Friday, February 14, 2014

Like a Shepherd 3: Truths You CAN Teach Your Children

In this world of "maybe for you but not for me," there are truths that you can teach your children.  Mind you, there are more biblical truths than are expressed here, but for those swirling days of uncertainty, here are a few of which moms and their little lambs can be sure. As you read through, remember this is a summary of much, much more. CDs of our time on Wednesday mornings are available in the Learning Resource Center at First Pres Jackson.

1. There is a God and He can be known. In teaching our children we always begin with God because everything is to be seen in relation to Him. In the bible God begins with God. In the beginning God. That little sentence is packed with wondrous truths to tell Junior.
*God always has been. There has never been a time when He was not. God cannot be contained by time, which is a product of His creation. Time tells us that God is orderly and dependable. We can be sure the sun will come up every day. Ps.104:19-23. Time teaches us to make good use of each day Ps.90:12, when it is time to work and when to rest, that though our days may be ordinary and routine (ordinary and routine is a BLESSING) they are nevertheless an opportunity to be filled with God, knowing Him, loving Him, enjoying and bringing glory to Him as we live.
*God is everywhere! God is not scurrying around trying to be here and there all at once. God's omnipresence means He cannot be contained or measured by space. Tell Junior He is in the front seat and the back seat of every car everywhere all the time. Stack a series of bowls in the sink and fill them with running water. Let Junior try to  keep that water from filling the next bowl and the next bowl and the sink....God fills every space everywhere with Himself all the time. He cannot be contained.
*God is here with us. He is transcendent, or over all, but He is imminent, or very near. We are never alone. His nearness brings us comfort, courage, strength and helps us to obey. He hears what we say and knows what we think. Ps.19:3. We need never feel alone and the wicked should never feel safe.
*We know God by what He has created. Ps.19:1;Romans 1:20a. We can see the work of nature. This is called general revelation where God reveals His creative and sustaining power in all we see. God also reveals Himself to certain people in certain times and in certain ways. This is called special revelation. God reveals Himself in His Word, through the visions, dreams and announcements we read in the Bible and especially and most fully in Jesus. God "took on" flesh and skin to reveal Himself to us.
2. Man is made by God and we must respond to Him. God reveals Himself in the Bible and we believe the bible is God-breathed truth. Since we believe the bible is true, we must believe what it says about us and our lives. Man is made in the image of God and is different from anything else God made. Gen.1:27. He made us in His image in order for us to live in relationship with Him and others. It is God who has made us and we are His. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Ps.100.

3.God tells us in His word how we are to live through the moral law. The ten commandments of Ex.20 tell us how to live with God (1-4) and how to live with our neighbor (5-10). We love God's law for many reasons. Here are three:
*The law shows us what God expects of us.
*The law show us that on our own we cannot live in a way that pleases God.
*The law shows us that we need Jesus.
The law is like holding a mirror up in front of our faces helping us see what we really are like. When we love God we want to see what we are really like so that we can bring glory to Him by being made more and more like Jesus.
4. Sin and its consequences are very serious. Sin is doing what God forbids and not doing what He commands. Sin will take you further than you planned to go. Sin will keep you longer than you planned to stay. Sin will cost you more than you planned to spend.
*No matter who we hurt, sin is always first against God Ps.51:4.
*Sin separates us from each other and from God. Adam and Eve hid from God and then began blaming one another for what they had done.
*All sin needs to be punished and paid for. Romans 6:23; Heb.10:31 We cannot pay for our sins with tears, hard work, or money.
5. Jesus is God's provision for sin. John 3:16,17.
*God loves you. God's love is not a feeling, it is an action. He loved so much that He gave.
*Jesus came to live for you. Jesus is holy and sinless. He never disobeyed His parents, He loved God's law and obeying the law made Him happy. Jesus came to love God and to live perfectly for us.
*Jesus came to die for you. God insists that our sins be paid for and Jesus paid that price in His suffering and death on the cross. All of the sins of all of those for whom He died were piled on Him on the cross in unbearable suffering. When Jesus said, "It is finished," as He died, He tells us that His life and death for us were enough and forever satisfying to meet God's requirements.
6. Faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. To be forgiven means to treat another person as if they had never hurt you. To be sorry for sin is to say with my mind and heart and mouth that I know and see that what I have done has broken God's heart and your heart.  In order to be forgiven by God we must hate our sin and turn away from it because it is displeasing to God. Then we must accept the gift of faith that God gives us through Jesus in order to be forgiven. Eph.2:4. Ps.120:16 tells us that the best thing to do with that wonderful gift is to take it and call upon the name of the Lord.
7. True faith in God is an absolute security that cannot be taken away. John 10:27-30. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand! God holds us tighter than anything and anyone. No true believer in Jesus Christ can be separated from God our Heavenly Father. Ro.8:38,39.
8. God intends for us to be holy, which is the pathway to happiness. There is no way to begin to do this truth justice in a paragraph. God has attributes that He does not share with man: Self-existence, immutability (He never changes and cannot change), eternity, omnipresence, simplicity (a subject for another lesson). He has attributes that are shared with man: knowledge, wisdom, patience, wrath, jealousy, order, kindness, etc. God is holy because He is wholly all of these attributes in their full perfection all the time. Try to wrap your mind around that. In this life we will not be holy because of our finite humanity and our sinfulness. But 1 John 3:2 assures us that one day when we are with Him we will be like Him as we will no longer sin, and until that day we are to continually purify ourselves. In acting in a way that is always in concert with His attributes, God is about the business of bringing everything together under one head, Jesus Christ. His work is holy in that it is about a special sacred purpose. We are to be holy as well as in being set apart for use in God's kingdom in order to be salt and light, bringing glory to Him with all of our heart and soul and might. The blessedness of the Sermon on the Mount speaks of happiness that comes from joy in living for use in God's kingdom. There is nothing on earth that will satisfy us and our hearts as Jesus does.
9. Heaven is a real place of joy where those who trust in Jesus will live forever.
Heaven speaks of the blessed marriage of holiness and happiness. We must teach our children that eternal rest in heaven is a glorious place prepared for us where we will live in perfect holiness, worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ with the saints forever. This is a wondrous hope and promise that should thrill us to tell our children and live in such a way that speaks of the glory to come for those whose hearts trust in Jesus. In the meantime we pray with our children Col.3:1,2 If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on the things of earth.

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