How important is it, for we who have trusted Christ, to pass our faith on to the next generation? That should be a “no-brainer.” More importantly, how well are we doing at it?
Passing On the Faith – SERMON AUDIO
I don’t put a lot of stock in polls, but the evidence is in most of our churches every week, we are failing to even keep up with population growth. We are losing the next generation. I would give this reason; we are too preoccupied as Christians, as parents, and even as pastors. Vanity Fair has allured us and we don’t even notice it most of the time. We invest in the meaningless and squander what is most valuable. God has given clear instruction to us as to how the next generation is to find its way, this generation is responsible, not only to tell them, but to teach them DILIGENTLY! There is one verse in Exodus that just leaps off the page to me as a Christian father and as a pastor. In the midst of God’s great judgments on Egypt as He freed His people from their slavery with cataclysmic events, He instructs them through Moses to pay attention to the details and be obedient because once they have gotten out of there and moved on to a more simple and comfortable life, they need to remind themselves of where they came from and how they got there. Not just that generation, but all that followed them. They were to keep the feast of Passover forever, for this very reason.
Exodus 12:24-28 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. 25 And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
This feast is more than a commemoration of a past historical event, it is a teaching opportunity for God’s people, so that they can pass the knowledge of Who God is and What He has accomplished for His people to the next generation. This is not JUST an Old Testament idea!
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Discipline or correcting errors and also Instruction, teaching them what is right, is the Father’s responsibility in every family. We are to pass on the Faith that we have received. New Testament Believers are also in a covenant with God. We too have been redeemed from slavery and entered into a relationship with our Creator through Jesus Christ. We too, have the responsibility to instruct the next generation and we are falling down, flat on our faces! In Deuteronomy, God is explicit in the responsibility and the method of this instruction.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Not only on Special occasions like the Passover, but in daily life, things were to be centered around instructing the next generation in hearing, knowing, loving and obeying God. The key word in the above passage is “diligently.” Time, effort, energy and wealth are to be invested into this project. Children are the most valuable thing that the Lord entrusts to us! We cannot overlook their care. We cannot say, I will just try to be a good parent, pray for them and trust the Lord that they turn out. That is not diligence. We need to invest in them; spend out time, energy and resources for their instruction and benefit. They need to see how real it is to us as we follow the Lord.
There are some resources that I spoke of as I preached to my church. They would be a great help in instructing our children, These are things that I have used with my own children who are now 19, 18 and 16. God has blessed us and given us a heat for our children and I am sooo thankful to Him for that, even above my own salvation!
- Turn off the TV and spend some time with your kids!
Helps for dads to understand what they are teaching – Thomas Watson’s Body of Divinity Also see his Ten Commandments and The Lord’s Prayer
- Read with them
Hurlbut’s Story of the Christian Church (written for kids)
- Pray With them – Not just for them, but let them pray with you
As usual, there is more to it than this. Listen to the audio, then get busy!
Passing On the Faith – SERMON AUDIO
In the Evening Message we talked about taking it to the next level and reaching our culture with the truth of the Christian Faith.
All Things to All People – SERMON AUDIO