ATM — At the Movies 2017, Week 1, Raising Children Who Live Out Their Lives for Jesus

ATM — At the Movies 2017, Week 1

Raising Children Who Live Out Their Lives for Jesus — Impact Christian Church

Pastor Steve With, August 13, 2017

At the Movies.  Okay, you can wipe away the tears…This series is going be illustrated by movies that communicate about important parts of our life.  Today we are talking about raising children who live out their lives for Jesus.  But first let me say this…

INTRO: Parenting is tough…we love our children and when they leave it is even tougher…or should I say…if they leave…how do you want them to leave..Living Out their lives for Jesus?

Let’s think for a moment about the word “Lord” at the end of Ephesians 6:4…

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”   

You have a negative and a positive – the negative, “do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.”  Obviously means treat them with love, treat them in a way that affirms your affection to them so they don’t become hostile.  The positive – “bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

What is parenting?  Very simple, really – loving your children so that they’re not angry with you and bringing them up to know the Lord.  You might think that there would be a whole book on parenting, or there might be a whole chapter on it, but there’s just one verse because the task is so highly defined.

Bringing them up to be like Christlike…  In the discipline and instruction…choosing to be like Jesus…..

Paul says a similar idea in, Philippians 2:9–11 he says that, “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

1. To say that Jesus is “Lord” means that

  • He is the rightful King and Ruler of the Universe
  • He is now reigning until he has put all his enemies under his feet,
  • He is triumphant over sin and death and pain and satan

2. To confess that Jesus is “Lord” means

  • We believe that he will triumph over all things. He is not a small-town god. He is more powerful than North Korea and the New England Patriots and Isis,  all the other leaders of the world put together.
  • We believe he will come as visible and real than everyone, only his audience will be bigger, and his band will be louder, and his laser will be like lightning from one horizon to the other, and when his concert is over, all the evil and unbelief in the world will be gone, and those who followed him will live and play and work as happy as a child could ever be forever and ever.

3. Therefore, whatever else it means to bring our children up “with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord”—it means this:

  1. Bring the children up knowing Jesus,
  2. Bring them up to know Him as their Lord.
  3. Bring them up to see everything in relation their of God.
  4. Bring them up to know that the path of sin is a Dead End

C. The Family in God’s Great Design for the World

I confess that I have gotten very excited about being a father as I have been thinking this week about what a family is and what it’s for in God’s great design for the world. I get excited when I think of the family…

  • A breeding ground for children who place their hope in God
  • A t raining school for teaching what is true and false
  • A launching pad for missionaries to unreached people down the street and around the world.   

So I think it is in the spirit and wording of our text today to say that the great challenge for parents is to give their children a vision of God’s triumph in the world, and to instill in them the thrilling hope of fighting on the side of truth and righteousness and joy and victory.

Ten Basic Ways to Instill This Vision 

What then should we do? Well, sometimes it helps just to remind ourselves of the obvious things we so easily neglect. That’s what I want to do. And I hope that it stirs us all up to be really radical Christians.

1. Make All of Life God-Saturated.       

The first thing parents need to do to raise children who hope in the triumph of God is to make all of life God-saturated.

Now my room growing up was Yellow and Green…painted to match those amazing A’s!!  When I was 6, 7 and 8 years old the A’s won the World Series…it was awesome!!!  My life was A’s saturated…blankets, pillows, parades, the whole get up…

But something I loved much more in my life was much more saturated with was God, Church, Summer Camp, Missions, Youth Group,  lunch after church, and all.  Church was what we did.  God was our gig.  There was a point when everyone in my family had an involvement in the church, it was awesome… we were God-saturated. 

But for a great deal of people it is not that way.  Church is a once a month thing so they can check a box. He is there on Sunday in a kind of external way. And he is there in times of crisis and trouble. But he is not pervasive. Life is not saturated with God.

He makes no difference in how much TV the family watches or what they watch. He makes no difference in whether the music in the home edifies the spirit or drags it down. He makes no difference in what the family does on the Lord’s Day to keep it holy. He makes no difference in the disciplines of eating and exercising and sleeping. He makes no difference in what kind of car or house or clothes or furniture they buy. He just seems to be irrelevant most of the time.

And kids of course know this. And they draw from it the obvious conclusion—God is nothing very relevant to my life, and the cause of Christ is nothing great and all-consuming. God is not exciting enough to build your whole life around. He is a kind of necessary evil to be tolerated on Sunday but a dispensable drag on Monday through Friday. You can read this pretty easily from the kids that come from such homes.

So the first thing we must do is to be radical Christians—or I should say, simply, real Christians. We should saturate all our daily life with God. He should be the source and goal of all our acts. “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The children will see it and by God’s grace will believe that the triumph of God is the greatest thing in the world.

2. Pray.

The first thing parents need to do to raise children who hope in the triumph of God is to make all of life God-saturated.

I can remember the blankets that were on my bed when I was a little boy. There was a green one and there was a gold one. They were identical except for the color. And that’s good because what mattered to me was not the color but the soft, smooth, silky edge. I used to snuggle down, pull the covers up around my neck, and then find that soft two-inch silky border of the blanket and hold it between my fingers as I went to sleep. The softness and smoothness and coolness of it made me feel secure and happy.

I think of that blanket now as a picture of the way a lot of church people treat God. He is the soft, smooth, comfortable border of their lives. He is not woven all through life. He is there on Sunday in a kind of external way. And he is there in times of crisis and trouble. But he is not pervasive. Life is not saturated with God.

He makes no difference in how much TV the family watches or what they watch. He makes no difference in whether the music in the home edifies the spirit or drags it down. He makes no difference in what the family does on the Lord’s Day to keep it holy. He makes no difference in the disciplines of eating and exercising and sleeping. He makes no difference in what kind of car or house or clothes or furniture they buy. He just seems to be irrelevant most of the time.

And kids of course know this. And they draw from it the obvious conclusion—God is nothing very relevant to my life, and the cause of Christ is nothing great and all-consuming. God is not exciting enough to build your whole life around. He is a kind of necessary evil to be tolerated on Sunday but a dispensable drag on Monday through Friday. You can read this pretty easily from the kids that come from such homes.

So the first thing we must do is to be radical Christians—or I should say, simply, real Christians. We should saturate all our daily life with God. He should be the source and goal of all our acts. “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The children will see it and by God’s grace will believe that the triumph of God is the greatest thing in the world.

That triumph comes only by grace and only in answer to prayer. Prayer is the first and fundamental way that we join forces with God in his victory over sin and evil and unbelief. And so the second thing we must do as parents is pray for our children and teach them to pray.

We need to pour our hearts out in secret where none but God knows what we say, pleading for the salvation and holiness and perseverance of our children. And our Father who sees in secret will reward us.

We need to pray in the presence of our children so that they can hear our longings and read our hearts and learn themselves to pray. And we need to pray with our children so that they have a chance to pray in a loving environment.

How many great men have testified to the power of their father’s and their mother’s prayers. Augustus Strong, who was a Baptist seminary president at the end of the nineteenth century and who wrote a systematic theology still in print wrote in his autobiography,

3. Demonstrate the Importance of the Bible.

The third thing we must do to raise up children who the Bible the most important book in their lives.

  • Big time in this is how you treat the Bible.  You kids will treat the Bible the way you do.  Do you read regularly?  Do you keep a Bible with you?  Do you bring one when you travel?   
  • I just read yesterday a little article by William Frankena who teaches philosophy in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He said that when he was a boy, his father read at least one chapter from the Bible after every meal and that they finished the Bible every year for 16 years.
  • If I had little kids again, I would read the Bible with them more often.  It  is certainly the most important and meaningful message we can ever teach our Children.

4. Be Living Examples of Faith

  • If we had time, we would talk of the need to be living examples of faith and hope for our children in very practical ways.
  • And I would tell you stories about how my father was totally dependent for our livelihood on invitations from churches to preach, but how he said, when there were big holes in his schedule, that God would provide for those who trust him. He believed it. And it never occurred to me as his son to doubt God’s word or my father’s faith that God will always triumph.   

5. Be Happy

We would talk about the need to be happy lest our children get the impression that the Life in God is a life of gloom and sadness.  Now there will be be tough times, but happiness should out weigh them all. 

Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.” Psalm 119:35

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” Psalm 89:15

6. Discipline

There is a need for firm, no-nonsense discipline for children. God and recall what it did in the life of Amy Carmichael to fit her, as Elizabeth Elliot says, “for the buffetings she would have to endure” on the way to the triumph of God.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12:11

Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5

7. Be Humble and Willing to Apologize

We would talk about humility and the willingness to apologize to our children, and show them that the cross can triumph even over a parent’s mistakes.

  • One of the biggest struggles for a parent is humility.  Make sure you walk humbly before your children…they need to see your humility so they can grow up and be humble. 

The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.” Psalm 69:32

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

8. Worship Together

Worshiping together with your parents can be uncomfortable for the children…but it is so important for the children. Maybe more important that the other 9 things on this list. 

  1. They can see Mom and Dad Praise God
  2. They can see Mom and Dad Partake of the Lord’s Super
  3. They can see Mom and Dad Give Sacrificially
  4. They can see Mom and Dad Cherish the Preaching of God’s Word
  5. They can see Mom and Dad Connect with Christ Follower’s

9. Uphold Standards of Everyday Holiness

And we would talk about standards of everyday holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Standards of sexual purity, and financial integrity, and rigorous truthfulness, and self-control, and hard work—what it means in practical everyday terms to be on the side of the justice and grace that will someday triumph over all evil. 

10. Love

And finally we would talk about love. Parents loving children and children learning to love—learning that in the end everything is in vain without love, that in the world love is the visible expression of faith in the triumph of God, that in the soul love no matter what it costs is the way of joy.

Our great challenge from this message is to be the kind of church and the kind of parents that raise up children—old and young—who hope in the Jesus who place everything they have in Him and change the World one life at a time!!

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