From Generation to Generation

Passing Down the Faith

By Charles F. Stanley
  • May 12, 2017

Christians are under a divine obligation to teach the next generation the truth of God’s Word so they will understand that they are His children, know that He has a plan for their lives, and be equipped to face life. This pattern of instruction should continue without a gap from one generation to the next. Parents, in particular, have the responsibility to introduce their children to the Lord.

The writer of Psalm 78 describes how God’s truth should be passed down from one generation to

the next. He writes:

  • “Tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done” (v. 4).

  • “For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to their children” (v. 5).

  • “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children” (v. 6).

  • “That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments” (v. 7).

At the time this psalm was written, the Bible had not yet been completed. As the words of Moses in Genesis through Deuteronomy were taught to the people, they were expected to pass down information about the Lord to their children. They didn’t have written copies of the Scriptures so the parents taught God’s truths verbally from one generation to the next. Today we have the Holy Bible, the infallible, eternal Word of God in which is written everything we need to know about the Lord and His instructions to us.

Think about your testimony and what you could share with someone younger. What have you learned in God’s Word? How has He worked in your life? We should always be ready and willing to tell of the good God has done. May we all be intentional about sharing Him with the next generation and leading them to faith in Christ.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message Touching the Hearts of the Next Generation which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Family  |  Community  |  Christian Fellowship

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1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children,

6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children,

7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments,

8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

9 The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, Yet they turned back in the day of battle.

10 They did not keep the covenant of God And refused to walk in His law;

11 They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them.

12 He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap.

14 Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire.

15 He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.

16 He brought forth streams also from the rock And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.

18 And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.

19 Then they spoke against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

20 Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?"

21 Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel,

22 Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.

23 Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven;

24 He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven.

25 Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind.

27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas,

28 Then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings.

29 So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them.

30 Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths,

31 The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel.

32 In spite of all this they still sinned And did not believe in His wonderful works.

33 So He brought their days to an end in futility And their years in sudden terror.

34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God;

35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.

36 But they deceived Him with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue.

37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

38 But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath.

39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passes and does not return.

40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert!

41 Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel.

42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,

43 When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan,

44 And turned their rivers to blood, And their streams, they could not drink.

45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them.

46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper And the product of their labor to the locust.

47 He destroyed their vines with hailstones And their sycamore trees with frost.

48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning.

49 He sent upon them His burning anger, Fury and indignation and trouble, A band of destroying angels.

50 He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave over their life to the plague,

51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.

52 But He led forth His own people like sheep And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;

53 He led them safely, so that they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies.

54 So He brought them to His holy land, To this hill country which His right hand had gained.

55 He also drove out the nations before them And apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement, And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.

56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies,

57 But turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers; They turned aside like a treacherous bow.

58 For they provoked Him with their high places And aroused His jealousy with their graven images.

59 When God heard, He was filled with wrath And greatly abhorred Israel;

60 So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, The tent which He had pitched among men,

61 And gave up His strength to captivity And His glory into the hand of the adversary.

62 He also delivered His people to the sword, And was filled with wrath at His inheritance.

63 Fire devoured His young men, And His virgins had no wedding songs.

64 His priests fell by the sword, And His widows could not weep.

65 Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep, Like a warrior overcome by wine.

66 He drove His adversaries backward; He put on them an everlasting reproach.

67 He also rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.

69 And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever.

70 He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds;

71 From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance.

72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.

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