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Youth Bible Studies

POPULAR LIES WHICH YOU(TH) BELIEVE WHICH THE CHRISTMAS STORY BUSTS / Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

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Young people tend to believe the lies of the Devil. I believe Jesus the truth is the answer for each of the Devil’s lies. Even in the narrative of Christ’s entrance into this world, there are truths come against the popular lies which young people believe in, thanks to the deceptive work of the Devil. I bust three such lies young people believe starting from portions of the much-read Christmas narratives.

Lie 1: “God can’t forgive my sin that is UNPRINTABLE”

Young people say (with Satan rousing them to do it), “My sin is unprintable. I cannot even mention the sins I have committed even to my best friend. Will God forgive me?”

I believe God’s Word to such youth comes from the Christmas Genealogy Passages. In that passage we meet some super notorious people who became the ancestors of  the ultimate Holy One, Jesus. It is as if Jesus was saying by such inclusion, “I came to this earth to seek and to save those kinds of people!” (See Luke 19:10).

There are three women whose sexual sins are of progressive darker shades in the genealogy of Jesus that Matthew recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. One woman in that list was Uriah’s wife (Matt. 1:7). We are talking about the Bathsheba who perhaps did not utter one word of protest when the King of the Land called for adultery (She could have been the one among the thousand women who refused the advances of the King – See Eccl. 7:28)! I call her the silent adulterer. Another woman in that genealogy dressed up as a prostitute in disguise and went about seducing her own father in law in a desperate attempt to become a mom (Tamar) (Matt. 1:3). I call her the secret adulterer. Yet another woman in that list was a professional prostitute. Her name? Rahab the spy who helped the spies from Israel scouting the Promised Land (Matt. 1:5). I call her the shameless adulterer!!! By including these sin-colored folks in His own genealogy by moving Matthew to do through the Holy Spirit’s promptings, Jesus is saying to the youth of today, “You may have been sexually immoral. But I still love you. I came from heaven to seek and save you. That’s why I entered Mary’s womb during the first Christmas! And you must repent and come to me to receive a cleansing of your sin from the blood I shed just for you!”

The God of the Bible says, “Come now let us reason together. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow!” (Isa. 1:18). Would you come to Jesus now?

Lie 2: “Living a Holy Life is next to IMPOSSIBLE”

Young people tend to say (encouraged by the lies of the Devil), “I guess I will never be able to consistently beat the porn-watching temptation! I believe, I will never be able to quit smoking and drinking! Can I really get full freedom from the compulsive desire I have to gossip and use foul language?” Some young people confess: “I went forward when the preacher gave the altar call. I committed my life to Jesus. For two days I am fine. I say ‘no’ to sin. But in the third day, I yield to temptation. Now, I am worse than I was before I gave my life to Jesus! Is it really possible to be pure in this impure world that pulls you into sin?”

I believe, the message to such folks from the Bible Christmas narratives is this: “Nothing is impossible to God!” (Luke 1:37). What was told to Mary in response to her question, “How can I have a baby when I have not slept with a man?” is what would be told to youth who ask the question, “How I can life a holy life in an extremely sin-toxic world?” I believe that! Yes, living a holy life is difficult when you want to do that with your own strength. But with God’s strength, you can live holy! That is why the Bible talks about the grace of God empowering us to say no to ungodliness and world passions (see Titus 2:11-14). The Spirit of God, when we actively cooperate with Him, energizes us to “put to death” the “misdeeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13)! Joseph of Genesis 39 did just that – put to death the misdeeds of the body – by constantly celebrating the purity-enabling presence of God (Gen. 39:2-3,9-10). Shall we ape his celebration of God’s presence to tame temptation?

Lie 3: “Understanding God’s Will is INCOMPREHENSIBLE”

Young people complain (moved by the lying Devil): “I can’t ever figure out God’s Will for my life. What career should I choose? Medicine or Sports Broadcasting? Information Technology or Psychology? Whom should I get married to? I know I should marry a believer. But then there are many believers out there. How do I know which one of them to marry?”

I believe the Christmas narrative passages of the Bible have a solution to these questions. We see how God guided Joseph through dreams repeatedly in the Christmas story.

Five times we read of guiding dreams in the Christmas story (1. Matt. 1:20 – But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit; 2. Matt. 2:12 – And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route; 3. Matt. 2:13 – When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”; 4. Matt. 2:19 – After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt; 5. Matt. 2:22 – But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee).

All these passages tells us that God is not simply sitting in heaven, totally disinterested in our lives. He wants to get intricately involved in our lives. And He is more than willing to communicate with us, if only we are willing to listen to Him.

How do we receive God’s directions for our life.? Nicky Gumbel put it in five memorable steps: 1. Commanding Scripture. What does the Bible say about choices I am about to make? For example, if I am in love with an unbeliever, we will know from Commanding Scripture that is against God’s Will for us (2 Cor. 6:14; I Cor. 7:39)! In such a case we do NOT have to even pray for God’s Will. We just have to fall in line with God’s written word by breaking away from such relationships. 2. Controlling Spirit – We must spend seasons in supplication till God writes His will in our hearts. Even the all-knowing Jesus spent the entire night in prayer before he chose the Twelve (Luke 6:12-13). We too must spend time in God’s presence in an unhurried manner, till an ‘implanted Word’ (James 1:21) settles within us, directing us to a decision especially in cases where all options seem okay. 3. Common Sense – God is not against common sense. By ‘renewing your mind’ (not removing your mind), we can discover and execute His ‘good, perfect, pleasing’ will for us (Rom. 12:1-3). My decision to come to full-time ministry was not devoid of common-sense: It was getting too much for me to manage a fulltime job with a corporate company, manage a young family and travel during my leaves to preach in Christian meetings (that’s what I did in the year 2008). I had to give up either my job or my ministry. So, I decided to quit my log-in at 5:30 pm and log-out at 3:30 am job (where at times, I would doze off). Now, the Lord takes better care of me than my Corporate Company!!!! To be at the centre of His God’s Will is the happiest and most blessed place to be (even though there may be challenges and problems, there is great satisfaction)! 4. Counsel of Saints – The Bible teaches in Proverbs 15:22 this: ‘Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.’ Consulting with senior spiritual leaders who have known us all our lives will help us to confirm what God is saying to us in Steps one through three. I remember meeting with my Bible College professor, Dr. Ivan Satyavrata, who counselled me to choose Youth Ministry over Full Time Bible College teaching without ever forcing my choice. 4. Circumstances – At times, when we stubbornly head towards one direction in our life, oblivious to God’s Warnings, God may choose to do what it takes to stop us. That is what is happening in Hosea 2:6 where we read: “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.” So, when we see a door getting shut, we must use our discernment to figure out if God was behind it all graciously blocking us from heading towards dangerous paths. A girl I was crazily in love with while I was in secular college wrote to me (while I was studying in Bible College), “I will not marry you. It will not happen even over my dead body!” That slammed shut door eventually opened my heart to Evan (my wife), for whom I cannot thank God enough. We pair up to work to grab the Google Generation from going to Gehenna (Hell) complementing each other. This would not have happened but for that rudely shut door!

So, young people, God will guide you, if only you take time to tune into what He is trying to say using these five steps!

Do not believe the lies of the Devil. Let the truths from the Christmas Narratives and the Christmas Babe bust those silly, senseless, unscriptural lies!!!!!

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission.  He has preached in over 20 Indian states, five countries and authored three books, with Straight Talk (on Sex, Love, Marriage) being his most well-known book now available in Amazon via Kindle. He lives in Hyderabad with his wife and two children. This article was first published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in their magazine, Aim (Dec 2018). Find out more about Duke’s reader supported ministry at www.dukev.org)

Categories
Youth Bible Studies

WHEN THE LOVING-TO-BE-YOUNG JESUS MET YOUNG PEOPLE Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

young peopleJesus loved being “young”, like most of us do – the time of our lives when our prettiness/handsomeness is at an Himalayan high and our energy-levels at an Everest high. Why did I say that Jesus loved being young? Here’s why – follow the line of my argument carefully: Jesus had the power to choose when he could die (John 10:18); He chose to die when he was in the prime of his youth; He was about 30 when he started his ministry – Luke records (Luke 3:23);  John, the Gospel writer, talks about three Passovers which Jesus took part in (John 2:13; 6:4 and 11:55);  Since the Passover was an annual festival for the Jews (Lev. 23:1-8; I Sam. 1:3, 21), we know Jesus’ ministry on the earth lasted for three years, before he was crucified and buried;  He rose again as a young man, three days later. And he ascended to heaven as a young man of 33;  He sits at the right hand of the Father as a young man;  In all these years, his glorious body has not aged – I believe – because the Bible says “the same” young Jesus whom the disciples ascend into heaven will return back to this earth (Acts 1:11).

 

Young people, Jesus can understand you because he is God who is all knowing. Not just that. He can stand you(th) because he is young even right now!

 

Jesus also loves meeting young people. In his earthly ministry, Jesus met several youth and ministered to them. However, the Gospel writers were moved by the Holy Spirit to give details of Jesus’ interaction with three different youth (only these three persons whom I will refer to are explicitly called ‘youth’).  Let us take a long look at those biblical incidents when Jesus met youth and draw lessons for the youth of today.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COLD YOUNG MAN

 

Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian Fast Bowler, has a nick-name. He is nicknamed “Bootlace Bomber”, because of his ability of bowl yorkers accurately and high speed. Jesus can be given a nick-name. Jesus can be called “the Funeral Spoiler”! He is seen disrupting three funerals at various stages of increasing difficulty – one which took place in a home, the other when the body was being carried from the home to the graveyard and still yet another when the body was buried in the graveyard! He disrupts the funeral of the young man who was being carried to the graveyard. He was the only son of his widowed mother (Luke 7:12). And he was being carried to the grave! This is what happened according to Dr. Luke: He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:14). That young man rose again from the dead and Jesus gave him back to his mother (Luke 7:15).

 

Have you touched dead bodies? I have. I recently touched the dead body of my maternal uncle who passed after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 25 years. Dead bodies are cold. I want to draw an analogy here. Are you cold, spiritually speaking? Are you cold in your love towards the One whose love for you is warm? There was a time when you used to pray for long hours without looking at the clock. There was a time when you would witness without any second thoughts. There was a time when you fled from temptation and enjoyed the fleeing because you knew sin’s pleasures were, at best, fleeting. But not any longer. Now, prayer times have become a drag for you. You do not witness for Jesus at all. And you run towards temptation feeling super-excited. You need to repent. You need to come back to Jesus. You must come back to the “first love” you had for Jesus (Rev. 2:4). Your love for Jesus needs to be warm.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A HALF-COMMITTED YOUNG MAN

Matthew records the conversation of a “young man” (Matt. 19:20,22) of “great wealth” (Matt. 19:22) had with Jesus. He had the right question – “What must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). He wasn’t talking about earthly things but things of eternal value. So, in that sense, he asked the right question. Having read the full Bible we know that we do not have “do” anything to get eternal life. All we need to do to be saved is to believe in the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for us with a truly repentant heart (Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31 – two passages where we read the question of unbelievers, “What shall we do now?”). The rich young man not only asked the right question, he exhibited the right posture. Mark records that this young man “knelt” down before Jesus when he asked that question (Mark 10:17 ESV). This tells me that he respected Jesus and wanted to express that respect by the posture of kneeling.  But the rich young man who asked the right question with the right posture responded wrongly to Jesus. Jesus, who knew everything as God (John 2:25), knew about his greed and love for money problem. So, Jesus touched that aspect of his life in response to his question. But he did not do that in an angry tone. He did it lovingly. Mark records that Jesus looked at this young man and “loved him” as he gave his response to his question (Mark 10:21). Jesus loves young people. But he does not desire that young people stay in their sins – be it pride or porn-watching or peer-pressure yielding or prayerlessness. So he lovingly calls youth to repent – especially of their “pet” sins. If you are given to the secret habit of shooting and sending nude selfies via WhatsApp Jesus would say this to you, looking at you in a loving way: “Yet one thing you lack. Surrender your WhatsApp life to me!” (Read Mark 10:21 to understand what Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler). Here is the message we need to get: Jesus loves us just the way we are, but he won’t leave us that way. He would woo us with his love, wow us with his love. He love when truly experienced will transform our life. But if we keep rejecting his love, a time will surely come when the Holy Sprit may stop talking to us and we will land in eternal hell (Rev. 21:7-8; Gen. 6:3; Romans 1:18-24).

 

So do not be half-committed, when it comes to your commitment with Jesus! The rich young man walked away “sad” when he took a U-turn from Jesus and walked away because he was unwilling to repent of his love of money in a practical way by selling all his possessions, giving what he got to the poor, and following Jesus (join Jesus’ ministry team) [Mark 10:21]. He level of commitment to Jesus was not 100%. He kept some parts of his life for himself, for sin, for Satan. This young man wanted to serve Jesus and Money. And that led to sadness. Double-mindedness leads to delight-loss – this was James’ message (Whoever wavers in his mind is troubled in all his ways – James 1:8, Aramaic Bible in Plain English). Don’t lock a corner of your life secretly to porn by watching nudity via streaming platforms like Netflix. Don’t make room in your heart for a little pride in the name having good self-esteem. Give up “all” sin and surrender your “full” life to Jesus (note Jesus’ stress on the word “all” in his response to the young man who was rich in Mark 10:21). Then, the lasting joy which the young rich man missed will be yours (Mark 10:22; Matt. 19:22). When you surrender your life to Jesus without holding anything back – I repeat without holding anything back – you are sure to experience the joy which the world cannot give, money can’t buy (the rich young ruler should have known this) and Satan cannot take away. I can testify to that!

 

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COWARDLY YOUNG MAN

 

There was a young man who followed Jesus enroute to the Cross. But when the Roman Arrest party closed-in on Jesus he had to choose between suffering with Jesus or scooting from Jesus. He chose the later option, for lack of courage. You can read about him in Mark 14:51 – ‘A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he [v]pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked’ (NASB). When this young man had to choose being naked in public and being nerveless in public, he chose the former. He was a coward. He was curious about Jesus (that why he followed Jesus). But he could not make up him mind to be courageous for Jesus. He was exactly the opposite of John Chou, the young American who went to North Sentinel Islands to proclaim Jesus, pretty well knowing that his life was at risk at the hands of the untamed, javelin-wielding, tribal people who lived there in 2018. He sure lost his life. But great will be reward on the other side of eternity. Do you know in the list of people who will go to hell even “cowards” are mentioned? (Rev. 21:7-8). The book of Revelation was written as an encouragement for people who were being persecuted. The message of that book is simple: “Endure”. Revelation 13:10b read this way: ‘Here is a call for the perseverance and faith of the saints.’ Revelation 14:12’s message is also the same: ‘This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.’ When Revelation 21:7-8 places even the ‘cowardly’ in the list of people who will go to hell, we understand this way: those who repeated, stubbornly, deny Jesus through their words and actions for the fear of a repercussion (repercussions like ‘my friends will make fun of me, if I refuse to drink along with them’, ‘if I say no to sex when this girl is offering it offering to me, she will think I am not even a man!’, ‘if I question my pastor about this false teaching he is preaching, he will not have me on stage as a worship leader in this church’, etc) are in the real danger of going to eternal hell.

 

So, in your campus life, show people that you have a backbone. In your corporate office, let people know that out of that popularity contest. Live for Jesus courageously!

Note: This article was published in the August 2019 issue of Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India.

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time. He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call to by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served as a pastor/missionary/editor. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]).