Friday, 16 December 2016

What Will We Pass On To The Next Generation?

"What You have done will be praised from one generation to the next" (Psalm 145:4).
These words, from Psalm 145, are calling on us to give an answer to a most important question: What will we pass on to the next generation?
Will we pass on something of permanent value? Will we pass on something that stands the test of time, something of lasting value, something that will last "not for the years of time alone, but for eternity"?
"Jesus, my Lord, will love me for ever ... not for the years of time alone, but for eternity."
"Jesus, my Lord, will love me forever " - This is the great message that we pass on to the next generation.
The love of Jesus - There is nothing better than this. His love is the greatest love of all.
In his great chapter on love - 1 Corinthians 13, Paul ends with these great words: "These three things remain forever - faith, hope and love. the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13).
What are we going to pass on to the next generation? - we must choose. We must keep on choosing to pass on faith, hope and love - the faith, hope and love which come to us from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Passing on the love of Christ to the next generation - What a great privilege this is! What a great responsibility it is!
Sometimes, we may feel weighed down by a sense of responsibility. In times like this, we must never forget that we have received from God a great privilege.
The privilege and responsibility of passing on Christ's love to the next generation - Let's think together about how we can make our commitment to the future. Let's think together about the three things which are permanent - faith, hope and love.
Where does faith come from? - It comes from the Lord. He puts it into our hearts.
Paul puts it like this: "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ" (Romans 10:17).
Our faith is often weak.
Our God is always strong.
Real faith is not self-confidence. It is confidence in God. we must never forget this. Sometimes, our confidence in God is shaken by the things that happen to us. We start to think, "I'm not sure if I believe in God." When you feel like this, there's something you must never forget - God believes in you.
You and I are never a waste of God's time.
What is it that assures us that God always has time for us? - Jesus died on the cross for us. How can we look at Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for us, and continue to doubt the love of God for us? God believes in us - and He has a great future planned for us. he lifts us out of the shifting sand of our confused emotions. He sets our feet on the solid Rock - Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation.
The word, "hope", is not always a positive word. Sometimes, it expresses a a lack of faith - "I don't think that this will happen - but I hope that it does."
Hoping for the best - even when we have our doubts: Is this all that we can expect - or is there something more than that?
What is it that gives us hope? Who is it that gives us hope for the future?
It is God who gives us hope. He is the God of hope.
Without Him, everything is hopeless. We have no eternal future to which we can look forward.
With Him, everything becomes hopeful. He changes everything. He gives us the glorious hope of eternal life.
How does this hope change us here-and-now? This hope calls us on into the future. It calls us to be changed by the God of hope. It calls us to follow the Lord Jesus, who is leading us on to His eternal future.
this hope makes a difference here-and-now. It calls us to move forward with God and for God. It calls us to become, more truly and more fully, all that God wants us to be. This hope gives us vision for the future.
Sometimes, we are asked the question: "What is your vision?" Our answer to this question must always be, "The Lord is my Vision." We must keep looking to Jesus. He is the One who has given us faith. He is the One who gives us hope.
The other day, I passed a Wayside Pulpit, with this short but very powerful message: "Don't give up. God doesn't."
I also passed the end of a street with the name: "Hope Terrace."
Day-by-day, the God of hope is giving us His little reminders. He's saying to us, "There is hope." He's reminding us that we're travelling on a journey towards His heavenly glory.
Sometimes, we may feel like we're in a wilderness. God is saying to us, "The wilderness won't last forever. I'm leading you on to the promised land." God doesn't lead us along a dead-end street.
"He didn't bring us thus far to leave us.
 He didn't teach us to swim to let us drown.
He didn't build His home in us to move away.
He didn't lift us up to let us down."
In a recent edition of "Life and Work", there was a great article from the Rev Marion Dodd. It has the title, "From Jacob to Israel." As well as speaking about Jacob who became Israel, she encourages us, by pointing to other people whose lives were transformed by the love and power of God - Abraham, Moses, David, Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus, Levi - the tax collector who became Matthew the Gospel-writer, Saul of Tarsus - the persecutor who became Paul the Apostle. She even mentions the thief on the cross.
What is all of this saying to us? - There is hope. Why? - Because God believes in lost causes. Marion Dodd puts it like this: "What matters is not what we are on our own, but what we can be with God."
Let the past be the past. let us make a new beginning with God - a new beginning with the God of hope. He will lead us into His future, a future in which we will be learning to say, "Great is Thy faithfulness."
Is there really such a thing as "everlasting love"?
Human ;love can be very confusing.
There's the wonderful experience of falling in love. There can also be the painful experience of falling out of love.
Is there a love that never comes to an end, a love that remains strong and doesn't fizzle out through time?
God's Word tells us that there is only one love that never comes to an end. there is only one "everlasting love." It is the love of God, our heavenly Father. His love is the greatest love of all.
How do we know that God loves us? - Jesus died for us. In the cross of Christ, we see the supreme demonstration of God's love for us. Our Saviour dying on the cross for us - This is God's way of showing us that He loves us. His love is not a love that comes and goes. His love is not a love that is sometimes strong, and sometimes weak. His love is constant. he loves us all of the time. His love is an "always and forever" love. It is a love that will not let us go.
His love is an unchanging love. It is also a changing love. It is the love which changes us.
 - Let us be secure in His love.His love is an unchanging love.
 - Let us be changed by His love. His love is a changing love.
Let's think together about this: God's love is an unchanging love. It is also a changing love.
 * His love is an unchanging love.
His love for us doesn't depend on our love for Him. He doesn't start loving us because He sees that we have a strong love for Him. His love comes first. Our love for Him can never be any more than a response to His love for us.
 * His love is a changing love.
Let's never imagine that God's love ever leaves us the way it finds us. God's love changes us. through the love of God, we are given the power to live as a new creation. In His love for us, God gives to us the power of the Holy Spirit, the power to live a life that bears fruit for god and brings glory to Him.
When God speaks to us about His unchanging love, He has something to tell us.
When He speaks to us His changing love - the love that changes us, He has a question for us.
 * God has something to tell us - He tells us that He loves us very much.
 * God has a question for us - He says to us, "I love you very much", and then He asks us this very important question, "How much do you love Me?"
What will we pass on to the next generation?
Let us pass on "the three things that remain forever - faith, hope and love." Let us tell them of Jesus. let us tell them of His love for them. let us pray that their hearts will be open - to receive Jesus, to receive His love.

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