Like Father, Like Sons & Daughters

Raising Humans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  50:33
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Back in May, we were going through a series called, "Raising Humans." Our goal was to understand what the Bible teaches about parenting so we can all follow Christ in our families and help our children reflect Him and His glory.
This morning’s message is titled, “Like Father, Like Sons and Daughters. As we close our series, we are going back to Deuteronomy 6 to remind ourselves of this most essential truth of Christian parenting: Your children will know Jesus the more you love and look like Him.

1. Like Father, Like Mom and Dad

You know the phrase “you are what you eat?” Well, the Bible would say it differently. The biblical authors don’t believe you are what you eat. They believe you are what you worship. Take Psalm 115:4-8 for example:

4  Their idols are silver and gold,

the work of human hands.

5  They have mouths, but do not speak;

eyes, but do not see.

6  They have ears, but do not hear;

noses, but do not smell.

7  They have hands, but do not feel;

feet, but do not walk;

and they do not make a sound in their throat.

8  Those who make them become like them;

so do all who trust in them.

You worship idols, you become deaf, dumb and blind, just like idols. You are what you worship.
Which is why the first few verses of our passage were so foundational to the identity of Israel. This was the cornerstone of OT faith:

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

Why was it so important to Israel to worship God rightly? To love Him with their heart, soul and might? To keep these words close to them in their heart? Because you are what you worship! If you worship God—the God of justice and mercy, holiness and grace—then you will become just and merciful and holy and gracious.
God wanted His people to understand His great love for them so that they would respond in worship and grow to become like Him.

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

God’s vision for your life and for your family is far beyond anything you can come up with on your own. He wants you to become like Him! Holy and beloved, chosen and treasured! He wants you to worship Him so you can become like Him!
Mom and Dad, God’s plan to transform your child by His grace begins with your gospel transformation. Grace changes everything, and He wants to change everything about you by His grace in Christ. Our kids learn to worship God by learning to worship like Mom and Dad.
Take v.5 and ask yourself, “Am I loving God with all that I am?”
With all your heart: Is God Himself, knowing and loving and dwelling with Him, is HE the greatest desire of your heart? Can you say what David says:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;

my soul thirsts for you;

my flesh faints for you,

as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

With all your soul: Who are you most deeply? What defines the core of your existence? Is it Jesus? Is He TRULY Lord? Do you build your life on the solid Rock of Christ, or on the sinking sand of anything else in this life?
With all your might: What do you strive most for? What in your life gets your greatest effort? What do you lay everything on the line for? Career? Comfort? Family security and harmony? Or do you believe Jesus:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

In Exodus, when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai, he came back down with his face glowing with the radiance of the glory of God Himself. The higher up the mountain, the closer he came to God. The closer he came to God, the more like Him he became, the more he shone with God’s glory.
Where are you in relation to God? He is inviting you to climb to Him, to dwell with Him, delight in Him, enjoy Him now and forever! If you long to see Him, long to be with Him, you will climb that mountain, strive with your heart, soul, and might to be near to God in Christ every day of your life. And as you go about your day, discipling your children, changing diapers, helping with homework, correcting them and enjoying them, you will shine with the radiance of Christ. Everything you do will be tinged with God’s glory because you’ve become like Him as you’ve worshiped Him. Your children will see that. They will learn from that. And they will desire to be like you, worship God with you, and so become like Him as they grow up to be like you.
Our passage assumes that our kids will ask us gospel questions—and that we will have gospel answers:

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’

What kind of questions do you have for your kids? Do you know how you get gospel answers? By climbing higher up the mountain, pursuing Christ more and more, cultivating a desire in your heart for Him above all things. Your job is not to be Bible-answer-parent or to root out heresy from your 3 year-old’s worldview. The best thing you can do for your children is to cultivate a vital, deepening relationship with Christ that spills out everywhere in your life. Including your parenting.

2. Like Mom & Dad, Like Sons & Daughters

Earlier in the series, we mentioned that Paul subverted the patriarchy of his day. A good Greco-Roman would have said, children obey your father. Paul said, “children obey your parents,” and “honor your father AND mother.” Then he LIMITED the father’s authority over his children—something unheard of in contemporary culture!—by saying, “fathers do not provoke your children to anger.” (My kids remind me of this verse on a regular basis.)
In fact, the feminist movement would never have happened if Jesus hadn’t walked the earth. That doesn’t make feminism Christian by definition. But Christianity undermined repressive patriarchy in ways that nothing else in human history has.
That said, God does have a special role for fathers to play in the spiritual life and growth of their families. Studies have shown that fathers wield a unique influence on the spiritual direction of the household. So I want to say a few words especially to dads.

Like Father, Like Family

Listen to these recent studies:
Swiss study
Non-practicing father w/ practicing mother = 66% of kids NOT attending.
Non-practicing mother w/ practicing father = 66% of kids attending.
American study
Both parents Sunday school = 72% for kids
Only father = 55%
Only mother = 15%
2nd US study
If child becomes Christian, 3.5% chance whole household follows
Mother = 17%
Father = 93%
Jonas loves basketball. He’s ok with soccer, not a fan of baseball, indifferent to football. Do you know why? Because I love basketball, I’m ok with soccer, I’m not a fan of baseball and I’m relatively indifferent to football. He does have his own tastes and talents, and he’s in the process of discovering them. But I have wielded an enormous influence over his sports preferences. How much MORE influence do I wield in the core of who he is, as a follower of Jesus?
Fathers, you wield an enormous influence over the spiritual well-being of your household. This isn’t because you’re more important than your wife. It’s because God’s design in the family is for you to be a servant leader that points the way to Jesus for your wife and your kids!
Brothers, we teach our sons to hit a baseball, our daughters to ride a bike. We pass on our preferences in fading things that will not endure. But do we pass on the faith??? The statistics seem to say no! Our kids deserve better than that! Your kids deserve better.
You make sure they are provided for, have food and roof and presents at Christmas, right? You save for your kids’ future, putting aside money in a college fund? But do you make the bare minimum investment in their eternal security???
No parent can save their children—only God in His sovereign grace can save. But He uses means—and it seems that the means He has chosen to make most influential in a child’s life is the father! Humanly speaking, you literally DOUBLE their chances of following Jesus just by showing up on Sunday.
By making a commitment to be a vital member of God’s church and consistently participating in Sunday worship, you make it more likely that they will see Jesus for who He is. Do you make Sundays a priority in your life and the life of your family? An investment of 2 hours/week on Sunday mornings could lead your children on a path of eternal joy and happiness! THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY is there for you to shape more than ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD!!!
Are you up for the challenge? Will you make this basic commitment to get your family out the door on Sunday mornings and worship God with His people, rain or shine, sports and other activities or no? What you do with your Sunday will show your children what they should worship. Men, what will we do?

Like Mom & Dad, Like Sons & Daughters

Before we started this series, I sent out a survey to the parents in our church. One question was: “What I hope most for my children is…” Some answers were:
That they will know God and enjoy Him and serve Him
They love Jesus and are wise
Grow up happy with a love for Christ
To follow the Lord!
that they will grow up to know and understand the love of God in the Gospel.
How do we make that happen? Sometimes we think it’s a matter of finding the right children’s ministry or youth program. If I can just find the right environment for my son or daughter, then they’ll come to faith! But God tells us how to make this happen in v.7-9. He has given us the key to creating that environment: the family is the faith environment our kids need to know Him.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Transformed parents will not guarantee transformed kids. But God works through families! He makes our children members of His church through the faith of their parents! And He has placed your child in your family so that YOU can be their primary discipler now and for the rest of their lives!
If you love God with all your heart, soul, and might, then that love will spill over into EVERYTHING! When you sit, and walk, and lie down, and rise, Christ will be on your lips. What you wear and the face you present to the world will be influenced by the glory of the gospel. Even your furniture, the way your home is setup, what you do with your time, what your living room is centered on will be submitted to the reign of the God who made and redeemed you in Jesus.
I’m thankful for the way that Cornelia serves our kids by making devotionals for the upper elementary Grace Kids class. We’ve established a habit in our family where the kids know the first they should do is read their Bible. I usually get up first and am reading my Bible. Then the kids come down, get their Bibles, and sit next to me. Emma is starting to read basic words, and she has a Bible that she is learning to read too. It’s awesome! All that usually takes place before 7AM (7:30 during summer). It let’s me ask them through the day what they’re reading, and we talk about how Daniel points to Jesus or what Elijah was so afraid of Jezebel for.
Try this: next time you’re driving home from church, ask your child what story they learned in Grace Kids. Preschool and Elementary all hear the same stories. Let them take turns telling the story back to you. Giving them the chance to tell it together gets them playing off each others’ energy.
For each sermon in this series, we’ve given a short homework assignment, asking you to think intentionally about your household. Here’s your homework this week:
Raising Humans Homework #4
Currently, my relationship with Christ is a) strong, b) mediocre, c) weak, d) hardly there. Here’s how this impacts my family__________.
Right now, we as parents show our kids that we worship and need Jesus by __________.
One way we will commit to grow in this in the next year is _______________.
We need to teach our kids diligently, we need to connect everything in their lives back to the gospel of Jesus because our world is not conducive to discipleship. And the crazy thing is, neither was the Promised Land!!! God was leading them somewhere that would actually HINDER their spiritual growth. Listen to what Moses says in v.10:

10 “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

Do you know what Moses is saying? God is going to give you material blessings: houses, farms, vineyards, wealth, abundance. And these are going to make you FORGET GOD!!! Wealth and comfort spoils your spiritual appetite.
We need this reminder! We live in the wealthiest region in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest nation in the world! You may not be the 1% of the U.S., but you ARE the 1% of the globe. No other people on the planet are as privileged as we are by virtue of where we live. You may not feel like it—and you may have legitimate financial troubles that I am NOT trying to minimize. But if I were to generalize about our church, I would say we are rich. And therefore in spiritual danger.
And if WE are in spiritual danger, how much more our kids? They won’t know any better than to have running water and sliding minivan doors that open automatically and more food than they need and the best weather in the world. They will ASSUME wealth and comfort. And they spoil the spiritual appetite.
If this is what we want, we need to hear v.12: “Don’t forget God!” Develop personal spiritual habits that will draw you further and further up the mountain so you will reflect His glory. We become what we worship, and our kids will worship what we do. Fathers, your leadership in this is especially crucial. Parents, talk with each other about how you will intentionally serve the Lord to keep your children from forgetting God in a land of abundance. Work together until you can find ways that everything in your life connects back to Christ. Because your children will know Jesus the more you love and look like Him.
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