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:
Early Sex. Research has long established that teens who watch movies or listen to music that glamorizes drinking, drug use or violence tend to engage in those behaviors themselves.
• One study: the earlier a teen/child is exposed to sexual content in movies, the earlier they begin having sex.
• Another study: Boys exposed to sexually explicit media were three times more likely to engage in oral sex and intercourse two years after having been exposed.
High Risk Sex: Children who have sex by age 13 are more likely to have multiple sex partners, engage in frequent intercourse, and use drugs and alcohol before sex.
Sex Addictions: In one study of 932 sex addicts, 90 percent of men and 77 percent of women reported that pornography was a factor in their addiction. With the widespread availability of explicit material on the Internet, these problems are becoming more prevalent and are surfacing at younger ages.
Sexual Violence: According to some studies, early exposure (by age 14) to pornography and other explicit material may increase the risk of a child becoming a victim of sexual violence or acting out sexually against another child.
• THE WORSE NEWS FOR PARENTS: For many children, sexual exposure begins AT HOME.
JESUS: “…woe to the one through whom they come. 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”
The IRONY of our SOCIETY: Parents who would not, under any circumstance, let their precious child ride a bicycle without a helmet, elbow and knee pads, safety gloves and shoes; and who would not consider placing their small child in a car without a safety seat… WILL:
• Let their 15-yr. old daughter car date w/guy you never met.
• Allow their Middle School aged son a smart phone with unlimited access
• Have no problem letting their child spend the night with whoever invites them without knowing the other child’s parents, their lifestyle, or their older siblings.
WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?
ONE STEP: I’m going to PROTECT the purity of my home by LIVING a pure life, myself.
Psalm 51:10-12, Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
1. A Pure Heart Is a CLEAN HEART.
• Not just “Forgive me”…
• Not just “I promise not to do this again”…
• BUT: “God, you do what I cannot do… CREATE a pure heart.
o CREATE: Same word used in Gen. 1:1, when God created the heavens and the earth. It means a divine act of bringing something wonderful out of nothing.
• ONE PROBLEM: We are used to the dirt… seared conscience
o ILL: This movie… TV show… Music… Book… Game… Doesn’t bother me
o ILL: Eating pork—quit eating pork… at a wedding reception, barbeque… bad idea!
Psalm 139:23-24, Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
2. A Pure Heart Is a STEADFAST HEART.
• No more on-again, off-again… up one moment, down the next… living by our feelings
• STEADFAST: firm, strong, immovable
• Dad: in your home… are you more like Jell-O… or a rock?
1 Corinthians 15:58, Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
3. A Pure Heart Is an OBEDIENT HEART.
• No more QUESTIONING God’s directions…
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (MSG), I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.
• THE GOOD NEWS: What David begged God for, and what Ezekiel foresaw as a future event, has been completed for us in Christ!
• OT… LAW: outside-in… Spirit “came upon” people…
• NT… GRACE: inside-out… Spirit placed within all believers…
o I’ll… scrub you clean… DONE!
o I’ll… heart that’s God-willed… DONE!
o I’ll… put my Spirit in you… DONE!
• WHY AM I STRUGGLING? For many believers, you struggle because you’ve not been filled with the Holy Spirit.
I’m going to PROTECT the purity of my home by LIVING a pure life, myself.
Galatians 5:16, But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
• It’s not about TRYING… and FAILING
• It is about TRUSTING… and FOLLOWING
• Some here: You’ve never given Jesus ownership of your life…
• Others: You find yourself tripping up over the same stuff… because you are TRYING… trying to live a supernatural life in natural strength… you need the empowerment of the Holy Spirit… baptism… filling…