We are midway through a 5-week sermon series entitled Upstream: Counter Culture Discipleship.
Are we going with the flow of culture or taking the more challenging course of Christian discipleship?
A key area for asking this question is the topic of family.
I realize that we all in different situations (single/married, kids, grand-kids, no kids/ kids (of all ages), and that all families have unique challenges, hurts, and struggles.
So, I want to begin by reminding that your family is bigger than your family.
In the church family, God has given you “brothers and sisters and mothers and children” (Matt 10:30).
(How many of you have been thumped on the head by a woman who wasn’t your mother?!) When we talk about family, we’re not just talking about the folks you go home with today; we are also talking shared responsibility and shared joy we have as the family of believers.
Shameless plug: Say Yes to CT Kids & VBS
A Christian brother of mine helped me when I first became a dad.
At the time, it was trendy to refer to one’s family as a team.
He had a lot of kids, so it wasn’t much of stretch to think of trading the family car for a team bus!
But he said something that stuck with me: We aren’t a team; we’re a family.
God's design of the family is special.
It’s function is unique and profound.
And I want to draw you attention to a significant part of that purpose today: family is ground zero for for disciple-making.
Beware of Culture-Drift
Deuteronomy 6 is likely one of (if not the first) passages of Scripture that would have been taught to Jesus as a boy.
Fascinating to me to think of Jesus, the Word—who was in beginning with God and was God (Jn 1:1)—the Word being taught the Word of God.
These were words that shaped him as he grew “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:42).
Moses was preparing the next generation to cross into the Promised land.
He had just recited the 10 Commandments that were initially given to the parents of the present generation.
And so he reiterates it here for this generation to keep and practice in the Promised Land.
Moses is teaching them to cultivate the proper regard for God (fear of God) in their heart and in their children and grandchildren so that they will thrive as God intended.
If you want to thrive, don’t forget God.
Beware of cultural influence that leads away from God.
The threat of armies was minor in comparison to the more serious and prolonged threat of “going with the flow” of Canaanite culture.
Many people today are lamenting the decaying values of our surrounding culture (belief in God, morals, virtue, etc.).
But what about at home?
Whose values are we ordering our family life around?
Cultural drift in our homes: children are more more versed in politics or sports or academics than faith / screen time replaces table time / Mom and Dad have got nothing on Alexa, Siri, Google, and YouTube (Ask Siri: “Is there a God?” “That’s a topic for another day, and another assistant”) / flurry of extra-curricular activity is the norm, busy has become a family virtue
Chap Clark: Parenting today has “evolved to the point where we believe driving is support, being active is love, and providing any and every opportunity is selfless nurture.
We are a culture that has forgotten to be together.”
Parenting is so much more than being active parents shuttling kids to activity after activity.
It is about making disciples.
And doing that well will mean having “upstream” routines, habits, and disciplines.
Make Disciples at Home
There was a radio program that offered over a hundred dollars to the third caller if they would honestly tell them what the first words were that they said that morning.
As you might imagine, many of the responses were profanity laced realizations of people who overslept, stepped on their dog, or realized they left the garage door open.
But one man called in with a strong Jewish accent and said: “Shema...
After an awkward pause the DJ said, “Wrong number” and hung up.
Jesus would have grown up saying those words every morning and every evening.
They were God-pointed counter-culture words then and now.
And this passage of Scripture, more clearly than any other, instructs us to make the most of the opportunities we have at home as a family.
God is of primary importance.
Love the Lord with all.
(Point to the loveliness of God.)
Rob Rienow - The biblical purpose of parenting is to do all in our power to impress the hearts of our children with a love for God.
You can’t lead where you won’t go— “on your heart”
Don’t miss prime moments for teaching and talking about God and his ways (home time, driving time, bedtime, and breakfast time)
Don’t forget the Lord your God
Literal application: frontlets/symbols - gave rise to the use of the phylactery (small leather containers to hold the texts of Ex 13:1-10; Deut 6:4-9; 11:13-21 inscribed on scrolls)
Metaphorical application: subject of your thoughts, on your mind and heart, remembered at all times : hand and forehead, doorposts and gates
Do all in your power to impress on your heart and the hearts of your family members that which is #1: God.
(Revelation and response)
Remember the Cross
One more thing I’d like to emphasize: When we teach God’s ways to our children, it’s important that it is not mere moralistic teaching.
Researchers have shown that the most common view of teenagers is that Christianity is about being a good person and it helps you feel better, but God is not really involved in one’s life.
That’s not the gospel.
Notice how ‘obeying the rules’ was linked to the active deliverance of God.
It’s important that we teach our children Christian morals, right living, etc., but let’s not forget to give ‘em Jesus.
This is our story: God sent a Savior.
The perfect Son of God—because of his love for us—gave himself up to be crucified for our sins to deliver us from sin and death.
We love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and might because He first loved us.