Paul’s Weekly Newsletter Article – 10/22/21
1 O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, 2 for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— 3 stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. 4 We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. 5 For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, 6 so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. 7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. 8 Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
(Psalm 78:1-8 – New Living Translation)
My senior year in high school was one of the best years of my life. I was a baby Christian being discipled by a man who was radically devoted to Jesus. He was a carpenter by trade, but his passion was serving as the volunteer youth director at our church in Ashland, Oregon. He spent hours every day – before and after work – reading his Bible, praying, listening to tapes of famous preachers, studying to teach us, and pouring himself into young men like me. He didn’t just teach me how to read, study, pray, worship, serve, and evangelize; he showed me how. In many ways, our relationship was like the one the Apostle Paul and young Timothy shared. I am forever indebted to him for the investment he made in my life.
How I wish every young person could have an experience like that. How I wish every child, teen, and collegian could have an older, godly follower of Jesus train them how to know, love, and serve the Lord. It would begin ideally in the home with godly parents / grandparents pouring themselves into their children / grandchildren as stated in Psalm 78 above. But it doesn’t always work out that way. I wasn’t raised by godly parents. I was trained to be moral, but I had to learn most of what I know about following Jesus from people other than my parents. I think that is more the norm than the exception in our culture today. That is why I’m praying that all of us at The Bridge will heed the commands of Scripture and devote ourselves to making disciples. First with our own family members and then with those outside our nuclear families. Read what Pastor Mike Fabarez wrote about this in one of his recent newsletter articles entitled “Passing It On:”
The Bible has much to say about our responsibility to pass on our spiritual gains to those who will be here when we are gone. This is more than a parent’s responsibility to teach their kids the Bible. It is much broader and much deeper than simply communicating biblical data to children. In Scripture, the call usually comes from those who never had kids. It is, more fully, an urgent exhortation that has younger non-familial adults in view.
By “spiritual gains” I mean the kind of sage counsel and practical insight that comes from successfully implementing and applying the truths of God’s word. If the goal was simply “passing on truth,” we could just hand out Bibles, but the objective of spiritual reproduction is to functionally train and instruct those younger in Christ to know how to do what God has said. Paul shows the breath of this task when he wrote, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice” (Phil. 4:9). To his spiritual protégé Paul writes, “You know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings… continue in what you have learned” (2 Tim. 3:10, 14).
It won’t happen without being intentional. You and I must purpose to “pass on” our spiritual gains. At whatever stage we may be in the Christian life, we must meet with younger Christians, talk with younger Christians, and share our insight with younger Christians. We must purpose to train others up in truth who will advance the cause of Christ for years after we have finished our work and gone on to be with the Lord.
Jesus did this for His disciples, and they in turn did it for others. The Apostle Paul not only discipled people to maturity, but he also commanded them to disciple others who would disciple others… (2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:1-8). We must do this at The Bridge! As Pastor Mike Fabarez said, we will have to be intentional. We will have to say “no” to less important things so we can say “yes” to impacting future generations for Christ.
Specifically, we need people who will make time to be teachers and assistants in our children’s, youth, and young adult ministries. Young people are being lied to and deceived by a world system run by the devil (2 Cor. 4:3-4; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 John 5:19). They need to be taught the truth in word and in deed. I know that Jesus is producing “spiritual gains” in your lives (Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:28-30). Will you commit to pass those gains on to future generations? Will you commit to pray for the young people in our church (and community) to come to a sincere faith in Jesus and then grow and be fruitful in Him?
Let’s be a multi-generational church filled with spiritual parents and grandparents who carry out the mandates of Psalm 78. Let’s raise up a generation of radically committed followers of Jesus who will devote their lives to carrying out the Great Commission. And let’s keep doing it until the Lord calls us home and we hear Him say, “Well done!”