On the Day of Pentecost, about 2,000 years ago, Peter preached boldly to a huge crowd in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ, whom “you crucified and killed,” was the promised Messiah, and that they could be saved if they repented and believed in Him. He finished with this stand-alone line, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
As my wife, Cindi, and I begin to embark on our ministry with Child Evangelism Fellowship, that last admonition keeps coming to mind. And I believe it is meant to counteract that tempting idea that we are trying to save America, or our city, or the generation itself. It’s tempting to puff up the mission to something grander and more important than reaching a single child and changing his or her eternal destination. The fact of the matter is, most people will not believe the Gospel. Jesus said the way was narrow, and few be they that find it.
In many ways, I think this is where the church has missed it in my generation, and probably previous generations in America. The church began to talk to the crowd instead of the individual. The first clue for my generation should have been the inappropriately named “Moral Majority.” The majority is not moral, in my experience. The name presumes that we are mostly good and decent. But reality reveals that the majority is the very thing we must save ourselves from being apart of.
Even as a child, I discovered that children could be mean, violent, full of themselves, and promiscuous. I was not a popular kid in school precisely because I did my work and meekly went about my business. I discovered it was a good way to get picked on, beaten up, ridiculed and mocked. This caused me to embrace my own sinfulness by hating those kids who bullied me, and despising the other cowards who stood by and did nothing. Of course, when other kids were bullied, I stood by and did nothing, too.
So, as an adult I had no delusions that children were all innocence and light. I knew then, as I know now, that children are just smaller sinners who cannot be tried as adults. They each need to be saved from their corrupt generation. Yes, if you save enough of them, it can have a positive impact on the whole classroom or entire neighborhood. But we must stay focused on each individual child, as God does. God is big enough and smart enough to judge us all individually. He has the hairs on our heads numbered. That is how big he is. He has more data on you than the NSA.
It is man and his puny organizations that judge us by what groups we are in, what color we are, and where we live. It is man who sacrifices the rights of individuals for his broad-brushed common good. This is why there is a Heaven, where the unconverted are not allowed, under the rule of God, who cannot be forced by lawyers and judges to receive the wicked. Save yourselves from this crooked generation.