S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T T-A-L-K T-O T-E-E-N-S
If I challenge your comfort….. hey! that’s what it’s all about. Because I don’t think where you are is where you really wanna be. Wouldn’t want you to get all settled in before you become unteach- and unreachable. As I said before, somebody is going to get to you, you’re going to get glued to something. And if that something is not Jesus you will be in a real mess. So I’m here to challenge that something, that door, that whatever you’re walking into.
I want you to look at two things….. PERSPECTIVE and PEER PRESSURE.
How can I make you see that peer pressure fuzzes your perspective and makes you nearsighted? You have to be able to see past your nose and into reality….. you know, who you really are and where you’re headed and stuff like that. Because of peer pressure you do not allow yourself to come to conclusions beyond the fences placed around your life. That makes it hard to see yourself in true perspective. Hey, what fences?! What perspective?
Perspective later. First the fences.
Believe me there are fences around your life. And hey! that’s not always bad. Fences keep people together, manageable, un-crazy. Often fences are good. You help maintain those fences when you call the guys on the other side weirdos and airheads and other compliments. It’s your way of bringing them back. A form of peer pressure.
But fences can also keep people in bondage. Keep them from checking things out. From challenging the accepted to see if the accepted makes sense. Sometimes fences limit your view and your perspective. What you do and what you believe is often the result of fences placed around your life.
Chances are you will become other people’s product. You will be the effect of what they have done and said and believed. If you lived in another era and/or country you would be a different product….. you would fit into that scenario and mentality. You would be spewing some other saying or slogan and think of yourself as right awesome.
For instance if you lived in the southern States forty, fifty years ago you would be taught to be a racist. And if all you wanted was to be one of the guys, a racist you would be. You would embrace the sordid ethics of that time and place which decreed that a man is an underling if his skin is black. Hey, it must be right cause everybody thinks that way. How could so many be off? To challenge the accepted would cost a bigger price than you might be willing to pay. Chances for a date on Friday would be slim – who wants to go out with a crazy? You would be ignored, ridiculed, ostracized. So you’re happy to just fit in, go with the flow, be one of the guys.
Or suppose you were raised in some religious family. Maybe you would be wearing a black suit and tie, knocking on doors and telling everyone how great it is to be a Mormon. Or maybe you would be standing on the corner with an Awake! magazine in your hand. Or you might be counting Hail Marys on a string of beads. All because you were afraid to challenge the fences. To most, loyalty to the group means more than searching for truth.
If you lived in the Soviet Union a few decades ago you would belong to the Young Pioneers and be wearing a bright red scarf and chanting funny collectivist slogans. Nothing more than a clone. Someone’s mouthpiece. And you would think you were cool. Their fences would keep you boxed into that mentality and value system and very few would challenge those fences.
Nikolai was an exception, but man did he pay the price. This fifteen-year old Christian refused to take the Pioneer’s oath to “live, study and fight as the great Lenin commanded and as the Communist Party teaches.” This made life hard. You see Nikolai was an embarrassment to Nikolai’s teacher and the teacher’s supervisor and everyone up the line. So guess who wasn’t too popular. It’s hard to make friends without that red scarf. No field trips. No musicals. None of the fun stuff. Though a good swimmer he didn’t make the team. And university? Hey, that’s only for cooperative kids.
Anyone stepping outside the realm of the accepted might find life getting a bit uncomfortable, you know, like swimming upstream.
I know what you’re thinking. You would be different, right? You wouldn’t wear no dumb scarf. And you would sit in the back of the bus with the Blacks and show those racists. And there’s no way you would stand on the corner holding some religious magazine. You are more than a yes man. You ain’t nobody’s clone.
Hey, I hate to tell you this but if you don’t have the stuff to question the established where you’re at you would also accept the fences wherever and whenever and whatever they might be. But, okay, okay….. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. You’re not average. You are going to think for yourself, challenge the accepted, have an open mind. Good! Now we can talk about perspective.
Perspective….. where you’re at….. who you are….. where you’re going.
You are up in the Cariboo country prospecting for gold. It’s been a long day and you’re like exhausted and now you’re in your canoe heading back to the cabin on the other side of this big beautiful lake with hills all around and you figure you should reach your cabin in about another hour. Too bad you didn’t have some gold to impress your pal who is probably back at the cabin by now and you hope he hasn’t found any yellow stuff neither. You’re getting thirsty so you unscrew the cup off the thermos, reach over the side and scoop some water.
Now hold it there!
Perspective: See that cup of water? That represents your life on earth. Now look around at the lake. See how big it is? Well, that’s your eternity. Your life on earth compared to your eternal life is like the cup of water compared to the lake. Got it?
There’s a song we Christians sing that goes like this: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise then when we first begun.” Yep, after we have been in heaven ten thousand years life just got started.
You finally make it back to the cabin and think a hot chocolate would warm your insides real good. You light the stove, no plugging in a kettle here, and twenty minutes later you’re sipping away and just like relaxing and you notice the steam rising from the hot chocolate.
Perspective: Your life can be compared to the steam floating up from your drink of hot chocolate. There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” How long is a “little time”? Count the seconds it takes for the steam to disappear….. one second and two seconds and three seconds and four….. poof! ….. it’s gone. Your life on earth is that short compared to your eternal life.
Now get this. WHAT YOU DO WITH JESUS DURING THESE ‘FEW SECONDS’ ON EARTH WILL DETERMINE WHERE AND HOW YOU WILL SPEND YOUR ETERNITY. It’s true! As I said before….. life without Christ is nutso, and entering a Christless eternity is pure insanity.
Your friend chides, Didn’t find anything did you?
You think, Some friend.
Well I told you a dozen times, all the gold you want is right in the backyard.
Sure, sure, you reply, but you’re thinking your partner has got cabin fever or something. Everyone knows you don’t find gold in the backyard. Gold is always like way out there someplace.
But your friend is right. If you just went behind the cabin and dug a little you would find a fortune. But no, you are already planning tomorrow’s search. Maybe it’s over the next mountain, around the next bend.
Perspective: You search so hard and long for a better life thinking it’s way down the road someplace, but all your heart longs for is closer to you than your own breath. Jesus is life’s real treasure. He is worth more than all the gold and silver. And He is as close as a prayer.
After months of searching the hills you finally take your comrade’s advice and start digging in the back yard and sure enough you discover an extremely rich lode of gold. Problem is this property belongs to the old man you rented the cabin from. What to do? If only you had enough to buy this place you would own all the gold. Maybe you could buy it on time or something. So into town you go looking for the old man, but oh oh, you see some dude talking to him.
Sir, how much do you want for your property? Now this guy doesn’t know anything about the gold, just likes the cabin and property and the fishing is pretty good.
The old man doesn’t hesitate, Everything you got, Sonny.
Are you kidding me? Hey! I’m rich. Just inherited my father’s fortune.
Sorry, but the price is firm.
Now it’s your turn.
Sir, how much do you want for your property?
The answer is the same, Everything you got, Sonny.
Ha! You don’t understand. I only have some change in my pocket. I was hoping I could buy it on…..
The price is firm.
Perspective: The greatest treasure will cost you all you have whether much or little. Jesus is the “pearl of great price.” To have this treasure you must surrender all you have to Him, and accept His lordship over your life.
So for about five dollars worth of change you purchase the property with its gold and now you are rich beyond your wildest dreams. You marry a sweet honey, move into the biggest house in the city and you have everything a person could ever want. Except one thing. You both want a baby. Real bad. But the years roll by and the house is still so empty. After many years your doctor makes the long awaited announcement, you guys will have a baby in the spring. Oh how long the winter is! Will spring ever get here? Finally it comes and so does the little one, some pretty baby. You call the relatives and friends over to celebrate, your servants – yeah, you got a half dozen servants and if that’s not enough I can make it a dozen – are so excited and you and your spouse glow with pride and joy.
Perspective: You are loved much more than that baby. You are loved more than any baby was ever loved by any person. Though your self-esteem may be low God holds you in very high esteem. I know it’s hard to believe but He loves you more than words can express. He wants you as His very own.
You love the child so much that you spend a small fortune on a gift on its first birthday – a gold laden chest with an antique porcelain doll inside. One of the servants gives the baby what she can afford – a small trinket. To your dismay the child is fascinated with the trinket and ignores your gift altogether.
Perspective: You have been the small child who puts such emphasis on things that don’t matter while ignoring the priceless.
Don’t ask me how it happened but the precious child got lost, like just walked away when no one was looking and got swallowed up by the city. You panic and get mad and weep and search day and night and offer a huge reward but still no baby. But you don’t give up. You will never give up.
Perspective: You are the lost child. Jesus said He came to seek those who are lost. The Father is doing everything to bring you home into His kingdom. It is a very urgent predicament.
This is the true perspective of who you are, where you’re at and where you’re going: You were born into eternity. Spiritually, you will never die. Your life on earth is very short compared to your life on the other side. During this short span of time you choose for yourself where and how you will spend your eternity. Eternity is a very long, long time.
You are separated from God. Not by distance because God is everywhere. But separated by sin. You are lost….. lost in your own sin.
This doesn’t mean you are not loved. You are a unique creation, a product of God’s perfection and imagination. You are loved dearly and God wants you as His own. The proof of that love is seen in an innocent Man nailed to a cross.
When you think of the cross you must not only see Jesus but yourself. Because He is thinking of you, dying for you, paying the penalty of your sins.
Whatever you are now leaning on cannot stand scrutiny. Compared to Jesus your heroes are feeble and your gods anemic.
There is a war being waged for your eternal life. You can’t see this war, but it’s real. satan covets you as his own. And so does Jesus.
satan is real – don’t think he’s not. You will spend your very long eternity with either satan or Jesus. The Bible is very clear on this; this statement is as true as the Bible is true. Jesus came to earth with you in mind, to rescue you from satan’s grip. Jesus defeated satan on the cross. It is only in Christ that you can get your deliverance.
Scripture says, “Our gospel is veiled….. to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, less the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ….. should shine on them.” Who is the “god of this age”? It is satan, the one some people have told you doesn’t exist. He and his underlings spend a lot of energy to keep the gospel from you. They successfully blinded most. Including you. He invented many counterfeit religions and cults and philosophies to confuse you and keep you from receiving the true gospel.
But there are also a lot of forces trying to get the gospel to you and believe me it ain’t easy. People are praying. Angels are waging war against these enemies of your soul. The biggest problem in getting the gospel to you is those fences. It seems you’re scared to give much attention to spiritual truths. What would the guys think? You just want to fit into the crowd, you know, the herd mentality. You got a finger stuck in each ear. You don’t want to hear about anything that’s not in. Approval of peers means everything.
Hey, look around. Some of the people affecting your life are atheists, agnostics, humanists, religionists, New Agers, evolutionists, nationalists, feminists, satanists, etc. These people are editors, teachers, rock stars, salesmen, parents, politicians, lecturers, relatives, writers, singers, friends. They are tugging at your heart and mind, affecting the way you think. Together they have made and are making an impact on your life. Now it’s time for you to check things out. How are you doing? Where are you heading?
Am I getting through? Are you listening? Hey, what’s going on in that head of yours?