Parenting is a kingdom value.

If you do not understand what the above sentence means hopefully you will by the end of this sermon series. This Sunday we begin our annual series on the family which runs from Mother's Day to Father's Day. This year's series is called: Parenting and the Gospel. In this series, we will be looking at gospel-centric principles and applying them to parenting.


Throughout this series, we will keep tabs on a series of "truths" we can apply to our lives. We'll talk about the first two in this lesson.


I. Calling

Parenting is a calling.

We surround ourselves with the things that are important to us. Careers, sports, hobbies, people...they all compete for space in our hearts. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also." If parenting is not something we "treasure" we will fail to be the parents to our children God wants us to be.



Text: Read Matthew 6:19-34; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 20-23.

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Slides: PowerPoint

II. Grace

"No parent should have to bury their child."
Those are the words of King Theoden as depicted in the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". Spoken after he was brought back from his madness, as he realized that in his broken state his only son had perished.
Losing the garden must have been hard. But nothing could have prepared them for the loss of Able. An accident in one thing. But murder. By his brother, Cain, of all people? Adam and Eve must have been devastated.
The Bible is full of stories about broken families. I don't know if that encourages you or frightens you. How can we call children to a standard we have failed so many times ourselves to keep? What hope is there they won't make the same mistakes we have? What difference does it make if we invest so heavily in these children only to have them throw it all away once they are adults?
Grace - there is no other teaching like it. And we must allow our hearts to be guided by God's grace in the process of parenting


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III. Law

"Little Johnny. Don't touch the stove, it is hot."
Johnny burned his hand.
"Little Johnny. Speak kind words to your sister."
Johnny argues with his sister.
"Johnny. Don't break the speed limit."
Johnny gets pulled over.
I am sure EVERY parent who is reading this understands the above situation. Inevitably, at some point our children disobey our instructions. When that happens, tension is created between us and our kids. We initiate discipline, correction, and reconciliation. Only to repeat the cycle. Sometimes, many times a day!
Last week we talked about grace but it's the principle of law which demonstrates the need for grace. A proper understanding of the principle of law is vital to being good parents.
In this lesson we will examine the principle of law through the lens of the gospel while making application to parenting. What we'll discover is only God is perfect and able to fully manage the tension between grace and law. Our best hope as parents is to allow Him to guide us in our efforts.

Slides: Powerpoint

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IV. Identity

One way to describe everyday life is as a struggle for identity.
Some ways are more benign, such as when I wear my Red Sox hat. I'm identifying as a Red Sox fan.
Other ways are more divisive, such as the modern political culture in the United States of America.
Finding our identity in Christ is an important step to becoming a disciple. As author Paul David Tripp writes, "All our actions and reactions are connected to who we think we are, who we think God is, what we think life is about, what we think is important, where we go to find help, and what we look to in order to give us peace, rest, and security."
Parents whose identity isn't secure in Christ will be tempted to find identity in their children. But this has devastating consequences.
Is your identity in Christ solid? Are we discipling our children to find their own identity in Christ?

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V. Process

If you have ever worked in an environment that utilized a process then you know this truth - the process must be true to get the intended outcome.
In part five of our sermon series on Parenting and the Gospel, we'll address the principle of process. Parenting isn't a single event, or even a series of events, it is a process we must be committed to.
Christ-centered parenting begins when we commit to the process of being a disciple ourselves. Our commitment extends to our children as we seek to disciple them towards the goal of being a child of God.

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VI. Authority

Can you picture these scenarios...
A young mother tells her four-year old it's time to leave the park. "No!" the child cries. The mother softens her tone, begins to plead. Still, "No!" Finally, the promise of ice cream when they leave the park does the trick.
A teacher has felt something hit her in the back while writing on the board for the fifth time today. She knows exactly who it is. When he turned in his undone homework, it was only to leave her a crude message.
With a brick in his hand he heads towards the store. "Smash!" the window shatters. He and his friends run in, grab whatever they can, and run out.
What do each of these have in common? Aside from the reality something similar plays out nearly everyday in our culture, they also serve to demonstrate the failure of teaching children to respect God's authority.
In this sixth lesson in this series we will examine the matter of authority. Specifically, how God has placed parents and parental figures in the lives of children to make His invisible authority visible in their lives.

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VII. Character

It was horrible.
I rarely watch much news these days but it was one of those days I thought I would just check and see what was going on. I wish I hadn't. The young man simply walked up to her and lightly punched her in the face. For most people it would not have done much harm, but to a 92 year old woman it caused her to fall and hit her head on a fire-hydrant. "Why? Why?!?" I asked myself. 
These days the news seems to be filled with many such videos. "Why?" we ask. Perhaps we could explain some away by people being caught in the worst moments of their life. Caught up in the emotion of the moment. But when we step back and realize that for many of these people it is how they live their life every day, we realize somehow they have serious character issues.
And, might we say, the shaping of character begins in the home. What impact does the teaching of Deuteronomy 6:4-9 have on a person's life? What about the great lists of the Bible, such as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23? Internalized teachings shape and mold the character of a person. Parenthood is about molding and shaping children, with God's help, into the image of Jesus Christ.

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