Keeping the Home Fire Burning Series
THE WORLD’S GREATEST UNDERTAKING
As we continue to think about the home and the family, one area of vital importance is that of raising our children. I want to address that area this evening and bring am message entitled, "The World’s Greatest Undertaking." Let’s face it, when we have successfully raised our children, we have accomplished something of the highest magnitude. Ill. Former President George Bush was asked this question, "What is you greatest accomplishment in life?" President Bush might have mentioned his success during World War 2 as a Navy pilot. He light have called to mind his 8 years as Vice President under Ronald Reagan. He might have mentioned his own successful presidency. He might have spoken of his time as the head of the CIA, or of his years as U.S. Ambassador to China. He could have bragged about his success during Operation Desert Storm. But, when answering this question, President Bush revealed his heart as well as his priorities when he said, "My greatest accomplishment is that my children still come to see me." Isn’t that true? After all else is said and done, and when all the dust settles in your life, you still have your family to think about. Apparently, Mr. Bush had done right by his children. They responded to his investments in their lives and will remain a legacy to that man even after he is dead and buried.
May I remind you this evening that children are a precious gift from the Lord, Psa. 127:3-5, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Too often, children are seen as an inconvenience and as a nuisance. Instead of being seen a blessing, parenting is often seen as a burden. We must remember that our children have been given to us, their parents, for a few short years so that we might help them to mature into the image of God. We are not to be guilty of forcing them into our mold, but we are to do everything in our power to mold them into the image of God.
This passage gives us some much needed insights into this matter of child raising. Let’s take the time this evening to learn about better parenting from the Lord and His Word, as we think together about The World’s Greatest Undertaking.
I. RIGHT LIVING (vv. 1-3)
Successful parenting always begins within the parent’s own relationship with God. Regardless of the example of lost parents you may know, no parent can be truly successful in bringing a child up in the image of the Lord unless they know the Lord. Then, the parents must be walking in a right relationship before the Lord or they will never have the influence in their children’s lives that is needed. In other words, you will never be able to lead your children farther than you have been? These first few verses speak to this issue and show us parents where we need to be if we are going to be the effective parents God desires us to be.
A. A Reverence
• We are told in verse 2 that we should fear the Lord.
• That is, we are to walk with an awareness of His glory , His holiness and of His majesty.
• A parent’s primary responsibility is to walk in the fear of the Lord.
• We are to bring our lives under God’s leadership.
• A godly parent places the Lord’s will above all other considerations, realizing that the fear of the Lord is the first step in wisdom and in proper parenting.
B. A Reaction
• When we fear the Lord as we should, this will result in our obedience to the Word of God.
• There is no better witness that a parent can have before his children that the sure knowledge that mom and dad take the Bible seriously.
• That God’s Word is the rule of the home.
• God’s standards are to be our standards!
• Your children will model what they see in your life!
• They will carry away from your home many of your actions.
• Therefore, let’s teach them that God’s Word is to be obeyed.
C. A Reward
• God promised Israel that when they followed His Word, that He would bless them and reward their lives.
• The same holds true today!
• God has promised to bless those who walk in His will and follow His Word.
• Children need to see that God will do what He has said He would do.
o Do your children know that God will bless tithing?
o Do your children know that God will bless honesty?
o Do your children see that faithfulness is blessed by God?
o Do your children see serving God as optional or mandatory?
• They will learn exactly what they observe in your life and mine.
o They need to know that God blesses His faithful children.
o If they see us enjoying the great blessings of the Lord, they will want the same things for their own lives.
• Let’s show them that serving God is the only way to live.
o That obedience to the Lord always pays off.
o Let’s show them that God’s way is the best way.
o For it is far better to raise a religious fanatic than a heathen.
o After all, when your parenting duties are over, your children will be a living memorial to your investment in their lives.
II. RIGHT LOVING (vv. 4-5)
Again, this may not seem to have a lot to do with parenting, but it is in reality at the very heart of the matter. For, before we can ever be successful Christian parents, we must have our own relationship with the Lord nailed down. And, just as it is important that our children see us living right, they must also see us loving right. That is, we must love the Lord God supremely.
A. He Is To Be Our Focus
• There are to be no other gods in our lives.
o Too often, children see parents putting everything in the world ahead of God.
o It may be a job, a hobby, a friend, etc.
o Whatever comes ahead of God in your life and mine is an idol and it sends a false message to our children.
o We are telling them, by our actions, that this thing we love comes ahead of our love for God.
o Children need to know that no one or no thing comes before our relationship with God.
o He must be our focus.
o If we teach them that God is just for Sundays, we are going to raise a generation of infidels.
• Why do you think many children have rejected the faith of their parents?
o Sometimes, the reason lies in the fact that what mom and dad claimed to have lacked any reality.
o Growing up, I saw not one reason to make God and His church a priority in my life!
B. He Is To Be Our Fixation
• This love for God is to motivate us in every area of life.
• Our love for Him should consume us totally.
• When it does, it will fill us and work in us and reveal itself through us - 1 Cor. 13:1-8.
• Our children need to see this in the lives of mom and dad.
III. RIGHT LEARNING (vv. 6-9)
In these verses, Moses relates the Word of God as to successful parenting. We are to take the Word of God and make it the primary motivator in the parenting process. Notice three things that we to do with the Word.
A. We Are To Store Them Up
• That is, the Word is to be in me and is to change me.
• If I expect my life to impact that of my children, then I must be transformed by the Word myself.
• Nothing can happen through me until it first happens in me.
• Therefore, it is essential that parents have a personal time of prayer and Bible study.
• You need to be growing so that you can help your children to grow.
• The importance an influence of the Word of God should never be underestimated!
• If we expect to raise Godly children, there must first be godly parents!
B. We Are To Share Them
• This verse says that we are to diligently teach the Word to our children.
o The word "diligent" means "to whet or to sharpen."
o It carries the idea of stabbing, or of one object penetrating another.
o In other words, our training is to penetrate deeply into our children.
o We are to help them, on the basis of God’s word to be keen, sharp and discerning when it comes to living life.
o We are not to teach them through dogmatic exclamations such as "Because I said so!"
o We are to develop in them a set of conviction based in the Word of God that will guide them through life.
o It isn’t about a bunch of rules, of a list of do’s and don’ts.
o It is about teaching them by explanation and by example the things God would have them learn.
• God’s Word is to be such a part of our lives that we are to set the right example for our children every day.
• Verses. 8-9 - These verses were later misused by the Pharisees and others who made themselves little boxes of leather worn on leather straps which they tied around their heads or around their arms.
• Inside these boxes, they placed certain verses from the Law and wore them wherever they went.
• God’s intention is far more practical!
• He wants the Word to be such a part of our lives that we are literally saturated in it.
• So much so that it motivates us in every area of our lives so that our children know that we are living out he Word.
• When they see us happy and blessed in the Lord, it will create an appetite in them for the same things.
• They may rebel for a while, but certainly, the Lord will work in their hearts and bring them home.
May I remind you that it is far easier to build a child that to repair and adult! Now, how would you feel if your child grew up to be a Christian just like you? Would you be pleased with that? Or, are there areas that need the Lord’s attention? If we have made mistakes, and who hasn’t, there is help, forgiveness and renewal in the Lord.