New series, Scriptures to Pray for your children

Introduction to the new series: Leading Children Spiritually Means Knowing, Obeying and Passing on the Bible  (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)

Prepared and Preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, April 29, 2018

Opening about the power of Deuteronomy:

I recently heard a sermon by Colin Smith on Moody Radio. “The program is called Unlocking the Bible” and it was the April 2 episode. Evelyn Queen recommended that I listen to it. So, I did. He talked about being in seminary and he was required to read all of Deuteronomy at one time. Deuteronomy is 34 chapters, so that is quite a block of time. However, as he read this book all in one setting he noticed the great love of God. Did you know that in Deuteronomy 17:18 it says that when they select a king he is to write out this entire book? In Deuteronomy 31:11 they were instructed to publicly read Deuteronomy every 7 years. This is a powerful book of the Word of God. However, this is also a neglected book of the Word of God. So, today we will talk about Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

The reason I am talking about this particular passage is I am introducing a new sermon series. I have been convicted to pray Scripture from a very young age. I would learn Scripture and the Lord would convict me to pray these passages. Sometimes God would prick my heart with a passage and it would become part of my prayer life. I have learned Scriptures by praying them. Tony Evans says that when we pray Scripture we are praying God’s Word back to Him. So, over the next few months I am going to be preaching on Scriptures that I have been convicted to pray for my children and descendants. These are not just Scriptures that I pray for you and the church, though I do, these are Scriptures which I pray for my descendants. This is really a sermon series on leading Spiritually, though I am calling this series the “Scriptures to Pray for Your Children” series.

In the next couple months we will have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Soon after you will have family vacations. Think about the ripple effects spiritually of parenting:

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?

Today my theme is: Leading Children Spiritually Means Knowing, Obeying and Passing on the Bible  (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)

This sermon series will be about Scriptures we can pray for our descendants.

First, let’s agree to value the Bible and value passing on the faith.

The application is not just for parents. All of you can pray Biblical prayers for the next generation.

Please read with me Deuteronomy 6:1-9:

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

  1. In Verses 1-3 we see the setup of the Great Commandment.
    1. Notice that in verses 1-3 we see the repeated emphasis on parents teaching their children spiritually.
    2. Moses is passing on the commandments, statutes and judgments to them.
    3. Moses says that the Lord has commanded him to teach them.
    4. Moses was commanded to teach them so that they might do them in the land where they are going to possess.
      1. Hit the pause button after verse 1.
      2. Right now, most of Israel is younger than 60 years old. This is because everyone who was 40 and younger has died off in the wilderness. There were three people who could keep living: Moses, Joshua and Caleb. We see this in Numbers 14:20-38. They were sentenced to die in the wilderness because of their lack of faith that Israel could take the land.
  • Now, it has been 40 years of the people wondering around the wilderness. But it is time to go in and take the land.
  1. However, Moses is giving instructions.
  2. Deuteronomy is a sermon, or a series of sermons, given by Moses to the people before they enter the land.
  1. In verse 2 we see a purpose. Moses is to teach the people so that they will obey and this includes their sons and grandsons.
  2. Verse 3 is urging them to listen and obey.
  3. I notice a repetition in these first three verses that if they listen and obey they will multiply and live long on the earth.
  4. Israel’s life in the promised land is contingent on their obedience to God.
  5. We, today, are not Israel, but we will usually be blessed by obedience to God and His ways. We will naturally be cursed when we disobey God’s ways.
  6. If you do not believe the previous statement look what happened to David’s family after his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel chapter 12 and following.
  1. In verse 4-5 we see the Shema.
    1. Shema is the Hebrew word for “hear.”
    2. Notice first the simple statement “The Lord is One.”
    3. This may seem basic to us, but not to them. Think about it, most societies in that day and age were polytheistic. They believed in many Gods. But this is saying that there is one God and He is the Lord. Notice the repetition: The Lord is our God. This is the Lord. This “Yahweh” is our God. This is the unique name for the Lord as opposed to “Elohim” which is translated “God” the second time.
    4. Theology matters.
    5. Then we have three words to describe our love for the Lord. They are nouns:
      1. Heart
      2. Soul
  • Might
  1. This means we love the Lord with all of our being.
  2. They did not have a word for the brain at that point so they would use the word for heart. Jesus would quote this and include “mind.” We see Jesus quote this in Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27.
  3. As an interesting note, the only individual in the Old Testament—of whom it was said that he turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul, and might—was King Josiah (2 Kings 23:25).
  • In verses 6-9 we see the idea of taking every opportune time to talk about the Word.
    1. Verse 6 says that these words should be on our heart.
    2. What words, the words of Deuteronomy, Moses’ sermon, but we could apply it to all the Bible.
    3. Verse 7 tells us to teach them diligently to our sons.
    4. In Hebrew we have one word that the NASB translates as “teach” and “diligently.” This word carries the idea of engraving. As we recite something over and over again it is like it is engraved on our heart.
    5. Pastor, author and Theologian J.D. Greear writes that many parents talk about their teenage or adult children wandering away from the Lord. They will talk about how they would bring them to church. But he would ask about the family life. This next generation has a hypocrite meter on them.
      1. Are you leading the family spiritually?
      2. Are you taking every opportune time to talk about the Bible, God and the spiritual life with your family?
  • Are your prioritizing not just Sunday morning church but spiritual disciplines with your family?
  1. Are you prioritizing Christian community with your family? I am talking about prayer partners, small groups, mid week Bible study, Sunday School.
  2. Do you model Biblical repentance with your children?
  1. You may do all of the above and your children may still wander from the faith and that is why we pray, pray and pray they come back.
  2. We must pray spiritual prayers. We must pray Biblical prayers.
  3. Remember, however you stray from the faith your children will take it to the next level. That is a documented fact. We can trace it. In the 1980’s people viewed church commitment as Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Now people view church commitment as a few times a month. If you are skipping church to go fishing, hunting, to a football game, or because you do not feel like getting up, and suppose you have that excuse once a month, I guarantee, but by the grace of God, your children will give that excuse double. Or, actually, they will grow up and see that church really is not that valued if it is skipped for sporting events and hunting, so they will get rid of it altogether.
  4. Actually, there was a study that showed that the more liberal, what we call mainline churches, are dying fastest because the children grow up and think church is just about moral values and they can have those without church.
  5. One wites: “The reason for this emphasis on the children is clear. Deuteronomy is always aimed at the next generation. It takes the present (next) generation back to the past and brings the past afresh into the present. The children are now the ones before whom all the choices are laid, and some day their children will be there and the divine instruction will confront them (e.g., 30:2). Can they learn afresh what it means to love the Lord wholeheartedly?” (Dr. Contable, soniclight.com)
  1. Let’s make some applications:
    1. I always have to think through how a message can encourage. This was rather difficult with this message. However, I hope this message is encouraging in that God has given us everything we need to lead Spiritually in His Word. Listen you have every resource you need to lead your family spiritually. The Bible, the church and most of all the Holy Spirit.
      1. Application:
    2. We must study the Word of God.
    3. We must love the Lord God with all our being. We must love Him with all our heart, soul and might (verse 5).
    4. We must do our best to keep all of the Lord’s commandments (verse 2).
    5. We must do our best to listen and be careful to obey God’s commandments (verse 3).
    6. We must understand and take seriously proper doctrine that God is one (verse 4).
    7. We must have the Word of God on our heart (verse 5 and see also Psalm 119:9-11).
    8. We must teach the Word of God to our children and grandchildren wherever we are and at all opportune times.
    9. We must repent.
      1. Let me explain. Many of your children are grown and maybe your grandchildren are grown. Meet with them and apologize for not being a spiritual leader when they were being raised.
      2. I think modeling repentance goes a long way. Say something like:
        1. You know when you were being raised I worked a lot. I valued working and building the business rather than leading the family in a Biblical way. That was not right. I am sorry and I ask your forgiveness.
        2. You know as I was raising you I did not lead family devotions. We did not pray much as a family. I am sorry, please forgive me.
  • You know when I was raising you I allowed sports to be prioritized over our church commitment. That was not right, I am sorry. Please forgive me.
  1. As another application: our job as parents is never complete. I hear to many parents think that it is none of their business to say anything once their children are raised and out of the house. So, they will not say anything when their adult children stray from church. I think that is Biblically wrong. I think that is wrong for society as well.
    1. Would you not say anything if your children were shooting up heroin with their children in the back seat of the car?
    2. Would you not say anything if your adult children were drinking and driving?
    3. Why do we view spiritual things differently?
    4. This is eternity.
  • The idea of teaching children is repeated all throughout the Old Testament. Why have we forgotten that if faith is important we want to pass it on.

This sermon series will be about Scriptures we can pray for our descendants.

First, let’s agree to value the Bible and value passing on the faith.

I read the following:

A Japanese girl who studied at an American college enjoyed living in the United States, but one thing she longed to see was the inside of a true Christian home. She spent her Christmas vacation in the home of one of her classmates, and she had a delightful time. As she was about to leave, the mother said, “How do you like the way we Americans live?” “Oh,” said the girl, “I love it! Your home is truly beautiful. Yet, there is one thing I miss.” A faraway look came into her eyes as she continued, “I have been with you to your church and have seen you worship there, but I have missed God in your home. In Japan we have a ‘god shelf’ in every home, so we can worship right in our house. Excuse me, but don’t you Americans worship God in your homes?” Her host felt convicted, for there was little to reveal that theirs was a Christian home, not even a time when the family prayed and read the Bible together.

Dr. Constable shares:

One day in a seminary class, I asked my students to suggest some ways that parents can perpetuate the knowledge of God in their children. A young man proceeded to explain that his wife had grown up in Brazil, where her parents had practiced the custom of writing down evidences of God’s faithfulness to their family, and putting the paper into a matchbox. At the end of each year they glued that year’s matchbox onto others from preceding years. While the girl was growing up, she saw her parents construct a house made out of these matchboxes. When the family ran into trouble, they would open up one or more of the matchboxes, read the record of God’s faithfulness, and be encouraged.

Friends of ours used to keep a special gallon iced tea jar on the counter in their kitchen. When God showed His faithfulness in some dramatic way, they wrote what happened on a slip of paper and put it into the jar. Then, when the going got tough, they opened the jar and reminded themselves of how God had been faithful to them in the past.

Do you know Jesus?

Luke 9:23

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)

Pray

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