Passing on Our Faith

21 February 2021 PM – Genesis 5 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: A wise yet unknown author wrote, “The most significant contribution we make in life, is the passing of our faith to the next generation.”
Yes, passing on your faith to your children will contribute more to their physical and eternal life than giving them expensive clothing, a fine house, or the luxuries of life. Without faith in Christ, a child will spend an eternity separated from God.
Transition: Genesis 5 is a genealogy chapter. In it, God highlighted ten men from Adam to Noah for our benefit. As we look at these ten men, I want us to note four facts about each of them that ought to challenge us to strive to pass on our faith to the next generation.
  1. Each Man Lived for God
a.         These men were the godly line from Adam.
1)         These men were faithful to God. While the text does not clearly state this fact, it is strongly implied by the names of several of the men, by the character of Enoch, by the discernment of Lamech, and by the fact that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
2)         Many of their names reveal faith in God. Mahalaleel means “praise of God”. Enoch means “dedicated.” Methuselah means “man of the dart” or “it shall be sent” (possibly referring to the flood), Noah means “rest”.
b.         Though they were all men of faith, God highlighted but few.
1)         God highlighted Enos back in Genesis 4:26. When he was born, then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
2)         God highlighted Enoch (Ge 5:21-24). Here we find a man who walked with God so intimately that God decided to rapture him to heaven without him dying. Enoch and Noah are the only two men mentioned in the Bible to have walked with God (cf. Ge 6:9). Enoch and Elijah are the only two men to go to heaven without dying. Enoch must have been a very godly man.
3)         Methuselah lived 969 years. That is longer than any other man recorded. He died the very same year that the flood came. He was alive while Noah was building the ark.
4)         Lamech, by faith named his son Noah which means “rest”. Read Ge 5:29.
5)         In Noah’s day, he found grace in the eyes of the LORD (Ge 6:8). As mentioned, he also was just, perfect (complete) and walked with God (Ge 6:9).
2.        Each Man Passed on his Faith
a.         Adam had a son in his own likeness and image.
1)         We see this in verse 3.
2)         This verse intrigues me. Was Seth Adam and Eve’s next son born after Cain killed Abel or was he the first godly son born after that tragic event? What does it mean that Seth was born in Adam’s likeness and image? These are the same Hebrew words used to describe Adam’s creation in God’s likeness and image. How much of the likeness and image was spiritual? I find these to be difficult questions to answer.
3)         One thing that we can deduct is that Adam passed on his faith in God to Seth.
b.         Each man had a son who kept the faith.
1)         We must not miss the obvious. God notes these ten men because of their faith in God.
2)         Each of these men had a son who had faith in God.
3)         Was the God-fearing son of each man his firstborn son? This is another unanswerable question; however, in the case of Adam we know it was not. Since we do not know how old these men were when they married, that does not help us. Because of their age when the God-fearing son was born, it seems likely that they were not their firstborn sons.
3.        Each Man had Many Failures
a.         Each man had other sons and daughters.
1)         We must not overlook this repeated statement. These men all lived for hundreds of years and evidently bore many children.
2)         If we extended our present childbearing years to a lifespan of 900+ years, a woman could potentially bear children for 700-800 years. That is a LOT of potential children.
b.         Evidently, the other sons and daughters rejected God.
1)         Noah is the only possible exception. He had three sons who were righteous (Ge 7:1). Noah was 500 years old before his godly sons were born. Did Noah have any other children BEFORE Shem, Ham, and Japheth? We do not know.
2)         Did the other nine men only succeed in passing on their faith to one of their hundreds of children? That is difficult to answer. However, that is the implication.
3)         We find one clue in Genesis 6:5. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
4)         Another clue is that when Noah went into the ark, there were only eight righteous people in the entire world (Ge 7:1). After all of his preaching of righteous, no one else believed him.
5)         We know that God has created every human with a free will. Each must make his or her own choice to believe or reject God.
6)         As parents, we must live out our faith in God before our children. We must teach it diligently to all of our children. We must talk of it regularly before our children. Likewise, we must pray fervently for each of our children. We must beg God to convict and convert each of our children.
7)         As in the days of Noah, the world around us is wicked and doing all that it can to lure the righteous into its vices. This we must strive to prevent. God will protect us and our children if we will practice 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Use God’s holiness as your standard rather than your opinions.
4.        Each Man was a Link in God’s Chain
a.         Each had a limited time to pass on his faith.
1)         If we leave Enoch out of the count, the average lifespan for the other nine men was 912 years. Though these men all lived hundreds of years, the time they had to pass on their faith to each child was limited to that child’s time living at home.
2)         In that limited time, each of them succeeded to pass on his faith to at least one son.
3)         We too have a limited time with each child God gives us to pass on our faith. We must make the best of every moment. That time passes very quickly.
b.         Each played a vital part in God’s plan.
1)         By passing on his faith, each of these men kept the faith in the Lord alive, though Satan was working diligently to wipe out all faith in God.
2)         You too are a vital part in God’s plan. Passing on your faith to your children is not just a nice idea, it is vital. God is depending on you not just to keep the faith alive, but to help it to spread and grow.
Conclusion: Like the ten men in Genesis 5, if God sees fit to give you children, you must make it a top priority to pass on your faith to them. Without question, that task must begin with you having a healthy and close relationship with God yourself. You cannot pass on something you do not have.
            Live your faith before your children. Children must see in their parents a faith in God that is real and desirable to have for themselves.
            Keep the Scriptures before them as a regular diet. Teach and talk of them all day long every day. Include God in every activity of life, not just in a quick prayer before a meal.
            Pray for your children. Beg God personally for each of your children. Pray with your spouse for each of your children. It is God who must convict and convert their souls.
Song: Teach Me to Pray – 346