Why Add a Catechism to Our Worship Service?

The numbers are in; self-professing Christians don’t really believe what Christians have always believed. If that sentence doesn’t make any sense to you, it shouldn’t. Christians have believed certain foundational truths throughout church history, and yet today, we see more and more Christians know less and less about God, Jesus, the Bible and salvation.

Part of the blame is to fall on individual Christians, but corporate church bodies are not innocent in this digression of Biblical truth in our world today. Churches have steered clear of doctrine, theology and Biblical, expositional preaching for many years in the 20th and 21st centuries. And now we are reaping what we have sown.

This is part of the reason why we are introducing a new element to our Sunday morning worship services. Starting this Sunday (January 1, 2017) we will be adding a time of catechesis to our worship liturgy. A catechism is simply a way of teaching truth in a question and answer form. Catechisms have been around for hundreds of years and have been used by thousands of Christian brothers and sisters throughout history. It has only been recently when Protestant churches began to move away from times of corporate catechism programs.new-city-catechism

The catechism we will be using is called the New City Catechism. It was produced by The Gospel Coalition (which our church has partnered with) and developed and adapted by Timothy Keller and Sam Shammas from the Reformation-period catechisms. It comprises 52 questions and answers—therefore there is only one question and answer for each week of the year, making it simple to fit into church calendars and achievable even for people with demanding schedules.

Because parents who teach their kids a children’s catechism, and then try to learn an adult one for themselves often find the process confusing (the children are learning one set of questions and answers and the parents are learning another completely different set), New City Catechism is a joint adult and children’s catechism. In other words, the same questions are asked of both children and adults, and the children’s answer is always part of the adult answer.

Each service we will read the question, answer and accompanying Bible verse for that week. There are many online resources available for families to learn the question and answers during the week and thereby have a rich time of discipleship that takes no more than 5 minutes a day.

You can download family resources at: www.newcitycatechism.com

Here are several ways to access the New City Catechism:

 

 

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Good riddance 2016! Really?!

I get it! 2016 has kind of sucked. Really. Tragedy after tragedy. Death after death. Casualty after casualty. Despair, destruction and depravity run amok. I cannot even begin to list all of the headline making news because I’m sure I would forget something. Too many people have died. Too many tragedies have occurred. Too much! Good bye 2016! Hello 2017!

2016

But, let me pause. Take a breath. Hang on a second. I agree that 2016 was hard. But here is the foundational truth that Bible-believing Christians should remember: God was indeed sovereign over 2016.  Jesus never left the throne in 2016. The Holy Spirit did not take a nap in 2016. All of that stuff happened on God’s watch. And not only did it happen while He was watching, He was actually actively involved in the day-to-day activities of 2016.

That is crazy to think about, I admit. But if you believe in the total sovereignty of God, then it must be true. If Romans 8:28 and Psalm 115:3 and Proverbs 16:9 and Genesis 50:20 and scores of other verses are true, then God’s absolute sovereignty over 2016 must be true as well.

Therefore, and read this carefully and know I say this with all the best intentions, when we complain about 2016, we are complaining against God. When we say good riddance to 2016 we are actually saying that we wish to rid the world of God’s plans for the past 12 months. And I don’t think we really intend on doing that, but when the sentiment is followed through to the final conclusion, that is ultimately what we are saying.

As Christians we must be armed with this truth when we are in answering our non-Christian friend’s and neighbor’s questions about the past year. We must have a robust understanding of God’s goodness as well as man’s depravity and the reality of the cloud of sin we currently live in. That God intends for harmony and peace and beauty and tranquility and a flourishing, productive, God-honoring society, and has actually promised one in the future. But right now, for the past however-many-thousand years, God’s plans are still the best plans. 2o16 was literally “Your Best Life Now” because it was God’s year and He doesn’t get any better.

I do look back at 2016 and wonder, “Why this, God?” But then I remember that no plan of God will ever be thwarted (Job 42:2.) So I look forward to 2017, with all the ups and downs, ins and outs, peaks and valleys, and trust that God is still in control.

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How do I treat my gay friend/family member this Christmas?

First, you should know that I am a Christian and believe that the LGBTQ lifestyle is opposed to the teaching of the Christian Scriptures. That is my starting point; so you may already disagree with me.

Secondly, I am writing as a pastor of a small congregation who has been forced to deal with issue of culture drastically changing at high velocity right before their eyes. Let’s face it, the world is different today than it was five years ago. I would argue that most Christians are not equipped emotionally and some spiritually for the rapid change in our culture. Many people in my own congregation are having to deal with these sensitive issues in their own families and social circles. And it has not been easy on them.

So the question is this: how do I treat my “LGBTQ” family member or friend this Christmas season? Do I buy them and their spouse/significant other a present? Do I invite them over for Christmas meal? Do I let them stay at my house when they visit for a few days? Do I simply ignore them?

Let me say this: I get it. I get the feelings of anxiety and the hopelessness that you may be feeling when you find out a loved one is living in a lifestyle that you do not agree with. This is not easy for you to understand and I get that you don’t know what to do next.

But, you and I both need to understand that your loved one has had similar feelings. They likely did not come to this decision very easily. There was heartache. There was struggle. There was probably torment, especially if they are coming from a Christian background, whatever the degree of spirituality they have experienced.

It is important for us to open our hearts and show a little empathy for our loved one. This new lifestyle has been hard on them as well. So as much grief and anguish you are feeling, times that by a couple million, and that is likely the feeling your friend or family member felt at one point during their decision-making process.

I think the answer to your question comes down to answering these two questions: 1. How much do you love this person? 2. How much does God say we should love this person?

Chances are if you are a person who finds yourself coming from an older generation where “sex” was a four-lettered word and not to be talked about in polite company and  are coming from a Christian background that believes that homosexuality is an abomination, then you are having a very difficult time loving that person.

Again, I get it. But here’s the deal: we are called to love. Love God above all else (thereby love his Holy Scriptures and keep them) and love others as much as we love ourselves (that includes every flavor of sinner). Those two commands are not at odds. Jesus said them in the same breath and declared that the two commands combined make the Greatest Commandment (Matt. 22:34-40). We can love God perfectly and His word as well as love our neighbors as we love ourselves without negating one or the other.

The problem is that this new lifestyle has come into society so rapidly that it has caught many of us off guard. In our minds it is unusual, perverse and just downright “icky.” And we don’t know how to handle it. And that’s the problem. We don’t know how to handle it when a sinner sins in a fashion that we’re totally not comfortable with. The fact of the matter is we should be just as “disgusted” with our friends and family who choose to live in sexually pervasive heterosexual relationships. Or our loved ones who choose to cheat on their wives, fudge their income tax sheet, watch porn at night when no one is looking, drink too much on Saturday afternoon or are domineering to their children. We are walking a fine line when we distinguish between which sin is less deplorable in our own eyes.

As uncomfortable as it makes us, we cannot claim any sort of love for that person if we are not willing to meet them where they are, sin in hand, even if that sin is repulsive to us. All sin is repulsive to God. Their sin. My sin. Your sin.

That is where Christians live; as ambassadors of Christ in a foreign land called Earth. We are missionaries in our own backyard. We no longer live in our version of Mayberry. We no longer have to travel under the shroud of darkness to Las Vegas to visit Sin City. Sin City is your city and Sin City is my city.

If we truly do love that person, we want them in our homes so that they can be exposed to our salt and light. Should there be rules and understanding? Of course. House rules always apply. And if they love you they will comply. If they are combative, calmly ask them to leave. I bet they won’t be, if you truly show them the love of Christ.

We must be willing to, not put aside our Christian beliefs and Biblical standards, but to step outside our safety bubble of Christianity and approach our loved ones as unreached peoples on the mission field of planet earth. And that can be uncomfortable, painful and dirty.

I love this quote by Rosaria Butterfield, “If you want to put the hand of the lost into the hand of the Savior, you need to get close enough to get hurt.”

Ultimately the gospel is at stake in how we treat our friends and family who share views and lifestyles we do not agree with.

This, of course, will take much prayer, much seeking after God, much studying in His Word in order to have Biblical answers to life’s questions. I am not saying it will be easy or fun. Nor do I think that anyone who just isn’t there yet is less of a Christian. We are all being conformed into the image of Christ and some of us aren’t at that point of our conformity yet. But that should be our goal: to love our friends and family the way that Christ loved us. In that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

For more information on how to relate to gay friends and family members, I recommend the following resources:

Watch this video of former atheist lesbian-turned-pastor’s wife Rosaria Butterfield on Understanding and Loving Our Gay and Lesbian Friends

Watch these short videos of same sex-attracted pastor Sam Allberry on Ministering to Gay Family and Friends

Here are some links to some helpful articles:

Jonathan Leeman from 9Marks answers the question “Should Christians disown gay sons and daughters?

John Piper answers the question “How should I relate to a gay family member?”

Got Questions: How should Christians respond if one of their children comes out as gay?

Christianity Today: How do I treat my gay friends? 

Focus on the Family: Responding to a “gay Christian” in the family

 

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My Favorite Books from 2016

I try to keep a healthy reading diet, but I feel that I fail more often than I succeed. I set a lofty goal for the number of books that I wanted to read in 2016, but fell well short. I still read more than I read last year, but I will aim for more next year. books-education-school-literature-48126

Here are a few of the favorite that I read in 2016. Note, they were not necessarily published in 2016, but I read them this past year.

Thoughts For Young Men, JC Ryle: I know, I know, I should have read this a long time ago. It was totally worth it. I really, really liked it.  Short, pithy and convicting. All men should read this book at least once a year. I recommend you buy it for any young man, teenager, graduate or even middle-aged man.

Praying the Bible, Don Whitney:  Another short and easy read but just as powerful. Dr. Whitney gives very practical tips about praying through passages of the Bible and making it a part of your every day prayer life. How many times have you sat at your desk or in your chair to pray and your mind has wandered down every rabbit trail there is. This book will surely help you with this. I would recommend this as a gift as well.

Evangelism, Mack Stiles: Apparently I like short but powerful and convicting books! This book is part of the 9Marks Building Healthy Churches series and it is super practical but also super convicting. Man, I wish all churches could get a grasp of the evangelistic culture that Mack talks about in this book. A healthy church is an evangelistic church. And not just having evangelistic services or “revival” services, but rather an ethos and culture of evangelism from the members. I pray this for my own church and the American church as a whole.

The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler:  Dr. Mohler has quickly become one of my spiritual heroes (you know we were born in the same town in Central Florida, right?) Dr. Mohler speaks with authority and clarity as one of the top leaders in our day. Just a side not, because I respect Dr. Mohler so much, I would have loved to hear some more personal anecdotes about the struggles of reforming SBTS back in the 1990’s. I hope that one day Dr. Mohler publishes his memoirs so that generations to come will know how hard he and so many others fought to keep Biblical Inerrancy alive in the SBC. If you have never seen this short film published in honor of Dr. Mohler’s 20th anniversary at SBTS, you should watch it.

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9 Thoughts on the Presidential Election

I do not consider myself a political expert. I barely keep up with politics and I rarely watch the news. But, every four years, every Tom, Dick and Harry becomes their party’s political analysis on Facebook, Twitter or at the grocery store; freely offering their views and support to anyone who will listen. It’s part of the American process and part of what living in a Democratic Republic is all about.

With that in mind, not that anyone is asking, but here are a few thoughts I have about the upcoming presidential election (just pretend you standing behind me at the Walmart check out line):

  1. Neither of the candidates from the top parties are any good. I think anyone with any set of conservative (and certainly Christian) values would agree with this. All the people in the Trump camp that I have talked to agree that he is not an ideal choice, but he is better than the alternative. All the people in the Clinton camp admit that they can’t defend many of her positions, but she’s better than Trump. Either way, it sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.
  1. Character and values still matter. This is the latest platform I have heard from the “Trumpets”: We’re not voting based on character; we’re voting to keep “her” out. I could not disagree more. Every Christian leader in my lifetime has “preached” on the fact that we must vote based on character. The same Christian leaders (or their dads in the case of Jerry Falwell, Jr.) who are supporting Trump in spite of his vile character, are the same leaders who were calling for Bill Clinton’s resignation and impeachment due to his revolting character. It appears to me that someone has changed their mind.

Character is the most important factor of my voting decision. In the last election I voted for a man who I do not believe is a Christian (he doesn’t claim to be nor pretend to be) because I believed at the time that his values and morals and character matched more closely than the alternative. Why would I vote for a man who is so wicked and vile that I would not want him to be a resident in my neighborhood, much less the President of the United States.

We cannot compartmentalize our lives into one special box of sound, Christian judgment and morals and then another box based on social prudence based on who may or may not win an election. I must vote my conscience. I believe we will all be held accountable one day when we stand before the One and True King and give an account for the decisions I made here on earth. What can I possibly say to King Jesus about the 2016 election? “But, you don’t understand, Lord. Hilary is really, really bad! I have to compromise my character and vote for a vile human being, you know, for your sake!” That will not fly.

  1. But what about abortion and the unborn? That is a great point. One that I have struggled with. That and the appointment of supreme court justices weigh heavily on me. But, I must consider this fact, I cannot trade one evil for another. Is abortion morally and Biblically reprehensible? Absolutely. No doubt about it! But aren’t pornography, sexual assault and blatant racism (just to name a few) just as morally and Biblically reprehensible? I’m afraid I cannot vote for either.

I care about the unborn. They are made in the image of God, and they should be protected and fought for. But you know what, so are my daughters who are alive. I do not want a sexual predator in the White House. Our sisters-in-Christ deserve better than that. Our daughters deserve better. Our wives deserve better. Our sons should want to emulate at least one characteristic of their President, and I can’t think of even one way I want my sons to grow up and be like Trump.

  1. We cannot forget our social responsibility and secular witness as Christians. What does it say to a lost and dying world to see so many Christians not simply begrudgingly vote for a candidate they don’t really like, but wholeheartedly support and praise a candidate who is so anti-gospel, anti-Christian in his actions and anti-Biblical in any of his dealings? What about voting for Trump brings glory to God to a lost and dying world? What about supporting a vile, womanizing, pervert says that my total allegiance is to a self-sacrificing, humble holy God whose gospel is grand and worth dying for. If I can’t live out the gospel with my ballot, then I will never die for the gospel I say I believe in. Our lost neighbors deserve better than from us.
  1. If all the conservative Christians had felt the same passion and enthusiasm for Romney four years ago as they do for Trump this year, we may not be in this mess.
  1. Calling one candidate evil is not endorsing the other candidate. Both are evil. Both are no good. I wish we could pick two new ones. I am sick of the “Oh, so Candidate X did abc but what about when Candidate Y did 123! #MERICA” It is not either/or; in this case it is both/and!
  1. Whoever wins the election, I will still recognize them as the God-ordained leader of the country I choose to live in. I will support them and I will pray for them. It’s pretty simple, really. Scripture says to pray for the leaders who have authority over us (1 Timothy 2:2) because ultimately it was God who put him there (Romans 13:1). If you don’t like the person who wins you have two options: vote for someone else in four years or move out of the country. I do not say that tongue-in-cheek. Could things get so bad in America that we should move? Yes. Many of the Reformers of the 1500’s moved away from their homeland that was under authority of an abusive church and found safety in Geneva. However, many of them, once they were comforted with the gospel and trained in the Scriptures, moved back home as missionaries to their own countrymen. We may need to adopt the same tactics in the near future.
  1. Whoever wins the election, God is still on the throne. God is not wringing His Holy Hands in Heaven, wondering if we’re going to make the right choice. History has already been written in His book. He is not bound by time, space or presidential elections. He is still sovereign over all. He is still in control. The fate of America will not be decided by Trump vs. Clinton. The fate of America has already been decided. The fate of the world has already been decided. I know, because I’ve read the end of the Book.
  1. If you made it this far, congratulations! I didn’t think you would make it. That being said: “Go Dodgers! Beat the Cubs!”

For some really good, original thoughts from men I truly respect, Dr. Al Mohler and Dr. Russell Moore, you can check out these videos.

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My Favorite Quotes from “Thoughts for Young Men”

JC Ryle’s little work “Thoughts for Young Men” is a short a sweet read; but it is by no means an easy read. I say that because it is convicting. It is poignant. And it is so needed today. If you haven’t bought it yet, click the link above and buy it. You can literally read it in one sitting. Buy a paperback copy here and give it as a gift.

Below I have collected my favorite quotes from the book. I hope they are somehow helpful and fruitful to your life and/or the life young man that you know.

  1. Let us ask any faithful minister of the gospel, and note what he will tell us. How many unmarried young people can he remember who come to the Lord’s Supper? Who are the most backward about the doctrines of salvation, the most irregular about Sunday services, the most difficult to draw to weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings, the most inattentive to whatever is being preached? Which part of his congregation fills him with the most anxiety? Who are the Reubens for whom he has the deepest “searchings of heart”? Who in his flock are the hardest to manage, who require the most frequent warnings and rebukes, who cause him the greatest uneasiness and sorrow, who keep him most constantly in fear for their souls, and seem the most hopeless? Depend on it, his answer will always be, “The Young Men.”

  Let us ask the parents in any county throughout this land, and see what they will generally say. Who in their families give them the most pain and trouble? Who need the most watchfulness, and most often provoke and disappoint them? Who are the first to be led away from what is right, and the last to remember cautions and good advice? Who are the most difficult to keep in order and limits? Who most frequently break out into open sin, disgrace the name they bear, make their friends unhappy, embitter the older relatives, and cause them to die with sorrow in their hearts? Depend on it, the answer will generally be, “The Young Men.”

Let us ask the judges and police officers, and note what they will reply. Who goes to the night clubs and bars the most? Who make up street gangs? Who are most often arrested for drunkenness, disturbing the peace, fighting, stealing, assaults, and the like? Who fill the jails, and penitentiaries, and detention homes? Who are the class which requires the most incessant watching and looking after? Depend on it, they will at once point to the same group, they will say, “The Young Men.”

  1. Tomorrow is the devil’s day, but today is God’s. Satan does not care how spiritual your intentions are, or how holy your resolutions, if only they are determined to be done tomorrow.
  1. Surely none are so mad as those who are content to live unprepared to die.
  1. Young men, your time is short. Your days are but a brief shadow, a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, a story that is soon told. Your bodies are not made of brass. “Even the young men,” says Isaiah, “stumble and fall” (Isaiah 40:30). Your health may be taken from you in a moment: it only needs an accident, a fever, an inflammation, a broken blood-vessel, and the worm would soon feed upon you in the grave. There is but a step between any one of you and death. This night your soul might be required of you. You are fast going the way of all the earth, you will soon be gone. Your life is all uncertainty, your death and judgment are perfectly sure. You too must hear the Archangel’s trumpet, and go forth to stand before the great white throne of judgment, you too must obey that summons, which Jerome says was always ringing in his ears: “Get up, you dead, and come to judgment.” “Yes, I am coming soon,” is the language of the Judge Himself. I cannot, dare not, will not let you alone.
  1. Every day you are either getting nearer to God, or further off.
  1. Sin is the mother of all sorrow, and no sort of sin appears to give a man so much misery and pain as the sins of his youth.
  1. Pride is the oldest sin in the world. Indeed, it was before the world. Satan and his angels fell by pride. They were not satisfied with their first situation and status. Thus pride stocked hell with its first inhabitants.
  1. Imagination is the hotbed where this sin is too often hatched. Guard your thoughts, and there will be little fear about your actions.
  1. Men will not consider, will not look ahead, will not look around them, will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present days, and wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking.
  1. Just as men marry in a rush and then are miserable with their mate, so they make mistakes about their souls in a minute, and then suffer for it for years.
  1. If it is worthwhile to be a Christian, it is worthwhile to be in earnest about it
  1. Be very sure of this–people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment.
  1. Hear the request I make of you this day–if you love life, seek to become acquainted with Jesus Christ.
  1. The poorest saint that ever died in a ghetto is nobler in His sight than the richest sinner that ever died in a palace.
  1. Is not sin–sin, whether committed at the age of twenty or fifty? Will it form the slightest excuse, in the day of judgment, to say, “I know I sinned, but I was young then?”
  1. There seems no end to the producing of many books, though few of them are really profitable. There seems a rage for cheap printing and publishing. Newspapers of every sort abound, and the tone of some, which have the widest circulation, speaks badly for the taste of the age. Amid the flood of dangerous reading, I plead for my Master’s book, I call upon you not to forget the book of the soul. Do not let newspapers, novels, and romances be read, while the prophets and Apostles be despised. Do not let the exciting and sensual swallow up your attention, while the edifying and the sanctifying can find no place in your mind.
  1. Never make an intimate friend of anyone who is not a friend of God. Never be satisfied with the friendship of any one who will not be useful to your soul.
  1. Nothing darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely, as an allowed sin. It may be a little one, but it is not any less dangerous. A small leak will sink a great ship, and a small spark will kindle a great fire, and a little allowed sin in like manner will ruin an immortal soul.
  1. There are two ways of coming down from the top of a ladder; one is to jump down, and the other is to come down by the steps: but both will lead you to the bottom. So also there are two ways of going to hell; one is to walk into it with your eyes open–few people do that; the other is to go down by the steps of little sins–and that way, I fear, is only too common.
  1. Jeremy Taylor very clearly described the progress of sin in a man:  First it startles him, then it becomes pleasing, then easy, then delightful, then frequent, then habitual, then a way of life! Then the man feels no guilt, then obstinate, then resolves never to repent, and then he is damned.
  1. The sound of a footstep coming has stopped many a deed of wickedness. A knock at the door has caused many an evil work to be hastily suspended, and hurriedly laid aside. But oh, what miserable folly is all this! There is an all-seeing Witness with us wherever we go. Lock the door, pull down the blind, turn out the light; it doesn’t matter, it makes no difference; God is everywhere, you cannot shut Him out, or prevent His seeing.
  1. Live as in the sight of God. This is what Abraham did, he walked before Him. This is what Enoch did, he walked with Him. This is what heaven itself will be, the eternal presence of God. Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing, you would not like God to hear. Write nothing, you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.”
  1. Prayer is the life-breath of a man’s soul. Without it, we may have a name to live, and be counted Christians; but we are dead in the sight of God.
  1. Young men, believe me, if your soul is to be saved, you must pray. God has no speechless children.
  1. I have heard it said that some people who grind metal sometimes wear a magnetic mouthpiece at their work, which catches all the fine metal dust that flies around them, prevents it from entering their lungs, and so saves their lives. Prayer is the mouthpiece that you must wear continually, or else you will never work uninjured by the unhealthy atmosphere of this sinful world. You must pray.
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The Truth About Our Enemy

I am loving reading through the short little work by JC Ryle titled “Thoughts for Young Men.” Click the link and purchase it yourself.

In this section he describes the very real threat of our enemy, the devil. He is addressing young men specifically, but it is true for any of us.

Here is what he says:

Young men, beware of being taken by his snares. He will try to throw dust in your eyes, and prevent you seeing anything in its true colors. He would eagerly make you think that evil is good, and good is evil. He will paint, cover with gold, and dress up sin, in order to make you fall in love with it. He will deform, and misrepresent, and fabricate true Christianity, in order to make you take a dislike to it. He will exalt the pleasures of wickedness–but he will hide from you the sting. He will lift up before your eyes the cross and its painfulness- but he will keep out of sight the eternal crown. He will promise you everything, as he did to Christ, if you will only serve him. He will even help you to wear a form of Christianity, if you will only neglect the power. He will tell you at the beginning of your lives, it is too soon to serve God–he will tell you at the end, it is too late. Oh, do not be deceived!

      You don’t know the danger you are in from this enemy; and it is this very ignorance which makes me afraid. You are like blind men, walking among holes and pitfalls; you do not see the perils which are around you on every side.

      Your enemy is mighty. He is called “The Prince of this world” (John 14:30). He opposed our Lord Jesus Christ all through His ministry. He tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, and so brought sin and death into the world. He even tempted David, the man after God’s own heart, and caused his latter days to be full of sorrow. He even tempted Peter, the chosen Apostle, and made him deny his Lord. Surely his hostility towards man and God is to be despised.

      Your enemy is restless. He never sleeps. He is always going around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is always going back and forth in the earth, and walking up and down on it. You may be careless about your souls: but he is not. He wants your soul to make you miserable, like himself, and will have your soul if he can. Surely his hatred towards men and God is to be despised.

      And your enemy is cunning. For thousands of years he has been reading one book, and that book is the heart of man. He ought to know it well, and he does know it–all its weakness, all its deceitfulness, all its folly. And he has a storehouse full of temptations, such as are most likely to do the heart of man the most harm. Never will you go to the place where he will not find you. Go into the city–he will be there. Go into the wilderness–he will be there also. Sit among drunkards–and he will be there to help you. Listen to preaching–and he will be there to distract you. Surely such ill-will is to be despised.

      Young men, this enemy is working hard for your destruction, however little you may think it. You are the prize for which he is specially contending for. He foresees you must either be the blessings or the curses of your day, and he is trying hard to effect a place in your hearts early in your life, in order that you may help advance his kingdom each day. Well does he understand that to spoil the bud is the surest way to mar the flower.

Be aware! The enemy is moving about like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour.

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