About sarhodes

I serve as the Pastor at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, Ohio. I am married to Meagan and we have been married since 2003. We have two children, Mercedes Grace and Abigail Elizabeth. Mercedes was born on September 1, 2011 and Abigail was born on December 4, 2013. I graduated in 2000 from Northmont High School in Clayton, Ohio (just northwest of Dayton). I graduated with a BA in pastoral studies from Cedarville University in 2006 and the an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2010. I enjoy movies, especially action moves like Braveheart, the Patriot and Gladiator. I especially enjoy historical movies. I also enjoy documentaries. I enjoy reading: I love historical books, especially Revolutionary War biographies. I enjoy reading theological books as well. I enjoy spending time with Meagan, Mercedes and Abigail. I also enjoy fishing and watching football.

Biblical Worldview

Pray We and Our Children Have a Biblical Worldview and Are Separate from the World (1 Chronicles 12:32; Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 21; James 4:4)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes on Sunday, June 24, 2018 for and at Bethel Friends Church

Recently there was a news case about a monkey taking a selfie. One news article reads:

A photographer whose camera was used by a monkey to take a selfie has won a two-year legal battle against an animal rights group about copyright over the image.

Naruto, a rare crested macaque monkey who lives in the Tangkoko Reserve on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, picked up David Slater’s camera and snapped the now-famous photo in 2011. 

Peta sued “on behalf” of the monkey in 2015, seeking financial control of the photographs for the benefit of Naruto.

Judges in the US deemed the monkey was ineligible to hold copyright over the image.[1]

What does it mean to be human? That is a worldview question. Every day this question is being talked about in the world, but they are not basing their discussion from the Bible.

For example, a few weeks ago the New York Times ran a headline: “Actress Struck by Car in Park Slope Loses Unborn Daughter.”[2] The question must be asked, “Does New York Times now believe a baby in the womb is a life”? What we actually see is that the unborn child is recognized as a child only when the baby is wanted by his or her parents. This is about worldview. What does it mean to be human?

There was a headline titled State Comes Out with New LGBTQ Curriculum. This headline came out on April 23, 2018 in the Boston Herald.[3] This was about a Massachusetts school coming out with this curriculum. A summary: “Bay State schools will be able to try a new curriculum with LGBTQ-themed history, English and health this fall that proponents say is an effort to help all students see themselves reflected in classrooms.” This, once again, is about the worldview question of what it means to be human.

One must ask, what worldview will be taught in schools? Another headline: “Supporters rally for gay teacher amid discrimination claim after he told 1st-graders about same-sex marriage.”[4]

A bouquet of flowers sent to a teacher from his husband on Valentine’s Day set off a controversy and claims of discrimination in a rural community at the edge of the Chicago area, resulting in a standing-room-only school board meeting Monday evening.

When Nathan Etter, a first-year music teacher at Prairie View Grade School near Elgin, received the bouquet from his husband, some first-grade students asked who they were from. He said he answered honestly and that some students reacted with comments like “ewww” and “gross.”

Etter, 30, who has been married to Philip Etter since August, said he used the interaction as a “teachable moment,” making very brief comments about respect and tolerance and explaining how some families have two moms or two dads.

According to administrators in Kane County-based Central Unit School District 301, the parent of one student contacted the district with “serious concerns” about Etter’s comments, prompting the principal to meet with the teacher to learn more about what had occurred.

School board President Jeff Kellenberger told the crowd at Monday’s gathering that, after that meeting, “the district had no further concerns and considered the matter resolved. Mr. Etter’s employment … was never in jeopardy.”

But Etter and his union apparently interpreted the meeting differently. Nearly two months later, according to district officials, the vice president of the local teachers union sent an email to the entire district faculty and staff claiming “school leaders treated Mr. Etter in a discriminatory manner,” according to an open letter released in response the next day by Kellenberger and Superintendent Todd Stirn.

The articles goes on to talk about supporters for him.

These types of articles are in the news everyday and they all have at their root worldview. Generally, it is “What does it mean to be human”? There are more. Our world is trying to figure things out without the Bible. Without the Bible we are lost looking into these topics. Without the Bible we are for sure the blind leading the blind. We are arrogantly trying to figure these things out without talking to the creator. It is like a car trying to figure out why it is a car.

We are in a sermon series on Scriptures I have been convicted to pray. Today, I have Scriptures that are about worldview. Or, at least I pray them asking that myself and my descendants have a Biblical worldview.

My theme:

Pray that we and our descendants have a worldview that comes from the Bible.

Let’s read Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

  1. What is a worldview?
    1. Merriam-Websters says: a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the worldespecially from a specific standpoint — called also [5]
    2. Everyone has a worldview, they just do not realize it. Additionally, our worldview is changed by those around us.
    3. Usually we do not realize what our worldview is. We simply make decisions from day-to-day and we do not realize how our worldview is guiding the decisions. When you hear a news event you react to it based off of your worldview.
    4. For example, if you read an article from New York Magazine titled: 180 Minutes With Desmond Is Amazing He’s a 10-year-old drag performer, and he’s cooler than you,[6] your reaction to it will be based off of your worldview. In fact, your reaction to that very title is based off of your worldview.
    5. How about your reaction to Bruce Jenner having a sex change and then being the Glamour woman of the year?[7]
    6. How do you react to that, it is based on your worldview. Further, this, also, has to do with the worldview question of why God created two sexes. This has to do with the worldview of what it means to be a man or a woman. Further, if a transgendered woman can win woman of the year what does that mean to all the biological women everywhere? I would think that is an insult to the feminist movement. Were they really saying that a biological man who has a sex change is a better woman?
    7. Our worldview is set at a very young age, but it does change throughout life. We see that millennials, those born after 1982 (that year changes based on studies) change their worldview based on their peers.
    8. However, I think the same about other generations. For example, President George and Barbara Bush attended a homosexual wedding. I think that did not fit their worldview years ago.
    9. Years ago, when homosexual marriage came out on the news you probably strongly rejected the idea. But now you may know many people who are homosexual and so now you interpret the news through your relationship with these people, rather than from the Bible.
    10. Years ago, when you heard that a woman and a man were living together outside of marriage you likely immediately thought that was wrong. But now you know many people who live in that way. Your own children or grandchildren may live together outside of marriage. You interpret whether that is right or wrong based on your relationship with them and who they are, rather than the Bible.
    11. However, the Bible speaks objectively to life and we must view everything through the Bible. Interesting that many times science is actually proving God’s ways are best. For example, when a couple has sexual intercourse outside of marriage a chemical is released in the man that is really telling him he is a conqueror. Women will think they will give him sexual intercourse and that will make him devoted to her. However, outside of marriage this chemical is simply telling him he conquered. However, when a couple has sexual intercourse within marriage there is a chemical released that makes him more devoted to listening and being attentive to his wife.[8] This study shows what the Bible already has told us.
    12. So, we have a worldview, we all do, the question is where is its foundation.
    13. We need our worldview to come from the Bible. The Bible speaks objective and it does not change.
    14. Therefore, my prayer is that Meagan and I and our descendants have a worldview that is from the Bible. This means whenever they interpret world events they do so from the Bible’s viewpoint, not fallen humanity.
  2. We must understand the ways of the world are different than God’s ways.
    1. James 4:4: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
    2. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
    3. 1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…
  • How do we have a Biblical worldview
    1. Romans 12:1-2 tells us: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which isyour spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
    2. But how do you become a living sacrifice?
      1. Living and sacrifice are contradictory terms. We always think of a sacrifice as being dead. The problem with a living sacrifice is it can crawl off the alter. I was in a Sunday school class that was led by an older man. This man was hunting with his grandfather during the depression. It was bitterly cold as they walked down the railroad tracks looking for food. His grandfather walked right passed a dead possum. But my Sunday school teacher, he saw it. He called out to his grandfather and they took it home. His grandfather gave it to his wife who put it by the stove to get it ready for the preparation process. Well as that possum got warm it got life back in it and started running around the house. They thought it was dead. It was on the alter to be food, yet it got off of their alter.
      2. We as Christians must do this intentionally. Intentionally we must be sacrifices for God.
    3. Our bodies as living sacrifices are to be “holy and acceptable to God.” Acceptable could be better translated, “Pleasing.” God is pleased by our sacrifice. But as we are a sacrifice we must be holy. We must be holy to come to the thrown of God. God is holy. Lev 11:44: “be holy because I am holy.” Ex 3:5: “Take off your sandals for you are on holy ground.”
    4. Being a sacrifice to God is worship. Worship is not just singing to God. It is worship to make our whole life a sacrifice to God.
    5. This living sacrifice is a process. Since we are alive, this is not a one-time thing, but continual. What does it mean to be pleasing to God? The idea is of God having an attitude towards us as pleasing. The Old Testament sacrifices were said to have an aroma that was pleasing to God.
    6. In verse 2 Paul calls us to avoid worldly contamination and have spiritual transformation:
    7. We can present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, by not being conformed to this age, but by being transformed.
    8. These words: “Conformed” and “transformed” are both commands.
      1. Transformed is the word for metamorphosis. This is the same word used to describe a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We must have a gradual change to be more and more like Christ.
      2. I think of Clark Kent changing into Superman
    9. So, how do we do this? How do we allow ourselves to be transformed by God?
    10. This happens by renewing our mind
      1. Look at Romans 6:1-2: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
        1. We cannot test these things when we are still in the world.
        2. I had a student in my youth group ask me, “How can I know what God wants?” you can do that by knowing His Word, and by being transformed to His interests. If you are of the world, you will not.
      2. Come out of the world, be Christ like. There is a difference between the world and Christianity.
      3. Then, as God transforms us we have a Biblical worldview and that is what we need.
      4. We must be let God transform us.
      5. We must live out 2 Timothy 2:15: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
      6. Study the Bible, live in the Bible, that is the Truth. We need our worldview based on Truth.
      7. We must live out Colossians 3:1: Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
      8. I love that passage! What are you meditating on? It will affect your worldview.
      9. 1 Chronicles 12:32: Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do
      10. We must study culture too, but the Bible is Truth.
      11. The Bible is our litmus test.

Close:

George Barna writes:

83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, yet only 49% describe themselves as absolutely committed to Christianity. (The Barna Update, 5-21-07)

“The primary reason that people do not act like Jesus is because they do not think like Jesus,” Barna said. “Behavior stems from what we think—our attitudes, beliefs, values, and opinions.” -“Barna: Biblical Worldview Held by Only 4 Percent of Adults,” Baptist Press (December 2, 2003).

The Barna Research Group found that just 4 percent of American adults have a biblical Worldview and only 9 percent of those categorized as born-again Christians have a biblical Worldview. Not surprisingly, those without a biblical Worldview have a vastly different view of immoral and unethical behavior.

For instance, those without a biblical Worldview were:

  1. –Around 100 times more likely to endorse abortion
  2. –Around 80 times more likely to say exposure to pornography is morally acceptable
  3. –31 times more likely to believe living together before marriage is morally acceptable
  4. –15 times more likely to believe homosexual sex is acceptable
  5. –18 times more likely to endorse drunkenness
  6. –11 times more likely to say adultery is OK

So, what does it mean to be human? I preached about that a few months ago, but I like what my friend and mentor Pastor Rick Sams wrote:

BROKEN by Pastor Rick Sams

  Broken. That’s how all-star Cleveland Cavaliers forward, Kevin Love, described his left hand in the latter part of this season. I would describe him as one of the more “brittle” (injury prone) players on the Cavs, especially compared to Lebron. Love likely would disagree with my description.

  But broken is the label he put on himself: “We are all damaged goods.” He was describing the anxiety and panic attacks that has occasionally affected his ability to play the game he loves. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Washington’s Kelly Oubre, also high caliber NBA players, manned up and stepped up with K-Love to claim the same brokenness.*

  But here’s some good news about brokenness. Jesus speaks of the truth that sets us free from any “chains” or brokenness that hold us back (John 8:32). It wasn’t just any truth Jesus referred to…it was the truth about him as the great liberator and healer: “And if the Son [of God, Jesus] sets you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

  Jesus talks of a future time when He will fix all the brokenness and make all things new (Revelation 21:5).

  Way back in the past brokenness was “our bad.” Our spiritual & physical ancestors, Adam & Eve, brought brokenness into the world by their sin. Sinning was like pouring sand into the “finely tuned machines” God had created; the world and our bodies.

  “Sin” is anything that breaks the perfect love relationship our heavenly Father God wants to have with us and intended for us to have when He created the world. Sin separates us from God and us from each other.

  But Jesus offers the cure for brokenness; a love relationship with Jesus himself: “Behold I [Jesus] stand at the door [of your heart] and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” (Revelation 3:20). But we must open the door to our heart from the inside. There’s no doorknob on the outside.

  As Kevin Love said: “Everybody is going through something…it’s called life. What you make of the repair [available] makes all the difference.” *

  What will you do with Jesus’ offer of healing and restoration? Jesus offers a fix for the brokenness that afflicts us all (Romans 3:10, 23).

(*“Pointing The Way Forward Through Times of Life,” Bill Livingston, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/21/18, p B1-2)[9]

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/monkey-selfie-david-slater-photographer-peta-copyright-image-camera-wildlife-personalities-macaques-a7941806.html

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/nyregion/ruthie-ann-miles-miscarriage.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fashley-southall&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=collection&mc_cid=8255f265b4&mc_eid=ccb40608e2

[3]http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2018/04/state_comes_out_with_new_lgbtq_curriculum?mc_cid=1caf86a662&mc_eid=ccb40608e2

[4] http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-gay-teacher-rally-burlington-20180417-story.html?mc_cid=1caf86a662&mc_eid=ccb40608e2

[5] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worldview

[6] https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/desmond-is-amazing-is-cooler-than-you.html?mc_cid=9e5ee22e52&mc_eid=2b0af7ecd4

[7] https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/caitlyn-jenner-at-women-of-the-year-awards-never-thought-id-be-here-20151011/

[8] From Juli Slattery, “Java with Juli, May 28, 2018. [Juli is a Christian Psychologist]

[9] Sams, Rick. Rick’s Ramblings. May 29, 2018 published in Alliance Review Saturday, June 3 or May 26. Rick serves as the pastor of Alliance Friends Church

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Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20; focus on Luke 9:23)

Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20; focus on Luke 9:23)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and Preached for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, June 17, 2018 

Happy Father’s Day!

Toss football around in this initial illustration

My dad used to take us fishing. We used to help my dad in the yard. We used to do a lot of things together. But he also taught us football.

I grew up a sports fan. I loved sports. I loved football and I loved the Browns. I will have you know that the Browns let me down too many times and so several years ago I switched my allegiance to the Steelers. You know it is a true story that there was a man that had in his will that Browns players serve as his pallbearers, so the team could let him down one more time.[1] I loved Sundays and Monday nights and anytime the Browns played. However, I was a fan, I was not a player. I could yell at the team. I could criticize the team. I could get upset and let the team give me depression, but I was not physically hurt by the game. In one of the AFC championship games my brother and I were so worried that we got all of our Browns stuff and laid it in front of the television. It did not help. Life went on. I was not “all in” with the Browns, or any football team. I was just a fan.

When it comes to sports, until about seven years ago I was only a fan. When I was in the sixth grade I played football on a team. I really didn’t enjoy the game that much. Being on a team you didn’t get to play as much. You had to sacrifice for the team. We also had to work hard. We had practice most every day and we came home sore. I had a friend who broke his arm playing quarterback. The next year he broke his collar bone at practice. These are things that players experience, but fans don’t. Fans aren’t sore on Monday. Fans don’t have a practice to commit to. Players have to commit. Now granted, players may have more fun as well. The player gets the real enjoyment when they score a touchdown. But the prize comes with a price.  The price is hard work and commitment. The price is sacrificing yourself and your own interest for the team. The price is committing to the cause which is winning.

A handful of years ago I did go further than being a fan of one sport and that is running. Now, I am not a team, but I ran three marathons. The thing is, it does take training and commitment. To train for a marathon I had to commit to a vigorous running schedule. My running was no longer about exercise but an actual goal. I am sore often. At one point I finished a run and was stretching and I got a Charlie horse in my stomach. I have been awakened with Charlie horses in my legs. But this is part of being a player.

The point is this, as Christians Jesus does not call us to be fans. He calls us to participate. We can have the joy of leading others to Christ just as a player has the joy of a touchdown. We have the joy of serving others on a mission trip or at a food pantry just as a football player has the joy of an interception. Actually, we can even intercept what the devil is trying to do. We can have the joy of discipling someone just as a runner has the joy of completing miles. But we also must sacrifice.

Are you a fan or a follower?

Are you all in with Jesus?

Many times our relationship with Jesus becomes more about self-help than about being a follower of Jesus. Jesus calls us to deny our self, take up our cross and follow Him.

Okay, so I am in a sermon series about Scriptures to pray for our children and descendants. Today, let’s talk about praying that our descendants are followers of Jesus.

My theme and application is:

Be a Follower of Jesus, Model this for Your Children (Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20).

I have three Scriptures: Luke 9:23; 1 Corinthians 9:19-27; Galatians 2:20, but we will only talk about Luke 9:23.

Let’s read: Luke 9:23

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

  1. Context: First, let me tell a little bit about the context.
    1. Jesus is on a preaching tour. He has been going from place to place preaching. Actually, just before this passage Jesus had fed 5000 people. In this same chapter Jesus has cast demons out of a man and woman. Jesus has also sent the disciples to heal and cast out demons. Notice that in this way the disciples are followers. They are following Jesus and Jesus allowed them to participate. Later on, the disciples will participate even more as they are even persecuted and all of them are martyred.
    2. Jesus had just asked them who people think He is. They answer and then Jesus asked who they think He is. Peter answers that He is the Christ.
    3. Following this Jesus talks about suffering. Jesus says that He will have to suffer and be betrayed.
    4. Now Jesus says to them all. It appears that there are more people there. Jesus is traveling around, and He has quite a following. I’d imagine that the disciples are in the front listening closely.

So, Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me…”

  1. Deny, let’s talk about this term.
    1. This term translated “deny” carries the idea of sacrificing your own desires. This carries the idea of surrendering your own claim. This actually means admitting that someone does not exists. So, I would have to say, “Steve, who is that?”
    2. To be a disciple I must be willing to sacrifice my own desires. Now this is not something I must do first. It is not that I do this in order to be a Christian. It is not necessarily that I do this after I become a Christian. This is really something that just happens. This is something the Holy Spirit does in my life. I cannot force myself to do this. I must allow God to work in me.
    3. You see, my natural nature is to be selfish. My natural nature is that I will be driving and someone will just cut me off, so I want to be mad at the person. I may want to tell him he is number one or yell out the window. But this is putting myself first and not the other cars around me. I must deny myself.
    4. Certainly, the best example of this is Jesus. Jesus gave up His throne in Heaven to come down to earth. That was for us. We see this in Phil. 2:3-11. Actually, the Bible says to consider others as more important than yourselves and to look out for others needs before your own.
  • Death: Jesus calls us to die to ourselves.
    1. He says that we must carry our cross. The cross was an instrument of death and they all knew it. MacArthur said the following:

…more than a hundred years before Jesus ever walked on earth King Alexander Janius crucified 800 rebels at Jerusalem while he was feasting in public. Antiochus Epiphanes, that Greek ruler during the inner-testimental period had also crucified many Jews for a revolt that followed the death of Herod the Great, the proconsul Varus crucified two thousand Jews. It is said that the Romans crucified thirty-thousand Jews in Palestine during the era around the life of Jesus. When Jesus said “Take up a cross,” they only thought of one thing, horrible suffering, pain and death. Jesus is saying, this is how extreme your devotion has to be, this is willingness to endure persecution, this is willingness to endure hatred, hostility, rejection, reproach, shame, suffering even death. They knew exactly what He was talking about. And be ready to do it every day…every day.

  1. In Muslims countries they will actually deny family members when they become Christian.
  2. This is not an obscure passage.
    1. This is NOT something that’s sort of different than the normal teaching of Jesus. These are principles which He teaches repeatedly throughout His ministry over and over and over again in all different contexts.
    2. You can read it in Matthew 10:32-39; Mark 10:21 with the Rich Young Ruler; also Luke 14:25-28; 17:33; John 12:24.
    3. Fathers, be devoted to your family, it is your first mission field.
      1. As fathers we must model this. This is critical.
      2. Are we following Him? Are we seeking God’s call in our lives?
      3. Jesus calls us to be present with him as we follow Him. Following Jesus is not separate from your life and family commitments, but one and the same.
      4. Today, we talk about the stay at home mom, but historically the whole family worked together. The father worked from home too. I recently read an article about just that. Until the industrial age most families worked and lived on farms. The family all worked together. They did not just have breakfast together, but lunch and dinner.[1]The writer shares:
  3. In 1820, the earliest date for which I can find reliable statistics, some 2.1 million men in the United States worked in “farm occupations”—a full 72 percent of the work force.[2]
    1. Jesus calls us to be the best people. Jesus calls us to be the best dads. It used to be that missionaries would send their children to mission boarding schools hundreds and thousands of miles away. Think about it, you go and “serve the Lord” in Africa while dropping your five-year-old off in England.

    Dr. David Jeremiah shared about a time when he was heading out to his son’s basketball game. He was in the church office about to leave when someone came in and told the secretary, “I want to talk with Pastor David Jeremiah.” The secretary said, “He is not available, can I connect you with one of our other pastors?” The man persisted, “I need to talk with David Jeremiah.” The man caught Dr. Jeremiah in the parking lot and said, “I need to talk with you.” Dr. Jeremiah said, “I have 4 other pastors (I think it was 4) who can talk with you right now. I have one son and he has one father and I am going to his basketball game.”

    Being a follower of Jesus impacts all of our life. Christians must be the best dads.

    Fathers, take time for your children and family. 

     

     

    Dr. Howard Hendricks, had one wag tell him, “The devil never takes a holiday, so why should I?” Hendricks didn’t miss a beat and replied: “Oh really? I didn’t know he was your model.”[3]

    We all have our different occupations and we must determine how we can balance to prioritize family. For some, your job is 24×7 and in that case you must give yourself permission to take off for family. For others, you are off at a certain time and you can go home and take the children to the park. For other, maybe it is a little bit of both. I remember coming home from school when I was in elementary school and I saw my dad hitching up the boat to go fishing. My dad was never home that early, but this was an exception and I will never forget it.

    Dads, we have a responsibility to be dads. That is part of our God given calling. Don’t think of it as interrupting our work.

    Christians follow Jesus and this must impact our calling as fathers.

    Do you know Jesus?

    Luke 9:23

    God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

    Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

    Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

    Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

    Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

    Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

    Pray

    [1] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/mans-place-home/

    [2] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/mans-place-home/

    [3] https://pastors.iflblog.com/2018/03/make-sure-you-rest/

 

[1] https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/man-wants-browns-pallbearers-so-team-can-let-him-down-one-last-time/

[2] http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/2266/jesus-power-over-death-part-2

Desire God

June 10:  Pray We and Our Children Desire God (Psalm 42; 63)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, June 10, 2018 

It was 2012 and I was going for a sunny afternoon run. I think I was in the best shape of my life. I had lost 40 pounds in the previous year and I was running at a pace which I have not been able to keep up with. Once a week I would go on a long run, which at that time was about 9 miles. It was a Thursday and it was sunny and warm. I pulled my 2000 Buick LeSabre into the gravel parking lot where the Mahoning Valley Trail began. It was hot, but I was ready, or so I thought. I usually would do some stretching and jumping jacks before the run. I am sure that this day was no different. On this particular run I encountered a problem. It started normal. I ran along the trail which ran along the Mahoning River. The river is small outside Alliance. It is about the size of Yellow Creek. I ran down and up through the wood on the trail. Then about two miles in the trail exits to North Rockhill Avenue. I turn right on North Rockhill and started running up a gradual hill which heads to the rest of the trail. The trail picks up again off of Greenbower Street NE and then the trail heads to the Deer creek Reservoir. As I ran up Rockhill the sun beat down on me and I hit a “wall” like never before. It was not a real “wall.” It is a term they use to describe sudden fatigue. I felt like I could not keep running. I stopped and I looked around. Though later I started carrying water on runs and even wearing a 2 liter water backpack, at this time I did not carry water on my runs. I had not eaten lunch because I would skip lunch in order to run. It was just over a 2 mile walk or run back to my car and if I ignore the wall and try to push through I had another 7 miles to run. I am pretty stubborn so I decided to keep going. I ran through the “wall” and finished my 9 miles.

What does it feel like to be depleted? Have you ever been thirsty? Have you been really thirsty?

How do you feel when you miss church? How do you feel when you miss your devotion time? How do you feel when you skip prayer? How do you feel when you do not read your Bible?

Desiring God video about reading the Bible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOhkldCSs04&t=63s

We are in a sermon series based on Scriptures I have been convicted to pray for myself and descendants. Today, I wish to talk about desiring God.

My theme today:

Pray that we and our descendants desire God. Pray that we desire God in a Psalm 42 and 63 way.

Let’s briefly look at Psalm 63:1-2:

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

  1. My theme and prayer is that we desire God.
    1. Allow me to introduce this Psalm with something Chuck Swindoll wrote:
    2. A Song of Quietness
      by Charles R. Swindoll,
      Psalm 63:1–11: How easy it is to fall into the trap of “ritual religion”! So many Christians know little of a vital, fresh, day-by-day relationship with the Lord. I did not say an inactive relationship. Christians have never been more active! The tyranny of the urgent is no theoretical problem. Many a believer jumps off the Sunday treadmill of activities only to hop on the weekday treadmill of meetings, appointments, functions, rehearsals, clubs, engagements, banquets, studies,  committees, and retreats. I heartily agree with the one who said, “Much of our religious activity today is nothing more than a cheap anesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life!”[1]

That’s a harsh truth to ponder. As a pastor, I hope to help you cultivate a consistent and meaningful walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, a relationship that thrives without needing to be pumped up and recharged with an endless succession of activities. I would wish that we all might know our Lord in such a significant way that this divine companionship, this healthy vertical relationship, becomes a steady, serene, daily communion. We must find ways to live beyond the grind of ritual religion.

In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes,

I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.

Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity that is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world that marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.[2]

Psalm 63 is David’s song about what it means to have a desperate longing for God, and what it means to be fully satisfied in Him alone. It is not a song of activity but of quietness. David didn’t write a march to impel busy feet, but a sonnet to woo thirsty souls.

Believe it or not, many people don’t know they’re thirsty. You may not feel a deep longing to cultivate an ongoing personal interaction with God. That’s probably because you have dulled your spiritual senses with activity. Career activity. Social activity. Religious activity. If so, your first response may be to slow your pace, to simplify.[3]

  1. I have to say that that devotional By Swindoll says it all. At least two Psalms are convictional to me in my prayers about desiring God. One Psalm is Psalm 42. I preached on that Psalm last year. Another Psalm is this Psalm 63.
  2. This Psalm is written by David, either when he was running from Saul or running from Absalom (1 Sam. 23:14–15; 24:1; 2 Sam. 15:23, 28). I think he was likely running from Absalom. You may know the story. David’s son Absalom successfully takes the kingdom away from David. David eventually does regain the kingdom.
  3. Here David says God is his God.
  4. As we review this Psalm, let’s do a Spiritual checkup.
  5. Can you say that? Do you live like God is your God? Or, has God been replaced? Do you organize your affairs around God or your television shows? Who runs your life?
  6. David says that he earnestly seeks God. Do you seek Him?
  7. His flesh yearns for God. He is thirsty for God?
  8. Have you ever been thirsty for God?
  9. In verse 3 David says that God’s lovingkindness is better than life?
  10. Do you believe that?
  11. Is God’s lovingkindness better than life? This is not saying equal to life, but better than life.
  12. David says his lips will praise God.
  13. In verse 4 David says that he will bless God as long as he lives.
  14. David will lift up his hands to God’s name. How are we doing with that?
  15. Notice verses 6-7: When I remember You on my bed,
    I meditate on You in the night watches,
    For You have been my help,
    And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy
    .
  16. Verse 6 has the idea of memorizing Scripture. Verse 6 has the idea of making God and His Word apart of us.
  17. Verse 6 is the idea of waking up at night and thinking about God and His Word. It is the idea of going to sleep thinking about God. A related Psalm is Psalm 4:4: Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
  18. Think about that, when we recognize who God is and who we are, we tremble at the complete reverence before the Holy, Righteous God. Then, we think about our relationship with God and we desire Him.
  19. David desired God. He was thirsty for God.
  20. Verse 8 says: My soul clingsto You;
    Your right hand upholds me.
  21. That word translated as “clings” is the same word used to describe the bond between a husband and wife.
  1. How do we desire God?
    1. I would start by spending time in His Word.
    2. You may not want to at first, but you must make yourself do it.
    3. Add prayer to your day.
    4. Don’t miss church. In fact, most American Christians are really not involved in the church. Attending church once a week is not being connected to the church in a Biblical way. God wants us to be in community. Join one of the other Bible Studies. Join the choir or the praise team. Come to Sunday School.
    5. In the fall I am starting a spiritual disciplines class which will meet either early in the morning or evening. I would lead that at midnight of that works best for one of you. I would do this because my prayer and desire is that we are disciples. Disciples desire God.
    6. You know what, I do not usually like water, but when I am really thirsty I desire water. That does not mean I do not need water the other times. We always need water. You may not crave and thirst for all the time, but you do need Him.
    7. I pray you desire God like David in this Psalm.

Conclusion:

I talked about hitting a runners wall on that summer run. Well, a few months later I did not hit a wall in that way, but I was more thirsty than ever before. This was another Thursday. It was early September of 2012. I was increasing my distance and was now running just over 10 miles. It was sunny and it was hot. I still had not learned to take water on my runs. I ran and I ran and I ran. Up the hills and through the town of Alliance, Ohio. Then, in the last mile of the run the lack of water hit me. I was running up the hill on the last road to my house and I was so thirsty. But I survived.

Will you survive without water?

You will not survive the Christian life without time in the Bible, time in prayer and time with the church.

I pray that we desire God.

John Piper writes:

The cost of food in the kingdom is hunger for the bread of heaven, instead of the white bread of the world. Do you want it? Are you hungry? Or are you satisfied with yourself and your television and your computer and your job and your family?[4]

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] Howard G. Hendricks in an unpublished speech at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.

[2] A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2006), 17.

[3] Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[4] John Piper, author and pastor, from sermon “The Present Power of a Future Possession,” preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota (4-27-97).

 

Pray we and our children live by conviction

Pray We and Our Children Love the Word and Live by Conviction (Psalm 51:1-12 and Psalm 119:9-11 and 105)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached on June 3, 2018 for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH

Let’s think about conviction, confession, repentance and forgiveness.

Married for 16 years and with two great kids, Kurt Stansell seems to have it all together. He has a successful investment counseling business, and he’s a founding elder at his church. And he’s a sex addict. Kurt’s the first to admit it.

For years, Kurt struggled with pornography. It started with magazines, but eventually turned into visits to Triple-X theaters and strip joints. Kurt kept repeating a cycle of guilt and remorse, then prayer and repentance, only to find himself back at it again.

Eventually, Kurt found an accountability partner named Stan. At first, Kurt held back, being less than honest about his problem. But when he finally confessed, telling Stan the whole truth, Kurt immediately felt a weight lifted from his shoulders. He was on the road to victory.

“I began to understand what shame does,” Kurt says. “When we Christians try to hide something in the darkness, we give Satan incredible license to work in our lives. So, the more open I could be, the less of a hold Satan seemed to have.”[1]

Today, we are going to have a discussion, a conversation about conviction, repentance and forgiveness. So, to start I want you to think about sometime that you have had to forgive someone else. Maybe you can recall someone disrespecting you in the way that they said something. Maybe you can recall someone stealing something. Maybe, maybe you can recall something like this……. Play nationwide commercial

——————nationwide commercial 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqY0pP6oogQ

But, she really wasn’t an example of forgiveness, Nationwide was or at least they say they forgive. So, have you ever had to forgive someone?

Now, turn it around. Think about conviction. Then, think about repentance.

We are in a sermon series in which I am focusing on Scriptures that I have been convicted to pray for my children, grandchildren and descendants. These are Scriptures that I pray for myself and the churches I serve and the Church universally.

I pray that we are repentant in a Psalm 51 way. I pray that we are convicted in a Psalm 51 way. I also want to squeeze into this sermon that I also pray that we have a Psalm 119 passion for the Word.

So, I will often pray something like:

Father, I pray that myself, Meagan, Mercedes and Abigail as well as their future spouses, also our grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, I ask that we will live by conviction of sins of omission and commission. I ask the we will live by conviction of right and wrong. I pray that we will be repentant like David in Psalm 51 where we can say with David in verses 10-12:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
 

Father God, I also ask that Meagan and I and our descendants will live with a passion for the Word like the Psalmist in 119. May Your Word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path; may we hide Your Word in our heart so that we do not sin against You.[2] In Jesus’ Name Amen.

My theme today is: Pray that our descendants are men and women of conviction and repentance in a Psalm 51:1-12 way.

Let’s turn to Psalm 51 and read it.

Read Psalm 51:

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

  1. First, let’s talk about conviction as I am using it for this sermon.
    1. One definition of conviction is a strong persuasion or belief.[3]
    2. That is certainly what I pray for myself and our descendants. I pray that our convictions, our strong persuasions and beliefs, are rooted and grounded in the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.
    3. Psalm 119:9-11 and 105: How can a young man keep his way pure?
      By keeping itaccording to Your word.
      10 With all my heart I have sought You;
      Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
      11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
      That I may not sin against You. Your word is a lamp to my feet
      And a light to my path.
    4. How do we stay pure? By keeping our life according to the Word. How do we live by conviction? By make the Word of God a part of us.
    5. Another way that I pray that my descendants are men and women of conviction is that they will be convicted of sins and repent. As stated, there are sins of omission and commission. Sins of omission are sins because we do not do something that we should have done. Neglecting something we should have done. Sins of commission are sins that commit like lying or murder. I pray that we are repentant like David in this Psalm 51. Now, let’s get to the Psalm.
  2. Now I want to give you some background to Psalm 51.
    1. Psalm 51 is about David, the famous King of Israel.
    2. David had conquered many enemies of Israel.
    3. David was God’s anointed King of Israel. (1 Samuel 6:13)
    4. But then, in 2 Samuel chapters 11-13 we see King David commit this awful sin, try to cover it up and then he is confronted by the prophet Nathan. David had some free time because the others went out to battle but this time King David, the famous King of Israel stayed home. King David is about to, as Johnny Cash would say, fall into a “Burning Ring of Fire.” During the night David was walking on the roof of the king’s house and he saw this beautiful woman named Bathsheba taking a bath. David had a servant go and get her and David slept with her. Later on she ended up pregnant.
    5. So, David has to cover up this sin. The pregnancy is going to make it known by everyone that she is pregnant but not by her husband. Her husband, Uriah, the Hittite, was away at battle. So, David sent for him. David had him come home and tried to get him to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba. But Uriah wouldn’t. Uriah wanted to be back at the battle.
    6. So then, David sent Uriah back to battle with the message that he be placed on the front lines and the rest of the troops will withdraw from him (2 Sam 11:14).
    7. So, Uriah died in battle.
    8. In this Psalm David had been confronted about this sin of adultery and murder and this is his prayer of confession.
    9. Before we move on I want to quote 1 John 1:9: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Now let’s look at David’s prayer again
    1. Notice that David asks for God’s grace (verse 1).
    2. he says that He wants God’s grace according to His loving kindness and His compassions (verse 1). David acknowledges who God is. David knows that we have a loving God.
    3. David wants God to blot out his transgression wash him from his iniquity, (verse 1 and 9) cleanse him from his sin. (verse 2 and 10)
      1. This is an instance in the Bible where there are 3 words for sin. They all have separate meanings but very similar. Iniquity is a wicked act or thing. Transgression is crossing a law, sin is missing the mark. David the famous king of Israel is acknowledging in a heavy way that he messed up. In verse 4 he says that he knows his transgression, crossing of the law. In verse 4 he says that he sinned against God and that God is right and a just judge.
      2. David wants this sin to blotted out. The idea of blotting something out is like erasing a contract. David wants his sin to be erased.
  • In a Babylonian text there is a comment that the king may order that the tablet of “my sins be broken.” In Hammurabi’s code an illegal contract for the purchase of a soldier’s home may be canceled by breaking the cuneiform tablet. But this was not usually thought of with a god. This is what David wanted.
  1. David wants to be washed in verse 2 and later in verse 7 he talks about the idea of being washed. In verse 7 he talks about being purified with hyssop which was plant they used to purify uncleanness.
  2. David wants to be cleansed.
  3. Think of the effects of confession and repentance:

By the time Howard Schultz had resigned from Starbucks in 2000, the coffee chain was experiencing steady growth. Eight years later, when Starbucks was reeling from a bad economy and stiff competition, Schultz resumed his role as Starbucks’ chief executive. He faced a challenging mission: to lead a turnaround. In an interview about his return, Schultz commented that before they could move forward, they had to deal with the past by honestly admitting their mistakes. Here’s an excerpt from that interview:

When I returned in January 2008, things were actually worse than I’d thought. The decisions we made were very difficult, but first there had to be a time when we stood up in front of the entire company as leaders and made almost a confession—that the leadership had failed the 180,000 Starbucks people and their families. And even though I wasn’t the CEO…I should have known better. I am responsible. We had to admit to ourselves and to the people of this company that we owned the mistakes that were made. Once we did, it was a powerful turning point. It’s like when you have a secret and get it out: The burden is off your shoulders.[4]

  1. But then in verse 8 David prays for joy again.
  2. David has probably lost the joy because for a year he had this overwhelming guilt of this sin that he committed. Guilt can cause major problems there is even a whole chapter on guilt in Pastoral counseling books.
  3. David asks for a clean heart and a right Spirit. (10)
  4. David asks that he not be cast from God’s presence and that he doesn’t lose the Holy Spirit.
  5. in 1 Samuel 18 and 19 we can see that the Spirit of the Lord had left King David’s predecessor Saul because of sin.
  6. Then in verse 12 David asks for the joy of God’s salvation and a willing Spirit. The Living Translation says “and make me willing to obey Him.
  7. I find this interesting. After confessing David asks for help to keep obeying God.

We live in a society where people focus on the outside but King David focused on the inside. He had messed up. But when David confessed it he went to God. David realized that he couldn’t fix this massive sin on his own. He had to go to God. Then when he went to God, he didn’t make excuses.

  1. He acknowledges his “epic failure.”
  2. He asks for a cleansing
  3. He asks that he doesn’t lose his close relationship with God.

Research psychologists have found there are at least three situations when we are not ourselves. First, the average person puts on airs when he visits the lobby of a fancy hotel. Next, the typical Jane Doe will try to hide her emotions and bamboozle the salesman when she enters the new-car showroom. And finally, as we take our seat in church or synagogue, we try to fake out the Almighty that we’ve really been good all week.[5]

God forgave David. Jesus came from David’s lineage and Jesus died that we all can have forgiveness and a relationship with God. (2 Cor 5:21: God made Him who knew no sin….) Remember what  1John 1:9 says God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins. If we confess. God will forgive you even if people will not.

Now, we have talked about David’s sin and confession.

How are you doing with repentance and confession?

We need to pray that God helps us, and our descendants, be men and women of conviction. We must ask God to help us to be men and women of conviction in that we know right from wrong and we are grounded in the Bible. But we also must pray for conviction of sins of omission and commission and that we respond like David in repentance.

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] Gregg Lewis, author of The Power of a Promise Kept. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

[2] Psalm 119:9-11 and 105

[3] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conviction

[4] Adi Ignatius, “We Had to Own the Mistakes,” Harvard Business Review (July-August 2010), p. 109

[5] Dr. Perry Buffington, licensed psychologist, author, columnist; “Playing Charades,” Universal Press Syndicate (9-26-99)

Scriptures to Pray with your Children (1 Timothy 3)

Memorial Day: Pray We, and Our Children, are Good People (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

Praying Scripture Series

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes on May 27 for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH

Today is Memorial Day and I have to say I am so very grateful to all of our veterans. I am so grateful for all those that died serving our country. When I was a young boy I was in Cub Scout and on the Saturday before Memorial Day we would go to the Veterans Administration Cemetery and put flags by all the graves. My brother and I always wanted to get to my grandfather’s grave to put a flag next to his grave.

As I think of Memorial Day I also think of being good citizens. Christians must be the best and most upstanding citizens of our country. We must be good people. We must be responsible. We must have the best ethics. We must be the hardest workers We must have the most integrity. We must be dependable. We must be the kindest.

You know that I love history. I was recently listening to a history book on the Revolutionary war. That is my favorite time period. In my opinion, one thing about the United States up until World War II we were a country made up of dedicated citizens. We were people who did not like to depend upon anyone else or the government. We were hard workers. We had good financial stewardship. We were frugal and did not like to be in debt. We took all these great qualities into the military with us. Our founding fathers were dedicated men and their wives were every bit as dedicated. John Adams is one of my favorite men. He was a completely dedicated man, but so was his wife. John and Abigail Adams were faithful to each other through everything. They were also faithful each other. But I do not think he was faithful to God. It is said that he was a unitarian. George Washington was faithful to his wife and it seems very faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Washington was a good man, and good gentleman.

What does it mean to be a good person? I know the Bible teaches that no one is good, no not one (Romans 3:10-12). That is true, we all miss the mark of holiness and we all need Jesus. But you know what I mean when someone says, that person is a good person? Christians ought to be that way.

We continue the sermon series on Scriptures to pray for your children. Some could ask: “Could this series be titled: “Scriptures to pray with your children?” I would say, yes, as long as they are still Scriptures to pray for your children. Not only that, these are Scriptures to pray for yourself and for your spouse and for your church and for the other churches. These are Scriptures to pray. We must pray the Word of God.

Today, we come to 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. These two passages are God’s standard for leadership. However, they ought to be two passages that we all strive for AND PRAY FOR. These two passages could be summed up with the idea of PURSUING HOLINESS AND THEREFORE HAVING A GOOD REPUTATION WITH THOSE OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. How do we do this? We DON’T. We let the Holy Spirit do it through us. We pray this passage. In summary:

I desire that Meagan and I and our descendants are good people who strive to live by these expectations. I further desire that we understand these patterns of behavior are expected in church leaders. Therefore, that has been my prayer.

I will pray: “Lord, I ask that Meagan and I, Mercedes and Abigail, their spouses, and our descendants strive to live by the 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 expectations of church leaders, whether they are in leadership or not. Further, Lord I ask that Meagan and I and our descendants hold true to these expectations within the church. I pray that we teach and train the church what patterns of behavior we must expect from our leadership.”

I pray that myself and my descendants live out 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9, but we will only focus on 1 Timothy 3:1-7 today.

Let’s look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7:

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

  1. Let’s briefly look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
    1. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 we have instructions for overseers or elders.
    2. In 1 Timothy 3:8-13 we have instructions for deacons and their wives.
    3. In verses 1-7, Paul begins and ends this section with the same theme, the idea of being above reproach and then the idea of being respected by those outside the church.
    4. When I talk about this passage I believe Paul is talking about “patterns” of behavior. These are patterns we should expect in church leaders.
    5. These are also patterns we should expect all Christians to try to live up to.
    6. It is also important that you as a congregation understand that our leaders are called to a higher standard. I read the following: Congregations that would accept a member of a cohabiting unmarried couple as a lay leader: 31 percent Congregations that would accept a member of an openly homosexual couple as a lay leader: 23 percent[1]
    7. We start to give a little and we end up giving a lot.
  2. Let’s look at the full list of vices to stay away from. These are from 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
    1. We must pray that we and our children stay away from the appearance of sin in our life.
    2. We must pray that we and our children are not be addicted to wine. (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
    3. We must pray that we and our children are not pugnacious or quick to argue (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
    4. We must pray that we and our children are free from the love of money (1 Timothy 3:3).
    5. We must pray that we and our children are not fond of sordid gain (Titus 1:7).
    6. Understand that staying away from these and pursuing what I am about to talk about makes us good citizens and Christians pursuing God. They make us trustworthy.
    7. Business Leader Identifies the Importance of Trust
      1. In his book The Trust Edge, business consultant David Horsager contends, “Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life.” He points to a 2009 research study called the “Edelman Trust Barometer.” The study, based on interviews with over 4,000 people in twenty countries, highlighted the importance of a company’s ability to build trust.
      2. For instance, when people trust a company:
  • 91 percent chose to buy from them
  1. 76 percent recommended them to a friend
  2. 55 percent will pay a premium to do business with them
  3. 42 percent share positive experiences online
  • 26 percent bought shares
  • In contrast, the study also found that when people distrust a company:
  1. 77 percent refuse to buy from them
  2. 72 percent criticized them to a friend or colleague
  3. 34 percent shared their negative experiences online
  • 17 percent sold shares[2]
  1. Christians must be trustworthy.
  • Here are the full list of virtues to pursue and pray for. These include Titus 1:5-9:
    1. We must pray that we and our children will be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
    2. We must pray that we are our children will be a faithful husband or wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
    3. We must pray that we and our children are temperate (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
    4. We must pray that we and our children are prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
    5. We must pray that we and our children are respectable (1 Timothy 3:2).
    6. We must pray that we and our children are hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
    7. We must pray that we and our children are able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9), this means that we must be able to exhort sound doctrine and refute wrong doctrine.
    8. We must pray that we and our children are Gentle (1 Timothy 3:3).
    9. We must pray that we and our children are Peaceable (1 Timothy 3:3).
    10. We must pray that we and our children manage our own household well (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6).
    11. We must pray that we and our children are self controlled (Titus 1:8).
    12. We must pray that we and our children have a good reputation with those outside the church (1 Timothy 3:7).
    13. We must pray that we and our children are not be self willed (Titus 1:7)
    14. We must pray that we and our children are God’s steward (Titus 1:7)
    15. We must pray that we and our children will love what is good (Titus 1:8)
    16. We must pray that we and our children are just (Titus 1:8)
    17. We must pray that we and our children are devout (Titus 1:8)
    18. We must pray that we and our children are living a godly life

Leaders are called to lead and lead by example, but all Christians must aim high.

I read the following:

At the age of 23, Second Lieutenant Karl Marlantes was in charge of 40 marines during an intense battle in the Vietnam War. Marlantes had moved his men into the jungle as they waited for U.S. jets to bomb a hill that North Vietnamese soldiers had overtaken. Unfortunately, the jets came and dropped their bombs on the wrong hill. So when Marlantes led his men out of the jungle, they were instantly under fire from untouched machine-gun positions. Marlantes knew it would only take a few minutes before the enemy rockets and mortars found his troops. The entire mission ground to a halt as the U.S. soldiers ducked behind downed trees and huddled in shell holes.

Marlantes knew what he had to do next. He writes:

If I didn’t get up and lead, we’d get wiped out …. I did a lot of things that day … but the one I’m most proud of is that I simply stood up, in the middle of that flying metal, and started up the hill …. I simply ran forward up the steep hill, zigzagging for the bunker, all by myself, hoping [my own soldiers] wouldn’t hit me in the back. It’s hard to zigzag while running uphill loaded down with ammunition and grenades.

But then in the midst of his solo charge up the hill to take out the enemy, Marlantes suddenly saw some movement in his peripheral vision:

It was a marine! He was about 15 meters below me, zigzagging, falling, up and running again. Immediately behind him a long ragged line of Marines came moving and weaving up the hill behind me. Behind the line were spots of crumpled bodies, lying where they’d been hit. They’d all come with me …. Everyone was intermingled, weaving, rushing and covering, taking on each hole and bunker one at a time in groups …. We, the group, just rushed forward all at once. We couldn’t be stopped. Just individuals among us were stopped … but we couldn’t be …. I was we, no longer me.[3]

Do you know Jesus?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Ted Olsen, “Go Figure,” Christianity Today magazine (May 2009); source: National Congregations Study

[2] David Horsager, The Trust Edge (Summerside Press, 2010), pp. 20-22

[3] Stewart Ruch, Wheaton, Illinois; source: Karl Marlantes, “The Truth About Being a Hero,” The Wall Street Journal (8-20-11)

Pray we and our children are disciples loving the Lord, People and the Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:1-5; Matthew 22:37-39)

Pray We and Our Children are Disciples Loving the Lord, People and The Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:1-5; Matthew 22:37-39)Praying Scripture SeriesPrepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, May 20, 2018 in Poland, OH

Okay, let’s have a quiz. Those that receive sermon notes can get ready to fill in the blanks.

Who can guess the following:

Books of Old Testament – 39. (Have these as blanks in the notes)

Books of New Testament – 27.

Total number of books – 66.

Chapters in Old Testament – 929.

Chapters in New Testament – 260.

Total number chapters – 1,189.

Verses in Old Testament – 33,214.

Verses in New Testament – 7,959.

Total number of verses – 41,173.

Words in Old Testament – 593,393.

Words in New Testament – 181,253.

Total number of words – 774,746.

Letters in Old Testament – 2,738,100.

Letters in New Testament – 838,380.

Total number of letters – 3,566,480.

The shortest chapter is Psalm 117.

What book, chapter and verse contains all the letters of the alphabet except

“j”? Ezra 7:21

Longest verse: Esther 8:9 is the longest verse.

Shortest Verse: John 11:35 is the shortest verse.

Fun fact:

There is no word more than six syllables in the Bible.

We are now in a new sermon series and I have thought about verses that I have been convicted to pray. These are passages and verses which God has convicted me to pray for myself, my children and my descendants.

I have been sitting in my office talking with people, and I think this has happened on repeated occasions, when they tell me about their children and they say something like, I am going to let them choose on their own which faith to follow. I don’t think it is right for me to pick Christianity for them!!! Now, you must know that up until this point the conversation was going very well, very well. They are agreeing that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. They are believing Scriptures like John 3:16, and John 14:6 Jesus says, I am the way the Truth and the light, no one comes to the Father except by Him. Now, how can you believe that and not want your kids to believe that? Do you realize what a contradiction and a lie that is? The first mistake here is that the father is called to be the spiritual leader of the home not the mother. Now, if you are a mother and the father is not, then maybe it falls to you. But the father is in sin and needs to repent. But fathers, let me tell you to go home and read Ephesians 5 and 6 and when you see that it says that you are to love your wives as Christ loved the church and submit to her and be devoted to her and then you are to be the spiritual leader of the home in this way you are to be the leader. Or, what about 1 Peter 3:7: You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. Now, I don’t want my prayers hindered, do you. So, men, we gotta straiten up and take our job as the spiritual leaders seriously.

Today, let’s talk about loving the Lord, loving others and His Word.

My theme and application:

Pray We and Our Children are Disciples Loving the Lord, People and The Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:1-5; Matthew 22:37-39)

Let’s read Matthew 22:37-39:

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

  1. We must love the Lord with all of our being and love our neighbor as ourself.
    1. Let’s talk more about Matthew 22:37-39.
    2. My prayer is that we will live this passage. I pray this for you. I pray this for myself. I pray this for Mercedes and Abigail. I pray this for my descendants not yet born.
    3. I will pray like this: Lord, I pray that Mercedes and Abigail will live out Matthew 22:37-39 that they will love You and love their neighbor as themselves. I ask that we will remember from the parable of the good Samaritan that even our enemy is our neighbor (Luke 10).
    4. Now, I would love to take apart that passage more and so I will, just a little. If my prayer is that I live this passage and my children live out this passage then I should know the passage.
    5. In the previous verses Jesus is asked as a test what is the greatest commandment. That is in verses 34-36.
    6. In verse 34 it says that the Sadducees were silenced by Jesus. Jesus had such wise answers they could not trap Him. So, then they came with another question.
    7. They send a “lawyer” or a “religious lawyer” to trap Him. They wanted Him to choose a law.
    8. They wanted to trap Him.
    9. In verse 37 Jesus responds… It is interesting that Jesus did not have to respond. Jesus chose to respond. Why did Jesus respond?
    10. A question that I must ask, do I respond when questioned?
    11. Do I respond in a defensive way? It is really valuable to be able to respond without being aggressive. It is valuable and important to respond lovingly.
    12. In Luke 10:30-37 Jesus follow this up with the parable of the Good Samaritan. That was a different question during a different occasion. Still, the passage is truth that even our enemy is our neighbor.
    13. Matthew 22:37 is a quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 which we studied a few weeks ago.
    14. Verse 39 is a quote from Lev. 19:18.
    15. Again, I pray this become I believe we need God’s help to live this. I pray this passage because I believe it is in our interest to live this passage.
    16. Living this passage is God’s way and God’s way is best and our way is not.
    17. Living this passage, living God’s way is always best for society as well.
    18. We are to love the Lord our God with all of heart, all of our soul and all of our mind. Jesus used the word “mind” when Deut. 6:5 used the word “strength.”
    19. We are to love others. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We take care of ourselves and we must take care of our neighbor’s needs.
  2. We must love His Word.
    1. John Quincy Adams said: “I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once a year. My custom is to read four or five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day. In what light soever we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue.”
    2. I have prayed something like the following, “Lord, I ask that Meagan and I, Mercedes and Abigail and all of our descendants will hold true to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. I ask that we will understand that all Scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, reproving, rebuking and training in righteousness so that they are thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    3. However, loving the Word of God has been a conviction from other Scriptures too. Psalm 119:11 says: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (ESV) I believe this passage is about memorizing the Bible, but more than memorizing, I think this passage is about making the Bible a part of me. The Bible is God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and so it must follow that if I make the Bible a part of me I am making God a part of me. Now, He already is a part of me in that when I received Him, I received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; see also John chapter 14-17), but as I make His Word a part of me, His character is becoming a part of me. It is not unlike a child working in the workshop with his father and then the child grows up and his father has died, but that child now a man, is working in the workshop hearing his father’s voice telling him exactly what to do. We, in making the Scriptures a part of us, can hear our Heavenly Father’s voice as we live from day-to-day. How did Jesus respond to temptation? He responded with the Scriptures (Matthew 4). He responded to the devil himself with the Scriptures!
    4. Prayer is also one of the most intimate activities we are involved in. I once heard a pastor say, “I won’t pray with a woman, who is not my wife, if it is just the two of us.” He said this because prayer is intimate. I once heard someone say, I think it was John MacArthur on his radio messages, “intimacy is into-me-see.” So, praying Scripture is powerful.
    5. We must pray Scripture, we must love the Word of God, we must value the Scriptures and we must submit to the Scriptures.
    6. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Theologian killed by the Nazi’s in World War II. There is a great biography about him out right now. He was a brilliant man who would not cave to the Nazis. Many other German churches were going along with Hitler’s anti-Semitic comments but he would not. He was trying to organize churches that stayed true to Scripture. There was a time that he came to New York City to study. His impressions of our American church were not good.
      1. By this time Bonhoeffer is in his lower twenties and has almost, if not, completed his PhD. He wrote: “[The Union Students] talk a blue streak without the slightest foundation and with no evidence of any criteria… they are unfamiliar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, laugh at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.”
      2. On another occasion he wrote: “In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.”[1]
  • You see Bonhoeffer came to the U.S. soon after a pastor in New York City made some waves. His name was Harry Emerson Fosdick. Listen to what Eric Metaxis writes about him: Fosdick had been the pastor at New York’s First Presbyterian Church when in 1922 he preached an infamous sermon titled, ‘Shall the Fundamentalist Win?’ In it he laid out a kind of Apostles Creed in which he expressed his serious doubts about most of the historic assertions of the Christian faith, including the virgin birth, the resurrection, the divinity of Christ, the atonement, miracles, and the Bible as the Word of God. This sermon was the opening salvo in a battle that would rage particularly hotly through the 1920s and 1930s. The local presbytery immediately conducted an investigation, but as a son of the moneyed East Coast WASP establishment, Fosdick had little to fear. His defense was conducted by another establishment scion, John Foster Dulles , who would serve as Eisenhower’s secretary of state, and whose father was a well known liberal Prebyterian minister. Fosdick resigned before they could censure him, and he was given the pastorate of the fashionably progressive Park Avenue Baptist Church, where John D. Rockefeller was a prominent member and whose foundation’s philanthropic arm was run by Fosdick’s own brother. [2]
  1. When we start compromising Scripture that’s what happens. But the Bible teaches us to use the Bible to teach, correct, rebuke and instruct in godliness. Bonhoeffer came to America and his first impression was this mess with Fosdick. He thought we were all people who compromise Scripture. Ironic that usually, even then, it was the European churches that were known to compromise Scripture. But Bonhoeffer, even coming from Europe, saw what was going on in this church in New York City and didn’t like it.
  1. There is another Scripture which I have been convicted to pray which I wish to talk about today. 2 Timothy 2:15: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
  2. So, I will pray something like: Lord, I ask that myself, Meagan, Mercedes and Abigail and our descendants will live out 2 Timothy 2:15. I ask that we will all Be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as a workman or woman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
    1. By the way, it is okay to paraphrase the Bible.
    2. This passage is saying to be earnest as we work so that we can accurately handle the Word of Truth.
  • We as Christians must get into the Scriptures more and more.
  1. We must not compromise the Bible.
  2. We must live it. It is not enough to believe the Bible, we must live the Bible.
  3. We must study the Scriptures so that we “correctly handle the Word of Truth” as Paul said.

God’s ways our best. They are best for me, they are best for my family, they are best for us. I believe that. If I believe that I must pray that my descendants live and submit and surrender to God’s ways. First, I must pray that I do the same. God’s ways are found in His Word.

Swindoll shares:

The Bible can change not only a life but an entire lifestyle. Most of us have heard the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, but few of us have heard how the Bible played a very vital part in that historical event. The Bounty was a British ship which set sail from England in 1787, bound for the South Seas. The idea was that those on board would spend some time among the islands, transplanting fruit-bearing and food-bearing trees, and doing other things to make some of the islands more habitable. After ten months of voyage, the Bounty arrived safely at its destination and for six months the officers and crew gave themselves to the duties placed upon them by their government.

         When the special task was completed, however, and the order came to embark again, the sailors rebelled. They had formed strong attachments for the native girls, and the climate and the ease of the South Sea island life was much to their liking. The result was mutiny on the Bounty, and the sailors placed Captain Bligh and a few loyal men adrift on an open boat. Captain Bligh, in an almost miraculous fashion, survived the ordeal, was rescued, and eventually arrived home in London to tell his story. An expedition was launched to punish the mutineers, and in due time fourteen of them were captured and paid the penalty under British law.

         But nine of the men had gone to another distant island. There they formed a colony. Perhaps there has never been a more degraded and debauched social life than that of that colony. They learned to distill whiskey from a native plant, and the whiskey as usual, along with other habits led to their ruin. Disease and murder took the lives of all the native men and all but one of the white men named Alexander Smith. He found himself the only man on the island, surrounded by a crowd of women and half-breed children. Alexander Smith found a Bible among the possessions of a dead sailor. The Bible was new to him. He had never read it before. He sat down and read it through. He believed it and he began to appropriate it. He wanted others to share in the benefits of the book, so he taught classes to the women and children, as he read to them and taught them the Scriptures.

         It was twenty years before a ship ever found that island, and when it did, a miniature Utopia was discovered. The people were living in decency, prosperity, harmony, and peace. There was nothing of crime, disease, immorality, and sanity, or illiteracy. How was it accomplished? By the reading, the believing, and the appropriating of the truth of God![3]

Pray the Scriptures.

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Eric Metaxis. Bonhoeffer Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy.  Thomas Nelson, Inc. Nashville, Tenn. 2010. (page 99)

[2] Ibid. page 102.

[3] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Pages 50-51. (referenced from Keith Miller, Edge of Adventures)

Mother’s Day, the Faith of a Godly Mother (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14-15)

I want to wish every mother here a happy Mother’s Day.

I have some quotes about mothers which I wish to start with:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces that she never did care for pie. Teneva Jackson

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother.” George Washington

You never realize how much your mother cares about you until you look in the attic and find every letter you ever sent her, every finger painting, clay pot, bead necklace, Easter chicken, cardboard Santa Clause, paper-lace mother’s day card, and school report since day one.” Pam Brown

Just because 1 mother can take care of 9 children doesn’t mean 9 children will take care of 1 mother.” Catholic Social Services

One pastor writes:

I smile as I remember the Mother’s Day card I saw that was really cute. It was a great big card written in little child’s printing— little first-grade printing. On the front was a little boy with untied sneakers. He had a wagon, and toys were everywhere. He had a little cut on his face and there were smudges all over this card . It read, “Mom, I remember that little prayer you used to say for me every day,” Inside, “God help you if you ever do that again.”[1]

But more seriously:

Everybody has heard of Martin Luther; but who knows the name of his mother, the wife of a coal miner who often went hungry so that little Martin might attend school?

—W. G. Montgomery[2]

And now allow me to share an illustration that will relate specifically to today’s message:

This Mother Prayed 60 Years

 Dr. John F. Walvoord, in the chapel of Dallas Theological Seminary, one day told of a mother who prayed for her son for 60 years to be saved. One week before her death, the mother received a long-distance call from her son saying that he was saved. [3]

Praise God for the spiritual care from a mother! Generally, it is more the mother than the father who teaches and models the faith for the children.

A few weeks ago I began a sermon series on Scriptures that we can pray for our children. Today, I wish to talk about the faith of a mother and grandmother passed down.

My theme:

Pass on your faith.

Let’s read 2 Timothy 1:5:

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

  1. First let’s look at 2 Timothy 1:5:
    1. Notice that Timothy had sincere faith but notice where that faith came from.
    2. The adjective translated “sincere” means without hypocrisy. It really means, not good at acting.
    3. His sincere faith came from his mother and even his grandmother and Paul is certain that it lives on in Timothy. Timothy’s faith was a heritage. Think about that for just a moment.
    4. Timothy was Paul’s companion as they traveled through many areas starting and pastoring many churches. In Acts 16 we first see Timothy. But Timothy is already a disciple by the time Paul meets him. Then Timothy begins to travel with Paul.
      1. Would Timothy have been that great help to Paul if it weren’t for his mother and grandmother and their faith?
      2. What incomparable value can a mother have in passing on her faith to her children? We can never put a price on the intangible.
  • In Phil 2:22 Paul writes: But you know of his [Timothy] proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child servinghis father.
  1. Where did this come from? I am not discounting his father’s role, but his mother and his grandmother passed on a heritage of faith to Timothy. It is because of this faith that Timothy was able to serve as a son with his father with Paul.
    1. What great value did Timothy have with the apostle Paul?
    2. How can we ever know?
  2. Life Application Study Bible shares: Timothy was one of the first second-generation Christians: He became a Christian not because an evangelist preached a powerful sermon but because his mother and grandmother had taught him the holy Scriptures when he was a small child (1: 5). A parent’s work is vitally important. At home and in church, we should realize that teaching small children is both an opportunity and a responsibility. Jesus wanted little children to come to him (Matthew 19: 13-15). Like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, do your part in leading children to Christ.[4]
  3. Now look with me at 2 Timothy 3:14-15:
    1. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2. From infancy Timothy was taught the Scriptures. This is most likely the Old Testament although it is possible that the Gospel was in there as well. This tells us exactly how Timothy’s mother and grandmother passed on this heritage of faith, or at least one way this was passed on.
      1. Timothy was taught the Scriptures.
      2. One source says about this:

At least in pious Palestinian Jewish homes, boys were normally taught the “sacred writings” from around the age of five; teaching Scriptures to the children was commanded in the Old Testament (Deut 6:7; cf., e.g., Ps 71:17; 78:5–7). Other peoples were often amazed at how well instructed Jewish children were in their ancestral traditions.[5]

  1. So, one way that Timothy caught this heritage of faith was that he was taught the Scriptures.
  2. All throughout the Old Testament parents are instructed to teach their children the Scriptures.
    1. But is teaching enough? No, I don’t think so. I think his mother and grandmother must have lived the Scriptures. The Christian life must be taught and caught. It is not enough to be full of information. We must model the Christian life. I read this the other day:

For a moment, let’s pretend you work for me. In fact, you are my executive assistant in a company that is growing rapidly. I’m the owner and I’m interested in expanding overseas. To pull this off, I make plans to travel abroad and stay there until the new branch office gets established. I make all the arrangements to take my family in the move to Europe for six to eight months, and I leave you in charge of the busy stateside organization. I tell you that I will write you regularly and give you direction and instructions. I leave and you stay.

Months pass. A flow of letters are mailed from Europe and received by you at the national headquarters. I spell out all my expectations. Finally, I return. Soon after my arrival I drive down to the office. I am stunned! Grass and weeds have grown up high. A few windows along the street are broken. I walk into the receptionist’s room and she is doing her nails, chewing gum, and listening to her favorite rock station. I look around and notice the wastebaskets are overflowing, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for weeks, and nobody seems concerned that the owner has returned. I ask about your whereabouts and someone in the crowded lounge area points down the hall and yells, “I think he’s down there.” Disturbed, I move in that direction and bump into you as you are finishing a chess game with our sales manager. I ask you to step into my office (which has been temporarily turned into a television room for watching afternoon soap operas).

“What in the world is going on, man?”

“What do you mean, Chuck?”

“Well, look at this place! Didn’t you get any of my letters?”

“Letters? Oh, yeah—sure, got every one of them. As a matter of fact, Chuck, we have had letter study every Friday night since you left. We have even divided all the personnel into small groups and discussed many of the things you wrote. Some of those things were really interesting. You’ll be pleased to know that a few of us have actually committed to memory some of your sentences and paragraphs. One or two memorized an entire letter or two! Great stuff in those letters!”

Sound a little familiar?

Jesus, the Lord, goes to the bottom line when He said, in effect, “I left you an example of what you should do—carry out my directions, fulfill my commands, follow my instructions.” That’s obedience. That’s doing what we are told to do.

  1. Since Paul says that Timothy had sincere faith I am thinking that it was taught and it was modeled. Paul says that this came from his mother and grandmother. Praise God for the influence of mothers and grandmothers.
  • Would we have had the godly instruction Paul sends to Timothy if it weren’t for his mother and grandmother and their heritage of faith?
  • There are many other examples of mothers in Scripture
    1. Hannah prayed for a son and God gave her Samuel (1 Samuel 1-2) Would we have had this great prophet and priest named Samuel if it weren’t for his mother? Samuel anointed the first two kings of Israel.
    2. In Exodus 2:2-3 it was Moses’ mother who hid him from the slaughter of Hebrew babies. Of course, there are many more examples in the Scriptures. Would it have been Moses who led the people out of Egypt if it weren’t for his mother?

Close:

I read this the other day:

A good friend of mine, who was raised by a godly pastor’s wife, tells me that when he was rocked to sleep at night by his mother, she didn’t sing to him just little ditties and lullabies, she sang him the hymns of the faith. When he was in the crib, he remembers her leaning over and singing to him “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”; “And Can It Be?”; “More Love to Thee, O Christ”; “My Jesus, I Love Thee”; “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” She sang the deep songs. And he says, “I remember. I remember those hymns. In fact,” he says, “When I got into church, I had heard and learned most of the hymns,” a contribution in that young man’s life that he’ll never forget.[6]

That sounds like the faith which Timothy learned from his mother and grandmother. What better heritage can we pass on to our children than our faith? Eternal life is so much more valuable than any material possessions.

The reciprocal is also true. We must take care of our mothers.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross the Scriptures say this:

John 19:26-27:

When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

Jesus made sure his mother is taken care of. This Mother’s Day take care of your mother. Take care of your children’s mother and encourage others to take care of their mother.

I do realize that this may be a sad Mother’s Day for you, for your mother has gone to be with the Lord. I encourage you to reflect and maybe even write in a journal about all your mother passed on to you.

Also, you may have had other maternal roles in your life—a grandmother, an aunt, a family friend or teacher. God uses many more people to pass on faith to children and young adults as they grow up. If you can thank them as well and thank God for mothers.

Now maybe you are a visitor here and you don’t know Christ.

God loves you as a mother loves her child:

Isa 49:15:

Can a woman forget her nursing child
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you…”

Do you know Jesus as your savior? Jesus died for your sins. He died on the cross for the wrong things you and I have done. He died on the cross and rose again.

If you would like to receive Christ all you have to do is confess your sins to God, Believe in Him, accept Him into your life and commit to Him.

Pray

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 399.

[2] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

[3] Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.

[4] Tyndale House Publishers. Life Application Study Bible NLT (LASB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 158747-158751). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[5] Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (2 Ti 3:14). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

[6] Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 398.