SERMON – Jul 07, 2019

How Can I Know God’s Will For My Life?

 

At some point every Christian asks, “What is God’s Will for my life?”  I heard about an older lady who had locked her keys inside her car, while shopping.   She prayed, “God, I know it’s not Your will that I be stranded here all alone so please send someone to help me.”   Just then a man walked by and noticed she was locked out and in nothing flat he had her car door opened.   Out loud she said, “Thank you God for sending this nice man to help me.” But the stranger replied, “Ma’am, I’m not a nice man. I just got out of jail for auto theft.”  Unphased, she said, “Thank you, God! For sending me a professional!”

Folks, God has a will for your life.   He has something He wants YOU and me to do.  God has a purpose for us…a destiny for us to fulfill.   So how do I know what that purpose is?   How will I know what God wants me to do?   Let’s look in this morning’s passage found in Romans 12:1-3.

Knowing God’s will for our life isn’t that hard…in fact, it’s really quite simple.   First, He wants you to be saved.  The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)   Until we surrender to Him…nothing else matters.

Now, once you accept Him as your Savior, He wants you to live a special kind of life.  The Bible says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)  The Latin word for ‘sanctification’ means “to make holy”.   Our ‘sanctification’ or ‘to make us holy’, is God’s highest goal.  Just know, of everything that He created, we’re the only ones that can “be like Him.”   His only creation that can strive to live a Godly life and be like Jesus.

I read a story about a mom who was fixing breakfast for her young sons when they began arguing over who’d get the first pancake.  Well, Mom saw the chance for a moral lesson, so she said, “If Jesus were here, He’d say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.’”  Quickly, the oldest boy turned to his little brother and said, “You be Jesus.”

When we are God’s child, our Father expects our lives to reflect that special relationship we have with Him.   In fact, He wants you live your lives as a model for the world to see.   The Scriptures tell us “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men”. (1 Peter 2:15) We should live such decent lives that even the unbelievers won’t have anything to accuse us of.

We should live grateful lives focused on God’s blessings and not be known as complainers.  The Bible says, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   (1Thessalonians 5:17-18)  Now, there’s a lot more that the Bible tells us about God’s will for our lives but these 3 passages explicitly said: “THIS IS GOD’S WILL.”

But what you really want to know is what is God’s will for you.

  • Who does He want you to marry?
  • Where does He want you to live?
  • What does He want you to do for a living?
  • What kind of ministry can you do that would please Him?

God is very clear on how we can know His will for our lives.  Verse 2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

You see, the key to learning God’s will is to make yourself ready for the time when He wants you to do something.   And you make yourself ready by transforming your mind to think like God thinks.   How can I learn to “think” like God?   By:

  • reading your Bible,
  • going to church,
  • attending Sunday School,
  • going to Bible Studies.

In other words, you soak up God’s thinking into your mind and you will begin to think like God thinks.   There’s power in your mind but be ready…Satan wants your mind.  That’s why the car broke down, the roof leaks, they threatened you with your job.   He wants your attention.  The Devil don’t drive and he certainly doesn’t want to work!  He’s using that stuff to go after your mind…to take your mind off the ways of the Lord and to focus on yourself…your problems.

The Devil doesn’t want your job or your car or your kids.  He’s just using what you care about to drive you crazy!  He’s after your mind so you will lost your power…lose your focus.  The Bible tells us not to be distracted.  Satan wants to distract you from God’s will…from His plan for your life.   The Devil will get you so focused on fighting off what ‘could’ happen…that you’ll miss  what ‘is’ happening with God.  Satan can get you so focused on the great possibilities of ‘tomorrow’ that you’ll miss out on God’s blessings for you ‘today’.

Now in contrast, Paul tells us about the kind of thinking that will put me in God’s will. In  Corinthians, Paul praises the churches in Macedonia.   He writes, “And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.” (2 Corinthians 8:5)   In other words… the churches were doing the will of God because they put God first in the choices they made.

Now putting God first, let’s go back to the questions I asked earlier:

  • Who does God want you to marry? (Do they please God?)
  • Where does He want you to live? (Can I serve God there?)
  • What does He want you to do for a living? (Can I use that job to serve Him?)
  • What kind of ministry can you do for Him? (What can I do right now?)

If you put God first in your decision making, God will always find a way to use you.  God will always find a way to reveal His will to you, so you can do it.   Is God first in your life?   If not, what have you placed ahead of Him?

THE VESSEL GOD USES

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;

on the shelf there were many–which one would He choose?

“Take me”, cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright,

I’m of great value and I do things just right.

My beauty and luster will outshine the rest

And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!”

The Master passed on with no word at all;

He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall.

“I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine,

and I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine,

My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,

And my silver will always compliment You.”

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,

it was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.

“Here! Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do,

Place me on Your table for all men to view.”

“Look at me”, called the goblet of crystal so clear,

“My transparency shows my contents so dear,

Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,

And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.”

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,

Polished and carved, it solidly stood.

“You may use me, dear Master”, the wooden bowl said,

“But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!”

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.

Empty and broken it helplessly lay.

No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,

to cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,

I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.

I need not the vessel with pride of itself;

Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;

Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud;

Nor one who displays his contents so proud;

Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;

But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.”

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay,

mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.

Spoke to it kindly. “There’s work you must do.

Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”

SERMON – Jun 30, 2019

The Bad Dad

 

For the past few weeks we‘ve been talking about how to have a G-rated (God-rated) home in an R-rated world.  Last Sunday was Father’s Day and we examined at how a Godly father, who had an R-rated prodigal son, dealt with the situation.  By standing on his faith, being a Godly example, and setting parameters, it led to the humble return of a son that left with a rebellious attitude.   His methods worked but what about those parents who don’t always use good parenting methods?

Well, I read about one such situation.  Little Johnny walked into his Sunday School class late and his teacher asked if there was anything wrong?   Johnny replied, “No, ma’am.   I was going to go fishing, but my daddy told me that I had to go to church.”  The teacher was impressed and asked if his father had told him why it was more important to go to church than to go fishing.  Johnny nodded his head, “Yes ma’am, he did.  He said he didn’t have enough bait for both of us.”

Well, this morning we’re going to look at a man of God who was a “Bad Dad”.   A priest named Eli, that allowed an R-rated world to influence him and his family.   Would you stand as we read from God’s Word in 1 Samuel 2:18-26?

Eli didn’t show good parenting skills.   God was so displeased with his son’s behavior that He sent a Prophet to tell Eli to take action.   But he didn’t, all he did was talk.   Could Eli really have done anything to change his sons?  I don’t know.  But I think he should’ve made a stronger  impression upon them.

I was impressed with the story of the Amish man who caught his sons drinking at a local tavern.  The disappointed father promptly disciplined them.  He said, “Boys, I’m taking the horse home… you two bring the buggy.”   This father did something about their bad behavior.   But Eli didn’t.  He just gave them a “good talking to” and ultimately his inaction proved fatal.

If we want what’s best for our children, then God says when they’re rebellious and disobedient we’ve got to do more than just talk.   The Bible says to “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (Prov. 19:18).   Now, I don’t believe the sons died because of a lack of discipline.   But I do believe Eli’s bad example led them to their destruction.  Story: The famous evangelist’s two sons (Jon and Marc) at FMHS.

God warned Eli about his family but he failed to act.   So, when a messenger told him that his sons had died in battle and the ark of God had been captured, “Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy.” (1 Samuel 4:18)

Now, it’s not by accident that the Bible says he was a ‘heavy’ man.   There’s a reason for telling us about his waistline.  You see, Eli was fat because he ate too much but where would he get all that food?  It was stolen from the temple sacrifices to God and Eli knew it!

His sons were robbing the sacrifices and Eli grew fat because he ate the stolen food.  He knew of his son’s bad behavior and he participated in it.

  • It’s hard to confront bad behavior in your kid’s if you won’t confront your own.
  • It’s hard to control a child’s attitude when you keep losing your temper.
  • It’s hard to warn kids about drugs when they see your addiction to alcohol or tobacco.

Now, we need to be honest with ourselves.  There isn’t a person here that is without sin. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thus, we’re all going to mess up as parents or grandparents at some point.

But the problem isn’t with our sins and falling short.   The problem is when we don’t own up to our faults…our mistakes.  When we don’t ask for forgiveness.  The Bible says: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)   But Eli didn’t do that. He didn’t admit his mistakes.

He probably just made excuses for why ‘he was like he was’.  And so his sons followed in his footsteps and they all ended up facing the wrath of God.   So as a father, Eli failed in 3 ways: 1) he refused to discipline, 2) he set a bad example, and 3) he lost his focus.  Eli was a bad dad.

God’s prophet hit the nail on the head when he asked Eli, “why he honored his sons more than God?” (v 29)  Anytime we take our eyes off the cross…off of Jesus…off of God, we will fall from our G-rated life and slip into Satan’s R-rated world!   Our families are not more important than God.  When He has top priority in our lives, then we can be that Godly example for our kids.  Without Him front and center in our lives everyday…there can not be a God-rated home.

Now this R-rated world will tell you that you shouldn’t “force” your faith upon your children.  Well, that’s a lie!   God demands that we guide our children towards Him and He expects us to push our faith in our families.   A man once wrote: “When I was a boy, I had a “Drug” problem.

  • I was “drug” to Church on Sunday morning
  • I was “drug” to Church on Sunday evening.
  • I was “drug” to Church on Wednesday night.
  • I was “drug” to Sunday School every week.
  • I was “drug” to Vacation Bible School.
  • I was “drug” to the family altar to read the Bible and pray.
  • I was also “drug” to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, did not speak with respect, or spoke ill to another.”

He went on to say, “Those “drugs” are still in me and they affect my behavior in everything I do and say and think.   They’re stronger than cocaine or heroin and if our children had this “drug” problem today, America would certainly be a better place.”

The 2nd chapter of Samuel is really about 2 families.   We read about Eli and his failure to raise his sons right and Hannah, who was barren.  She was so desperate for a child that she vowed to  give her only son back to God, so that he would only serve Him.   What a contrast.   Eli attempts to protective his sons from God, while Hannah gives her son to God.   His sons died but her son, Samuel, became one of the greatest prophets ever.   Eli’s sons lost everything to God’s wrath while Hannah’s boy received God’s blessings.

About 50 years ago, a church in Kansas poured a sidewalk in front of their building.  As it was being done, a mother got permission to make a special impression.  She set the feet of her baby son in the soft concrete, with his toes pointing toward the church.   That way, every time they went to the church, the mother could point to his footprints and reminded him that her greatest  desire is that he keep God first in his life.   Where is God in your life?

SERMON – Jun 23, 2019

The Bad Dad

 

For the past few weeks we‘ve been talking about how to have a G-rated (God-rated) home in an R-rated world.  Last Sunday was Father’s Day and we examined at how a Godly father, who had an R-rated prodigal son, dealt with the situation.  By standing on his faith, being a Godly example, and setting parameters, it led to the humble return of a son that left with a rebellious attitude.   His methods worked but what about those parents who don’t always use good parenting methods?

Well, I read about one such situation.  Little Johnny walked into his Sunday School class late and his teacher asked if there was anything wrong?   Johnny replied, “No, ma’am.   I was going to go fishing, but my daddy told me that I had to go to church.”  The teacher was impressed and asked if his father had told him why it was more important to go to church than to go fishing.  Johnny nodded his head, “Yes ma’am, he did.  He said he didn’t have enough bait for both of us.”

Well, this morning we’re going to look at a man of God who was a “Bad Dad”.   A priest named Eli, that allowed an R-rated world to influence him and his family.   Would you stand as we read from God’s Word in 1 Samuel 2:18-26?

Eli didn’t show good parenting skills.   God was so displeased with his son’s behavior that He sent a Prophet to tell Eli to take action.   But he didn’t, all he did was talk.   Could Eli really have done anything to change his sons?  I don’t know.  But I think he should’ve made a stronger  impression upon them.

I was impressed with the story of the Amish man who caught his sons drinking at a local tavern.  The disappointed father promptly disciplined them.  He said, “Boys, I’m taking the horse home… you two bring the buggy.”   This father did something about their bad behavior.   But Eli didn’t.  He just gave them a “good talking to” and ultimately his inaction proved fatal.

If we want what’s best for our children, then God says when they’re rebellious and disobedient we’ve got to do more than just talk.   The Bible says to “Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.” (Prov. 19:18).   Now, I don’t believe the sons died because of a lack of discipline.   But I do believe Eli’s bad example led them to their destruction.  Story: The famous evangelist’s two sons (Jon and Marc) at FMHS.

God warned Eli about his family but he failed to act.   So, when a messenger told him that his sons had died in battle and the ark of God had been captured, “Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy.” (1 Samuel 4:18)

Now, it’s not by accident that the Bible says he was a ‘heavy’ man.   There’s a reason for telling us about his waistline.  You see, Eli was fat because he ate too much but where would he get all that food?  It was stolen from the temple sacrifices to God and Eli knew it!

His sons were robbing the sacrifices and Eli grew fat because he ate the stolen food.  He knew of his son’s bad behavior and he participated in it.

  • It’s hard to confront bad behavior in your kid’s if you won’t confront your own.
  • It’s hard to control a child’s attitude when you keep losing your temper.
  • It’s hard to warn kids about drugs when they see your addiction to alcohol or tobacco.

Now, we need to be honest with ourselves.  There isn’t a person here that is without sin. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thus, we’re all going to mess up as parents or grandparents at some point.

But the problem isn’t with our sins and falling short.   The problem is when we don’t own up to our faults…our mistakes.  When we don’t ask for forgiveness.  The Bible says: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)   But Eli didn’t do that. He didn’t admit his mistakes.

He probably just made excuses for why ‘he was like he was’.  And so his sons followed in his footsteps and they all ended up facing the wrath of God.   So as a father, Eli failed in 3 ways: 1) he refused to discipline, 2) he set a bad example, and 3) he lost his focus.  Eli was a bad dad.

God’s prophet hit the nail on the head when he asked Eli, “why he honored his sons more than God?” (v 29)  Anytime we take our eyes off the cross…off of Jesus…off of God, we will fall from our G-rated life and slip into Satan’s R-rated world!   Our families are not more important than God.  When He has top priority in our lives, then we can be that Godly example for our kids.  Without Him front and center in our lives everyday…there can not be a God-rated home.

Now this R-rated world will tell you that you shouldn’t “force” your faith upon your children.  Well, that’s a lie!   God demands that we guide our children towards Him and He expects us to push our faith in our families.   A man once wrote: “When I was a boy, I had a “Drug” problem.

  • I was “drug” to Church on Sunday morning
  • I was “drug” to Church on Sunday evening.
  • I was “drug” to Church on Wednesday night.
  • I was “drug” to Sunday School every week.
  • I was “drug” to Vacation Bible School.
  • I was “drug” to the family altar to read the Bible and pray.
  • I was also “drug” to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, did not speak with respect, or spoke ill to another.”

He went on to say, “Those “drugs” are still in me and they affect my behavior in everything I do and say and think.   They’re stronger than cocaine or heroin and if our children had this “drug” problem today, America would certainly be a better place.”

The 2nd chapter of Samuel is really about 2 families.   We read about Eli and his failure to raise his sons right and Hannah, who was barren.  She was so desperate for a child that she vowed to  give her only son back to God, so that he would only serve Him.   What a contrast.   Eli attempts to protective his sons from God, while Hannah gives her son to God.   His sons died but her son, Samuel, became one of the greatest prophets ever.   Eli’s sons lost everything to God’s wrath while Hannah’s boy received God’s blessings.

About 50 years ago, a church in Kansas poured a sidewalk in front of their building.  As it was being done, a mother got permission to make a special impression.  She set the feet of her baby son in the soft concrete, with his toes pointing toward the church.   That way, every time they went to the church, the mother could point to his footprints and reminded him that her greatest  desire is that he keep God first in his life.   Where is God in your life?

SERMON – Jun 16, 2019

The Faithful Father

 

For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about how to create a G-rated (a God-rated) home in this R-rated world.  And a key part of that G-rated home…is the father.   Now many believe that dads have all the answers, but that isn’t true, especially regarding our children.  I heard about a little boy named Billy who accidently swallowed a quarter.  His dad tried to get it out but couldn’t so he rushed him to the ER.   The doctor said to remove the quarter…Billy would need surgery.   But a man standing nearby said he could get the money out with no problem.   So the dad agreed and the man turned little Billy upside down and patted him on the back of neck and, sure enough, the quarter popped out. The dad said, “Wow, you must be an expert!”  But the man replied, “No, I’m a tax collector.”

Today is Father’s Day, a day to honor the dads.  Now it’s true that not every father lives up to the praise of Father’s Day, but most dads try hard to be the kind of men their children can be proud of.   In Luke, we see an example of a dad who has a rebellious son and how he deals with him.  Let’s stand as we read from Luke 15:11-32.

Fathers ARE important to a family…but does that mean that fathers will ALWAYS do what’s right?   As a father myself, I would hope so…but I know that isn’t true.  Fathers will fail.   Fathers will make mistakes.   Fathers will fall short.   And we worry just how much our failures have hurt our families.  But this story is about a father of faith not of failure.   You see, this dad was actually God Himself, the ultimate forgiving Father.   The rebellious son represents the lost and the older brother symbolizes the self-righteous.   It seems for whatever reason; the son still couldn’t stand to be in the same house with his father.  He’s so rude and self-centered that he couldn’t wait for his daddy to die so that he could get his inheritance and go off to play with his worldly friends.

Now many believe this story is about ‘a son who returns to his father’.   But I believe it’s more about a faithful father and the methods he used to deal with a prodigal child.   You see, this isn’t the story of a failed father, but a story of a dad who did what needed to be done to keep his home from becoming R-rated due to the warped personality of his child.   In today’s world, R-rated homes are dominated by Resentment, Rebellion, Rudeness, and Rejection.

The Prodigal Son had all of these R-rated emotions and that’s why he left home!   Yet the father’s parenting methods got him back.   Now there are many methods a father may use with their children.  I read about a young boy that got his drivers permit.   So he asked his dad, who was a Pastor, about using the car.  His father said, “If you bring your grades up, do your daily devotions, and get your hair cut, then we’ll talk about it.”  A month later, the boy asked again to use the car.   And his father said, “Son, I’m very proud of you. Your grades are up, you’ve been studying the Bible, but you didn’t get your hair cut.”   The boy replied, “You know, Dad, since I’ve been reading my Bible, I noticed that Samson, Moses, Noah, and even Jesus had long hair.”   His dad smiled, “Yes, they did. But did you also notice that everywhere they went, they walked.”

Well, the parenting methods of the prodigal’s father was different.   First, he was a righteous man which created a G-rated home.  He set a good example for his children.  In v 17, his son says, “But when he (the Prodigal Son) came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!”   The father’s servants had food left over. He didn’t force them to live on starvation wages.  He was a decent man who looked out for others and treated them fairly.   Reality was setting in!   As the son sat in the pigpen, he realized that because his father was a decent man, he could go home and ask for help.  Now, he realizes that his dad won’t turn him away because he is a kind man.   His R-rated rebellious attitude had blinded him to whom his father really was.    In a child’s mind, the type of man they see their father as…can shape the adult…they grow into.

Next, this faithful father had rules that he expected his sons to keep.   When his son tried ‘emotional blackmail’ by demanding his inheritance and moving out, the father didn’t say, “Oh son, I’m sorry I offended you with my rules.  If you’ll stay, I’ll let you do as you want!” 

Now, why didn’t he say that?   Because by relenting, it would tell his son that he was accepting of his R-rated behavior.  He didn’t want his boy to grow up to be Rebellious and Resentful.   So he Refused to give in.   Now, I’m not sure what set the boy off about living at home but I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that he couldn’t live any way he wanted.   And the father could have made peace by giving in but it would have been a temporary solution.   We do our children no favors by allowing them to be rebellious…just to make them happy.

The Father had set the rules in his home because he loved his sons and he knew the judgement that awaits rebellious children.   So, his parenting method was to set a good example and stand on his beliefs.   But watching your child leave home, even with an R-rated attitude, can be devastating.   So why not try to stop them from going?

Because he was a father whose faith was in God.   Remember, he was a man of means so he  probably knew where his son was but he doesn’t go get him because his son was still rebellious.   And he doesn’t send him money, because it would have allowed his son to continue to live in sin and avoid the consequences of his rebelliousness.   The Faithful Father refused to become an enabler for his son’s sinfulness.

So, what does this father do?   He waits and he waits and he waits and he watches.   He’s always looking in hopes of his son’s return.  The scripture says, “But when he (the Prodigal son) was still a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him.”

Now many may ask, “How could this father allow his son to destroy himself?   Why didn’t he beg him to stay?   Why didn’t he send money?”   Because he trusted in God.   When we don’t place our trust in God, we can end up doing all kinds of things…that we’ll later regret.   But Paul wrote: “For I know whom I have believed, and I’m persuaded that He is able to keep that what I have committed to Him until that day.” (2 Tim 1:12)

In other words, Paul was saying that he had learned by experience that he could trust God.  And he believed that God would keep, would guard, and would protect everything and everyone that Paul put’s in God’s care.   That’s another way of saying “Let go and let God.”   A good parent learns that this is the best policy, even though it’s hard…it’s still the best way.

Being a good father isn’t easy.   None of us dads are without fault.  But the father in Jesus’ story of the “Prodigal Son” gives us an example of the kind of dad…we should be.   And it’s the same Father that Jesus patterned His life after.  And if it’s good enough for the Man from Galilee… then our heavenly Father is a good enough example for all of us men.

SERMON – Jun 09, 2019

Teachable Moments

 

An older couple noticed that they were getting very forgetful, so they went to see their doctor.   He told them to start writing things down to help them remember.  That evening, the wife asked her husband to get her a bowl of ice cream. “You might want to write it down,” she said but the he replied, “No, I can remember a bowl of ice cream.”  Then she said she wanted whipped cream on top.   “Now, write it down.”  But again he said, “No, I can remember a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream on top.”  Then as he headed to the kitchen, she asked for a cherry on top of the whipped cream.  And again, she told him to write it down, but he said, “No, I got it.  A bowl of ice cream, with whipped cream on top and a cherry.”  Then after about 30 minutes, he returns with plate of eggs and bacon.  His wife stares at it for a moment and says, “Where’s the toast?”

In the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy, God is telling us that if we want a G-rated (God-rated) home …then we must remember certain things and we need “teachable moments” to help our families remember them as well.   Let’s stand as we read from God’s Word in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

A Sunday school teacher asked if any of her preschoolers could quote the 23rd Psalm and quickly a little girl raised her hand. The teacher was skeptical but the little girl smiled and said, “The Lord is my shepherd, that’s all I want.”   Now there are those in this R-rated world that wants to remove God from everything and replace Him with their own agenda.  So, it’s urgent that our children hear that the Lord can be their shepherd and that He can be all they’ll ever need.

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses tells the children of Israel that they must put God first in every part of their lives.  He says if they are committed to God it would give their families an advantage over other nations.  And that promise is still true for our families today.   But by contrast, if we don’t make God our top priority, you might be setting your family up for failure.

When I was a boy, all I ever heard about were the evils of communist Russia.   Remember, instead of fire drills, we did “duck and cover” drills in case of a nuclear attack from Russia.   Communism was the opposite of everything that America stood for.   We were ‘one nation under God’ and they were a nation without God.   I always wondered where this “communist” belief came from.   Well, in the early 1800’s, a Jewish boy in Germany grew up admiring his father.   Their family revolved around their religion and for over 100 years there had been Jewish Rabbi’s on both sides of their families.  Then during his teenage years, they moved to a town with no synagogue, only a Lutheran church.   And all the important people went there.

Soon, his father, who was a lawyer, said they would no longer practice their Jewish faith but they would now join the Lutheran church.  Why?  Because he said, “it would be good for his business.”   He even made his children get baptized as Lutheran to help his job.  His son’s disappointment in his father grew to anger and then a bitterness towards religion.  Soon, he left for college and over time he wrote a book that created a movement that changed the world.  He demanded those who followed him to live their lives without God.   His name…was Karl Marx, the founder of the communist movement.  His atheism was because his father sold out his faith.  You see, if God wasn’t a priority to his father, why should it be a priority to him?

So, how do we make God a priority?  The Bible says, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes,  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”  In other words, don’t make your faith part time!  Your children must see that God is a priority in your life.   This church, this pastor, the Deacons, and the teachers are all here to help you and encourage you.   But we can’t do your faith for you.   If the only time your children see your faith and see your God is on Sunday morning, then in their eyes, God is not a priority in your life.

You can’t expect your family to catch your faith by osmosis.  Our children can’t absorb our Godly thoughts because it’s true…‘seeing is believing.’  So, do your children see your commitment to God every day?

Did you notice the “teachable moments” for sharing our faith with our family?  We read to TEACH your faith to your children (teach by showing), TALK about your faith at home and away, at bedtime and in the morning (all time), TIE it to your hands (in all that you do), BIND it on your forehead (in your thoughts), and WRITE it on your doorframe (God-rated home for all to see and know).   Use these “teachable moments” to impress our faith to our children/grandchildren.  It’s simple:

  • You can start by telling them how much God has blessed you because of them.
  • You can read them stories or share favorite scriptures from the Bible.
  • You can share your “God Stories” with them. What is a “God Story?”

My sermon focus is this:  We must share our faith with our kids/grandkids.  We must be determined to bring them to salvation.   What we tell our children can change their lives.  Our children remember what’s important to us and that can point them towards salvation.

I want to close with a true story.   One day in 1988, Samuel and Danielle were sending their son, Armand, to school.  As usual, Samuel looked his son in the eyes and said, “Have a good day at school, and remember, no matter what, I’ll always be there for you.”   Hours later, a powerful earthquake devastated this area of the small country of Armenia.  Amidst the chaos, Samuel and Danielle couldn’t find out if their son was safe.  The radio only said that 1000’s were dead.

So Samuel headed for the school. When he arrived, it was destroyed and parents stood crying.   But Samuel began searching where Armand’s classroom used to be.  He began pulling debris off the pile of rubble.  He threw off a beam, then a piece of concrete, and then another.   One of the parents asked, “What are you doing?”   And without looking up, Samuel replied, “Digging for my son.”  The man said, “You’re just going to make things worse! The building is unstable,” but Samuel kept digging.  Firemen even tried to remove him but he refused.   All night and into the next day, Samuel continued digging.  The next morning, parents began placing flowers and pictures of their children on the ruins but Samuel just kept digging.

Finally, as he pushed a beam out of the way and heard a faint cry for help.  He stopped and listened.   Suddenly, he heard a muffled voice, “Papa?”   Samuel began to dig even harder and finally he could see his son.  In relief, Samuel called out, “Come out, son!”   But Armand said, “Papa, let the other kids come out first because I know you’ll get me.”   Child after child climbed out until finally, little Armand appeared.  Samuel took him in his arms and Armand said, “I told the other kids not to worry because you told me that you’d always be there for me!”   That day, 14 children were saved…because one father was faithful.

Will those in your household be saved because of your faith?

SERMON – Jun 02, 2019

Raising A G-Rated Family In An R-Rated World

 

A census taker was assigned to the hills of Tennessee and on his first day, he came to a run-down cabin where he was greeted by a little girl.  He asked, “Is your mom at home?”   The girl replied, “Nah, she ran off with a moonshiner.”   So he said, “Is your father home?”   “Nah, he pokes his head in once a month to take a bath.”    Frustrated he said, “Do you have an older sister?”   “Yep.”   “Well, is she home?”   “Nope, she’s in jail for shooting the sheriff.”   “Do you have an older brother?”   “Yep”   “Well, is he at home?”    “Nah, he’s at Harvard.”   He was speechless.   “Harvard? What’s he studying?”   The girl shook her head, “Nothing. They’re studyin’ him!” 

I could understand a university study him because these aren’t normal people.   And one thing all of us want, is to be normal with normal families.   But in this world, trying to raise a “Normal” family is getting harder and harder.  It’s more difficult because we’re trying to raise G-rated family in an increasingly “R-rated” world.   And at times, it borders on X-rated.

And we’ve got to face the truth, this world does influence our families…whether we like it or not.   I believe our text this morning, I Peter 1:17-19, will give us some principles that will help us in creating a “G-rated” home in an “R-rated” world.   Will you stand as we read from God’s Word?

In this morning’s passage it seems that to have a G-rated home, it must to be based on our relationship with Jesus.   We have all heard it said, “Do others see Jesus in you?”

That’s important because the scripture say that as Christians we are to become like Jesus. When people look at us…they should see a ‘family’ resemblance.

If you want a G-rated home for your children or grandchildren?  Then it begins with you.   In you do they see the resemblance to God.   Do they see evidence of God?   Do they see you pray, read from His word and do they feel the love of God?

In our passage, Peter stressed ‘you.’   He wrote, “Since YOU call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out YOUR time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For YOU know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that YOU were redeemed…” (NIV)

Peter doesn’t say “WE” must live OUR lives this way, he says YOU.   I believe he did that because your spirituality got started with YOU and the spirituality in your home has got to start with YOU.   And according to v 19, our spirituality and that of our home, should to be built on the Blood of Jesus Christ.

Some years ago, data from a survey of families said that the strongest homes were religiously conservative and had an “authoritarian” structure.   They said that religious parents were “characterized by strict discipline and an unusually warm and expressive style of parent-child interaction.”   It said religious fathers were more involved with their kids than liberal fathers.   Now rules and regulations are important but these aren’t the foundation for a “G-rated” home.

Long ago, some people wanted security against their enemies, so they built the “Great Wall of China”.   They believed it was so high that no one could climb over it and so thick that nothing could break it down.   But during the first 100 years of the wall, China was invaded 3 times.   Not once did the enemy break down the wall or climb over it.   Instead, they simply bribed the gatekeeper and then marched through the gates.   One historian said, “The Chinese were so busy relying on walls of stone…that they forgot to teach integrity to their children.”

Rules and regulations can be like walls but without Jesus, those walls won’t keep the world away.   We’ve got to show our children that Jesus’ blood has changed our lives every day.  If we live and model the love and grace of God, then we’ll contradict the lies of this world and our children will see the truth.   And God’s truth will influence and change their lives.   Trust me, our children know hypocrites, so we must live it especially in our homes.

But Peter says this world is not my home.   I may live here, own a home here, raise my kids here, pay taxes here, but it’s not my home.  The Bible says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.”  (2 Peter 3:10-11)

Knowing this, why would I want to build my family home on the things of this world?   Nan and I have two children and 5 grandchildren and like you, we want the best for our family.   We want the best education for our grandchildren.   We want them to grow up and have productive careers.   We want them to love a good person, get married, and raise an upstanding family.  Wouldn’t you want that for your kids?   Now they could have all of this but without Jesus in their lives, it’s all for nothing.

Jesus plainly said: “For what shall it profit a man (or his children, or his grandchildren), if he (they) gains the whole world, and lose his (their) own soul?” (Mark 8:36)    We’ve got to teach our kids that this world is not our home.   And not to put your hope in this world, but to put your hope in Jesus Christ.   If we’ll do that, then we’ll have a G-rated home…a God-rated home.

I want to close with an example of a Godly woman named Naomi, who moved to a foreign country because of a famine.  And while they were there, her 2 sons married.  But in time, her husband and sons died.   So, she decided to return to home to Bethlehem.   Now Naomi was so dedicated to God that her daughter-in-law, Ruth, decided stay with her.  Ruth told Naomi: “Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God.”   Ruth turned her back on her old life and because of Naomi’s influence, she married and built a God-rated home.  Her love for God was so strong that her great grandson would become “a man after God’s own heart.” Ruth was one of the 5 women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.   And this happened because one woman, Naomi, built her life around her dedication to God.

Too often we’re focused on influencing our children right now.   But if we will dedicate ourselves to God and live and model that dedication, like Naomi did, then our influence can last for generations.

This morning, is Jesus calling you to dedicate your life to Him?

Begin your journey to peace. The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? It begins with a simple prayer:

“Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that you raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Did you pray this prayer?