Thesis: Genuine faith begets genuine faith.
1. In the late 4th century a woman named MONICA lived in a small North African village with her family.
a. On Nov. 13, 354 she gave birth to a son--bright & intelligent; tried hard to raise him as a Christian, but it was difficult.
1) Husband not a Christian; boy surrounded by pagan influences.
2) Father had no respect for Christian faith; unfaithful to Monica.
b. Despite Monica's best efforts, her son did not become a Christian.
1) Like his father he lived a life of sexual permissiveness.
2) Left small village of his birth, moved to Carthage, then Rome.
3) Sampled pagan philosophies; seemingly lost to Christian faith.
2. That young man was AUGUSTINE--one of greatest & most influential X'ians of all time!
a. What turned him around? In Confessions--faith & constant love.
b. Tells of Monica's agonizing that her son would ever come to faith.
c. Many parents have felt their situation as hopeless as Monica's.
3. Not every child of Christian parents turns out like Augustine.
a. Flavil Yeakley (Why Churches Grow): only 50% of Church of Christ children remain faithful.
b. Coming to faith in a religious home is not a guarantee!
1) Eli's sons (1 Sam. 2:12).
2) Samuel's sons (1 Sam. 8:5).
3) David's sons (Absalom & Amnon).
c. We've got a problem! ................. But it's not a new problem.
1) How do we as X'ian parents instill genuine faith in our children?
2) That's the question we want to raise--approach it in two stages:
a) Obstacles to genuine faith in a Christian home.
b) What parents can do to encourage genuine faith in their children.
I. OBSTACLES TO GENUINE FAITH IN A CHRISTIAN HOME.
A. Growing up in a Christian home can be a mixed blessing.
1. Whether your parents are Christians are not faith must still become your own.
2. While growing up in a Christian home is to be preferred to the alternative, it does have its drawbacks. That's what we want to focus on this A.M.
B. Four factors that affect coming to faith in a Christian home.
1. Insensitivity to the gospel message.
a. Fact of life--more exposed to something, less sensitive you become to it.
1) Pharoah's hardness of heart in face of ten plagues.
2) Widespread insensitivity to sex/violence/language--TV & movies.
b. Same principle at work in growing up in a Christian home (by 18 yrs.):
1) 18,000 hymns. 2) 12,000 public prayers. 3) 2,000 sermons.
4) 1,000 Wednesday night devotionals.
5) 5,148 hours spent at church--better part of one year!
2. Struggle for personal identity.
a. At some point: "Am I doing this because I want to or because it's expected of me?"
b. May explain Christian camp phenomenon.
1) Many children of Christian parents are baptized at camp.
2) Atmosphere removed from home and church--struggle for identity.
3. Human tendency toward rebellion.
a. Tell a child to do one thing ..... tend to do exact opposite!
b. Rebellion may take different forms--sometimes vs. religion.
4. Seeing Christian parents as they really are.
a. Old saying: "No one is a hero to his valet."
b. Always a gap between what we say and what we do!
1) Children are the first to see that gap.
2) Our goal should be to make it as small a gap as possible.
c. Children will use hypocritical lives of parents as excuse for disobedience.
II. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ENCOURAGE GENUINE FAITH IN YOUR CHILDREN.
A. Live a genuine, committed Christian life yourself.
1. Genuine faith begets genuine faith!
2. Most powerful argument for faith not in words (1 Pet. 3:1-2).
3. A sure way to lose your child is to be uncommitted yourself (youth survey):
a. Both parents faithful & active ........ 93%
b. One parent faithful & active .......... 73%
c. Both parents semi-active ............... 53%
d. Both parents attend infrequently ...... 6%!
B. Be open and ready to talk about your faith (Deut. 6).
1. Pro-active effort on the part of parents (6:6-9).
2. Willingness to answer questions raised (6:20ff.).
Conclusion: Not easy to grow up in X'ian home or to bring up a child in "nurture & admonition of the Lord." Mistakes will be made. There are no easy answers.