Generational Weights and Measures

Lineage  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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What is lineage?

Websters says that lineage is a group of individuals tracing their heritage to a common ancestor.
Your lineage is both your biological makeup that comes from your DNA passed down through your parents, grandparents, etc. and it is also embedded into how we live- the values, ethics, practices, and tendencies that are impacted by our ancestry.
We see linage come up a lot in terms of medical science- how our ancestors can determine our risk for certain health issues; or our body type; or if we might have twins or triplets. Jess and I are currently waiting on some genetic tests to tell us if there is a genetic marker that would show if Olivia could pass her condition onto her children one day.
But our linage plays out in other ways too; not just biology. Think about it; how many times is dad a carpenter, and so is his son, and so is his grandson. Or how about in things like our language- accents are a sign of lineage.

The Bible talks about lineage too

Our lineage also has a spiritual component to it as well. The Bible speaks freely about how our spirituality is effected by our lineage too.
Consider the problem of original sin in Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—”
2 Timothy 1:5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”
Matthew and Luke both take time in their Gospels to provide a genealogy of Jesus and relating that to his fulfillment of many prophecies.
Passages like these show us that many times our lineage is not something that God ignores or sidesteps but is often embedded in God’s very plans for us.

Our Spiritual Lineage comes from our adoption by Jesus

Galatians 4:5–7 “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Think about this for a moment- you have been adopted by God. God has willingly chosen you to be a part of his lineage- and he has welcomed you into his family; deposited his Holy Spirit in you; and given you full access to an eternal inheritance. Now, what you do with that is really up to you.
As adoptive parents Jess and I talk freely about this to our kids. As parents we invite, encourage, and train our kids to adopt certain ways of living; but we know that some of our kids have experienced and remember a life very different that ours- and one day they will have to choose which path they will walk down. We can encourage, invite, and instill but they must choose what to do with what they have been given.
This is also true with Jesus. Jesus offers all of these life changing things to us, but at the end of the day we must choose how we will use them and how we will integrate them into our lives.

What kind of lineage are you leaving?

So the question we will be asking ourselves for the next few weeks is what kind of lineage are we sowing into?
As the old saying goes, much of Christianity is not taught, its caught. We need need to really consider what we are helping the people around us catch- and I am not just talking about our blood relatives, I am talking about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Because the way we live our lives can have generational consequences.
In today’s passage we see that God was pretty clear that he pays attention to our sin- so much so that he would punish some sin to the following generations. Now, I will be the first to tell you that I do not think our English language does this passage justice. I do not think that this passage literally means that if you sin and do not repent that it will cause pain for your kids and grandkids. In fact, I think that is a very unfair interpretation. To really understand this let’s breakdown the second part of v7 and examine some of the original Hebrew used here.
Visiting- Hebrew paqad (pah-kad) which has a few different translations; one of which is “pays attention” It is the same word used quite a few times in Scripture when it talks about God “visiting” his people- not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense. So it does not necessarily mean that God is going to deliver some kind of physical retribution for our sin upon our family line. Rather, it seems to mean that God is fully aware that the sins of our fathers can be a huge part of our story here on Earth.
Iniquity- Hebrew awon (A-vone) which is the word most commonly translated to inequity in the OT some 215 times. But the word does not indicate “an action, but the character of an action" avone is not just the action but the motivation.
Consider 2 other passages that seem to refute the idea of a physical punishment on future generations for our sin.
First, Ezekiel 18:2–4 ““What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.”
Second, Jesus’s words about a man born blind in John 9:1–3 “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
So the Bible really talks about personal guilt when it comes to sin, but that does not let us off the hook for the ways our lives influence others.

The Bible also shows us patterns in generations.

Imagine carrying a 500lb weight on your back every day for your ntire life- complaining, moaning, and morning the pain and strife it causes you; and the first opportunity you get- you hand that same weight over to your child who is just now learning to walk. That is how many of us live our lives. We struggle with sins like anger, or lust, or greed, or alcoholism, and in our failure to heal and restore these thing we pass them down to our kids by the way we live. Imagine the opposite, imagine seeing your kids struggling to carry a 500lb weight, and because of your influence and your healing you are able to help them relieve the pain of that load.
The Bible does not shy away from the fact that many times our families set us up for failure or success and that the family unit is the most influential part of our formation as people. In fact, the Bible shows us that from its opening pages. Ill give you one example for consideration.
Consider Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph and his brothers.
Abraham lies and says that Sarah is his sister- twice! Once to the Egyptians in Gen 12 and in the Negeb in Gen 20 .
His son Issac tells the same lie to Abimelech in Gen 26.
Jacob, Abe’s grandson and Isaac’s son deceives Isaac by putting on goat’s skin and pretending to be his brother to get his birthright
Jacob’s sons throw their brother in a pit and use his coat to deceive their father into believing their brother was killed by a wild animal.
Generations of lying and deception at the expense of their own family. Generational curse.
That is…until Joseph.
Jospeh in his famous line- what the enemy intended for my harm, God used for good” flips the story on it’s head and begins to forge a new lineage and legacy for his family and his people.

We have to make our own choice, but those choices have lasting consequences.

Make no mistake, we all must make a personal choice to follow Jesus, but at the same time, no one follows Christ in a vacuum. Our choices on how we walk with Jesus can and will have generational impact. Consider Moses’ words to the people at Moab in Deut 30:15-20
Deuteronomy 30:15–20 ESV
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
A 2023 Pew Research Poll found that over 80% of children grow to follow in the religious patterns of their parents.
However studies have also found that children who have alcoholic parents are 6 times more likely to become alcoholics and 8 times more likely to marry an alcoholic.
People who live in a home with domestic abuse are 12 times more likely to abuse their family. 85 percent of the people in Jail grew up without one of their parents at home.
If you grow up listening to your mother gossip about others, you are far more likely to gossip as an adult .
if your father uses foul language you are more likely to do the same.
So if you have a kid here today, young or old, or a niece or nephew or a grandkid, gaze at them for a moment and ask yourself how am I empowering them to follow Jesus?
And this is not just about biological family either, church. So if you do not have kids you are not off the hook. Do you know how many churches suffer from generational brokenness? The adults of the church do not address sin or brokenness in the church so the kids grow up thinking that church is supposed to be filled with resentment or drama because that is what they experienced.
2 weeks ago we talked about building a foundation with these stones.
in the next few weeks we are going to talk about building a walkway, so that those who come behind us can walk in truth.
a lineage of gratefulness
a lineage of generosity
a lineage of justice
a lineage of obedience
a lineage of prayerfulness
a lineage of hope
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