"His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation."
A. HOW MANY OF THE MANY GENERATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING CAN BE
CHARACTERIZED AS THOSE WHO FEAR GOD?
B. WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT GEN.-X. WHAT ABOUT THEM.
A. GEN-X(From an article: Reaching The First Post-Christian Generation by Andres
Tapia, Christianity Today, 9/12/94 )
1. X stands for an unknown variable, this generation still in search of its identity.
2. Term popularized by Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel.
3. Also referred to as "post boomers," "baby busters," "twenty somethings."
4. 38 million born between 1963 and 1977.
5. First generation to grow-up in post-Christian America.
6. "Children of Divorce" - 50% come from broken homes.
7. Neil Howe and Bill Strouse in their book "13th Gen" predict that given this
dysfunctional family background there will be higher rates of incarcerations
8. According to Howe and Strouse, every day...
13 commit suicide 2,200 drop out of school 630 are robbed
16 are murdered 500 begin using drugs 80 are raped
1000 become mothers 1000 begin drinking alcohol
100,000 bring guns to school 3,500 are assaulted
9. These factors result in pessimism, cynicism, irreverence and nihilistic views.
10. Post Modernistic Age - Previous generations were raised in the Modernistic
Age that came about as a result of the Enlightenment. The key assumptions
of this age was that knowledge is certain, objective, good and obtainable. Post
Modernism is a radical reaction against this understanding of truth. In Post
Modernism truth is not rational and objective. Meaning depends on
one's personal perception and truth is defined by each individual.
11. Alberta Report - Ted Byfield, 10/23/95 (via Steve Willis, Markslist: Search-
25 Oct 1995, "Generation X")
a. "They are raised by a society which prided itself on it's 'tolerance.' But what it really meant by
this word was that no moral principle must be considered universal orobjectively true...If
nobody could ever be 'really right,' neither could anybody be 'really wrong.' Good conduct was
anything you could get away with. That was the message."
b. They were led to believe there would be no real standards of performance. The idea
of a 'failing grade' in school had been abolished. No one failed; everyone passed...
We're all equal, aren't we?"
c. "They were given little sense of belonging to anything. History had long been
supplanted by 'social studies,' so they had no secure notion that they emerged from a
tradition or were part of a culture, or were expected to sustain any discernible
d. "Many were raised by a single parent, or more usually Mom and her latest boyfriend.
The concept of domestic permanence, like any other sort of permanence, was
something they never really experience. Home and family were subject to change
with little notice."
e. We have assured them that nothing is true; nothing is real; nothing is certain;
B. OBJECT NOT TO CONDEMN A SINGLE GENERATION. MANY
GENERATIONS HAVE BEEN CHARACTERIZED IN THE SAME WAY
A. GENERATION OF ENOSH( Gen. 4:26 )"began to call on the name of the Lord."
B. GENERATION OF NOAH( Gen. 6:5 ).
C. OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS
( Num. 32:13; Deut. 1:35; 32:5; 32:20-22; Psa. 95:10 ).
1. evil 4. no faith 7. did not know God's ways.
2. corrupted themselves 5. foolish idolatry
3. perverse - crooked 6. went astray in their hearts
D. OF JOSHUA( Josh. 24:31 ) served the Lord.
E. OF THE JUDGES( Judges. 2:10-11 )"did not know the Lord..."
F. OF THE FIRST CENTURY A.D.( Mt. 11:16-19; 12:39-45; 17:17; Mk. 8:38 ).
1. inconsistency, fickleness 3. wicked
2. evil - adulterous 4. faithless, perverse
5. Acts 2:40; Phil 2:15.
A. CHANGE THE GOSPEL TO ACCOMMODATE THEIR SPECIAL NEEDS?
1. What does Gen X want from religion? (From Christianity Today )
a. Authenticity - no frills, unity, love, acceptance -- The gospel does not
have to be changed to provide this.
b. Community - homesick for homes they never had. Fellowship, identity.
1) The family of God( Heb 2:11-12; Heb 3:5-6 ).
2). But not the "social gospel."( John 6:26-27; Rom. 14:17 ).
c. No Dogmatism: 81% don't believe there is absolute truth.
1) "apolegetics is going to have to be more than intellectual talks
about innerancy of scripture just aren't going to connect."
2) confronted with compelling evidence regarding the validity of
Christianity they are likely to say, "So what?"
3) having grown up in a pluralistic, multi-cultural society they have a
hard time accepting one belief over another.
4) No truth anchor, no purpose( Heb. 6:18-19; Ecc. 12:13 ).
5) Is there a reality, does it matter( Ecc. 11:9 - 12:1, 13-14 ).
d. Focus on the Arts: they find certain pop culture artists to be more in
tune with their concept of religious experience. Was Curt Collbain a
hero? Madonna? Magic Johnson? John Belushi isn't that funny.
2. They find strength in a mythical false Jesus. Listen to this description:
"Jesus was in his early thirties when he began his public work; he had no
career path( John 4:34; 6:38 )and not place he could call home( Luke 9:58;
John 6:42; 16:17 ). His greatest battles were against the dogmas of his day,
and he showed little faith in institutions and rules and regulations(Matt.5:19 ).
Rather, his message was a Father full of grace( and truth, John 1:14; 8:31;
12:48 )... He liked a good party, even turning water into wine to keep one
from ending prematurely( is that why he did it? John 2:3-4, 11 )....As we
confront the gnawing irrelevance of the church among many Xers, we must
wrestle with the idea that Jesus would have felt very much at home with the
MTV generation."(Jesus despised the hypocrisy of the sects, Matt. 23, but his
was not a disdain for "organized religion" with duties and obligations, Matt.
16:18 ) (Christianity Today, "Reaching the First Post-Christian Generation",
Andres Tapia, 9/12/94 )
B. THE GOSPEL IS THE SAME FOR EACH AND EVERY GENERATION.
1. Though circumstances change, human nature does not( Eccl. 1:4, 8-11 ).
2. The generation of Jesus' day( Matt. 9:36 ). The same need today.
3. Man's purpose is still the same( Eccl. 12:13-14 ).
a. Man's significance rests in his relation to God( Psa. 8:3-9 ).
b. Man's destiny still needs to be addressed.
4. His will is still the truth( 1 Pet. 1:24-25; Matt. 24:35 ).
5. His truth meets our purpose and need( 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ).
6. Psa. 78:5-8; Luke 1:50.
A. A CHOSEN GENERATION( 1 Pet 2:9, kjv ) AN ELECT RACE.
1. Special to God, a people for his own possession( Eph. 1:11 ).
2. Blessed and glorified in Jesus( Eph. 1:3-5; 2:4-7 ). Holy, without blemish.
B. CONTRAST WITH DISOBEDIENT UNBELIEVERS( Phil. 2:15; Acts 2:40 ).
Karl A. Hennecke