Presentation on theme: "House keeping Contact info: can we have phone #s and email for everyone? – There is a clipboard going around. Please fill in your info! Bread: if anyone."— Presentation transcript:
House keeping Contact info: can we have phone #s and email for everyone? – There is a clipboard going around. Please fill in your info! Bread: if anyone wants bread, please communicate. I get it every Tuesday. It is here by 7am, and all day the door is open. Books and tapes are available to borrow. Just sign the clip board
Some of us have been discussing creating opportunities for fellowship, discipleship, mentoring, training, and other things good that can come out of doing things together. Many have skills. Many have needs. Additionally, many have children who would benefit from being pressed against the confirming backdrop of likeminded families, of learning to follow directions under other adults, and learning to work together, serving and helping others. Some of the ideas we have had; – Building/construction. Barn, shed, sheetrock/paint, treehouse? – Gardening – Fall canning and food other storage (drying, blanch/freezing) – Music: choir and band, skits, plays, musicals – Crafts; knitting, crochet, sewing, – 3rd Thursday; music, skits, bake sale, booklets – Also; Cummington fair, camping, and NCIFC fall conference
Additionally; I am considering to teach a couple bible study classes starting sometime in the fall sometime – A Men's study, the book by Mike Pearl – “The Life” by Bill Gilam Matt and John are going to go through a $ book by Ramsey
The Church Another thot on what it means to BE the body of Christ!
The Family of God at work Eph 4:11-16 11 And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers. 12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), 13 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [ [b] full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.b 14 So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of [c] unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.c 15 Rather, let our lives lovingly [d] express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).d 16 For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.
14 So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of [c] unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.c What are children like? – Tossed to and fro What was God’s answer? – Gifts of men to teach/perfect – Perfected saints to minister – Being hid in and knitted into the body 15 Rather, let our lives lovingly [d] express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).d What is the result? – lovingly expressing truth in all things – Growing up into Christ in everything Again, if we do not present ourselves and play our part relationally, we will neither see nor experience the perfection of God We wont ever grow up as Christians
Our study today 1.A brief recap of the gospel 2.What does all this have to do with Child training?
So here we are now… Born of water, somehow alive, but still… Spiritual stillborns… Our sin riddled bodies dying and headed for the grave, Our soul passing through, on the way to forever, IN HELL Thanks Adam!
3 deaths Adams work ------------- Our consequence Spiritual death soul separated from God Are dead Now born spiritually dead Physical death Soul (and spirit) separate from body Will die Later physically dying Eternal death Soul dies, forever Be dead Forever but not if you have the gift of eternal life
Can we ourselves fix our problem? Humanists think so; – Well, people are basically good you know (just watch the news) – Follow your heart and do unto others (actually, that’s a contradiction) – Anyway, there’s always Karma? (if your good, everyone else will be too) Well, how about if we had more progressives in power, then maybe this utopian dream would be a reality…? Actually, real change outside only comes from a real inside change There is only a short season when outside controls can really mold the heart, then after that, folks’l still need to get a new one…
Can we fix our “death” problem? Apparently not: No matter what the outside controls or the apparent behavioral results are, sin is still in the flesh. We are less than perfect, and we will still die That’s why we need to be … “saved by grace, not of works. It’s a GIFT of God that none may boast”
Gods answer is… Jesus! Salvation in Christ Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. This is the “gospel” good news Luke 2:10-11 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
What do we need to be saved from? Wrath – because of… Sin – provoked and exploited by… Satan – as long as… Self - on the throne - And there’s only one way to get “self” off the throne Self must die
The bible says that no one seeks God on their own… but if you are already looking for him, “seek Him with all your heart” and surely you will find him. Duet 4:29, Jer 29:13 So, are you… really miserably guilt ridden and convicted of your inherent sinfulness, the coming wrath of God, and your pointless vain life? … Were you ever? Do you now, or have you ever… really hated all your life and determined to trade in everything that weighed on you; hopes, dreams, fears, resentments… Were you ever ready to trade them in for Jesus, and for His purpose instead of your own? Did you ever?
And now, the rest of the story! All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God Rom 3:23 The wages of sin is death – BUT the gift of God is eternal life Rom 6:23 … believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, (His nature and work) and thou shalt be saved, and thy house Acts 16:31 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: jn 1:12 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:8-9
So then… Salvation is a sovereign work of God in Christ. We would not even desire it if He had not chosen (elected) us. Our part then is to seek Him with ALL our heart, find Him, believe on His name (and His work) as we turn from sin – from living hopelessly in our own ways, turning to Him and His will; something He will reveal and work into us from then until “that day!” He saves us. He sanctifies us. He keeps us!
Yes. Really! My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one. Jn 10:27-30 So, if you have ever really been convicted of your sinfulness, sought for God and found Him, and hating your own life and all the sin and vanity in it - not just the consequences… turned wholly to Him… Then welcome to the family of God! And if you have really tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and since then, it has only gotten better… …Never mind if it is it even possible to loose yourself and go back, Why would you? It doesn’t even make sense!
Four things are certain 1.Adam / Eve became spiritually dead to God 1. and separated from His intimate and personal presence 2.I believe they were also spiritually dead to “reality” as well… 2.They lost the eternal aspect of their lives 1.Both in the time-constrained physical realm… They eventually died. 2.And also for their “eternal” future. They did not have eternal life. 3.This, “death by sin” sentence was passed on – (Rom 5:12-14) inherited by all men. All are born lost and condemned. 1.All men need a savior. Christ is the only one!
There are only 2 Possible Human Identities You are either, A: Born once of water – natural man A: Sin nature - in the flesh Or… B: Born again of the Spirit – spiritual man B: New creature – in Christ
Our nature after salvation Christians have a “new” divine nature – They partake of it through “FW truth reckoning” Christians cannot willfully continue in the same sin, against their nature – they can “fall” in to it… but they will get up 70x7
“Saved” Christians have had A change of nature They are no longer, children of wrath “By nature” But are … Partakers of “the divine nature” We are spiritual – connected to God!
What Christians do still have, however, is sin in the flesh Rom 7:17,20, 1 st jn 1:8 Yes. It’s still our problem, but not our identity. Not our nature, and it wont continually be our behavior either! And now there is a war – in the mind between sin speaking through the lusts of the flesh, and the quickened spirit speaking through God’s word Rom 7:21-23, 1 st Peter 2:11 We are told to choose to walk after the spirit, And NOT “after the flesh…” (not after the sin in it…)
A summary of the good news gospel God created Adam and Eve innocent, but with a capacity to sin They choose to sin, and brought sin and death to all mankind All people are now born with sin in them, and all people sin. The wages of sin is death Consequently, all men are born sinful, condemned, and headed for hell, and there is nothing they can do to save themselves We must be born of the spirit. We must believe and repent. We must be “saved by grace” from wrath, sin, Satan, and self
What's next? I started this series out of the middle of teaching on child training because when I got to, “the nature of a child,” I realized that many do not seem to fully understand what we are really dealing with.. Sin natures in the flesh! Once we establish the problem of ALL children being born as ONLY sin natures in the flesh, and establish that the ultimate answer is really found in being reconciled back to God thought Christ (read: salvation), we can go back and finish “child training” Here is what is left with regard to our study on salvation and being “in Christ” – Walk ye therefore – how shall we then live (walk) – The war within - sanctification – Why are we saved now but still left to struggle? What is Gods purpose for us here and now – A few examples in the bible of this “finished work” principle being worked out – Rom 6-8 verse by verse – And then, with that all as a backdrop, knowing what we are dealing with and where we are aiming… Child training part 2; the nature of a child (and its relevance to the stages of training)
So, while we are here, let’s take a moment to reestablish the subject of child-training Is it true that any training outside of nurturing a saint is just behavior modification? Should we just concentrate on the gospel, knowing that outside of salvation and spirit-led sanctification, good behavior is just religious works? Or maybe preaching at our kids doesn’t matter because our kids are naturally going to be Christians, since they are growing up in a good Christian home and going to church already? Is it true that as long as our children get saved, everything else in their lives will line up beautifully as they fall in love with God and follow Him willingly, but on the other hand, if we make them act Christian when they aren't, they will only become religious or even resentful? Or should we concentrate on the training and leave the gospel to the church and hope our kids get saved since we cant really make them choose to trust Christ anyway? So is it Behavior training, gospel 4 salvation, both, or the elect are already “in the bag”?
Christian Children? Most Christians seem to assume that their children are or will be Christians simply because… – They are raised in a Christian home, – Attend a Christian church, and maybe the youth group too, – Went to a Christian school, or perhaps were even homeschooled. – Besides, they are well behaved… and speak the Christianeese fluently – And of course, they aren’t like other kids. Well, ours aren’t anyway… – Uh, and because they said they prayed with the councilor at camp… Hey, If they look, act, and talk “Christian” then they must be Christians!
On the other hand… Perhaps most of us here realize that you are only a Christian if you are born again and saved… – And that good behavior is possibly the evidence of that salvation, but certainly never the cause… Good Christian culture, and well behaved kids are not synonymous with salvation and sainthood
What's the difference? Still covered in the mud / Been washed in the blood Do some “good people” go to hell, and some “bad people” go to heaven? What is the relationship between behavior and salvation? What is the difference between “relatively morally good”, and “perfect” SINNERSSAINTS Good Christian culture Salvation External control Internal motivation well behaved kidsSainthood HELL!HEAVEN
What is the difference? There is a difference between; – an external force that molds behaviors (and develops character through training and discipline – or not, in the lack of it…) – and an internal force that evidences ones nature and determines their trajectory. (not necessarily a behavior issue – two possibilities/natures)) There is always an internal force that ultimately will prevail; (to what end?) – it is either sin in the flesh, (what is sin?) – or the Spirit of God through a new nature. It is this nature or identity that determines each ones ultimate destiny… … But if nature determines behavior, – Will the unsaved always be non-compliant and out of control… – Will the saved will always behave righteously?
If that were true, child training would be pointless and irrelevant And God would not have commanded parents to take it up… But He did!
What is the relationship between behavior and salvation? What part does behavior play in salvation? What part does salvation play in behavior? SINNERSSAINTS Can they be bad? Can they be good? Can they be good enough? Can they be bad? Can they be to bad? Can the continue being bad? Can they be good? Will they be good? Do they have to be good?
A new look at an old verse Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Is this a guarantee of salvation ?
A new look at an old verse Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Is this a guarantee ?
A new look at an old verse Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Is this new or old testament?
A new look at an old verse Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Does his involve a new nature?
A proposal… Gods design facilitates His purpose Gods purpose is inherent in His design There are actually 3 natures… 1) Sin nature in the flesh, 2) New creature in Christ 3) __________________ What is the 3 rd ?
Gardening 101: an illustration Does anyone here have, or have you ever had, a garden? – Ever do some weeding? – Did you notice that the weeds seem to thrive on despite your stomping, hacking, burning, and yanking at them? – And yet the plants you want to grow still struggle under you most diligent, tender, and watchful care. Arg! Remember, the earth was cursed too.. I have determined that if I can fully eradicate the presence of weeds, and then maintain that state for at least 3 seasons with out ever letting one bad thing come to fruition, (going to seed) then I essentially win. – my garden will be trained
So then, an automatic abundant harvest? Well, being weed free doesn’t guarantee the positive effect of growing “abundant fruit,” it just eliminates some of the potential obstacles and hindrances… Now that we have cleared a place, we still have to garden it; you know, prepare the soil, plant good seeds, water, fertilize... And water, mulch, wait.. And water again, … and wait some more… Oops! a few pests. Could you get me a fly swatter please, and pass the pruning snips, … oh no, another weed!
What, more weeds? Some times we let in, or even bring in, more weeds. Our crops seem to be growing fine, next thing you know, strange things start popping up; surprising words, attitudes, comments and quotes, copied behaviors. We start seeing things that are more than just a corruption of what we have already invested. These things are entirely foreign to our garden altogether. Just as we would shelter our garden from contamination by the world outside, so should we also guard our kids!
What about children having a sin nature? Yes, children do have a sin nature, in fact, it will quickly become evident that it could easily become the driving force in their development and eventual temperament without some diligent consistant intervention from you… that’s why we spent so long studying about an unsaved persons identity and nature… …Yes, all your kids were born heathens, just like you were! Children are also: selfish, ignorant, short-sighted, with limited capacity and attention spans, and they're amazingly foolish… uh, and did I mention selfish? (There are two primary motivations in babies; avoid pain - seek pleasure…)
However… Children are not “naturally” polluted! Corruption and pollution are not the same thing I.e.; God told the Israelites to throw out the false gods and idols, else they would end up being turned away from Him. They would be corrupted by the pollution of “the world” if they did not eliminate it from among themselves
So then, Fence off your garden and guard the gate! And if anyone says, “you’re sheltering your children” thank them for noticing, then ask them to step back… Way back !
Ok, we’ve cleared out a place, now what? Once you have overcome the weeds, you need to prepare the soil The sowers parable comes to mind here… Mat 13:3-8 4) Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6) And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7) And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8) But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
The type of soil a seed is planted in has much to do with what happens to it! Certainly in the past we have said much about the value of God’s ordained immediate context for children being godly parents in an orderly marriage And we have also applauded the confirming weight of a godly church fellowship that adds much to the equation… But the question now is about the soil of a child's heart Does your child have a desire AND capacity for God?
A child's heart, your garden to tend Is it tender and hopeful, turned to you with great expectation? Or is it so closed up that everything we throw at them ends up bouncing off to the wayside? Is it so full of rocks and other hard things; offences unresolved and in the way, that they are to self-centered and defensive to really receive anything without critical distrust overcoming it? Or perhaps there is a real legitimate interest, but also so many other tantalizing options (and unbridled lusts) that the excitement is choked out by the possibilities in some new thing to tickle their well cultivated flesh.
G o o d s oi l - b a d s o i L What soil you’re working determines what will or wont grow In my garden, I've been very mindful of the soil – I've taken out the rocks – maybe I’ll build a wall or make a path with them – I've added in compost to nourish, and mulch to keep it from drying up And then it was time to plant! p.s. on the back of the package it tells you how long it takes to produce mature fruit. Be careful to start on time, and garden diligently or the season may be over before there is anything good to harvest!
P.S. Let me say that again! On the back of the package it tells you how long it takes to produce mature fruit. Be careful to start on time, and garden diligently or the season may be over before there is anything good to harvest! 3 stages / 3 seasons ready or not, “set in their ways” comes
Planting your garden! The 1 st 3 rules are easy to remember because they are so similar.. 1.Use good seeds (good values) 2.Always use good seeds (good attitudes) 3.Only use good seeds (good examples) (This is what you are molding them with, not with what you tell them or make them do) The 4 th rule is closely related 4. Never use bad seeds (p/f, e/b, b/q)
Actually, there is a fifth rule… If you ever sow a bad seed, do whatever you must to dig it back out… Before it takes root and then multiplies Confess, repent. Get up and move on.
So then… Know your seeds and your soil (Proverbs 22:6) Make sure your seeds are “organic,” (dp) healthy (attitude), and pure (motive) Some seeds need to be sown in-mass. They don’t sprout easily. (affirming the good) Others must be spaced far enough apart. (exhortation) Not enough space and they overwhelm the gardens capacity and don’t produce anything at all. Some plants need more sun, some are ok with shade, some need extra water and attention, some are hardy on their own. You cannot be a good gardener if you aren’t willing to spend the time on your knees and willing to get your hands dirty. You have to be deeply, consistently, and intimately sensitive and involved to get good results!
Well, it’s planted… Ya, we did it ! Now we can come back in the fall to a huge wonderful harvest… right?
We all know that that wont work… Why would it be any different with children? Plants aren't foolish and don’t have sin bound up in their roots… Kids on the other hand… We live in a cursed world Gen 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. What was Adams job anyway? – Take care of the garden (which one?) How was his judgment related to his job – Cursed (which one?) This is both a warning, and a clue on appropriate consequences for children… (Abuse it – loose it)
Ok then, what do we have to do? Don’t leave your garden vulnerable and unattended. You cant afford to have the wrong impression made and who knows what might present itself as more impressive than what you provided! (some little snake might come by with a shiny apple…) Weeds blow over, bugs fly and crawl in, then drought comes and what's left dries up and blows away, if it isn’t dragged off first! No, we cant leave it now, and risk its ruin. We must continue to guard and nurture it, monitoring its needs and making the investment and adjustments as needed.
So then, now that we are well on our way to a bountiful harvest, is there anything else that we should know? One of the “new” trends in gardening is growing, “Organic.” Even newer is, “permaculture.” Ever wonder why it takes us so long to come back to doing things in harmony with Gods design – usually after much pain and loss? Good health comes from understanding and working with Gods design, instead of (pragmatically) against it!
So, there are a few more things to know… In my garden I practice “companion planting” (naturally) – I plant good companion plants beside my main crops that will ward off pests and disease. – I plant good companion flowers that attract helpful insects (predators that hunt bad guy bugs) – I also plant good companions that synergistically help my main crops produce more. I did the same with my children (protect. Preserve, enhance) – Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise [men] shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed
The need for like-minded fellowship! I remember when my family was young what a burden and trial it was trying to find good things that reflected the beauty, goodness, and values of the Christian faith. 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV) an eternal value system and perspective only comes from God in salvation 15 Love not the world (system), neither the things (icons) that are in the world. If any man love the world (revealing an old nature), the love of the Father is not in him (revealing a new nature). 16 For all that is in the world (its values revealed, provokes …), the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, (this value system) is not of the Father (via spirit/word), but is of the world (and that “other spirit”). 17 And the world passeth away (non-eternal values-things/no more sin in flesh), and the lust thereof: (lead to death/no sin-no lust) but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. The key to weather something would be a good companion is weather it reflect and conforms to the will of God *Ever notice how quick Christians are to spend time and money to acquire the very things Christ died to set us free from? We just rebrand it. *Satan is the father of lies, but his great lie is not that stuff, junk, things, people cant make you happy (they can) the (hidden) lie is that happiness is what our heart wants and what we need in order to be at peace
Three natures? Yup! There’s 3 1) Sin nature in the flesh… 2) New creature in Christ And the 3 rd is… 3) The nature of character trained or provoked – prov 22:6 a season This is the nature that God gives children to facilitate His purpose of them being cultivated in desire and capacity to know, love, and follow Him. We either nurture it, or provoke it. Eph 6:4 And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Is this a conditional command? Eph 6:4 And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Can this be done successfully without the child being saved? Should this even be attempted before the child is saved, Should this be done at all if the child is not saved?
Companion planting? What good things can we provide to help our crop? – to confirm and reinforce principles – To ward off outside pests, parasites, and pollutants – To enhance and strengthen internal maturity and fruit bearing So about this 3 rd nature, I was always striving to surround my family with things that reflected and confirmed the nature I was trying to cultivate; self-control with respect and honor of absolutes and accountability, to and under authority, in the name of God
What good companions are there? Well, I hope it’s obvious to us all now that the best thing we can give our children is godly parents and a well ordered home… This is the only context that God first brings them into. And it is only to parents, under the fathers lead, that the commands to “train up, nurture, admonish, and to disciple, and shelter” are given. This is not accidental nor incidental, but consistent with the purpose of God that is inherent in His design of man, woman, children, and family …
So what good companions are there? Things: (to name just a few) Books, of course – moral stories that applaud Godly order and character, not dysfunction, vanity, ego, and selfish exploits. Toys, - Well it’s one thing to screen out all the worldly value fashioned Barbie and ugly destructive monster toys, but what should kids play with instead? I choose beautiful things, and things that required (and developed) imagination, creativity, and an inventive spirit. Things that provided them an opportunity to express and work out the principles I was trying to demonstrate and teach. Role playing and pretending are VERY important in forming understanding, values, worldview, and character. What role models are you providing/allowing, and what values do they reflect? Work? – Ah yes, training for life in relationship with God and everyone else (my definition for “growing up” is having put aside selfish vain pursuits and pleasures and having taking on instead the discipline and habit of living sacrificially for others.) Note: being happy having fun serving self in flesh is not the same thing as having a self-esteem based on a sense of fulfilment and purpose cultivated with example, experience, and appropriate affirmation when walking with parents who are living sacrificially for others, and ultimately, for God. 1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
What other companions are there? Other people: The church – Like-minded fellowship was hard to find Heb 10:24 -25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Eph 4:11-16 The function of the body is for it to edify itself unto Christ-like maturity Fellowship with, and accountability to, a particular body of like minded believers is a necessary element for the health of your garden
What other companions are there? Other people: Christian friends – Likeminded families were always far and few Prov 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Notice that I did not say, “other kids their age” or “sports and programs” for them to join so they can have fun with kids their own age and gender. Ever stop and notice how unnatural that is? Do kids really need to be around their age-group peers and to have their own friends, and to be “nurtured” in a mindset of having friends to make them happy, instead of learning live dutifully for God, family, and church, and to be a friend to all in need, regardless?
Good or bad companions? Bad (childish) company: Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits Peer pressure and gangs come to mind. Where do we see peer pressure most? (schools, youth groups, camps; the “world and its things – fashions, toys-games, media) Why do kids join gangs? (security and significance. Its as bad a substitute for family as being “cool” is for real purpose) The wages of lust is always only more lust. It never satisfies, but only teases Fun is not fulfilling – happiness is not joy Good (adult) company; “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV). What brings our children to God? Why would a SON accept his FATHERS words… words of training and exhortation?
Peer centered, pleasure driven socialization? Sorry, Not biblical! – Not wise! - Not safe! Note: everyone gets socialized. The right question is by whom, and into what?
Well, there you have it. A good garden! 1.No weeds, or other pollution and contaminants (worldly idols) 2.You have prepared the soil (won the heart, reflecting God and order) 3.You've planted good seeds, and nurtured them along (truth in love, with; example, absolutes, and accountability pointing To God) 4.You’ve done it Gods way, without toxic pragmatic “short-cuts,” but by finding profitable companions to reinforce and protect your crops (in family and with the church) And now for the point… uh, the funny question…
Is your garden saved? Is there something spiritual about the goodness rendered through your diligence in laboriously honoring Gods design? Or is the good fruit you have the result of you working with nature, as God designed it? God’s design facilitates His purpose – His purpose is inherent in His design! (ever hear of logistical grace?)
So back to our original statement: Most parents seem to think that their children are, or will automatically become Christians… Yes, there is a validity to the force of a well ordered Christian home and to an upbringing with godly parents and a godly church – these are right and good things that parents are commanded to pursue and implement, for indeed, they will help shape the nature and temperament of a child… Prov 22:6 …but in the end, good “Christian” behavior is not our goal (not our hope) (though it is indeed a help towards that end) A Christian culture is not the same thing as a Christian nature
So what exactly are we trying to grow? All people need to be delivered from the internal force of sin that makes us all children of wrath. No matter how relatively “Christian” and moral our (childrens) lifestyle may end up being, without salvation, its just filthy “rags”. “That same power” of God that raised Christ from the dead is the only power that can deliver us from sin and due wrath and present us “perfect” before God. Christ alone is able to be our savior! (not good training and good behavior) So then what is a parents responsibility and goal?
Cultivate a desire and a capacity for God! We are not the life and power of God, though it should fill us and flow through us into our families (and beyond). We are not the reality of God and His kingdom, though in our persons and marriages we are to reveal His nature and these absolutes. And yet… …We are created and commanded to represent Him, and to be equally careful not to misrepresent Him. Even though there is a “sin nature” within all men born, all of Gods creation is not entirely void of order, nor of His beauty and power. Even as He appeals to us (saved parents beholding the glory of His face) we also must turn our hearts towards our children and appeal to them, and to the natural inherency of Gods plan fixed into the design of their childish impressionable natures, and so we draw them into alignment and conformity with His created design and order, carefully weeding, cultivating, nurturing, and guarding them as they grow. This we must do until they can see Him beyond us, and choose Him for themselves. We are to work the fields, but He makes things grow.
The gospel! The revelation of all that God is… perfection, love, holiness and purity …in Christ! Savior, redeemer! And all that Christ is in us... our righteousness life, hope, purpose, fulfilment …and all that we are and will be in Him complete, free, iron, light, salt The reality of all this being revealed through us as gender-distinct parents with (new) natures; in our marriages, and in the purposeful life we live at home, in and among the church, and before the watching world – this is to be the context, the mold, the embrace that creates a desire (won heart w/the will’s allegiance) and a capacity (freedom from the tyranny of sins lusts through selfishness fulfilled in unbridled flesh) For God. Taste and se that the Lord is good!
So then… This is what the gospel has to do with child training! Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty And may the Lord bless our efforts and His harvest