Part 3- Fearless (adapted from a series by Pastor Larry Osborne/Chris Brown from North Coast Church).
How do we live the Christian life in the middle of situations that would cause others to buckle.
How do we master our fears/respond properly to life?
1st week-Daniel living in the dark Babylonian culture.
We asked ourselves the question-
How do we survive and even thrive in a culture that is accelerating towards darkness?
2nd week, talked about Facing Our Fears.
Looked at the fears Joshua faced after Moses died.
We learned that-
Strength and courage come from the choices we make, more than the feelings we have.
Last week-looked at the fear of death-and determined-
Man was designed for life not death.
This week we want to look at-
Passing the Torch
Today many are concerned about the safety of their families- what will happen to the next generation?
How will our children succeed in a world with-
the loss of economic opportunities,
great moral decline,
increase in violence- crime/terrorism,
what will happen to the next generation?
As we talk about passing the torch we will deal w/parenting issues, but the bigger reality is that
each of us are/can be, people of influence.
It does not matter if you are a …
parent, grandparent, plan to have children,
we all have opportunities to influence others.
We are all called to be salt/light, to impact/change the world that we live in.
If you are a parent, your number one responsibility is to pass the torch of life onto your children.
I want to approach this topic with humility.
When I was younger, and looked at parents w/children I could tell you everything they were doing wrong.
If I had done a sermon on parenting it might be titled-
10 Rules for Raising Godly Children.
After raising children and living w/teenagers, my sermon might be titled- 3 Tips for Survival.
When I look at my role as a parent it is only by God’s grace that my wife/I had any measure of success.
What made the difference for Bonnie/I was our desire to apply Biblical principles to everyday life.
Our role as parents was-
far from perfect,
our Biblical knowledge was limited, and
our own carnality often got in the way.
However, as we pursued God He began to take our polluted waters and produce a fresh spring.
God had to change us before we could be an effective influence in our children’s lives.
Parenting and Influence
Look at what the Bible says about influencing others-
(NOTES) THREE VERSES: Two Sides of the Coin
Two sides of the coin when it comes to parenting-
we are responsible for how children turn-out,
they are totally responsible for how they live.
On one side there are verses that indicate-
if you succeed in parenting it is good,
if you do not succeed it is your fault.
On the other side are verses that indicate-
no matter what my family life was like-good or bad- I will stand before God alone-
unable to blame anyone else for my life.
(NOTES) Prov 22:6, Ezek 18:20, Eph 6:4
Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. NASU
This side of the coin is that of responsibility.
Ezek 18:20 "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. NASU
This verse represents the other side of the coin.
Everyone must stand before God for their own sin.
Ezek 18:1-4 (Ex 20:5-6)
This proverb came to mean that-
the younger generation was not responsible for their actions because of the sins of their father.
They could blame their parents for how they lived.
In many ways we have come full circle today.
Have you noticed- there are no bad children today.
If a child is bad it is either genetics or environment.
A child comes home from school with all F’s on his report card and he goes to his dad and says-
Dad, what’s the problem, DNA/bad home life?
Bible is clear- no matter how bad my family life was, when I stand before God there is no one to blame.
We see two sides of the coin in the Bible-this leads to-
(NOTES) A COMMON MYTH AND A HARD TRUTH
The Myth: A godly home guarantees godly kids.
This idea has been used to-
heap guilt on parents whose children go astray,
cause pride in parents w/compliant children.
The Bible does NOT say that a godly home guarantees godly children.
The myth says that if a-
parent does everything right the outcome is guaranteed,
child turns out wrong, the parents are at fault-removes responsibility from-next generation
This myth is a misapplication of Prov 22:6-
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. NASU
This verse is often interpreted to mean-
if we raise a child in a godly way before they die they will come back to the Lord.
Does it really say that? What the verse says is-
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old (mature) he will not turn away.
To understand this verse we must keep in mind that this is a proverb that Solomon wrote for his son.
Proverbs are not promises that God always fulfills, but statements about life that are generally true.
There are proverbs that imply- if we live a righteous life we will live a long life and be wealthy.
Does this happen to every righteous person? NO!
Is it a general pattern of what righteousness produces in a person’s life? YES!
Consider Pr 22:6 in light of Gen 3- the fall of man.
In Gen 3 you have a-
perfect environment (Garden of Eden),
perfect parenting- God did not mess up,
two people who did not have a sin nature.
And yet, what happened? They rebelled against God.
If they have rebellion in that situation- what about us-we have less than perfect parenting,
less than a perfect environment and
we have sons and daughters with a sin nature.
Now, that leads us to a hard truth?
(NOTES) The Truth: We have no control. But we have tons of influence.
That is difficult, because as parents we want control.
As parents we want- 7 Steps to a Perfect Child.
(Is this not what we want in all areas of life?)
Let’s look at the concept of influence-
What do these verses say-
when you go to battle- outcome not guaranteed
you can determine if- horse is ready for battle.
That is our responsibility, that is all we can do.
If we do not prepare our horse well for battle and things go bad, then we do bear some responsibility.
However if we have prepared our horse well for battle, then the outcome is in the Lord’s hands.
Consider the children of Israel in the Promised Land.
First battle they had was w/fortified city- Jericho.
They had one rule- all of the loot belonged to God.
But Achan saw a beautiful piece and took it and hid it.
When they attacked the next town- Ai- small town, they only sent part of their army/they are defeated-
33 soldiers died,
33spouses left widowed,
33 homes with children left without fathers.
Not because Joshua had a bad battle plan, but because Achan disobeyed God.
We look at ourselves as very individualistic, but the scriptures look at us as the Body of Christ-
the joy of one is the joy of all and
the sin of one impacts others as well.
Here is the principle- all Joshua could do was to prepare his horse well for battle.
Whether he won/lost at Ai was out of his control.
Whether we win/lose w/our children is out of our control, but we can have great influence,
we can prepare our horses well for battle.
(NOTES) PREPARED FOR BATTLE:
Increasing Your Odds of Success
1. Fight for a Strong Marriage
It is easy to fall in love, it is easy to get married, but it is hard to stay strongly connected to one another.
A strong marriage is the key to security in the home.
If you are a single parent, you cannot do much w/this principle, but you can do well w/those that follow.
Many studies show that children raised in a family that remains together do better in almost every area
The Bible calls for the married couple to be the strength of a family unit, not the children.
Today we have developed “kid centric homes.”
The Bible does not present an image of a kid centric home, but an image of a spouse centric home.
Children need- committed/spiritually growing parents.
Begins w/Husbands/Wives submitting to one another-
husbands show it by loving their wife as Christ loved the church/gave Himself up for her,
wives show it by submission, which is a word for giving yourself up for your husband.
Husbands/wives- give their lives up for one another.
That is the foundation of a biblical home.
This verse is often misused to-
make divorced people feel like 2nd class citizens
forcing people to stay in abusive relationships.
God does not hate divorced people- He hates divorce.
Why? Because of what it does to the children.
God created marriage because- wants godly offspring.
Is this not a picture of passing the torch?
Commitment to marriage/your own spiritual growth is the greatest gifts you can give your children.
This is one reason we do not have a lot of midweek programs.
We have House Churches because we believe-greatest gift we can give a child is a growing mom and dad.
(NOTES) 2. Model Respect for Authority.
These verses talk about how we respond to authority.
It says that all authority is from God and tells us how we are to live under different authorities in our life.
(Paul was talking about a cruel Roman government)
The principle is this- we are to respect the authority that is over us even if it is less than perfect.
Respect for authority-key to spiritual obedience
If you want your children to obey the Lord later, you better teach them to respect authority now.
(Kid centric) We live in a day when parents jump to rescue their kids out of every unfair situation-
your child is left off the little league all-star team and should not have been,
teacher in school is grading your child unfairly.
Parents go after these situation thinking that they are doing their children a service.
In reality they are not allowing their child to learn how to handle difficult/unfair situations
they will face in the world.
We are so kid centric- instead of teaching them how to deal w/unfair authority we go after that authority
(My home has become a dog centric home)
My children had some weird teachers- one teacher-
hang a kid upside down by his feet and shake his lunch money out of his pocket then take the money and stick it in the ceiling.
Today parents would yell child abuse.
My kids did not like it- but they are not emotionally marred.
He would rub his feet on the carpet and come up behind them and touch their ear- shock.
If a child leaning back in his chair he would sneak up behind them and pull them down really fast.
If their desk was messy he would dumb it over on their lap and on the floor.
None of those things are morally going to scar a child.
They are perfect situations to teach your child to live in a world that does not always make sense/fair.
Have you noticed that God sometimes asks you to do things you do not want to do?
Has God ever done something or allowed something in your life that does not make sense?
If we do not learn lessons about unfairness when we are young, when we face a situation later in life,
we are liable to blame God and turn from Him.
(NOTES) 3. Put Character Over Performance
Lk 9:25 "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
What good is it for a child to be a-
valedictorian/star athlete and
spiritually lose themselves?
We live in a day age where parents think their responsibility is to produce high performance kids.
We should be more concerned w/their-
spiritual growth than w/their performance.
Character should always be esteemed as more important than performance.
(NOTES) 4. Take a Genuine Interest in their World
In theology- term- incarnation- God became man.
God could have just shouted from heaven, instead he came and lived among us.
Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. NASU
Because God experienced life the way we do, it greatly increased His influence among men.
We need to parent incarnationally (is that a word?).
If your child likes something join them in the activity.
For me it means me getting down on the floor w/Sadie and playing Go Fish with her when she comes over
Take time to incarnate instead of always asking them to join your world.
(NOTES) 5. Pick your battles
Everything is not equally important.
Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. NASU
How do you do this- by pushing them too hard as if everything is equally important.
Be careful not to push all of your personality and all of your passions on them.
Be careful about trying to force a child to be zealous for God because you are passionate for God.
Your personality is not necessarily theirs.
And what embarrasses children is not the Lord, but it is the weird things we do out in our zeal.
On- other hand, too many parents w/no zeal for God.
Give them the right foundation and they will someday step into their own zeal, expressed their way.
Pick your battles carefully-
if it a moral issue- fight it,
if it is opinion or your personality or your hot button, learn to let it go.
We have all been called to be salt and light.
Salt that salts the world and changes and preserves it.
Light that shows the way so people can find the way.
Certainly being salt/light w/our children is important.
As Christians- need to consider how we can increase our influence to benefit the younger generation.