The Wisdom of the Old with the Passion of the Young
The title of this message is borrowed from a video entitled Fast Forward. I highly recommend it to all of you, especially if you are under thirty years of age. I believe the words express the combination of human expressions that will characterize the last great rising up of the church.
It is my sense that the revival to ring in the next great age of planet earth will involve the coming together of the passionate young people of the next generation and the brave, receptive, wise older people who will embrace what the Spirit is doing. The passion of the young will be combined with the wisdom of the old to produce a wineskin that will receive and contain the new wine of God’s great end time outpouring.
People who have passed a certain age often become hardened in the religious form of a revival of the past. We find ourselves attached to what happened in the past instead of embracing what God is doing now. The young have not yet experienced what we saw years ago and are not impressed by our ancient revivals. They are living now and seeking present expressions of God that are real to them. They are passionate for God in their own unique and liberating way and seek present expressions of God that are meaningful to them.
History shows that Christians, who experience revival, eventually allow the life of that revival to harden into stale forms and programs devoid of the life that inspired them. Many allow these lifeless forms to produce sacred cows that are more important to them than the present expression of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian denomination possesses these sacred cows that hinder the older believers from embracing the present move of God.
There are no exceptions to this that I am aware of. Once revival has come and gone most Christians just cling to the empty shells left by the once powerful move of God. The young people growing up in the midst of these empty forms do not embrace them because they do not sense life in them. They see church buildings, programs and doctrines but God’s presence is lacking. They reject the old way not because it is not rooted in a historical move of God but because God has long sense moved on to new expressions of His life.
The old must rekindle their passion for God
Now, God is seeking older believers who will let the Holy Spirit move in their lives apart from the religious boundaries they have created. They have wisdom that comes from age but they may have allowed their passion for God and His life to wane. The older ones must not forsake the wisdom that God has produced in their lives but they must allow Him to rekindle their passion for His presence.
At the same time the Holy Spirit is seeking young people who are passionate for God and also able to receive the wisdom offered by their older brothers and sisters. God wants spiritual mothers and fathers to come along side of the young spiritual children of the next generation. Young people must respect those who have gone before them and open up to what they have to offer, and the older saints must respect and open to the spiritual passion of the young.
Scripture bears this out. God used the older saints to announce the coming of the Messiah. Simeon was there by the Spirit when the parents of Jesus brought Him to the temple. He announced that this baby was indeed the Christ (Luke 2:25f.). He was an old man declaring revelation from God to young people of the next generation. Likewise, Anna, an elderly woman, bore witness of the Christ (Luke 2:36f.). In essence, Simeon and Anna were passing on to the next generation the revelatory wisdom of the older generation.
It was difficult for people like Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, to break free of his religious notions long enough to receive the newness of the Spirit as revealed by Jesus. The Lord responded to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” (John 3:10).
The simple truths of the presence of God through the Spirit were difficult for this old man because he had allowed his religious programs to dull his passion for God’s presence. But we praise God that he was one of those who made the breakthrough, for later we see him helping with the burial of Jesus (John 19:39).
Dead Wisdom Rejects Christ
The old, established church of the day for the most part rejected Christ and His message. His message threatened the religious expressions of their great wisdom. And make no mistake about it the Pharisees and Jewish leaders of the day were very serious Jews who believed they were in the will of God. The only problem was they had not kept their passion for God alive but were trusting in their wisdom and knowledge. Without passion for God’s presence their wisdom was a useless relic of the past.
Paul may be the greatest example of this balance of wisdom and passion. He was older and wiser and very established as a leader of the Jews and yet one of his co-workers was the young Timothy. Paul admonished others not to despise him for his youth and that he should set an example “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12).
I encourage that same kind of relationship among God’s people today. The older, more mature believers should speak forth the revelation of their hearts, like Paul, and the young people should honor those older ones and not be ashamed of the message and passion they possess.
The Younger ones are Sent Away
Unfortunately, in today’s pro-grammed Churchianity we tend to divide the church by age. The younger ones are sent to their own place to worship in their unbridled passion and the older ones go off somewhere else to worship in their way. How much better it would be for the generations to mingle and share what they have and submit to one another.
Paul tells us to “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Rom. 12:10, KJV). I don’t believe that Paul would have made a differentiation between the young and the old. Neither should we. Regardless of our age we should honorably prefer one another. The young and the old should both honor those of a different age.
Some church leaders disagree with this, believing that since the young people are the main thrust of the coming revival that they should be favored in all aspects of activity and the older ones should submit all that they prefer to the younger ones. I have been in worship times where the music was set to the decibel level and style of the youth to the extent that older people were hiding behind the pews covering their ears.
Mothers were holding their hands over the ears of their babies and older people were leaving the meeting. I believe the Holy Spirit was grieved because a segment of the body was allowed to disregard the needs of many who were equally valuable in the eyes of God.
How tragic it is when a church ignores the needs of the young and functions completely according to the desires of the older believers. The opposite is also true. How discouraging to see a church ignore the needs of the older ones for the sake of the young.
Paul admonished the churches when they are gathered to “Let all things be done for building up” (1 Cor. 14:26). In the gathering of the saints of all ages each person should be seeking to build up all of those who are there. “All things” in the gathering are to be for that purpose.
Only in this way can the old benefit from the passion of the young and the young benefit from the wisdom of the old. If we continue to divide up according to age and ignore one another we will hinder the move of the Holy Spirit. In so doing we cater to the world’s way of emphasizing the youth while disparaging the old.
Shame on us for conforming to the world!
Shame on us for conforming to the world in this manner! Many do this for the sake of the large crowds that can be attracted and the income that can be generated. Our goal must be to love the Lord and His people. If we say we love the Lord but despise a segment of His church for selfish motives, something is wrong. Our commission is to build up the body of Christ, not a segment of it.
Some will say that this is impossible in today’s American culture. We are youth oriented, they will say, and that’s just the way it is. The Lord would say to us,
My church is not to be fashioned according to the principles of the world. My holy bride is being shaped by My Holy Spirit, who has been sent forth to gather My people together under the banner of Love. Stop conforming yourselves to the way of America but be transformed by the power of My word, which cannot be compromised. Come together in Love and you will see fleshly distinctions dissipate and disappear. My kingdom is not of this world and those who would dwell in it must submit to its King and His ways. The god of this world has infused you with his divisive ways and you have bowed down to his disruptive tactics. It is time to come again to Me and submit to My ways.
I have spoken to several parents lately who came to a point of spiritual grief over the way they had to send their children off to the age group that suited them. They wanted their children to be with them during the time the church gathered. But no, they were instructed that their children were not allowed in the adult gathering. So they reluctantly sent one child this way and another that way while they made their way to the adult faction of the body of Christ.
Many of you who see this fragmenting as the norm may be offended by this but I believe that this grieves the Lord greatly. America has a government controlled school system that splits children up into age groups. We have done this in our churches because we do not see the spiritual nature of what is supposed to happen in our gatherings. We see our church gatherings as learning times only so we separate the people by their learning level.
The church is far more than a learning group. It is a context in which people of all ages, races, genders, and social status can come together in the spirit with Christ as the Guest of honor. It is a spiritual organism growing by the Spirit of God not a fleshly body of believers who toss doctrines around.
We are to gather to build one another up in Christ and allow Christ to come among us as the honored guest. When we made the church into a school we began to organize it the way the world does.
When people inquire about how we meet in homes with God’s people, the first question usually asked is, “What do you do with the children?” In America we “do something” with the children. What a shame! In the kingdom of God the children and young people are a viable part who cannot be denied.
I believe this is one of the great hindrances of true spiritual restoration in this country. We do everything by fleshly characteristics. People gather together in ethnic groups because they cannot submit their ethnicity to God and to His people. They gather in men’s and women’s fellowships because our genders have grown apart in gender-confused America. We gather with people of our social status because we claim we can better relate to those who are “like us.” The same goes for age groups.
The church is not a fleshly organization! It is a spiritual organism that is not governed by the rules of the flesh. When we try to let the church function by fleshly principles we make it into a man-made program instead of the body of Christ. No wonder we are failing to change the world but are being changed by the world. We have decided to operate by its rules instead of responding to the divine presence of our God.
I will tell you now from the Lord that the end time church will not be a human organization governed by men and their ideas. It will be a divine expression of Christ Himself upon the earth. It will function by the Spirit and will roll over the fleshly façade of the enemy like a steam roller over a wicker basket.
God will have his church and it will encompass young and old, male and female, rich and poor, and every race of man. He did not die so that we could go our way and do our thing. He died to purchase us with His own blood and possess us for His will. We are not our own. We belong to Him.
The wisdom of the old and the passion of the young—a wonderful recipe for divine success and power. When will we see it? When will we embrace it? When that day comes we will see a rising up of a church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. Lord, hasten that day!