2 JNO 1:4
INTRO: Parenting is not easy! Christian parents find themselves facing such an array of concerns in our world. Now, I am not suggesting that parenting has been easier for Christian parents in previous times or in different cultures. But you and I live in this time and culture, and we struggle with the deep concerns with have for our children and their well being. One of our concerns, I believe, is for the spiritual welfare and security of our children. I would hope that this is the deep and unequaled concern of every parent here this morning. But what are we doing about that concern? How are we addressing that concern in practice? Our lesson text this morning suggests the title for this sermon: The Joy Of Faithful Children.
I. FIRST, THERE ARE FEW GREATER JOYS THAN THIS
A. We know that:
1. Ps 127:3 - children are an heritage of the Lord
2. Ps 127:3 - the fruit of the womb is his reward
3. Ps 128:3,4 - children are intended by the Lord as a blessing
B. That for which we hope?
1. 2 Tim 1:5 - a son in whom there was genuine faith
2. 2 Jno 1:4 - children walking in truth
3. Titus 1:6 - faithful children
C. In my own experience?
1. as parents, our hope/prayer always has been faithful children
2. to see our children as adults and active in the faith is a daily joy to us
3. we do not have stresses/strains of conflicting values and emphases
4. our general objectives are common to our family - now, including grandchildren
5. our family conversations often focus on spiritual matters - the church
6. we give thanks daily for the blessing of faithful children
II. HOW CAN WE ENCOURAGE THIS FAITHFULNESS AS PARENTS?
A. We must be faithful Christians ourselves
1. 2 Tim 1:5 - Timothy had the power of example before him
2. children are able to see hypocrisy so quickly
3. so, children must have no reason to doubt the seriousness of our commitment to the Lord, to His word, to His body
B. We must speak often of the word
1. Deut 6:7 - the necessity of this word from God to parents has not changed
2. children must hear parents referring to the word for guidance
3. children must grow understanding that the word is the final word
C. We must speak positively of the Lords church
1. Eph 3:10-14 - can you hear the love & respect of Paul for the church?
2. one of the quickest ways I know to promote unfaithfulness in your children is to speak disparagingly of the church, its leaders, its members, etc.
3. the church, the Lords body, should be held in the highest regard, and that regard should be verbalized sincerely
D. We must be busy serving others selflessly
1. Gal 5:13,14 - what a simple challenge to Christian people
2. children see the loving service of their parents to others - learn from it
3. my conviction is that many, many children, however, never see more than church pew parents - thus, they find their arenas for service and conviction outside of the Lords church
E. We must expect our children to be faithful
1. Phil 1:6,7 - here are expectations positively, lovingly spoken
2. we fall prey to too many of societies sayings ... and they become our expectations (ill: children will sow their wild oats)
3. do not buy into the notion that our children cannot be morally & spiritually upright and active ... expect the best of them, and they will rise to that expectation
F. We must encourage our children to be participants in spiritual pursuits
1. 1 Sam 1:28 - what an incredibly lovely sentiment
2. I was encouraged, by parents and relatives, to be and involved youngster
3. it never dawned on me that I could be uninvolved - and parents can make that sort of impression by encouraging spiritual pursuits
G. We must surround ourselves with people of like precious faith
1. Prov 1:10,15 - but what are the options we offer as parents?
2. do we surround ourselves with like spiritually like minded people?
3. such associations absolutely affect the thinking and direction of our children
H. We must be as concerned about our childrens spiritual future as we are their educational future
1. but the question I have is simple: are we?
2. I hear parents talk about so many issues relating to their children - so, rarely do I hear similar concerns about spiritual welfare and future
3. does Eccl 12:13 cut to the bottom line of life?
I. We must set guidelines, limits which both protect and encourage
1. 1 Sam 2:29,30 - remember Elis sons ... and Elis apparent failure?
2. I particularly note and honourest thy sons above me
3. if we do not set and enforce Godly guidelines and limits, we are likely consigning our children to an unhappy future
CLOSE: I can certainly offer no guarantees. I can, however, say clearly that if we do not make every effort to rear faithful children, the world will most likely have its way with them. Joy? There are few greater joys than to have children who are of like precious faith with their parents!
Cecil A. Hutson
12 October 2003
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)