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How to Influence the World - 10

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2022 7:00 pm

How to Influence the World - 10

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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May 8, 2022 7:00 pm

Pastor Greg Barkman continues his exposition in Philippians, explaining the how and why of Christian obedience.

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Do you ever get tired of singing that hymn?

I surely don't. Well, today is a national observance of Mother's Day, and we honor mothers. We honor the institution of motherhood that has been designed by God.

Designed by God to bring children into this world and to nurture them. A challenging role that God has assigned to mothers. But it is indispensable. It is honorable. It is influential.

It is rewarding. Today, I don't have a traditional Mother's Day sermon. I'm not going to preach to you about Samuel and Hannah, though that's a worthy text of scripture or from Proverbs 31, another wonderful passage of God's word. But I'm going to rather continue in the exposition of the book of Philippians because I have decided that the section that comes next is very suitable for our purposes today. Occasionally, not often, but occasionally someone has asked me over the years, why did you preach that today? The answer is very simple. Because it was next. That really solves a lot of problems. How did you dare preach that today?

Couldn't help it. It was next. Well, today it's what comes next, and it is applicable to our celebration of Mother's Day. Mothers, fathers, grandparents who are Christians, desire to see our children reared in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We want to see them saved.

We want to see them walking with the Lord, and we want to see them and our homes and our Christian churches having an influence upon this ungodly world. I can remember a time probably about 40 or 50 years ago when the Christian school movement was still fairly new, and a lot of people were going to rallies about Christian schools, Christian education. And many times the message seemed to be, if we'll just get this done, if we'll just get Christian schools built and get our children in Christian schools, then we will turn the nation around. Then we will bring the United States of America back to Christ. It didn't happen, did it?

It didn't happen. More recently, the homeschool movement has had a similar emphasis, at least in some quarters. If we will bring our children home and educate them at home, then we will raise a strong generation of Christian warriors. Then we will have an influence upon our world. Then we will turn our nation back to Christ. But now there are enough years that have gone by in the homeschool movement for us to realize that isn't really producing that effect either. Back to the drawing board, and those are good things, by the way. I highly recommend Christian schools.

I highly recommend good godly homeschooling. But back to the drawing board, that doesn't guarantee that we are going to turn our nation around for Christ. But what will influence the world in which we live? Well, the Bible tells us. The Bible tells us what we need. We saw last week in Philippians 2 12 the necessity of Christian obedience. Christ set the example. He became obedient to the Father, obedient even to death, the death of the cross, and showed us how to be obedient to the word of God, to the commands of God.

That's our responsibility. But we learned in verse 13 the necessity of divine enabling. We will not, we cannot be obedient to the Lord except God is working in us. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But it is God who is working in us to do and to will of his good pleasure. Well, as this text continues on, this passage continues on, we see there's really no break between what we had last Sunday and what we're taking up today.

It's all part of the same section. And so we're not surprised that in our verses for today, we find an additional understanding of Christian obedience. In verse 12, we were told to obey, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Now in verses 13 and following, verses 14 and following, we are told, number one, how we should obey and number two, why we should obey. How we should obey.

And there are four things suggested to us throughout these verses. How should we obey? Number one, with contentment. Number two, with guidance. Third, with expectation.

And fourth, with joy. This is how we should obey the word of God. How should we obey with contentment? Now, this is interesting.

We might have expected that after the command in general to obey, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, that the Holy Spirit of God would guide Paul to come back and say, now, this is how you do it. Do this. Do that. Do this.

Don't do that. But he doesn't really give us a detailed list of things to do or not to do. He rather begins by giving us an all prevailing attitude that we must have in everything we do. If it's going to be pleasing to God, if it's going to be effective, we must obey with contentment. Verse 14, do all things without complaining and disputing. He doesn't say what the all things are, but he says, when you figure out what they are, it's important that you do it this way, because if you don't, doing a list of things isn't going to be as effective as you hope.

Do all things. All things. That phrase, all things, is in the emphatic position in the Greek grammar. And therefore it means it's emphasizing all things, everything, nothing left out here. Everything a believer does is to be done without complaining, without grumbling, without disputing.

It's also in the present tense, which means this is something we must continue to do over and over and over as long as we live. All things continually done without complaining and disputing. That means the things we do in private, the things we do when no one else is around. That means the things we do in the privacy of our home.

Do them all without complaining and disputing. That means the things we do in the corporate body of the church, the relationships that are here and the exchanges that we have with one another. Do all things without complaining and disputing.

That means the things we do out in the world, at our jobs, at our school, in our neighborhoods, wherever we go. We are to do all things without complaining and disputing. One commentator defined complaining as a bad attitude expressed in grumbling.

That's complaining. And the problem with complaining is that it expresses ingratitude toward God. Now this is not what we would consider a biggie when we're thinking about sins. We've got to be obedient to the Lord. We need to avoid sin. So we don't get drunk and we don't steal and we don't commit adultery. And that's not even mentioned in this passage. But the Holy Spirit of God says it's very important that you do all things without complaining and without arguing. That's what disputing is. Well, that's so common that I think most Christians don't even list that among the sins that we think about when we think about sin.

Everybody does that. Yeah, stop it. Well, that's my right. It is American. I get to express my opinion.

Nothing that involves complaining and arguing. You may be an American, but above that, if you've been saved, you're a Christian, you have a higher responsibility than being an American patriot, you have a higher responsibility than the privileges that are allowed to you in the Constitution of the United States. You have an almighty God in heaven and you have his word and he says, I didn't say it. The Constitution didn't say it.

The president didn't say it. It wouldn't matter if they did because God Almighty says do all things without complaining and arguing. God has given us an example of this sin and how serious it is in the nation of Israel in the wilderness and makes reference to that example in the New Testament, particularly in First Corinthians Chapter 10, where we are told that that was the problem with God's people in the Old Testament. They continually complained, grumbled, murmured, objected to what God was doing, how God was leading them, how God was providing for them. They were expressing their ingratitude to God in spite of the fact that the evidence was that God always provided for them. God always took care of them.

Sometimes they came up to a crisis, but it never created any lasting problem. God always provided what was needed, but they always almost always grumbled and complained all the way through. And there were several times throughout that wilderness experience where God judged them for their complaining by killing thousands of them. You say, wow, that's a pretty big judgment for such a little sin.

No, no, no, no, no, no. That's a big judgment that tells you it's not a little sin. It's a big sin. That's why it's a big judgment. Adjust your thinking.

Let your mind be reoriented according to the truth of God's Word. That's what I'm trying to tell you. This isn't a little matter. This isn't little stuff. This isn't something that we can just do every day and it really doesn't matter.

This is huge. Do everything at home, at work, wherever you are. Do everything without complaining, without murmuring, without arguing. That's a big assignment.

Now, don't forget what we're talking about. We're talking about what's it going to take for Christians to really make an influence in the world. And we've got all kinds of ideas of what it will take if we do this, if we do that, if we boycott this, if we march on that. How about if we start here? Do all things without murmuring and arguing.

When you've got that one well in hand, then maybe we can talk about some other things. Grumbling, complaining spreads discontent to others. You're discontent, so you express your discontent.

Pretty soon you've got other people around you who are likewise discontented. It breeds suspicion and division. One of the problems that Paul has dealt with earlier in this epistle was the lack of unity in the Philippian church.

Not that there was none, but not to the degree that there ought to be. And that's what he's addressing here. And that's part of what he's saying. He said, if you're going to have unity, you've got to have the mind of Christ. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

And now he's saying something else. If you're going to have God honoring unity in your church, you're going to have to cut out this complaining, this criticizing, this gossip, this grumbling. You're poisoning the well. You're poisoning the water of life that God has given to us.

Your complaining reveals an unsubmissive heart. That's what it was for Israel in the wilderness. They were unsubmitted to God. They were unhappy with God's leadership. They were unhappy with God's provision in spite of the fact that he always provided for them wonderfully and perfectly, but they weren't content.

And you're grumbling, and some of you are constant complainers, and you need to understand what this is demonstrating. It's demonstrating a heart that is not submitted to God. Recognize that, deal with that, understand that, confess that, repent of that, ask God to change that.

I like that hymn we sing by James Montgomery Boyce from time to time. How marvelous, how wise, how great, how infinite to contemplate Jehovah's saving plan. He saw me in my lost estate, yet purpose to regenerate this faithless fallen man. Foreknown before the world began, according to his gracious plan, God destined I would be conformed to Jesus Christ, the man who lived and loved as no man can, a glorious decree. He bore my sin on Calvary's tree and righteousness bestowed on me that I might see his face. God justified me, set me free and glorified I soon will be. How marvelous this grace. And then it stands before, what have I now but to embrace the God who saved me from disgrace and love him evermore and with contentment run my race.

My eyes fixed ever on his face to praise him and adore. Boy, that boils it down, doesn't it? What do we do in the face of this marvelous declaration of salvation, of rescue by God through Jesus Christ and the grace that he's poured out?

What have I to do? I have this to do, to embrace what he has declared, to believe it, to receive it, to hold on to it and beyond that with contentment run my race. Anything less is an act of unsubmission to almighty God. How should we obey? Number one, with contentment.

Number two, with guidance. We go to verse 16, skipping over 15, we'll come back to that in a moment. We go to verse 16 and we read, holding fast the word of life. Holding fast the word of life.

Now, that can accurately be translated a couple of different ways. Some translations say holding forth the word of life. Others similar to mine say holding fast or holding firmly the word of life. And the context doesn't help us a whole lot in deciding which of these options we have, because if we go with holding forth the word of life, that seems to flow from verse 15.

Verse 15 says that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. That would seem to lead us toward the holding forth translation. But then when you look at it in the verse in which it's found and read the rest of the verse, what does it say? It says holding fast the word of life so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. That seems to point to what I need to do to be perseveringly faithful in my Christian life.

That suggests the translation holding fast, holding firmly the word of life. So which is it? Well, could we combine them? Let's try that. See how that works.

Let's combine them. We are declaring the word of life. We're holding forth the word of life, declaring it to the world. And we are demonstrating how important it is to us by our submission and obedience to it.

We are holding fast the word of life to demonstrate the value that this message has in our lives and will have in the lives of others. But the point I want to make is that we are not without guidance. We're not told be obedient to the Lord and figure out what that means by your own thinking, your own opinions, your own ideas. No, obedience is defined for us. The way we obey God is with guidance. That is the guidance of God's word. We hold forth, we hold firmly to the word of God as we are obeying Him. That's how we obey, with guidance.

How many times when talking to someone about a particular issue, they say, well, I think this is my take. Okay. What's the Bible say? Oh, I don't know. I don't care is the attitude a lot of people have. This is what I think. That's the problem, isn't it?

That's the problem. You're not being obedient. You are sanctioning your own desires. And if they're contrary to the Bible, they're sinful desires. Obedience means submitting to what God has declared, even when, in fact, especially when it conflicts with what you desire.

So we haven't completely forgotten that today is Mother's Day. So how do we have strong Christian marriages? By obedience to what the Bible tells us about marriage. How do we rear strong Christian children? Well, for our part, by following what the Bible says about rearing children, which, by the way, is not a whole lot. It's kind of like the passage we're dealing with now. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

We might have expected a 15 page list of what to do and not to do. No, we just move right into the attitude with which we are to do whatever God's word tells us to do. We're to hold fast the word of life. And when it comes to marriage and when it comes to raising children, there's not a whole book.

There's not a big manual on that. But what there is is critical. If you'll get the things that are clearly said into place in your life, your marriage, your home, your child rearing, you will be amazed at what God may do. And God's got to do it. So in our workplace, we obey the word of God, not what everybody else does. In our choices of entertainment, we select them according to what we're told in God's word. In fact, all of life must be submitted to the word of God. That's what guides us. Number three, how do we obey?

With expectation. And now we move on in verse 16. Holding fast the word of life so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Now, this takes a surprising twist, actually. This refers to the coming of Christ, the day of Christ, when he will come. And Paul says, I want you, I want you to obey so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not labored in vain. Well, Paul, you egotistical twit, what are you talking about here?

Inserting yourself into this. Shouldn't you be saying, I want you to obey the word of God so that in the day of Christ you will receive his well done, you will be rewarded and commended, you will have a good finish on your Christian life. But in this surprising twist, he says, I want you to obey so that I can rejoice in the day of Christ. Is Paul being egocentric at this point?

I don't think so. He is, however, report appointing to his response to the second coming of Christ in relationship to them. That I may rejoice on the day of Christ. That's a day of final judgment when Christ returns. And what Paul is indicating is that there is the possibility of empty professions of faith that will be revealed in that day. Can Paul rejoice on the day of Christ if he watches the Philippians standing before Christ and instead of hearing, Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord. He hears Christ saying to them, Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.

I never knew you. Paul wouldn't be able to rejoice in that situation, would he? So you run in such a way that I will rejoice in the day of Christ.

Because what Paul is telling us here is that obedience is evidence of the new birth. And one way for us to stay on track is to always be looking forward to that day when Christ shall return. That day is coming. A day of judgment is coming. A day of reckoning is coming. A day of accountability is coming. A day when stewards are going to have to report to their master on their life and their faithfulness with what he placed in our hands that did not belong to us, but belongs to him.

Or to manage it for his glory. That day is coming. And we must obey with an eye of expectation upon that day when we shall stand before Christ. And number four, how do we obey? With joy, verses 17 and 18. Yes, said Paul, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and will rejoice with you all.

For the same reason also, you also be glad and rejoice with me. The drink offering that Paul refers to was one of the Old Testament offerings that is a little bit obscure. We find several references to it. It was the act of pouring out wine upon the altar and evidently pouring it out on top of the animal sacrifice that had been offered. And when it was employed, it seems to have been sort of a crowning touch, a second offering, a lesser offering, but a completion of the major offering that has just been offered. Here's what Mottier, J.A. Mottier, I think that A stands for Alec.

Here's what Mottier said. He said the drink offering is the accompaniment of a larger sacrifice, the small thing that brought a major offering to completeness. And what Paul is envisioning here is that the Philippians, by their life of faith and obedience, are the main offering. And Paul sees himself as the completing act, the drink offering that's poured out on the main offering. In other words, he's not being egotistical.

In fact, it's actually the other way around. He's putting himself in a minor role. He says, if you are faithful, if you serve the Lord sacrificially, then your life, your whole life becomes a living sacrifice unto God. And my sacrifices, which are great, as we know, reading the life of the apostle Paul, but Paul just says, oh, that's little stuff.

I'm glad I could have a part. That's the drink offering poured out upon the major offering of your life. But he says, I will rejoice if I can have some little part in your being a true sacrifice pleasing unto God.

And I'm sure you will rejoice in the part that I played. And so he puts the two elements together, the major sacrifice of the Philippians' Christian lives and the minor addition of the pouring out of his life and labors for the Lord. And he says, both of those will fill all of us with great joy. That's the way we obey him, with great joy. So that's how we should obey. But now we have to consider why we should obey. That brings us back to verse 15. We skipped over that.

Now we come back to it. Verse 14 says, do all things without complaining and disputing. Verse 15, that, in order that, or because, or so that.

You may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Why should we obey? Three reasons. Number one, because of our position. Number two, because of our testimony.

And number three, because of our assignment. First of all, because of our position. Why should we obey?

Because we have been made children of God. Let that sink in. That's not a little deal. That is huge.

That's the biggest, biggest deal that's possible. I think in some ways it takes a comprehension of the doctrines of grace for the magnitude of this privilege to really sink in. If it's just such a trivial thing, you know, anybody can just decide to become a child of God whenever they want to.

Big deal. It doesn't really take on the same importance as it does when you realize, I am blind. I am spiritually dead. Unless God does something first, I'm doomed.

Unless God comes to me and creates life and gives me repentance and faith, then there's no hope for me. But of course, we don't even understand the destruction that we're headed to without the Spirit of God teaching us these things. But when God has done that for us and made us His children, that should fill our hearts with unending gratitude that will never diminish in any way. We are so incredibly grateful for this privilege. How can we do anything but serve Him with all of our hearts, with all of our energies, with all of our lives? Why should we obey?

Because of our position as children of God, our unending gratitude for such a privilege. The earnest desire that we have to uphold the family reputation. I don't know how many of you lived in homes where sometimes your father or mother said to you, now as you go to wherever you're going now, don't forget you are a Nelson. Don't you let down the family name.

Don't you hurt our reputation. You are a Johnson. You are a Nelson. You are expected to uphold the honor of our name.

Well, if that's true in an earthly sphere, and it is to some extent, then just imagine how much greater that is in this realm. You are a child of God, a child of God. Don't you understand the responsibility to uphold the family honor, to exalt the family name?

You represent that. That's your position. That's why you ought to obey.

Why else? Number two, because of our testimony, and Paul goes through some things here, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God, without fault. Blameless means above reproach.

This has the idea of what others think about you, what others say of you. Now, people are sinful and nasty, and they may say things that aren't even true or warranted. But as a general rule, when your name comes up in a conversation among unsaved people, what we hope and very often should hear them say is something like, Well, that person pays their debts. That person is honest. You can believe that person. Their word is good. When they say something, it's true. And don't you understand how rare that is in this world and what a powerful testimony that is for Christ? Blameless.

Not. What a hypocrite they are. They call themselves a Christian, and they owe everybody all over town.

They don't pay their debts. What a hypocrite they are. They call themselves a Christian, and they're shacking up with somebody on the side. What a hypocrite they are.

They call themselves a Christian, and they get drunk on weekends. See, that's full of blame, public blame. Now, we are to be blameless.

This is why we should obey, because of our testimony. Blameless, harmless. Harmless has the idea of a clear conscience.

Literally, it means unmixed with foreign matter. And I thought about that one, and I have to recognize that I don't know that I have done anything without any mixture of sin. I don't think I have, and I don't think you have either. I don't think anybody has.

If you think you have, you really don't understand your nature. But what we pray is that God will show us our sin and not only forgive us for it, but cleanse us of it, remove it from us, and give us the ability to evermore do everything we do for nothing except His honor and glory. No selfish motive, no prideful desire, no desire for applause, but simply to do it for the honor and glory of Christ, to have a clear conscience, because that's the only reason that we are obeying and serving Him.

That's what we need to have a good testimony. So, because of our position as children of God, number two, because of our testimony before the world, and number three, because of our assignment. What's our assignment? Our assignment is to be lights in the world. That you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. That's our assignment. We could break it down.

What's our assignment as Christians? It is number one, to live in a wicked world. That bothers us.

It really does. Sometimes we try to escape that. I don't like living in this wicked world. I'm going to build a fort and wall the world out, wall myself and my family in so that I don't have to live in a wicked world.

That's not your assignment, friend. Your assignment is to live in a wicked world. That's where God placed us.

Read Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17 of His disciples. He said they are not of this world, but they are in the world, in it but not of it. We are in it. We live in a wicked world in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

How true that is. A crooked world, dishonest and untruthful. We can't keep up with all the lies. The lies are spinning so fast. It almost makes you think that maybe the devil is behind this, the father of lies.

Yes, indeed he is. And he can spin a thousand lies while we're grappling with one, trying to straighten it out. He can spin 10,000 lies while we're trying to bring truth to bear on one.

Wow, what a discouraging proposition. We live in a dishonest, crooked world. We live in a perverse world, a perverted world, which has everything backwards. The world hates what's good and loves what's evil. The world labels good evil and evil good.

Now we're seeing that more and more, aren't we? Abortion is good because it allows me, a woman, I'm not getting into transgender things here now. It allows a woman to control her own body. But yoo-hoo, that baby in your womb is not your body. That's a different body. That's a separate body.

That's another body. Let's bring truth to bear. But it's hard to do it in a crooked and perverse world where truth is turned upside down.

Lies are applauded as truth and truth is denigrated as lies. And that's the world we live in, and that's the world the Bible tells us to expect it to be like, and that's the world that God has assigned us to live in. But I don't want to. Yes, but that's where God has placed us, so. Quit grumbling and complaining about your assignment, God to show you how to fulfill your assignment in the kind of world that He has placed you in, a world that's going to stay this way until Jesus comes. So our assignment is to live in a wicked world. Our assignment is to remain faithful in a wicked world. Blameless, harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. That's a big assignment. Our assignment is to bear an effective testimony in a wicked world, to shine as lights in this world.

That's not new information. Didn't Jesus say the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount? Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

The city which is set on a hill cannot be hid. Men don't light a candle and put it under a bushel. You don't hide it. You let it shine.

That's your assignment. To bear an effective testimony in a wicked world, to shine as lights. You know how we best shine as lights? By being lights.

Have you ever thought about it? If a light is a light, it's doing what it was designed to do. It's shining.

Think that one through. You're in darkness. You've got a flashlight. You turn it on.

Immediately you have light. And what's it doing? Exactly what it was designed to do. It's doing what it's supposed to do because it's being what it is.

It's being what it's supposed to be. This may take a little bit of the weight off our shoulders. Well, I've got to do this and this and this and this. I don't mean to disregard those things or not to think about them, but hey, Paul really simplifies things for us here. When he tells us to obey, he really boils it down to some very simple ideas. And one is just be what you are. Be the light that the new birth has made you to be.

Just shine. We bear an effective testimony in a wicked world by being what we are, which is distinctly different from a crooked and perverse world. They are dishonest. We are honest. They are immoral. We are moral. They are unkind. We are kind.

They are selfish and stingy and unhelpful and we are helpful. We really stand out in a world like this if we just be what we are as children of the living God, just taking what Jesus taught us to do and be and let that shine as lights in the world. We do this by living, not only speaking the gospel, and we need to speak it, but we need to live it too. To speak the gospel and not to live the gospel is to cause people to think that's a bunch of nonsense. You're a hypocrite.

You don't even believe what you say. To try to live the gospel without speaking the gospel fails to tell people why you are the way you are. You must be one of those Jehovah's Witnesses. You live so strictly.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Here's the gospel. Let me tell you who I am as a Christian and why I live this way.

It takes both, but we've got to shine, don't we? And this is how we influence the world for Christ. Now let me draw a few closing applications that pertain to homes and families and children.

Lessons for homes. Number one, make God's Word central in your home. We need to demonstrate to our children and others that we value the truth of God's Word above everything else.

How do you do that? By daily involvement with Scripture. I highly recommend that you have what we call family worship, family devotions. Well, how's the right way to do that? Well, I'll give you some ways that we have done it if you want to know.

But frankly, I don't know there's any prescribed way or any right way. Just honor God's Word on a daily basis in your home. Get God's Word before your family, before your children to demonstrate the value you place upon it, how important that is.

That'll do it. There's a thousand different ways that you can do it, but you have to get God's Word in a prominent place. Daily involvement with Scriptures.

How do you do that? By making church a priority. A church where God's Word is central. It's not just enough to go to church. Some people like to go to church to be entertained, and there are plenty of churches that will do that, but won't teach you anything from God's Word. But if you value God's Word, you're going to go to a church, you're going to choose a church and value a church where God's Word is central.

So make God's Word central. Number two, reject wrong thinking. There's a lot of wrong thinking, erroneous philosophies all around us. You have to think those things through and cling to the truth and reject what's false.

Ideas like, our children come into this world innocent until they're corrupted by others. Wrong! That's not what the Bible says. That's what a lot of people think.

Wrong! Our children come into this world as sinners, and they need regenerating grace. That's the truth. That's a whole different philosophy, a whole different perspective. You've got to reject the error, cling to the truth. Or how about the error that I've seen many hold onto that basically says, well, other people are responsible for my lack of success with my children. It's their failures. Nope, avoid the blame game.

Number one, you've got to honestly acknowledge that you as a parent are the greatest influence in your child's life. Yes, others have an influence, but folks, you didn't raise them perfectly, and then somebody else came along and ruined them. It didn't happen that way. You'd like to think so, but you maybe ought to be looking more carefully at your own life and activities.

But here's the point. None of our children, no matter how they're reared, turn out as Christians unless God sovereignly saves them. How many children have grown up in good Christian homes and have gone out into the world in waywardness now? As long as they're living, there's still hope, and we're still praying.

Yes, daily praying that the Lord will save them and bring them back. But we're so oriented toward if I do this, then I get this result. If I do that, I get that result. If I get a bad result, then somebody did something wrong. Probably wasn't me, but probably somebody else who influenced them.

No, no, no, no. We all need God's grace daily. When I was younger, my children were young, people would come to me from time to time and say, when are you going to give us some sermons on how to rear children? And I'd say, when my children are reared. I've seen too many pastors who preached on how to rear godly children, and all their children went out into the world and disgraced the name of Christ. So when my children are reared, we see how they turn out. Then maybe we'll talk about some messages on how to rear children.

Well, now that my children are all reared and are all adults and are all walking with the Lord, and God has been so gracious, I still don't feel like giving you instructions. I'm not responsible for that. I did the best I could, and my wife did better than I did. But we both failed. It isn't because of the great job we did. It's because of the great grace of a great God, a gracious God. So cast yourself daily upon a gracious, powerful, forgiving God. There is no formula for success.

Buddy will come along with a new book, and pretty soon he's got a whole following. Hey, let's do it the way this guy says to do it. Boy, that really sounds great. Everybody does it that way. And that isn't working any better than the other ways. Get God's word before them daily. Pray for them daily. Have them in church. Honor God's word. Cut out the complaining and griping and grumbling and criticizing. That will undermine an awful lot of the truth you're trying to teach.

And cast yourself daily upon the grace of God. And my last application is don't expect others to do your job as parents. A good church will help you a lot, and it's indispensable, but a church can't replace parents. It wasn't intended to. A Christian school can greatly help you, but it cannot replace your role as parents.

It's not expected to. Homeschooling can be a powerful influence if it's done well, and sometimes it's not, sadly. But that cannot replace the grace of God. What do you need? You need the grace of God to help you be the parents. God intends for you to be. And trust him. And I will say one final thing in all of this.

Be encouraged. God doesn't require perfection of parents. There is no such thing in a fallen world. What God requires is humility, repentance, daily dependence upon him. Can you offer that to him? Humility, repentance, daily dependence upon him. And see what he will do. Shall we pray? Father, teach us your ways. Show us your paths. For Jesus' sake, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-22 05:34:22 / 2023-04-22 05:50:18 / 16

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