Sermon: Make the Most of your Family
Summary:† Parents have the responsibility of passing the baton of faith to the next generation, which can only happen if we ourselves are authentic in our faith, diligent in our teaching, fully available in heart, and set reasonable and godly boundaries for ourselves and our kids.
Text:† Dt 6:1-9
Scripture Reading:† Dt 32:44-47
1. I used to be substitute teacher.† Did P.E. class, doing relay races
a. Some kids never did relay race before
b. Most important part?† The passing of the baton
2. Parents also pass a baton
a. Several years ago, Joe White wrote "Faith Training"
b. Premise of the book - Parents are faith trainers for their kids
c. Most important part is the passing of the baton
3. God has given instructions on the passing of the baton
a. You do not want to drop the baton in the race
b. It is the parents responsibility to pass the baton
i. Not the government, schools, Sunday school, church
ii. The buck stops with the parent
iii. This affects the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
c. Therefore the sermon for today:† Make the Most of Your Family
i. Lesson here whether kids are at home or grown
ii. Lesson if we have grandkids
iii. Lesson for us if we are mentors to someone else
4. (Dt 6:1-9) God gave a simple plan for passing the baton
I. Be Authentic in Your Faith
A. Don't try to pretend or be fake - It is the worst thing you can do
1. Children can smell baloney better than we can
2. Children will not grab a fake baton
B. Passage says to start with yourself
1. V.1 - God says for YOU to observe these commands
2. V.2 - So that YOU, your children, & their children fear God
a. Starts with you
b. If not, there really is nothing to pass on
3. V.3 - (You) Be careful to obey it
4. V.5 - (You) Love the Lord your God with all your heart
5. V.6 - These commands are to be on YOUR heart
a. If not on your heart, how can they be in your children's?
b. You cannot pass on what you donít' have
C. ILL:† A father took his kids to play mini-golf
1. Asked the attendant the price - $5, but free for kids 6 & under
2. Father said one was 5, and the other kid 7 - cost $10
3. Attendant asked if he won lottery?† Why?
a. Kids both very small
b. Could have said they both under 6, I never would have known
c. Father looked at kids - But THEY would have known
4. Father did best to live out the faith consistently in his life
D. This is first step in passing the baton - Authenticity.† What does it take:
1. Inspect My Baton
a. First question to ask: Am I actually carrying God's baton?†††
i Am I devoted to God, am I faithful to God?
ii Or, am I carrying something else?† My own baton?
b. Second question: Is it dirty, slippery, need to by cleaned?
i Do I have unresolved sin in my life?
ii Where do I fall short?
c. Third question: Do I have a good grip on it?†
i Am I fully devoted, or is this half-hearted
ii Do I only display Christian character at church
iii Am I being hypocritical, putting on an act?
a) You are light of the world - be light at home
b) Be kind - Be kind at home
c) Need to apply at home as well
2. Be honest when I am wrong
a. Sometimes parents act in unbecoming ways.† Right?
b. When it happens - own up to it
c. Sometimes parents worry they will lose face, lose respect if you admit a wrong.† BUT the opposite is true
d. ILL:† At Steve Dillon's playing loud music, Dad came in yelling, kicked over the lego house
i He stormed out of room, and it was terrifyingly quiet
ii Later, he came in quietly and apologized
iii Said: It was wrong for me to get so angry and kick things around, I hope you can forgive
iv Did not lose respect for Dad, but had more respect
3. Most important thing is passing the baton is to be authentic
a. B.J. Naylor at a Lectureship said this:
i Intellectual doubt starts at age 12!
ii By age 16, doubts are resolved, or they check out
iii Those who "lose their faith" in college often had already secretly check out before they went
b. To bolster children's faith, it has to be in you first
c. Nothing is more futile than a parent who is not fully devoted who tries to get their children to be devoted
d. Fake faith cannot be passed on, but authentic faith can
II. Be Diligent In your Teaching
A. Dt 6 reminds us that teaching has to be intentional
B. The Christian life has truths, attitudes, and behaviors to pass on:
1. This involves parental training
a. Eph 6:4 do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
b. Col 3:21 do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
c. Prov 19:18 Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire [m]his death.
d. Purpose not to demoralize children, but to discipline/train them, help them to grow in understanding
2. Become familiar with the biblical story -† provides meaning
a. Where we all came from
b. The ultimate source of all our troubles - sin
c. The solution God provided - Gospel
d. What our ultimate goal is - Eternal Kingdom of God
3. Become familiar with God through the stories of the Bible
a. Creation, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Saul, David, Kings, prophets, captivity, return, promise of Messiah
b. Story of Jesus, story of first Christians in Acts
c. The future promises, world will end, new heaven & earth
4. Become familiar with morality, ethics, learn to think critically
a. Not just good choices, but right & wrong - defined by God
b. Teach how to navigate through temptations, pressure, etc
c. Teach how to process feelings, respond with maturity,
d. Be able to recognize wrong ideas
C. ILL:† While at Harding, many HSBS students had children in school
1. Aris & Carina, newlyweds, 9 months after marriage - first child
2. At chapel - unplanned blessing ceremony
3. Bill Lambert, director - Held young Aris Jr. looked at Dad, a preacher in training, Mom, and the baby, "The greatest thing you will ever do, is tell the story of Jesus, whether they call you preacher or momma"
4. Older boys fine young Christian men, went to Harding.† Because their parents told the story of Jesus with passion and conviction
D. Teaching is the parents responsibility
1. We donít' want to abdicate it to school, church, or government
2. God has laid responsibility on parents, no one else
a. Donít' want to knock schools, church, etc.
b. Community gets together to establish school - good thing
c. Sunday Schools are a good thing
d. But when it comes to passing on the faith - ultimately God lays that responsibility on the parents
3. So parents need to teach diligently
III. Be Available in Heart
A. The text speaks of being physically available throughout the day
B. Text implies spending time with our children
1. Saying - "Faith is more caught than taught"
a. In other words, you need to be present to pass on faith
b. Your example is more important than what you say
2. If you are not present, miss out on those teachable moments
a. See fascinating bug, can talk about God's wisdom
b. Together in service project - Talk about why to do it
c. See a movie together - Talk about it afterwards
d. Even when you play together - They are learning
e. Dinner table talk when sit down to dinner
3. And there may be some other times together
C. ILL: People say -† quality time more important than quantity time
1. Where did that idea come from?† We don't apply it anywhere else
2. If you go to Road House, or Longhorns, & order the best steak
a. They bring out a 1/2 thick steak, 2 inch square
b. You complain - But they say that what matters is quality - It is the best, juiciest, most tasty steak they have
c. So, you eat it.† - - - But you are still hungry!
d. You want quality AND quantity
3. I have learned that you cannot have quality time without quantity
a. Think about it - Which is better 15 minutes with kids, or a couple hours?
b. That is a no brainer
D. Need to be available in heart
1. Be present, physically and mentally
2. ILL: If with kids, but on cell phone, you are not present!
a. Mike Hesterman at Harding said he on laptop while kids standing there staring at him
b. "What do you want??"† They reply, "Oh, nothing"
c. It became clear - They wanted DAD!
d. Shut it off and go spend time with the kids
3. Need to be mentally and emotionally present
4. When we do this, can more effectively pass the baton
IV. Be a Boundary Identifier
A. Children are still learning boundaries
B. There are some things you don't do, places you don't go
1. v.8-9 - Put reminders on doorposts, hands, and head
a. Reminder of God's instruction, includes boundaries
b. Jews developed the Mezuzah & Teffelin from this passage
i Mezuzah contains the Shema
ii Communicates this house and occupants are dedicated to the Lord
2. Some parents I know do similar things
a. Becky posts Bible verses, proverbs, sayings, in the house
b. Some post rules and reminders
c. Others simply talk about boundaries on regular basis
3. Whatever method to communicate, boundaries are needed
C. ILL:† I remember growing up, we not have a lot of rules
1. My Dad spent time discussing scenarios and how to respond
a. He felt it more important to understand why
b. It had the effect of us not getting as close to breaking a rule as possible without stepping over the line
2. It probably would have taken much less time to just hand us kids a set of rules
a. Arbitrary rules in and of themselves have limited value
b. The greater value is in spending time together talking about them and why
3. That is how we strove to raise our kids
a. Not a lot of arbitrary rules, or a "list" of rules
b. Spend time discussing big picture things, situations, how to make decisions, etc.
c. Wanted to teach our kids how to think, process, evaluate situations and decisions
D. Takes time to effectively set boundaries
1. The goal is not mindless obedience to list of arbitrary rules
2. The goal is for your kids to internalize godly boundaries
a. Can only happen when you are authentic, diligent in teaching, available in heart
b. Notice how all this fits together?
1. Parents are faith trainers, grandparents are cheer leaders
2. Whether you still have kids at home, or grandparents, or mentor someone young to the faith - There is something of benefit in this lesson
3. God's goal - Grow in the faith to be a godly servant in his Kingdom (inv)
4. Most satisfying thing is to see the passing of the baton, and to witness your children passing the baton on to their children