You know, in March 1971, a street preacher named Bob Eckhart gave me a Bible, and he challenged me to begin reading it. Now, friends, I'd never read the Bible before. I didn't know anything about the Bible. I didn't know if it was a biography or an anthology or a novel. I didn't know if the thing went introduction, main body, conclusion, anticlimax.
I didn't know anything about it. So I thought, well, you know, probably the best thing to do is start at the beginning. And so I started with the book of Genesis. And that went okay for a while until finally I got to Genesis 4, where so and so begat so and so begat so and so, and I thought, oh my gosh, how long does this go on?
And this didn't get me anywhere. And so I figured I'd switch to the New Testament. And again, not knowing a thing about the New Testament, I just simply started at the beginning, the Gospel of Matthew. Well, a month later, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. That was almost 41 years ago.
And it was the best decision I've ever made. You say, well, Lon, that's all very interesting. What is the point? Well, the point of this is that we are studying the book of Genesis together here as a church family. And today we come to the part where so and so begat so and so begat so and so, and you say, oh, I got it. So you're using that story as an explanation for why you're going to skip this part of the book of Genesis, right? Well, no, we're not going to skip it. To the contrary, even though it doesn't look like there's a lot of spiritual lessons in that chapter of chapter 4 and 5 of Genesis, there really are, because God doesn't put anything in the Bible that doesn't have spiritual value and spiritual lessons.
This is why 2 Timothy 3 16 says all Scripture is profitable, even so and so begat so and so begat so and so. So we're going to study Genesis chapter 4. We're going to pull out of it the spiritual lessons God's put in it. And then we're going to bring it all forward and talk about how it affects our lives in the 21st century.
So are you ready? All right, here we go. Genesis chapter 4, a little bit of background. Remember last week we saw how Cain brutally murdered his brother Abel and how God cursed Cain and exiled him. And that's where we pick up the story here in Genesis 4 and 5.
And what we see in these two chapters is the development of two branches of human society. One branch with Cain as its patriarch, Cain as its father, so to speak. Cain's family, if you will. And the other branch of human society with Seth as the progenitor and the father of that family.
So we're going to talk about them one at a time. First, let's look at Cain's family. Genesis chapter 4 verse 17. Then Cain had relations with his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth. Now we all know the famous Bible stumper. Where did Cain get his wife?
Friends, it's not all that difficult. Remember we saw last week that when Cain killed Abel, he was 100 years old or thereabouts. Certainly Adam and Eve had other children during those 100 years than just Cain and Abel. And Cain married one of those other children of Adam and Eve. Done. Easy.
All right. And she got pregnant and they had children and a whole line of people began to emerge. Genesis 4 goes on to tell us about them all the way down to Cain's great, great, great grandson, a fellow named Lamech. And with Lamech, we begin to see the true spiritual condition of Cain's family really coming to light in two ways. Number 1, verse 19, Genesis chapter 4, Lamech, the Bible says, married two women. Now this was not God's plan for marriage.
God's plan for marriage, Genesis 2, 24 says, A man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife, singular, and the two of them, not the three of them or the four of them, the two of them shall become one flesh. What Lamech being a bigamist tells us is that he had no regard for God's authority in his life, that he didn't obey God, that he was determined to do it, Isaiah 53, 6, his own way, exactly the way his great, great, great grandfather Cain had done. But there's a second thing here, and that is found in verse 23 of Genesis 4. And Lamech said to his wives, I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech shall be avenged 77 times. Not only was Lamech a bigamist, but he was also a murderer, just like Cain had been.
And look what he says here. He was a cruel man, a warlike man, an angry man, an aggressive man. He says to his wives, if God promised sevenfold vengeance on anyone who killed Cain, which is what God promised earlier in the chapter, Genesis 4.15, then I, Lamech says, I promise 77 fold vengeance on anybody who hurts or even threatens to hurt me. Now this is law of the jungle language, friends.
This is raw, brutal, unforgiving, violent language. In fact, Lamech tells his wives that he's already killed one young man who was messing with him just to prove that he meant business. And so here we see the character of Cain's family, of Cain's branch of the human race. They were characterized by arrogance. They were self-sufficient. They were hateful. They were homicidal. They were brutal. They were unforgiving.
They were vengeful. And they were disobedient and rebellious against God. But remember we said there's another line of human beings that's developing right alongside of this line of Cain led by a fellow named Seth.
Let's look at that line. Genesis chapter 5, verse 3. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness after his own image, and he named him Seth. When the Bible says here that Seth was in Adam's own likeness and in Adam's own image, friends, the Bible is not talking about Seth's physical appearance. It is talking about his spiritual condition. It is talking about his heart for God. It is talking about his walk with God. In other words, the Bible is telling us that Seth was a godly man just like his father Adam was. Genesis 4, verse 26. Then the Bible says in Seth's family, men began to call on the name of the Lord. So in contrast to Cain's family, Seth and his extended family, they were characterized by humility. They were characterized by reliance on God and obedience to God and respect for God.
Look all the way down. Here's Enoch, Seth's great, great, great grandson. Look what the Bible says about him. Genesis 5, 21. When Enoch, the great, great, great grandson of Seth, had lived 65 years, he begat Methuselah. And after he begat Methuselah, Enoch walked with God for 300 years and begat other sons and daughters.
Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years and Enoch walked with God. Then Enoch was no more, for the Lord took him. And when the Bible says here Enoch was no more, for the Lord took him, what it means is that God took Enoch directly to heaven without ever his ever passing through physical death. God translated him directly from earth into heaven.
You say, now how do you know that's what it means? Well, I know it by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Let's go into the New Testament, Hebrews chapter 11, verse 5.
It says by faith Enoch, there's our friend, right, was taken up so that he should not see death. He was not found, exact quote from Genesis 5, because God took him up. For before he was taken up, he had obtained witness that he was pleasing to God. So now we're generations away from Seth and we still have his descendants being pleasing to God. His entire family walked with God. And who exactly were these people, Seth's family?
Well, the Bible lists them for us in this chapter. There was Seth who lived to be 912. And then there was his son Enoch who lived to be 905. Then Kenan who lived to be 910. Mahalalel who only lived to be 895. Jared who died at the age of 962. Enoch who we have seen was taken to heaven when he was 365. And Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old all the way down to Noah, Seth's great, great, great, great, great, great grandson. And what does the Bible say about Noah? Genesis 6, 8, that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
This was a godly line. You say, well now wait a minute, before we go any farther, time. You don't really believe these people live this long, do you?
I mean 960 years, 920 years, are you serious? You don't really believe that, do you? Of course I do. Of course I do. You say you believe that? Yep, and I've got three reasons why. Number one, the Bible says it.
That's the first reason. Number two, because there's no other logical explanation for the Bible using these numbers. Some commentators say, well you know what? Years here don't mean years. Years mean months. And so therefore to get the right ages for these people, we've got to divide by 12. Well listen friends, the Bible knows the difference between months and years.
But even if you took that approach, there's a problem. The problem is Genesis 5, 21, Enoch was 65 when he begat Methuselah. Well you divide that by 12, and you know how old Enoch was when he had his first kid?
Five and a half. Now I know these men were virile, but this is ridiculous. This is ridiculous, right? And finally, the third reason that I believe the Bible is telling us the truth is because of something called the Babylonian King List. It's a monument, an inscribed monument that we found in ancient Babylon. And it talks about a great flood that once covered the earth.
It's the last thing. And it says, listen, that before the flood, the kings that lived before the flood lived anywhere from between 36,000 years to 64,000 years old. Now, we know those ages are phantasmagorical, but this pagan record does tell us that even in pagan tradition, there's clear testimony to the biblical record that before Noah's flood, people had enormously long lifestyles. Of course I believe this. And you know the long lifespans of these godly men are spiritually very important.
You say, why? Well, because it means, think about it now, that Adam and Seth alone, just the two of them, provided 1712 years of continuous godly influence on their family. For example, I believe that Adam and Seth probably led the worship services. I believe that Adam and Seth probably taught Sunday school classes.
I believe that they probably took turns preaching the message and that they probably took turns leading the prayer meetings. And that Adam and Seth probably even worked with the young adults, you know, the people who were only 150 or so. And the point is that Seth's family was dominated by these godly men from the beginning of creation all the way up to Noah's flood.
If you get out, you'll find out Methuselah, the last one of these long living men, died the year of Noah's flood. And as a result of this, this group of godly men, these fathers, these grandfathers, these great-grandfathers, and great-great-grandfathers produced an amazing society of godly people by their steady godly influence. Do we all see that? Do we all see that?
Alright, that's the whole point. Let's summarize what we see in here in Genesis chapter 4 and chapter 5 is a tale of two families, a tale of two branches of human society, two lines of people. Each one, listen, reflecting the spiritual character and the spiritual dynamic and the spiritual condition of their parents, their grandparents, and their great-grandparents all the way back for generations. That is the point of these chapters. You with me?
Okay, now we're going to stop with chapters 4 and 5 of Genesis and we're going to ask our most important question. Are you ready? All of you on the internet, are you ready? I heard that. Okay.
Are you ready? One, two, three! Ah, that was beautiful. That was.
That was inspiring. You say, Lon, so what? Say, you know what, I'm not even going to live to be 80. What difference does this make to me how all this whole thing is?
This is crazy. I mean, I'm glad these people live this long. What does this have to do with me?
I don't get it. Well, I want to share two verses of the Bible with you and I'll try to help us to apply to our lives. The first one is the book of Proverbs, chapter 20, verse 7. It says, a righteous man who walks in his integrity, how blessed are his children after him. And then Psalm 112, verse 1, how blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights in his commandments. His descendants will be mighty on the earth. The issue God is addressing in these verses of the Bible is the ongoing spiritual impact that our spiritual lives have on our descendants. Hey, remember what we just saw. Cain's spiritual condition did not just affect his children, it permeated the ten generations that followed him.
And the very same thing was true of Seth. And I'd like to suggest to you that this very same thing is true of you and me. And therefore, when it comes to our influence as parents and as grandparents and even as future parents, people here who one day we hope to be parents, what I want to urge us to do today is to think not just in terms of the children or the grandchildren that we can see right before our very eyes, but to think in terms of five generations and ten generations down the line of people who will come after our children and after our grandchildren whom we may never see, but they will be drastically affected by our spiritual lives. In other words, I want to urge us to look at ourselves not just as parents and to look at ourselves not just as grandparents, but to look at ourselves as patriarchs and matriarchs of the many, many generations that are going to follow us who will be shaped by our spiritual condition and the spiritual example of our lives.
They'll either be shaped for blessing, as in Seth's case, or they'll be shaped for cursing, as in Cain's case, but they'll be shaped in some way. You know, prior to the Revolutionary War, there was a massive revival that broke out here in the thirteen colonies called the Great Awakening. And the Great Awakening swept through each of the colonies. Thousands upon thousands of colonists came to Christ. And really, the Great Awakening between the years of 1730 and 1770 is what formed the basis for what we think of as the Christian foundations of America. Let me tell you who started the Great Awakening. It was started by a Puritan preacher named Solomon Stoddard many years before 1730 by his godly preaching in New England.
It was carried on by a gentleman that I know all of us have probably heard of named Jonathan Edwards, who also did that kind of preaching in New England. But friends, by the end of the 1700s, America had backslidden badly. It was especially noticeable in our colleges. Take, for example, Yale. Yale had been established in 1701 to train ministers of the gospel. Do you remember why they established Yale? Because they felt Harvard had gone liberal.
That's true. But by 1799, Yale graduated in their graduating class. They only had five people who would publicly stand and confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
And in 1800, the next year, they only had one. Ah, but then onto the scene came Timothy Dwight. Timothy Dwight became the president of Yale in 1796. And you want to know the first official act of Timothy Dwight?
Takes over as president, first official act. You want to know what it was? Know what he did? He called every faculty member into his office, one at a time, individually, and he asked them whether they would be willing to stand up in front of the entire student body and confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. If they said no, he fired them on the spot. Thank God for no tenure back then. He said, you're out of here. Fired most of the faculty. Praise the Lord.
Okay. And then, yeah, you clap for that. And then what he did is he set up prayer meetings on campus for the students and he went and led them. And then what he did is he set up Sunday church there on the campus and he went and preached every single week.
And then what he did is he went into classrooms and engaged in public debates with students in classrooms about the vitality and the authenticity and the value of the Christian faith. This guy had such an unrelenting passion and conviction for Christ that he pressed the need for Jesus on every single student at Yale. Well, in March 1802, after Timothy Dwight had been there six years, he led the very first student to Christ on the Yale campus. In April of 1802, he led a second student to Christ on the Yale campus. By graduation, 1802, he had led 50 students to faith in Christ. And by 1806, 50% of the graduating class of Yale stood at graduation and confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
But it doesn't end there because these men went out and they became the foundation for what we know of today as the second great awakening that swept America between 1810 and 1830 and that turned America back to Jesus Christ in the early 1800s. Amazing guy, Timothy Dwight. But, you say, Lon, that's very interesting. What's that got to do with what we're talking about?
Listen. Timothy Dwight, who did all of this, do you know who his grandfather was? Well, his grandfather was Jonathan Edwards. And do you know who Jonathan Edwards' grandfather was? That is Timothy Dwight's great, great grandfather.
Guess who it was? Solomon Stoddard, who started the great awakening a hundred years before. The point I want you to see, friends, is that here we have four generations of influencers for Christ all flowing out of one godly man, Solomon Stoddard.
But that's not all. A reporter a few years ago went back and researched and found records of 1400 descendants of Solomon Stoddard down through the last 200 years and found that there were so many missionaries, there were so many preachers of the gospel, there were so many sound godly theology teachers and seminary professors that it's more than we can even begin to name. The point is that Solomon Stoddard didn't just raise some godly children. He didn't even just raise some godly grandchildren. This guy established an entire line of godly people, listen, whose impact for Jesus Christ is still going on in America today. After the first service here this morning, I met a man out in the lobby who introduced himself to me and told me that he's walking with Jesus and serving the Lord and that he is a direct descendant of Timothy Dwight, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard. His middle name is Dwight. Can you believe that?
I met him in the lobby this morning. Praise the Lord for that, huh? How many generations might that be? That might be 40 generations later.
Who knows? Folks, this is exactly what God did for Seth in Genesis 4 and 5, and this is exactly what God wants to do for you and me. You say, all right, Lon, this is wonderful, inspiring. How do you do something like this? How do you get started, a godly line like this?
All right, I've got three suggestions for you and we're done. Number one, suggestion number one is be unashamedly passionate about your spiritual life, especially in front of your family. You know, more is caught than taught, and friends, it's when our children and our grandchildren can see our passion for Christ, when they can feel our passion for Christ, when our passion for Christ is so real, so genuine, so authentic that they can't excuse it away. That's when our children pick up the passion for Jesus and then they carry it to the next generation. I'm not talking about having a passion for Jesus that issues out and bringing them to Sunday school or praying grace over the meal. Nothing wrong with that.
I am talking about something more. I am talking about a passionate, unrelenting, pulsating, throbbing excitement about our walk with Christ that we cannot hide and that cannot be quenched and that is obvious to everybody around us 24 hours a day. This is what grabs a hold of children and grandchildren and gets them ignited for the Lord. Remember what we said, Timothy Dwight's passion for Christ did not begin with him.
It began with his great, great grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. And I'm here to challenge you to be that kind of Solomon Stoddard in your family. Suggestion number two is inculcate the Word of God into your children's lives with abandon. Proverbs 22, 6 says, Train up a child in the way he or she should go and when they get old they will not depart from it. Friends, spiritual formation like this takes spiritual intentionality.
Let me repeat that. Spiritual formation takes spiritual intentionality. What I mean is if we're serious about the spiritual formation of our children and our grandchildren, it does not happen haphazardly.
It does not happen with a laissez-faire attitude. No, we must be intentional. We must be deliberate. We must be consistent.
This is hard work and we can't just tiptoe through the tulips and expect this to happen. It means that we've got to have devotions with our children nightly, daily. We've got to get on our knees with our children and pray with them daily. It means we need to memorize Scripture with them on a regular basis and we need to make the sacrifices it takes to bring them to Kid's Quest and to bring them to Awana and to get them to Junior and Senior High Group or whatever it takes. If we're serious about the formation of generations to come, it's hard work, friends. And number three and finally, if we want to do this, establish a whole line of godly people, we've got to pray futuristically. Say, what does that mean? Well, we all pray for our children if we have children, right?
Sure. We all pray for our grandchildren if we have grandchildren. But how many of us ever pray beyond that? How many of us ever pray for their spouses, their future spouses, that they will be godly people? How many of us ever pray for generations beyond that, four generations, five generations, our great-great-grandchildren, our great-great-great-great-grandchildren, that they will be godly people and stay true to Christ and make an impact for Jesus and keep the chain unbroken? We may never meet them on earth, but we pray for them anyway. How many of us ever do that? Well, I'm here to tell you, we need to stop praying like a parent.
That's all right. Folks, we need to start praying like a patriarch or like a matriarch. We need to be thinking generations to come when we pray, not just the next generation we can see. And if we pray like that, I promise you, you want a generation like that coming from you, God will give it to you.
Nobody wants to give this to you more than God does. You pray for it, God will do it, just like He did for Seth, just like He did for Solomon Stoddard. You know, my wife Brenda and her sister and brother represent the eighth generation of followers of Jesus Christ on her dad's side in the Lowry family. Her great, great, great, great, great grandfather, a gentleman named Michael Lowry, who was born in 1760, who fought in the Revolutionary War, was an incredibly godly man who was the Solomon Stoddard for the Lowry family. And one of her ancestors, her great grandfather, William L. Lowry, was actually a circuit riding brethren preacher who farmed during the week and pastored four churches on the weekend riding around in his little buggy. And I'll tell you, Brenda's mom and dad took this very seriously, this heritage. I remember when I first married Brenda, her dad and I were out for a walk one day, and he turned to me and he said, Now Lon, you just married into the Lowry family.
That was my wife's maiden name. And he said, Brenda is the eighth generation of believer in this family. And he said, I want to ask you that to the best of your ability and with God's help, that you keep the chain unbroken in my family.
Man, I'll tell you, that hit me deep. I didn't come from a family like that. I knew nothing about having a chain like this in my family. But boy, I sure considered it an honor to marry into a family with a chain like that.
And I took it very soberly what he said to me. I worked so hard with these three suggestions that I just gave you to be passionate about them. I'm happy to say all three of my sons are actively and unapologetically walking with Jesus today. They are the ninth generation in the Lowry family. But wait a minute, there's more. Earlier this year, I was in the car riding somewhere with my grandson, Tyler. And my son, this is the son of my oldest son, James. And we were talking about God.
Tyler was four. And Tyler said to me, hey, Papa. He said, will you help me ask Jesus into my life? And I said, Tyler, I would love to do that. And so in the automobile, we prayed and he asked Christ into his life. When we got home, I said, now you tell your mom and your dad what you just did.
And he did. And I said, Jamie, look, I hope you're not mad at me. I know every father wants to lead his children to Christ. Julia, I hope you're not mad at me. But you don't say no when a child says, would you pray and help me ask Christ in my life? I'm sorry. You don't say, wait till we get home.
So they said, we're not mad at you. Hey, I want to tell you, Tyler may be six years old. Well, he will turn six next year. But he may only be six years old. But you let me tell you something about Tyler. You have a conversation with him about God in the Bible and he will flat talk you under the carpet, my friend. It took in this boy's life. He prays by himself out loud. He learned. I mean, he memorized that this kid got the real disease. And may I announce that he is the 10th generation of believers in the Lowry family.
How cool is that? You better know your Bible if you engage Tyler. That's all I got to tell you. Listen, let me say in closing, if you come from a family like the Lowry family. My friend, don't you dare let the chain break with you.
Don't you dare. And if you don't come from a family like the Lowry family, then friend, start one. You be Solomon Stoddard. You start a family that because of your burning passion for Christ. And you're inculcating the word of God into your children's lives and your patriarchal or matriarchal prayer life.
That generations from now, when you're gone, people will still be looking back and saying, that was the man, that was the woman who got this whole thing started six generations ago. He did it. She did it. You can be a Solomon Stoddard if you want, my friend. And don't you be content to ask God for anything less.
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, thanks for talking to us today from a passage of scripture that most people would just skip over. But Lord, there is value in everything the word of God records for us and thanks for speaking to us today about this incredible topic.
How we can be matriarchs and patriarchs in our families. And Lord, I want to pray for myself and every one of us here that you would motivate us and inspire us to take seriously the idea of starting a whole chain of believers for generation after generation. Not just one or two, but ten or twenty, like Solomon Stoddard did. Lord, give us that godly heritage as we seek it from you. And may our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and generations to come look back to us and say thank you, Jesus, for that man. Thank you, Jesus, for that woman. Me, my family, my children, my grandchildren, my parents were all walking with Christ because of that man or that woman a hundred years ago. Lord Jesus, change our lives because we were here today and we sat under the teaching of your word. And we pray this in Jesus' name. And what do God's people say? Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 20:54:44 / 2023-06-11 21:07:05 / 12