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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pass it on

The Law of Moses existed in times past - the gospel of Christ is the "marching orders" for the church of today.  Yet we don't discount the many lessons taught in the Law of Moses, nor do we tout as superior the gospel of Christ.  One points to the other - the Law pointing the way to the coming of Christ and the accomplished work of his cross.  One thing remains true through the ages - God loves his kids enough to give them direction on how it is they are to live their lives.  He loves them enough to guide their steps and prepare their hearts for great and majestic things.  The gospel message is plain - all who will believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord will be saved.  The Law pointed to the one who would fulfill every manner of sacrifice needed in order to make the gospel message of salvation a reality.  In the giving of the Law to the people of Israel, there was one instruction which rang true over and over again - pass it on!  Pass it on to the next generation - for they will not know if we don't pass it on.

God gave his Law to Jacob’s descendants, the people of Israel. And he told our ancestors to teach their children, so that each new generation would know his Law and tell it to the next. Then they would trust God and obey his teachings, without forgetting anything God had done. They would be different from their ancestors, who were stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful to God. (Psalm 78:5-8 CEV)

Today is no different for those of us who have believed the gospel message - the good news of Christ's salvation gift to those who would place their faith and trust in his finished work on the cross.  Yet, there are generations coming up behind us who will never know this gospel message unless we pass it on.  In the "telling" of the truths contained in God's Word, there is something powerful which happens.  The one taught becomes the teacher - in teaching, you learn greater truths.  If you don't believe this to be true, try teaching today's math to one of your grandchildren!  Today's math is totally different from the "new math" I learned when I came through school.  Now, you might think there is but one way to arrive at the sum of two numbers, but I am hear to tell you they are teaching like seven different ways to get at that sum!  In teaching my grandson so he can complete his homework assignment, I am having to learn new principles myself!

The same is true when we are trusting and obeying Christ - the truths will remain consistently the same (as when two plus two consistently equals four). They don't change - but the depth of those truths and the impact they make in our lives and in the lives of those around us expand as we re-tell those truths over and over again.  It is like exploring afresh an area you thought you knew everything about already.  On a recent trip to California, we traveled the same roads back and forth to make several daily jaunts to the place my mother was visiting with a friend she has known for years.  As we passed this one particular spot in the road, we had missed the fact of this huge white chicken mounted high on a roof peak at a nursery.  All of a sudden, I looked up ahead and saw the gigantic chicken and was shocked to realize I had missed it all those times going back and forth.  The chicken had consistently been there - I had just missed it!

This can be the case with truths we think we have learned well.  We "pass over" them time and time again, almost without thinking or stopping to take notice of what is really contained within those pages.  When we have the opportunity to "pass along" the truths we have learned, we might just realize there is a huge white chicken perched in plain view that we have missed!  I think the instruction given to Israel to pass on to the next generation the truths they had received was twofold.  First, they didn't have printing presses like we do today, so the passage of truth was reliant upon one individual sharing the wealth of knowledge they had with the next.  Second, there is power in sharing truth - it brings not only enlightenment to the next generation, but it brings depth of wisdom to the present.

Another important outcome of "re-telling" the truths of God and the life lessons we have learned while sitting at his feet is this idea of "reproducing" the principles of obedience and trust in the next generation.  What is recounted will eventually produce results in those who hear the recounting.  Scripture reminds us - faith comes by hearing - and hearing comes by the Word of God.  As we get into the Word ourselves, we develop hearing ears and responsive hearts.  In time, we develop depth of faith manifest in obedience in our own lives.  In sharing the truths which take root in us, we are ensuring the next generation has a chance to have the Word take root in them, as well.  Truth must not only be read - it must be heard.  There is a "double-whammy" effect when it is not only taken in through the "eye-gate" (written word), but also the "ear-gate" (hearing).  

If we see rebellion all around us, perhaps what we can infuse into those lives is simply the truth - passing on to a generation who is on overload with input the things which really matter in the end.  Just sayin!