We’re going to begin right now with a message – a specific message to our children, to the young people in this congregation. Young people, when this sermon is prayed about, it’s prayed about specifically with regard to you. And you need to listen very, very carefully.
Now, we’ve been in the book of Exodus, and I want to return there for just a moment. Exodus 20. But today, we’re going to make something of a departure. We’re going to summarize some of the things we’ve learned, and then we’re going to apply it in a different way. Exodus 20:1, “Then God spoke all these words, saying ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me. But showing lovingkindness to thousands to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.'” Now, from this we have learned several things. First of all, that God owns you. Even if you’re a little child who has yet to come to know Christ, God owns you; and you, it is your duty, to worship Him. He made you. He made you. And the breathe that’s in your body right now, God gave that to you. And therefore, you owe Him. What do you owe Him? All your praise. All your allegiance. All your obedience. But for some of us, not only does God own us because of creation, but He also owns us because He redeemed us. To redeem someone means to pay a price to set them free from captivity or slavery. And that’s what God has done. He’s done it through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, you should have a love in your heart for God. Now, I want you to think about this for a moment. Every law that we have ever studied shows us something very important. Not only that God is good, but it shows us that we have broken God’s law. We’ve created other gods. In our hearts, there are things oftentimes that are more important to us than God. Many times, we take the name of the Lord our God in vain. We do not honor Him or worship Him or think about Him in the way that we ought. Because of that, the Bible says we have sinned.
Now sin is not something we laugh about. Why? Because it’s not something that God laughs about. All the pain, all the problems, all the sorrow that you see in this world is because men have broken God’s law. The fact that people will die today is because of sin. The fact that sometimes you will fall down and hurt yourself, or there will be sadness in your heart, or darkness in your life, everything that happens on this planet that’s bad is because of disobedience. Because of Adam’s disobedience, because of your great-great grandfather’s disobedience, because of your father’s disobedience, and because of your disobedience. Sin is the one great dark monster. It’s the life-eater. It’s the killer of people. But Jesus came – Jesus came! Now think about that. He didn’t have to come. If God would have kept His Son there in Heaven throughout all of eternity and allowed us all to die, He would still be a good God because if we had died, it would have been exactly what we deserved. It was exactly what we deserved. But the fact is, the Bible says that God loved the world so much; He loved people so much that He sent His only Son to die the death that you should die. Now, listen to me, young people. This is very important. Many times when you think about the death of Jesus, you think about the cross, and the crown of thorns, and the nails in His hands and in His feet, the spear that was in His side, and the blood that poured out – all of that is very important, but here’s what you must understand. That’s not the great pain of the cross. That’s not the thing that Jesus most dreaded. What did He dread? You see, He was perfect. He never sinned one time. But on that tree, your sin was imputed to Him. Now that sounds like a strange word – impute. It means that your sin was placed on Him. And He was treated by God in the way that you should be treated and I should be treated. How should we be treated? We should be turned away from God. We should be turned away from His presence. We should be sent into eternal darkness. That’s what the Bible says about us because of our sin. But the fact it, the treatment that God should have given us fell on His Son. Jesus suffered in our place. The Father turned away from His only Son and all the judgment that you should experience, Christ experienced on that tree. But you know what’s marvelous? Right before He died, He said something absolutely wonderful. He said, “It is finished.” What is finished? He made the payment in full. Because of your sin, your crimes, you owed God a debt you could not pay, but on that cross, Jesus Christ paid it. He paid it. He paid it all. He paid for every one of your sins in the past, in the present, and the future. He paid it all. You are forgiven, if you are trusting in this Jesus who not only died for your sins, but He rose again from the dead on the third day. He is seated at the right hand of God, and He is able to save you from every horrible thing you have ever done or ever will do. If you look to yourself, young person; if you try to go to heaven because your parents go to church or if you think you’re going to heaven because you’re good, or because you’re homeschooled, or because of all sorts of things like that, you are wrong. Your goodness is not good before God. Even your fathers. My best works – I’m a pastor; I’m an elder. My best works are nothing more than filthy rags before God.
My only hope of getting to heaven is that 2,000 years ago, the Son of God died for me. That must be your hope. You see, Christianity has rules in it, but it’s not about rules. Christianity has a certain way of living, but it’s not about that certain way of living. Christianity is all about this: We have no hope apart from one Person and His name is Jesus Christ, and we follow Jesus. And everything that we do, we do for Him. Now listen to me. This is so important. Why should you want to be a good man, young man? Why should you want to be a good woman, young woman? Because He died for you. If it’s any other reason, it’s idolatry. You do it all for Him. Everything you do, you do for Him. I’m standing up here today, young person, not because I want to be religious and not because I just want to be a good man, and not because I just want my family to do okay, I am here because Jesus Christ died for me. And He rose again from the dead. He’s everything! Do you understand that? Jesus is everything. He’s not only the only Savior, He’s the only Lord. He’s not only the only Lord, young person, He is also the only Life. Outside of Him, there’s nothing. Now, to conclude, do you know Him? You say, well, yes, one time I prayed a prayer and asked Him into my heart. But that doesn’t mean you know Him. Millions of people in America have prayed prayers and asked Jesus into their heart, but their life hasn’t changed. The evidence that you repented of your sins and were saved is that you’re still repenting today. The evidence that you believed in Jesus a few years ago, you’re still believing today, and you’re believing more than before. And the evidence that you truly have been saved by grace is that you keep walking and following Jesus and He continues changing you. Do not think, young person, that just because your parents are Christian that you’re a Christian. Do not think that just because you read the Bible you’re a Christian. The evidence that you’re a Christian is that Jesus has done something in your life. And that something that He’s done is the thing that motivates you to follow Him. And you want to be like Him. And you continue on and on and on. So it’s all about Jesus, isn’t it. We want you to be good men and women. We want you to be noble. More than anything else, we desire that your heart – your heart be totally devoted to one Person: Jesus Christ. Let’s pray. Father, I pray for the children, for the youth among us, Lord, that You would open up their mind for them to understand truth; that they would see the reality of Your holiness and Your righteousness; that in the light of that, they would see their sin, and they would not look inwardly, except to look inwardly and find no hope, and then look outwardly, Lord, at Christ who died and rose again from the dead, that they would see the resurrected Christ as their only Savior, as the atonement for their sin, and they would trust in Him. Father, we pray for our children that their hearts would be devoted to Jesus Christ Your Son. We do not pray for them an easy life, a wealthy life. We do not pray for them, Lord, that they get the things of this world. We would pray that they would die to self, that they would turn their back on the world, that they would be crucified to the world and the world would be crucified to them, and they would be disinterested in anything but Christ and Christ alone. Let it be, O God, more than a song in the lives of the adults here and the lives of our children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.