I was in a missions conference with Brother Walter Stevens last year. Brother Walter and his wife Dolly are first-generation Christians. They are Gypsies, and have a wonderful testimony of God’s saving grace in their lives. During the conference Brother Walter asked me how many generations of my family have been Christians. This is a hard question for me to answer, because I really don’t know. My great-great-great grandfather was the first pastor and founder of my church. That is six generations.
When I was growing up as a little lad at White Oak Flats Baptist Church, all of my grandparents attended church there (they all still do), as well as four of my great-grandmothers, and three of my great-grandfathers. So I know a little bit about multi-generational Christians. I look back and thank God for where I came from. I do have a goodly heritage. I look forward to the future with hope, and I pray that my children and grandchildren will follow down this same path of faith in Christ.
God doesn’t want just you!
Deuteronomy 6 contains some great truths about this topic. Let me just give you some quick thoughts out of this chapter on how we can build multi-generational Christians.
- God doesn’t want just you. Deuteronomy 6:2 “That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life…” God loves me. He wants me to love him and serve Him. He also loves my children and wants the same for them. My part is to tell them that. To challenge them in that. I remember my dad and grandfathers having many conversations with me about their desire for me to serve God with my life.
- It begins with a proper attitude towards God. Deuteronomy 6:5 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” This is a commandment on my life. This is the greatest calling on my life, to love God supremely above all other things and all other people. Matthew 10:37 My children should see this in my life. They should know that daddy and mommy love God. I have found that if I like or enjoy something, and make a big deal about it, then my children usually have the same attitude. My prayer is that I might love God in a way that I would like my children to.
- The Word of God should have a priority in our homes.
- It has to be in you. Deuteronomy 6:6 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:”
- You should teach the word to your children. Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” Notice how you should teach them: diligently.
- God’s word should constantly be flowing out of you. Deuteronomy 6:7 “…and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” I think that pretty much covers everything, doesn’t it? When you are sitting, walking, lying, and standing up. I can say that God’s word was a subject among me and my granddads often. By “often” I mean every week, and many times every day. Sometimes it was sitting with my paternal grandfather on his front porch while he drank coffee after supper, or sometimes while taking a break from splitting firewood with my maternal grandfather. God’s word was always in front of me through them.
- God’s word should always be before you and your family. Deuteronomy 6:8-9 “ And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Notice it is in your house. Your home should be governed by God’s word.
- Know that it will be a constant battle. The enemy doesn’t want you to serve God, nor does he want you children to. There is a danger of…
- We should have answers for our children. Deuteronomy 6:20 “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come…” My children will, and do have questions. I should be ready to give them my best answer, and a Bible answer. I Peter 3:15
Making multi-generational Christians is not easy. I have already said that it will be a constant battle, and it will be a battle that every generation will have to fight. May I say with all the conviction in my heart, it is a battle worth fighting for. For it is not just a culture that we are fighting for, it is for the eternal souls of our descendants.
This is Part 2 in a series entitled “Life is a Relay”. You can read part 1 here.