Summary: The church must choose to reach the next generation for Christ.
May 22, 2011
Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-12
Subject: Teaching Children
Title: Teach Your Children Well – Impacting the Next Generation
I would like for you all to take the time to look around you this morning, and as you do I want you to pay special attention to anyone who is younger than you. Now for some of you that will include much of the congregation. To others it will be a smaller number and for some it will be a relatively small number. Now, what I would like for you to do is to think back, especially those of you who have been in this church for a prolonged period of time, and I want you to think of the kind of legacy that you have left or are in the process of leaving to those who are coming after you. Have you left a lasting impression on people? If so, has it been a positive or a negative impression? Maybe you have never thought about it. I have. I wonder if I have ever done or said anything to anyone that would negatively affect the choices that they would make in their lives. That fact is that you will impact someone’s life at some point in your Christian walk, and it is up to you as to how you will impact them – whether positively or negatively.
Here is the story of two men who lived in the eighteenth century. One man, Max Jukes, was an atheist. The other man was Jonathan Edwards – a preacher. Edwards was everything Juke was not: hardworking, God-fearing and Bible believing. Edwards "was a godly minister who was credited with igniting The Great Awakening through his sermons. He served for a brief period just before his death as president of what is now known as Princeton University. He believed in leading by example. He authored two books on the subjects of physical fitness and kindness. Mr. Edwards later became involved in teaching people to be responsible for their daily actions."
Certainly Juke and Edwards had an impact on their immediate families, but what about the generations to follow? Here's what happened in the years after Juke and Edwards died:
Of 1026 descendants of Max Juke, 300 were convicts, 27 were murderers, 190 were prostitutes and 509 were either alcoholics or drug addicts. It is estimated that the Jukes family had cost the State of New York almost $1.4 million dollars to house, institutionalize and treat the family of deviants. By contrast, the 929 descendents of Jonathan Edwards included 13 college presidents, 86 college professors, 430 ministers, 314 war veterans, 75 authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, and 80 holders of public office, including three U.S. Senators, seven congressman, mayors of three large cities, governors of three states, a Vice-President of the United States, and a controller of the United States Treasury.
Now, I am not going to talk to you about the spiritual legacy that you have left for your family. What I am going to talk about today the kind of spiritual legacy that you are leaving in the church for those who will come after you.
Whether you know it or not you are impacting the next generation of Christians.