Summary: Using clip from movie "Pay It Forward" sermon explores (1)The CALL to pass on our faith to the next generation (2) The CONTENT of our instruction (3)The CONSEQUENCE of following the directive in Ps 78.

Pass It On

Psalm 78:1-7[1]


This morning I am going to begin with a video clip from the movie “Pay it Forward”[2]. Pay it Forward is about a 7th Grader’s plan to make a difference in the world. On the first day of school, his social studies teacher challenges the class with this assignment: “Think of an idea to change our world—and put it into action.” Trevon’s idea is called “Pay it Forward”. He immediately puts it into action by helping a homeless drug addict. As the scene opens the homeless man is trying to explain to Trevon’s mother what is going on. Pay special attention to Trevon’s explanation of his plan to the class.

Play Video clip Ch 9 (0:31:26) to Ch 10 (0:34:28)

I find in Trevon’s plan some principles from the word of God that we want to always remember and put into action in our lives. On the night before his crucifixion Jesus said to his disciples, “As I have loved you so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) He was about to commit the greatest act of kindness ever done. This sinless, precious Son of God was about to lay down his life on the cross for our salvation. And as he said to those disciples he says to you and me, “Pay it forward. As I have loved you now you go and love others.” In Matthew 25 Jesus told the Parable of the Sheep and Goats. In that parable our great King said in verse 40 "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Two thousand years ago by one righteous act Jesus set something in motion that continues to multiply today. It is multiplied through the millions of believers who respond to his love toward them by investing kindness into other people’s lives.

Have you ever seen one of these domino effect contests where they set up thousands of dominos spaced just right so that when one falls it starts a chain reaction that goes from domino to domino? That is a good visual depiction of the impact of our choices. I am convinced that when we get to heaven we are going to be amazed at the impact our lives had. All we see is the immediate impact. We just see a few dominos out. But in reality everything you do is to some degree affecting other people. That is both good new and bad news. The bad news is that wickedness is far more consequential that people usually imagine. The good news is every right decision you make is impacting other people and other things, which are in turn having their influence. Why does God wait until the end of the age before the Judgment Seat of Christ? We really don’t have a biblical answer to that question but logically the full effect of your life will go on for generation after generation. And the total effect has certainly not yet happened the day you die. Your life represents an awesome opportunity to invest in other people and watch the impact multiply.[3]

This morning I want us to think about this principle in relationship to the training of our children. What an opportunity in God our children are! You could walk down the hall of our education wing this morning and watch their eyes light up as they hear the message of Jesus Christ. They are little sponges receiving truth and direction for their lives.

Recently Jeanie and I have been working on a project to install a mantle above our fireplace. It is going to be beautiful when we finish it, if we ever finish it. The problem is that we started with a piece of wood that had already been molded into something else. It had been a piece of furniture and we are trying to make it into a fireplace mantle. Here is the voice of experience. It is much easier to build something from scratch than try to take something already firmly shaped and make it into something else. That’s why contractors throw perfectly good material away. It takes too much time to reshape things and try to make them work after the fact.

Jeanie is a seamstress and she would much rather make a drape from scratch using new material than to take an old drape and tear out the old seams and try to make a different drape from the old material. It’s a lot easier to shape a child than to reshape an adult. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just saying it’s a whole lot easier. Did you know that we spend roughly 68 times more money caring for the average felon than on a church’s ministry to a spiritually hungry child[4]? Which investment gives the greatest return? The spiritual development of our kids is a good investment. Amen? The greatest heroes of this church are those who serve our kids. For years Jeff & Lisa Loyd have invested in our kids. What a joy it is on Wednesday evenings to see Brent Pennell training those boys in Royal Rangers. There are so many of you who advance the kingdom of God by ministering to our children. Imagine the possibilities God has given us in these kids. What if we so nurtured and trained scores of kids/hundreds of kids that they reach adulthood full of the Holy Spirit and passionate about His will for their lives? Who knows how God might use them for His glory?

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