Summary: Would you like to be a successful Christian parent? Would you like to raise your children so that they’ll please God? Paul gives us powerful guidelines on how to make a difference in our child’s life.

OPEN - I read a poem several years ago that went this way:

If you love something, set it free.

If it comes back to you, it is yours...

If it doesn’t, it never was.

But, if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats your food, takes your money, and doesn’t appear to realize that you’ve set it free.....

You either married it or you gave birth to it.

APPLY: This month we’re going to be talking about how to have a happy home.

We’re going to be examining Scripture to discover God’s blueprint for a model family

And this morning, we’re looking at a passage that tells those of us who are parents, or grandparents, or uncles & aunts, or whatever… this passage tells us how to be the best influence we can upon our children

Now, I Thessalonians 2 isn’t actually talking about how to BE a good parent.

What Paul is doing in this passage is explaining that - when he’d planted the church at Thessalonica - he had made every effort to treat that church like a good parent would treat their child.

Look again at verses 7: “…but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children.”

And in verse 11 Paul writes: “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children”

Paul tried to be a good parent to that church, and so he ended up giving us the basics of what a good parent LOOKS like, and what a good parent ACTS like.

If you treat your children in the way Paul describes here you’ll be raising your kids the way God wants you to raise them. AND, you’ll be the most successful parent you could possibly be!

So… how do you go about being this KIND of parent???

I. Paul told this young church that when he and his fellow missionaries spoke…

They spoke “…as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel” II Thessalonians 2:4

Paul realized that God had given him a special responsibility - a special responsibility for this congregation that he had given birth to.

Likewise… we must realize that God has given us a special task: to influence our children. This is your God ordained responsibility and you must regard it as more important than

· your personal goals

· your hobbies

· or even your career

This responsibility is so critical that when God commanded the church to select Elders, He told them they were to be men who were known to be good fathers.

“(An Elder) must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” 1 Timothy 3:4-5

ILLUS: It’s been estimated that it costs an average of $160,000 to raise a child today. $160,000!! Someone might say: I’m paying for them… I own them!

BUT that’s not true. We don’t OWN our kids… our children are a sacred trust from God. In fact, the Bible teaches that our kids are a gift from God.

Psalms 127:3 says “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.”

II. Therefore - because children are gifts from God - God is the one we should seek to please when we raise our children…

Paul wrote - that when he and his team worked with Thessalonica:

“We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” II Thessalonians 2:4

“We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.” II Thessalonians 2:6

Paul’s primary objective was to make sure that his actions pleased God. Even if those actions pleased no one else. Even if his actions upset the church that he had given birth to.

LIKEWISE, when we raise our children, our major concern should be:

· will our actions please God when we’re done?

· is our goal to bring our children up to honor God?

· or is our goal just to make sure they are happy with us?

Too often, parents raise their children with an eye toward whether or not they return our love.

They raise their children with an eye toward whether the kids like them or not.

ILLUS: When one man visited the United States, he noted: “The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.”

Once in while, parents need to make tough choices… and they need to take difficult stands.

ILLUS: Have you seen these commercials – “Parents – the Anti-Drug”?

The faces of teenagers fill the screen as they angrily tell their parents:

“Who do you think you are?”

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