Leading Generations (Exodus 20:5-6)

MOTIVATE                          Lead Generations_January 20 2013
Vision changes the future. Consider a few examples…
 In September 1960, our nation’s first televised presidential debate occurred and altered the course of how presidential elections are won. Richard Nixon appeared pale and puny from a recent hospitalization, whereas John F. Kennedy appeared young, vibrant and more presidential. Listeners on the radio considered Nixon to have won the debate but watchers on the television viewed Kennedy as winning by a landslide. Indeed, Kennedy would go on to become president. Many campaigns today are now organized around not just a candidate’s content but their image as well. Vision changes the future.

 In May 1963, more than 1000 young African Americans marched through the segregated business district in Birmingham, AL. Caucasian officials unleashed powerful water hoses, attack dogs and police brutality to fight them away. The images of young black girls tumbling down the street; black women being beaten and men attacked and bit by police dogs – such images caused newspaper readers and watchers of media to turn the tide on segregation. In 1964, The Civil Rights Act was passed into national law prohibiting racial discrimination in employment and access into public places. In 1965 the Voting Rights Act would echo the Constitutional 15th Amendment of the right for any citizen to vote, regardless of race or color. Vision changes the future.
o This Monday will be MLK Jr Day and even further will mark the second inauguration of non-white President Barack Obama. A vision from history has brought change to our future.
 I am glad for changes brought to light on race and color. To note: SBC elected its first African American President – Fred Luter Jr.
 I am not glad for alternate changes to radical government intrusion into our daily lives.

 In 1984, a film was produced called ‘The Silent Scream’. The film was the first time images of an abortion process were given electronically rather than just printed images. Ultrasound technology has provided a window into the womb, to display the marvel of life and wonder of personhood inside a woman. Such technology has curbed abortion statistics but enraged the politics on the issue. Planned Parenthood labels the vision of ultrasound technology as “abhorrent” in regard to states creating laws for women to have a sonogram 24-hours before an abortion. Judges have stated, “Denying [a women] up-to-date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.” Vision changes the future.
o Today marks Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, which marks the 40th anniversary of Supreme Court’s Decision on Roe v. Wade for legalizing abortion.
o We must pray for the cause of life to be valued and partner with pro-life organizations.

Vision changes the future.
Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”

God’s people need a vision. This vision must be rooted in the riches of God’s Word. The vision also must be blooming into the future with fruit that is unspoiled by the ways of this world and unfading as it lasts into eternity.

I believe we have that here at SPBC: Growing Godly Generations by Loving God, Loving Others and Leading Generations.
 We believe in a Sovereign and Saving God; a God who is greater than our circumstances and calls us to find deep abiding joy in Him.
 We believe every person matters; they matter to God and they matter to us. Therefore, our relationships are growing toward genuine compassion and care for one another. We laugh with each other, we celebrate, we eat and then we eat some more. We also weep with each other during grief, and we minister not by trite cliché’ but with practical theological truth in love. We are learning to do this both inside the church and also outward to our neighborhoods and the nations.
 We believe in legacy; a legacy that understands our beliefs and our behaviors have far-reaching impact unto future generations. We value faith and spiritual growth in the home in partnership with the church so the gospel can be proclaimed throughout the surrounding culture. Our vision does not call us to remove ourselves from the culture but to redeem and restore culture.

EXAMINE Live 10: Lead Generations LIVE 10_logo
Exodus 20:5-6 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth [generations] of those who hate Me, 6 but showing faithful love to a thousand [generations] of those who love Me and keep My commands.

God’s jealousy means our worship must be exclusive.
As we have observed in our study of the 10 Commandments, God is revealing Himself. The introduction “I am the Lord your God” is given 5x (20:2, 5, 7, 10, 12). God is the sole Sovereign Creator. He is also the sole Savior whom redeemed Israel (19:4-5; 20:2). The commands to have no other gods and not to create any idols or images has already been given (20:3-4). And coinciding is the statement that God is a jealous God.

Even more, this statement is central to God’s nature in Scripture.
Exodus 34:14 for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 5:9 You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,

Deuteronomy 6:15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

Joshua 24:19 But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.

Ezekiel 36:6 Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I have spoken in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations.

Ezekiel 39:25 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name.

Nahum 1:2 The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.

God’s jealousy is not insecure or inappropriate emotion as we might first perceive, but is intense intolerance against anything that competes for our allegiance toward Him. It is like a father who would fight to guard his home, or a mother to defend her children. God’s jealousy is like a loving spouse who desires and even demands faithfulness. When we view God’s jealousy in terms of God’s nature and worth then we can understand the rightness of such thought.

God’s commands are for His glory and our good! Take a few moments to review all the 10 Commands to better understand God’s jealousy for our allegiance & obedience.
1. There is one God. I have not and do not put anyone or anything above God. My faith and trust for eternal salvation is in Christ alone; not my goodness or good deeds. I do not believe there are multiple ways of salvation. I personally trust and treasure Christ in my heart, my thoughts, my speech, my attitudes and my actions.
2. Only God is worthy of worship. I have not and do not have anything or anyone in competition with God. I have not created physical, mental/intellectual, emotional or spiritual idols. I know I was made in God’s image and do not try to make God fit into my image/conception of Him. I seek to know God through His revelation of Holy Scripture.
3. Respect God’s name. I have not and do not speak unholy words, speak or act irreverently of God. I follow through in all my commitments and have never broken a promise. The way I act in public is the way I act in private as a reflection of God’s name & presence over my entire life.
4. Remember the Sabbath. I have not and do not fail to worship God both privately and corporately with my church family. I work diligently each week at my job (whether employed in/out the home) and consistently set aside time in my week to reflect & refuel with God. I am faithful in attending and participating at my church worship gatherings. I am a model example for how a believer should express worship to God.
5. Respect Parents. I have not and do not disobey or dishonor my parents. I have no problem submitting to those in authority, whether to my parents, teachers, traffic laws, police officers, IRS tax laws and even my president.
6. Respect Life. I have not murdered anyone whether inside or outside the womb. I do not have malice (anger) or violent thoughts toward anyone. All my relationships are filled with love and joy and without inflicted pain (verbal or physical). I have genuine compassion for every person’s needs.
7. Respect Marriage. I have not and do not practice sexual impurity nor had sexual intimacy with someone whom is not my spouse. If I am married, I have not and do not flirt or fantasize about others who are not my spouse.
8. Respect Other People’s Property. I have not and do not steal items that do not belong to me. This includes stealing the possessions or the ideas of other, cheating in school or on taxes, illegally downloading or recording music. I do not steal or waste time at my job but internet surfing or taking unknown extended lunches & conversation breaks. I have never taken a pen or a Bible from a hotel room or not even extra sauce from the fast food restaurant.
9. Respect Truth. I have not and do not lie. I always tell the entire truth and do not mislead, exaggerate or use sarcasm foolishly. I keep my word and promises whether verbal or written.
10. Cultivate Contentment. I have not and do not have wrongful jealousy, envy or greed. I do not resent others for what they have and am always thankful & perfectly content with what God has provided me. I trust God’s plan for my present life circumstances and do not yearn hopelessly into the future.

The point of God’s commands is that approaching God and being accepted by Him cannot happen on our own. We fall short and we need a savior. We are more desperate and evil than we thought; we are also more loved than we can imagine. God sent Jesus into the world as our substitute and our salvation. Salvation is a gift of grace that we can never earn or repay.

Reminds me of…

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp—
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, “What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

“And why’s everyone so quiet,
So somber–give me a clue.”
” Hush, child,” He said, “they’re all in shock.
At the thought of seeing you.”

God’s accountability impacts our future generations.
The jealousy of God requires His justice. He punishes those who hate and reject Him. The mention of 3rd and 4th generation was a phrase implying continuity. The consequences of sin are complex and interconnected; like the expansion of an environmental oil spill or hereditary disease, sin spreads and contaminates everything it touches. Our sin is not in isolation of the world around us; especially our children. Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes a lasting impression. We must be careful that we do not establish wrongful patterns and paths that the next generation will walk.
Yet, God also promises blessing and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love and keep His commands.

Steadfast love (hesed) is a word to describe the richness of God’s grace, mercy and compassion. Steadfast by itself suggests God’s legal fulfillment of the covenant; while Love by itself is only emotion or sentimentality. Together they combine to describe God’s faithful mercy and kindness in the way he relates to us.

Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

The point is that God’s joy and blessing comes when we find our joy in Him. The promise of blessing is stronger than the promise of punishment. Each person is accountable to God for their sin and through genuine repentance God gives grace.

Ezekiel 18:19-24 “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

Joel 2:12-13 “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love”

Hosea 10:12 “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord that he may come and rain righteousness upon you…

APPLY/THINK

Love for God = Obedience
1John 5:3-4 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Psalm 86:11 “Teach me Your way, Lord, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name.”

Trust in Jesus Christ. Treasure Him as the source of hope, joy and salvation. His commands are for our good and we should walk in them.

Sow an act, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.

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