Opening Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 2:8
   Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

The essential element to transform generations:
1.  The message of Jesus is for every generation.

Psalms 145:13   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

2.  The message is passed down; it is God’s method to pass from one generation to another.

Deuteronomy 4:9   Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

Psalms 71:18   And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to all who are to come.

3.  The message is not informational but relational.

1 Thessalonians 2:8  Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

It is best caught not taught.

Our vision going forward as a church must be to release from one generation to the next several generations a heart for the Kingdom.

The way we do that is not only through children’s ministry, youth ministry, and young adults, but through an older generation catching a vision and a passion to share the Gospel and our very lives with the younger generations.

Ezra 3:10-13  Now when the builders had laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord according to the directions of King David of Israel. They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away.

There were two very different reactions on this great day of celebration:

    The old folks wept in despair.

    The young folks rejoiced in delight.

The older generation remembered the grandeur of Solomon’s Temple, which is still considered one of the great wonders of the world. They remembered the many things made of gold – the altar, the ark, the mercy seat. They remembered the Glory of God that rested on that temple and filled it; it was literally the house of God. And it would never be the same. It broke their hearts.

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There are those of us who remember the glory days. Days when the altars were filled with the lost, the spontaneous worship that was so common, the Scripture songs, the basic respect for the Bible and the church.

When you compare the past to today, you can easily miss the blessings of God’s presence and power today.

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The Gifts of the Present

The young people were rejoicing. They had only heard the old stories about the former temple. What they knew was what it was like to grow up in bondage and what it was like to have no place to call home. So, when they stepped onto that new foundation, they were elated because they had never seen anything like it before.

We have those same kind of young people today.

What they see is opportunity, safety, being an important part of something that can change their world.

But here is the problem…

Both of these groups squandered the opportunities God gave them. For 15 years, they build houses and businesses but ignored the temple. The foundation was good enough so they didn’t do anything else.

Those who had experienced what God did, failed to nurture and serve the younger generation.

Those who were so excited about the new things God was doing failed to bring it to completion.

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It is so easy for churches to get stuck here – the older generation remembering and the younger generation fine with things as they are.

But God wants us to complete what He has begun. He wants us to pass down, not just the Gospel, but our lives to the next generation.

Haggai the prophet comes on the scene and God speaks through him four great promises:

Haggai 2:3   Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?

1.  vs. 4 – The promise of His presence

2.  vs. 6 – The promise of His power

3.  vs. 8 – The promise of HIs provision

4.  vs. 9 – The promise of His potential

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You can’t live out the blessings of God by looking backwards.

You can’t live out the blessings of God building for yourself.

But we can see a latter glory together if we join hands to build for the future generations.

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Questions:

  1. What is the problem of both groups in Ezra, and how does it relate to the church today? 
  2. Why do people get stuck comparing the old and the new?
  3. What is the older generation’s responsibility? The younger generation’s responsibility?
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