In this sermon, Pastor Neil continues his series on “Whatever You Do.” Here he provides biblical advice and guidance to parents on child-raising. Here are some excerpts:

Biblical Teaching for Parents

If you put the teaching of these passages in Deuteronomy 6, Colossians 3:21, Ephesians 6:4, and others like them together, you can come up with a biblical formula or recipe on what to do and what not to do in your mission to raise up godly children who will love and trust and follow the Lord Jesus, who will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus their whole lives, who will serve God’s purposes in their time and place for as long as they live. That is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? That is the main thing, isn’t it?

Our Mission as Parents

… Our mission as parents is to raise up the next generation – our children – to know and trust in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of sinners (including both them and us), and the Lord – the King, the Sovereign – over all things, including every detail of our lives and every aspect of life in this world. The mission, first and foremost, is to point our children to Jesus, who alone has the words and the power of eternal life (John 6:68). “For salvation is found in no one else; salvation comes in no other way; no other name has been or will ever be given to us by which we can be saved, only this one” (Acts 4:12, NIV, MSG).

The Main Thing

The most important thing you can ever do as a parent is to point your children to Jesus. Bring your children to Jesus. Show your children Jesus. You can’t make your child a believer… You can’t give the gift of saving faith to your child. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But you can preach the gospel to your children. You can teach them about God as He has revealed Himself, His will, His ways, His promises, His love and grace, His attributes and character, His mighty acts in creation and history, and His saving work on our behalf in and through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

In her book Give Them Grace, Elyse Fitzpatrick says that the reason some kids who grow up in Christian homes stray from the faith is that they have missed the point of the gospel. Somehow, they have gotten the idea that the point of the gospel and of the Christian life is simply to be good – to be a good person. If I’m good; nice (not mean) to other people; don’t do bad things or hang around with the wrong crowd; if I try to do my best and help other people; then God will be pleased with me and Jesus will forgive my sins.

That, of course, is a terrible misunderstanding of the gospel.

The Gospel

The gospel is not about making us nice people who just naturally get along with others and fit into our culture.

The gospel is about:

  • saving sinners (us!) who are totally powerless to do anything to save ourselves and make ourselves right with God.
  • what God has done for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ in His incarnation, life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection from the dead. For us.
  • trusting in Jesus to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
  • God’s grace that comes free of charge to people who don’t deserve it and never will. Like me. And you.
  • a relationship with God – a personal relationship with the only true and living God, the God who has no equals and no rivals.
  • the life-giving and life-changing power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes in Jesus and surrenders to His sovereign and gracious rule.
  • how God loves unworthy, rebellious sinners (us) and what He has done to show us His love.
  • the power of God to change our hearts, to renew our minds, and to turn rebellious sinners into beloved, cherished children of our Heavenly Father, who will never, ever stop loving us.

This is the gospel our children need to hear; the gospel our children need to see. This is the gospel our children need to know. And, by God’s grace, it is the gospel we want our children to embrace. It is the God of the gospel we want our children to embrace. Personally.

Pastor Neil has much more to say regarding this topic. Please click on the link below to hear the sermon in its entirety.

September 20, 2020

Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Colossians 3:21; Ephesians 6:4

Dr. Neil Smith

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