Full text of Bible teacher and preacher Paul Washer’s sermon popularly known as “The Shocking Youth Message,” which was delivered at the 2002 Youth Evangelism Conference in Montgomery, Alabama.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Paul Washer – Founder, HeartCry Missionary Society
It’s a tremendous privilege for me to be here this afternoon with you.
Before we begin with any further speaking, I would also like to go to the Lord in prayer. And I would ask you to pray. There is so much going on here this afternoon, so much that you don’t understand.
But I’ll tell you where I’m coming from. I’ll preach as a dying man to dying men and women and youth. And I will preach as though I will never preach again, and I will tell you things that you will misunderstand.
I will tell you things that make you so angry with me, and I’ll tell you things that you will deny. And I will tell you things and you will say I have no right to tell you what I’m telling you.
But before you come to any conclusion about what is being said here this afternoon, you ask yourself one question. You see, preaching is a very dangerous thing. It’s dangerous for me because the Bible says that false teachers will undergo greater condemnation. If what I tell you today is not true, I’m in a great deal of trouble and have every right to do this with fear and trembling, because I will stand condemned before God.
But if what I tell you today is true, then you’re the one with cause for fear and trembling, because if I correctly interpret this passage of Scripture that I’m going to give you, it is as though God was speaking through a man. And your problem will not be with me; it will be with God and His Word.
So, the only question that really has to be decided here this afternoon is: Is this man before us a false prophet? Or is he telling us the truth? And if he is telling us the truth, then nothing else matters except conforming our lives to that truth.
Let’s go to the Lord in prayer.
Father… Father, I am so small and so pitiful, Father, in so many ways. You know, Lord, You know, though dear God, should false fire be the only thing ever placed on Your altar, or could fire come down from Heaven amidst all the noise and the clamor and the activities — could fire come down from Heaven and these dead bones live, You know me. In Your sovereignty, I pray and I beg before the throne of God that You would be gracious to us, that You would open up hearts and minds. Lord, we can’t wait for them to open theirs; they never will. Open up their hearts and minds and cause them to see biblical truth. Breathe on them. Grant them repentance. Grant them faith. Bring them into Your Kingdom, Lord, for Your own glory, for the sake of Your own great name, do this thing. Lord, as the brother said, let it be so, Lord, so that no man will take credit for it, so that no man will lay his hand to the ark of God and, if he did, that You would strike him down dead, Lord. Oh, God, move among us, please, because we have no other hope. We have no other hope. These children have no other hope except that You move. Amen.
I’ll be teaching from Matthew Chapter 7. If you have your Bibles, follow with me. In Matthew Chapter 7, verse 13, Jesus said:
Matthew Chapter 7: 13:27:
Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but every bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in your name cast out demons and in Your name, perform many miracles? Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them may be compared to a wise man who builds his house on the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. The rain fell and the floods came and winds blew and slammed against the house and it fell, and great was its fall.
I stand here today… I’m not troubled in my heart about your self-esteem. I’m not troubled in my heart about whether or not you feel good about yourself, whether or not life is turning out like you want it to turn out, or whether or not your checkbook is balanced.
There’s only one thing that gave me a sleepless night. There’s only one thing that troubled me all throughout the morning, and this is this. Within a hundred years, a great majority of people in this building will possibly be in hell. And many who even profess Jesus Christ as Lord will spend an eternity in hell.
You say, pastor, how can you say such a thing? I can say such a thing because I don’t do my Christian work in America. I spend most of my time preaching in South America, in Africa, and Eastern Europe. And I want you to know that, when you take a look at American Christianity, it is based more upon a godless culture than it is upon the Word of God. And so many people are deceived, and so many youth are deceived, and so many adults are deceived into believing that, because they prayed a prayer one time in their life, they’re going to Heaven.
And then, when they look around at others who profess to know Christ and see those people also just as worldly as the world, and they compare themselves by themselves, nothing troubles their heart. They think, well, I’m the same as most in my youth group. I watch things I shouldn’t watch on television and laugh about the very things that God hates. I wear clothing that is sensual. I talk like the world. I walk like the world. I love the music of the world. I love so much that’s in the world, but bless God, I am a Christian.
Why am I a Christian? I don’t look any different than most of the other people in my church. Why am I a Christian? Because there was a time in my life when I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart.