The church's future


1 John 2:14: “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him from has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” John says here that the strength of young men is in the Word of God and in their ability to overcome the enemy. This is an interesting statement. We tend to think that it would take as many years to come to know God’s Word and to have spiritual power to overcome the enemy as it would to gain the type of knowledge of God possessed only by the fathers who, John says, “know Him who has been from the beginning”. Yet such is not the case. It is true that some levels of understanding God’s Word take years to reach. But the problem lies in our over-emphasis on intellectual knowledge.

While it make take years of advanced training to understand certain aspects of Scripture, or to be able to get up and teach the church about it, most of the Bible is pretty simple. Anyone can gain a sufficient grasp of it quickly enough to use it. A brand-new convert with only a small understanding of the Word can use it against the enemy to devastating effect. By the same token, an unbelieving or liberal-minded professor of theology may have accumulated a lifetime of facts about the Bible – many of them erroneous –  but in truth understands it less than the new convert on fire for God. There is something in the spirit of a young man which takes the Bible as a sword and jumps at the chance of using it in battle. That’s what he’s talking about here.

The same thing is true for the second part of the statement. Young men are destined by God to overcome the enemy. You don’t have to have known God for years to enter into battle and triumph. After all, the armed forces usually recruit men under 25, not over 50! There is a raw strength of faith in young men which can be harnessed to achieve great things.

Satan’s strategy, therefore, is to neutralize the strength of the young men. The young men are the future fathers and leaders, and if he destroys them now, he destroys the future of the church. That’s why the fathers (who know God and equally know the enemy and his ways), are charged with safeguarding the young men and helping them to achieve their destiny. The generals, through their years of experience, know their enemy, know his tactics, and know the way to win. But it is the soldiers who will fight the battle. The job of the generals (like the fathers in the church) is to release the young men in such a way that their strength is employed most effectively.

All this leads us to ask the question: how many churches are making the raising up of young men their overriding pastoral focus? Food for thought!