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Holiness for the Next Generation (Part 2)

Holiness for the Next Generation (Part 2)


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Episode Overview

Is leading your family part of the Great Commission? Absolutely! It’s making disciples right where you live, and we get to do that each day when we lead our families well.

Today on The Approach, we’ll go over how dynamics have changed over the last several decades, and the ripple effects these changes are having. We’ll discuss how families have changed in the past, what they look like today, and the family that Jesus is creating right now, here on earth.

Show Notes
Read the Script

Welcome to The Approach. This is one of our prayer habit episodes where we pause our normal rhythm and pray over our topic for the month. My name is Connor Owen, and I am on staff at World Gospel Mission 

A few weeks ago, we discussed what holiness could look like in the next generation. I don’t know about you, but this excites me!

Today, what I’m going to walk us through is geared at parents, but if you’re not a parent, that’s okay! You can still apply this to the next generation person you’re walking with or maybe even share it with a parent friend of yours.

As we go through Scripture, we see a difference in families from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In the Old Testament, there were larger networks or extended families who were together, living and working as larger units. Think about the first few books of the Bible and the emphasis placed on family lines and who belonged to who. Then, in the New Testament, we see a shift. As urbanization and Roman towns became more popular, extended families became more splintered and began to break down.

As I read this, it made me think about our North American culture and what that is doing to our immediate and expanded families. In David Brooks’ article on the nuclear family, which goes over the way the web of extended families have broken down, he refers to the fact that in the 1800s, 90 percent of families were all in business together, in industries like farming or the like.  Brooks is talking about entire families working together toward a common mission, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. This is what author and pastor Jeff Bethke calls families who are on mission together.

However, with the industrial revolution, things changed. People began to choose financial freedoms of the factory over deep familial ties. Individual freedom began to trump commitment to family.

In other words, culture impacted families, and in the mid-1900s, we began to see a shift away from extended families and a breaking from deep family ties. Sound like the same problem we see in the New Testament, doesn’t it? 

And what type of language did Paul often use when writing to the New Testament churches? He used a lot of family language. Inviting people into God’s family, a family that Jesus expanded through His work on the cross.

That’s where we’ll begin today. I’ll read a passage over you as a way of reminding you the family you belong to. A deep, rich, and wide family in Christ.

Galatians 3:29.

“And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham.

You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”

We know one thing—family ties were stronger in the 1800s and in the Old Testament. So let’s look at one individual who might’ve been doing this well and see what we can learn from him. That person is Moses.

When he was nearing the end of his life, Moses gathered the people of Israel. This was a new generation who had not experienced Egypt or the Exodus. He told this new generation about the failures of past generations, about God’s faithfulness and provision, and he pleaded with them to love God with all their heart, all their soul, and all their strength. And if they did this, they would find life. 

Much like Moses, we stand between God and a new generation who needs to be told about what God has done in the past, about the failures of our own and previous generations, and called to a life that walks with God faithfully and lovingly. It is only by loving and obeying God that this new generation—just like us—will find the life they desire to live. And we, as parents, have a duty, just like Moses, to help them understand where they come from, who God is, what He has done, and the life He is offering them.

I wonder if you could talk to God and ask Him to remind you of a blessing He’s placed in your life. And maybe you could then share that with your Gen Zer as a way to begin telling them who God is and what He has done. Talk to God about that for a little bit.

I know the response from some might be, “Well, you don’t know my family.” And you’re right. I don’t. I do know that no family is perfect. And I also know that we receive an image for what family should be like inside of our Triune God. We worship a God who is three persons in one; and each person is “‘another of the same kind,’” as Dennis Kinlaw puts it. What I’m getting at is that within God we see three persons who are different yet the same. And the same is true of your family. Yes, your family is different. Each person is unique. Yet, each is the same. Each is a person who is made in the image of God and capable of reflecting that in their day-to-day lives.

So as you walk with the next generation, use these words to remind them of who they are and whose they are. Remind them that they belong to a larger family, a family rooted and united in Jesus and His love.

First John 2:24 through 3:1.

“So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us.

I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.

Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”

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