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Let's Keep The Home Fires Burning #2


Intro: As we continue to think about the home and the family, one area of vital importance is that of raising our children. I want to address that area this evening and bring am message entitled, "The World's Greatest Undertaking." Let's face it, when we have successfully raised our children, we have accomplished something of the highest magnitude. Ill. Former President George Bush was asked this question, "What is you greatest accomplishment in life?" President Bush might have mentioned his success during World War 2 as a Navy pilot. He light have called to mind his 8 years as Vice President under Ronald Reagan. He might have mentioned his own successful presidency. He might have spoken of his time as the head of the CIA, or of his years as U.S. Ambassador to China. He could have bragged about his success during Operation Desert Storm. But, when answering this question, President Bush revealed his heart as well as his priorities when he said, "My greatest accomplishment is that my children still come to see me." Isn't that true? After all else is said and done, and when all the dust settles in your life, you still have your family to think about. Apparently, Mr. Bush had done right by his children. They responded to his investments in their lives and will remain a legacy to that man even after he is dead and buried.

May I remind you this evening that children are a precious gift from the Lord, Psa. 127:3-5, "3.) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4.) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5.) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Too often, children are seen as an inconvenience and as a nuisance. Instead of being seen a blessing, parenting is often seen as a burden. We must remember that our children have been given to us, their parents, for a few short years so that we might help them to mature into the image of God. We are not to be guilty of forcing them into our mold, but we are to do everything in our power to mold them into the image of God.

This passage gives us some much needed insights into this matter of child raising. Let's take the time this evening to learn about better parenting from the Lord and His Word, as we think together about The World's Greatest Undertaking.


(Ill. Successful parenting always begins within the parent's own relationship with God. Regardless of the example of lost parents you may know, no parent can be truly successful in bringing a child up in the image of the Lord unless they know the Lord. Then, the parents must be walking in a right relationship before the Lord or they will never have the influence in their children's lives that is needed. In other words, you will never be able to lead your children farther than you have been? These first few verses speak to this issue and show us parents where we need to be if we are going to be the effective parents God desires us to be.)

A. A Reverence - We are told in verse 2 that we should fear the Lord. That is, we are to walk with an awareness of His glory , His holiness and of His majesty. A parent's primary responsibility is to walk in the fear of the Lord. We are to bring our lives under God's leadership. A godly parent places the Lord's will above all other considerations, realizing that the fear of the Lord is the first step in wisdom and in proper parenting.

B. A Reaction - When we fear the Lord as we should, this will result in our obedience to the Word of God. There is no better witness that a parent can have before his children that the sure knowledge that mom and dad take the Bible seriously. That God's Word is the rule of the home. God's standards are to be our standards! Your children will model what they see in your life! They will carry away from your home many of your actions. Therefore, let's teach them that God's Word is to be obeyed.

C. A Reward - God promised Israel that when they followed His Word, that He would bless them and reward their lives. The same holds true today! God has promised to bless those who walk in His will and follow His Word - Psa. 1:1-3. Children need to see that God will do what He has said He would do. Do your children know that God will bless tithing? Mal. 3:8-10. Do your children know that God will bless honesty? Phil. 4:8; 1 Thes. 4:11-12. Do your children see that faithfulness is blessed by God? Matt. 25:21. Do your children see serving God as optional or mandatory? They will learn exactly what they observe in your life and mine. They need to know that God blesses His faithful children. If they see us enjoying the great blessings of the Lord, they will want the same things for their own lives.

(Ill. Let's show them that serving God is the only way to live. That obedience to the Lord always pays off. Let's show them that God's way is the best way. For it is far better to raise a religious fanatic than a heathen. After all, when your parenting duties are over, your children will be a living memorial to your investment in their lives.)

I. Right Living


(Ill. Again, this may not seem to have a lot to do with parenting, but it is in reality at the very heart of the matter. For, before we can ever be successful Christian parents, we must have our own relationship with the Lord nailed down. And, just as it is important that our children see us living right, they must also see us loving right. That is, we must love the Lord God supremely.)

A. V. 4 He Is To Be Our Focus - There are to be no other gods in our lives. Too often, children see parents putting everything in the world ahead of God. It may be a job, a hobby, a friend, etc. Whatever comes ahead of God in your life and mine is an idol and it sends a false message to our children. We are telling them, by our actions, that this thing we love comes ahead of our love for God. Children need to know that no one or no thing comes before our relationship with God. He must be our focus. If we teach them that God is just for Sundays, we are going to raise a generation of infidels.

(Ill. Why do you think many children have rejected the faith of their parents? Sometimes, the reason lies in the fact that what mom and dad claimed to have lacked any reality. By the way, if it weren't for the intervention of God in my life, I would not be here tonight. Growing up, I saw not one reason to make God and His church a priority in my life!)

B. V. 5 He Is To Be Our Fixation - This love for God is to motivate us in every area of life. Our love for Him should consume us totally. When it does, it will fill us and work in us and reveal itself through us - 1 Cor. 13:1-8. Our children need to see this in the lives of mom and dad.

I. Right Living

II. Right Loving


(Ill. In these verses, Moses relates the Word of God as to successful parenting. We are to take the Word of God and make it the primary motivator in the parenting process. Notice three things that we to do with the Word.)

A. V. 6 We Are To Store Them Up - That is, the Word is to be in me and is to change me. If I expect my life to impact that of my children, then I must be transformed by the Word myself. Nothing can happen through me until it first happens in me. Therefore, it is essential that parents have a personal time of prayer and Bible study. You need to be growing so that you can help your children to grow. The importance an influence of the Word of God should never be underestimated! If we expect to raise Godly children, there must first be godly parents!

B. V. 7-9 We Are To Share Them - This verse says that we are to diligently teach the Word to our children. The word "diligent" means "to whet or to sharpen." It carries the idea of stabbing, or of one object penetrating another. In other words, our training is to penetrate deeply into our children. We are to help them, on the basis of God's word to be keen, sharp and discerning when it comes to living life. We are not to teach them through dogmatic exclamations such as "Because I said so!" We are to develop in them a set of conviction based in the Word of God that will guide them through life. It isn't about a bunch of rules, of a list of do's and don'ts. It is about teaching them by explanation and by example the things God would have them learn.

(Ill. 1 Thes. 2:11 has some timely advise for parents. There are 3 ways we are to influence our children:

1. Exhort - "To call to one's side." Speaks of an effort to get your children on your team. To develop within them the same sort of convictions that you yourself possess.

2. Comfort - To Encourage. As parents, we are to seek to bring out the best in our children by encouraging them in the things they do correctly and in the things they do well.

3. Charge - This word means to call a witness or to protest. As parents, there are times when we cannot condone everything and we must witness against the behavior of our children.)

(Ill. How are we to accomplish this? There are several Scriptures that shed light on this topic:

1. Psa. 139:13 - Each Child Is Uniquely Formed By God - While a child will certainly acquire certain traits from being in your home. That child is still an individual before the Lord. He is not the product of evolution, but has been formed by God for a particular function. This needs to be remember by many parents as they try to plan their child's life. It may be that the Lord has plans that are vastly different from your own.

2. Pro. 22:6 - Each Child Has An Individual Bent - This verse says that we are to "train up" our children. These words speak of a midwife who would dip her finger in crushed dates to awaken in the newborn infant a desire for milk. What this means is that the training we give our children should whet their appetites for the things of God. We should so lead them that they develop a hunger for God and are internally motivated rather then externally compelled. This phrase can also refer to "the placing of a rope in a wild horses mouth." Certainly, there must be rules and boundaries, but there must be an internal desire to know and follow the Lord. This is awakened by parental example. Parents must learn the proper balance between example and boundaries.

(Ill. This verse also mentions "In the way he should go." This does not mean in the way you think he should go, but it refers to the individual bent that is in every child. All children are like cement, that is, they are impressionable. However, all children are different. (Ill. Cain and Able - raised in the same environment, one a worshiper of God the other a murder.) All children are gifted indifferent ways, the wise parent ses the differences and raises each child accordingly. Every child has different interests and they should be trained according to those interests. Some are leaders, some are followers. Some are creative and artistic, others are more practical and logical. Some are gifted intellectually and others struggle to learn. A wise parent trains up a child in the way HE should go. Not according to the parent's will for the child, but according to God's will created as part of the child.)

3. Psa. 51:5 - Each Child Is Born With A Sinful Nature - They seem so sweet when they get here. But, do not be fooled by that sweet little baby. Inside everyone of them is a defiled, sinful nature and it begins expressing itself almost immediately, Psa. 58:3. Therefore, parents are not only challenged to teach children to do the right thing, we are challenged to punish them when they do the wrong thing. If a parent does not punish their children, then the children will punish them! The Bible gives at least 5 good reasons to discipline our children:

a. To Remove Foolishness - Pro. 22:15

b. To Rescue From Judgment - Pro. 23:13-14

c. To Receive Wisdom - Pro. 29:15

d. To Relive Your Anxiety - Pro. 29:17

e. To Reflect God's Character - Heb. 12:10-11

(Ill. Susannah Wesley, who raised 17 children, including John and Charles Wesley, and who I would consider to be somewhat of an expert said this about discipline, "The parent that studies to subdue self-will in his child works together with God in renewing and saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil's work, makes salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever.")

(Ill. God's Word is to be such a part of our lives that we are to set the right example for our children every day. Ill. V. 8-9 - These verses were later misused by the Pharisees and others who made themselves little boxes of leather worn on leather straps which they tied around their heads or around their arms. Inside these boxes, they placed certain verses from the Law and wore them wherever they went. God's intention is far more practical! He wants the Word to be such a part of our lives that we are literally saturated in it. So much so that it motivates us in every are of our lives so that our children know that we are living out he Word. When they see us happy and blessed in the Lord, it will create an appetite in them for the same things. They may rebel for a while, but certainly, the Lord will work in their hearts and bring them home.)

Conc: May I remind you that it is far easier to build a child that to repair and adult! May the Lord help us to do everything in our power to be the best parents we can be to His praise and glory. Now, how would you feel if your child grew up to be a Christian just like you? Would you be pleased with that? Or, are there areas that need the Lord's attention? If we have made mistakes, and who hasn't, there is help, forgiveness and renewal in the Lord. Some parents actually need to apologize to their children for living contradictory lives before them. However, let it begin with the Lord. Mom and Dad, is everything right in your relationship with the Lord? Is everything all right in your relationship with your children? If there are needs, please bring them to Jesus right now.

Sermon By Alan Carr


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