Summary: This sermon was preached after our youth group returned from a week at Falls Creek. It also ties in with Fathers Day, and it hopefully encourages parents to pass their faith on to the younger generations
ECHO (Fathers Day / Falls Creek Message 2009)
By: Ken McKinley
Text: Psalm 145:4
Well as you all know, we spent last week at Falls Creek. There were 5300 students and adults registered from 116 churches, and the theme this year is the idea of echoing your faith, from one generation to the next. And coming back this Sunday I wanted to talk to you all about Falls Creek, but also – since its Fathers Day, I wanted to say something about that, but guess what? The theme of Falls Creek, and Fathers Day both tie in together.
Look at our text again (read). It’s the Biblical duty of every generation of Christians to see to it that the next generation hears about the mighty acts of God. God doesn’t drop a new Bible from heaven on every generation. He intends that the older generation will teach the newer generation to read and think, and trust and obey, and rejoice.
Now when we look at our text we might think that it is speaking of imparting truth from one generation to another, and it is talking about that, but more is implied than just teaching. The New King James version says, “One generation will praise your works.” The NIV says, “One generation will command your works…” The literal Hebrew translation says, “From generation to generation, praise thy works, and thy mighty acts they declare.”
Praise is an exultation in God and of God. So we aren’t just to teach the next generation, we are to lead them to exultation in God through our teaching. John Piper from Bethlehem Baptist Church said, “Teachers and parents who do not exult over God in their teaching will not bring about exultation in God to their students and children.” He goes on to say, “Dry, indifferent teaching about God – whether it’s at home or at church, is only a half truth. It says one thing about God but portrays another thing.” But our text says “One generation is supposed to praise God’s works to another.”
Now I don’t know if you all remember a few Sunday’s back when I read to you the statistics from Lifeway and from the SBC, about the state of the church, but those statistics tell us a story, and what we saw at Falls Creek tells us a story as well. If you don’t remember what I quoted from LifeWay and the SBC I’ll remind you. They state in their studies and research that there are over 16 million members in the Southern Baptist denomination, but only about 6 million regularly attend church on Sunday. They also state that if the Southern Baptist denomination does not begin to replenish its numbers with younger people, ie: the next generation, we are going to have some serious problems because we are soon to face a wave of retiring older pastors and deacons, and other members in leadership positions, and no one to replace them. Now like I said, at Falls Creek this past week there were 5300 students. Falls Creek is 8 weeks long, and if they get 5300 students every week that would equal 42,400 students who attended Falls Creek this year. In 10 years that would be 424 thousand children, who are hopefully echoing God’s truths to their children when they become parents.
Now something else we learned at Falls Creek is that when a lot of these kids get home, they aren’t able to replicate the experiences they had at Falls Creek, and so they come from this week long mountain top experience, a week long experience where they and 5299 other kids were all seeking God, and worshiping God, and being saturated with God’s Word, and they come back home and we, and thousands of other churches aren’t able to replicate or duplicate the experience they had, and I think we can all guess what happens next… they often times loose interest. And that’s a shame. But it’s a reality, and it’s a reality we have to face.
Church, we have got to be committed to getting our children and grandchildren to be radically surrendered to Jesus and radically committed to His cause. Because if we aren’t, where is the next generation of Christians going to come from? They aren’t going to grow in our garden. Where are they going to come from?
Now I know the simple answer is that they come from God. We all know that God is sovereign, and that He can do whatever pleases Him. He can take a young person, in a dysfunctional family, or a small town church and turn their heart towards Him in such a way that they are totally committed to Him. He can most certainly do that, but that’s not His ordinary way… that’s not the way He usually does it. His ordinary way is to breed hearts like that in God-exalting families, with God exalting fathers, and in churches where “One generation shall praise God’s works to another.”