Third Generation Christianity

11 February 2018 AM – Judges 2:7-12 –Anniversary – Scott Childs

Introduction: I enjoy painting pictures and I am always looking for landscape scenes that I can paint. Sometimes I come across pictures of old churches that are abandoned or falling down. I have no desire to paint one of them. Such a photo is a monument of what once may have been a vibrant, Gospel-preaching congregation that is now nothing but a decaying old building.

Sadly, that is true, not only of old churches but of many current churches which began with a strong godly heritage. The vibrant Christian faith of former generations has dwindled. The adults are compromising hypocrites and the young people who grew up in the church are walking away, living in sin, and want nothing to do with God.

A church will never be stronger than its families. If our church is going to remain a solid Baptist lighthouse in our community for generations to come, we must live and pass on biblical Christianity.

Transition: This morning I want us to discover how, in just three generations, Israel turned from serving God to serving idols. We will note several principles that will help our families and our church to avoid repeating this sad history.

1.        Joshua’s Generation was God-fearing
a.         Joshua’s peers had a personal relationship with God (v.7).
1)         Many were children when God miraculously delivered them from Egypt. They saw the ten plagues.
2)         Under the moon-lit sky, they saw the waters of the Red Sea pushed back and crossed on dry land.
3)         They were present when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and saw his shining face.
4)         They felt the ground shake and saw it open to swallow up the rebels Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
5)         For forty years they ate the manna from heaven and never lacked.
6)         God opened the Jordan River, and they crossed on dry ground.
7)         They marched around Jericho and saw God push over its huge walls.
8)         They fought battles and saw God fight for them with hailstones and hornets.
9)         They feared Joshua as they feared Moses because God’s hand was on them.
10)     They knew God was real, powerful and to be feared.
11)     They talked with God, loved and worshiped Him.
b.         Joshua’s peers walked with God every day
1)         Biblical Christianity is not received by religious rites, but by humble repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you truly know Him? Has He changed your life?
2)         Does your relationship with God influence everything you do every day of the week? Or is God someone you only talk about on Sunday?
3)         Biblical Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God. Is God real to you? Does He answer your prayers? Does He convict you when you sin? Does He lead you and give you wisdom?
2.        The Next Generation was Only Religious
a.         They did not live in the fear of God (v.7-10)
1)         Fearing God became a ritual to them.
a)         They had only memories of fearing God. (Titus 1:16) “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
b)         They did not fear of God in daily life. (Proverbs 8:13) “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
c)         They allowed the ungodly to live among them. (1 Corinthians 15:33) “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
d)         They allowed their children to intermarry with the unbelievers. (2 Corinthians 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
e)         They did not experience God’s power in their OWN lives. They had heard ABOUT God’s miracles and His power but personally experienced very little.
f)          Their children had no personal relationship with God, only religious ritual (e.g., we have always done it that way).
b.         They could not pass on the fear of God
1)         If biblical Christianity is going to continue in your family and in our church, it must be experienced firsthand. Second-hand Christianity is nothing more than dead religion. How can we pass on biblical Christianity?
a)         Live it! (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (Ephesians 6:11) “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Galatians 5:25) “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Let your children see Christ ALIVE in you. Be different! Be spirit-filled! Be godly! Be genuine! Live like Joshua preached. (Joshua 22:5) “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
b)         Teach it! (Proverbs 22:6) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Protect your children from the evils of the world (e.g., TV, videos, cinema, Internet, books, music). Do as God commanded parents of old. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
3.        The Third Generation Forsook God (v.10-13)
a.         They knew not God (v.10)
1)         They had no personal relationship with God. They were unsaved.
2)         They saw no genuine works of God in their homes.
3)         They bowed before false gods and served them.
b.         They rejected God
1)         They did evil and served Baalim (v.11)
2)         They forsook the God of former generations and provoked God (v.12-13).
3)         Sadly, many Christian homes today are producing third generation children who know not God and want nothing to do with Him. What is going wrong? Christianity has become outward religion only. Worldliness has crept into homes. Hypocrisy is invading. Parents cannot pass on something they don’t have themselves.
c.          What can be done?
1)         We need a revival of genuine biblical Christianity.
2)         Christians must stop playing religion and get serious about their relationship with God.
3)         We must separate from sin and live holy lives that glorify God. God’s prescription for revival is the same today as it was in Solomon’s day. (2 Chronicles 7:14) “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Conclusion: Churches are crumbling today from the inside out. Worldly music is replacing biblical hymns. Services are appealing. Separation is mocked. Modesty is ignored. Immorality is overlooked. Doctrine is minimised. Preaching is entertaining rather than convicting. The fear of God is no longer important. We must work to avoid this!

Do you have a genuine relationship with God? Are you really saved? If not, you cannot pass on what you do not have!

If saved, are you living the way God wants you to? Is He real in your home? Can your children see Christ living in you? Do you attend all the church services? Are you an active church member? Water never rises above its source. The same is true in our families. You must live a godly example 24/7. When you fail, you must humbly apologize to your family. You must lead them to HIGHER ground spiritually. If our families fail, our church will fail. Let’s not let that happen!

Song: Take My Life, 393