WHAT DO WE TEACH OUR CHILDREN?
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
15 JUNE 1997
By Pastor Frank L. Hoffman
Today is Father's Day. It is a day that we have set aside to honor our earthly fathers.
But if we honor our fathers only this one day of each year, we do not really honor our fathers; we should honor them every day.
The same is true of our relationship with our heavenly Father; we should honor Him every day.
And just as Christ is the spiritual head of the Church, so is the husband and father to be the spiritual head of his family.
And in this relationship comes, or should come, mutual responsibility and respect.
When this is the case, every day is Father's Day.
And this brings us to the subject of today's message, "What Do We Teach Our Children?"
Children learn more from the examples set before them than from any other source; thus, in this understanding is great responsibility.
We live in a very violent world, and it seems to be getting more violent every day.
We not only glorify this violence, but we also glorify the revenge and violence we return against the perpetrator of the original violence.
We forget what Moses told the Israelites for the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35-36):
35. 'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.'
36. "For the Lord will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants; When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free.
And we also forget what we are told in Hebrews 10:30-31:
30. For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, " The Lord will judge His people."
31. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
And when we fail to understand this message, we also have failed to set the proper example before our children.
Violence and vengeance only breeds more violence and vengeance; it rarely stops it.
When we fail in this area of our way of life, we have also failed our greatest commandment, and the responsibility that follows (Deuteronomy 6:5-9):
5. "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6. "And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart;
7. and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
8. "And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
9. "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What we teach our children in a formal way is also to be an example before them.
If we truly love God, it will be seen in every aspect of our lives.
We cannot take that love or any of God's commandments and write them on a piece of paper and place them in a little box and tie it to our foreheads, or roll them up tightly and put them on our doorpost, and expect it to make us live the example.
What this really means is that when anyone looks upon us, they will see in us our love and respect for God and all His commandments.
And it means that when they enter our homes, they will find peace and love and compassion.
Thus, shall the children really learn, as the Lord intends.
Continuing with this combined thought of vengeance and what we teach our children, let's take a look at what we are told in Revelation 5:1-6:8:
1. And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.
2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"
3. And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it.
4. And I began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it;
This book contains the judgments of God, and His wrath upon the evil people of the world.
And no one - no angel and no human - whether living or dead, was found worthy to open this book.
In other words, no one was found worthy enough in their own righteousness to open this book of condemnation.
No one was found worthy enough to take God's vengeance into their own hands.
And this greatly troubled John:
5. and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."
I want us to observe carefully that it was the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ, who overcame the world, and was found worthy to break the seals of the book.
The Lion was found worthy, but note who actually broke the seals.
6. And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
7. And He came, and He took it out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
8. And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9. And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10. "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
11. And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12. saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
13. And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
14. And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.
The Lion of Judah overcame the things of the earth, but it's the Lamb of God, by way of His shed blood, that is really the One to break the seals and open the book.
A lamb is not an animal to take vengeance or to be violent in any way, and every year their sole purpose in life seems to be their being led to slaughter.
We see the lambs of this world as being weak, and lions as being strong.
But it's the Lamb, Jesus Christ, who will bring forth God's judgments upon the earth, for only He is worthy to do so.
None of us are.
No, none of us.
Yet, we live and act as though we are.
6:1. And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come."
2. And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering, and to conquer.
3. And when He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come."
4. And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men should slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
5. And when He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, "Come." And I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
6. And I heard as it were a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.
7. And when He broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come."
8. And I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. And authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
We always seem to want to take God's vengeance into our own hands, and not wait upon the Lord, as if what we have just read is not horrible enough.
And this is what we teach our children.
We fill our lives and our homes with violent movies and TV programs.
Even commercials are becoming more and more violent.
We buy violent games and toys.
We praise vengeance and then wonder, in dismay, why our children turn out the way they do.
Consider carefully, what do we teach our children?
And consider carefully, what do we want our children to become?
I pray it's a child of the Lamb.
Your Comments are welcome
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