There is a commercial out right now show the joy on kids faces when they open their presents at Christmas time. The kids are getting exactly what they want and you can see it on their faces. It almost brings me to tears as I remember the joy in my own kids hearts as we would do whatever we had to get them just what they wanted.
There is nothing more exciting, hard, joyful, and heartbreaking than raising children.
Being a parent is not an easy task. As a matter of fact, I would say it is one of the harder tasks of life.
There is nothing else that will bring you more joy and produce the most pain. From birth to toddlers, to kids, to preteens, to teenagers, and young adults and even into adulthood. Each stage is full of joys and heartaches all at the same time.
The older I get the more I see the beauty of a child. Some of these little ones running around the church have the ability to be molded into whatever we want them to be.
The way they are treated, the way they are spoken to, the things that they are exposed to, the world they grow up in all has a barring on how these young lives are going to be shaped.
Some will be blessed and have good parents (not perfect but good). Parents that love their kids and keep them from harm, teach them to properly navigate life and relationships.
Others will be abused, abandoned, or rejected. Left to hide in their shame and guilt, trying to navigate life and figure it out on their own.
If your going to have kids you really should have a plan. What do you want them to be? What kind of values to do want them to have? What kind of example are you modeling for your children.
Kim and I were very specific on what kind of girls we wanted to raise. We had a dream for them and that dream would drive us and determine our course for them in the ways of education, exposure, and discipline.
We wanted to produce Jesus followers of faith that expand God’s kingdom.
“Produce Jesus followers of faith that expand God’s Kingdom.”
What a coincidence, that’s our mission statement here at Reliant: “Producing Jesus followers of faith that expand God’s Kingdom.”
You see, raising spiritual children is the same as raising physical children. As a spiritual parent you go through the same emotions of joy and heartache that you do in raising your own kids.
Being a spiritual parent takes a lot of responsiblity and work just like being a physical parent.
Today, we are going to see the struggles and joys of both types of parenting through the eyes of the Apostle Paul as he shares his joys and pains of raise spiritual children.
As Paul takes us through this journey we will see not only what it takes to raise spiritual children but these spiritual truths will can be applied to our everyday lives as parents as well.
Last week we discussed Paul’s passion of being a good steward of the Word of God.
We call this value here at Reliant:
“Bible Believers” The Bible is our final authority for all life and practice.
This was a major value in our home as the girls were growing up. Every night Kim would be teaching the girls memory verses before they went to bed.
Today we teach people to be good stewards of the mysteries of God.
The second core value we have at Reliant is:
7 Attributes of Biblical Parenting
7 Attributes of Biblical Parenting
“Disciple Makers.” We will make every effort to multiply our faith through evangelism and discipleship.
This is the value Paul will give to his spiritual children today.
5 Attributes of a Biblical Parent
5 Attributes of a Biblical Parent
1 Cor 4:
9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.
Biblical parenting requires humility.
True success as a biblical parent is only achieved when you care more about the growth of the child than your own comfort.
You will do anything, and become anything to teach your children properly.
Jesus was ridiculed his entire ministry and then was beaten and killed.
Paul was run out of town and stoned even though he was an educated man.
Sometimes we are “fools for Christ’s sake.” The world will not understand.
11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;
1 Cor 4:
2. Biblical parenting requires sacrifice.
Jesus is most clearly seen when you are willing to put it all on the line for others.
Someone has to give so that other can have.
Work is required so that others can prosper.
If necessary we do without for the sake of the kids.
Jesus was willing to suffer death so that we might live.
Paul was willing to suffer hardship so that the gospel could go forth
When we started Reliant we knew that there would be sacrifices. We knew that we would pay the price and go through the pain of birthing this place.
But we also knew God would bless and bring new people into the kingdom.
That new people would find the love and joy of Christ at our expense.
That we would be stretched because of new people coming into our little family.
And now we are starting to see results from our sacrifice.
I Cor 4:12
12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
3. Biblical parenting requires emotional investment.
Parenting from a distance produces distant children.
Until you are willing to be vulnerable you can’t expect transparency.
Raising kids is hard on emotions. You have to have tough skin.
Producing Jesus followers of faith that expand God’s kingdom is a work of the Lord and requires a lot of patience and endurance as God does his work on the heart.
Jesus was not afraid to show his vulnerability to his disciples as he prayed for the cup to pass in the garden or wept many times in front of them.
Paul was willing to share his struggle with sin to the entire world through the scriptures he wrote.
You don’t have to be sinless you just have to be honest.
14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
1 Cor 14
4. Biblical parenting require an example.
People always follow your example not your lectures.
Many instructors are not emotionally invested in their students.
Many of you listen to podcasts of great preaching around the country. But if you are having an issue or problem, you can’t pick up the phone and call them.
There are people they invest in your just not one of them. Their purpose is just to instruct you in the Bible.
A Father is someone that is humble toward you, sacrifices for you well being, and is emotionally invested in a relationship with you.
They lead you not by words but with action.
They are someone you look up to and someone you can imitate.
16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
We live in a world where it’s hard to find role models today.
A person of character and respect.
Someone who cares about others and gives of themselves.
I want us to be a whole church full of them.
People that know and love God and understand his Word.
People that love their neighbor as themselves.
People willing to sacrifice for the good of others.
17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.
1 Cor 4:17
5. Biblical Parenting reproduces itself.
The greatest joy of parenting is watching your kids become wonderful adults that contribute to society.
Paul invested in a young man named Timothy.
Timothy was a faithful student to the Lord.
He grew up in the Lord and became the next generation that would carry on the gospel message of Paul.
Paul had reproduced himself in Timothy and the ministry was stronger for it.
This is the pattern of Biblical discipleship.
Become and imitator of me.
1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
A faithful father expands the kingdom.
A few months back I began mentoring a young man named Jay and we were all moved by his testimony of how God has changed his life.
Jay was faithful with the things that I taught him about Christ and it wasn’t easy working through all the issues.
Jay was faithful to share what he had learned with his brother-in-law Andrew who also became a follower of Christ.
Today Andrew will follow the Lord in believers baptism and he wants to share how God has now changed his life.
This is the definition of Disciple Makers.
Making disciples is not teaching lessons.
It is not making better people.
It is making imitators of the Lord. Making disciples that make disciples.
Would you please welcome Andrew Towler to the stage.
God wants to be a father to you no an Instructor.
1 Cor 6
17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
Maybe you have never had a Spiritual Father to poor into your life.
Jesus humbled himself and sacrificed everything for you and is now emotionally invested in your life.
You just have to receive and follow.