Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. The most important task we have, and I guess I don't use that phrase most important lightly.
I know exactly what I'm saying. The most important task we have is to teach our kids the gospel. When Moses was talking to the nation of Israel after giving them the law, he says this, Deuteronomy 6, you shall teach these things diligently to your children. Welcome back to Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Every parent knows that the old saying is true. Parenting is the hardest job you'll ever love. Can I get an amen from the back? We all want to be good parents and to do right by our kids, but they don't exactly come with a manual, do they?
So how do we know what to do and what to prioritize? That's our subject today as Pastor J.D. kicks off a new teaching series called God and the Rest of the Week. We're learning how to honor God in the little aspects of our everyday lives.
And don't forget, you can reach out to us at jdegreer.com or give us a call at 866-335-5220 anytime. But for now, let's grab our Bibles and open our hearts to what God has in store for us today. Here's Pastor J.D. We are beginning a new series today called God and the Rest of the Week. The big idea behind this series is that we tend to ghetto God into a couple of hours on the weekend, but God, you see, doesn't want to rule a couple of hours on the weekend while we sit in church. God wants to be the ruler of every single dimension of our lives. The Apostle Paul would say it like this, and even when we eat and drink, we should do that to the glory of God. Abraham Kuyper, who was the Dutch prime minister in the 1920s, used to famously say that there's not one square inch of the entire cosmos over which Jesus does not emphatically declare mine. So we want to ask the question of what does it mean for Jesus to be Lord of the rest of our week? Surely it's not coincidental that most of Jesus' parables that he told had a workplace context. He didn't tell a lot of stories about people in church.
He told stories about people throughout the life because that's where the lordship of Jesus is most clearly seen. So we're going to take a look at, a glimpse, at three subjects that consume us outside of church. Family is one of those. Work is a second one. And then time management because we want to better understand how Jesus can be Lord of the rest of our week.
Our first message is on leading a gospel-centered family. Now, let me deal with an objection that just popped into about 50% of your minds. I'm in high school. I don't have kids yet.
My kids are out of the house already. I'm single. It doesn't look like I'm going to have kids anytime soon.
So I'll just assume there's nothing in this for me. Well, let me give you three things real quick just to consider. One, you might have a family in the future.
And it's really never too early to get started in thinking and preparing to be able to lead in this area. So that's one reason. Secondly, all of you came out of a family, right? So today you might, you know, gain a better understanding of why you're so screwed up, right?
And so maybe that'll help explain that a little bit. But most importantly, thirdly, raising up the next generation is not just an assignment that God gave to parents. What I'm going to show you today is that God gave it to the entire Christian community. I've gone over this before, but if you are a follower of Jesus, you are a part of two families. One is a biological family. Then there is your eternal family. And these are people with whom you share a common salvation.
You share the blood of Jesus and the indwelling spirit of God. This is your eternal family. The eternal family in Scripture is much more important than the biological family. I'm not taking away from the biological family. I'm just saying that in many ways biological families were there to teach us about the eternal family. And so the church is to have spiritual children, and spiritual children are the responsibility of the entire Christian community, not just biological parents. So when it talks about us having godly offspring, it's just not talking about a husband or wife. It's talking about the church that is raising up the next generation. Psalm 127, if you have a Bible, you see the little postscript at the top of Psalm 127? You see that in your Bible? It should say a psalm of Solomon, a psalm of a song of assents. Normally we just skip that.
We're going to come back to it because it's actually kind of important. Psalm 127, here's how the psalm reads. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. By the way, the word children in Hebrew is very similar to the word for builder in verse one. So what you're seeing is a direct correlation between the builders of the city and the children that God is giving to the nation. Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. All right, look first at the first phrase of verse one. Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. In order for a house to endure, any house to endure, God has to be the one who builds it. So that leads me to our first principle.
Here we go. Number one, love is not enough. Love is not enough. Many parents have what I would call the Beatles philosophy of parenting. All you need is love.
Remember that song? All you need is love. The general idea is if you love people, if you love your kids, hey, everything's going to turn out just fine. That's definitely the accepted wisdom today, but the problem is I know parents who love their kids off the charts, but they are terrible parents and their kids end up reflecting that. Now I'm not downplaying love, of course. I'm just telling you there's more to it than that. Yes, you need the heart of God for your kids, but you also need the mind of God.
So unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. So I got just one question for you based off this insight. Have you honestly taken this seriously? Have you set about to learn God's ways in rearing a child or the next generation?
And man, if you give me just a minute, I want to talk to you specifically about this. Did you know that most, if not all, most of the passages in the Bible that talk explicitly about parenting, I would say every single one, but there might be one in there I forgot. They're all addressed to men.
Do you ever realize this? Ephesians 6 is a great example. He's talking to men. The whole book of Proverbs, which is the most extensive treatment of parenting, is written from a father to a son. They're all written to men. Of the top 10 books on parenting on Amazon.com right now, eight of them are written by women, however. And of the top five books on parenting on Amazon.com, every single one of them begins in the first sentence or two with a reference to mom. If the dad is even mentioned, he's always second. Now, I'm not taking away from the women who think and write about the subject.
That's awesome. I'm just saying, do you realize how different it is in our culture than it was in the Bible? In the Bible, you've got God addressing the man saying, this is you. This is your responsibility. How much study have you as a man done about the leading of your children? Men, our family is our first responsibility. It is our weightiest job. It is the first thing that we will give an account to God for. It is our most important mission field. Number two, our primary responsibility is to teach the next generation the gospel.
Our primary responsibility is to teach the next generation the gospel. Children, Solomon says, are a heritage. Some of your translations might say inheritance. A heritage or an inheritance from the Lord. Inheritance is a big word in Hebrew.
It was one of their favorite words because it pointed to the eternal kingdom that God was giving to them, the nation, the people of God. The children of this church, listen, are the first ones that we're going to win that will make up the eternal inheritance that God is giving to us because that's what the inheritance is. The inheritance is God's eternal kingdom, and the eternal kingdom consists of people. Children are the first ones that God has given us to reach.
Think about it. An inheritance is what you leave behind for future generations. Parents, the most important task you have is to teach your kids the gospel. Church, the most important task we have is to teach our kids the gospel. When Moses was talking to the nation, not just the parents, the nation of Israel, after giving them the law, he says this, Deuteronomy 6, you shall teach these things diligently to your children.
Again, not talking to parents, talking to everybody. Teach them to your children. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up, you will bind them as a sign on your hand. They shall be as frontlets before your eyes.
In other words, wear them like glasses. You will write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates. The gospel, you see, was to saturate your home. You see, Deuteronomy 6, when you lie down, when you walk in the way, on your doorpost, in other words, just as you do life. I will tell you, as a parent, very little of the teaching of the gospel for my children happens on schedule.
Sometimes I talk like it does, but I just need to make sure you understand, when I talk about my kids, us having devotions, do not get this image of us all sitting around in a little circle, my kids with notebooks out, saying, teach us, Father. Oh, that's a great point. Let me write that down.
Right? That's not what happens. I mean, 9% of the time, I'm getting one-word answers back, Jesus.
No matter what I add, Jesus, because they know that's always the answer. And then somebody inevitably passes gas during devotions. It's every single time.
I'm like, really? It just doesn't happen that way. I wish it happened that way, but it doesn't. Most of the teaching happens along the way. It's while we're throwing football together, or while we're cleaning out the garage, or while we're riding in the car. Because it is in the home that the gospel is best taught, which means that you've got to prioritize the relationships and the home. You've got to be very present there, because that's the only place that you're really going to be able to speak the gospel into those places. In fact, I'll tell you some of the best advice I got as a parent was from another pastor, older pastor, who said this. I've never forgotten this.
He said, let me tell you something you should never forget. He said, your kids, JD, don't need a pastor. They need a daddy. They need a daddy.
He said, because a pastor, his job is to teach family devotions, tell them what's wrong with their lives and how to fix it. He said, but a daddy just shows up at their games and is super excited about them. Their daddy's their biggest fan. Their daddy just goes through life with them.
See, I haven't forgotten that because I know that pastor is what I am to you, but daddy is what I am to them. That means I've got to prioritize developing that relationship. It means, fathers, that at the beginning of this year, you need to go ahead and mark off all the significant moments in your kid's life for the coming year and make sure that you have rearranged your work schedule around those things because you can find lots of people to replace you and work. Your kid gets one daddy. For me, that means already at my daughter's ages, I'm trying to date my daughters, which means I take them out and I just try to show them what it means to be loved, what it means to be treated. I want to show them those things. By the way, men, you cannot start that when they're 15 years old and all dressed, golf and all that kind of, because at that point it's weird if you start it. But I want them at 15 years old, be like, oh, my daddy and I have always done this. It's developing that relationship.
You're listening to Summit Life with JD Greer. We'll be right back with more teaching in just a moment. But first, are you one of those people who has to write everything down so that you don't forget? God knows that we cannot remember or keep his commands without being reminded of them frequently. This is the one reason he told us to renew our minds in the scriptures daily.
He already wrote down for us what we need to know. So to help you commit more of God's word to memory, we have a set of 52 scripture memory cards for you this month. Being able to recall God's truth, his promises, his wisdom in a moment of need could be the game-changing transformation you're looking for this year.
So why not give it a shot? God's word always accomplishes the task that it's been laid out for. This resource comes with your generous gift to the ministry right now. So give us a call at 866-335-5220, or check it out at jdgreer.com. Now let's get right back to today's teaching on Summit Life.
Here's Pastor JD. I've heard this before, that one of the things that as Americans we tend to think like is we want our kids to be experienced rich, meaning that we want them to experience everything. I mean this extracurricular and this sport and make sure they go to Disney World, make sure they go to the zoo and all this kind of stuff. But even if it means they're relationship poor, experienced rich, relationship poor, that's our version of how we get them to success. The Bible would switch that and it would say you can make them experience poor.
That's not really going to make that significant of a difference, but they need to be relationship rich because who they are is more important than what they do and who they are is determined by their relationship with you than it is by the things that they experience. So you've got to prioritize that relationship because that is the conduit for the gospel. The home is the best place where we're in the best place to apply the gospel. Perhaps more importantly, the home is where kids see the gospel lived out and learn to believe in its power. Listen to this, CJ Mahaney. Effective teaching involves explaining to our children what they are already observing in our lives by example.
Let me just let that sink in for a minute. That is deeply convicting for me because that means my kids will learn to believe the gospel less by how well I articulate it and more by how they see me treat Veronica. Do they see in my treatment of my wife unconditional love? Do they see the graciousness, the faithfulness, the forgiveness, and the gentleness I tell them that God has for them in the gospel?
You say, well, my spouse has left. Then you've got a prime opportunity to teach your kids the gospel because you've got a chance to say, this is what God's love is like. This is what forgiveness is like. And by the way, before you despair, because that is enough to make someone despair, part of this for me teaching in the gospel is learning to apologize often. Because you see the point is not me convincing them that I'm perfect because I'm not perfect and they're not perfect.
And if they think I'm perfect, then trying to emulate me is just going to crush them because they're never going to be able to live up to a standard that they've set by me that doesn't really exist anyway. So I've determined that more important than them learning to admire my righteousness is them learning to adore my savior. So I will apologize often trying to tell them, Daddy is a broken sinner. And Daddy, yes, I'm glad you look up to Daddy, but you need not to look up to Daddy as a hero.
You need to see that Daddy has a savior, and the savior loved him, and the savior loves you, and the savior is fixing Daddy, and the savior can rescue you too. So I apologize often. I want them to see weakness. I want them to see that I am broken. And that means sitting them down frequently and saying, I was a jerk to your mom last night. And you saw that to your mom last night.
And you saw it. And I don't follow that up with, but let me tell you three ways that she deserved that. Or let me tell you the three things she did to me that provoked you.
I don't do that, right? Because I need them to see that I have a savior, and that's the most important thing about me. And by the way, if your family is a mess, and I know that for many of you that's the case, let me give one word of encouragement to you. Almost to a one, almost to a one, the great families in the Bible were way screwed up. You ever done a study on the families in the Bible? Your family screwed up? Let that be your Bible study for the month of January, and you will be super encouraged and maybe a little disillusioned.
Listen to this. Favoritism, incest, betrayal, adultery, severe problems with the in-laws, frequent visitation to prostitutes, daughters getting a daddy drunk and sleeping with him, and we're not out of the first half of the book of Genesis yet. The father of our faith, Abraham, one time in order to curry favor with a government official tells the government official that his wife is his sister and that he can sleep with her so that he can win favor with this government official.
That's varsity, right? I mean, that's not like, ooh, you made a little mistake. That's like, you know, Jerry Springer level kind of stuff when you're going into that. Yet God in the midst, why did God choose those kind of families to write his story?
I don't know exactly. Here's one theory. I'm pretty confident in this one is that God is trying to show you that he doesn't bring the gospel out of perfect families. He brings it out of dysfunction, and he writes a more beautiful story through the dysfunction.
That's how he brings Jesus out. If God is writing the dysfunction in their stories, he's writing them in yours too. A lot of families have what I've heard called the stock photo family syndrome. You've got this image you've seen at Target of the family, you know, in the little photo, and you're like, oh, that's what a family looks like.
And the dad, you know, kid on his shoulders throwing football, and the mom's, you know, beautiful in the back, and she's got a little picnic. You're like, I just don't, our family doesn't look like that. That's just not the kind of families God usually chooses to work through.
God takes broken families, dysfunctional families, and he writes a more beautiful story. So the biggest question you got to ask is this, parents, are you teaching your kids the gospel? Are your kids going to know the gospel by the end of this year? Do they know it now?
Here's a question. What do you care most about them knowing? You know, do you care more right now about where your kids go to college or where they're going to spend eternity? And I know you would say, oh, clearly where they spend eternity. Yeah, that's what your mouth says, but what do your priorities say right now?
Because your mouth can talk all day long about what's important, but it's your priorities that show what's important. And if you prioritize where they get into college over the development of their relationship with God, it doesn't matter what your mouth says. Because what they learn to value is demonstrated by how you set your calendar, not by what your mouth says when you come to church.
Once it profits your kids, if they gain the whole world, they get into medical school, they go on baseball scholarship to college, and they lose their soul. Are you teaching your kids the gospel? Number three, children are to be raised in the larger community of faith. Children are to be raised in the larger community of faith. To whom is Psalm 127 written?
Obviously, the parents. In fact, Jewish practice was to read this after the birth of any child. They would have a little ceremony and read this psalm. But did you see at the beginning where I pointed out a psalm of Solomon, a psalm of a sense?
You know what that means? It means that the psalm was sung by pilgrims as they approached Jerusalem. Jerusalem was on top of a hill. And so as pilgrims would come yearly for their pilgrimage, when they would get to the bottom of the hill, it's a pretty long one, they would begin to sing together the psalms of a sin.
There's like five or six of them. And as they were going up the hill, they would sing through these, and it was, listen to this, the entire community that sang these songs. It wasn't just like, you know, that at that point they all stopped singing the psalms and like, okay, everybody drop out, just the parents a cappella on this verse, and you go into Psalm 127. No, they all sung Psalm 127.
Why? Because the next generation was the responsibility of all of them. The parenting passages in the Bible are written to communities, not just to parents. Deuteronomy 6, at no point did Moses say, okay, you know, got the law now, a little breakout seminar for the parents, parents listen up.
No, it's for the whole community. You see, God has two gardens in which he grows a child. Two gardens, they're essential, both of them, the home and the church. It takes more than just the unconditional love of a family, it takes a tribe to give identity. Number four, we must therefore prioritize relationships in the church.
We must therefore prioritize relationships in the church. Proverbs 13, 20, listen to this, he that walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed. I've heard it explained this way, listen, show me your friends and I'll show you your future. You want to know what you're going to look like in the future? Look at your friends based on Proverbs 13, 20. And let me make this really practical because I know you all nod your heads at that. You parents, listen, your kids, listen, will be a visitor somewhere and they'll find their community somewhere.
If your kids find their community at their school or on their athletic team and they are a visitor here, then you can look at their school and their athletic team and get a pretty good picture of what they're going to look like in five years. You say, but I bring them here and you preach to them every week and we think they get a lot out of your sermon. It doesn't say, he who listens to wise men will be wise.
It says, he who walks with wise men will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed. Listen, I know you might hear self-interest in this, but there is not a drop of it. I would prioritize the community of the people of God. And that is a matter of calendar.
That's not a matter of intention, it is a matter of calendar. You've got to choose what you really value in their lives. You've got to decide what success is. Is success as a parent, getting them into college, going on a basketball scholarship or a football scholarship, or is it becoming men and women who love Jesus and serve the mission?
Not that those things are at odds, but you're going to place value on one of them and you're going to place priority on that thing. And if I could say this as your pastor who loves you intensely, I can tell by many of your choices that you put much more value on your kids getting ahead with the world than you do them going deep with God. And believe me, if I can see that from a distance, your kids hear that loud and clear. You see, when they quit following God in college, that doesn't happen when they're a freshman, it happens when they're in sixth grade by the priorities you set for them, the community you choose for them. So don't complain when they're a freshman and they're walking away from God, if you prioritized everything but the kingdom of God during their middle school and high school years. What a great reminder of what the foundation of our homes should look like from pastor J.D.
Greer here on Summit Life. To listen again or to share this message with a friend, go to jdgreer.com. Today's message was the first in our new series called God and the Rest of the Week. As a way to help us all ensure God is first in our lives this year, we'd like to focus this month on the spiritual discipline of memorizing scripture. The truth is we need a weapon to keep us from falling prey to the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for people to destroy.
And guess what? The most valuable weapon that we can wield is the Bible itself. And that's why we have to keep putting it into our hearts so that when life cuts us, we bleed the word. This month we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards for you to use as a daily weapon. And if you want to carry God's promises in your heart and remember them in your time of need, our new Summit Life memory verse cards can help make it easier to memory scripture. We'll send you the scripture memory card set as an expression of thanks when you donate today to support this ministry. Ask for it when you give by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or you can give online at jdgreer.com. That's J-D-G-R-E-E-A-R.com. You also don't want to forget to follow Pastor JD on Facebook and Instagram for more updates and encouraging content.
I'm Molly Vidovitch. Be sure to listen again tomorrow as Pastor JD helps us reign in our focus by reminding us of our most important task as parents, one that outweighs everything else. See you Thursday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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