Please find my teaching notes below to Pt. 4 of the series, “Healthy Relationships.”
INTRO: “Healthy Relationships” all about MUTUAL SUBMISSION! HOW CAN I HELP? Paul makes specific application to wives, husbands, and now children…
PARENTING… Me and Jo Ann no clue. Nothing in Habakkuk!!!
Eph. 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from The Lord.
Two studies conducted by both the Barna Group and USA Today, found that 75 percent of Christian young people leave the church after high school.
One of the key reasons they do so is intellectual skepticism. Statistics show that our kids spend an average of 30 hours per week in public schools, 30 hours per week in front of a TV or online. The time spent weekly in the church youth group is 45 minutes. It’s no wonder that our young people leave the home without a Christian worldview.
Another key factor in whether young people remain resolute in their Christian faith or walk away from it is the influence of their parents. It’s as the Proverb says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). One particular study found that when both parents were faithful and active in the church, 93 percent of their children remained faithful. When just one parent was faithful, 73 percent. When neither parent was particularly active, only 53 percent of their children stayed faithful. In those instances where both parents were not active at all and only attended church now and then, the percentage dropped to a mere 6 percent.
In other words, 8 out of the 10 kids, that you see standing around you, by the time they’re 20 years old will have left the church behind. That’s one generation. You carry that on to one more generation and we have a problem.
The challenge today is how do I share the right way to parent from this one text? So what I want us to do is to consider three overall Biblical foundations first of all then we’ll do a series on “Parenthood” this fall!
Fact #1: THE BIBLE IS FOUNDATIONAL! This is the same starting point for wives, husbands, marriage, relationships, family, and now parenting. And though I’m not an expert on parenting, I DO KNOW THE BIBLE IS THE FOUNDATION!
My goal IS NOT to share my personal philosophy of parenting, but to show you how the Bible is foundational to parenting. We need to unpack what the Word says about parenting.
Now I know that there are parents around this room that are thinking, ‘Well, Leviticus doesn’t really tell me what to with my kid’s situation!” I don’t believe this book was written to give you the answers for all of those situations!
EX. COREY TAKING ALL HIS CLOTHES OFF WHEN WET… Habakkuk wasn’t telling us what to do…
However, the Bible is foundational to this one very powerful key to parenting your children!
As parents, the most important thing you can do for your children is to consistently grow to be more like Jesus Christ.
Leviticus, 2 Chronicles, and Habakkuk were all written for that purpose. The Bible is the only means that reveals the transformation that take place in your life as you accept and follow Christ. Your kids need to see Jesus in you more than Dr. Phil in you!!
As a result, we must not bypass the Bible that is our foundation for all life and all godliness and all parenting to make us who we need to be. I’m not saying you don’t need to read some books on parenting; just don’t try and build your life, family, relationships, parenting, children on anything else except the Bible!
The Bible reveals eternal principles with promises!
Fact #2: THE HOME IS CENTRAL!
This is where I need to, as a pastor of an American church in the 21st Century, apologize to you as parents. WHY?
We live in an age of professionalism where we are tempted to hire out even parental responsibilities. We want our son to excel in sports and so we hire a professional to train him in certain skills. We want our daughter to get into the best college and so we hire a tutor who will help her get that SAT score up.
We transfer this over into the church. We want our children to be good Christians and so we hire a youth pastor and a children’s pastor to do that for us. What we see in the Bible is that from the very beginning of God established that the home would be the central delivery system for the transfer of his truth from one generation to another.
With the way we have approached families even in the church, I’m convinced that we are encouraging families to abdicate our responsibilities in our children’s lives in favor of a youth pastor or a children’s pastor doing that for us.
Adam McManus, a spokesman for NCFIC, is not surprised by the church’s deep concerns about youth groups. “Today’s church has created peer dependency,” McManus says. “The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. It’s a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God. “Proverbs 13:20 says, ‘He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.’ The result is that the youth stumble, they can’t see beyond their noses, and spiritual adolescence is prolonged well into adulthood. It’s crippling the body of Christ. That’s why it’s time to return to the biblical paradigm and throw out the youth group structure entirely.”
I want you to hear very loud and very clear that it is not the children’s pastor’s job to evangelize your children. It is your job to evangelize your children. It is not the youth pastor’s job to disciple your children. THAT’S WHY WE HAVE A DIFFERENT, BIBLICAL PARADIGM AT GCC! EXPLAIN…
You are the primary agent for the discipleship of your children.
As a parent, YOU are your child’s Children and Youth Pastor!
I want to be careful here because we’ve created this structure in our churches. This is why I’m apologizing.
I’m not saying we don’t need to offer supplemental resources or give you a break from parenting and know you’re kids are being wonderfully cared for.
I’m just saying that as parents you have everything you need to disciple your children. You do not have to be a seminary trained theologian to read the Bible with your kids, to pray with your kids, and to teach your kids how to walk with God. This is your responsibility and we’re here to support you and work together. I know this is the heart of Mickey Jenson and others!
This can go against the grain of “how to grow your church!”
But I believe it’s what the Bible reveals; it’s the pattern, the paradigm- PARENT ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR SPIRITUAL TRAINING! If the Bible expects parents to do this, then we need to expect parents to do this. We need to encourage parents to do this.
EX. TERESA MORRISON… SPIRITUAL PARENT
Some of you are thinking, ‘Well what about kids who don’t have Christian parents?
That’s a great question. Alvin Reed, an Evangelism Professor, said, ’The largest rise of full-time youth ministers in history has been accompanied by the biggest decline in youth evangelism effectiveness.’
EX. LEESBURG ALL THE KIDS PLAYING IN OUR YARD…
The answer is not adding youth pastors. You know why? Because kids who don’t have Christian parents don’t need to see the glory of Christ in a youth service in special events once in awhile. They need to see the glory of Christ in homes that they hang out in all week long and on the weekends. They need to see moms and dads who love their children and show them how to follow Christ and God says that will shine. This is how the faith will be passed from generation to generation.
We’ve seen the priority of youth ministry and children’s ministry programs and YET 8 OF 10 WILL LEAVE THE CHURCH!!! We MUST see the need to come back to the fact that the home is central in God’s plan for taking the Gospel to the world. That raises the stakes for us parents. We can no longer abdicate our responsibility to disciple our children. Home is Central. The Bible is Foundational.
Fact #3: THE GOSPEL IS ESSENTIAL! The Gospel is not just something that we hear and then we pray a prayer and we move on with our lives. This is essential always. I want you to think about why it’s essential in parenting.
What does the Gospel have to do with moms and dads and kids? Has everything to do with it. FIRST…
The Gospel is our only source of salvation and transformation- our children need to know and see this!
EX. REPENTING TO MY SON…
WHY? BECAUSE WE ARE ALL BORN INTO SIN! Do I have to share with any parent that your child actually has a propensity to sin. I don’t know if you’ve discovered that?? They are prone to sin and guess what? So are you. You put that equation together, you’ve got trouble. You try to approach that equation without the Gospel, you are hopeless.
This is what you won’t find in many books, conferences, seminars and professionals. You won’t find the Gospel. You’ll find different Scriptures ripped out of their context to promote a certain philosophy, but you won’t find the Gospel and the Gospel is ESSENTIAL. The Gospel’s our source of salvation. Our kids’ ultimate need is to be saved from their sins.
This is a heart issue. We can spend all our time looking at behavior issues. We can spend all of our time looking how we can fix this or that on the outside. Until an internal heart issue is dealt with then we are hopeless in this picture of parenting.
The Gospel is essential because we all need new hearts. Our kids need new hearts and not just to be saved from the penalty of sin, to pray a prayer and move on. Once a child comes to faith in Christ there’s still a proneness to wander from God. A propensity to disobey.
We need the Gospel not only as our source of salvation, but the Gospel is our source of transformation. This is Ephesians 5:18, the context in which this passage is found, ‘Be filled with the Holy Spirit. The spirit in you through the Gospel transforming you.’ Do we realize that as parents we can’t do this job apart from the work of Christ through his Gospel in us, apart from his Spirit in us we can’t do this.
In the same way there is no way any of our kids can follow what Ephesians 6 says apart from the Spirit of God in them. No matter how much we teach them to be good, until the Holy Spirit enables them to be good, we’re missing the point. That’s why we need the Gospel!
So based on these three foundations, the Word is sufficient. Home is central. The Gospel is necessary.
EX. MY DAUGHTER REDEDICATING HER LIFE AND LEAVING UCONN… More important that she serve Jesus than be a great college vb player!!