Challenges for the Year


Text: Romans 1:28-32

 

I.         Toward the end of each year, people tend to review the year and record the trends that are evident

            A.        I’ve been collecting several articles in the last few months dealing with moral trends

            B.        We are not of the world, but we must live in it - John 17:15-16; I Corinthians 5:9-10

                        1.         What happens in the world ends up creeping into our lives and the lives of those we know.

            C.        I would like to spend a few moments discussing these trends and what God says about such matters.

II.        Changes in marriage and divorce rates

            A.        It might seem odd at first, but divorce rates have been declining of late.

                        1.         The overall divorce rate in the United States dropped from 18.95 divorces per 1,000 marriages in 1990 to 17.92 in 2009. [Jeff Kunerth, “Boomers boost divorce rate among older adults,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        2.         It isn’t that people are getting better at being married

                        3.         People are increasingly not bothering to get married

                                    a.         “The number of American parents who live together without marrying has increased twelve-fold since 1970.” [“Parents cohabit rather than wed, Omaha World-Herald, 2011]

                                    b.         Only 51% of adult Americans are married in 2010. That is compared to 72% in 1960. [“Wedding bell blues: Only 51% are married,” Omaha World-Herald, 12/15/2011]

                                    c.         Worse, “Just 20% of adults 18 to 29 are married, compared wiht 59 percent in 1960.” [“Wedding bell blues: Only 51% are married,” Omaha World-Herald, 12/15/2011]

            B.        But at the same time, divorce among people 50 to 64 has increased from 6.9 divorces per 1,000 marriages in 1990 to 12.6 divorces per 1,000 marriages in 2009. [Jeff Kunerth, “Boomers boost divorce rate among older adults,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        1.         “Now one in four people getting divorced is over the age of 50. In 1990 it was less than one in 10.” [Jeff Kunerth, “Boomers boost divorce rate among older adults,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        2.         What is happening is that the older generation that viewed marriage as permanent is dying off.

                                    a.         A young generation that still emphasized marriage is growing up, but they are more willing to divorce.

                                    b.         A telling statement: “The divorce rate for aging boomers is twice as high for those who were previously divorced than those who were on their first marriage.” [Jeff Kunerth, “Boomers boost divorce rate among older adults,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                                    c.         I Corinthians 7:10-11

                                    d.         They are being followed by a generation that isn’t even bothering to get married. “Families that would be unstable anyway are just skipping marriage.” [Sheela Kennedy, Minnesota Population Center]

                                    e.         The few that do are among those who see marriage as permanent.

            C.        Hebrews 13:4

            D.        The shift is affecting children and future generations

                        1.         “42% of children have lived with cohabiting parents by age 12, far more than the 24% whose parents have divorced” [“Parents cohabit rather than wed, Omaha World-Herald, 2011]

III.       Sexual behavior

            A.        Unwed sex

                        1.         One statistic is that percent of unmarried births by teenagers versus all births has declined from 52% in 1975 to 21% in 2009.

                                    a.         Sounds good until you learn that the percent of unmarried teen births to all teen births rose from 79% in 2000 to 86% to 2009.

                                    b.         What that means is unmarried teen births is continuing to rise, but unmarried birth to non-teens is rising far faster.

                                    c.         Source: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html

                        2.         Sexual intercourse in high school has “decreased from 54.1% in 1991 to 47.8% in 2007 “ [http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5806a1.htm] but premarital sex after high school has been increasing at a far higher rate.

                        3.         II Corinthians 6:9-10

            B.        Sexual disease

                        1.         17% of all new HIV/AIDS cases involve people under the age of 24.

                                    a.         “During 1997--2006, the rate of AIDS diagnoses reported among males aged 15--19 years nearly doubled, from 1.3 cases per 100,000 population in 1997 to 2.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2006" [http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5806a1.htm]

                        2.         Half of all STD reported involve people under 24. [http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5806a1.htm]

                        3.         There is a reason why God warned about disease (wounds) - Proverbs 6:32-33

IV.      Drugs

            A.        Alcohol

                        1.         From 1991 to 2011, “the proportion of eight-graders who said the used alcohol in the past 30 days has declined by half, to 13%.” 40% of high school seniors used alcohol in the past 30 days. [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        2.         Binge drinking by high school seniors dropped from 41% in 1981 to 22% in 2011. [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

            B.        Cigarettes

                        1.         12.8 % of high school students smoked in the last 30 days in 2010 compared to 11.7% in 2011. [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

            C.        Marijuana

                        1.         “1 in 15 high school seniors use marijuana daily or nearly daily – the highest rate since 1981" [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        2.         “Teens generally don’t think of marijuana as dangerous” [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

                        3.         As more state legalize medical marijuana, the rate of marijuana use has increased. No surprise there.

                        4.         There is a stronger drug, a synthetic version of marijuana called Spice or K2. “11% of all high school seniors have tried it.” [“Teen alcohol, cig use down; pot up,” Omaha World-Herald, December 2011]

            D.        Romans 13:13-14

V.        In describing the warnings given to declining Roman Empire - Revelation 9:1-11

            A.        Satan, the angel of destruction, rose up.

                        1.         He released smoke to obscure the sun – he blocked people from seeing the light of God’s wisdom

                        2.         He waged spiritual warfare against his own followers, non-Christians who did not have the mark of God, causing them pain and torment

                        3.         Yet he could not affect those whom God marked.

            B.        We often think of Satan looking to bring Christians down, but he is a destroyer and he destroys his own followers

            C.        Misery is in their lives and they don’t even realize it comes from their own sins.

            D.        But in God there is something that the world can never offer - Philippians 4:6-7

            E.        There is an opportunity to gain peace this day.