Dr. Marty Baker
Stevens Creek Community Church Augusta, GA
July 11, 2004
What Every Kid Should Know About the Bible
Over the last several weeks, it has been exciting to see the number of children involved in our church. If you were here for the musical in May, VBS or were involved in Camp Promiseland, you saw first hand the number of kids learning about faith in God here at The Creek. These children remind us of the great responsibility that we have been given. Many people say that children are our future and I would add, "The future is now."
In September we will be unveiling new plans for another building expansion. This expansion will once again focus on our children’s and educational ministries. This new expansion will stretch our faith and will call each one of us to a new level of commitment. When it is all said and done, our children and our community will know that Stevens Creek is a place for kids.
God has given us the great responsibility of influencing the next generation by instilling faith in their hearts at an early age. The Bible teaches that we should:
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
As a father of three children, I know that it is my responsibility to teach and train my children the core essentials of life. They need to know about God and his plan for their lives. They need to know about the Bible.
There is a series of children’s books designed to help your child keep up the pace in the public system called "What Your 2nd grader Should Know?" (or 3rd grader, 4th grader, etc.). Every time I run across that series I think, "Somebody needs to write a book on ""What Every Kid Should Know About the Bible."
I am not an author, but I have been prompted to address this thought. Over the next few weeks, I am going to focus on what I believe every child and every adult needs to know from the Bible. I realize that some of you do not have any children and you may think that this series does not pertain to you, but I believe that it will. If you will come with an open mind, a receptive spirit, and an open Bible, I believe that you will discover they keys to a vibrant spiritual life. Oh yes, there is one more key ingredient, you must come with simple faith ... Faith like a child would have. One day Jesus was asked the question, "Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?" Listen to his response:
Matthew 18:2-4 (The Message)
2 For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room,
3 and said, "I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.
4 Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.
Over the next few weeks, we are going present several talks that will help you embrace the power of God’s kingdom. These messages will help you see God in new ways and they will help release faith in your life. You will encounter God as you study His Word. You will discover God, not in the complicated theories of religion, but in the simple faith of a child.
Some of you here today have a very complicated faith. You are trying to work your self into a relationship with God. Your relationship focuses on a lot of "give and take". You give God a little here and there and then you expect God to magically supply answers to your deep questions. A genuine spiritual life begins with a simple faith in God.
You say, "Where do we begin?" Let’s begin at the beginning.
In the beginning God ....
Embracing the core essentials of life begins with understanding the fact that without God there would be nothing. He was and is and is to come. Listen to the words of ...
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
God was here before anything that you see. He has always been and will always be. He is the first and the last. So, what do our kids need to know?
In the beginning God....
Our children need to know that ... (3 points)
1. God will always be there for them.
We live in a world that is constantly changing. Just when we get accustomed to a certain set of rules, we get a memo that says that the rules have changed. With every change life gets a little more complicated. This is true at school, at work and at home. It is important to reinforce to our kids that even though the world changes, God does not. He remains the same.
"I the LORD do not change....
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
God will always be there for you. Your spouse may leave.
Your parents may not be around. Your children will eventually grow up (I know that some of you cannot imagine that). Your friends may desert you, but God is ever present.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
God will always be there for you. The Bible says, "In the beginning God...." He is and He was and He will always be. He is eternal. Not only is He eternal, but He is powerful.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Secondly, our children need to know that ...
2. God has the power to make things new.
This verse reminds us that before the world was created there was God. When He spoke, things happened. We read on.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
The New Testament says it like this:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
He created everything we see. Scientists will tell you that gases in the atmosphere converged one day and created an enormous explosion that they have named "The Big Bang" and out of this experience the universe came into being.
This past spring I worked through Bill Bryson’s book A Short History of Nearly Everything. There were several things completely wrong with the book. First of all, I don’t consider a book over 500 pages to be short. I listened to the audio book all eighteen hours of it. Bryson builds a case for the big bang and the evolutionary cycle. As Bryson described the universe with all the planets, stars and galaxies, and the amazing position we find ourselves in being alive it’s enough to make even the most staunch atheist have reverence. In fact, I could see an atheist while reading the book saying that’s God doing that!
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
When we hear professors speaks of the Big Bang Theory, we have to wonder, "Well, who created the gases? Who brought them together at the proper time?"
In simple terms, the Bible speaks of "The Big Bang" when it says "God spoke and the worlds were formed." When God spoke, "bang" and it was so.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
In Genesis 1, we discover that God created the world in six days. He spent three days forming the earth and three days filling the earth.
Day One: Light and darkness were created
Day Two: The "expanse" called sky is created, separating the water above and below it
Day Three: Water was gathered under the sky into seas; dry land divided; and plant life was created
Day Four: The sun, moon and stars were created
Day Five: Marine life was created
Day Six: Animal life was created, and then man was created in God’s image.
Day Seven: God rested from His labors.
When you read Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, it is important to understand that Genesis doesn’t set out to prove that God exists. The Bible is focused on revealing God to us.
Genesis assumes that any intelligent, reasoning person can look out at the creation around them and conclude that there is a God. Genesis wants to pick up from there and reveal who the Creator of the universe is. He spoke and the laws of physics, matter, energy, planets, stars, nebulae were created. He made them just the way they ought to be.
I want my children to know that God has the ability to speak, to create, to make things new. Some of you are here this morning and you need something new. You may not know what you need, I believe that you need a new life.
Where do you sign up for a new life? Talk to Jesus Christ. The Bible says that you can be born again. You can have a new life in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Are you tired of the old life that you are living? God is here this morning to speak into your life. He is here to give you a new life. God has the power to accomplish what you need today. I love the writings of the Apostle Paul. In Romans 4:17, he gives us a glimpse of the creative power of God.
... the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Some of you spend most of your time fretting over what you do not have. It’s time to allow God to speak in your dark places and call forth life. He longs to do creative miracles in your life. How does it happen? God abilities become your reality with faith. There have been times in my life when I have prayed and have literally spoken to things as though they have already changed. For example, some of you may be struggling with a relationship. Maybe this is your prayer: "God, I pray that my spouse will come to know you. Today, I thank you for saving my spouse." You begin treating that request as though it has already been granted. You approach God with a heart of gratitude for the answer. Is that not what Paul is saying?
... the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Once you have established this in your heart, then you should begin to treat that person as someone whose life is being renewed. Start affirming any spiritual sighting that comes up on the radar screen. If you sneeze and she says, "God bless you!" Respond by saying, "I appreciate your prayer of blessing." Affirm the spiritual growth in your spouse. Remember you are calling it to come forth.
God speaks and things happen. You speak His Word and things will change. God spoke and the world came together. You speak His word and your world will come together. Remember God has the power to make things new. But some of you are saying, "Why would God want to do that for me?" I’ve never done anything for Him. You need to understand that God created you to love you. Back to Genesis 1.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
You and I were created by an infinitely wise, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving eternal God. We were created with the express purpose of loving God back. We are created to worship God and enjoy Him forever. This leads me to the next point.
Our kids need to know that ...
3. There is nothing in all of God’s creation as special as they are.
There is nothing in all of God’s creation as special as you. God created you to love you and He wants you to love Him back. You were not an accident. You may have been a surprise to your parents, but you were no mistake. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God created you in your mother’s womb. He chose your eye color, the pattern of your fingerprints, the day we would be born. He even knows the number of hairs on your head.
There is not a day that goes by that He does not give his attention to us. There is no incident that he doesn’t know of. There is no harm that doesn’t break his heart. He knows and loves and cares for everything about you. You matter to God. There is nothing in the world that He desires more than a relationship with you.
We need to communicate to our children that they are special in God’s eyes. We all have a great need to be affirmed and to be loved. We talk about love in the context of community here at Stevens Creek. True community is a place where you can love and be loved, know and be known, serve and be served and celebrate and be celebrated. It all begins with love.
The Bible says in John 3:16 that
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This morning I want you to put your name in the place of the words "the world".
"For God so loved [ your name goes here ] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If you cannot remember anything from this message, please remember this: God loves you and He wants you to love him back.
This morning I want to pray a prayer of connection. For some of you this may be the first time that you have seriously connected with God. For others, this prayer is a reconnection. In either case, the prayer is the same. Simply ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and remove anything that would keep you from being the person that you were created to be.
Will you do that this morning? Let’s stand for closing prayer.