In our youth ministry, we are going through a series on the book of 1 John.
God Is Both Outside and Intimately Involved With Creation
As we have looked at 1 John, one of the first things that comes across is this: Jesus exists outside and within creation. Jesus existed from the beginning (1 Jn 1:1, Jn 1:1). Paul tells us in Colossians 1:16 that everything was created by Jesus. Yet he did not remain outside creation, uninvolved. God invades our world and he does so most clearly through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. God, who is creator (Gen 1:1) and distinct from creation, enters the world he created as a child.
God is wholly separate and distinct from creation. Since he is the author of creation, he has authority over it (Ps 24:1-2). And since Jesus exists outside of creation, he has power over it. What a hope-filled truth, that we can trust a God who has power to do as he pleases in creation, and who pledges to work everything for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes (Rom 8:28)!
But God does not remain outside creation. John tells of hearing Christ, seeing Christ, witnessing God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. God has been revealed, not only through prophets or writings, symbols or shadows, but through a person.
Why This Matters for Youth Ministry
We serve the one being who is without equal, who has absolute authority over all things. In youth ministry, our job is to encourage youth to worship this God in word and deed. To worship anything less (self, beauty, fame, money, relationships, sports, games, intellect, family, etc.) is to fail to worship God- idolatry.
We don’t worship a concept. We serve a God who has come in the flesh, who we can see, hear, and experience through God’s word and by His Spirit. When we proclaim Jesus in small groups and one-on-ones and in other venues, we should be proclaiming the one whom we have personally seen, and heard, and ultimately worship.
Not only this, but we have a God who can sympathize with the hopes and hurts of our youth. Jesus faced every temptation common to us and overcame them all (Heb 4:15). He experienced rejection, loss, hurt, and betrayal to name a few things. And when we see our teens worshiping God, trusting him completely, it will complete the joy that we ourselves have in Jesus our Lord.