The Testimony of Generations

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:33

Summary

Each generation has a testimony before God based upon how people respond to King Jesus. When people respond in faith toward God rather than unbelievef, truth, goodness and beauty reign in culture.  When people reject the government of God, evil prevails.  God is calling us to be a generation where men once again call upon the name of the Lord.

Outline

  1. Every Generation is a generation of destiny, and every generation receives a testimony.
    1. The deeds, righteous or wicked of men and women determine the testimony of generations.
    2. Here are some examples of the testimony of generations.
    3. Genesis 4:26 (NKJV) — 26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.
    4. Genesis 6:5 (NKJV) — 5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
    5. (Post Joshua Generation – discuss Pre & Present first) Judges 2:10 (NKJV) — 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
    6. Psalm 24:6 (NKJV) — 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah
  2. The testimony of generations is with regard to the kingdom.
    1. Leaders determine the destiny of generations.
    2. Even with wicked leaders like Ahab and Jezebel, a man of God such as Elijah can eclipse the wickedness of his age and win a testimony for His generation.
    3. This is the heritage of heroes of faith.
    4. The author of Hebrews in Chapter 11 describes the heritage of heroes of faith and concludes with: Hebrews 11: 38a (NKJV) —38 of whom the world was not worthy.
  3. That last testimony came from David – hero who spread the reign of Christ in His day – let us look a little at the testing of his faith for it is very similar to the testing of our faith – in Psalm 11:
    1. (INTRODUCE PSALM FIRST) Psalm 11:1–7 (NKJV) — 1 In the Lord I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain”? 2 For look! The wicked bend their bow, They make ready their arrow on the string, That they may shoot secretly at the upright in heart. 3 If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? 4 The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. 5 The Lord tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. 6 Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup. 7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright.
    2. David’s counselors.
    3. David’s confession and restatement of their argument.
    4. The climax of their argument – the foundations are destroyed.
    5. Let us not cast stones at his counselors, for they were with David and were fighting for truth, goodness, beauty and righteousness in their generation – yet they became intimidated and frightened by the enemy. They became discouraged and lost heart.
    6. This conflict was a moment of destiny that would shape history itself.
    7. David’s response is to look to the Lord.
    8. God is revealed as the judge of all the earth.
      1. Many are offended by this description of God, but this reveals the character and nature of Jesus.
      2. If we are offended or ashamed by such a description, we are ashamed or offended at Jesus.
      3. Many want a Jesus that is acceptable to a wicked world, but that is not the Christ of scripture.
    9. The testing of the faith of the righteous. “The Lord tests the righteous”
    10. The victory of the righteous. “Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup”
    11. The inheritance of the righteous. “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright”
    12. When we fight for righteousness – Abortion as an example.
      1. It is a dark day indeed when abortion is not a primary, non-negotiable issue for believers. If we vote for a candidate who is not radically opposed to abortion, we are voting for a devil be rule over us.
      2. Unfortunately, in many official elections, the choice before us is between the lesser of devils.
      3. Bishop Ron began his ministry as a leader in the pro-life movement, and there were several stories where God’s sovereign miracle working power backed up the cause of the righteous against the wicked – DA of Corpus Christi.
    13. WHAT WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE – HERE ONLY ONE QUOTE FROM LANGE’S COMMENTARY - The advice here given, and which he repels, is that of timid and desponding friends, who would persuade him that all is lost, and that the highest wisdom is to yield to circumstances, and to seek safety not in resistance but in flight. But in fact the voice which thus speaks is the voice of the natural heart, of the selfish, and therefore short-sighted and cowardly instinct, which always asks first, not, what is right? but, what is safe? The advice may be well meant, but it is unworthy (comp. 3:3; 4:8). This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. But it is often a sorer trial for faith to have to withstand the pleadings of well meaning friends than to arm itself against open enemies.”—C. A. B.][1]
  4. Fighting the good fight of faith.
    1. Another man who won a good testimony, whose generation turned the world upside down.
    2. 2 Timothy 4:6–8 (NKJV) — 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
    3. The question is, how do we win such a testimony in our generation.
    4. Studies at Fortis.
    5. Church History – especially the Reformation and the First Great Awakening.
    6. Some keys to winning the war:
  5. Prayer
    1. John 14:12–14 (NKJV) — 12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
    2. 1 Timothy 2:1–4 (NKJV) — 1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    3. John 16:23–24 (NKJV) — 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
  6. The Power of the Holy Spirit
    1. Romans 14:17 (NKJV) — 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
    2. Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) — 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
    3. Jeremiah 31:33 (NKJV) — 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
    4. Ezekiel 36:26–27 (NKJV) — 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
  7. The Church
    1. Haggai 1:2–11 (NKJV) — 2 “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” ’ ” 3 Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 4 “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” 5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 6 “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 8 Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. 9 “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 10 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. 11 For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
    2. Malachi 3:8–12 (NKJV) — 8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.
    3. The healthy Body – participants not spectators.
  8. Fellowship & Devotion
    1. Fellowship with God
    2. Breaking fellowship with the enemy.
      1. Thought Life
    3. Devotion - worship
  9. Infectious faith
  10. Winning a testimony in our generation.
    1. What Life Springs Church is committed to.
    2. Psalm 24:6 (NKJV) — 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah

 

Additional Notes

The Psalmist’s situation is desperate. His life is in peril. Fainthearted friends counsel flight. Wickedness is in the ascendant and irresistible. Indignantly he repudiates their suggestion. Jehovah is his protector. It would be the act of unbelief as well as cowardice to seek any other refuge. Triumphantly he proclaims his faith that Jehovah is the righteous Governor of the world, Who will destroy the wicked and welcome the righteous into His Presence.[1]

Those are not true friends who, in dangerous times, put the duty of self-preservation before that of duty to the community, and then when the foundations of the State are rooted up, and the pillars of social order begin to shake, advise to flight instead of to the conflict which should be waged in the name of God, and with the assurance of Divine assistance. Indeed every courageous man and brave warrior rejects such imputations as cowardly and shameful; how much more the Sovereign, who is called of God, and who trusts in God?[2]

The advice here given, and which he repels, is that of timid and desponding friends, who would persuade him that all is lost, and that the highest wisdom is to yield to circumstances, and to seek safety not in resistance but in flight. But in fact the voice which thus speaks is the voice of the natural heart, of the selfish, and therefore short-sighted and cowardly instinct, which always asks first, not, what is right? but, what is safe? The advice may be well meant, but it is unworthy (comp. 3:3; 4:8). This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. But it is often a sorer trial for faith to have to withstand the pleadings of well meaning friends than to arm itself against open enemies.”—C. A. B.][3]

We listen first (ver. 1) to the psalmist’s judgment of his generation. Probably it was very unlike the rosy hues in which a heart less in contact with God and the unseen would have painted the condition of things. Eras of great culture and material prosperity may have a very seamy side, which eyes accustomed to the light of God cannot fail to see. The root of the evil lay, as the psalmist believed, in a practical denial of God; and whoever thus denied Him was “a fool.” It does not need formulated atheism in order to say in one’s heart, “There is no God.” Practical denial or neglect of His working in the world, rather than a creed of negation, is in the psalmist’s mind. In effect, we say that there is no God when we shut Him up in a far-off heaven, and never think of Him as concerned in our affairs. To strip Him of His justice and rob Him of His control is the part of a fool. For the Biblical conception of folly is moral perversity rather than intellectual feebleness, and whoever is morally and religiously wrong cannot be in reality intellectually right.[4]

Self-preservation is not a man’s first duty; flight is his last. Better and wiser and infinitely nobler to stand a mark for the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” than to stop at our post though we fall there, better infinitely to toil on, even when toil seems vain, than cowardly to keep a whole skin at the cost of a wounded conscience or despairingly to fling up work, because the ground is hard and the growth of the seed imperceptible. Prudent advices, when the prudence is only inspired by sense, are generally foolish; and the only reasonable attitude is obstinate hopefulness and brave adherence to duty.[5]

“The foundations are indeed being destroyed.” Moral and spiritual values are at stake. The “upright in heart” (v. 2; cf. 7:10) and all that they stand for are under attack by the wicked. We would probably replace the picture of the wicked as archers doing their deadly work under the cover of darkness with that of well-concealed snipers and the deadly carnage they can cause. What defense is there in such a situation? “What can the righteous do?” (v. 3). Such despair is a tempting response and one which has a powerful appeal for many people today in the midst of the moral confusion and chaos of our time.[6]

To the eyes that have seen that vision and before which it ever burns, all earthly sorrows and dangers seem small. There is the true asylum of the hunted soul; that is the mountain to which it is wise to flee. If the faint-hearted had seen that sight, their timid counsels would have caught a new tone. They are preposterous to him who does see it. For not only does he behold Jehovah enthroned, but he sees Him scrutinising all men’s acts. We bring the eyelids close when minutely examining any small thing. So God is by a bold figure represented as doing, and the word for “beholds” has to divide as its root idea, and hence implies a keen discriminating gaze.[7]

It is not stated here how a man is justified, but how it fares with the righteous. He may indeed on earth fall into the greatest dangers and needs, and be surrounded by timid, unsafe, and false friends, and be oppressed by mighty, crafty, and merciless enemies; but God does not forsake those who trust in Him with living faith. He tries them, it is true, as a discerner of hearts, but the upright, whom He has found faithful, He causes to experience His love, and helps them out of all their needs.[8]

 

 


[1]A. F. Kirkpatrick, The Book of Psalms, The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906), 57

[2]Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moll, C. B., Briggs, C. A., Forsyth, J., Hammond, J. B., McCurdy, J. F., et al. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (pp. 104–105). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[3]Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moll, C. B., Briggs, C. A., Forsyth, J., Hammond, J. B., McCurdy, J. F., et al. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (p. 103). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[4] Maclaren, A. (1903). The Psalms. (W. Robertson Nicoll, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible, Volume 3: Psalms to Isaiah, Expositor’s Bible (p. 40). Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co.

[5] Maclaren, A. (1903). The Psalms. (W. Robertson Nicoll, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible, Volume 3: Psalms to Isaiah, Expositor’s Bible (p. 35). Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co.

[6] Robert Davidson, The Vitality of Worship: a Commentary on the Book of Psalms, International Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Edinburgh: W.B. Eerdmans; Handsel Press, 1998), 47.

[7] Maclaren, A. (1903). The Psalms. (W. Robertson Nicoll, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible, Volume 3: Psalms to Isaiah, Expositor’s Bible (p. 35). Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co.

[8] Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moll, C. B., Briggs, C. A., Forsyth, J., Hammond, J. B., McCurdy, J. F., et al. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (p. 105). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[9] James Hastings, ed., The Greater Men and Women of the Bible: Ruth–Naaman (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1914), 23–60.


[1]Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moll, C. B., Briggs, C. A., Forsyth, J., Hammond, J. B., McCurdy, J. F., et al. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (p. 103). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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