Passage: Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Speaker: Mitch Kim
From Generation To Generation
No matter how fast a runner runs in a relay, if they drop the baton when it is passed to the next runner, they will lose the race. Similarly no matter how faithfully and sacrificially one generation serves and follows the LORD in their generation, if we do not pass the faith to the next generation it will die. This Sunday we dedicate eight children, and together as a faith family we want to to raise these children to grow into maturity in Christ. How do we do that well? Thankfully the people of God have been doing that for thousands of years. Deuteronomy 6:4–9 show that faith transfers from generation to generation as we love God only, we teach God’s Word diligently and meditate on God’s Word constantly.
Faith transfers from generation to generation as we love God only (Deut 6:4–6). Verse 4 is called the Shemain Judaism, recited twice a day to remind them of their exclusive devotion to God alone. For hearts prone to wander, such a reminder to the LORD only is critical. And because we recognize that there is only one God, we love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, and strength. We do not waste our lives or energies or give God our leftovers, but we give God the best of everything. But what does it mean to love God with all of our heart, soul, and strength? Verse 6 continues that “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” This modeling is critical for faith transfer; we cannot give what we do not carry.
Yet even as we love God only, we must teach God’s Word diligently (Deut 6:7). We must be diligent, not haphazard, in how we communicate God’s Word; “you shall teach them diligently to your children” (6:7). What does such diligence look like? It is not simply about having dedicated times of Sunday school during the week, but talking about them in the house, walking by the way, lying down, and when you rise. Every situation of life is the opportunity to teach Gods’ Word. This is not only for physical parents with children; this is for the faith family to pass down. The key then to teach God’s Word diligently is time together. Unless we spend time together, we will not be able to talk about God’s Word in all of these venues. We need this in nuclear families as well as in the wider faith family. We must be intentional about seeing one another in all different types of venues—watching sports games and attending concerts, having lingering meals, and extended conversations. Then and only then will we have the opportunity to teach God’s Word diligently.
Finally we must meditate on God’s Word constantly (Deut 6:9–10). By putting them on our hands, we remind ourselves that everything that we do is in in line with the Word of God. By putting it on between our eyes we process everything in the world through the Word of God. By writing it on our doorframes and gates we see that the Word of God is to be lived out in the world and at home. By always seeing the Word of God, they are to meditate on it day and night. And these are visible reminders that are done not only individually but as a community.
How are we going to pass the faith down to the next generation? Studies suggest that as many as half of our young people may leave the faith after college. However those same studies also suggest that the key to longevity is intergenerational relationships in the wider faith family. As young people have older spiritual uncles and aunts who are walking in vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, they will model what they see. May we be that type of a church.