Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Me or We Generation

January 4, 2009

America's finest fought and won a world war in Europe and the South Pacific simultaneously. Perhaps some of your relatives were involved in this massive undertaking. Tom Brokaw calls them "The Greatest Generation" and he was right.

Fast forward 70 plus years to present day America. Could you give the present day generation a fitting name?

Try the TV ads. They are geared to the various demographics for the sole purpose of selling their wares.

Do you recognize this? "It's my money and I want it now." Or "I want it all and I want it now."

Did you see the guy who is at the drive thru window paying for his order? A vehicle right behind him stomps his gas pedal and proceeds to push the guy past the window so he can take his place.

With tires squealing and smoke bellowing, he gets to the window and his line is "I just had to have my Arby's.

Maybe you heard the sad and shocking news of the man who was trampled to death by Wal-Mart shoppers on Black Friday.

And now there is an insurance advertisement stating that a certain company sponsors the NFL and Sundays. Since when did the Lord sell the sponsorship of Sunday? I must have missed the news.

I think I can give the present generation a name. I call it the "Me Generation." It's fitting because this comes straight from the word of God.

I) "The Me Generation." II Timothy 3:1-4

In this particular section of Scripture the Apostle Paul uses two (2) Greek words that appear no where else in the Greek New Testament The first is found in verse 2 "men shall be lovers of their own selves".

The second comes in verse 4 speaking of the same generation that Paul describes as "lovers of pleasure."

Some speculate that Paul coins these two words himself and applies them to a generation of men that would someday exemplify and typlify all that the apostle describes here.

An interpretative rule of Scripture states that whenever a word is used only one time, it is almost without exception worthy of our utmost attention. It is used to emphasize a point of truth and not to be passed by lightly.

I propose to you that the words are bookends. If you omit all that appears between those two words you arrive at a simply conclusion.

What Paul sees prophetically is one generation, above all past generations, that will be characterized as a race of people that are "lovers of their own selves" and "lovers of pleasure."

The Scripture says it would come for notice verse 1 "This know also, that in the last days, perilous (or dangerous) times shall come. These dangerous times will come because mankind has only one lover: Himself.

In the movie "The Longest Day", the apex of the movie occurs in a German bunker along the Atlantic Wall at Normandy. An officer is aroused by a phone call from headquarters about possible enemy activity during the night. He dresses and proceeds to the bunker just before dawn. He peers out from the bunker. The fog and darkness has decreased his visibility. He sees nothing.

Convinced there is no danger, he spends a few minutes and prepares to return to his quarters.He takes one more look and through the fog and the fleeting darkness he spots a ship. And then another, and then, he sees the whole Allied armada awaiting off shore. The invasion has come.

Before our very eyes, the "Me Generation" has emerged. It started with the idea that man's self worth and esteem are too low. It must be corrected. It must be elevated. The psychological prescription was man must love himself more. And he has!!!!!

Verse 1 pinpoints the time, Verse 2-4 describes the traits of that generation. Is it on the horizon? Is it in the near future? No and No. It is here.

II) The We Generation. I Thessalonians 4:13-18

This particular passage is familiar to most Christians. It describes for us an event that is often called "The Rapture of the Church."

I personally believe the Rapture will take place once the "Me Generation" has taken center stage. It is a logical fit.

When Jesus came the first time, there was a small group of Jews (very small by all accounts) that anticipated His coming. William Barclay referred to these as the "Quiet Ones." We meet two of them in Dr. Luke's account of Joseph and Mary bringing the babe Jesus into the temple on the 8th day after his birth. (See Luke 2). One is Simeon, the other is Anna.

Just as with His first coming, When Jesus returns for the church, there will be a group of believers who are anticipating His coming.

Note the whole of Paul's writing to the Thessalonians in chapter 4 verses 13-18. While it is not our intent to explore the passage in detail it is striking to notice the term "we". While Paul so anticipated His Lord's return, it did not occur in his lifetime.

However, Paul prophetically is writing to people not yet even born. They are the "We" Generation.

Look to verse 15 "That we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" and again in verse 17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up"

Clearly there is a "We Generation". The generation of believers that will be eye witnesses too and participants in the Rapture of the Church.

As Paul writes to the Corinthians "Behold, I show you a mystery ; We shall not all sleep (there is the mention again of the "We Generation") but we shall all be changed" (includes those who died in Christ and will be resurrected along side the living ones) I Corinthians 15:51

So in the midst of the "Me Generation".....the lovers of self and the lovers of pleasure there will be a "We Generation". A group awaiting the next great event on the prophetic calendar.

And the truly blessed part, when the me generation emerges and it has, the event of the rapture can not be very far behind. Let us be looking up, "for our redemption draweth nigh." Luke 21:28

III) Conclusion:

You and I will find ourselves in one or the other. We belong either to the "Me Generation" or to the "We Generation." There are no other options.

As is always the case, Jesus is the dividing line in the sand, the decision of all decisions.

You do nothing to remain a member of the "Me Generation." You were born into the human race. You must be born again to be a member of the "We Generation". I trust you belong to Him.

Till next time.

Glenn Bentley