Do you wonder why it is that we refer to you as discerning youth? We have in the past, and do so now because it is only the youth of the Church of Christ, out of all the youth of the world, that can discern; they only have that gift of God whereby they are able to have due regard and consideration for all that confronts them; if the evil, veiled though it may be, to be spiritually nauseated, condemn the evil, and then cast it far from them; if the good, to cherish it, uphold it and maintain it to the glory of their God and the salvation of their soul.
In this connection, though it will undoubtedly strike you as being somewhat trite, we would warn you, as that discerning youth of His Church, to be very alert to the dangers of this age. No, by the dangers here we certainly do not refer to the cataclysmic potential of the advanced “science” of this age. Nor do we refer, in this instance, to the possibility of an imminent physical reprisal by the powers of darkness because of the confessions which we make before the face of God and man. Nor do we refer to the overt blasphemy of the speech and conduct of the godless, as these things can be and are witnessed by all of us in the present day. Understand well, we do not deny that these things are with us round about, as we live for a time on the face of this earth. But these do not constitute the dangers whereof we speak in our warning above to you as the discerning youth of Christ’s Church.
Rather we speak of the dangers that beset you almost unnoticed and concerning which we would raise almost no question or bother to consider them the second time. These result from, nonetheless, or better still, are the means of Satan and his hosts to seduce you from your kinship with and spiritual betrothal to the Lord Christ! This spiritual seduction, historically begun already in Eden’s garden, seeks one central goal. That goal? Your ultimate spiritual estrangement from your confession of the truths of the Living God, His Christ, and your salvation through Him. The means? A vast array of the “little” departures from, “insignificant” concessions contrary to, and “minor” apathies concerning the principles and precepts of THE TRUTH. These diminutives have been shown historically to have been the most “effective” means for the powers of evil to wage violent conflict against the ones who profess to stand for the cause of truth and uprightness. And so, we consider this time the dangers of apathy.
We know from a formal point of view that apathy is a “lack of feeling” or an “indifference” and then commonly this means toward a given thought, problem, or condition. In this general concept of the term, we would say that apathy connotes an attitude of “I don’t know, and I really don’t care enough to know.” Have you heard this type of speech? Quite possibly you have, and regrettably, this sentiment may have even been spoken concerning things of utmost spiritual import and con¬sequence.
We see at once, do we not, that apathy is diametrically opposed to discernment? And it is surely the way of least resistance. The only effort involved in taking an apathetic attitude is for one to say or show that he doesn’t care! Or as apathy pertains to a given problem and one has taken a stand arbitrarily on that problem it is this simple: “My mind is made up; please don’t confuse me with the facts!” So full of ease is this course, don’t you see, that it is really the course to follow for those who cannot and will not be concerned with the essence of the matter at hand. But does this hold positive attraction for the sons and daughters of Jehovah? Indeed not. Let our answer be unequivocally negative!
Discernment, on the other hand, demands thought, determination, dedication, time, effort, and strife! Above all it implies that we have knowledge, true knowledge from God as His gift, and with that knowledge we participate in the former.
That walk, antithetic to that of the worldling, comprehends your every sphere. And because you are the church that stands here tomorrow, when the fathers of today have gone on, you are the prime target of the enemy. Let the eyes of the youth of the church become impaired, so that they cannot see the “tiny” errors, and Satan smiles his horrible approval. Then, in a generation or two, that heretofore “staunch” little group will be consumed, or severely decimated at least.
Now then, what characterizes your attitudes? Do YOU concern yourself with reading and studying your Beacon Lights and The Standard Bearer? . . . those periodicals within the sphere of our churches which present expositions of the Word of God, the affairs of the “church” world, the trends in nominal Christendom. Do you read them, study them? Are you vitally concerned with attending the divine worship services, motivated by a positive longing for God and His Word? And what about your catechism? . . . do you go because you must, or do you seek to learn the confessions as we hold them to be the truth of Scripture as opposed to the heresies that are rampant and increasing in this day? Can you defend those confessions from the Word itself? Or do you go with a “teach me if you can” attitude, and smile inwardly when someone desires to know more about a certain point to render him unshakable in that confession? Do you know the why and the wherefore of the existence of our churches? Do you care? And what about the deluge of amusements which beset us. the inevitable end of which is estrangement from God?
Do you take a stand? Do you “dare”? Do you practice preparation for the Sabbath early enough on Saturday, so that it can truly be regarded as preparation? Or is the Sabbath itself the day of physical preparation so that you can resume the jobs and fun that you had to lay down at the end of the week just past? And what about controversies that arise on one point or another within your spheres? Do you concern yourself with them? Or do you simply say that if it doesn’t concern you personally it isn’t worth the thought or effort to determine the right or the wrong? And then, too, what of the life work that is before you? How do you consider that question? When you consider what you should do in this life, do you have even a little bit of Samuel’s attitude of “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth”? The ministry of the Word, teaching in one of our own Protestant Reformed Christian Elementary Schools, or soon perhaps, if the encouraging reports are true from the Grand Rapids area, teaching in our own Protestant Reformed Christian High School. Do you consider these things in prayer (and that banishes apathy’!) with discernment? And this list could go on and on . . .
Covenant youth, be alert to the dangers of this age! Beware of the apathy that will numb your spiritual sensitivity to the point of non-existence. Be faithful in seeking the right and in so doing, defend it; take a stand on God’s Word, so that you can as zealously resist the wrong and condemn it; and then know that when that battle shall have been fought, you will have been fortified to stand as a pillar in the Church of Christ Jesus, as it is yet militant upon the earth, to the glory of your God! Is there aught else you desire?