Summary: Believers should strive to achieve continuity of faith in the family.
A survey released by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago revealed that the U.S. will likely no longer be a majority Protestant nation in years to come, due to a decline in affiliation with many Protestant churches. Between 1993 and 2002, the share of Americans who said they were Protestant dropped from 63% to 52%, after years of remaining generally stable and the percentage who said they had no religion rose from 9% to nearly 14%, and many are former Protestants. (Chicago Tribune, July 21, 2004)
Pope John Paul II warned several U.S. bishops that American society is in danger of turning against spirituality in favor of materialistic desires, giving way to a "soulless vision of life." To fight this, the Pope argued, the U.S. church must study contemporary culture to find a way to appeal to youths. The American church must respond to the profound religious needs and aspirations of a society increasingly in danger of forgetting its spiritual roots and yielding to a purely materialistic and soulless vision of the world.”
Pope John Paul added: "An effective proclamation of the Gospel in contemporary Western society will need to confront directly the widespread spirit of agnosticism and relativism which has cast doubt on reason’s ability to know the truth, which alone satisfies the human heart’s restless quest for meaning." (Associated Press, May 28, 2004)
I believe that an effective proclamation of the Gospel will not only confront directly the widespread spirit of agnosticism and relativism but will also perpetuate the influence of the Christian faith. Today as we celebrate the 11th Anniversary of our Church and I would like to propose that we stop the decline of Christian influence in our society by effectively proclaiming the Christian faith and values starting within our family. Believers must strive to achieve the continuity of faith in God within the family. We often say to our children that education is the best heritage that we can leave them thus we encourage them to give their best in their studies. But I say, faith in God is the best heritage that we can give our children when we leave them behind for the future.
Please open your Bibles to Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and let us find out why and how we can leave a heritage of faith in God to our loved ones. The title of this message is “A Heritage of Faith.”
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9, NIV)
Why is faith in God the best inheritance for our children?
God promised the Israelites a land of their own but He gave those commands, decrees, and law to observe as they live there. Why?
1. ESTABLISHES GOD’S AUTHORITY (v. 1)
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess,
Commands, decrees, and laws imply authority and direction. People need authority and direction to be able to live peacefully. Absence of authority will result to anarchy. Disorder and chaos make our existence very unpleasant. The Bible says that observing the commands, decrees, and laws is a demonstration of our fear of God. Fear of God is the feeling of reverent regard for God, tempered with awe and fear of the punishment of disobedience. Fear of God should be practiced by us, our children, and our grandchildren. God should be an absolute authority in matters of life and death.
Relativism is the thesis that all points of view are equally valid although varying according to circumstances, persons, and cultures. This amounts to saying that all moralities are equally good; that all beliefs, are equally true. They all deny that any standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.