“A Home Where Children Thrive”
Central Zion Baptist Church
June 9th. 2013
Reason for this sermon – The purpose for my being here at this pulpit today is to come alongside parents and those who work and care for children on a daily or regular basis. I am here to encourage you to stay the course.
I will be one of the first to admit that good parenting is hard work and parents need help -encouragement – I believe that you need to know that others appreciate and understand what you are going through – what you face – I am here to also remind you as parents that the church supports you and is behind you in this difficult task of parenting.
I want to encourage our young people who are still in school to delay parenting until the godly appointed time of marriage.
But I have stopped by today to tell all of us that all is not lost because we serve a God who still loves us despite our failures and shortcomings.
And so it does not matter whether you are a young parent, a single parent, a parent in transition, a step-parent, a grand-parent, an adoptive parent - whatever bracket of parenthood you find yourself in today, God loves you and your child or children and he still wants what’s best for you. God has a plan for them…And as a church, we will continue to stand beside you and support you as you seek to raise your children in a way that pleases God.
“A Home Where Children Thrive”
In Dictionary, Thrive means to grow vigorously : flourish. 2: to prosper. 3: to progress toward or realize a specific goal -
But what does God have to say about raising children – well a whole lot, but for the few minutes I have left I just want to look at psalm 127 and leave with you two or three encouraging principles that will hopefully help us as we move ahead.
Say: if you notice in your Bible the title says “A song of accent or degrees” – Also called Pilgrim Psalms - These psalms were to be sung when the children of Israel came to Jerusalem and ascended to the top of Mount Zion three times a year, where they would hold a feast before the Lord.
I want to add something that I believe is significant to what God would say to us today - In our Bible there are 15 of these Psalms beginning at psalm 120 and ending at Psalm 134.
Of interest to us today is the fact that psalm 120 sits right in the middle of these fifteen psalms – 7 before and 7 after.
That’s no accident – right in the middle of these psalms is a psalm that addresses the home and the family – the home and family are important to God.
But I want to take it a little further and point out something in this Psalm as it relates to children – the focus of today’s events and my message. Look in V-3 – right in the middle of this Psalm that speaks to the health and wellbeing of the home is this verse that speaks to the importance of children who will occupy this home.
Smack in the middle – no coincidence – God again is showing us that children are important to him and ought to be important to us.
And so the Bible says that unless the Lord builds the house, we are wasting our time.
That’s the first thing I want to bring to your attention today is that a home where children thrive is one where….
1. God is always at the Center of the Family - v-127-1
Parents must do all that they can to make sure that the children know that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior in the home. God is first.
What I mean is this, everything that goes on in that home is centered around a relationship with God. The home operates according to the plan and principles designed by God.
When the text says that unless the Lord builds the house, of course it is not referring to the physical structure that we live in, it is talking about a place where the Holy Spirit is free to operate and children are being brought up to love and respect parents and thereby learn what it means to love and respect God –
It’s talking about an environment – an institution where God is revered and glorified -
Parents, we have moved away from God’s ideals for the family and we are having serious problems in our homes and in this society and I believe in this hour that God is calling us back to homes where God is the central figure. What I mean there is more than just a God consciousness, there is genuine desire to cultivate serious relationships with God and yielding ourselves to the leading and direction of His Holy Spirit.
I believe that when the Lord builds a house, the people who live in that house would value quality time with God through private and corporate worship.
They realize that the foundation of their house in built upon the infallible word of God so they anxious to come and sit under the teaching of the Word of God because through it, their home is getting stronger, so much that when the storms and the waves come up like a flood against it – it can stand because its foundation is build upon the rock which is the Word of God.
A home where children thrive is a home that is saturated with prayer. there will be Prayer in that house – it’s a praying house.
Parents are praying and also teaching their children how to pray and how to depend upon prayer as a means of staying connected to God. But even while we are praying, God’s Spirit is also making intercessions for that family – the family is covered by God.
When God builds a house – there will be Protection in that house – even though God is depending on us to protect our children from evil forces and evil influences He also right there to protect us and keep us from all evil.
God is counting on us to do all that we can to Protect our children.
Children also thrive in a home when there is Provision in that home – even though we must work and provide for our families, we have the assurance that God will provide for those who are his.
Yes we may go through seasons of hard times, maybe shortages and lack, but like Elijah, it is at those times that we get to experience in a greater way the mighty power of God who provides for us from the most unlikely sources as He demonstrates his care and love for the homes where He is Lord.
Let me add, a home where children thrive is a home where the presence of God is evident - it is evident for when troubles come, the family can draw on a power outside of themselves to help them navigate through whatever they maybe going through – unless the presence of God is in our home our home is empty – we are assured of His presence when those who occupy that home come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
• God is always at the Center of the Family - v-127-1
2. Children know that they are special to God and their Parents – Read v-3. Explain “from” & “of”.
Heritage – Gift basically the same meaning - Something that is given to another voluntarily and without compensation.
Let me bring it closer home, the children that God has entrusted to us belong to us but they also belong to God all at the same time. They are God’s gifts as well as God’s gifts to us so we must treat them accordingly.
From my observations at this church, it really appears that you as parents really love your children and are seeking to do all that you can to make sure they succeed in life – I say this sincerely and I applaud you for your efforts. You love your children.
They must know that they are special to the family and know that they are special to God and that we love them.
Without love, no amount of large screen televisions, or fancy furniture can make that home a happy home.
Someone once said that the real food in a home is not chops and chicken and cornbread, but it’s love.
The main drink is not wine, water or milk, but love.
The real curtains of a home are not those of linen and lace but love.
The real light in every home is not that which comes from Freeport power for even if the electricity has been disconnected but there is love in that house, the light still shines brightly in that home.
They must always know that you as the parents love them unconditionally. No strings attached.
Robert G. Lee, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention said, “A house may be destroyed, but no power, neither fire nor flood nor earthquake nor storms, can destroyed a real home. Only one calamity can ruin a home and that is the death of love. When love dies the home is in ruins and all the material riches, successes and pleasures of living cannot supply what has been lost. It’s love that turns a house into a home.
Let me add right here – Yes loving them means hugs, gifts, kisses, birthday parties, trips to Disney world, accompanying them on field trips, attending their dance, soccer games, rehearsals – oh yes – by all means. Those things convey so much love to our little darlings, but love goes beyond that.
Loving them also means correcting them or allowing others to correct them when they are wrong.
Too many parents cloak and find excuses for their children even though they know that they are wrong – don’t do that.
Failure to correct them will cause them to grow up thinking that they can do anything and get by and they find out later that kind of behavior doesn’t work – we must correct them when they go wrong so that they would do right the next time.
I said before that every child needs two pats to succeed – they need one pat on the back and one on the butt – pat them on the back when they do well and when they get out of hand you pat them on the but – the Bible says that folly – foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
And if you love your children then you know how and when to use the rod.
• God is always at the Center of the Family - v-127-1
• Children know that they are special to God and their Parents
3. Parents take the Responsibility of being Parents Seriously – v-4
According to this verse, God holds us responsible for the future wellbeing and success of our children –
To a large degree, the good of our children rests solely and squarely in our hands. We can’t dish it off to the government, church or the school – no we have been given this mandate from God.
So what does this Psalmist mean by this statement in v-4. Three things as I leave you today.
1. It’s the Parents responsibility to Launch their children in a responsible manner.
Picture an archer with a bow and arrow getting ready to shoot off one of his arrows at a target somewhere in the distance – he can’t do that “nilly willy”, no, he has to make sure that that arrow is ready for the launch and is able to travel the distance so that it can hit it’s intended target and have the desired effect and impact that it was designed to have.
It is the same with our children, from the time they were born, it’s our job to begin the launching process. Yes it may take 18, 20, 25, 30, and for some folks 50 years, but our job is to prepare them for a successful launch one day.
Think about it – the first thing happens we cut the cord and that is the first step in the launching process – then the baby is weaned from the breast and the bottle –
So knowing that you and I would launch these children later on, we have to make sure they properly trained, and properly disciplined, properly educated, taught respect for self, respect for others, respect for persons of the opposite sex – respect for other people’s property - respect for the law of the land – respect for animals – respect for the environment - respect on every front.
Since you preparing this child to leave your home one day, prepare him or her the best you know how to so that they can function as godly, responsible and productive citizens wherever they go – prepare them for the launch.
2. It’s the Parents responsibility to Leave in them a godly Legacy
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior – it is only when an arrow hits its intended target that it is really able to make an impact.
When our children are launched into the real world and are doing what God has called them to do and are making a positive impact on others, we are well on the way to creating and leaving a godly legacy in them.
So we are the ones who should make sure that our children have everything that they need to succeed spiritually, and otherwise
Think of it this way, you have poured yourself into that child and invested in him or her and you are now they are making good and godly decisions and as it relates to mate selection –
Good and godly choices as it relates career decisions –
Good and godly choices as it relates to the use of money, time and other resources –
When you realize that, all you can do say – God, I thank you, for if it had not been for the grace and mercies of you, I don’t know where either one of us would have been today – so while the job of parenting never ends, you give God thanks each and every step of the way.
Yes, our children will make some mistakes, but God is not finished with you, me or them, so stay the course – don’t give up on them and the God who said that if we train them in the way that they should go – they will not depart from it is still a God who keeps promises – trust him –
Think about this, when the arrow leaves the bow, it travels in places the archer has never been before and it accomplishes things the Archer never dreamt of accomplishing himself – it’s the same with our children when we launch them responsibly – many of them will go places we have never been – accomplish things we have never accomplish – as Jesus said to his disciples, greater things would you do…we must realize that many of our children and the children in this church will go on to do so much greater than we have done – and we ought to thank God for it.
3. It’s the Parents responsibility to Lead them to Jesus Christ.
Parents, we are the ones who must prepare these little ones to discover their god-given purpose and to walk in it. We are the ones who must help them to figure out what God has called them to do and to be.
But the # 1, thing that we must do as parents is to prepare our children to meet their God one day in the future and that means instructing them in the things of God and by providing them with godly example every day.
Abraham was an example of this – read Genesis 18:18-19 says,
Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Children don’t have to understand the a great deal of the Bible to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior – understanding is a process that comes for the rest of life –
Know the doctrine of sanctification and justification –
Tell them that Jesus loves and care for them just as they are right now –
Tell them that they have done wrong, but God isn’t angry at them, but wants them to change and not continue to do it – speak to them on their level -
Tell them if say it to God and are serious about it – they can become a friend of God today –
Children who don’t accept God by the time they are 15- 17 rarely ever accept God any more in their lifetime.
Leading them to Christ is our responsibility.
A Home where Children Thrive is a home…
• God is always at the Center of the Family - v-127-1
• Children know that they are special to God and their Parents – v-3
• Parents take the Responsibility of being Parents Seriously – v-4
o So we must Launch them
o We must Leave them with a godly legacy
o We must Lead them to Christ.
Pray for children and their parents.
Appeal for unsaved ones to choose God.