This post is part 2 of a message I spoke to our church on passing our faith to the next generation.
3. We must take care not to forget God. – Connect truth to life – When life is going well, don’t forget that kids need the gospel more than they need a set of rules or instructions alone. Our grandkids need to know the story of our past of our church and our family; they need to understand Salvation belongs to the Lord. We must convey that Jesus is our Treasure and our great reward. He is our life and joy. – We must view our lives in light of God’s saving grace. We must remember who we were before God redeemed us. When our lives are full of the good things God gives us, and we forget that we are great sinners that were taken from slavery and made sons we walk in humble gratitude for such a great salvation.
12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
Remembering the radical change that took place when we were redeemed keeps us humble. Humility makes us dependent, and dependence keeps us in touch with God’s power. This ensures that our life will be characterized by security and strength in the face of temptation.
Hughes Kent R.
4. We must serve God without conditions – Trust Jesus explicitly – Submit our desires and ambitions and read the scriptures with a view to obey them — don’t test God.
16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you.
At Massah, Israel said if God loved us. If God were good he would give us water to drink. – To test is to consider a party guilty until he or she proves him or herself innocent. Guilty until proven innocent. It is the exact opposite of trust that says that someone is innocent until proven guilty. To “test the Lord” is to say basically, “I’ll follow you as long as my life is going the way it ought to go. I’ll follow you as long as I’m getting explanations and answers to all my questions. I’ll follow you as long as you prove yourself worthy.”
We test God by needing an explanation or forcing him to prove his love to us. I’ll serve you if… I will follow you if you help me understand why.
Elisabeth Elliot used to visit a couple of friends of hers who had a farm and had sheep on their farm in northern Wales. She was there one time at the season of the year in which the shepherd has to do something kind of awful to the sheep. At one point of the year, the shepherd has to take his sheep and take them to a massive vat of antiseptic and completely submerge the sheep in the vat of antiseptic. If they don’t go through that, they will literally die, be eaten by parasites and insects. So what they have to do is take the sheep and not only throw them into the vat before they swim but submerge them and hold them under.
She essentially says, “One by one, John seized the animals. They would struggle to climb out the side and Mack the sheepdog would snarl and snap at their faces to force them back under. When they tried to climb up the ramp in a panicky way at the far end, John the farmer would catch them, spin them around, force them under again, holding them ears, eyes, and nose submerged for a few seconds. And as their lord and master was pushing their head under, drowning them at least as far as they could tell, their panicky little eyes would look up over the edge of the vat, and it was easy to see what they were thinking. ‘What is God doing?’ ”
Here’s what Elisabeth Elliot says, “I’ve had some experiences in my life which have made me feel very sympathetic to those poor sheep. There were times I couldn’t figure out any reason for the treatment I was getting from my Great Shepherd, whom I trusted. And like these sheep, I didn’t have a hint of an explanation.”
We’re still finite, limited creatures, but God is infinite. We must serve God without conditions
5. When kids ask why we do what we do give them Jesus. – Show how the laws of God point us to the Grace of God. – If you follow God with fear, love, obedient sacrifice, and humble submission in success and failure of the generation below, you will wonder. When they wonder, when they wonder give them Jesus.
When kids ask why do you keep God’s commands don’t just pass that opportunity by. Give them the gospel. Tell them of the events but connect those events, not to your wisdom or your efforts but the life-transforming power of a redeemer. Don’t steal God’s glory, thinking you bought the house you live in, or the car you drive. When you experience blessing, remember the Lord Your God who brought you out of the land of slavery.
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.
Tell the gospel as you find it in the Bible, but set it in the frame of your experience of its preciousness. Tell your son how you sinned, and how the Lord had mercy upon you; tell him how he met with you, how you were brought to seek his face, how you were born again, how you received a new heart and a right spirit. He will think the more of this great change because it happened to his father, or to his mother, or to some kind friend. – Charles Spurgeon
When the kids in our church wonder why, when your children ask why do we go to church, why do we do what’s right, why do we do what we do don’t tell them because God said so. That is what Moses is saying.
Kids need truth, but when kids ask why to give them the truth but tell them a story. What Moses is saying is to give them the gospel. Tell them about a God who broken into history and saw a bunch of helpless slaves who were not lovely, but God loved them because he loved them that he demonstrated his power by preserving them, by delivering them, by caring for them and by preparing a place for them. Our kids need to know the truth they need to know the Bible; they need to pray, but how are we going to expect them to do those things if we can’t even do those things. Doing the right thing without the power of the Gospel only changes who or what we are slaves to.
What did Moses what his children to remember? That they were freed because a lamb died instead of them. They placed the blood of a lamb on the door of their homes. What our grandkids need to know is what we need to remember. What we need to rehearse over and over again is that Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world, died instead of us. It is through his life through his death through his resurrection that we have the power and the desire out of humble gratitude, out of awe and love we keep his commands because he lived for us and died for us.
The beautiful thing about being part of a faith community about being a parent is The Gospel story is the same but details are different. How God brings his story alive in your life is for you to discover through trials and storms. So you can recount how God taught you to fear him, love him serve him. What our church believes about the Gospel will not be seen in our kids but in how our kids tell their kids about the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world.
We must preach the gospel to our kids, but we must teach them to preach the gospel to themselves. We have to preach to our hearts so we can teach them to preach to theirs.
It’s not enough just to say to your heart, “Well, you have to trust him, because he’s God, and you’re just a stupid sheep.” That will work for a while, but in the end you have to say, “The Shepherd became a sheep. The Shepherd became a little lamb who was destroyed. He became vulnerable … the invulnerable, infallible God. He did that for me. That’s why I can trust him.”
This article originally appeared here.