Summary: A discipling challenge to parents
Passing the Baton
Have you ever watched a relay race? As the lead sprinter on each team runs the first leg of the race, the next runner gets set. He anxiously times his teammate’s arrival, and begins running before the lead man overtakes him. Then, the crucial moment arrives, and the lead man passes the baton to the middle man. The process is repeated twice more in the race, as each man surrenders the baton to the next.
A good track coach will tell you that the relay is won or lost in the transfer of the baton. A miscalculation or hesitation at that point can cost the race.
Many of us, as Christian parents,
have begun fearing and feeling
that we’re losing the race,
that we’re muffing the transfer,
that our kids are dropping the baton.
In fact, Josh McDowell, with whom I’ve authored eight books, has said repeatedly that he considers the number one fear of Christian parents today is that they will not pass on their values, their morals, their faith to their children. And in the two years since the writing of our book Right From Wrong, I’ve come to agree wholeheartedly with him.
It’s little wonder
when you think about it;
we look around at a society in which teen pregnancy has increased over 500% in the past thirty years;
we look around at a society in which suicide among young people has jumped 300% in that same period;
we look around at a society in which over a thousand teen girls get abortions every day in this country;
we look around at a society in which over 4,000 kids a day catch a sexually transmitted disease,
and we worry that
that society is going to seize our kids,
we fear that
the culture is going to capture our children,
that our kids will soon be
and living lives,
and paying the consequences
of a value system they’ve picked up from the world around them,
one that rejects the truth of the Bible,
one that mocks Biblical morality,
and glorifies sex and violence
and laughs at drunkenness and rudeness.
My purpose here this morning on this Mother’s Day, is to tell you that
we can transfer our values to the next generation;
we can pass on Biblical values to our children and teenagers;
we can equip them to live godly lives in the midst of an ungodly world.
Oh, there are hindrances;
the crowd may be distracting,
and the track may be rough,
and as in a relay, we have a limited zone in which to make the transfer, and a miscalculation or hesitation in the passing of the baton can cost the race.
But we can transfer godly, Biblical values to the next generation.
We can’t turn back the clock.
We can’t start over.
We can’t insulate our kids from the effects of a depraved culture.
So what can we do -- now -- to pass on our values to our kids? What can we do to instill biblical concepts of truth and morality within our children and teens?
The answer is in the word of God, in the model He gave to Israel for teaching truth to children. And we’ll look at that in just a moment after I ask you to join me for a few words of prayer:
in your mercy you have forgiven us;
in your love you have saved us;
in your patience you have taught us.
Help us this morning to be taught once more by your Holy Spirit,
that we may love you more,
that we may follow you better,
that we may please you in everything,
Now, if you will turn in your Bibles to the book of Deuteronomy, the sixth chapter, I want to direct your attention to verses 4-7:
"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons (and daughters) and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, NASB).
That passage give us a divine model for passing on our faith and values to our children, a model that involves three steps. The first of these is:
#1 Build a Relationship
Passing our values on to our children requires a healthy relationship. God’s model for teaching Biblical truth to young people called, not only for a constant process, but for a relational method as well.