And for Your Children

June 28, 2015

1. The Covenant with Abraham

  1. Importance of Abraham
    1. It is difficult to overstate Abraham's importance to our lives in Christ. All who take the Bible seriously admit to this. It is impossible fully to understand christian salvation apart from Abraham, or apart from him to see the true nature of a life of effective communion with God. It is certainly through Abraham above all that we can grasp the implications of living a life of faith and obedience of living for the things that are eternal rather than for the things that are temporal. God's dealings with Abraham are above all the cement which binds Old and New testaments together. God's dealings with Abraham are the fountain head from which the whole plan of salvation flows.
    2. Galatians 3:14 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. ESV
      1. The Gospel can be stated this way, if you do not participate in the blessing of Abraham you are lost in your sins, but in Jesus Christ, and through his work you, even you, can receive the blessing of Abraham and so receive the promised Spirit through faith.
      2. Can you see how important the blessing of Abraham is to your eternity?
      3. Abraham is not an Old Testament character that has passed into irrelevance and obscurity to us New Testament believers and the blessing that God gave to Abraham remains as important and rings out as truly and as unalterably as it did the day it was first given.
    3. Galatians 3:6–9 6just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. ESV
      1. Everyone who is blessed along with Abraham with his blessing are justified by faith just like Abraham, the man of faith, and are thereby counted righteous. There is no salvation in the New Testament preached outside of a participation in the blessing of Abraham. There is only one gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through him, there is no other name under heaven by which we may be saved, and the only way he saves is by making us participants in the good news that he preached to Abraham.
  1. Genesis 17:1 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, ESV
    1. What follows is the account of Abram becoming Abraham. Here is God's blessing to Abram.
    2. Genesis 17:1–8 1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” ESV
    3. This blessing has a deep impact on how we treat and how we raise our children
      1. 2 may multiply you greatly
      2. 4 you shall be the father of a multitude of nations
      3. 5 The name Abram means "exalted father" the name Abraham means "father of many" and God as it were increases Abrams name to Abraham in the giving of the covenant. Again the covenant and blessing of Abraham regards Abraham's children.
        1. Genesis 17:5 5No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. ESV
      4. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. ESV
      5. We see that almost every verse in the giving of the covenant to Abraham contains some notion about children. You cannot divorce the concepts of gospel and God's promises regarding our children. They are intertwined promises.
        1. The greatest promise of this covenant with Abraham is that through his seed, that is Jesus, the whole world would be blessed.
        2. The second greatest promise of this covenant is that Abraham's children would be saved. Christians ignore this promise to their own discomfort and distress, to their own bewilderment and befuddlement.
      6. Genesis 17:7–8 7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” ESV
        1. God promises to be a God to Abraham and to his children. This is at the core of our religion.
  2. Can we trust God to save our children?
    1. According to God's unshakable covenant with Abraham, yes we can.
    2. Do you have the heart God wants you to have towards the promises given to Abraham or can you shrug your shoulders at them?

2. God's Faithfulness to Our Children

  1. This concept of God being a God to believers and to their children will be a theme throughout the scriptures.
    1. Deuteronomy 6:4–7 4“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children... ESV
    2. Deuteronomy 7:9 9Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, ESV
      1. Who will God bless in the promises given to Abraham? A thousand generations. Does that promise belong only to Abraham, no, not to him only but to a thousand generations of children.
    3. Deuteronomy 29:29 29“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. ESV
      1. Who do the revealed things of God belong to? To us and to our children.
      2. It might be objected that the law of commandments does belong to us and to our children, but what of the promise of salvation.
    4. Deuteronomy 30:6 6And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. ESV
      1. To have a circumcised heart is to be born again, they both yield the same thing a heart that loves God earnestly. If our children are promised hearts that love God with heart and soul, this is all I contend for. This is all my hope as a father, that my children would love God Almighty with all their hearts and with all their souls. And this very thing is promised repeatedly in the scriptures.
    5. Isaiah 49:25 25For thus says the LORD: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. ESV
      1. It is said directly in the scriptures, word for word, promised as clear as a bell, "I will save your children"
    6. Jeremiah 31:33–34 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” ESV
      1. Jeremiah 31:35–36 35Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD of hosts is his name: 36“If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” ESV
    7. Jeremiah 32:38–41 38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. ESV
    8. Acts 2:39 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” ESV
    9. Isaiah 54:13 13All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. ESV
      1. Does this verse clearly regard children?
      2. Does this verse clearly regard eternal salvation, eternal peace with God?
      3. True peace comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. Great shall be the peace of our children for they shall be taught by the LORD. And this is what God has taught us, to believe in his Son Jesus Christ, and this is what God will teach our children, to believe in Jesus Christ, that they might have new hearts and thus love God with all of their hearts and all of their souls.
    10. John 6:44–45 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— ESV
      1. John 6:29 29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” ESV
      2. John 6:37 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. ESV
      3. John 6:40 40For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” ESV

3. Parenting in Faith

3a. Who are our Children

  1. God's promise to Abraham is that all his children would be saved.
  2. God's promise to us is that all of our children will be saved.
  3. As the bumper sticker says, "God says it. I believe it. That settles it."
  4. This promise is so central to the scriptures and God's plan of salvation that if it does not come true, we should doubt all of God's promises.
    1. You can't have it both ways, either God keeps his promises or he does not.
    2. If we ever find by experience that God's promises have failed we must either conclude that God's word has failed or that our experience is wrong and to be explained some other way.
    3. This is how Paul argues in Romans 9. Since we find by experience and Biblical testimony that not all of Abraham's descendants are saved we must either find some Biblical explanation to this occurrence, or conclude that God's Word has failed.
    4. Romans 9 argues this way. If God does not save our children, the word of God has failed.
    5. Romans 9:6 6But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, ESV
  5. If it's all of election who are children are, then what is the benefit of the promises?
    1. God's promises are given as a gift for great purpose and should never be despised.
    2. No promise is missing from the scripture. There is no promise that I wish was in the Scriptures but is not.
      1. What more can be said than to you hath been said.
      2. If there was no promise about the spiritual state of my children, that would be a gaping whole in believing parent's hearts. God has left no such hole.
    3. The doctrine of election is not given to cause your heart to doubt and despair, but to engender hope and trust. We can trust God for our children's souls.
    4. The actions of parents effects the eternal security of their children. To put it another way, the way you treat your children affects whether they are your children.
      1. My working theory is this: Treat your children according to the terms and tenor of the covenant and they will prove to be your children indeed by entering into eternal life with you.

3b. Examples of Faithful/Faithless Parenting

  1. Isaac, but not Ishmael
    1. Abraham did not act according to the terms and tenor of the covenant God gave to him. He took matters into his own hands instead of placing faith and trust in the promises of God. Thus he took to himself Hagar and had Ishmael. A child not born of the promise. This is a direct result of Abraham's faith and actions.
  2. Jacob, but not Esau
    1. Isaac gave strong preferential treatment to Esau. In his attempt to alter God's promises and covenant toward his children he accomplished the exact opposite of what he set out to do. He tried to reserve the blessing of the covenant for Esau and leave no blessing for Jacob.
    2. Genesis 27:36–37 36Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” ESV
  3. Solomon, but not Absalom
    1. Solomon proves that God does not judge every parental failure with a lack of blessing and loving our children.
      1. Solomon was born of Bathsheba, wherein David was faithless, yet God's blessing was on Solomon, and thou Solomon failed in many ways, I strongly expect to see him in heaven.
      2. 1 Kings 3:3 3Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. ESV
    2. Solomon proves that love for an individual extends towards his children
      1. 1 Kings 11:11–13 11Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. 12Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.” ESV
      2. With very little exception, I cannot love you and hate your children.
      3. With very little exception, God does not love us and hate our children.
      4. God's love for Solomon is strongly related to his love for his father David.
    3. Solomon proves that we should hold out hope for our children until the very end.
      1. Few chase after sin and folly as completely as Solomon did, yet in the end, after all his madness, he repents.
      2. Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. ESV
      3. "Is it too late for my children"
        1. Hold out faith, hope, and love until the very end
    4. Absalom
      1. David married outside of the faith, to the daughter of a pagan and idol worshipping king.
        1. 2 Samuel 3:3 3and his second, Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; ESV
      2. David allowed Absalom to be raised in part by this ungodly maternal grandfather.
        1. 2 Samuel 13:37–38 37But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. 38So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. ESV
        2. 2 Samuel 18:33 33And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” ESV

3c. Of Elders

  1. 1 Timothy 3:4–5 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? ESV
  2. Titus 1:6 6if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. ESV
  3. We have a strong and important responsibility as parents to treat our children according to the terms and tenor of the promises that God has made towards our children. Set love and faith at work in this regard and you will see the glad fulfilment of all of God's promises.
  4. Proverbs 22:6 6Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ESV
    1. Ephesians 6:4 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. ESV
    2. 2 Timothy 3:15 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. ESV

4. The Importance of Faith

  1. James 1:6–8 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ESV
  2. Hebrews 11:32–33 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, ESV
  3. Hebrews 11:13 13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. ESV
    1. Faith is base on promises. One of Satan's greatest victories in the modern age is divorcing the concept of faith from the promises of God.
  4. Mark 11:24 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ESV
  5. Romans 14:23 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. ESV
    1. "Whatever does not proceed from faith," not just eating. It is entirely appropriate to say that we must parent in faith towards the promises of the scriptures, and that whoever does not parent in faith towards these promises, parents in sin, for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
  6. If we do not have faith, we should not expect to see the promises fulfilled, if we have faith, we will see all the promises fulfilled.
  7. Do not doubt! Only believe!