Sometimes we talk with people who are not Christians. Have you done that recently?
I mean, have you recently spoken with someone who seemed not to be a Christian and you tried to speak to him about God, about Jesus, about the truth?
Recently I had the privilege of addressing a group of young people, most of whom did not know the Bible very well. And most of them were not Reformed in their religious position.
It was different to speak to them. This was because I could not assume they knew much doctrine, as I know I can assume when I speak to you. After all, you have had at least seven years of instruction in Bible history; and progressively that history of the Bible was taught with its doctrinal significances. And most of you have had a good number of seasons of catechism in the study of Biblical doctrine.
Therefore, if I spoke with you I could assume you know much of the sacred history in the Bible and of the doctrine of the gospel.
But when one is accustomed to teaching Biblically well-informed young people and then must instruct a group which for the most part had not had much instruction, it is difficult to talk with them at first.
Whenever we speak of the truth to someone who has little knowledge of that truth we must be very simple and clear. And we must be very Biblical.
Do you find it easy to do that? I mean, to be Biblical?
Why is it as difficult as it is? Is it because we do not know the Bible well? Do we know our doctrine, but not our Bible?
Where would you look to find the Bible’s teaching on creation, besides in Genesis?
How would you prove from Scripture that the days of creation were not long’ periods of time, but 24 hours in length?
You believe in election and reprobation. Could you show someone where the Bible teaches these important, Reformed truths?
Often we hear that Christ died for all men. Can you, using your Bible, prove that such a position is false?
There are many who say that God loves all men and use John 3:16 to substantiate their position. Would you be able merely to give a logical argument against their position? Or could you show them that Scripture teaches God’s love is for a particular, definite people?
Often it seems that we know doctrine, but not the Bible.
You can see it in our lives.
That we do not know the Bible as well as we should is manifested in our lives.
The elders of the church hear that some of their young people frequent movies and dances; that some of the young people are avid listeners to rock and other ungodly music; that some of the young people enjoy getting drunk and flirting with drugs; that some of the young people readily desecrate the Lord’s Day.
And they (the elders) ask themselves, “Why? Why do they do those things and enjoy them? Don’t they know better? Don’t they realize the danger and see the evil?”
Many reasons and even some excuses are presented as answers to these questions.
Is not the best reason (never excuse) that those who walk in these evil ways do not walk with God?
Do you walk with God? Can you describe from personal experience communion with the ever-blessed God? How frequently have you walked with God?
Is not the infrequency of our walking with God and living a holy life a direct result of our not knowing Him. And is not. this lack of true spiritual knowledge the consequence of not knowing the Bible in which He most beautifully and adequately reveals Himself?
We should know our Bible as well as we know doctrine. Maybe we should say, “better.”
How often do you spontaneously take your Bible and read it? Why is it so few times? Is it because we do not want the God Who speaks and is spoken of in the Bible?
I realize that most of you have devotions at the evening meal and at school. That is good. But is it enough? Does it give you all you need? Or does it give you all YOU think you need? The Bible says that a young person keeps his way clean by “taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” (Psalm 119:9).
Take time to read the Holy Scriptures. Alone. Do it every day. Set some specific time of the day aside for this holy activity, Put this activity in its proper place of high priority. You are not too old or too young for this.
And then think about what you have read. If you do not understand it, read it over. Maybe you will have to read it many times. That is okay—can you think of anything better to re-read? Try to find other texts which speak of the same truth.
Then after you have gained an understanding of it, apply the truth. Apply it to life in as many different ways as you can. Do not forget to apply it to yourself!
How many of you take your Bible to catechism? How many of you look up the proof texts given in the lessons? How many of you memorize the texts along with the answers?
Take your Bible to catechism and also to Church. And be prepared to make notes in the margins of your Bible; notes which helped you to understand a passage or give a cross-reference. If you do not want to write in your Bible, then be sure to have scraps of paper handy on which you can make your notes and which you can insert within your Bible.
In this way you will become familiar with God’s Word. Never neglect the learning of doctrine, which is the systematic setting in order of the teachings of the Bible.
Know God’s Word. Then you will be ready always to give an answer to those who ask why you lead such a holy life.