First Principles. Lesson 11. Lesson Text— Genesis 5:21-24. Genesis 5:21-24 21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:. Lesson Text— Genesis 5:21-24.
Genesis 5:21-2421 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Deuteronomy 19:14Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour\'s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it.
Proverbs 22:28Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Jeremiah 6:16-1716 Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children.
We must pass the truth that we have received from our forefathers to generations that follow.
Imagine you are standing before the Lord at the time for receiving your eternal rewards in Heaven. What could possibly be the greatest rewards you might receive? Accolades from your Savior? Golden, bejeweled crowns for assorted accomplishments? What about seeing your children and grandchildren receive their eternal rewards? What could be a greater reward than to see our children hold to the apostolic message and be saved?
Indeed, the wise man Solomon indicated that “children\'s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6). He was pointing out that we are edified by the successes and accomplishments of our children and grandchildren, and any parent or grandparent knows the true ring of his words.
Certainly we are proud of them when they graduate from college, receive promotions at work, or achieve scholastic honors.I. Generation to Generation
But what could possibly make parents prouder than when their children embrace the apostolic message, choose to live for Jesus Christ, and go on to lead others into relationship with the Lord? Surely there is no greater reward for our faith than to see it replicated within our offspring.
The interesting thing is we get to begin enjoying the rewards before we reach the judgment—enjoying the fruit of our labors both here and in Heaven.
In a relay race with several runners on each team, the race often is won or lost by the smooth transition of the baton from one runner to the next. Just a half second of hesitation in the handoff can cost several seconds of start-up for the next runner and possibly even cost the race. In a similar fashion, every generation will experience the shift of the older to the younger generation.I. Generation to Generation
Principles, values, and patterns of living will be changed, accepted, or rejected by the ones following.
The history of nations, religious movements, and even families continually demonstrate this life cycle of change. In this lesson we will trace some generational patterns in the Scriptures and apply the teachable principles to our need today to pass on a godly heritage to the generations who follow.
Generations of Cain
One of the saddest commentaries on any person’s life is that they “went out from the presence of the Lord” (Genesis 4:16). Cain went away from the communion of God’s presence in much the same way that Judas left the upper room after the Last Supper, “that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). (See also John 13:30.)
The place where Cain settled was the land of Nod, which means “wandering” and is symbolic of Cain’s sentence to be a wanderer. Cain lived in the “Land of Wandering.” Moses listed the generations of Cain’s family in the fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis. The fifth generation from Cain was Lamech, the first man in Scripture who took unto himself two wives. He also committed murder as did his grandfather (Genesis 4:23).
Adam and Eve accepted the birth of Seth as a gift from the Lord in replacement for the loss of their son Abel (Genesis 4:25). The Book of Genesis lists the generations of Seth’s family, which evidently represented God’s righteous legacy. (See Genesis 4:26.)
“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26).
God extended grace to Seth’s family by choosing a person from his lineage to build an ark and save the human race from destruction.
In the midst of the evil generation before the Flood, Enoch walked with God by faith. The Book of Jude calls Enoch a prophet: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14).
Enoch was the first man about whom the Scriptures declared, he “was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5). This righteous man demonstrated that regardless of the society in which a person lives, he can please God and leave behind a righteous testimony. Neither our peers nor our circumstances should dictate our morals.A. Generations of Cain
Godly values are the product of our personal relationship with a living, holy God.
Giving us hope for a similar visitation that Jesus promised the church, the Lord rescued Enoch out of the world because he had walked with Him and pleased Him. Indeed, the Lord will rescue those who walk with and please Him from this present evil world in an event we refer to as the rapture of the church (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:15-17).A. Generations of Cain
Mankind had become blatantly evil in the days before the Flood. (See Genesis 6:5-7.) The wickedness of mankind grieved God so greatly that He decided to destroy all living creatures from the face of the earth.
The one bright spot in this desperately dark landscape was that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Like his predecessor, Noah was the second person recorded in Scripture to have walked with God (Genesis 6:9).
God testified that he “was a just man and perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). In a world filled with thousands of people, Noah and his family of eight were the only ones who found favor with God. Not only was it a lonely place, but it was also a highly honored place of great responsibility.
Before God sends His judgment, He always sends a warning. God charged Noah with the responsibility of building an ark to save his family while warning the world of the coming flood (Hebrews 11:7). Peter called Noah “a preacher of righteousness”(II Peter 2:5).A. Generations of Cain
The overwhelmingly negative response of his audience did not affect his singular message of pending judgment. Noah was successful in his mission every time he preached his sermon. Through his faithfulness, Noah condemned the world and justified God’s judgment. His faith moved him to action, and his obedience to God’s call validated his faith. James declared that faith without works is dead (James 2:20, 26).A. Generations of Cain
In Daniel Butler’s book The Last Generation of Truth, he refers to the sectarian cycle, which is defined as “frequently recurring trends in the life of religious movements and denominations.” He writes, “The trend is for the first generation to grow, the second to reach a peak, and the third to experience decline.
Because of intellectualism and rationalization, the third generation often rejects divine truths, and consequently God turns to people who are open to and hungry for the move of His Spirit.”
The period of Israel’s history contained in the Book of Judges chronicles the roller-coaster ride of human failure and God’s intervention after the death of Joshua, a total of approximately four hundred years. (See Judges 2:7.)
“And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel” (Judges 2:7).
Characteristically, the first generation includes individuals who have received a spiritual experience with God or a new understanding of His truth. Those of the first generation are genuinely dedicated to God, placing priority on the things that please God and continually desiring to know more about Him. Joshua’s generation had a firsthand knowledge of God’s miracles in the wilderness, from the Red Sea crossing to the banks of the Jordan River.A. Generations of Cain
The second generation includes individuals who were the children of those who received firsthand knowledge or experience with God. While this generation had a dedication to the God of their fathers, they only knew Him indirectly through their parents’ experience.
They copied their parents’ lifestyle and fully embraced the doctrines and behaviors modeled by their parents. However, the second generation was more dedicated to their parents’ lifestyle than to their parents’ God.
“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).
Joshua and Caleb were the exception to their generation. They were two of the twelve spies Moses sent out to tour the Promised Land on the west side of the Jordan River and bring back a report to Israel. However, the evil report of the other ten spies overruled their report of faith and vision. Consequently, God condemned that generation to die in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Everyone over twenty years old died in the wilderness except Joshua and Caleb.A. Generations of Cain
The families who crossed Jordan and divided the land eventually died and were buried in what we now know as Israel. However, their children did not have a relationship with the God of their fathers. Somehow, that generation did not transfer to their children the knowledge of God’s powerful works, the fear of the Lord’s judgment, and the necessity of obeying the Law. Consequently, they did evil in the sight of the Lord, forsook the God of their fathers, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.A. Generations of Cain
The decline of spiritual values and the devastation left behind by the third generation ultimately set the stage for a new cycle of renewed fellowship with God. By studying the Book of Judges, we observe this recurring sequence of revival and decline. From Othniel to Samuel, God sent thirteen judges to rescue and renew Israel’s relationship with the Lord. In each case, Israel denied her heritage, her identity, and her God.
She exhibited incomplete obedience to God’s command, apostasy from serving the one true God, and intermarriage with the surrounding heathen nations.
Each time Israel descended into the depths of heathenism and experienced God’s judgment, the people repented. Then God sent a deliverer to bring a revival of righteousness, which resulted in a return to the fear of the Lord.
Regardless of a movement’s generational trends, because God’s focus is directed to ‘you,’ He still finds hungry individuals and extends to them benefits, while turning from those who have alienated themselves from godly principles.
Scripture records the faithful, courageous patriarchs who braved the scorn and rejection of their generation to receive the favor of God. Jacob and Esau were raised in the same home by the same parents, yet they were vastly different in their spiritual values.A. Generations of Cain
Jacob desired the birthright and the blessing of his father. Perhaps this was the reason God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13). Daniel’s three Hebrew friends in Babylonian captivity were determined to remain faithful to their convictions. They were the only ones in Babylon who did not bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar.
While a whole generation might be falling into apostasy, anyone who is genuinely hungry for God can seek His favor and receive a personal revelation and experience with Him.A. Generations of Cain
The decision remains with the individual, for nothing can abrogate or overrule a person’s ability to choose. Parents have the power and the responsibility to set the level of spirituality in their home. They should be the holy, consistent, positive role models necessary for their children to follow. Furthermore, they should follow the admonition of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, which is to teach their children diligently day and night. They should also involve their children in the kingdom of God by putting them to work in church-related activities.A. Generations of Cain
Personally teaching each child how to pray, read his Bible, witness to others, give to the work of God, and attend church faithfully is every parent’s duty. However, when the child reaches adulthood, he still must decide whether to live by the values of his parents. The convictions by which the family members consistently lived in their home eventually must become the convictions of the children.
“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 78:3-4).
“That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children” (Psalm 78:6).
Parents should remember that what they do in moderation, their children will do to excess. We really do not know how well we have done in raising our children until we see how our grandchildren are raised: “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6).A. Generations of Cain
Times, rulers, governments, languages, and cultures change. People often change their view of life, the way they satisfy their needs, and the manner in which they express themselves. All of these changes affect the church collectively and believers individually. However, one thing is timeless and unchanging even in changing times: God’s message for every generation. While the methods of moving, transmitting, and communicating the message have changed, the message itself is still the same as when Paul preached it.A. Generations of Cain
Much of the time, traditions of mankind are connected to worldliness and violate the Word of God. (See Matthew 15:3, 6; Colossians 2:8; I Peter 1:18.) However, Paul spoke of his tradition as a necessary point of obedience in the church (II Thessalonians 3:6). He also instructed the Thessalonian church to “stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle” (II Thessalonians 2:15).
Every generation should look for and stand true to biblical traditions, and reject the pressures of the world around them to conform to worldly traditions (Romans 12:1-2). It is never comfortable to go against the tide of public opinion, but God has never operated His kingdom based on the results of an opinion poll. Jesus warned His disciples to beware when people spoke well of them (Luke 6:26). A polarizing agent in every culture, the gospel sometimes brings a sword of division rather than peace. (See Matthew 10:34-36.)A. Generations of Cain
In his epistle to the church, Jude urged us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The compound Greek word epagwnidzomai translates as “contend” and means “to contend about a thing, as a combatant, to contend earnestly.” Therefore, we should consistently fight against the world’s influence that would draw us away from truth.
Jesus warned His disciples about false prophets who cared nothing for the truth or them, calling those false prophets wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15; 24:11). Both Paul and Peter warned of false doctrine and false apostles who would destroy the church for their own gain (Acts 20:28-30; II Peter 2:1-3). Paul charged Timothy, however, to be faithful as he had been to preach the Word of God and communicate the truth to faithful men, who also would teach others (II Timothy 2:2; 4:1-5). (See Proverbs 22:28.)Proverbs 22:28
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28).
Landmarks are reference points agreed upon regarding a piece of property, and then recorded to announce the right and limits of ownership. Moses warned Israel not to move a neighbor’s landmark that was set by an older generation (Deuteronomy 19:14). The warning was for the younger generation, so they would respect the boundary lines established many years before them. To challenge or to move a property boundary in ancient times was considered an act of aggression or a declaration of war.Proverbs 22:28
Furthermore, Moses pronounced a curse upon anyone who moved a neighbor’s landmark (Deuteronomy 27:17).
Landmarks can also provide reference points for guidance and direction. For example, the location of a large water tower in a city sometimes serves as the starting point for surveying each area of the city. Each lot and parcel of ground would first refer to the water tower and how many feet it was from the tower.Proverbs 22:28
Today, we refer to specific doctrines and convictions as landmarks of distinction that separate God’s people from the secular world and the apostate religious world. There are explicit reasons for the decisions made by the apostles in the Book of Acts, and they became a pattern for the New Testament church to follow indefinitely. The biblical definitions for how we enter the kingdom of God, how believers should respond to each other inside the body of Christ, and how they should respond to the enemy outside are boundaries for our safety and protection.A. Generations of Cain
Furthermore, a believer’s life is defined by how he compares to the landmark of Jesus Christ, the common subject of the whole Bible.
The foundation of a building is what defines the size and shape of the building. Paul compared the church with a building, probably referring to the Temple, as that was a structure of great beauty, expense, and sacredness. It would have been natural to compare the church with it. In Old Testament worship, the Temple was the sacred place where God dwelt on the Earth.A. Generations of Cain
Now, the transfer was made to the church as the place where He abides. We are His temple. Paul declared that this new building was permanently founded, rising in unity, and growing into a holy sanctuary.
The doctrines the apostles taught are the foundations upon which the church rests—not the apostles themselves.
Generally, the prophets of the Old Testament represent the Old Testament era.A. Generations of Cain
The doctrines of divine revelation, whether communicated by the prophets or the apostles, were laid in the foundation of the New Testament church. It was not founded on philosophy or tradition, or even on human laws, but on the great truths that God had revealed to them. Paul did not say that the church was founded upon “Peter,” but upon the prophets and apostles collectively. In reference to the church, we should note the following:A. Generations of Cain
• Human tradition has no place in the foundation.
• Nothing is regarded as fundamental except what we find in the words of the prophets and apostles—the Scriptures.
Therefore, we are to use no decrees, no ordinances, and no creeds or confessions as an authority in teaching the believer. Only what is founded upon the authority of the apostles and prophets is the truth. (See Ephesians 2:20.)A. Generations of Cain
“And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).
The cornerstone is the most important stone in a building, for the entire structure rests mainly upon it. If the cornerstone is small and unstable, the whole building is insecure. Therefore, the cornerstone occupies a prominent and honorable place. If documents or valuable articles were placed into the foundation of a building, they were placed in the cornerstone. Moreover, the Bible refers to Jesus Christ as the “cornerstone” because the whole church rests upon Him.A. Generations of Cain
Jesus Christ was “before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). (See I Corinthians 3:9-11.)
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:9-11).
To be a first-generation apostolic believer is to have a biblically endorsed new birth through the water and the Spirit and to have a personal experience with and a revelation of who Jesus Christ is (Matthew 16:17; I Corinthians 12:3). This experience can happen to anyone who hungers and thirsts for God’s righteousness regardless of cultural, generational, or religious barriers.
God’s plan for our lives is a lifestyle that conforms to the foundational truths of the apostles’ doctrine and practice. This teaching will create the image of Jesus Christ in us and display Him to the world.
We also have an obligation to the next generation to communicate biblical truth and a righteous lifestyle. Furthermore, God has mandated that we diligently teach our children His Word. His Word also promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). (See Psalm 71:18.)A. Generations of Cain
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come” (Psalm 71:18).
Someone once said, “God has no grandchildren.” Certainly, every new convert is a first-generation child of God as he discovers that Jesus Christ is the only answer for his life now and in eternity. (See Psalm 145:4.) The best news is that we can establish that personal relationship with Him today through repenting, being baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins, and receiving His Holy Spirit within as we speak in other tongues. May God grant that first-generational experience to all who hear His Word today!A. Generations of Cain