God's truth for today's world

Today we begin a new message series which I’ve entitled “Biblical Parenting.” God has three primary purposes of this important series. The first purpose is to help parents with children at home raise their children by biblical principles. However, there are two other purposes that aren’t as obvious from the title. The second purpose is to impact families with children that you know. You can advance this purpose by inviting families with children to attend church. You can talk about the principles you learn to those families or direct them to watch the online videos. Some of you have children and grandchildren who would benefit from this series. Pray for opportunities to invite them.

The third purpose of this series is to learn how to parent spiritual children with the principles we learn about parenting physical children. So, this series has great biblical truths that will benefit every person. Let’s talk some more about what it means to parent spiritual children.

Matthew 28:19-20a (ESV)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

These verses, called the Great Commission, are a command from Jesus to every believer to make more disciples of Jesus. Disciples are made by people being saved, baptized and taught to obey God’s Word.

John 3:3 (ESV)  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Here, Jesus teaches that when someone is saved, they are born again. You are born physically as an infant and when you are born again you are born spiritually as an infant.

1 Corinthians 3:1 (ESV)  But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

What are infants supposed to do? They are supposed to grow and mature. This is true of both physical and spiritual infants. Both kinds of infants need to be parented or discipled to become mature spiritual adults. Mature spiritual adults can in turn disciple or teach other spiritual infants. Every believer should either be being discipled or discipling others.

Hebrews 5:12 (ESV)  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

Every believer should grow to be a teacher, yet in this verse, these people needed to be taught again the basics. As infants, who had not matured, they still need the milk of babies. The principles of physical and spiritual parenting completely overlap in the Christian home. Biblical parenting of children is making disciples of Jesus of them according to the Great Commission. So, as we go through the series, remember the 3 purposes. Biblical parenting of your physical children. Inviting other families with children to benefit from the series. Learning how to parent, disciple or teach spiritual children, who may be children or adults.

To start off the series, our first message will be about “God’s View of Children.” Remember as we talk about children this morning, we can be referring to either physical and/or spiritual children. The first point of God’s view of children is that …

Children are a blessing

Genesis 1:28a (ESV)  And God blessed them [Adam and Eve]. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, …

Adam and Eve were the first marriage on earth. God blessed them, which means that He gave them the power to obey His commands and reap the benefits. God commanded this first family to be fruitful and multiply, which meant to have children. Through their children and children’s children, they were to fill the earth and subdue or have dominion over it. The first families’ children were a blessing that allowed them to fulfill God’s command.

This command of God continues to apply to every godly family today. What kind of children does God desire families to be fruitful with? Believing children. Even if a particular family can’t have their own children, they can still be fruitful with spiritual children, through adoption or witnessing to children.

God gives children for a purpose

Psalm 127:3-4 (ESV)  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

Again, God’s Word says that children are a heritage and a reward. Children are a blessing because they are given by God for a purpose.  These verses tell us that children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Arrows allow a warrior to defeat his enemies. Arrows are directed by the warrior to hit a particular target. Believing children will be used by God to defeat God’s enemies and see more and more people brought into the kingdom of God. As children become believers and are taught to follow Jesus, the Great Commission is being fulfilled.

God desires many children

Psalm 127:5 (ESV)  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

If children are a blessing and given for a purpose, then this verse declares that the more children the greater the blessing. With a quiver full of arrows, he can be confident in confronting God’s enemies.

Daniel 12:3 (ESV)  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

God wants each believer to be a spiritual parent, by leading many to Christ and then helping to disciple them. Ultimately God wants many spiritual children to bring His kingdom to this earth.

 Application

The popular view of children today is quite different. It says that children are a burden and you surely don’t want to have too many. Too many children has led to over population of the world causing all kind of problems, so abortion is a solution to keep the number of children low. The popular view is a lie from the enemy. Children are a blessing and they are to multiply, fill and take dominion over the earth.

Some would ask, won’t resources run out if the number of people keeps increasing? God created the world and has provided all the resources necessary to take care of all the people until Jesus returns. You see, the Bible clearly teaches that the world as we know it won’t last forever. The problems in our world today are not caused by too many people, they’re caused by sin.

Each family needs to seek God’s will regarding their physical family size. Yet that decision needs to be made in faith and not based on economic projections. God’s Word teaches us that children are a blessing.

Reject the world’s view of children

Mark 10:13 (ESV)  And they were bringing children to him [Jesus] that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.

The parallel passage in Matthew 19 says that people were bringing children to Jesus so He could lay hands on them and pray for them. Why do you think that the disciples rebuked the parents for bringing their children to Jesus? The Scripture doesn’t say, but I believe that the disciples were still thinking about children as the world.

The world views children as not being as important as adults, as not having the value of adults. The world views children as a burden or a nuisance. We must reject the world’s view of children and accept God’s view that children are a blessing. So we must …

Encourage children to come to Jesus

Mark 10:14a (ESV)  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them,

Jesus was not happy with his disciples, so He rebuked them. He told them to stop hindering the children from coming. Jesus welcomed children being brought to Him and so should we. Parents have a responsibility to bring their children to Jesus so that they can be saved. We encourage children to come to Jesus through teaching them about Jesus from God’s Word.

Children can belong to God’s kingdom

Mark 10:14b (ESV)  … for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

When a person belongs to God’s Kingdom, they are saved. Jesus is not saying here that every child is saved. He is saying that there are aspects of the character of children that are true of every believer, no matter what age. We’ll talk more about that in the next point. Children can understand the basics of the Gospel at an early age. I was saved at the age of four.

Application

Studies show that half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. That means that reaching children with the good news of Jesus is critical for parents and for the church.

The responsibility of leading your children to Jesus is primarily that of the parents. The church is here to assist the children’s family in teaching them God’s Word. That’s why some of our most important ministries in the church are our children’s and youth ministries. There are always opportunities to serve in our children’s ministry by teaching or helping in our classes. If you’d like to help out, please indicate on your Connect Card.

 Love children as Jesus does

Jesus loved children and devoted time to teaching and ministering to them. Jesus died on the cross for both children and adults. A child who is born again will go to heaven, just as an adult, and have eternal life. Jesus taught that the disciples and we as adults need to …

Learn to receive the kingdom as a child

Mark 10:15 (ESV)  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

So, we must ask the question, what does it mean to receive the kingdom of God like a child? When you tell a young child something, what is the normal response? The normal response is that the young child will believe their parents without questioning. That statement only applies to young children, not teenagers. That’s a different story.

We often speak of child-like faith. When a child reads or has the Bible read to them, they simply believe what it says. According to Jesus, this is not a negative, but a very positive attribute of children. In fact, Jesus is saying in verse 15 that adults must receive the kingdom like a child, there is no other way. You don’t become a believer by analyzing and figuring everything out. You become a believer and part of God’s kingdom by simply child-like faith. To love children as Jesus did, we need to …

Pray for and bless your children

Mark 10:16 (ESV)  And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Jesus took these children brought by their parents and took them in his arms. The parallel passage in Luke 15 indicates that some of the children were infants. Jesus blessed the children by laying his hands on them and praying for God’s blessing on their lives. Standing around were the disciples and other adults, but Jesus was focusing his attention on these children.

Application

One of the ways that we as a church pray for and bless the children of the church is through child dedication. In our child dedication, the child’s parent’s make a commitment before the church family that they will do their best to train up their child in God’s Word. We then pray for and bless both the parents and the child in that commitment.

Normally, we encourage parents to bring their infants for child dedication. However, if you did not dedicate your child to the Lord as an infant, they can be dedicated at an older age, just as well. If you’d like to learn more about child dedication, please indicate on your Connect Card.

Conclusion

Today, we’ve talked about God’s view of children. Children are a blessing. God wants families to have children who are raised to believe in and love Jesus. We must reject the world’s view of children as a burden or a problem. God desires Christian families to have many children, both physical and spiritual. Whereas there are limits on how many physical children you can have, there are no limits on how many spiritual children you can lead to Jesus. God wants our church and each one of us to love children as Jesus does. We encourage you to pray over and bless your children all through life.

Message Outline & Study Guide

Biblical Parenting Series

Grow in Family Love
Strong Marriages
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