Summary: Growth in the Word is vital if we are to share the Word with our families
Sermon Text: Psalm 78:1-8
September 9, 2001 -- Christian Education Sunday
WE WILL TELL THE NEXT GENERATION!
I’m sure most of you have heard the story about the Christmas ham. It goes like this: One year, as mom prepared to put the Christmas ham in the pan, she cut a piece off one end. Her daughter was watching, and she asked, “Mom, why do you do that?” The mother thought for a moment and replied, “You know, I’m not sure. All I know is that my mom always did it that way.”
The daughter immediately went to Grandma in the other room. She asked Grandma if it was true that she always cut a piece off the Christmas ham, and if so, why. “I don’t know,” Grandma said. “I guess it was because my mother always did it that way.”
It wasn’t until the girl asked Great-Grandma that the truth came out. “Why did I always cut the piece off,” Great-Grandma snorted, “because my roasting pan was too small. Unless I did that, the ham wouldn’t fit.”
The point of the story is this: we all have traditions we value, whether we understand them or not. The things we learn from our parents are highly treasured. What our children learn from us is important. On the other hand, what they don’t learn is often disregarded as unimportant. What’s the most important thing we can hand down to our children? If there’s just one thing we could impress on them, what would it be? The answer to that question is simple: we would tell them about Jesus. The psalm writer speaks for us today. With firm resolve we, too, declare that WE WILL TELL THE NEXT GENERATION! 1) The Praiseworthy Deeds and 2) What We Ourselves Treasure.
1) Praiseworthy Deeds
“We will tell the next generation,” the psalmist says. That’s really a vow, a promise. What happens if that promise isn’t kept? What happens if we don’t resolve to tell the next generation? The gospel will be lost. The gospel of Jesus is lost from one generation to the next simply because it is neglected. It becomes forgotten. “How can that be?” you might ask. It happens when we adults become complacent. It’s easy for us to become comfortable and slip into a rut. That can happen even when things appear to be going well, or should I say it especially happens when things are going well.
The big point this psalm writer makes is that we are to tell others about the Lord. For that to happen we need to know what we’re talking about. In order to know what to say, we need to listen to God. Does God have our attention? Are we into his Word? Is your family in the Word of God?
Notice which member of the family is mentioned in particular? The psalmist says: “O, my people, hear my teachings, listen to the words of my mouth … what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.” He thanks all those fathers in the homes who did not let the story of God’s love become lost. He doesn’t thank the temple priest, the Levites, the pastors or teachers. He commends the dedicated parents, especially fathers. Well, dads, how are we willing to teach our children the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord? Or is that something you just leave up to your wives? Now, it’s wonderful to see wives and mothers taking an active role in their children’s spiritual education, but they shouldn’t be the only ones trying to teach these things in the home. Dedicated fathers and mothers are expected to teach their children at home. And fathers are to take the lead. In the Old Testament times God commanded it. It was that important.
It still is important. Learning about God’s eternal plan for us is even more important than learning how to walk, talk, or eat with a fork. It is more important than soccer or piano lessons. God is pleased when children learn about him at home. God wants parents to take the time to share Bible truths with their children. Don’t just think that once a week will take care of it.
Sometimes we might feel intimidated. This all seems like an undaunting task. Maybe some parents don’t feel qualified to speak to their families about the Bible. The truth is that most of us know more than we think about the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” Can you tell your children the story of how Jesus died? Can you explain why he died? Can you apply that to yourself – do you believe you are a forgiven sinner in Jesus? Can you tell the story of the resurrection? Do you know what significance it has in your life? You may be a better teacher than you think! You understand what the Bible teaches. You know what God has done for you. You can apply those truths to your life. That’s really all it takes to be able to tell your children about praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.