Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

The Book of Judges, Failure Through Compromise – Part 1 of 7 – Godliness to Godlessness in One Generation

Sermon Summary

It has long been noted that no country in the west, resembling the United States, is mentioned in end time prophecy. Russia, China, Iran and some ten European nations are there, but not us. How can that be? Perhaps it is because as history reaches its God-appointed conclusion, the U.S. will either have ceased to exist, or will be so weakened that it plays no noteworthy role. Church, I fear that our country has now become the object of God’s discipline (Proverbs 14:34). “In God We Trust” no longer reflects how the majority of Americans conduct their lives. Today more Americans can name the ingredients in a Big Mac than can recite the Ten Commandments! America was once widely known for its moral power. Today it is notorious for its moral decadence. In one generation we have moved from being a God-fearing nation to being a godless one. It makes you wonder what fifty more years will bring.

Israel’s history is instructive. They professed allegiance to God, and for a little while they did well (Joshua 24:14-18 cf. Judges 2:6-10) But Judges 2:11-13 records some of the saddest words: “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD… They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger…” Their degradation happened in three small steps: [1] in Joshua’s generation, the people served the Lord (v. 7), [2] in the first “Post-Joshua Generation”, they served God but failed to teach their children (v. 10), and [3] in the second “Post-Joshua Generation” they did evil in the sight of the Lord and served other gods (v. 11). In just one generation, the spiritual and moral focus of an entire nation was dramatically altered.

Deuteronomy 6 explains the secret to living a fruitful life, as individuals, as families, and as a larger community. It also is key to understanding Israel’s tragic history—you cannot impart to others what you do not possess yourself! A shallow faith won’t stick. Your kids will see through it. But a genuine faith is sticky. It transfers across the generations, and it helps insulate us from the alluring pull of our culture.

Listen, the true biblical God that we serve is a jealous god, and He will court no rivals, at least not forever. He is patient, but even His patience has limits. As we see in the book of Judges, in the midst of her prosperity, Israel forgot God, and as a result God raised up other nations to humble her. Could it be that God will bring judgment on our land, just as He did on ancient Israel? Is it possible that in the coming years the United States will cease to exist as a world power? As a nation, we have largely ignored the words of Deuteronomy 6. We have become complacent and comfortable, living in this great land in which God has blessed us. But we’ve forgotten God. We forgot to cultivate our own relationship with Him. We forgot to teach and model godliness in our homes. We forgot to shelter our kids from the smut our culture produces. Take personal responsibility for the spiritual development of your family.

Fathers, your spiritual leadership in the home greatly impacts the next generation. One study found that if both father and mother go to church, 72% of the children will attend when they are grown. If only the father goes, the figure doesn’t drop that much: 55% of the children will go when they are grown. But when only the mother goes to church, only 15% of those children will go to church when they are grown. Dads—your families need you!

Application Challenge

  1. Recommit your own life to Jesus Christ. Repent of the compromises you’ve made to our culture.
  2. Monitor the negative cultural influences on your children (TV, video games, movies, music, internet). Know their friends and limit access to those who influence them negatively. Set guidelines for dating.
  3. Pray with and for your children.
  4. Look for natural opportunities to teach and reinforce spiritual truths in your home. Consider having weekly family devotions.
  5. Share your convictions with others. God has called us to be salt and light!
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