by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Proverbs 5:7-14
I. I ran across an article by Chuck Lawless about “Ten Conversations I Wish Someone Had with Me as a Teenager.”
A. Hindsight generally reveals that mistakes could have been avoided
B. I constantly get told: “I wish someone had told me just how bad this could get”
C. And the real problem is that few people are willing to talk about problems that affect them - Ecclesiastes 1:11
II. Things to discuss with teenagers
A. You’re not the only one struggling as a teenager
1. Even though a teenager has lived more than a decade of life, so many things are new.
2. There are the obvious things, like sexuality, but there are subtle changes, such as the way you think, the responsibilities you have, the freedoms you are given.
3. The teenager doesn’t like talking about it his problems, so the assumption is that no one else is having the same problems.
4. Temptations are common to man - I Corinthians 10:13
a. Knowing this doesn’t solve the problems, but knowing that you aren’t alone means help is available.
b. Knowing that others have faced it and overcame it means there is hope for you as well
B. Pornography and lust
1. Lust isn’t a new problem - Matthew 5:28
2. Pornography isn’t unique to this age - I Thessalonians 4:3-5
3. What has changed in recent times is how easily pornography is accessible to people of all ages, including children, in private.
4. Almost everyone realizes it is wrong, that is why they hide it, but exactly what is wrong and what damage it causes is difficult for young people to grasp.
5. There are too many ways to access pornography, so a complete blockage is not likely to happen, but parents ought to take proactive action to make it harder to see.
6. It needs to be discussed so that when it slips through, the child knows what needs to be done
a. Young people don’t have a full appreciation of just how strong sexual desire is
C. You’ll remember your sinful choices the rest of your life
1. It is easy to put your foolishness on display on social media. But then those remarks that you thought long forgotten comes back up in a job interview - Ecclesiastes 10:20
2. A young person doesn’t realize that the personal memory of bad choices don’t go away either. The guilt haunts them.
3. Paul still remembered his past - I Timothy 1:12-16
a. Herein is also the way to deal with the guilt - to realize you are no longer the person you used to be
b. But better is not to have the chain of guilt there in the first place
4. Have fun, but remember there is still judgment - Ecclesiastes 11:9-10
D. Plans change
1. Just because you are certain that something is what you want or what you are going to do, it doesn’t always work out that way
2. God might have something else in mind - Proverbs 16:9
3. We don’t know what the future holds - James 4:13-16
4. The world doesn’t come to an end just because something you wanted doesn’t work out
E. You’re going to be challenged
1. Surprise! People who grew up in other families don’t have the same views as you do
2. People are going to tell you are wrong. They are going to try to get you to do sinful things - Proverbs 4:14-17
3. Authority figures, such as teachers, will tell you that your parents are ignorant - I Peter 4:3-4
4. This can be upsetting if you’ve led a sheltered life.
5. Parents, one of your jobs is to prepare your child to reason, to find flaws in bad arguments, to present responses in a calm manner, to know how to find answers to questions.
F. Date only faithful Christians
1. More often a non-Christian will pull a Christian down than a Christian will pull a non-Christian to the Lord - I Corinthians 15:33
2. Don’t assume other people have the same values as you do
3. Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on a bad date
a. When something goes bad, the best thing to do is leave - II Timothy 2:22
b. Flee fornication - I Corinthians 6:18
4. Recognize the signs of seduction, such as being told exactly what you like hearing - Proverbs 5:3-4
G. Watch out for pride
1. Youth is a time when you are capable of so much more. You have strength, you have broadening knowledge, you have a big future ahead of you. But it is easy to forget that you are not better than other people.
2. Teenagers are notorious for thinking their parents are outdated and out of touch.
3. But pride keeps you from seeing dangers - Proverbs 11:2
H. Even young people die
1. It sounds morbid, but it is true. Life is not guaranteed to continue to old age - Hebrews 9:27
2. But being prepared to face God at any time needs to be discussed. Their questions about the seriousness of the hereafter needs to be addressed.
III. But teaching is only good enough if it is applied
A. Many times when I’ve taught a class at the college, some student will claim, “My teacher never discussed that in the previous course.”
1. The few times I checked, it was discussed. The student wasn’t paying attention.
B. Too often we don’t realize just how important the lesson was until we need it - Proverbs 1:23-33
C. Teens have to also learn that they also have a responsibility to listen and apply what they were taught - Proverbs 3:1-2
IV. Things aren’t hopeless if you make mistakes
A. Sure, you’ll make life harder on yourself, but even in hardships there is growth and improvement - Hebrews 12:11-14
1. Don’t let your mistakes put you out of joint
B. Don’t give up - Proverbs 24:16
C. God forgives, even when we don’t think we deserve it - Isaiah 55:6-9
V. The best time to change is now - II Corinthians 6:1-2