable life in this world.” Is that all we want, is that all there is to life? Well I have some practical recommendations that can help change our approach to life.

Some practical recommendations

1. Have a God-centered view on life

Your aim in life should be to glorify God in everything, this should be at the back of your mind always. When you have such a mindset it will help you change your priorities. “Whatever you do whether you eat or drink do it all for the glory of God” 1 Corinthians 10:31. You should have a God-centered approach to your work, to your family to friends, everything you do should be affected by it. You will notice the difference if you do. Even in the way you behave at work, how you carry out your work, you should be salt and light to the world so they may come to know about God.

2. Leave your Job and go into full time ministry

I shared the story of my friend at the beginning who left his good paying job for full-time ministry. There are many evangelical young adult Christians who are called into full-time ministry who refuse to answer it because of the comforts of this world. Make the decision now while you are young and have a lot of energy, give your best years to that which the Lord has called you to. To be used of the Lord to bring the gospel that will bring eternal life to others, which will last for eternity, not those temporary things you are chasing at the moment. This of course does not mean that everyone is called to full-time ministry, we also need Christians in workplaces to have gospel impact there. Those who are are in ministry should learn to trust God and not be anxious, Matthew 6:25-33.

3. Give tithes, offerings and more

Be committed to to giving tithes, offerings and much more. We can never repay God enough for what he has done for us, and so in gratitude towards the gospel we should be willing to give and contribute financially to advancement of the kingdom of God. Such funds are used to pay pastors, to support missionaries, people who are heavily involved in winning souls for Christ.

4. Get involved in missions

There are plenty of ways in which you can be involved in missions, I will suggest some. Choose a particular missionary family, to be regularly praying for and encouraging them. When there is a church plant in a smaller town ask for a transfer to that town so you can help out there. Make regular trips to that town to help out with the work or abroad or wherever the mission work is happening. But also pray to God to provide labourers, who will go into full-time ministry, and also those who will commit themselves to be witness to their families, friends and colleagues.

5. Get active in your local Church

Get active in your local church, always be on your toes as a church member don’t just be a Sunday morning pew warmer. Look for ways and opportunities in which you can serve in your local church, because what your church is working towards is the salvation of souls and your contributing towards it as well.

6. Evangelize to your family

Come up with a list of your family members and pray for their salvation regularly and use every opportunity you get to share the gospel with them. Make time to visit them and to share the gospel with them,use moments like family functions (Weddings, funerals and birthdays) to have gospel discussions. Your family need the gospel more than anything in this world. Constantly challenge family members especially the ones you are close to, to repent of their sins and believe in Christ.

7. Evangelize to your Colleagues

You can also do the same with your colleagues, praying regularly for their salvation. Invite them to your place for a Braai so you create a good relationship with them or maybe have lunch with them once a month or so and before you know it sharing the gospel with them will be became a natural thing. It will be inevitable for you to talk about your faith. And maybe you invite them to church and invest in discipling them and at the of the day you would have impacted a soul. This sounds so simple and yet requires a lot of boldness that God the Holy Spirit gives, commitment and deliberate intention.

Conclusion

I am not perfect, nor have I attained all these. I am probably not a good example in this as well, but it pains me to see that the love of the world is taking our focus from what is of eternal value, and that is the salvation of souls. Namibia is not only a dry nation physically but it is also dry spiritually, people are either deceived by legalism (people who work to earn their salvation) or by the health, wealth and prosperity gospel (which is no gospel at all). We have a whole generation in front of us to influence with the gospel, but if our all-consuming passion is the world and it desires THEN WE ARE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY GOSPEL IMPACT AT ALL. Let us like Paul commit ourselves to testifying of the gospel of grace which brings about eternal results. Even if it’s just one soul that gets saved through our sharing of the gospel, we know that they have eternal life. Amen.

Notes:

1 https://www.truthfulwords.org/biography/studdtw.html

2 https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6814834236

Recommended resources

1. A book by John Piper, “Don’t waste your life” , a free soft copy

https://www.desiringgod.org/books/dont-waste-your-life

2. A Sermon by Pastor Conrad Mbewe, “ The world is a sinking Ship”

https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6814834236

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