Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Not All Who are Descended from Israel are Israel

Recently I have noticed a pandemic of child-abuse within many facets of Christianity. It began a few weeks ago when I was privileged to preach the gospel of grace to a fifteen-year-old daughter of a pastor. She told me that her dad frequently asks her to go to church and tells her that he is praying for her. I was appalled and astonished that a pastor would give his child the option to go to church or not…it’s not like her eternity is at stake or anything.

Much of this stems from the official religion of the United States, Disneyism, that as long as your children are better people than most, God will reward them with Heaven. Since humanistic happiness is of utmost importance, when eternity suffers for temporal happiness, it is justified on the altar of Mickey Mouse. After-all, the popular preachers of today all agree that since God loves you, you’d better help him in his wonderful plan for your life, and this certainly extends to the vicarious success of your children…at least in the imagination of these ear-ticklers. (See 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

God doesn’t have any grandchildren. Satan has multitudes. Just because you have been adopted into the family of God through the imputed inheritance of his Son doesn’t mean your children have an instant affiliation or affection with, from, or towards God. It is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. (Romans 9:8)

The Bible is replete with commands to raise up children in the way of righteousness. Are you actively participating in their upbringing, or at the very least, ensuring that they are in the godly care of an able teacher? Jesus Christ was lost only one time in his life. It occurred when he was twelve years old while returning to Nazareth from Passover in Jerusalem. His parents assumed he was in the group, and when they discovered him to be lost, they sought him among their relatives. He was not there. (Luke 2:44) Don’t assume your children are in the group or that they are being cared for by others. Christ was lost for three days, your child could be lost for eternity.

Whosoever causes one of these little ones to stumble would be better off to have a mill-stone tied around their neck and be cast into the sea than to face the judgment of God for this heinous sin. (cf. James 3:1) A person given the option to choose God will choose bad every time. It is human nature. (See Joshua 24:15-19) Letting them skip church, that is, letting your student walk in the twilight, is a sure way to indict yourself in their stumbling. (Jeremiah 13:16-17)

Another sure way to sell your children into eternal death is to swim in transgression. (Revelation 2:23) Your children will see your sins and will reject your God. Are you prepared to answer his question, “You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire?” (Ezekiel 16:20-21)

How do we fix it?

First, become an imitator of Christ, an ambassador of his kingdom in your home. Repent of any sins and trysts with the world you may be having.

Second, esteem their eternity higher than your own. Paul leads by example, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers.” (Romans 9:2-3) “My little children, I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19)

Third, godly instruction is a requirement, not an option. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Training in godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8) “We will not hide them from our children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4) Teach in your own home, as well as find your child a godly minister, a focused teacher, and make sure your child is led in the truth. Follow-up; when your child is not with you, ensure that they are indeed in the care of others.

Fourth, pray for them. Beloved, your child’s name should be presented at the Throne of Grace daily. “If you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) Behold, a man from the crowd cried out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.” (Luke 9:38)

Fifth, he commands fathers to teach the Bible to their children, that the next generation might know his statutes, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Psalm 78:5-7)

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. (John 16:21) How much greater then is the reward and joy of the rebirth? Christ receives the glory for the sorrow, the anguish, the work of redemption, the sanctification, and the glorification; if we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too, for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (2 Corinthians 1:5, Romans 8:18)

So for Christ’s, yours, mine, and their sake, won’t you please think of the children? After all, it’s not like their eternity is at stake or anything…oh wait, it is.