Sermon Notes: 1/15/23
Building This Generation
Pastor Holden Tyner
How do we build this generation?
We all play a part in building this generation
⁃ Raising a child
⁃ Discipling this generation
⁃ Encouraging this generation
⁃ Getting involved a ministry or outreach for youth
Whatever part you should or are playing, I believe that from the Book of Nehemiah which is the book of the Bible we as a church are walking through, will see some spiritual lessons from Nehemiah
That will help us as a local church and as individual Christians build this generation.
“And they said to me, "The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire." As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah 1:3-4 ESV
Remnant means “The remaining”. God has a remnant that we can impact, that we can reach, that either need to know about Jesus or are Christians, and need to be further discipled and built up in the faith… This remnant is in great trouble just like those in Jerusalem, it may be different trouble, but it is trouble nonetheless. This remnant, or generation we are reaching are inundated with evil ways and sinful ideas such as condoning and encouraging homosexuality (which is clearly against God’s design yet is taught in our culture as if it is the normal way of life)
Another trouble facing this generation more than ever before is the sinful idea that genders stretch far beyond a man or a woman, that they need to decide which of the said to be 72 or more gender identities they wish to be.
With technology being at the forefront of this generation, pornography has strongly affected this generation with the average age of addiction to pornography being 8 years old.
The pressure to conform and accept these ideologies is leaving this generation grasping onto false truth. All the while, the truth of the Word of God gets shoved out and ignored by so many of the culture more and more. This remnant of a generation is being pushed and pulled so many different directions, and what I want to address today is what is our job as the church?
Our job as the church is to bring them the truth of the Word of God. To show them the love of God. Above every strategy, above every idea, above every idea of ways to attract them… will be and always has to be the truth of God’s Word. That is supreme above it all.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
This generation is in great trouble and the walls of their hearts and minds need to either be rebuilt completely or continued to be built up by the truth and power of God. My message today is about how we as the church can build this generation for the Kingdom of God
Based on the text from Nehemiah so far, the first way we as a church can build this generation is to have compassion.
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
Nehemiah wept, prayed and fasted before God for Jerusalem
So how do we build this generation?
1: With Compassion
Notice that I said compassion and Nehemiah did more than just weep. If we just weep about what is happening, if we only feel sorry or sad for someone else. Did you know that the true meaning of compassion is to “suffer together?”
📝 Building this generation is going to take more than just feeling sorry for them but stepping in and doing something about it
Nehemiah did more than weep.. He prayed and fasted before God… and as we will see, he went and rebuilt the wall.
If we as a church write off this generation as a lost cause, the inevitable fall, or irredeemable then how do we expect God to send revival, or save them? If we have no hope, love, or compassion in our hearts to help the upcoming generation, then we can expect nothing to change.
I do not know about you, but I will never lose hope of the saving power of Jesus Christ. I will never count out the grace of God. If God can redeem and save me, If God can reach down and save someone like Saul, If God can redeem David, If God can redeem Abraham, if he can redeem the other man on the cross, if he can redeem peter, if he can redeem them…. He can redeem ANYONE!
I don't know about you but I believe Scripture when it says that the harvest is PLENTIFUL but the workers are few… I believe Scripture when it says:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”(2 Chronicles 7:14).
There are people in our workplaces, in our neighborhood, in our schools, in our homes that could be that WHOSOEVER from John 3:16. That your impact, your words, your actions, your mentorship, your discipling in their life could be used by God to change their hearts!
This generation may be in great trouble… They may be in great shame… The walls may be in ruins, but my God is still the same God that redeemed and saved Jerusalem when they were in trouble. He is still freeing captives, he is still saving souls, he is still healing bodies, he is still freeing addicts, he is still doing miracles, he is still working!!
… I will believe that for this generation… Not only to come in the future but I see it every single week here at this church. Students crying out to God at the altar, and singing praises to him in worship. God calling students to ministry, to repentance, to refocus on him, to grow in their faith… I see these things weekly.
So, let us have compassion towards this generation, which is to suffer together,
Let us like Nehemiah start by praying and fasting for this generation! Let us find ways to suffer together, encourage together, grow together, pursue Christ together.
The second way we build this generation as we glean from the wisdom of Nehemiah comes from Nehemiah 2:8..
“and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy." And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.”
Nehemiah 2:8 ESV
“And the King granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me”
The second way that we build this generation is:
2: With Faith
It is going to take faith in two main aspects:
📝 Have faith that when God’s hand is upon you, nothing will stop His will
Jesus taught this same lesson to the disciples as they passed a fig tree that only had leaves on it. Jesus looked at the tree and said may you never bear fruit again… and it withered immediately.
"How did the fig tree wither at once?" And Jesus answered them, "Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith."”
Matthew 21:18-22 ESV
Jesus was teaching the disciples the power behind faith. Obviously it was hyperbole since God clearly doesn’t need mountains cast off and tossed into the sea, including the mountain that they were currently standing on. Jesus was teaching the disciples that when their faith fully aligns with the will of God, the same power of faith that could move that mountain they were standing on into the sea is the same power of faith that will make its way to that situation.
When it comes to building this generation, we stay in prayer and constant seeking of the Lord’s Will, because I know one thing's for sure. When God is in it, nothing will stop His power from impacting their lives.
I have seen too many students who come into youth group simply to have fun, or because a guy or girl they like is there… They look miserable as the Word of God is going forth, yet multiple of those students later gave their lives to Jesus Christ and are now living for Him
So, don’t tell me they are a lost cause, or a hopeless generation.. Do not tell me that they are beyond God’s redemption or grace… Do not tell me that this generation cannot see revival… It is happening already, and like Nehemiah, I will not stop praying and fasting before God on their behalf. I will not stop building. I will release faith over this generation because I know the harvest is plentiful… And when workers align with the harvest, the power of faith will be released from heaven!
📝 Have faith to build even when what you see does not match what you are believing God for
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar,
There were times throughout the building of the wall that Nehemiah faced opposition and resistance to doing what God had called him to do. More times than not, on the way to God’s will coming to fruition in the physical or before our eyes, there will be circumstances that arise that make us doubt what we are believing God for.
My parents experienced this with a few years of my life. I was like the prodigal son who returned to what was instilled in me throughout my whole life and now am serving the Lord in full time ministry. My parents and others around me kept faith in the Lord for me.
Whatever you are believing God for in His will, it does not matter what it looks like around you, keep faith that God works all things together for the good of those who trust in Him.
Nehemiah kept going and believing God even when it was hard. This story of Nehemiah still building the wall even through opposition or stuggle is very near and dear to my heart because of a friend of mine who has had to remind me of that over this year and a half of serving as the youth pastor. Ministry is not always the easiest thing. There are hurts, struggles, opposition from people and the enemy, the devil. Having to watch students who start serving the Lord then decide to go their own way for a little while. Days where I would cry for these students, hurt over a spiritual fight either among the youth team, students, or myself.
A friend of mine who serves on the fuel team has more than one time looked at me at just the right moment and said “stay on the wall…. Don’t come off that wall”
No matter what it looks like church, “stay on the wall… Don’t come off that wall”
The last and final spiritual lesson from Nehemiah on how to build this generation is found in Nehemiah 2:17-18:
“Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer derision." And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, "Let us rise up and build." So they strengthened their hands for the good work.”
Nehemiah 2:17-18 ESV
“They said let us rise up and build… So they strengthened their hands for the good work”
The third way we are to build this generation is:
Once Nehemiah felt compassion, prayed, and fasted, He went to build. Not only did he go to build, he found others who had the faith to build. They all strengthened their hands together for the work.
📝 One person can help build a person of this generation, but together we can build a generation.
Because together… doing the possible, God will do the impossible. God will move. God will change hearts. God will change minds. God will build up the next church leaders. God will build students to be God-fearing parents. God will build the next leaders in the country. God only needs to a people who desire to being the name of Jesus and the hope within Him to the people around us.
“And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."”
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
Let us strengthen our hands together to do what Jesus Christ Himself commanded us before he ascended back to heaven:
GO therefore and MAKE disciples. Baptizing them. Teaching them. That takes compassion… suffering together. Going together
And what is the promise of God at the end… this is where our faith comes in to believe God…
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS TO THE END OF THE AGE…
📝 Now strengthen your hands together… GO and BUILD!
I believe that with compassion, faith, and strengthening our hands together, Isaiah 58:12 can be said of us towards this generation!
Isaiah 58:12 ESV And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.