The New Creation

2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.

Being a new creation has huge implications.The first thing God did during creation was say “Let there be light!” Jesus is, according to john, the light. We receive light, and as John 1:5 says “the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.) God then separated the light and dark. He does the same in us, separating death, and life, or sin and righteousness.

God called dry ground up from the deep waters. He gives us solid ground to stand on, Jesus (the cornerstone), other believers, and the Bible.

God created the lights in the skies to mark time and events. He gives us symbols of His love (personal messages, beautiful sights, human love) and He creates events that are important to us (salvation, baptism, marriage).

Song of Songs 4:1 — How How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.

God then brought life to the world, life that he told to be fruitful and multiply. The new creation is blessed with “life” (e.g. blessings, gifts, opportunities, miracles). This life will both be fruitful (providing more “life”), and multiply (becoming more and more beneficial).

Philippians 4:19 — And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

The last thing God did was create mankind. God recreates us. He gives us new identities and changed lives.

Genesis 1:31 — God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.

How Then Shall We Dress?

Our physical image shows the world who we are, and what we represent. It is very important that we represent God in a good manner. If our clothes are part of that we must think about how what we wear shows God to others. I don’t mean that we have to walk around wearing nothing but shirts that talk about God. I mean that what we wear makes others think differently about us, and more importantly God.

First, and most obvious, if we wear clothes that glorify violence, sexual immorality, and anger we are, ourselves, glorifying these things. Jesus’ philosophy was very clearly against these things. We may wear a shirt that glorifies one or more of these things without realizing the effect it may have on others. People see that shirt, and think “Is that what being a Christian looks like? How is that different than me?” Our image mot only tells people about us, but it also tells people about our relationship with God.

Second, when we wear that kind of clothing we provoke un-pure thoughts in others. People see your clothes and it makes them think about what is depicted on them. This is pretty much the same as my first point, but it revolves around others. if we dress in a way that doesn’t glorify God we don’t encourage others to do so.

Third, we should care more about Jesus than what we look like. God is the only thing that matters in all the world. Paul says in 2 Corinthians that “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” You shouldn’t be worrying about what the newest trends are more than you think about God.

Matthew 6:28-30 —  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

The Christian Teen Manifesto

Perhaps the best, and most overused verse of the Bible for teens is 1 Timothy 4:12. This verse is directed toward Timothy who wasn’t actually as young as we assume. The important thing to remember about this verse is that though it may no be aimed directly at teens, it is from the bible and applies to everyone.

1 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 conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.

This verse starts out with an uplifting message: don’t let people look down on you. You should be aware of that. It means that you can be a big part of God’s work here and now. You don’t have to wait to be 20 to start talking to your friends about Jesus, or worship God fully, or even preach to crowds about the good news. This is huge, especially for teens. It means you are a crucial part of God’s kingdom right now.

This doesn’t mean that you can start preaching to your church right away. The second part of the verse tells us what we need to be like in order to get to the stage where we can do these awesome things. We need to have a God-like mind by acting right, and thinking right. Paul tells Timothy that his responsibility is to be an example to all believers, not just those believers in his age group, or among his friends, or to the world, but to all believers.

The first way we do this is through speech. Jesus said that it is “what comes out of the mouth” that “defiles a man.” This makes sense. If you are always talking about sex, and violence like it is a cool thing you are not encouraging Godly things, but worldly things. Also if you are insulting people left, and right you are not showing the love of God, but spreading hurt, fear, and lies.

Next Paul says that we must be an example in our conduct. This is also common sense. We shouldn’t be beating people up all the time, or stealing, or going out of our way to be annoying. This is contrary to the will of God. These two things are a huge way that we are different than everyone else. When you friends are picking on someone, you should not join in. When all of your friends are pirating the coolest show you shouldn’t, it isn’t the Godly way of life.

One of Jesus’ ultimate goals is to love everyone. Both of what Jesus calls the greatest commandments are about love:

Mark 12:30-31 — Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

This is the third responsibility that we have as Christians. We are called to love. This involves loving God, and loving others. Love the members of your church, your drunk uncle, your annoying classmate, your friends, and even your enemies. If we don’t understand how to love how can we understand a God who loves us so much that he would sacrifice his own son for us.

We must also show our faith. We have to be able to trust God with our problems. That is the only way that we can reach our potential as Christians. 1 John 5:5 says that the only one who can overcome the world (drugs, unbelief, hate) is “the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God. If you don’t have faith how can you take an active role in the kingdom of God. That would be like joining the army even though you don’t think there is anyone commanding that army.

The last, but definitely not least, trait that Paul mentions is purity. Your “bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.” This is what your body is meant for. Not drugs, and swearing, and sexual immorality. God is in you, and you represent Him for others. There should not be any of these un-pure things dirtying that image.

Here is our manifesto as Christian teens:

We are Christian teens, and we can take an active role in God’s work because we are examples to others through our speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.