Sermon delivered January 26, 2002 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Remember Your Creator

Ecclesiastes 11:9 to 12:1

Remember your Creator. You came from somewhere. I think one of the big questions of youth is: Where did I come from? Who am I? Where am I going? Never forget that you came from the hand of God. That's where you came from. God created you. Remember your Creator.

Never underestimate these young people. In fact, they're very smart. They are smarter than some of you adult, sometimes. You'd be amazed how many teens get their first car by asking for a motorcycle. They're smart.

I remember my youth. It was a long time ago. In fact, I thought that I could last forever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all people. I thought I could outlast everything. I thought I would never die. My whole long life was yet to be spent. It was all there in front of me and I thought, you know I could never that whole life. My this is endless. Sixty years or seventy years! That's forever! And I thought I could solve all the problems of the world. I had the answers. Everything was so wonderful. My problem was that life's big problems did not come when I was young and knew everything! I guess If youth has a flaw, it is that we outgrow our youth only too soon. You can return to the place of your birth but you can't return back to your youth.

Look at First Timothy. Come over here to a beautiful scripture. Timothy, by the way, was young. Some people think he was even a teenager. He was young. Look at 1 Timothy 4:12 KJV. Here is some good advice to a young man. Timothy was young, and it says here, Let no man despise thy youth. Don't ever let anyone look down on you, you young people. You are important. Don't let any body despise you.

Did you young people know that a significant portion of the Bible was written for you? Paul wrote to Teen age Timothy. Rhoda was young as was Mary and Mark. The book of Proverbs largely directs young folk to the right course of action. Daniel and his three friends were teenagers. Another great Hero of the Bible was teenage Joseph. Youthful David conquered the biggest bully ever to walk this earth. All those teenagers faced tough challenges just like you young folks do. And yet they overcame them. I would urge you to let them be your heros. You need heroes. And these are some of the best.

Youth is a time when a young man can show you the best crop of hair he'll ever own. Of course, that is about all he owns. I can never understand why a young man who has a full head of hair shaves it all off. I would never do that. I'm proud of every hair that's left. Wait till he gets to be my age, he will value every one of them.

Youth are sort of a strange animal. They are too old for an allowance and too young for a credit card. It's sort of a weird time. They don't own much. But there are four things that a youth has that are of superb value. All four are listed in the Bible in one verse. It speaks of a young man which of course means a young lady as well.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 This is the key verse. It has four things that describe every one of you young people. Four assets, four wonderful things about you that the Bible knows, that God knows, and that He out here in this scripture just for you. Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

Here in just one verse are listed the four chief characteristics of teenagers. Notice how surprisingly accurate the Bible is. How does the Bible know all this? Because God created you. He made you and He know what makes you tick. Notice the first part of this verse.

1. Youth live for the instant.
The most important thing in life is not what is going to happen twenty five years from now, but what is happening today. Enjoy every Minute! Every day. What you think is, What am I going to wear today? How does my hair look? Is my sash on straight? Am I okay? What if Amanda says she won't be my date? Youth have the special ability to focus in on the instant. Who will sit with me at the game tonight? How does my face look now? Young people live life close to the present moment. For most of them, success today far overshadows success 30 years down the road. And the Bible knew that. God knows that. That's why it is listed here the way that it is. Adolescence is the age when boys discover girls -- and girls discover they've been discovered.

This intense focus on the present moment is clearly mentioned in Ecclesiastes 11:9 where Young women and Young men are told to Rejoice in each day of their youth. To Relish each moment.

2. IDEALISM.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 lists the idealism that you have. Your goal in life is a high ideal. To be happy. Happiness. To be joy contains a second element. Let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Youth has a distinct joy about it. An exuberance that sometimes young people lose. Most youth are optimistic and care free. They laugh a lot. They enjoy life and have fun. They have big dreams and vivid imaginations. Teenagers can have fun when nothing is on the agenda. They complain that there's nothing to do and then stay out all night getting it done. They have big hopes and idealistic dreams.

The Bible does not miss this point either. Notice Joel 2:28 (KJV) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. The people that have the great visions of live are the young people. They have the visions.

Young people have the unique ability to make something dry and dull into something full of life and luster. You youth here today, never lose your God given vision. Retain your idealism and zestful vitality.

This idealism gives you the hunger to see super heros. That is why the rooms of many teenagers have posters on the walls. Have you looked in their rooms? Pastor Crutcher and I give a lot of Bible studies. We go to the homes of young people and give studies. We enjoy that. Often I will go into somebody's room on a tour and I always look behind the door. And there are posters in those rooms. Posters of heroes. Big heroes. May I ask you, be careful in choosing your heroes. If you choose a superstar who is a fallen star, who is vile and into sin, then you are merely a mouse trying to copy a rat. You don't want to be a rat. S, don't copy the rats. Choose your heroes wisely.

Teenagers want good looking and strong heros. That is why most teenagers are disillusioned in their parents. No. Not because your parents are fat and ugly, but because you teenagers thought your parents were better than in reality they actually turned out to be. Your parents are humans, they're not saints. Sometimes they fly off the handle. Sometimes your parents lose their temper. Occasionally your parents, your dad might yell at you. Your mother might yell at you. You realize they aren't the hero you once thought they were. But eventually you will find out that they are even more of a hero than you thought they were.

Youthful idealism expects things to be better than they really are. That's why young people try drugs. Now, listen to me. Don't tune me out. This characteristic is the main reason why teenagers try drugs because they see no harm in trying things and they believe that it's going to be better than it really is. And today I ask you to try Jesus Christ, because I will tell you that He will be better than you thought He was. Get totally into Jesus and just see what will happen. Turn the keys of your life over to Jesus while you're young. Don't give God the left-overs. Give Him the beginnings, the first course. You are the first course. And Jesus will be better than you imagined.

I am not asking you to give up your idealism or your heros. But I want you to choose your heroes wisely and within the true guidelines found in the Bible. There are great heroes in the Bible. Choose those.

3. Be in Charge of your own life.
(Verse 9) Point number three: the third characteristic that makes you folks very special is listed back here in Ecclesiastes eleven and verse nine, and what I see here is that you are to be in charge of your own life. Look at what it says here: Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see. That's interesting isn't it. Youth like to be in control of themselves and God knew that. He knew that you wanted to be in charge of your life. For years your parents have told you what time to get up, what to dress like, what to wear, what to eat. They've been in charge. Now, you kind of want to be in charge. You want to break away from some authority. You want to take personal control of your own life. And this, the Bible describes as one of the main characteristics of young people. "Follow the ways of your heart," the Bible says. "And whatever your eyes see." You be in charge of yourself.

Youth like to be different. Have you noticed that? Look at their shoes. Look at your shoes. You like to be different, don't you. You know, one thing I don't understand, and that is that teenagers express a burning desire to be different and yet they all shop at the same store and end up dressing exactly alike. I don't understand that.

You be in charge. Don't let those things be in charge of you.

Teenagers need to learn that "No" is a complete sentence. Too many fantastic young people become slaves to hard task masters of alcohol or drugs or whatever. They become imprisoned for the rest of their life. Only when you give your heart to Jesus Christ will you really find liberty and freedom. You may say, "I think you're wrong." You check it out. I think you'll find it's right. In reality, when you surrender your life to Jesus Christ you will tap into the fountain of eternal youth. And youth is the best time of your life. Jesus will enable you to remain young throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. And I literally mean, forever. You're going to be a teenager the rest of your life.

Do you think on the resurrection morning when all those people come up out of those graves that they're going to look old? We're going to look just like you. We're going to look young.

The Bible in Ecclesiastes 11:9 says: Follow the ways of your heart and follow whatever your eyes see. The New Living Translations says it this way: Do everything you want to do, take it all in. Within God's will, of course. Take it all in. Here is the developing independence of youth. You want to be independent. You need to be independent. Independence is one reason teenagers want the keys to the car. Have you ever said, "Dad, can I steer?" Parents, don't spoil your teenagers. You have the right to the car at least one night a week.

David Mote said: "My cousin described an incident that happened to her son, Buck, in New York. A couple of weeks ago he was walking from the bus depot to his dad's apartment in upper Manhattan when he realized he was flanked by two young men.

"Give me your wallet."

"No."

"This is a gun. Give me your wallet or I'll shoot you."

"No."

"Hey, man. You don't understand. We're robbing you. Give me your wallet."

"No."

"Give me your wallet or I'll knife you."

"No."

"Give me your wallet or we'll beat you up." By now the robber was whining.

"No."

Buck had continued walking and after a while he noticed he was no longer accompanied by those two individuals. When he told me about it, I asked him, "Weren't you scared?"

"Of course. What else would I be?"

"Why didn't you give them your wallet?"

"My learner's permit's in it."

Willing to give his life for the privilege of driving the car. Wanting to be independent. Young people need to come out from underneath their parents shadow. That's true. You do need to do that. You need to be your own person, but do it right. Do it within the framework of Jesus Christ. Never let other people run your life. Let God run it. Let Him be in charge. Of course you must live within certain rules and regulations. But you need to be the captain of your own life. Learn how to make good decisions yourself. And you adults, don't laugh at a youth for his or her mannerisms. If you laugh at a young girl for the way she is acting, she is really only trying on one face after another trying to find her own. Let her do that.

4. Be Responsible to God.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 (NLT), last part... But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. Be responsible. Young people are responsible. You will give an account.

God does not say, "You go ahead and live the life of Riley, whatever you want to do. Go out and do it all. But don't forget that someday I am going to get even with you." That's not what God is saying. Not at all. Life is too large for you to deal with, and handle without God. What God is saying is, "Please take Me in as a partner in your young life. While you are young, yield your life to Me, and I'll help you live your life. I'll guide you through the difficult times. I can do that for you." That's what God is saying here. He wants to be your partner. He wants to shield you from messing up. He wants to keep you from crashing.

The Bible concludes with rich advice to every teenager. Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth... before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them.

The flower of youth blossoms best when it leans toward the Son of God. Put God into your life today. Waiting until you are old to give yourself to God is like giving Him the leftovers. Too many give their youth to the devil thinking they will someday come to God. But you might die first in some tragic wreck. Some illness might snuff out your life before you take the opportunity to come to God. Then you will be lost forever. You need to give Him your life today. Then you will be living forever.

And the truth is (as expressed in an old African Proverb) that all too often, "If you refuse to be made straight when you are green, you will not be made straight when you are dry."

Psalms 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word.

The other day I threw out a challenge here. I said, "I would like for all of you to fast for ten days." And several people groaned. "I can't do that." And I said, "I want to fast from noise, from TV, from radio, from the World Wide Web. Just for ten days. Just to see what difference it would make in your life. One young person came up to me and said, "Guess what. I'm doing it. And I'm spending more time with the Word of God. I have more time for the Lord." One of you teenagers said that to me. That's great. That's fantastic.

Since teenagers are too old to do the things kids do and not old enough to do things adults do, Young people end up doing the impossible before they find out it's impossible- that's why God uses them so often. Because they are not afraid to just go ahead.

Billy Graham said - "Young people will respond if the challenge is tough enough and hard enough. Youth wants a master and a controller. Young people were built for God, and without God as the center of their lives they become frustrated and confused, desperately grasping for and searching for security."

You like challenges. And the best safeguard for the younger generation are the prayers of the older generations. You older folks need to pray for you younger folks. Don't let them down in that. Believe in our young people. Don't worry about your teenage son. True he might hate vegetables but remember he also used to hate girls. He'll get over it. You'll see him eating peas and broccoli some day.

CONCLUSION: Youth must set a good example. Paul wrote his first letter to young Timothy urging the youngster to be aware of his influence to others: I Timothy 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

You have heard of many stories of committed youth. Maybe there was a game scheduled during their Sabbath time and they placed God first refusing to attend the game. That example thunders volumes at other youth.

Of course the opposite is also true. If you see the same movies and speak the same language and dress the same and tell the same jokes and listen to the same music as your ungodly friends do, then what is the difference? Where is your example? The world needs your example today. And the best example is you young people. Your influence deeply sways the destinies of so many people. Let God control your life.

Prayer: (from Psalm 144:12) Dear God, May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to adorn a palace. Bless our wonderful youth. Keep them, bless them, and use them for Thy service. Amen.

Bulletin

Hymn of Praise: #251, He Lives
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 11:9-12
Hymn of Response: #249, Praies Him!  Praise Him!

020126Gettys#511



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