Solomon wrote, "One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever..." (Eccl. 1:4). Time marches forward and generations pass from the earth yet not before overlapping each other. A generation is the average time interval between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring. That average time works out to be approximately twenty years. Our most recent history is comprised of five generations. There are the Seniors (born before 1926), the Builders (1927-1945), the
Boomers (1946-1964), the Generation X-ers (1965-1983), the Millennials [Gen. Y] (1984-2002), and Generation Z (2002 to present). No matter what generation one finds themselves a part of all are responsible for abiding within the laws of God's word (Ps. 33:11; 100:5; 135:13; Isa. 51:8). God is the Lord of all flesh for all time (see Jer. 32:27).
It is most probable that representatives of all six mentioned generations will be found within a local church. There are natural concerns by older members that the younger generations will not hold to the faith of their parents. A recent article in The Christian Chronicle (a periodical put out by institutional churches) quotes preacher Tim Tripp as saying, "Each generation has the desire and the opportunity to 'remake' the church, according to their understanding of what church means to them." Sam Coy, a church member in Monmouth Oregon said, "Young Christians are willing to question the scriptural authority for long-standing practices..." The article gives histogram charts of differences between five generations in religious service to God. These three charts illustrate the distinct difference in opinions regarding whether or not a man should wear a tie to church on Sunday morning, clap hands during worship, and whether one prefers a traditional worship assembly over contemporary style (see the Christian Chronicle; April 2009 edition pp. 3, 14). Articles such as these help us see the need for young Christians to be guided in truth rather than having truth guided in the directions of men's personal desires.
Christians today ought to be concerned about our youth's perception and approach to God's word.
We often sing the song "l Will Sing of the Mercies" (pp. 660 Hymns for Worship). The song quotes from Psalms 89:1 where the Psalmists writes, "l will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations." It is the responsibility of every generation to pass along the "traditions" of God's authoritative laws (l Cor. 11:2; Il Thess. 2:15). Again, we sing the song, "How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts" (pp. 435 Hymns for Worship). This song considers Psalms 119:9's instruction to the young to "give heed" to God's laws so that their way may be clean. The Bible reveals the failure of generations throughout history whose souls will not see the glories of heaven and such revelation strikes concern within our hearts (see Numb. 32:13; Judges 2:10; Prov. 30:11-14). No matter if you are a Great Grandparent, Grandparent, parent, or simply a friend to those of younger generations your earnest desire is to see people eternally saved (see Rom. 10:1).
The Bible gives examples and commands regarding keeping each generation holy and without blemish. Let us examine a few of these facts for a moment. First, let us always remember that God has commanded that younger generations be taught truth (Deut. 6:7; 11:19; Eph. 6:1ff). Secondly, the young must be taught not only information but they also must develop a proper attitude toward God and His truths. The young must be taught that God and His promises are to be sought after (Acts 17:27). The young must be taught that truth is not beyond man's grasp of understanding (Rom. 10:6-8). The young must be taught to fear and respect the authoritative words of Jehovah God (Col. 3:17; Rev. 22:18). The young must be taught to guard the truths of God with all their heart (l Tim. 6:20-21). The young must be taught conviction by way of example (Heb. 12:1). Again, we sing the song, "Faith of our Fathers" (pp. 265, Hymns for Worship). This song illustrates the importance of not only the older generation's example but the value of following a Godly example. The young must also be taught obedience (James 2:14ff; I Pet. 1:13ff). Lastly, the older generations of God's people have the responsibility to instill with the hearts of the young the reality of heaven and hell (Rev. 20:10-15). Those who focus only on God's love and mercy to the exclusion of His fearful wrath will find themselves eternally subject to that wrath (see Il Thess. 1:3-12). No doubt the Lord loses some to disinterest, boredom, irrational reasoning of agnosticism, and ungodly influences; however, let us do our part now to see to it that the young secure their hearts forever!
John C Robertson