I was blessed to have the opportunity to grow up in a Christian home. The only life I know is the Christian life. I have been part of a fundamental Baptist church since my first weeks of life. Often, I take time to thank God for the heritage that has been handed down to me. I was privileged to be a member of the great First Baptist church in Hammond, Indiana, while Bro. Hyles was the pastor there. I have heard some of the great men of the past generation preach—men like Dr. Lee Roberson, Joe Boyd, and Tom Malone. While this does not make me anything special, it is my godly heritage that I am very proud of.
Sadly, there are many second and third generation Christians today who where handed down the same godly heritage I was only to decide what was good for those men is no longer relevant today. They have traded in their godly heritages and Biblical methods for worldly status and popularity, proclaiming that the Biblical methods used by that older generation are no longer relevant in our society today. Even sadder is the fact that this generations decision will not only affect them but also the generation following them.
Paul, the older preacher, writing to Timothy, the younger preacher, says this in II Timothy 2:2 “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As second- generation Christians, we do not need to rethink the work of the ministry, we just need to get busy in the same work that was handed down to us. We do not need better methods or better technology, we just need to use the same methods that were passed down from the Word of God to us.
Perhaps the greatest example of a second-generation Christian is found in the life of Isaac. Isaac was the son of the great patriarch Abraham. What a man of faith Abraham was; a man who loved God, served God, and walked with God in faith. And amazingly, after the death of Abraham, you find Isaac walking in the footsteps of his father.
In Genesis 26 the Bible records this about Isaac in verses 17 and 18: “And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”
There are several things in this passage thatIsaac picked up that were handed down to him. Not only did he pick them up, but we see that he kept them the same as his father did when the pressure of his society would have been to change them.
1. Isaac was busy in the same work.
Genesis 26:18 tells us, “And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father;” Isaac got busy digging wells the same way his father Abraham had dug wells before him. As second-generation Christians, we need to determine to stay busy in the same work of the generation before us. The work of winning souls, planting churches, running busses, building Sunday schools, and fulfilling all of the great commission.
I fear that my generation wants the blessing of the past generation without doing the work of the past generation. We need to decide to pick up the shovel that was past down to us and get busy digging in the same work that the previous generations were busy in.
2. Isaac dug the same wells.
As we previously saw in Genesis 26:18, “And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father;” Isaac was not only busy in the same work but he dug the same wells. He could have easily decided to find new wells that would be less likely to come under attack, but Isaac kept what was passed down to him and dug the same wells.
A well is something that is vital to life. Without a well there would be no water. Not only would the cattle and livestock die but also Isaac’s family would die. As a second- generation Independent Fundamental Baptist, I have been given many wonderful wells to draw from that are vital to my health and life as a child of God. I would be wise to keep those wells rather than look for new ones. Wells like old-time Bible preaching, faith in a God Who is able, prayer, and the King James Bible have been providing life and water for generations and there is no need to look for new ones.
3. Isaac used the same words.
It is interesting to me that Isaac not only dug the same wells as his father but the Bible makes a point to show us that he called them by the same names. Genesis 26:18, “and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.” Isaac could have easily renamed these wells, or the Bible could have left this detail out, but God is showing us the importance of names and words. Words are part of your identity. You can tell what part of the country or world someone is from by the words they use. It is the same way for Christians. Words identify us. This is why it was so important to Isaac to call the wells by the same name his father called them by.
While this may seem petty to some, the words that have been used for generation and handed down to us are under attack today. The words they are replaced with are not necessarily bad words but changing the words changes our identity and often our direction. Words like “Sunday school” are being replaced with “connection group.” It is no longer popular to refer to our buildings and property as “church” so that has been replaced with “the campus.” The word Baptist has been deemed offensive by some so it is omitted altogether, and “youth group” has been replaced with “student ministries” all the while chipping away at our identity that has been passed down to us. Let’s decide that the words we use are important and let’s keep using the same words.
4. Isaac was committed to the same worship.
If you were to look at Genesis 26:25 you would read, “And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD,” Isaac had watched his father Abraham as God led him from place to place build altars to the LORD and Isaac, just like Abraham, had built an altar and worshiped God. Isaac did not let the culture of the world around him determine how he worshiped God. He worshiped God as he saw his father worship God. As you read the Bible you find that God always gave specific instructions about how He was to be worshiped. Let’s not let the society around us dictate how we worship a holy righteous God. Let’s not bring the world’s entertainment and carnality into our worship of God. Let’s worship God “in the beauty of holiness” as did the generations before us.
I love my godly heritage. I am so thankful for all I have been taught from the men of the previous generation. Now as second-generation Christians, let’s decide, like Isaac, to pass down to the generation coming behind us the same things that were passed down to us. We do not need a new Independent Baptist; we need more of the same Independent Baptists!