Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning May 12th, 2019.
God is making it very clear that we’re to pass on the things that He has taught us to the next generation. We hear this time and time again…Exodus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, (Psalm 78:4)
We’re NOT to keep our wonderful experience of learning God’s truth to ourselves. We are to share what we’ve learned with the next generation. Until we plug our life into God’s plan for caring for others, including the next generation, we’re missing out on some of the greatest joys for which God created us.
You don’t have to be a biological parent to do this. Every adult needs to be aware of his or her responsibilities to the next generation. Anytime you’re around somebody younger you have a chance to positively influence him or her and you need to take advantage of that opportunity. Whether it’s a child here at JOY, or a neighborhood child that needs an older person in his or her life, or someone in your family, God wants you to share your knowledge, wisdom and experience.
So, how do we do this? How do we effectively communicate and convey the spiritual truths that God has shown us to the next generation? God’s Word places an emphasis in several areas.
1. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
Proverbs 16:16 NIV
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,to get insight rather than silver!
The Book of Proverbs, which was originally written for the next generation, says that it’s better to have knowledge and wisdom than money. It’s better to be spiritually smart than to have material possessions.
>We must get this settled in our own minds if we’re going to pass it on to the next generation.
We need to teach them that everything belongs to God.
Psalm 24:1-2 NIV
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seasand established it on the waters.
The earth belongs to the Lord and WHAT in it? Everything!
When we help the next generation settle this issue their lives become much less complicated, much less stressed.
How do we get the next generation to see that wisdom and knowledge are better than silver and gold?
>We teach them from a very young age to see themselves as stewards, managers, of the things that belong to God.
>We teach them not to worry as much about “whose cookies are they?” as gaining spiritual knowledge.
The next generation needs to know how to live more than they need to know how to make a living.
2. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS CHARACTER AS A MORAL COMPASS.
Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT
21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
Character is a word that describes morals and ethics and integrity. It’s about learning how to be the right kind of person and how to do the right kind of thing, especially in tough situations.
Every generation needs character. Living without character is like trying to find your way around Atlanta with a map of London. Many members of the next generation will be following the wrong map unless we instill biblical principles in their lives.
Two great ways to pass character on to the next generation:
1. Protect their minds from evil thoughts.
Proverbs 15:14 NLT
14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge,while the fool feeds on trash.
The old adage is “Garbage in – garbage out.” If we want to keep the next generation innocent regarding evil, so that they can mature in what is good, then we must help them feed on the truth and not on trash. (teach media discernment)
2. Don’t protect them from difficulty.
Romans 5:3-4 NLT
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Maturity doesn’t come with age. It comes with responsibility. Some people are mature at 17 while others aren’t mature at 37. Why? Sometimes because they haven’t taken on responsibility. They can’t learn responsibility if we protect them from difficulty.
The key to these two character promoters is balance. If you go too far to either extreme you encourage an imbalance in character development. The next generation will be confronted with unwholesome ideas and suggestions. Our job is to help them filter through the lures of our culture without over-sheltering them.
If we’re too strict – the spirit of the next generation is shattered. That’s why the Bible says,
EPHESIANS 6:4 AMP
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with lovingkindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
That’s good advice for every adult interested in training the next generation. We don’t want them to become bitter and resentful. So we don’t want to come down too hard on them. We show them respect.
But we also don’t want to be too permissive. Then they’ll not have boundaries so they end up being involved in behavior that is harmful to them and to others.
Pray for wisdom to find balance…
3. THE NEXT GENERATION NEEDS CONVICTIONS, VALUES TO LIVE BY.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.
Convictions are the values you live by, something you won’t give up for peer pressure. It take courage and strength to live by faith and not by sight.
One of the many great biblical illustrations of conviction comes from the Book of Daniel. We remember how Daniel was thrown into the den of lions because he wouldn’t worship the king’s idol. That was conviction! But his determination to live by conviction began much earlier in his life.
Daniel 1:8 NIV
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel was a next generation Jew, probably a teenager, when taken captive to ancient Babylon. But he didn’t give up the tenets of his belief system just because he was in a foreign land and ungodly people were in control. That took courage, strength… that’s conviction. You make up your mind that you’re going to do what God says and you live by that whether or not it's always easy.
Do you remember what happened to Daniel? God promoted him and others respected him because he was a person of conviction! Kings wanted to know what Daniel thought. He became their advisor.
Convictions produce passion, and passionate people change the world. It isn’t the person who lives a willy-nilly life and does what is easy all the time that rises to influence and success in life. It’s the person who has the courage to live by their convictions!
If children don’t have convictions, they’ll be captivated by the four main values of our culture:
a. Pleasure – “I want to feel good.”
b. Possessions – “I want to have a lot of stuff.”
c. Prestige – “I want other people to envy me.”
d. Power – “I want to be in control.”
How do we effectively pass our convictions on to the next generation?
Convictions must be modeled. They are more “caught” than “taught.”
Titus 2:6-8 NIV
6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
If you’re passionate about your convictions then the members of the next generation that you influence will pick up on that passion. If your life exhibits an honest reflection of what you say you believe in, they will know the true value of convictions.
Our behavior has an enormous influence on the behavior of the next generation. If we want to direct the behavior of future generations we must look at our own behavior.
So let’s close this message by doing just that. Let’s look at our own behavior.
How are you doing in some of the main areas that it takes to leave a legacy for the next generation? Not just moms, since this is Mother’s Day, but all adults. Ask yourself…
1. Am I sharing wisdom and knowledge with the next generation?
2. Am I teaching character to the next generation?
3. Am I modeling convictions for the next generation?
Don’t feel down if you are doing so good… that’s why we come here… engage God in His word, take what is good and make it better, take what we’re struggling in and get stronger. Thank God for breath, for each breath represents another opportunity. An opportunity to sow a good seed: to teach, instill, persuade, instruct, correct, love, nurture and leave a lasting legacy.
Ask God for strength, He’ll give it…
Ask God for wisdom, He’ll give it…
Ask God for peace, He’ll give it…