How can we pass along the gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generation? What do we need to do? What adjustments need to be made? What conversations do we need to have? And if the changes needed were clear to us, would we not seek to make them?
There is a haunting incident recorded in Judges 2. The people of Israel had relied on Moses and then Joshua for many years to be their spiritual leader. The people stayed faithful to God through Joshua’s lifetime and those of his contemporaries who outlived him. But then a slow growing tragedy become increasingly evident over time. Judges 2:10 says:
And all (Joshua’s generation) were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.
The rest of the book of Judges lays out the carnage that resulted from the next generation not knowing God.
This was not just a problem of education. In other words, there was no way they were completely ignorant of God or of how he had worked on their behalf. Rather, they failed to see its importance, they did not value it, they didn’t get it, and they didn’t see how it was relevant to their lives.
Every church in America faces this precise dilemma. We need to ask some tough questions. We need to have some hard conversations. According to 1 Corinthians 10 such passages are recorded for us so we can learn from their mistakes:
1 Corinthians 10:11 (ESV) 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
We can’t make lasting change on our own. Lasting change requires an encounter with God’s grace that reorients our view of God, ourselves, and the world.
To the Bethany Place family:
Judges 2 is a case study in how real faith in God is lost in the handoff from one generation to the next. It provides clear clues to how we should respond to see that we are faithfully making disciples that make disciples prepared for the real challenges the world presents to following Jesus. Tomorrow’s message in the series How Far is Too Far is called Making Change Stick. The message of this book is profoundly relevant to the challenges of living by faith in this culture at this time. I look forward to seeing you there.