Summary: Jesus Christ can turn our children into heroes, but we can help. Here’s what to do: 1. Sacrifice for them. 2. See their potential. 3. Steer them to Jesus.
Raising Heroes for Christ
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 10, 2012
(Adapted from sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church - Feb. 25, 2007)
*George Washington is called the “Father” of our country, and rightly so. What a hero he was. Historian James Flexner called Washington "the indispensable man." Richard Smith said, "If George Washington had not existed there arguably would have never been an American Republic." (1)
*Ron Hutchcraft described Washington’s leadership this way: "King George and his army must have been having a good laugh. George Washington and his Continental Army had been whipped in battle after battle in their campaign to become independent from Britain. British troops had driven the Americans out of New York City, across the Hudson River, across New Jersey, and finally into Pennsylvania.
*Then came the winter of 1777, at a place outside of Philadelphia called Valley Forge. On Dec. 19, 1777, Washington's poorly fed, ill-equipped army staggered into Valley Forge, weary from long marches. Winds blew as the 12,000 soldiers prepared for winter's fury. Only about one third of them had shoes, and many left a trail of bloody footprints. The army was ravaged by sickness and disease that killed 2,500 men that winter.
*“Discouragement and defeat may have been their worst enemies. But General Washington wasn't about to let those enemies win. He fought back by ordering his soldiers to begin fortifying their camp. Then the drills began, while Washington worked on getting more recruits and building his army into a real fighting force.
*Many historians believe that the outcome of America's battle for independence was decided at Valley Forge more than in any battle . . . One army went into the winter at Valley Forge - divided, discouraged, demoralized. Another army emerged from that winter. They were unified, fortified, and confident . . . (2)
*Washington was a great hero who trusted in our great God. Once he prayed this prayer: "Bless O Lord the whole race of mankind, and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ." (3)
*Our children may never be great Presidents like Washington, but they can certainly be great heroes for Jesus Christ. Jesus can turn our children into heroes for His Kingdom. And we can help. Let’s look into the Word of God and see how.
1. First, make the sacrifice for our children.
*You have to read between the lines here to see the sacrifice here, but somebody made a sacrifice for this boy. Think about this most unusual situation. It was an enormous crowd, 5,000 men plus women and children, maybe 15 or 20 thousand people in total.
*The Book of Mark tells us they were out in the country in a deserted place. Jesus and the disciples had gone there trying to be alone for some needed rest. But the people saw them leaving, and many ran to follow them.
*Why the rush; why the excitement? -- John 6:2 tells us that it was because they had seen the Lord’s signs or miracles. Many had been healed, -- even people who were paralyzed and blind, even people with leprosy. Demons had been cast out. People had even been raised from the dead!
*So there was this mad rush to get to Jesus, and in that rush, almost no one had brought food. Mark 6:34-36 sets the scene:
34. And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.
35. When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.
36. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."
*Jesus knew that he was going to feed those people. But He tested Philip’s faith and that’s when Andrew brought this little boy to Jesus. In vs. 9, Andrew said, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
*This was the only food in the whole crowd. Where did it come from? -- Probably from the boy's parents. But one thing is sure: It had to come from someone who cared. And I believe they gave that boy their best, because they must have been in the crowd that day too, without any food of their own.
*Would you let your little boy go wandering off alone to the middle of nowhere? Would you let him go alone in that crowd of people? Somebody was there with that boy, and they had given him their best.