This year has been unique for me in that I've been asked to preach to a number of gatherings of teens. Youth specific ministry is not my calling, but I enjoy the young ones and remember my teenage years well. For me those years were absent of truth, hope, and the gospel until I finally heard the Good News for the first time as a 17 year old. In contrast the teens I have been preaching to this year either know the Lord, or know of him. Honestly, I'm not really sure how to preach to teens. I have asked for advice from those who have experiencing and gifting in that area and their input has been helpful. But, for the most part I speak to them as I would at any other gathering--as sinners, or sinner-saints.
As I have been addressing youth this summer it brought me back to a book I have continued to revisit over the years. It's a book I love, and a book I doubt most of you own--Precious Truths by Archibald Alexander (read it online for free here). The book is a collection of articles by A.A. from various places. One, A Word to the Young, was the last article he wrote for The American Messenger before his death. It's a good word for young people (and us all).
You say that you intend to be religious hereafter. What a delusion! Evil habits will grow with your age, sinful desires will not be lessened but increased by indulgence. Old age, if you are permitted to reach it, will find you a hardened sinner; your conscience seared, and all your habits of iniquity confirmed. Oh, could you hear the waitings of a multitude of souls now in hell, methinks their lamentation would be that they procrastinated attention to the salvation of their souls. Why will you run the dangerous risk? Consider that eternal life and eternal death are now set before you; and God calls on you to choose which you will have.
Archibald Alexander, A Word to the Young
Preachers and teachers, as you hold out the word of God to others on the Lord's Day or throughout the week, follow the example of A.A.'s appeal for his hearers to act now. Our teaching should be as direct and earnest, to both young and old, as it is in the great old hymn we sing, "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy",
Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall; If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all.