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Opposition to Jesus
The opposition of Jesus’s family, showing us our family, part 4
Mark 3:20 to 35 part four, 31-35
This morning as we begin, I need you to answer this question—have you stopped hating sin in your life? Or, when’s the last time you declared war on a sin in your life? This morning, God’s Word is going to expose a sin, and not only is it a sin the world doesn’t recognize, but it’s a sin many so-called Christians refuse to repent of, because it is a sin of the family. It is the sin of child idolatry–making an idol of our children. It’s a sin–and because it’s a sin, we need to be reminded of what God says about continual sin in the life of a professing Christian.
Today’s is a combination of my study of Mark, reading mega books on the family, and unique to today, listening to sermons by solid pastors on this issue–I’m not alone in this. Of course each of you has a Bible, so open it to Hebrews 10. God wrote this book for entrenched churchgoers, and the author is sounding an alarm for all church attenders in verse 26.
Hebrews 10:26 and 27, “For if we [key word] willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, [there is no longer an atonement for you who know the truth and willfully persist in disobeying that truth, you can’t be saved and all you have to look forward to is] 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” GULP–that is a reality for entrenched church attenders who continue in defiant sin.
When someone claiming to be Christian willfully says, “Yeah, I know it’s sin/disobeying a command, but I’m going to do it anyway,” that reveals/exposes an unrepentant, unconverted heart. Anytime any clear violation to a command of Scripture continues in the life of an entrenched churchgoer, it is often exposing an unconverted heart, a phony faith, a fake Christian.
Don’t take my word for it–it is all over the Scripture. Hopefully these do not expose your heart, nor your lifestyle. First John 3:9, “Those who have been born of God do not [ongoing, present tense continual] sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God.” Ephesians 5:5, “Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy [that is, an idolater], has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” First Corinthians 6:9, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! …idolaters, … will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Hebrews 10 says this type of entrenched church attender has nothing to look forward to except the Lake of Fire. But you say, “Phew, I know I am regenerate, and I don’t deliberately, defiantly, continually sin.” Yet often, in a comfortable culture like ours, you and I do not take sin as seriously as we ought to. Look at Hebrews 12.
Hebrews 12:4 to 6 “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. [Hey, in your battle with sin, when is the last time you resisted sin to the point of shedding your own blood?] 6 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.” Look at verse 5–my Christian child, do not lose sight of the fact that God strongly disciplines for sin. “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children–my child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; [punish is a strong word directed at Christians, it means scourging–not kill you, not send you to the Lake of Fire, but He is going to scourge you over your sin] 6 for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
Let’s not be careless about our sin, no matter what is modeled to us by others, no matter what we were taught in the past, no matter what book we read–if we give into idolatry in any form, God will discipline, scourge, and lovingly spank His children, even if it has to do with my children or my family.
I want to prepare you to declare war against the sins of parents. If you are sinning as a parent, you must change. If you are sinning as a mother of children, you must repent. If God’s Word exposes a sin in your heart, you must respond. These are not suggestions or tips or theory, this is God’s Word. “Thus saith the Lord,” who made you and redeemed you–obey! If you deliberately say, “I don’t care what you teach,” or “I don’t want to hear that,” or “I don’t care what God says,” and we don’t repent, respond and obey, then that response leads to eternal punishment in Hell, or it means being spanked by God. Either way, one leads to catastrophe and the other to discomfort.
Turn to Hebrews 4. We are to allow the Word of God to do its work in our innermost being, regardless of the difficulty, and regardless of the issue. And Hebrews warns you it will not always be easy. Hebrews 4:12, “Indeed, the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Do you read an OUCH in this verse? You should–listen to those words . . . living, sword, sharper, piercing, judge = ouch. The Word of God feels like a knife cutting open our soul. The Word of God alters my thinking, which changes my intentions and behavior.
So here again, if what the Bible says, what I am teaching you, is truly a sin in your life, you must act in dependent repentance, not merely avoid it, feel bad, or adjust your externals. You must declare war on sin when it’s found in your heart. If you make your children or your spouse an idol, you must repent.
Those of you who are not yet parents, this applies directly to you as well. Anything in your life competing for God’s affections is an idol and must be repented of. This is for you who have no kids, or your kids are grown, or whatever your circumstance. Here is the sin that Jesus will expose today in Mark 3. If you set your children up, where you would choose them over God . . . if you are more loyal to your children than you are to God . . . when you are faced with a choice between your children and God, and you choose your children–then you’ve made an idol of your kids. You’re sinning, in defiance of God’s Word and God’s divine order.
But Chris, how do I know I am doing this? I’m so glad you asked. How do I know who my God is? Simple–whoever you love the most. Whatever you love the most–that’s your God. And if whoever you love the most is not the God who made you and saved you, then your Creator has a word for that–it’s called an idol.
God has called all His true children to have Jesus Christ be the supreme love of your life–period. The great commandment is very direct in Matthew 22:37 to 39, “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The greatest commandment is not to love your kids first. The greatest commandment is not to love your spouse first. It is to love your God with everything you have, completely. The second commandment includes loving your spouse and kids and others, but first above all, greater than spouse and kids, is God.
The very first thing God revealed to us through Moses, even before writing the first five books of the Old Testament was up on a mountain, and the very first command of the great ten commandments was Exodus 20:3 and 4, “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol.”
You say, “That sounds kinda’ jealous–that’s not good, we need to be accepting of everyone, not exclusive, not narrow. Really? That sounds jealous to me.” And I would say, “You are right.” Exodus 34:14, “For you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Before you pray over your Taco Bell bean cup today, you could say, “Dear Jealous, thank you for this bountiful Mexican food.” God’s name is Jealous–He calls himself Jealous.
Jealousy is a human weakness, but it is appropriate at times, yes? If my wife, Jean, is hanging all over some usher in the back, giving him kisses, and I walk by and say, “Whatever, we’re open, she can love whoever she wants,” you’d say I’m crazy and headed for trouble. God is a jealous God–we’re not to have any competitors. We are to love Him most and first. And when we love anything or anything more, it is an idol–a perversion of what we were created for.
Turn to Matthew 6. Here is why God is concerned about loving your kids more than Him. Whatever you love more than Him is your God. And gods always end up controlling those who worship them. Whatever you love the most controls you. That’s why Jesus says this about money–if money is your god, if money is what you love the most, then Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
You can’t obey two masters–when those interests collide, it will be a train wreck. You can’t love money most and God most–it is one or the other. You can only have one god–God or money. You can only have one god–God or family, not both.
Who do you love the most? When you ask people in our culture what’s most important in their lives, nineteen of twenty will say children, my kids. Our culture, for the most part, worships children. Do you see how scary that is for us as Christ-followers? That means our sins are considered to be virtues by our culture. Our sin of children idolatry is actually a virtue in our society.
If you choose to reject family idolatry, then your neighbors may actually see you as a bad parent, because the expectation of our culture is to idolize our children, and Christian parenting book after family book after marriage book unashamedly adopt the same philosophy and no one is calling it sin . . . except today. ALL idolatry, no matter what form, is sin. The very last verse of 1 John warns us this way–1 John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Okay, so what do I do? I’m glad you asked–there is only one solution to idolatry, only one biblical corrective, and that is to repent. Turn from idolatry and follow Christ alone. You must purpose to love God more than your children. You must be intentional, you must act, you must embrace that this sin goes against the Gospel and all God has done for you. To continue to love your children more than Christ is not only to call into question your salvation and bring you under the discipline of God, but you are saying to your Redeemer, “You did all this for me, you loved me while I was so vile, so I could focus all my love on my children and relegate You to second best! I was headed to Hell, you rescued me so that I could build my entire life around my children.” Do you see how hurtful that is?
Dependently choose to repent, turn and love Christ more. Hey, if my wife loves the postman more than me, and you say to her, “Jean, you should love your husband, Chris, more than the postman,” and she says, “Yeah, maybe I should,” that’s not good enough. You want repentance. “I won’t love the postman, and will adore Chris.”
Revelation 2 is very pointed–if you’ve left your first love for your kids, you are to repent. Revelation 2:4 and 5, “You have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” And remember, idolatry is not merely making a wooden statue or burning incense or offering fruit to a family picture. Ezekiel tells us in 14:3, “These men have taken their idols into their hearts.” Our hearts are the center of our affections–therefore, we have to do spiritual open heart surgery to repent.”
Yes, you should love your spouse and children, or job, a ministry. But God demands to be the supreme love in your life–He commands. It is the only way to have everything else right in your life.
Turn to Luke 14. God does call you to love your wife or husband and your kids. The propensity is to love our kids, but the temptation is to love them supremely, which we must repent of. God says you need to know when your love for your kids collides with your love for Me, the triune God of the universe–you are to choose Me—God. Your love for Me is to be supreme over all–no competitors.
And sometimes parents, that will make your kids feel bad. They’re gonna think or feel they’re second fiddle. They may even say sad, harsh, or heartbreaking things to you when they realize they’re not #1, nor #2 (that’s your spouse), but they are only #3 in a biblical home, in a godly home.
In Luke 14, Jesus has started Operation Crowd Reduction. There are too many people following Him, so in a sense Christ says, “I have made it too easy for too many of you–I don’t think you understand what I have been teaching here.” Luke 14:25 and 26, “Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.’”
If you don’t hate your father, mother, wife and children you cannot be my disciple–you are not on my team, not my follower. This is a simple truth, but it is also a very difficult truth. You can’t do this in your own strength, it must be the Spirit of God. But sometimes in life, our interests are going to collide. God is going to demand first, and your kids are going to demand first, and your heart is going to want to give to your kids first. They will feel like you hate them–they may not say it, but you all will feel it. You don’t hate them in reality, but you don’t love them as much as you love God. It is when those two interests collide, the kids are to lose.
And if you are going to love God first, then count the cost. Luke 14:28 says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” Estimate the cost here. Right now, God says, “If you love Me supremely, you need to love your kids less than you love me, God—so count the cost.”
You know when it starts–in the nursery at church. You’ve seen it when you are dropping your child off. If they could talk, they’d say, “You must hate me, to leave me here in this torture chamber. They’re going to rip my arms off, deprive me of food, and poke my eyes.” They’d say, “I can’t believe you’re leaving me here. Don’t be fooled by these nice nursery workers.” If they could talk they’d be saying, “You call yourself my parents? You must hate me.”
If you say you’re going to love God first, you will want at points to worship Him in an undistracted manner, to take notes, learn the Word, sing praise, focus all your attention on Christ who you love most during the entire worship service–even if your kid thinks you hate him, because you love God most.
Then this may continue on date night. All parenting relationships are based on the marriage relationship, but kids think, “If dad loves me, every night is family night.” When the boys were little, they knew every night was not for them. Some nights I was at church, or ministering somewhere, because I love God first. And once a week, every week, I would spend time with my wife, because I need to love her more than the kids—so not every night is family night. We do a night without them.
You have to evaluate–do I love God first, then my spouse, more than I love my kids? And make sure I have undistracted time with my bride. Then sports and entertainment came around. My kids thought—“If you loved me, you’d let me play in every sport, in every league, and watch every show, and play video games all day . . . that would be true love, Dad.” For us, it was one sport per year, and if that sport had games on Sunday, the answer was no. Video games with a timer and limited TV–I love God first, best, most. I love God more than you and more than your sports, TV or video games, or your friends.
Plus God commands me in Hebrews 10:25, “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” No, you can’t play every sport, nor video games all day, nor hang out with your friends as much as you want, and you are not missing church nor student group either.
Then there is money–our boys loved spending. They were okay with saving, and found it hard to give. And there were a few discussions a long time ago that sounded like, “Hey, if you really loved me, you wouldn’t make me give, save maybe, but give to God? Where does that money go?” “Sorry boys, but God told us to be good stewards of our money and give to our local church–because we love God more than we love you or money.”
There were times we’d go out, and they would want to talk about the latest event, and some news item, and sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes, there was not time for that discussion–but only time enough to talk about the Lord and His Word. Because God told me in Deuteronomy 6 to speak of God and His Word when they lie down and rise up, in all we do–we did that, and not what they wanted to talk about. Why? Because we love God first.
Do you need to repent of child idolatry? Yes you do–and so do I, as well as wife idolatry, church idolatry, and at times money idolatry, and so many other competing affections. But kids are a big one.
You say, “Wow Chris, does Jesus Christ really teach this?” Yes He does–open your Bibles to the end of Mark 3. That was all introduction–so now here is the text. Jesus just appointed His official team of proxies–the twelve apostles. And now as He ministers, He experiences opposition first from . . .
#1 The opposition of His friends Verses 20 to 21
In verses 20 to 21, most likely the Lord’s brothers and buddies try to snatch Christ away, because they think He’s lost His mind since He is ministering so hard He doesn’t have time to eat. Next Jesus experiences heat from . . .
#2 The opposition of His foes Verses 22 to 30
The religious leaders reject Christ, saying He is controlled by Satan in order to do all those legitimate miracles He is doing. But Christ refutes them with a brilliant comparative argument asking, how could Satan oppose himself? For Christ to cast out hundreds of demons by the power of Satan would be like Satan shooting his own soldiers, dividing his own family, and defeating his own kingdom–he’d be destroying himself.
Verse 25 adds, the only way to deliver all these people enslaved by demons is to be stronger than the slave owner and tie him up in order to release all the captured slaves, which is what Christ did. Christ proved He was not working for Satan, but is actually stronger than Satan–and the only person stronger than Satan is God. Christ is God come in the flesh.
But because the religious leaders are unwilling to admit that Christ is truly God, Christ lovingly warns them they could be committing a sin that can’t be forgiven in verses 28 to 30. They had seen Christ heal the lame, cure the leprous, raise the dead, feed thousands, heard Him teach the Word of God, yet instead of affirming the work of God’s Holy Spirit through Christ, they rejected the Spirit’s work and said it was the work of Satan.
To continually affirm that from your mouth and heart is to reject the Spirit’s work, and it is the Spirit who alone calls someone to salvation. Therefore they can’t be forgiven. When someone intentionally rejects the calling work of the Holy Spirit as He points to turning to Christ alone for salvation, that person forfeits the possibility of forgiveness and ultimately salvation and heaven.
Now if the opposition of His friends and foes were not bad enough, Christ is next opposed by His family. The people who should see Christ the clearest are the ones who become His critics.
#3 The opposition of His family Verses 31 to 35
Let me paint the scene here–Jesus is back in Capernaum where he performed many miracles causing His popularity to sore. The crowds surrounding Christ are desperate and huge–in the center are the twelve apostles hanging on to Christ’s every word. Then there are the scribes, who are intensely listening in order to hear some statement, which would allow them to kill Christ.
There are other loyal followers, not the twelve, then a massive mixed bag of people, believing and unbelieving, eager and livid, on fire and cold, zealots and tax collectors, fisherman and scholars. The crowd is pressed, intense, and impossible to navigate, so now enter the Lord’s earthly family on the periphery of this mass, trying to get Jesus’s attention, starting in verse 31.
Mark 3:31 to 35, “Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.’ 33 Answering them, He said, ‘Who are My mother and My brothers?’ 34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’”
This is shocking, and it feels a little harsh and unfeeling doesn’t it? After all, His relations were only concerned that Jesus should not make a spectacle of Himself. Yet Jesus was not being difficult–we already know how deeply sensitive He was to his family bonds when he was left behind at the Temple at age 12, and when he gave Mary over to John’s care while hanging on the cross. The Lord took care to obey His parents and to honor His mother.
Yet I’m confident His family was not ready for His reply here. They’re standing on the periphery, and His half-brothers and -sisters, plus His own mother hear, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Whoa–how do you like that? In every verse here, the words mother and brothers are used. And in two of the verses, it says mother, brother and sisters. This is the Lord’s earthly family–Mary, James and Jude who later would become believers, and the nameless half-sisters.
The Lord’s family arrives but, they can’t get close to Christ since the crowd is so big and so dense with people. They’d be sitting in concentric circles around the Lord, with those most believing, most intimate, in the closest circle. (Kinda’ like sitting on the front rows at church, except if you’re Merlin, who sits in the back to not block anyone’s view). They communicate their desire to see Jesus (verse 31).
The crowd passes this message on to Jesus in verse 32, and as it is passed from person to person to finally get to Christ, it begins with a “behold”, your mom and siblings are on the outside looking for you, calling attention to the unique situation. Behold family is here. Then Jesus, God incarnate, perfect Savior, the Lord of love whacks everyone with, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” (verse 33). Ouch! But it does get you thinking, doesn’t it? What’s the Lord saying about His earthly family in contrast to His spiritual family?
So in verse 34 the Lord looks at those seated in the circle around Him, possibly those who’re believing, His twelve, and others. And the idea here is Jesus gave them a searching look, a careful look, literally a hunting look–like when you explained to your parents why you were out later than you had agreed upon, and they gave you that look.
Jesus looks hard at the crowd around Him, and Matthew 12:49 adds, “Jesus also gestured with His hand.” Verse 34b, “He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers!’” Verse 35, “’For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.’” These words are startling in any culture–but in the Hebrew culture, where the family is sacred, they are shocking. A murmur of amazement must have swept the crowd.
Mary, who had nursed and dressed Jesus and loved Him all the way into his magnificent manhood, now coming to Him with loving concern must have been crushed. Come on, moms–the Son you loved hears you’ve come to see Him and He says to everyone about you–who is My mother?! How would you react? She’s hurt! Knowing brothers, I am sure they were probably angered!
And even though we understand this from a biblical perspective, as part of a family, as a parent or brother or sister, you must find these words difficult, confronting and at least direct. What was Jesus trying to say? First, Jesus did not intend to sever family bonds. Again, in the final hours of His earthly ministry, while on the cross, Jesus made provision for His mother, as a first-born should.
Later, His half-brother James would become a devoted leader in the Early Church. Jude, his other half-brother would write an epistle. The Lord was not breaking family ties, though He did affirm that a basic Christian commitment would sometimes bring division to a family. In Mark 10:28 to 30, “Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ 29 Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.’”
What Jesus was trying to say was there is a deeper kinship than flesh and blood, a spiritual kinship which is characterized by obedience to the Father in verse 35, “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Obedience is not the key to begin your relationship with the Father–obedience does not begin your relationship with the Father. But obedience is the evidence you are related to the Father. Obedience shows you began with the true faith that saves. Faith without works is dead–faith without obedience is dead.
Jesus could not be more clear in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” Jesus said in John 14:21, “He who hears My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.” John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” And the apostle John is in your face in 1 John 2:4, “Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him,’ but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist.”
Once you come to Christ by saving faith, He changes your heart so that you want to obey. Romans 6:17, “But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.” And as in any good family, as we all obey the Father, we are brought together in a family closer than any other. We’re bonded, not merely by the flesh, but through the indwelling Spirit. We become one in a more intimate, satisfying, and stronger way than any human family can ever be.
Earthly family ties are not as strong as a spiritual bond, and our earthly family is not eternal like our spiritual family is. Family is important, but they do not have priority over God’s will nor our spiritual family. Jesus didn’t say this once my friends, it is all through the gospels, like Luke 11:27 to 28, “One of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.’ But He said, ‘On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.’” Stronger than genetics is obedience to our Master.
The human family is superseded by the new family, the family of God. Luke 9:59 to 60, “He said to another, ‘Follow Me.’ But he said, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But He said to him, ‘Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.’” As important as families are, especially in Christian homes, the family of God takes precedence over birth-family relationships. If you are saved, you are part of the family of God. And Jesus says that means you will pursue the will of the Father.
Christian father and godly mother–this is radical stuff. These are not my words, these are God’s words. Today will show you if the Word of God is your true authority, or if it is optional for you–where you pick and choose what you want to obey. Our spiritual bond, what God intends for us has been lost today. Why? Several reasons: family idolatry, fear of the world, weak Christian fellowship, the toleration of the flesh in relationships in the Church, and a lack of commitment to the will of God and the Word of God in the Church. So respond to God’s Word and do what He wants.
1 Don’t make an idol out of family–love Christ first
Kent Hughes put it this way—“In a valiant effort to stem the tide, many Christians and non-Christians alike have made the family everything. Every moment of every day, every involvement, every commitment, every engagement is measured and judged by the question, ‘How will this benefit my family?’ While this is generally commendable, it can degenerate into a familial narcissism. The four walls of the home become a temple and only within and for those walls are any sacrifices made. Thus we commit domestic idolatry! This is an immense tragedy.”
If you set your children up where you would choose them over God . . . if you are more loyal to your children than you are to God . . . when you are faced with a choice between your children and God and you choose your children–then you’ve made an idol of your kids. You’re sinning in defiance of God’s Word and God’s divine order.
Listen friends, the only way to love your spouse or kids is to love Christ first. We love because He first loved us. It is only as we love Christ first that can we love our family and others the way God intended. It’s only as God is our greatest love. You must repent and return to your first love–that requires hard choices. Remembering always you can’t, but Christ can through you. Depend on His Spirit and follow His Word alone.
2 Don’t be afraid for your family–have faith in Christ
It is a mother’s job to worry–not for the Christian woman! That’s what the culture says–God says something totally different. God says it is a sin for you to make parenting decisions from an anxious, fearful, worried heart. Philippians 4:6 and 7, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer [pray about your kids] and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Fear is a big sin of Christian parents today—fear-based Christian parenting books. But God designed for us to pray about everything, to trust Him and not lean on our own thinking or feeling. Again, we need to repent, dependently say, “No,” to worry and, “Yes,” to trust in God’s Word.
“But the world is too strong, Chris. We need to hide our kids from the world, isolate them from influences.” Yes, we do need to be wise, but no, we don’t need to be afraid. Your decisions must not be based on worry or an obsession to protect, but trust a sovereign God. You and your kids are going to die exactly when God designed–there are no accidents. Yes, be responsible (can’t play with the knives), but trust in God–you can’t protect them.
Parents, you do not need to be afraid of the world–fear God. He promises you in 1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.” Parents need to live by faith–that’s dependence upon God, reliance upon the Word of God, faithful prayer, saturating your home with the reality of Christ and what Christ has done for us on the cross. Like Tim’s mom did for him in 2 Timothy 3:15, “From childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct [lead] you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Faith in Christ, not fear–you’re not sovereign! You can’t watch your kids 24/7. My kids are immortal until God’s time—remember Job?
3 Don’t isolate your family from the Church—integrate
Families were not meant to function in isolation. Dad and Mom do not have all the spiritual gifts. Families were meant to be under a loving, qualified eldership. Church is more than attending worship–you’re a part of the Body. Your children need the relationships, interactions, influences of other adults. They need to learn to be sinned against and forgive. They need to reconcile relationships. They need to be able to serve, give, love, and thirty more “one anothers”. Children need to grow passionate for God’s mission to reach the lost, be discipled, to learn to disciple, possibly be trained as a shepherd or missionary.
Like the Trinity, families are to be one with the Body of Christ–not isolated, but integrated. Your children will not always have you parents, but they will always have Christ’s Church.
4 Don’t neglect your marriage because of your kids
As children see you love Christ as your first love, they must also see you love your spouse and be one with them. They can’t understand God unless they see you function in your roles, are one with your spouse, see you adore them, serve them, delight in them more than themselves.
5 Don’t attempt to obey on your own—turn to Christ
You can’t pull this off. You can’t repent of child idolatry, you can’t avoid fear, and we can’t even avoid raising self-centered children on our own. We can’t change our own hearts, let alone their hearts. We can’t love God or our kids correctly on our own. We must realize we are unable, helpless, hopeless, ugly sinners who need forgiveness and internal transformation. Repent and turn to Christ alone, who can forgive us and transform us by dying on the cross for our sins, and raising from the dead to overcome sin and empower me to live for Him.