Summary: Purposeful parents practice truthful love and loving truth.
Raising Spiritual Champions
Rev. Brian Bill
I received an invitation in the mail a few weeks ago with my name and address on it but it was obviously a mistake. They either had the wrong guy or there was a major mix-up. When I opened it up I was shocked to realize that there was no mistake made – it was an invitation to my 30th High School Class Reunion! After I calmed down a bit I started laughing when I read a list of things that have changed in the past thirty years.
1978: Passing the drivers’ test
2008: Passing the vision test
1978: Rolling Stones
2008: Kidney Stones
1978: Going to a new, hip joint
2008: Receiving a new hip joint
1978: Acid rock
2008: Acid reflux
1978: Long hair
2008: Longing for hair
Ah, those were the good old days. Have you heard people say that they want to go back to the “good old days”? Have you ever said it yourself? Some of you go back even further than 30 years. Sharon Peterson sent me an email this week entitled “What people were saying 50 years ago…”
* “I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s worth of groceries for $20.”
* “Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?”
* “If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.”
* “When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.”
* “Kids today are impossible. Those ducktail hair cuts make it impossible to stay groomed.”
I’m not even sure what duck tail hair cuts are, but I’m sure they weren’t popular with parents. Sometimes we think that if we could just turn back the clock then parenting would be easier. If we could just go back to the “good old days,” then things would be better. Let’s do that, shall we? Let’s go all the way back to the Book of Genesis and focus on the families that are portrayed for us there.
* In the first marriage relationship, Adam blames his wife for his behavior and refers to her as “this woman you gave me” when held accountable by the Almighty.
* Their children don’t get along and Cain ends up killing his brother Abel.
* Noah gets drunk, his son dishonors him and then Noah curses that son.
* Abraham lies twice, referring to Sarah, not as his wife, but as his sister.
* A father named Isaac loves one son Esau; while the mother Rebekah favors Jacob.
* When Jacob is a father he favors Joseph and his brothers want to kill him.
And that’s just a few of the families in Genesis. Anyone here feel better about their own family now? This is not a place for “together” people because we’re all in process at PBC. Because of sin, there really has not been a time we could call “the good old days.” But God works through all of this and has provided principles and practices in His Word to equip parents for the task of raising spiritual champions. Last week we learned that parenting is not only hard work; it is heart work.
Before we jump into our text this morning I want to give a “shout-out” to those of you who are raising young children. Some of you are battling bedtimes and wondering when all the whining is going to stop. You’re juggling schedules and running on emotional “empty.” Would you take a deep breath right now and listen to these comforting words from the Lord in Isaiah 40:11? “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” I love that picture – Jesus is gently leading those of you with little lambs in your home.
Truthful Love and Loving Truth
Not only do some of us want to go back to the “good old days” of our youth but sometimes we think that the first churches had it all together as well. Actually, many of them were filled with division, rampant sin and false teachers – that’s why many of the letters in the New Testament were written – to correct these problems.
Please turn to the shortest book in the Bible, the book of 2 John. This brief book is written by John and is the only letter written to a woman. In the second half of this little letter, John addresses doctrinal error but before he does that he shows how truth and love are to be blended together. This woman is a mother with children and John is joyful about the fact that some of her children are walking in truth.