The everlasting God of your fathers
Published 7:55 am Thursday, February 25, 2016
“In theory, Christianity is one generation from extinction. In theory. One silent generation away from the Gospel being silenced.”
I heard this haunting quote from a pastor friend of mine years ago and have never forgotten it.
In Luke 20:27-40, there is the record of a conversion between Jesus and a group of Sadducees. The Sadducees pose an improbably and highly exaggerated scenario to Jesus; a man with seven brothers marries a woman. The woman bares no children and the husband dies, because of custom, the man’s brother must marry her and support her. However, his fate is the same as the first, and again the same for all seven brothers. So whose wife will she be in the resurrection, in death or rather life after death?
This really only an elaborate set-up, because Sadducees don’t believe in a resurrection, or life after death, only here and now.
Jesus uses the opportunity to teach them that there is no marriage in heaven. Then in short order, one verse as a matter of fact, destroys the argument against a life after death.
Jesus has just felled the third pseudo-scholar in a row.
If you look closely, though, you can see Jesus do what He still does today for all who seek Him. He answers the underlying question of the heart.
Take a step back and follow their line of thinking for a second; if there isn’t anything more than this life, then why live righteous, why follow God commands and why should one generation care for the next? Why subject all of the brothers to being responsible for this woman?
His answer is exquisite, using the only teaching they believe (Moses’), He calls to remembrance Yahweh’s self-identification as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, long after these men had departed the Earth. The three generations that carried the promise of God having a nation of people, and a name in the Earth forever. Amazing!
With one stone He hits both birds.
See, the problem with bad thinking is it produces bad living; bad theology is down right destructive.
Today, do we understand the significance of living for eternity? In our fast-paced world we can easily miss the weight of truth that one day we will give account for our actions, how we cared for people, what we said, and how we handled what was entrusted to us. Eternity can’t be ignored.
The answer to every eternal question is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His shed blood.
However, how often do we consider the second question? What responsibility is it of ours to care for another generation, why be joined to take care of and provide for the well being and spirituality of other people? Because our eternity as believers has been solidified just as the eldest brother in the story’s had been, the responsibility now is that we care for what He cared for, His bride.
We have now in 2016 entered a day when the generation who will shortly be leading the church and our nation, is more biblically illiterate than any before it. Only 4 percent of people ages 20-30 attend a church regularly. They are highly communityoriented, however over stimulated and have been marketed to be enamored with newer and faster, a fast-paced interconnected life that is constantly progressing, lulled to sleep, living only for today.
That’s where Jesus puts His finger on the problem. Not only did God identify Himself by His relationship with a man with Him in eternity, but with three generations who together carried the promise of covenant people “as many as the sands of the sea.”
The issues that arise with youth are not only theirs but the people who they were entrusted to. Has the issue of eternity been settled in your heart by trusting Jesus? If so, be faithful. A silent generation cannot be afforded.
David Malcom is the pastor of Trinity Gospel Church. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.