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LET'S FOCUS ON THE X GENERATION!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, October 24, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).


I just read an article in the Daily News about stores that are now targeting the X Generation. The article said that these new boutiques are filled with young people. It tells about one of them.

Metropark, which opened at the Glendale Galleria last week, is just the latest store to go after this burgeoning market… Metropark is just the latest venture to go after today's hippest, hottest market [college-age students] and young professionals (The Los Angeles Daily News, October 19, 2004, Business, page 1).

The founder of this store, Orv Madden, said, "I don't think there's a concept in malls right now that really speaks to these customers…Our customers grew up shopping in the mall. Now they're in their twenties and getting their first jobs" (ibid., p. 3).

Smart businessmen like Madden are targeting young people like you. But most of our churches are stuck back in the seventies, still trying to reach the old hippies. What a colossal mistake! They sing stale "Jesus Movement" choruses from an overhead projector. They "dress down" and come to church in jeans and T-shirts. They preach motivational messages from new translations. Every one of those ideas is dated - made to appeal to a generation that is now over thirty-five years old.

I say that we need to junk these outdated "hippie" - era trappings. Junk them - and make our churches places where the X generation wants to come!

Dress up with a suit and tie! Put on a decent dress! Sing the great hymns with gusto! Preach vigorously from the King James Bible! Preach impassioned, pungent, spiritful sermons in short sentences - lively, stimulating, simple, fire and Blood sermons, that reach the heart and convert the soul. That's what will reach the new generation. And we are proving it! This church is brim-full of twenty-something kids that love to be here! They don't want to leave when the services are over! When they finally do leave, they stand in a great flock on the sidewalk in front of the church for another half-hour. Then they go to the parking lot, and talk for another twenty minutes. They want fellowship, and we give it to them - for over two hours after each service! That's the way to reach the new generation! Throw out the hippie choruses, baggy clothes, new translations, and insipid sermons! Strip down and hardwire the church with traditional hymns, a traditional dress code, and old-time preaching - just right for the new generation! They want lively tradition, and that's what they get at our church! Gear up for the new generation!

That's what the psalmist was talking about in our text. And there are three points I want to emphasize from that passage of Scripture this morning.

I. First, we must preach to the generation to come.

Stand with me and read Psalm 78:2-4 out loud.

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:2-4).

You may be seated.

I must preach to "the generation to come." But what must I preach?

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old" (Psalm 78:2).

That's exactly what Jesus Christ did. The Bible says,

"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matthew 13:34-35).

The parables were revelations of things hidden, which only those with spiritual insight could understand (The Applied New Testament Commentary, Kingsway Publications, 1997, page 202).

Christ opened His mouth and preached about "things…kept secret from the foundation of the world." And that is exactly what we are supposed to do. My job is to preach things from the Bible that are still not understood by most people in the world.

"We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).

Your generation has been spoon-fed a pack of lies. Evolution is a lie. Attacks on the Bible are a lie. The idea that one religion is as good as another is a lie. The idea that you don't need to go to church to be a Christian is a lie. Those lies need to be exposed from the Bible to your generation.

The old hippie John Lennon said,

Imagine there's no Heaven,
    It's easy if you try;
No Hell below us,
    Above us only sky.
("Imagine" by John Lennon, 1940-1980).

John Lennon's lie needs to be exposed from our pulpits. Young people need to know the truth. There is a place called Heaven. Hell is a burning reality. Jesus said so. He said,

"It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:47-48).

There is a place called Heaven. There is a burning Hell.

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children…"
    (Psalm 78:2-4).

"We will not hide them from their children." Not in this pulpit! We will tell you the truth from God's Word in this pulpit! You are either going to Heaven or to Hell. And it all depends on whether or not you are converted, and washed clean from your sins by the precious Blood of Christ!

Jesus said,

"Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

Have you been born again? Have you experienced the new birth? You must come to Christ, in a new and living way. You must have a Divine-human encounter with Christ. It's a cosmic experience that Christ called the "new birth" and "conversion." Have you experienced that? Have you come to the resurrected Christ? Have your sins been blotted out of God's record by the Blood of Christ? Or will you go on as you are, and go to Hell when you die? Think about that. It's the most important thing you will ever be faced with.

These great Bible truths need to be heard by your generation. Yes, I know those things will upset some people. Yes, I know that many ministers no longer preach those things. But "we will not hide them from their children" - not in this pulpit! We must preach the truth to you, the new generation!

II. Second, we must preach on the power of God, and His wonderful works.

Look at Psalm 78:4. Stand and read that verse aloud again.

"We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).

You may be seated.

Halloween is coming. The Devil and demons and witches will be glorified everywhere. Halloween will be as dark as the night when Jesus was arrested and taken to be crucified. He said to those evil Romans,

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).

And that's the way Halloween will be next Sunday night. And Christ says to the revelers at Halloween,

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness."

They took Jesus and beat Him half to death. They placed a crown of thorns on His bleeding head. They nailed Him to a Cross. He died in agony and Blood.

"This is your hour, and the power of darkness."

That's the way it will be next Sunday night, as the darkness of Halloween falls, and Satan rules and reigns in the streets of our city.

But in the deep, demonic gloom there is a ray of light, a tiny spot shining in the darkness. What is it? I hear the piano playing there! I hear the children singing. I come closer. It's the Baptist Tabernacle! I can hear their voices singing that grand old hymn of the Reformation:

And though this world with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure,
[The word of Christ] shall fell him.
    ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Martin Luther, 1483-1546).

The world is shrouded in the dark gloom of Halloween. But Christ is triumphant! The stone has been rolled back from the tomb! Christ is not there! Christ has risen from the dead!

"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body…" (Ephesians 1:21-23).

"We will not hide [these things] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).

The power of God raised Christ from the dead! Praise God for the "wonderful works that He hath done!"

III. Third, we must preach so you will not be like your parents' generation.

Please read verses seven and eight out loud.

"That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God" (Psalm 78:7-8).

"And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation"!

Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if your generation, young people under the age of thirty, turned back to God? Wouldn't that thrill your heart beyond imagination? I believe it can happen! I believe revival could come to your generation! I believe that God can do it again!

"Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1-3).

O God, do it again! As in the days of Luther, O God, do it again! As in the days of Whitefield and Edwards and Wesley, O God, do it again! As in the days of Nettleton, my God, pour down conviction of sin and conversion to Christ on the young people of this generation! Oh, my God, do it again, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Let us stand and sing Luther's great hymn. It's number seven on the song sheet. Sing it like Luther sang it, with all your heart and soul!

A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing;
    Our helper He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe;
    His craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing;
    Were not the right Man on our side, The Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
    Lord Sabaoth, His name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle.

And though this world with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure, For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, No thanks to them, abideth;
    The Spirit and the gifts are ours Through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also;
    The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
    ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Martin Luther, 1483-1546).

Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 78:1-8.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

             "The Strife Is O'er" (translated by Francis Pott, 1832-1909).

THE OUTLINE OF

LET'S FOCUS ON THE X GENERATION!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done" (Psalm 78:4).

I.   We must preach to the generation to come, Psalm 78:2-4a;
Matthew 13:34-35; Mark 9:47-48; John 3:7.

II.  We must preach on the power of God, and His wonderful works,
Psalm 78:4b; Luke 22:53; Ephesians 1:21-23.

III. We must preach so you will not be like your parents'
generation, Psalm 78:7-8; Isaiah 64:1-3.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."