Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Parenting with a Gospel Purpose

So this was my second sermon in Peru. It was a little different as they asked us to cut our sermons in half as we were outside freezing, and the sermon time was doubled due to translation. It was weird having to do that - I'm used to going in more detail and expounding upon things, not gutting my sermon. Definitely had to rely on God to let me know what I could cut and still keep the message intact that he wanted me to speak. Anyways, here it is..

Hello everyone. I hope you are having a great week so far. I wanted to talk to you tonight about the Gospel and parenting.Children are a precious gift from God. In Psalm 127: 3-5, it says “Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will attempt to explain what Scripture says about the gospel and parenting.

Turn to Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Parenting involves Caring. That means to spend time with them, and not ignore them. Children want quality time and quantity of time. Children know they are loved when Parents want to spend time with them and do not see it as an obligation.

Parenting involves Communication. From this verse, we also see that children are supposed to see and hear the Gospel everywhere they go with us. Children watch every move we make and will copy everything we do. This is why we need to explain to them why we do things the things we do. And if we mess up, we need to tell them why it is wrong so that they do not do the same thing.

Parenting involves Correction. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” There is a difference between abuse and loving correction and guidance. We give children rules and correct them because we love them and do not want to see them hurt.

So what and how do we need to teach our children? In Ephesians 6:4, it says “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Carefulness in how we teach. So we are not to discourage our children from seeking God. Christ is the center of biblical parenting, and how we teach them should always point to Him.

Consistency in what we teach. We must live what we teach, and not neglect teaching it to children. If we do not teach children the God of this Bible that we say we believe in, we will have failed them and God in our responsibility. Children listen to their parents, even when it may seem like they do not. It's alright to be scared of this task. But one thing which should give us hope is this: Our God never changes, only we do. If we rely on Him, he will help us to become biblical parents.

Completeness in what we teach. They need to be taught about all of his attributes – his love and his wrath, his mercy and his grace, his patience and his faithfulness, his goodness and holiness, his power and his knowledge, his control over everything. They need to know he is not an old man, sitting and begging for us to come to him. He is the almighty creator of this universe, and he does not need us for anything. And yet, he still chooses to call us to him.

Christ in what we teach.
We also need to make sure they understand that Christ, our savior, died on the cross, and rose from the grave three days later. Nothing we could do could ever earn our salvation. He alone is deserving of all our worship. They need to understand the mercy he has shown us, and the glory he deserves, and how thankful we should be.

The Church in what we teach. Children need to be taught about the family of Christians, and what living life with that family implies.It means that every person who becomes a Christian is now our brother and sister through Christ. We need to love each and every one of them while we are on Earth like Christ has loved us.

The Gospel in what we teach. Most importantly, the ultimate goal in parenting is to disciple our children. God has given us the responsibility and opportunity to pour more time into our children than any other disciple we could have. And parenting allows us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to teach them about God and hopefully to train our children to be disciple-makers.

Parenting is a direct representation of the Gospel. When the world sees the way you love your child, they should see a picture of God’s love for his children. Our love for our children should also reflect the unconditional love that God showed us. It doesn’t matter what they've done – we should still show Christ’s love to them.

And while this is a great picture of the Gospel, I would caution against neglecting your spouse for your children. Our responsibility to our children should never replace our responsibility for our spouse because our love for our spouse is such an excellent way to show our children the Gospel. And if we have shown the Gospel properly in our own marriages, our children will want that same kind of love in their marriages. It is another way that the Gospel shines through both our marriage and our parenting.

Hopefully we have seen a little more of what this Gospel has for children, and our purpose in it. Can it be an inconvenience? Sure. But children are a blessing, not an obligation. There will be times when we get frustrated, but we need to remember that parents are the ones who have the best chance to teach children about Christ. Remember the impact you have on your child’s life, and the call God has placed on all parents. Let’s pray.


Here is the first of the sermons I preached in Peru. Hope you enjoy!

I hope that everyone is having a great week (end) so far. It has been
a blessing, and I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store
for all of us this week. I wanted to talk tonight about a particular
passage of scripture that God has made close to my heart.

Psalm 42:1-2 says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul
pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?” Tonight, I want to break down how
this is applicable for all of us – Christians and non-Christians

We’ll start with our lives before we met Christ. Our lives seemed
alright. We did not realize the need we had. Our vision was cloudy and
our hearts did the best they could to fill their desire. Jeremiah 2:13
says “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the
spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken
cisterns that cannot hold water.” This was how the Lord described his
own people – people who had forsaken him and went to desires that
could not fulfill them. Does that describe your life before God?
Trying to fill the void that left your soul parched and aching? Did
you distance yourself, or even reject, the God that could quench your
thirst? That can be a dangerous and frightening concept if we grasp
it. In Jeremiah 6:10 it says “Their ears are closed so they cannot
hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them. They find no pleasure
in it.” We didn’t want what God was offering to us. We chose to fill
those needs elsewhere, and only ended up more parched than before. We
did not know how bad of shape we were in, and turned away the one
person which could help us. Thankfully, God, as 2 Corinthians 4:6
says, “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the
knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Our sinful
nature would not want us to turn towards God and satisfy the longing
of our souls. But God, in his mercy, chose us. We are dependent on God
to open our eyes to our need, and thankfully he does just that. When
we realize this we can sate our thirst with the water Jesus speaks of
in John 4:14 - The water of eternal life.

So we see how our soul is literally dying of thirst, without our
knowledge, unless God opens our eyes to our need. So what does that
mean for the follower of Christ? Our souls still ache to be filled by
the water. Psalm 84:2 says “My souls yearns, even faints, for the
courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
So we see here, and in Psalm 42 that we read earlier, that our souls
cries out and aches for God. But why?

We see countless times throughout the Bible that God will help our
souls when they call out to him. In Psalm 23:3, it says that ‘he
refreshes my soul’. In Psalm 55:22, it says ‘Cast your burden upon the
Lord and he will sustain you.’ In Isaiah 41:10, I says “Fear not, for
I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen
you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
In 2 Timothy 4:17, it says “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me
strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and
al the Gentiles might hear it.” Our God loves when we call to him and
rely on Him instead of trying on our own. Is it really that shocking
to us then that our souls call out for more of Him? Strengthens us,
refreshes us, upholds us, calms our fears, sustains us – these are
powerful promises.

And I’ll give you my example. I am not the best public speaker. It’s
shocking, I know. I get nervous in front of crowds. My flesh fails me.
But God uses that opportunity for his glory. He uses the fact that I
have to rely on Him to speak to further his Kingdom and make his glory
known. Because anyone who knows me knows that it’s not me up here
speaking. It is him. My flesh would have me sit back down in fear,
afraid of embarrassing myself, or saying something that is biblically
incorrect. But God gets all the glory when I stand up and his word is
proclaimed – because I cannot do it in my own strength. As Matthew
26:41 says, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The Gospel is proclaimed when we try and satisfy our souls with Christ
because no matter how much of Him we put in our lives, we will
continue to want more. As we draw closer to him, we want more of him.
And when we get to Heaven, will our souls finally grow satisfied and
our thirst finally be quenched? Pastor John Piper had this to say
about our desire only increasing once we get to Heaven and are able to
spend eternity with our Lord and Savior: “It will take an infinite
number of ages for God to be done glorifying the wealth of his grace
to us - which is to say he will never be done. And our joy will
increase forever and ever. Boredom is absolutely excluded in the
presence of an infinitely glorious God.” So the desire of our souls,
God, will never grow old and never cease to satisfy? AMEN! We can
only hope and pray that this is true. It is my prayer that our souls
never cease thirsting for Jesus Christ!