Summary: Let's talk about 5 radical priorities for parents (Material adapted from Dennis Rainey's book, A Call to Family Reformation, Chapter 7 Parenting with a Purpose, pgs. 119-139)
Title is “Radical Restoration of the Family”, took this idea from F. LaGard Smith’s book called Radical Restoration: Smith takes aim at many features of today's church that bear little resemblance to the picture presented in the New Testament. He begins with our token, ritualized observance of the Lord's Supper and argues for a return to a memorial "love feast." He proceeds with a critique of our substitution of large, expensive church buildings with spectator pews for the intimate, cost-effective "house churches" of the first-century. He continues with a stinging critique of today's distant, corporate-like elderships in place of the loving, hands-on shepherds known in the early church. He also critiques today's "pulpit ministers" and "youth ministries" as departures from first-century patterns of evangelism and parental responsibility. This book gives some food for thought but is too theoretical to be practical and his ideas seem to be too counter cultural to be relevant. Let's talk about something much more practical, the family.
The church alone cannot turn the tide of 60% of young people raised in the church leaving and many never coming back. We are going to need families that are committed to radical restorations in their families. Tonight we turn to raising children. God wants families to pass on a godly legacy from one generation to the next. The home is the best place for a child to learn about God. To a culture devoid of character and high ethical standards, our best hope for renewal lies in the restoration of godly homes. Though we hesitate to bring children into our sinful society, the reality is, our kids have to be the ones to preserve and redeem our culture. We need to recapture the biblical imperative that views parenting as a sacred calling. Children are worth it! As parents, God has selected us and set us apart for a work that angels can only envy. As parents we have a high and holy assignment.
Thesis: Let’s talk about 5 radical priorities for parents tonight
#1 Radical selflessness
Many parents are double minded when it comes to children. We talk about the importance of children; we say we would freely sacrifice our lives for them. But theory and practice are two different things. In many choices we make, we demonstrate that our commitment is not quite as strong as we think.
God gave us children to save us from toxic self absorption. This ought to challenge fathers who spend too much time climbing the career ladder or pursuing hobbies, spots, or our own interests- at the expense of our children. This ought to challenge every mother who works outside the home, not out of necessity, but out of a desire for self fulfillment or a higher standard of living.
Christians must stop patting one another on the back, affirming one another in our greed, while we abandon the gritty work of shaping our children’s conscience and character. Is is wrong for a father to climb the career ladder? Is it wrong for a mother to work outside the home? No, but if we lose at home, we have forfeited our legacy of passing on the faith to the next generation.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:3-11, NIV.
#2 Radical Objectives
Think about what our children face today compared to our generation. Dennis Rainey asked his daughter Ashley about her college experience not long after she graduated. Dennis asked if her classmates who grew up in a Christian home were different from others. She said this, “There might be a small difference, but I think with many it’s hardly noticeable.” She added this, “and I’m not talking just about dating... the same holds true in other areas as well- movies, ethics, materialism, and cheating in class.” Why are so many Christian young people indistinguishable from non Christians? Big reason is that parents today are concerned with the education their kids receive and the skills they develop. They look forward to the day when their children will enter the working world and establish a career. But one element often missing is character development. Too many parents are more concerned with IQ than with CQ- character quotient.