It is Father’s Day once again.
I enjoy being a father. It is the most important job that I have. I notice certain things about this job more and more. I notice responsibilities, pressures and joys. Just yesterday I was running with Mercedes and she had her barbies with her and she was having a good time. She was singing and talking and pretending while I was running.
As I look at Hebrews 11:23 I find that Moses’ parents protected him. I want to charge this congregation that we are to protect and nurture our children spiritually which has repercussions physically and emotionally. We are to look out for the spiritual needs first and then physical and emotional can fall in line.
Let’s read these passages.
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
The Birth of Moses
2 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sisterstood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
Certainly, we see that the Hebrews midwives were part of the protection process, but the focus is on Moses’ parents. I am not going to teach this passage. I want to focus on the whole of the Scriptures ways we are to protect and nurture our children spiritually and this has impacts physically and emotionally.
Before I talk about the spiritual aspect, let’s talk about forgiveness and second chances. Some of you are parents of children who are not grown and I hope this can help you along. I suspect that most of you are grandparents or your children are grown. What does this mean to you? I hope that as a Christian whenever the Word of God is preached that helps you. I hope we thirst for the Bible because as God’s Word it is part of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) However, I think these applications can help you be better grandparents and parents still. There are some things that a grandparent can talk about with his or her grandchildren that a parent never can. Now, what if you never led spiritually? It is never too late. I think the first step is to humbly talk with your adult children and say this is where I was when you were growing up. Tell them that you made mistakes that you were not a Christian or certainly not a growing and committed believer. Tell them that now you are a believer in Christ. Model being a Christian regardless of age. Pray for your children, regardless of age. After today, you are more informed, but apply it as you can.
So, how do we protect and nurture our children as Moses’ parents protected and nurtured him?
- Spiritually, we watch over our children spiritually. This is first because this is most important. Without Christ we have nothing. Without Christ our children have nothing. OH, but with Christ we have everything. With Christ our children have everything.
- Life jacket illustration:
One day, some men and boys went fishing on a lake. Before they got into the boat, they began to put on their life jackets. One of the men refused to put on a life jacket. Perhaps he thought it made him look like a weakling, or maybe he thought, “I know how to swim. If anything happens I can save myself.” They had only been on the lake for a short time when a sudden storm came up. The wind blew and the waves became so high that they turned the boat over. The ones who were wearing life jackets made it to shore and were saved. The man who was not wearing a life jacket drowned because he had refused to take the one thing that could have saved him.
The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus wants to save us and take us to Heaven to be with him, but there are some people who think they might look weak if they admit that they need Jesus. They think that they can take care of themselves without him. When the storms of life come up, they are thrown overboard and are lost forever because they refused to take hold of the one thing that could save them… Jesus.
It is foolish to go out onto the water without a life jacket, but it is even more foolish to try to sail the sea of life without Jesus!
- Psalm 78:1-6: My people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.
- We must start this spiritual upbuilding when our children are young.
- What type of legacy to you wish to leave to your children?
- Sitting at his father’s bedside after watching him take his last breath, John Piper spoke these words:
I look you in the face and promise you with all my heart: Never will I forsake your gospel. O how you believed in hell and heaven and Christ and cross and blood and righteousness and faith and salvation and the Holy Spirit and the life of holiness and love. I rededicate myself, Daddy, to serve your great and glorious Lord Jesus with all my heart and with all my strength. You have not lived in vain. Your life goes on in thousands. I am glad to be one.
- Max Jutes was a no-account horse thief, drunkard whose 1299 descendants were studied. 310 became vagrants, 440 lived in debauchery, 180 became prisoners, including 7 murderers, 100 alcoholics, 60 habitual thieves, and 190 prostitutes. Contrast this with the family of the great 18th century preacher, Jonathan Edwards. A study done by A. E. Winship revealed that of 1700 descendants, 13 became college presidents, 65 were professors, 100 studied law (one dean of a law school), 30 became judges, 66 were physicians (one dean of a medical school), 80 held public office, 3 were US senators, 3 became mayors of large cites, 3 were elected governors, 1 was vice president of the US and 1 became Controller of the US Treasury. Long term studies of just these two lives and families show we are the products of over 100 years of our forefathers’ actions and decisions and that WE affect our descendants’ lives for over 100 years.
- Name some “ripple effects” you’ve seen go on for generations in your family, good and bad (Deut 5:6-10; Gal 6:7-10). Do you believe you can break bad cycles and be life-giving as you pass on a godly legacy?
- I have recently notice Mercedes picking up on things. We go through devotions most everyday and she is at church frequently. I will take her running and biking. She rides in the jogging stroller or the bike pull behind. We see people and say “hi.” Mercedes will say, “Who is that, does she go to our church?” We will be at Wal Mart and Mercedes will see people and say, “Who is that? Does she go to our church?” A few weeks ago Meagan was at Rite Aid and the lady at the window said hi to Meagan, calling her by her name. Mercedes said, “Who is that? How does she know your name? Does she go to our church?” The lady heard this and Meagan was able to talk with her about church. The pharmacist tech said that her relative attends our childcare because she say me lead prayer at an event.
- The spiritual is most important and this impacts the physical.
- This includes purity and modesty as well as modeling work habits and teaching them responsibility.
- 2 Thess. 3:10: For even when we were with you,we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
- 1 Timothy 5:8: Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has deniedthe faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
- The spiritual impacts the emotional. Emotionally, we watch over our children emotionally
- John Ortberg shares the following in his book: The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People:
I was leaving for work after a tense morning at home. I had snapped at the kids, I was feeling pushed for time, and I was preoccupied. As I was going out the door, my son Johnny asked whether I was coming to visit his class that day for the hour when parents were invited. I started to snap “no” and then felt a discernible tug. Something— Someone— invited me to think things over. I felt a stab of pain at my impatience that morning, at the needless hurt I had impetuously caused those I love. That pain, I believe, was part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. So I apologized as best I could and told Johnny I would be at his school.
When I arrived at Johnny’s class, I observed that all but two or three children had parents there. Johnny’s face lit up. For the next half-hour he sat in my lap as we joined in the activities. We were each to draw a picture— not a task I enjoy, being unable to draw a straight line. What made it worse is that the dad next to me drew like Michelangelo. He sketched a hearthside scene, incorporating perspective, shading, and chiaroscuro.
“Use some blue, Daddy,” his son said. “No,” said Michelangelo. “That would throw off my color scheme.” The teacher came by, looked at the man’s drawing, then called the other parents just to observe it. She pointed out mine as a kind of study in contrast. Now I felt another kind of guilt— the guilt of an inadequate artist. But that was the pain of creatureliness, not something that calls for repentance. I had to find another way to deal with my inadequacy. So I waited until the dad next to me wasn’t looking, then marked on his picture with a blue crayon. Then I had something to confess. I looked at Johnny’s picture: clouds, snow, one tree, and what looked like Barney the dinosaur with a human face. Underneath my son had a caption: “I’m thankful for God, my dad, and snow.” I felt pretty good about the sequence. When it was time for the parents to leave, Johnny grabbed me and said, “I just can’t let you go.” I left, but for a few moments I just stood in the doorway and looked at my son. It seemed like only a few years ago that I was a little boy in first grade. Now here he was. Now it was my son’s day. That is his little world— his little turkey up on the chalkboard, his little desk, his slender little fingers determinedly gripping the pencil, his learning how to make letters. And in what will seem like only another few days, he will be the one standing in the doorway and it will be his little boy sitting at the desk. “What if I hadn’t come?” I mused. “What if he had sat here all alone while other kids were surrounded by their parents? How long will I carry in my heart that little picture that says, ‘I’m thankful for God, my dad, and snow’?”
That little stab of pain that called me to think again, to decide differently, is spoken of in the church as the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. We can all experience that. It is the still small voice that nudges us and says, “You have spoken bitter words that have hurt someone. You need to go back and make things right.” “You cheated on your taxes. You need to make restitution.” (One financial expert who works with an evangelical clientele estimates that 50 percent of his clients cheat on their tax returns.) “You spoke deceit. You need to go back and tell the truth.”
This is hopeful pain, the sorrow of wounds that heal.
Ortberg, John; Ortberg, John (2009-05-18). The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People (p. 137). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
A few years ago there was a movie called Courageous, this resolution is in the bulletin. Men, young men, older men, men without children, men with great grandchildren, if you would stand, let’s read this together.
Show clip from the movie:
- I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.
- I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the
spiritual leader of my home.
- I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my
life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.
- I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of
their minds, and all of their strength.
- I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.
- I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
- I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
- I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.
- I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.
- I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a
man answerable to God.
- I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His
- I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)