Sermon: Generation to Generation
Opening Video Clip: Comparison old to new done by Christian Hills
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE
1930’s 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we
rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE
actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back
when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down
the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the
bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no
99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell
phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat
rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t
had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They
actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers
and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
Thesis: We need to be committed to pass on the message of Jesus from generation to generation. We need to pass on the reigns of the church to the next generation so that they pass it on to the next generation.
T.S. – The following Bible texts tells us the importance of passing on our faith and testimonies about Jesus to the next generation.
A maskil of Asaph.
O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
Psalms 145:3-7 ( NIV )
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 71:17, 18:
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
Ephesians 3:20, 21:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
The generation gap is a popular term used to describe differences between people of a younger generation and their elders, especially between a child and his or her parent’s generation. The term first became popularized in Western countries during the 1960s and described the cultural differences between the young and their parents. Although some generational differences have existed throughout history, because of more rapid cultural change during the modern era differences between the two generations increased in comparison to previous times, particularly with respect to such matters as musical tastes, fashion, culture and politics. This may have been magnified by the unprecedented size of the young generation during the 1960s, which gave it unprecedented power, and willingness to rebel against societal norms
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_gap) also the following summary of the recent generations:
The 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: Baby Boomers vs. the older generation
As the ’40s ended and the ’50s emerged, marked differences between teenagers and parents began to emerge. From a transformation of the dating system (going steady and early marriage became the norm, as opposed to the "rating and dating" trend that was fashionable before the war), to the new medium of television gaining widespread popularity and often portraying teenagers as juvenile delinquents. ’JDs’ followed the standard black leather and denim jeans look set by Marlon Brando in the 1953 film The Wild One. The widespread adoption of rock and roll also helped emphasize differences between parents and teenagers. Rock was loud, rhythmic, and energetic. Even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the new music "a corrupting influence". Holden Caulfield, the hero of J. D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, was a literary embodiment of teenage angst and alienation further fueling adults’ perception of teenagers as rebels.
The War in Southeast Asia and the rise of counter-culture hippies during the mid and late 1960s with diverging opinions about the draft and military involvement in Vietnam as well as the use of drugs were significant topics of the generation gap of this era. The cover of Mad Magazine No. 129 by artist Norman Mingo, dated September 1969, showed a split Alfred E. Neuman, the "old" Alfred on the left wearing a "My Country: Right or Wrong" lapel button, and the "young" long-haired Alfred on the right with a "Make Love Not War" button, and the cover statement "MAD Widens the Generation Gap."
The TV series All in the Family focused on the generation, as a conservative-minded middle-aged man repeatedly quarrels with his independent-minded wife and staunchly liberal daughter and son-in-law.
Generation X: The 1980s
The 1970s and 1980s are characterized as being an era rampant with child neglect, as shown by such phenomenon as latchkey kids. This period lies between the family-oriented 1950s and 1960s and the "Baby on Board" parenting focused era of the late 1980s to the present.
The 1990s and 2000s: Boomers vs. Generation X and Y
In the 1990s and 2000s, cultural differences concerning what should be the sexual norm, as well as new technology, political differences, workplace behavior, age of consent, age of responsibility, the education system, and many other political, cultural, and generational issues, has produced a generation gap between Generation X and Y and their Baby Boomer parents. However, many Baby Boomers grew up during the late 1960s, and can relate to their young offspring better than their parents related to them. Nevertheless, the portrayal of teenagers in popular reality television channels, like MTV, has caused concern for parents and a sense of alienation amongst teens and young adults of today.
Wow how things change from one generation to the next. When we study history we do discover that their actually are Generation Gaps – differences – major differences from one generation to the next. These gaps are huge – wide and enormous.
But it’s imperative in the church that we learn to build bridges between these gaps. Because God’s Word tells us to pass on His teachings, His values, our testimonies and stories to the next generation. So we have to be committed to bridging the gap as faithful Christians.
As I have studied history, the Bible and received my 10 years of higher education I have discovered only one person in all of history is able to help you and I to build a bridge from this generation to the next. He built and designed one of the largest bridges in the world. His bridge reaches from the earth to Heaven and His name is Jesus. His bridge allowed us entrance in to the very presence of God.
Today I am praying that the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus which is here today will build a bridge between the Generations in this church and in the Generations within our community. In James it tells me if we lack wisdom we need to call on God for it and he promises to give it to us. So let’s pray for wisdom this morning before I preach.
Prayer: Pray a prayer for Jesus to build a bridge for us today and to show us what we need to do.
The question could be floating in your minds right now, “How do we build a bridge between the Generations here at Christian Hills?” Well that is the question I hope to answer today in my message.
T.S. - The first thing we need to do is “Be sensitive and respectful to each other.”
1. We need to be sensitive and respectful to the differences in each generation.
a. Scripture teaches us how to build bridges between generations by doing the following things:
i. Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
ii. 1 Peter 2:17:“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”
iii. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 11, 12, 13:“Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.”…“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
b. So as Christians we need to be sensitive and respectful to each other’s differences:
i. One of the hottest generational issues is usually music style. But we in Scripture are directed to be respectful to each other’s music style:
1. This goes for the various generations:
a. Interbellum Generation – those who grew up in the 1920’s
b. The Great Generation – Those born after World War 1 and were thrust into The World War 2 generation.
c. The Baby Boomers – Those born after the war and into the 50’s.
d. Generation X – Those born in the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s
e. Generation Y – Those born from the mid 70’s to the early and mid 90’s.
f. Generation Z – Those born from the late 90’s and into the 2,000’s.
2. Each one of the generations described above have unique cultural traits. They all had their musical style, cultural style, dress style and the on and on. But it’s important for us all need to be sensitive to each other’s styles.
ii. Let’s get back to the hot topic of music: Gordon MacDonald stated, “…A piece of music can summon tears of sadness or feelings of incredible joy and well-being. Every culture (perhaps each generation) appears to have developed its own unique musical forms and expressions-the bundling together of sounds and their harmonic combinations that create a sensation of beauty or nostalgia or vision. To those sounds we often add words. And once the melody and the words are laced together and sung, we are likely never to forget them or the circumstances in which we learned them” (Who Stole my Church, page 92)
1. Many have shared Oral tradition in stories put to the medium of music.
2. Others share stories of battles and tragedies in their music medium.
a. Mark Schultz – “Letters from War”
i. Video Illustration – from DVD “Letter from War”
1. This song honors our soldiers and was nominated for a Dove award in 2004.
b. “It is well with my soul”
i. Video Illustration – Blue Fish telling the whole story
3. Music has the impact of touching us and creating memories which are then attached to them.
a. All music has individual memories attached to them.
b. When I first became a Christian in the late 70’s “Sweet Comfort Band” was the hot Christian Band that my mind associates with when I came to the Lord.
i. Hearts of Fire was an album they made which impacted me in my early Christian Life.
ii. When I hear songs like:
1. “You can make it;” “Isabella;” “Hold on tight” a song and another one of their albums – these songs trigger memories from early prayer meetings and youth events from Outreach Church.
iii. Video Illustration: Bob Dylan You gotta serve somebody.
iii. Music and its expression will continue to change from generation to generation we need to realize that – it’s normal!
1. Share story about Watts from the book “Who Stole my Church?”
a. From page 95-96 “Who Stole My Church”
i. “Anyone know anything about Isaac Watts?” I asked. Yvonne spoke: “Wasn’t he a hymn writer? I think he wrote ‘When I survey the Wonderous Cross.” “Yep, he did. Know any of his other songs?” “I think he wrote one of the Christmas carols,” Ted , probably the most spoken advocate of old hymns, said. “Not sure which one?” I began humming the first line of “Joy to the World.” Yes, ‘Joy to the World,” Almost said ‘Silent Night.’ Silent Night’ is German, “I said. “Watts was English. So does anyone know anything more about him? Know when he lived?” No one knew. “Well, he was born in 1674; his father was a pastor. One day, the biographers say, he was walking home from church with his father, and he started complaining about the music they’d sung that morning. Sound familiar? He was bored, he told his father, with the psalmody that marked every worship service. “Psalmody refers to the singing of the psalms. Christian people had been singing the psalms for centuries in one form or another. And John Calvin had insisted that the psalms be exclusively hymnody of the church. If there was good news to this, it was that the highest biblical thoughts of worship were being sung regularly. But it also meant that no one ever sang anything that raised praise to Jesus. “When people sang the psalms, they sang in a more or less monotone form with no instrumental accompaniment, because instruments in a church were considered worldy. So in Watts time a man called the church clerk, or precentor, simply sang out a note and everyone began to sing. What I’ve read suggests that the noise was awful. “So here is Isaac Watts complaining about the church music to his father. And the old man must have been very wise, because rather than arguing with his son, he listened. I think you have to give him a lot of credit for not being defensive when others might have just told the young man to keep his opinions to himself and accept the status quo. “Isaac’s father’s reaction may be the most important thing we think about this evening.” That got everyone’s attention. “In fact,” I said, I think the way Isaac’s father responded to his son is one of the most significant things that happened in the Christian movement in that entire century. And I really wish you’d think about this very carefully. What we have in this little story is an example of the way an older generation needs to respond to the younger when it’s time for a change” Here was Isaac complaining about the music, and his father said- “I hesitiated for a second to build the suspense. And then I continued, “His father asked, “Son, why don’t you mend the matter?” Meaning –write some music of your own (MacDonald, page 95,96).
iv. We need to be willing to die to our selfish wants and be willing to serve others and be willing to listen to their stories.
1. Philippians 2:3, 4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
a. We need to have empathy for one another: Empathy - which literally translates as ’in feeling’, is the capability to share and understand another’s emotions and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to "put oneself into another’s shoes" (Wikipedia Dictionary).
c. So as Christian we need to sensitive to others – even in musical taste but what are other things we need to do to bridge the generation gap with others?
T.S. -We talked about the importance of being respectful and sensitive to each others differences and now let’s look at some other practical things we need to do.
2. Here are some wise practical things we need to do to build a bridge between generations in our church and our community.
a. Dr. James Engel gives some prophetic advice on building bridges from one generation to the next - the following insights are from the website (www.ChristianLeadershipAlliance.org):
i. Don’t oppose this new generation! Don’t oppose each other’s generation.
1. They are not the enemy they are God’s children.
a. Older saints understand that the younger generation is God’s answer to their generation’s lost state.
2. Older saint’s young saints need to be encouraged and empowered to evangelize their peers and they need your support and help.
ii. Older saints do mentor the younger saints! Young saints be open to mentoring!
1. Older saints - Help this next generation accomplish the vision God has given them to win the lost.
2. Older Saints and Younger Saints - Be there to help them and to listen to them.
3. Older Saints share you wisdom and insight with the younger.
4. Older Saints invite a younger person out for coffee or to a game. Younger saints do the same.
5. Saints talk with each other.
6. Saints build a relationship with each other.
iii. Older Saints don’t box the younger in! Don’t box each other in!
1. Let them be free in the Spirit! Don’t throw chains of bondage on each other.
2. Don’t try to make this generation work and minister like you. It’s a new era with new ideas that relate to them and their lost peers.
3. Let them think in new ways, fresh ways even in creative ways.
4. Remember this is not the same world as you grew up in. Younger saints your world will also change so be willing to allow the younger to be creative too.
iv. Do focus on teams! Be committed to the generations working together with each other.
1. According to Dr. Engel “Doing it their way means making use of teams.”
a. Team’s is God’s way! Just ask Jesus!
2. Remember older saints the younger want things to be a group effort not and individual effort.
3. Remember older saints they don’t like top down models of leadership.
a. By the way neither did Jesus.
b. They want Servant Leadership role-models
v. Don’t count the numbers!
1. It’s time for the church to stop counting the numbers because this got David in trouble and it gets a lot of leaders in trouble with God today.
2. Dr. Engels states, “Our numbers, for the most part, have not been reflective of very much at all, when you look at the numbers of alleged Christians in the world today and the general deterioration on the world scene. We note the numbers don’t add up.
a. Billy Graham said that all the people who committed their lives to Christ in his many years should have saved the entire population of the United States.
b. But our country is not reflective of those numbers!
3. Numbers do not reflect spiritual health of a church – healthy relationships do.
a. This means healthy relationships between generations.
4. We need to measure success God’s way and use His measuring stick which is spiritual maturity and growth.
vi. Do encourage spiritual transformational results!
1. We need to make an impact in our own generations - this is the Lord’s will.
2. He wants transformation in lives and transformation in churches.
3. He wants us to focus on the outcomes of people’s lives.
4. We need spiritual results not more programs.
5. We need to help people come into the Kingdom of God not into my generational kingdom.
6. The whole impact of the Kingdom of God is its impact on our lives personally.
7. It’s measure of success is our relationships with God, with each other and with the world.
8. It’s about people touching other people personally across generational lines.
9. We need Christians to effect the culture not allow the culture to affect them.
10. This is God’s heartbeat for each generation.
T.S. – We must in the church realize the necessity the urgency of passing the baton on to the next generation. We need to be reminded that the church is not ours. It belongs to Jesus.
3. We need realize that this church belongs to Jesus not to any one of us. It is His church!
a. Scriptures does remind us who owns and who runs the church.
i. Ephesians 5:23: “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.”
ii. Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
b. Gordon Macdonald noted in his book that we are either a generative group or a toxic group.
i. A generative group is a group that produces power – it produces new life.
ii. Whereas the opposite of this group is a toxic group.
1. Churches that are not allowing Jesus to be the head are toxic groups according to Gordon Macdonald:
a. A toxic group is filled with people who don’t know how to bend in the process of conflict and usually operate from a me-first spirit. They measure every initiative on the basis of “What’s in it for me.” Second, their group is marked with low morale. There is almost no sense of a bright future or vision. And they are territorial-they hold on to things from the past. Third, their general method of problem solving is to blame others. Blame other group members; blame the larger organization; blame something going on in the world. Almost all the energy goes into conversations about who’s at fault. For some that’s easier than going to work to resolve the issue”…Toxic groups, fourthly, tend to drag down the larger organization around them. Lots of energy is spent trying to resolve their problems and do damage control. For that reason, toxic groups are a danger to younger people and to new Christians. They send the wrong messages about Christ and the gospel. “And there is one more mark you need to write down. Toxic groups destroy people, one after another. People get cynical, burned out, slanderous, bitter… and finally they determine that they’ll never again be a part of something like this. More than a few of them simply drop out of their church or go somewhere else.” “Think of any biblical churches like this?” I asked.
c. An example from Scripture in Revelation of a toxic church 3:14-22:
i. To the Church in Laodicea
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
1. The historical background of this city and of this church:
a. The city of Laodicea was founded in about 261-246 B.C. probably by Antiochus II who named it after his wife who he divorced in 253 B.C. She is famous for then poisoning Antiochus.
b. This city was the county seat of its area and was located on an important travel intersection in its region. It was located on the main Highway between Ephesus and Syria. Because of its strategic position it became a great commercial and financial center especially during rule of the Roman Empire.
c. This city evolved into a manufacturing center where it produced woolen garments made out of a local soft wool which was glossy black. In its competition with its neighbor cities Hierapolis and Closse who also produced wool but not this type they surpassed them in the commercial market. This propelled them into becoming one of the major producers and exporters in the region. This helped the city to prosper economically.
d. The city was also known for its famous school of medicine. The medicine developed from the temple, "the god of the valley". The Laodicean physicians followed the teachings of Hierophilos. He had promoted the teaching that compound diseases required compound medicines for treatment. Thomas states, "A well known medicine developed by the physicians of this school was applied to the eyes to cure eye diseases " (298).
i. The temple of the Phrygian god "Men Karou" was the center of this city. Many of its prominent people were connected with this temple.
e. Commerce, manufacturing and medicine combined help to propel Laodicea into one of the wealthy cities of its day. Since the city was very prosperous it then created and attracted many wealthy individuals.
f. The city was once destroyed by an earthquake but received no help to rebuild because they were so wealthy.
g. The church in Laodicea was believed to have been established by Epaphras from Colossae (Col. 4:12-16).
h. So with just a little bit of history we discover that this toxic church is a very wealthy church in a very wealthy society.
ii. Now let’s look again at who is giving this message to this sleeping toxic church.
1. "The Amen" - The Message say’s, "God’s Yes" - The phrase is used of Christ to signify that he is par excellence. He is God’s Yes. The Hebrew root word of the phrase Amen is translated "truth" as being fixed, certain, unchangeable. In simple language Ho Amen means that what this speaker says will be absolutely accomplished. His message is absolute and certain. No ifs, ands or buts. God says it and it will occur-- guaranteed!
a. Thomas makes this observation "Since the principal indictment against the Laodicean church is it’s lukewarm attitude, Christ’s attributes of sincerity and truth come to the forefront as He deals with those whose alleged devotion to Him is only superficial and not substantial" (300).
b. Point in this title -- Christ is the true and certain one even if the church fails and becomes toxic:- II Cor. 1:18-22
c. But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
d. Christ has no flaw He is perfection. There may be flaws in churches but there is no flaws in Christ. Here is an amazing truth I need to remind you - don’t judge by assuming that because the church is flawed that He is flawed. That because the church is Toxic or dysfunctional He is toxic or dysfunctional. He’s NOT! Here is another amazing thought, "God uses imperfect people like you and me to accomplish His perfect will." No imperfect toxic church or person will hinder God in doing what He has said. It will happen.
2. The faithful and true witness. John 14:6"I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
a. As a faithful and true witness - the Greek word here is Martyrs -- we get our English word from this word which is martyr - which means one who has died, given up his life for the truth. There have been many martyrs through history but the Amen martyr is Christ the "Yes of God!" He is the one Faithful and True Martyr. He is the one confronting a church the church with its luke-warmness.
i. He has never misrepresented the Truth of His message and since He is always trustworthy and faithful to truth.
ii. He now must confront a church that does not represent faithfulness and truth.
b. Interesting note since Christ’s martyrdom there has been an estimate of over 40 million martyr’s to date.
i. Barna notes, "Because at least 40 million people had their faith radically challenged and they refused To back down from following Christ no matter what the cost of the relationship. To those saints, the very purpose of life was wrapped up in their understanding of the fullness of the Christian life. These martyrs viewed their relationship with Jesus Christ as one worth dying for. Their faith was more than simple series of religious truths that enabled them to gain earthly riches, to be seen in the right places at the right times or to gain new insights into human character. Their faith was the defining thread of their lives. Their refusal to renounce their faith, even at the costs of their lives, dramatically illustrates how they defined success and purpose in life" (Barna, 29).
1. I Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
ii. The ruler of God’s creation (1:14)
1. He is the agent of God’s creation John 1:1-3; 14.
iii. It is also affirmed in Col. 1:15-20
1. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
iv. Many have misunderstood this text because this text clearly means Jesus is the Beginning, the Author, or Source of everything God has created and He has created all things.
3. He is the one now addressing this church and He has every right and the authority to do so.
iii. The message to the sleeping toxic church is to wake up or be removed forever from His mouth.
1. Their condition is the worst of all the other churches. It’s the condition first of all of called lukewarmness. Not hot! Not cold!
2. Other ways of saying this are, half-hearted, indifferent, apathetic, unenthusiastic, spiritless, lackadaisical, uninterested, inattentive, and the list could go on.
a. This church had a mediocre view of spiritual things.
b. Thomas notes this, "These people had avoided the extremes of outright spiritual destitution, but they had also avoided unrestrained spiritual fervor" (305).
c. Their commitment level was suffering from No Commitment. Someone has termed this "The Leukemia of non-commitment.”
3. Lukewarm - Archaeologists have discovered some interesting facts out about this church and their water supply which can help us to understand the term lukewarm.
a. Six mile in one direction from Laodicea was the city of Hierapolis which had Hot mineral springs. These springs were useful for medicine baths. But for Laodicea a city short on water these springs did not help their need for water. The problem lied in what happened to the water as it flowed six miles to Laodicea. As this Hot Spring water flowed across the plateau to the cliffs of Laodicea it started to cool losing its heat and healing power. By the time it reached Laodicea the water was lukewarm and poisonous. Somehow after losing its heat it retained a lot of impurities which made it poisonous to drink. The water was toxic. Therefore the city could not use this natural water supply to quench the thirst of its city’s inhabitants. It was not a blessing but really a danger for anyone who drank it.
b. Six miles in the opposite direction of Laodicea was another water source called the Springs of Denzili were icy cold water flowed. But once again as the water flowed to Laodicea and traveled 6 miles over the plateau it became lukewarm by the time it reached Laodicea. Not only was this water lukewarm but it had also picked up lime in its six mile journey causing the water to become poisonous. Therefore the water became toxic. If someone drank it they would become very sick.
c. From these two sources we discover that when this church heard about their condition it was very severe because they were like the water. They were toxic to the Kingdom of God. They were useless to quench people’s thirst for the Lord and give life. As a matter of fact they made the Creator sick to His stomach.
4. There condition was also serious in light of the view they had of themselves. Their self-image was distorted.
a. They felt that because they were rich and wealthy that they had it all. They actually believed that because they had money and things that they were God’s holy set apart and chosen saints.
b. They actually thought that if you are prosperous then you are in God’s will. It means you are one of God’s favorites. Your relationship with him is great! It’s the one’s struggling financially that have to get their relationship with God right not, "WAW!!!!!!!!"
c. The Lord looks at this church and says, “You are toxic!”
iv. Their wretched condition:
1. This church was unable to discern that they had made the creator sick.
a. There toxic ways did not bring healing people it actually made people sicker and they were poisoning others.
2. They had become lukewarm to Him and His word. They lacked care or concern for the things of God. They deceived others and themselves into thinking that the measuring rod to see if you were spiritual lied in how much money was in your bank account.
3. They had become a church that was self-indulgent, self-centered and believed this is what Jesus taught. They had no commitment to Christ and His great commission to win the lost. Their commitment was how much money could they make. That was the goal of their toxic Christianity!
v. Churches present state-- Barna did a recent pole and 90% of the USA claims to be Christian. He then did another pole and asked certain Christian concepts - Here are the results:
1. He asked Christians what Jesus’ Great Commission was from Matthew 28:19,20 - 86% responded with the wrong answer or did not know.
2. He then asked what John 3:16 said - 75% did not know.
3. He then asked what "the gospel" was 31% did not know.
vi. Christ tells this church to wake up and do the following:
1. Buy what he is selling not what the world is selling and this investment will be an investment that will make them rich.
2. This church needed to put its faith in God and not the world. It needed to quit depending on its own resources and the world’s and buy from Christ. It needed to quit resting on its own abilities (it’s own a faith in their own faith) and it needed to quit trusting in the world’s resources.
3. This church needed to get its clothes back on. Literally this church needed to put the white clothes of Christ’s righteousness back on. Repent and wear white!
4. This church needed eye salve to heal their spiritual blindness. Healing only comes when the Holy Spirit the healing anointing salve comes in to our eyes. Then we can see clearly.
5. The way to receive all the above and life is by repenting and answering the door in your heart. When you answer it and let him in all the wonderful things just mentioned occur.
vii. The promise 3:21-22 is if you do the above process in Christ then you will reign with Him.
We need to follow the Bibles teaching and pass on the baton to the next generation.
We need to pass on the teaching of Scripture and its importance.
We need to teach and model a biblical world view to the next generation.
We need to be sensitive to one another in the church young and old.
We need to listen to each other’s stories and be empathetic.
God is raising up a new generation of Revolutionaries to win this world and we the church must jump aboard and help launch them into action for the Kingdom:
The following ideas take from George Barna’s book “The Revolution”
These new revolutionaries will look like following:
1. Spiritual revolutionaries are connected to the Lord and to His mission.
2. Spiritual revolutionaries are available to serve the Kingdom.
3. Spiritual revolutionaries accept the fact that life on earth is all about life after earth, and they accordingly.
4. Spiritual revolutionaries are upbeat because they know who they are in Christ.
5. Spiritual revolutionaries are driven to have godly character – like integrity, trustworthiness, humility, and empathy.
6. Spiritual revolutionaries are known for their excessive love for God and for people.
7. Spiritual revolutionaries will be pure and productive.