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Introduction (2)

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SERMON 1
INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION:
MOST OF US ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM “MILLENNIAL.”
IT’S A TERM USED TO DESCRIBE A PARTICULAR DEMOGRAPHIC SEGMENT OF THE CULTURE.
SPECIFICALLY, IT IS A TERM THAT DEFINES THOSE PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN BETWEEN THE YEARS 1981 AND 1996.
AND IT IS TYPICALLY VIEWED AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TARGET GROUPS FOR THE CHURCH TODAY.
THERE’S ANOTHER DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP THAT IS CONSIDERED AN IMPORTANT TARGET GROUP IN THE CHURCH ALSO, AND IT IS THE GROUP OF PEOPLE KNOWN AS GENERATION Z, OR GEN-Z, ALSO REFERRED TO AS POST-MILLENNIALS.
IF YOU WOULD INDULGE ME FOR JUST A MOMENT, LET ME ASK YOU TO DO SOMETHING THIS MORNING.
I WANT TO GET AN IDEA HOW MANY PEOPLE WE HAVE IN A COUPLE OF THESE DEMOGRAPHIC CATEGORIES, SO DO THIS FOR ME.
IF YOU WERE BORN BETWEEN 1981 AND 1996, PLEASE STAND AND REMAIN STANDING FOR JUST A MOMENT.
NOW, IF YOU WERE BORN AFTER 1996, WOULD YOU PLEASE STAND AND REMAIN STANDING FOR JUST A MOMENT.
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT MILLENNIALS AND “GEN-Z”ER’S.
- MILLENNIALS FIRST…
- BY NEXT YEAR, MILLENNIALS WILL ACCOUNT FOR 36 PERCENT OF THE U.S. WORKFORCE, AND BY 2025 THEY WILL ACCOUNT FOR 75 PERCENT OF THE GLOBAL WORKFORCE.
- BY 2020, ONE IN THREE AMERICANS WILL BE PART OF THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION.
- THEY ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED.
- THEY ARE LESS RELIGIOUS THAN ANY OTHER GROUP.
o IN AMERICA, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE UNAFFILIATED WITH A SPECIFIC RELIGION IS RISING, ESPECIALLY AMONG MILLENNIALS.
- NOW GENERATION Z…
- THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN WIRED.
o THEY’VE NEVER KNOWN A WORLD WITHOUT THE INTERNET OR CELL PHONES; YOUNGER Z’S HAVE NEVER KNOWN A WORLD WITHOUT SMARTPHONES. GOOGLE HAS ALWAYS EXISTED. THEY TAKE WI-FI FOR GRANTED.
- THEY’RE MORE ACCEPTING OF SEXUAL FLUIDITY.
o GEN Z SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE AND TRANSGENDER RIGHTS. FOR THEM, SUCH THINGS ARE PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE. IT WOULD BE RARE FOR A Z TO NOT HAVE A FRIEND FROM THE LGBT COMMUNITY.
- THEY’RE POST-CHRISTIAN.
o ALMOST A QUARTER (23 PERCENT) OF AMERICA’S ADULTS—AND A THIRD OF MILLENNIALS—ARE “NONES,” CLAIMING NO RELIGIOUS IDENTITY AT ALL, ACCORDING TO PEW RESEARCH. MANY Z’S ARE GROWING UP IN HOMES WHERE THERE’S NO RELIGION WHATSOEVER, AND THEY MAY HAVE NO EXPERIENCE OF RELIGION.
- “THEY’RE HUNGRY FOR SPIRITUAL THINGS,”
o “THEY’RE SEEKING SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF THEMSELVES, WHICH CAN BE A GOOD THING.”
JAMES EMORY WHITE, IN HIS BOOK MEET GENERATION Z, SAYS THIS ABOUT THIS DEMOGRAPHIC…
“FIRST, THEY ARE LOST. THEY ARE NOT SIMPLY LIVING IN AND BEING SHAPED BY A POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURAL CONTEXT. THEY DO NOT EVEN HAVE A MEMORY OF THE GOSPEL. THE DEGREE OF SPIRITUAL ILLITERACY IS SIMPLY STUNNING. … [SECOND], THEY ARE LEADERLESS. LITTLE IF ANY DIRECTION IS COMING FROM THEIR FAMILIES, AND EVEN LESS FROM THEIR ATTEMPTS TO ACCESS GUIDANCE FROM THE INTERNET. … SO HOW CAN THEY BE REACHED?”
ONE SUGGESTION IS THAT WE START WITH THE BASICS, SUCH AS…
THIS IS THE BIBLE…
IT HAS 66 BOOKS IN IT…
AND IT CONTAINS YOUR STORY AND GOD’S STORY…
WE CAN NO LONGER FUNCTION AS BELIEVERS AND AS A CHURCH UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT BECAUSE WE LIVE IN THE BIBLE BELT, PEOPLE ARE AUTOMATICALLY SPIRITUAL.
OUR MINISTRY STRATEGY MUST BE INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED TO REACH INTO THESE TWO DEMOGRAPHICS AND NOT ONLY TEACH THEM TRUTH, BUT ALSO PROVIDE THE WAY FOR BIBLICAL TRUTH TO BE APPLIED IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE TO THEM.
WE HAVE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS IN WAYS THAT WE’VE NEVER HAD TO ANSWER THEM, BECAUSE FOR THESE GROUPS, THE WAYS THE QUESTIONS ARE FRAMED, AND THE SITUATIONS FROM WHICH THE QUESTIONS ARE BIRTHED ARE DIFFERENT THAN ANYTHING ANYONE OUTSIDE THESE GROUPS HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.
FOR THE MOST PART, THOSE OF US WHO ARE PART OF THE SILENT GENERATION, THE BOOMERS, OR THE BUSTERS, AND PART OF THE CHURCH, HAVE SPENT OUR LIVES STANDING AGAINST THINGS…ATTEMPTING TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO STOP CERTAIN THINGS…
- THINGS LIKE ABORTION. HOMOSEXUALITY, AND TRANSGENDERISM…
AND FOR A LONG TIME, THESE ISSUES HAVE BEEN THINGS THAT WE HAVE FOUGHT AGAINST, BUT FOR THESE TWO GROUPS, THEY HAVE, IN LARGE PART, NEVER KNOWN A TIME WHEN THESE THINGS WERE NOT PART OF THE CULTURE.
SO, INSTEAD OF JUST SOUNDING THE ALARM AND LETTING EVERYONE KNOW WHAT THE ILLS OF SOCIETY ARE…AND SOCIETY HAS MANY ILLS – WE DO NOT ADVOCATE ABORTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, OR TRANGENDERISM – BUT INSTEAD OF JUST ANNOUNCING WHAT WE ARE AGAINST, WE NEED TO LEARN HOW TO TEACH MILLENNIALS AND GEN-X’ER’S HOW TO LIVE AS BELIEVERS AND MINISTER IN WHAT MANY ARE REFERRING TO AS A POST-CHRISTIAN CULTURE.
HOW DO WE DO THAT?
WELL, WE START BY UNDERSTANDING PAUL’S ENCOURAGEMENT TO TIMOTHY, HIS YOUNG PASTORAL MENTEE…
LISTEN TO PAUL’S ADVICE TO TIMOTHY.
1. FLEE THESE THINGS.
a. WHAT THINGS?
i. UNSOUND DOCTRINE.
ii. A CONSTANT CRAVING FOR CONTROVERSY AND QUARRELS ABOUT WORDS.
iii. THE DESIRE TO BE RICH.
b. WE HAVE GOT TO MAKE SURE WE ARE TEACHING SOUND DOCTRINE AND EXPLAINING THE IMPORTANCE OF LIVING A GODLY LIFE…
i. ESPECIALLY AS IT RELATES TO MILLENNIALS AND GEN-X’ER’S.
ii. WE HAVE GOT TO NOT ONLY BE EXAMPLES OF GODLY, DOCTRINALLY-SOUND LIFESTYLES, BUT WE HAVE TO FIND WAYS TO TEACH THEM THAT THE FULFILLMENT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR IS FOUND ONLY IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST…
2. PURSUE THESE THINGS…
a. RIGHTEOUSNESS
i. RIGHTEOUSNESS COULD BE DEFINED AS EQUITY OF CHARACTER.
ii. RIGHT-LIVING.
1. IT’S THE OUTWARD CHARACTERISTIC OF LIFE.
b. GODLINESS
i. GODLINESS IS THE INWARD CHARACTERISTIC OF LIFE.
ii. IT DESCRIBES A HEART THAT YEARNS FOR GOD…
c. FAITH
i. FAITH IS THE CONVICTION THAT GOD’S WORD IS TRUE, AND THAT IT IS RELIABLE.
d. LOVE
i. GREEK – “AGAPE”
ii. DESCRIBES A LOVE THAT IS CHARACTERIZED BY A WILLING FORFEITURE OF RIGHTS OR PRIVILEGES ON ANOTHER PERSON’S BEHALF.
iii. IT’S LOVE THAT CONSIDERS OTHERS.
e. STEDFASTNESS
i. THE ABILITY TO WITHSTAND HARDSHIP.
ii. THE ABILITY TO ENDURE.
f. GENTLENESS
i. HUMILITY
ii. ACTING IN A MANNER THAT IS GENTLE, MILD, AND EVEN-TEMPERED.
g. SO WE ARE CALLED TO CHASE AFTER PERSONAL BEHAVIORS, ATTITUDES, AND HABITS WHICH REFLECT OUR COMPANIONSHIP WITH CHRIST.
3. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT.
a. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ATTACKS UPON GOD’S TRUTH:
b. SOMETIMES PROFESSING CHRISTIANS WILL PROPAGATE FALSE TEACHINGS AND ENCOURAGE COMPROMISE.
i. BUT INSPIRED BELIEFS MUST BE FOUGHT FOR AND UPHELD.
ii. THIS IS A SUSTAINED CONTEST, AND BELIEVERS MUST PRACTICE ENDURANCE AND PATIENCE AND SEE THE FIGHT THROUGH TO THE END.
4. TAKE HOLD.
a. TAKE HOLD OF ETERNAL LIFE.
i. LIVE IN THE POWER AND VALUES OF GOD’S KINGDOM.
ii. IT IS AVAILABLE TO ALL WHO MAKE THE GOOD CONFESSION—THAT JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S SON, DELIVERED TO DEATH FOR OUR SINS AND RAISED FROM THE DEAD TO SECURE ETERNAL LIFE FOR ALL WHO TRUST HIM.
CONCLUSION:
OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS, WE’RE GOING TO TRY TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE QUESTIONS – HARD QUESTIONS – THAT MILLENNIALS AND GEN-X’ER’S ARE ASKING.
AND IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUBMIT A QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION, THERE IS A POST ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE THAT YOU CAN REPLY TO, OR YOU CAN SEND ME A TEXT OR GIVE ME A PHONE CALL.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT THE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU AND TO YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.
THE FREQUENTLY ASKED, BUT OFTEN UNANSWERED QUESTIONS YOU OR THEY MAY HAVE.
SO LET ME HEAR FROM YOU…
BUT RIGHT NOW, ALL OF US HERE NEED TO HEAR FROM THE LORD.
MAYBE THIS MORNING YOU ARE HERE, AND THIS MESSAGE HAS BROUGHT YOU TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU REALIZE YOU NEED JESUS.
IF THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE THIS MORNING, I WANT YOU TO KNOW JUST A COUPLE THINGS…
- FIRST, YOU CANNOT OVERCOME YOUR SIN PROBLEM.
o THE BIBLE SAYS IN THAT EVERYONE HAS SINNED, AND EVERYONE FALLS SHORT OF GOD’S STANDARD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
- BUT HERE’S THE SECOND THING YOU NEED TO KNOW.
o THE BIBLE CONTINUES IN BY INFORMING US THAT YOU CAN BE JUSTIFIED IN THE EYES OF GOD BECAUSE OF THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE CROSS…
o WE ARE JUSTIFIED BY GOD’S GRACE AS A GIFT, THROUGH THE REDEMPTION THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS.
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND ETERNITY SEPARATED FROM GOD.
- GOD LOVES YOU AND HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW HIM.
- AND IF YOU WILL AGREE WITH GOD THAT YOU ARE A SINNER, AND ASK JESUS CHRIST TO FORGIVE YOU AND SAVE YOU, HE PROMISES THAT HE WILL GIVE YOU EVERLASTING LIFE…
- MAYBE YOU ARE READY TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW THIS WORKS…
- I’D LOVE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT IT.
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