One Generation To Another
There was good news for fans of the former Winnipeg Jets when on Thursday at the NHL Player awards it was announced that Dale Hawerchuck will be placed into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to record the history of hockey in Canada and around the world. People who are inducted into the hall of fame have their accomplishments recorded and displayed. We speak proudly of those who do well.
There are “halls of fame” for other things than sports. In Ottawa the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame tells the story of those like Sanford Fleming and Alexander Graham Bell who have made significant contributions in the field of science. We hear their stories and are amazed at what they did.
In London, Ontario the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame recognizes the contributions of those whose work has made a difference in the field of medicine. It tells the stories and accomplishments of these people.
We find it interesting to tell the stories of those who have made significant contributions or who have done great things.
As Christians, who do we put into the hall of fame? About whom do we tell the stories of great accomplishments? Even in the book of Hebrews, those who might be considered to be in the faith hall of fame are there because they believed in the mighty works of God and so I think that we need to tell the stories of what God has done.
In Acts 1:1, Luke says, “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…” The book of Acts then constitutes what Jesus continued to do. The story of the early church is the continuation of the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit in bringing people to himself and making them new creatures. Have you ever noticed that the book of Acts does not end, it just stops. It stops in mid story as if to suggest that there is more of a story to be told here. The story of God’s work in the world as people continue to come to Christ and are discipled in Him is the continuation of that story and it continues to this very day. In one place, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Each generation shall contribute its chapter.”
The text we will look at today is one which expresses exactly how the story of God’s work in the world is told, accepted and passed on by each generation. It is appropriate as we meet as a community, on Fathers Day to think about these things. The text we will look at, which we will read in a moment, is Psalm 145:4-7. The way we will examine that idea is to have three people from three generations share the stories of God’s work that they have heard and how they have seen God at work in their life. The purpose is to lift up and celebrate what God has done so that others will know and trust Him.
Let us read Psalm 145:4-7.
I. Examining God’s Works
The key phrase in this passage of Scripture which is the phrase we have taken as our theme for this community service is, “One generation will commend your works to another.”
Notice, as we read on in the text exactly how that happens. In these verses, there are several ideas that we need to take note of.
First of all, we notice in these verses that the writer repeatedly talks about “they will tell, speak, celebrate and sing.” What has been experienced by one generation is told, celebrated and sung. What one generation experiences is proclaimed to the next generation. This is what it means when it says, “one generation will commend your works to another.”
What things specifically are spoken of? The text speaks of the “acts, majesty, works, goodness and righteousness” of God. As one generation has experienced these things, they have told the next generation what their personal experiences have been.
One generation has experienced God at work and has come to trust Him. They have told the next generation what they have experienced so that the next generation will also trust God. The next generation has passed on the story they have heard to the following generation. The second generation has also experienced the mighty works of God and they have told their own story to the next generation. The result is a growing story of what God has done and a continuing trust in God.
The focus of these stories is always the work of God. It is great to pass stories on from one generation to another, but they are not always the stories of what God did. They may be the stories of how grandpa got stuck in the mud while courting grandma or how mom had a hard time adjusting to life on the farm. These stories are great, but more than anything, we need to tell the stories about what God has done.
The story reaches way back in time. Abraham experienced the work of God in a mighty way. He was told by God that he would have a child, but for years, he did not have a child. Finally, in his old age, when his wife Sarah was already past the age of having children, she became pregnant and Isaac was born. Abraham told this story of God’s power, faithfulness and love to him and Isaac heard it and learned about God and also followed him.
This story was passed on and years later, this story was still being told when Moses also experienced God’s power. He saw his people in bondage and at the age of 80, he received a call from God to deliver Israel out of Egypt. Through a demonstration of God’s power, Moses learned about the love, power and faithfulness of God as he saw God deliver Israel through the Red Sea and provide for them in the wilderness. He told the next generation of what God had done.
The stories of Abraham and Moses were told from one generation to another. Each generation added its own experiences. Down the road, we come to the story of David and we hear how David experienced the love and power of God when he faced a giant by the name of Goliath. He told that story and the many others which he experienced. The Psalm we are studying is a Psalm of David and in it we have many expressions of what God did in the life of David. David not only told the next generation, he recorded his experiences and we read in this Psalm about some of the things David learned about God’s works and character.
In Vs.4 we read about His Mighty acts
Vs. 5, the glorious splendor of His majesty and His wonderful works.
Vs. 7, His abundant goodness and righteousness.
Vs. 8, His grace and compassion.
Vs. 9, His goodness.
Vs. 13, His faithfulness and love.
Vs. 14, That He upholds all who fall and lifts all who are bowed down.
Vs. 15, He is sustainer.
And Vs. 18, He is near to all who call on him.
And so we go through the generations. One generation told the next all these stories of God’s mighty works and each generation added their own stories of how they had experienced the mighty works of God.
Matthew, Mark and Luke added to these stories the story of Jesus and how they observed the mighty work of God through the teaching, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Paul also experienced the power of God and told of how he saw the church being built from Jerusalem all the way to Rome.
These stories have continued and we have heard them and have come to realize that God is good, that He is all-powerful, all-knowing and compassionate. But to these great stories we also need to add our stories of how we have experienced God. This is what it means when it says, “one generation will commend your works to another.”
II. Experiencing God’s Works
So we want to continue the story today. We have asked three people, each from a different generation and each from a different church to share how they have seen the works of God. We have asked them to reflect on the stories of God’s acts that they have heard from the previous generation and how they have personally experienced God working in their life.
60+ - Menno Kroeker
40+ - Harry Brandt
20+ - Marilyn Loewen
III. Explaining God’s Works
What do we do with this collection of stories of God’s work? As we noticed earlier we saw that the previous generation “they” tell or speak about the works of God that they have seen and communicate them to the following generation. But notice another pattern that appears in these verses. Notice that twice it says, “I.”
A. “I will meditate”
The first time it says, “I will meditate on your wonderful works.” What has been spoken by the previous generation and experienced by each generation ought to be given careful consideration by each of us.
How often do we meditate on the works of God? Do we think about what we see God doing? Do we look at life with an eye to the works of God? Do we consider both the majesty and great works of God as we meditate? Meditation allows us to praise Him for what he has done in the previous generation and recognize who He is and all He has done.
As we meditate, do we recognize this as a reason to trust God? As each generation hears the stories of God’s mighty acts, they must decide for themselves if they will also trust God. Meditation on the works of God brings us to the place of faith. This morning, we have heard many of the stories of the mighty acts of God. Perhaps there are some here who have not placed their trust in Him. As you have heard what God has done, why not trust Him?
As we hear the stories of what God has done, may we meditate on them, give praise to Him and trust Him.
B. “I will proclaim”
The second phrase in this pattern says, “I will proclaim your great deeds. The responsibility to tell others is then passed on to the next generation. We cannot expect that the previous generation will proclaim what God has done. Each generation is responsible to proclaim what they have heard and experienced to the next generation. What are we doing to pass our faith on to others?
This morning, we have had a children’s story. The work we do together in Awana and camp are all ways in which we are trying to be faithful to that mandate. I want to commend such efforts. But I also want to challenge us to let the story of God’s mighty acts be known in our families. As we as fathers and mothers tell our children what God has done, they too will come to trust Him and experience His mighty acts.
But the mandate goes beyond our own families. We have a task to make Christ known in the world in which we live. It is a challenge for us to do this. What are the things that hinder us from proclaiming the mighty acts of God? In a community like ours, we may not meet a lot of people who haven’t heard the stories. How can we engage unbelievers in a conversation in order to bring them to Christ. Some of you work outside the community and have great opportunities and I would like to encourage you to make His mighty acts known. We have many people coming into the community and sometimes we find it hard to truly make them feel welcome. What can we do to welcome unbelievers into our community in order to win them?
One of the reasons I liked the idea of this community service is because it allows us to recognize that even though we are three different churches, we are all working on the same team. We all have the same reason for existence and that is to proclaim the great deeds of God. May we be faithful in that task as individuals, as churches and as a community. May we welcome newcomers and proclaim the gospel to them. As we go out from here, each into our sphere of influence, let us make the great deeds of God known to a world that does not know.
There are three things which come out of this passage. One is that we need to thank the previous generation who have told us the stories of faith. We need to recognize and give thanks for those who have been faithful in proclaiming the gospel to us. We need to thank our fathers for passing faith on to us.
Secondly, we need to recognize the wonder and glory of who God is and what he has done. As we have heard the stories and experienced the power of God ourselves, we need to occupy ourselves in declaring His worth and praising Him for all he has done. This is the thrust of the passage and we need to join in.
Thirdly, we need to declare to others what we have heard. Sometimes people are shy to speak of these things. They think of it as pride, but if the glory goes to God, there is no pride involved. It is praising God for what He has done and giving Him the glory. May we learn to recognize and express the mighty works of God.