Summary: The idea for this series came from a series of the same name that is offered free by Life.Church. You can find it at open.church. There you will find videos, transcripts, outlines, and graphics. This message is loosely based on the life.church series.
INTRO: Raising kids made me realize that much has changed from the time I was a child until the time I became a parent; especially, in the area of child protection. For instance, when I was a child, I’m not sure car seats were even invented yet. Truth is, the first car with seatbelts that I remember my parents buying was a 1967 Dodge Dart. By that time, I was already 5 years old. A few of us here may be old enough to remember standing—yes, standing—in the front seat between our parents while traveling, with our only protection being mom’s arm! By the time my kids were born, child seats for cars were built safer than the first capsules that put men into outer space!
I really noticed this parental concern for child-safety when it came time to buy my oldest daughter her first bicycle. To go along with the bicycle, one of the grandparents gave her bicycle riding gear: a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and protective gloves. She came out for our first bike riding lesson and I thought to myself, “this is biking, not football!” Her arms were straight, her knees wouldn’t bend, but on the upside she could survive a head-on collision with a rhino! When I was a kid, there were no helmets, elbow pads, or knee pads. Most of the time there weren’t even any shirts or shoes! If you wiped out, you got sprayed off with Bactine (anyone remember that?), and your parents told you not to worry, your skin will grow back, now get back outside!
Parents today seem MUCH MORE protective of their children’s BODIES, and EGOS—everybody gets a trophy—YET, MUCH LESS protective of the most important part of every child: THE HEART.
The first few chapters of Proverbs seems to be a success manual that Solomon wrote for his children. 19 times in the first 8 chapters, Solomon begins a statement with the phrase “My son.” I would encourage you to read these chapters often. One statement he makes, right in the middle of this success manual is:
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT), Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
We are in a series that we are calling BLESS THIS HOME. We are taking a few of Jesus’ beatitudes found in Matthew 5 and applying them to our families. Last week we looked at “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” and we learned that the first step toward having a blessed home is changing our appetite and PURSUING Jesus above anything else.
TODAY, we are looking at a very important subject. In fact, if you have children in your home, this is possible the MOST important topic in this series:
Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
• BLESSED: God’s supernatural power is working for you—Robert Morris
• HEART: Metaphorically—the control center of our will & emotions—“soul”
• PURE: “to make pure by cleansing” This word was used to describe MILK & WINE with no water added to dilute it. It was also used for PRECIOUS METALS after they had been melted down and all the impurities had been removed.
• PURE IN HEART: Just as your Physical Heart can become clogged with plaque, resulting in your need for angioplasty or even open-heart surgery, your Spiritual Heart can become clogged with hurts/hang-ups/habits… Results: fear, anger, bitterness, despair, depression
• The blessing of a pure heart: SEE GOD—I can see God at work… sense His presence… GREEK carries the idea of “to experience”
IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE:
As we think about developing and maintaining a pure heart, I want to focus on one particular area: sexual morality.
Luke 17:1-2, And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!”
• TEMPTATION: Literally—the name for the part of a trap to which the bait was attached; a stumbling block.
• THE BAD NEWS FOR YOUR KIDS: Temptation, including sexual temptation, will happen
Temptation comes—at school (even private school), friends (big brother, other parents with less oversight over children’s activities), predators.
• WHY GUARDING AGAINST THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:
“Overexposed and Under-prepared: The Effects of Early Exposure to Sexual Content” (Psychology Today, Aug. 2012)
Today, children are being sexualized earlier and earlier, in part because they are exposed to sexual material in movies, television, music and other media earlier than ever. With widespread access to the Internet, curious teens may accidentally or intentionally be exposed to millions of pages of material that is uncensored, sexually explicit, often inaccurate and potentially harmful.
Children as young as 8 and 9 are coming across sexually explicit material on the Internet and in other media. Although research is just beginning to assess the potential damage, there is reason to believe that early exposure to sexual content may have the following undesirable effects: