Text: Various 9/4/2016
Main Point: The LORD is our salvation and God.
I. Parents, worship and follow God, lead your children
Delighting yourself in God is the best thing for your own life, as well as the best thing for your marriage and family.
- Your priorities are God first, marriage, and then family
Your relationship with God is foundational and will outlast your marriage. Your love for, and devotion to God, gives purpose and strength for your relationships with others. If you are happy in God, you can be happy in any situation. Hebrews 10:34 is a powerful invitation for you and I to set our affections on God. Turn over to Hebrews 10:34 and look at how these regular ole men and women responded to having their houses and things confiscated.
“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Heb 10:34).
What type of person joyfully accepts the plundering of his property? Those who joyfully accept the plundering of their property are those people who are right now satisfied with the prospect of eternal life with God. The experience of joy in the presence of God now, alongside the hope of the fullness of joy in the future, cause these regular ole pew sitting Christians to joyfully accept the plundering of their property.
How did they get there? How do we get there? Look back at Hebrews 10:19-25 (read it).
God wants to meet with you and fill you with joy. How do we meet with him? By believing he exists and rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6). We meet with God through the forgiving and purifying work of Jesus Christ. We meet with him knowing that in difficulty, God is faithful. We meet with him because we have brothers and sisters encouraging us to keep going after God.
Listen, your spouse and children and job and hobby are an insufficient fuel for your soul. Christ alone can strengthen and satisfy you for life and marriage. Seek to work John 15:5 deep into every aspect of life. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “apart from [him] we can do nothing.” Apart from Christ, our bread and drink, we cannot live lives of joyful self-sacrifice for the glory of God and the good of others. Without Christ, the requirements of God, marriage and family will destroy you. With Christ, the burdens become light (Mt 10:28).
Your relationship with God will outlast your spouse and your relationship with your spouse will outlast your children. Be sure your love and devotion to your child never replaces your second love, love for your spouse. Our goal as parents is to launch our children out into the world. We want to help our children find their place in God’s work of redemption throughout this big world. For some children this plan will involve marriage. For other children this plan will involve singleness. Either way, we want our children to be healthy productive contributing adults. If you are the vine and your adult child is the branches then you have a problem. Also, if your child is the vine and you are the branches then you have a problem.
- Beware of the idol of children
Your child was not made for you; to satisfy you, to be your identity, or to be your life. You will crush your child if you try to make him that powerful. Your child can not be your God or be your friend like your spouse. Our goal is to get our children to God, not get our children to like us. Plus, as a parent you will have to do and say unpopular things for the good of that child. If your happiness and self-worth are dependent upon the loving affirmation of that child, then you will not be able to do and say those hard and helpful things. God created the parent role with discipline and admonition built in. Satisfied with God, happy in God, you will be able to lovingly, patiently, and graciously point your child to Christ.
The gospel must reshape our parenting. We are loved, liked, affirmed, and celebrated by God in Christ. Christ is the vine that feeds us. Satisfied and safe in Christ, we are equipped to correct and train up our children with love, patience, and great compassion.
The gospel must reshape our discipline and devotion. Read your bible every day asking God to show you why you should depend on Christ. Memorize and meditate every day on Scripture that prove the sufficiency of Christ. Remember, how do people change? If you see that your priorities are out of whack, how do you change? Change starts with our thinking. You will learn how to trust Christ in your everyday situations when you first know why Jesus is trustworthy. Parents, worship and follow Jesus Christ. Then, out of the fullness of God, lead your children. Let’s get very practical now
II. Parents, strive to be helpful in everything you do (Col 3:20)
Turn over to Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
Now parents, if children are expected to obey in everything, don’t you think it’s fair for us to be helpful in everything? We must strive to give them only things that are helpful and worth obeying. Mom and dad, how often do you exploit the willingness of your child? How often do we demand or command the unnecessary? Is everything you expect of your child helpful?
I want to give you a profound question which will radically change the way you parent. This single question will shake the very foundation of your decision making and school choices and extracurricular activities. Parents, are you ready to write this down? Grandparents, are you ready to share this profound wisdom with your adult children? Singles and empty-nesters, are you ready to encourage the families in this church? Here is the question to ask concerning any issue with your child: Is this helpful? Ask, is this helpful? And then force yourself to clearly define how this thing is helpful. The more helpful something is the more it should be prioritized and protected. Here is why we should constantly ask, “Is this helpful?”
- The duty of a parent is to always do good (Gal 6:10)
Turn back to Galatians 6:10, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Another way of asking, “Is this helpful?” is to ask, “Is this good?”. Is my doing this, a doing good to my child? Striving to be satisfied with God, building a strong marriage, we ask “how can I do good to my child?” Part of the answer is to spend time alone with God in refueling prayer. Part of the answer is to spend time alone with your spouse to strengthen that relationship and come up with a united parenting plan of attack. Part of the answer is to give yourself to your child. Fueled by Christ and united to your spouse, give yourself to your child. Turn off your cell phone and learn what makes your child tick. What does your child enjoy? What is your child afraid of? Knowing the personality of your child, what should you be praying happens in his/her life? Go for a walk and hold hands. Play a video game. Together, go help a neighbor in need. Together, go do something kind to someone who is not in need. Do homework with your child by asking your child to teach you what she is learning. Regularly eat dinner without any technology. Play a board game or go fishing
One of the best ways to do your child good is by regularly engaging in family worship. Family worship is simple but so difficult: read, sing, pray. Work on and talk about our fighter verse during the meal. Do a short bible reading from our daily bible reading plan. Use youtube to sing one of the songs from that week’s worship gathering. Then pray for one another. Read, sing, pray and do your child good. But there is a problem in all this
- Remind yourself constantly that the fall happened (2 Tim 3:16-17)
The fact that sin has warped every part of who I am means I am incompetent. Parents, we are incompetent. We need to be made competent by the Gospel and the Word (John 15:5). Some days I am going to resent the family dinner and despise family worship. Because of the fact that I still struggle with sin, I’m going to struggle to be a joyful parent. I often desire the wrong things. Give yourself the same grace you give others who struggle. Since the fall happened, you are going to be a bad parent. Repent of your sins, trust in Jesus, go ask for forgiveness, and keep leading your child.
I’ve given you 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the notes. Let’s look there for some good parenting advice. Because of the fall
- Parents, use the Word to teach
Because of the fall, your child does not know God. Use the Word to teach. The reason we read the bible, sing, and pray is so that our children will know God like we do. But we don’t just introduce them to concepts on a page. No, more than that we want to show them how these truths on these pages cause us to keep reading, keep singing, and keep praying. In careful and appropriate ways, show them your struggles. That means when you come across something difficult in the bible don’t pretend it’s easy. When it’s your time to pray, ask God to help you with what he has commanded. Use the word to teach your child to know God.
- Parents, use the Word for reproof.
A reproof is a statement that something is wrong. The flashing lights of a police car, a referee’s yellow flag, these are reproofs. Because of the fall, your child is going to do the wrong thing. The fall, your rebellion from God, is the reason you do wrong things. We need to be restored to God and kept from danger. We need the Word to reprove us. How then, do we use the word to reprove our children? Well I’ve found it really helpful to be hypocritical, condescending, and mean. My children love it when I yell at them in Jesus’ name with chapter and verse. No, they hate it. It’s no good.
Parents, if you only or mostly use the Word when your child has done something wrong or something you don’t like, then you are misusing your authority and God’s Word. God has not given us his Word so that we can avoid bad stuff. God has given us his Word so that we can know and enjoy him. Knowing him we know what to avoid. Knowing him we know what is good. Think back over the last week with your child. What is the ratio of using Scripture to warn your child and using Scripture to encourage your child? How much Scripture pointed away from sin and how much Scripture pointed to God? How much law did you give and how much gospel did you give? We must reprove ourselves and our children but always in connection with a desire to gain more of God. Use the word for reproof and
- Parents, use the Word for correction.
Correction builds on reproof. Reproving is telling them what is wrong while correction is teaching them how to correct what is wrong. Be on guard against pointing out the wrong without giving patient instruction regarding how to do it properly. Yes, you should not let your child speak to you, an adult, a sibling, or another human that way. Reprove that comment. But then correct it. What is the gracious way to disagree or express disappointment or argue for your way? The fall happened. Correct your child and
- Parents, use the Word for training in righteousness (Eph 6:4)
Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Dads, one of the best ways to raise an angry resentful child is to leave him to figure it out on his own. Another way to raise an angry resentful child is to bully him into doing what you want him to do. But if you want to lead your child to happiness, if you want to strengthen your relationship with your child, then give him discipline and instruction. Train him. Dads, you can’t be a personal trainer who does all the work for your child and you must not be that obese coach who runs his players while eating a snickers bar. Find ways, according to the needs and personality of your child, to get into life for teaching and training. And remember, your child is not like you. Part of loving your child is learning to like what he/she likes.
Train your child to love God, to pray, to forgive, to take responsibility. Teach your child how to believe the gospel. Instruct your son how to treat a woman. Help your daughter know how to love a man. This leads us to where we left off last week. Because the fall has effected gender, you need to teach your biological male how to be a man and you need to teach your biological female how to be a woman.
III. The gospel and parenting boys and girls
Kevin Deyoung, a pastor in Michigan, puts the gender issue in stark terms for parents, “Few issues are more important and more essential than helping one’s child navigate puberty and come to a healthy sense of sexual boundaries and sexual identity.”
- You should assume nothing
Parents, do not assume your child knows how to stand firm in the gospel just because your child is hearing the gospel in Sunday School, AWANA, and this worship gathering.
Parents, do not assume just because the biology is there that the right understanding of gender will be there. It is your role as mom or dad to teach your child and instruct your child. The fall has misshapen your child’s understanding of gender and sexuality. God has given you the role of teaching what is true and good. This means you must teach your biological male to be a man and you must teach your biological female how to be a woman.
- Teach and model biblical manhood and womanhood
Here is a definition of manhood which fits the boy who loves to wrestle and hunt as well as the boy who loves to sew and cook. Real men, being purified by Christ, reject passivity, lead courageously, love sacrificially, and seek a heavenly reward. Start there with your boys. What about girls?
Here is a definition of womanhood which fits the girl who loves to sparkle as well as the girl who loves to hunt and play sports. Real women, being purified by Christ, reject fearfulness (1 Peter 3:6), respect godliness (Eph 5:33), and seek what is virtuous (1 Tim 2:9-15).
Older men must model manhood and dads you need to intentionally build relationships with other model men. Older women must model womanhood and moms you need to intentionally build relationships with other model women. Model biblical gender and encourage biblical gender.
Parents, regularly tell your child, “I am glad God gave you to me.” Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, encourages us to look at our daughters and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the girl thing really well.” Look your sons in the eye and tell them, “I’m glad God made you a boy and you do the boy thing really well.” Step it up with age. “I’m glad God made you a man and you do the man thing really well.” “I’m glad God made you a girl and you do the woman thing really well.” I’m not encouraging you to lie. I’m encouraging you to be involved in your children’s lives and where you see biblical manhood or womanhood, celebrate it.
Singles, couples without children, and empty nesters, the families of this church need your help. Where you see the boys and girls, the youth, of this church exhibiting biblical manhood and womanhood celebrate it. And set the example. I want my daughters, I want your sons, to have a head full of everyday run of the mill wonderfully God-glorifying examples of manhood and womanhood. Singles, couples without children, and empty nesters, model biblical manhood and womanhood. The boys and girls of this church need you.
 https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2016/04/08/safe-schools-gender-non-conformity-and-the-death-of-common-sense/ accessed 8/26/2016
 I added “love sacrificially” to Robert Lewis’s definition of manhood.