Many young adults are walking away from the church–deciding the world has so much more to offer.
Why? Why are so many young adults deciding Jesus really isn’t for them?
Perhaps they are willing to “sell Him so cheaply” because they also bought into Him so cheaply.
Have we failed a generation by entertaining them with all the fun they can have if they will only take a little Jesus too?
Have we failed to help them understand HOW MUCH it cost the Father to give His Son to satisfy our sin debt and that the grace He offers is truly FAR FROM CHEAP?
Have we helped this next generation come to be genuinely sorrowful and truly repentant of their sins; or have we hesitated to call sin “sin” afraid that they won’t like what we are saying ?
Do those, who thought they were signing up for an all expense paid trip to “Happy Heaven”, feel like we pulled some sort of bait-and-switch on them when God does something they don’t understand?
Do they walk away when they accidentally bump into the hard stuff like “deny yourself and follow Him” (Matt 16:24) feeling like THAT is more than they signed up for?
Are we raising a bunch of spiritual weenies who are walking away from the church and from Jesus because it is easy to walk away from a Jesus who they feel is simply asking too much, or a Jesus who the world mocks and certainly doesn’t consider “cool”, or a Jesus whose “rules” are far from politically correct or sit-com friendly?
It is easy to walk away when you never really understood the magnitude of your need for God or ever truly surrendered your life to Him.
It is easy to walk away when you really don’t know, and truly love Jesus, but some watered-down, false version of the One True God.
When you “bought Jesus on the cheap” it is nearly impossible to deny yourself and follow Him especially when all your friends are running a hundred miles an hour with the world the other way.
So, how do we raise spiritual champions? How do we point others to Jesus?
We start by telling them the whole story. There is grace, but there is also truth.
We can’t forsake one for the other.
Yes, they need to know how amazing grace is, but they also need to know how much they need it.
We need to stop telling them “you are enough” (they aren’t) and help them understand that Jesus did for them what they could never do for themselves.
We need to stop worrying about their self-confidence and, instead, help them to learn to stand Jesus-confident.
They need to know (and for that matter be relieved) that their best works will never be enough to snatch them from Hell.
They need to rest in the fact that God came and saved them and they don’t need Jesus plus something else.
He is enough to satisfy, really satisfy them (John 6:35) and, yes, give them peace and hope and joy as they trust Him (Rom 15:13) even when they walk through valleys of the shadows of death.
And they need to know God well enough THROUGH HIS WORD to trust He is also enough to carry them when all else fails them …and it might.
The true gospel is not a prosperity gospel. It is deny-yourself, take up your cross and follow Him (not yourself, not the world, not what feels right) …BUT when you do, there is peace and hope and joy far beyond anything this world could ever give.
But you don’t get all that from a cheap understanding of grace.
Only when we understand how precious, how costly, how magnificent, the gift of Jesus REALLY IS will we hold onto it with all that we have.
And how we all need to hold on to that and hold on to Him.