Thirst Quenched In God

Pastor Gary Cox

“How lovely on the mountaintops are the feet of them that bring good news,” and he went on to describe that in the old days of walled cities, news from a battle would always come by means of runners who would be running. They always had watchmen on the walls waiting for the telephone to ring, which happened to be a runner running. So they trained their eyes to the horizon and these watchmen began to be adept at distinguishing the nature of the message based upon the foot pace of the person bringing the news because the one bringing good news had beautiful feet; he ran with this sense of joy and accomplishment and that beautiful feet was visible. And this morning as we talk about baptism and some of the aspects that practically relates to us, it’s interesting to me to begin with that sentiment that we have a real question. I really want to challenge the men this morning, those of us who are already married and have children and those of us who are needing some more training before God would entrusts us to that. There’s a real question, do you have beautiful feet? It’s not a question of, “Are you willing to open your mouth and speak about Christ?” It has nothing to do with that. The message is within and if the message within is bursting to get out, there is an evidence in your body language that communicates the life and the joy of Jesus Christ wherever you go. And I have a question this morning, “How’s your feet? Do you have beautiful feet this morning? Are you one of those that just your appearance on the scene causes that lilting sense of joy and hope and confidence because your God reigns and you’re walking in that confidence and you’re ready to tell about that victory?” The reason why I feel particularly called to address the men in particular, not that any of you wives or young women are excluded, but there’s two reasons: men are stupid by reason of spiritual failing and we’re lazy. We don’t want to pay attention, we don’t want to bother digging out what we need to dig out in order to be a leader. But God has granted to men leadership and men have to lead by knowledge and not by whim. A man who leads by whim is not a godly man, he’s not a man executing his office of leadership in any kind of godly way, he’s just a man who’s filling the place of leadership and taking advantage of it and sort of basking in the light of leadership as an opportunity for strutting his prowess with some form of egotistical, vain accomplishment. That’s pretty useless. Let’s pray.

Lord we come this morning in the name of Jesus Christ and we thank You that You are a God of hope, a God of victory and a God of confidence. Lord we would that today, even today, you might work in us an increasing sense of our own confidence in Your great purpose, our determined press toward that mark, and Lord that we might be those that reflect the good news of the mere joy and affirmation that our body language sends out, the way we live each day of our lives. Lord we ask for Your Word that You would open it to us and especially Lord that You would touch us men who have need of being Your godly leaders in our homes and places of service that You send us, so that we might wake up to the opportunity and the call and take advantage of the time that we have however long or small so that we don’t waste away Lord as it were chasing after vanity. We thank You in Christ’s name amen.

In my message on baptism I’m finding it more important to lay some foundation of perspective than to get through all the little notes I have set up for context and understanding of baptism. I do hope that we will end the series with a baptism for our fellowship for those who have that desire and need. As I think about where we were last week, we were focusing at the end of the service last week on Isaiah 55 and we were talking from that chapter about the difference between God’s thoughts and our thoughts and the difference between God’s ways and our ways and how there’s a graphic point in reference that’s substantially and significantly different. And partly as I think about the necessity and that passage began with the phrase, “Ho, ye that are thirsty, come and buy,” and that whole introduction of the moving passage of Isaiah 55 began with the discussion of thirstiness. I’ve had in the ministry that I’ve had, I interact myself with a lot of families and there’s a lot of ministry that goes on in every family and there’s a lot of need in every family and I find it incredible that the ministry needs inside many families are very very weakly addressed or very very weakly attained. There’s a great misconception of perhaps what the home is supposed to be doing and I don’t see the kind of progress and fruit that it seems to be appropriate and necessary that God ordained, that God intended to be coming out of homes. And as I’m reflecting on some of these things, I think of some of my own children and some of their needs and you have a family of a span like we have and you have children at all various needs and as adults it’s very easy to just get busy in functioning and carrying out our duties and our assignments and getting the things done that have to be done and accomplishing what needs to be accomplished and failing to pay attention to what’s going on. I just found it very very inspiring and simple and helpful to reflect upon the fact that God has already placed in the soul of every one of us the most important mechanism for our capacity to be trained in the Gospel, for our capacity to be trained in Christ. And that capacity, that aspect happens to be the thirst, the thirsting aspect. We all have a thirst. We are there. It doesn’t really matter if we are attempting to spend our money and buy things that cannot meet that thirst, that thirst is there. What an incredible blessing, what an incredible opportunity that we have that there is no home bereft of the significant occasion and significant opportunity to be dealing with souls and to be touching the souls at the most incredible and most important nerve of their life, that they learn to find their thirst quenched in God. So as I was comparing last week the thoughts of God and the ways of God to the thoughts of man and the ways of man, I made an illusion to the fact that men tend to attempt through their own reason and logic and feelings those things that will satisfy that thirst. And I eluded in that discussion last week to that time period where our young people begin awakening to the world and that sense of thirst that they have begins to find itself attracted to the world and we find ourselves in our Christian homes, parents with a real desire to raise up a godly offspring, we find young people incredibly attracted to the world. It seems like a phenomenal thing, “How in the world? My child has been raised in this home, we’ve been reading the Scripture to them,… and how in the world do they get these appetites?” And I find that if we think about it just a little bit longer, we recognize that this appetite is nothing less than the universal thirst of the soul for God. That being the case, what seems to be potentially frustrating for us leaders is actually an occasion of great grace; it’s actually an occasion of great blessing because we, busy men, we, busy moms, we, busy families, we actually find God keeps presenting to us that substantial need that we have to find our thirst in God. So this morning I’m thinking of Malachi 2 which is one of the baptism themes. John the Baptist was coming in the spirit of Elijah and he ministered in such a way out of Malachi 4:6, I’ll read it here, “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” I find that that turning of the heart, course that’s a beautiful picture of repentance, and it’s interesting to me that it is in the turning of the hearts of the fathers to their own children that the mechanism and means of repentance begins to be at work even for our children because of their father. I want to just suggest this morning to you men, to you fathers, to you potentially future fathers and men, you have an incredible role to play; you have a means of taking upon yourself the concern and care for your children. That turning of your hearts towards your children has the expressed capacity through the Gospel of Christ, through the grace of God, that turning of your hearts has with it the power to be turning hearts back to you and thus back to God and preparing a people for the Lord and that’s our role. There’s no greater joy, there’s no greater privilege for us as men than to have closed our life and look back and find that our children are walking in the truth, that they’re chasing after God with all their heart and that there’s no quavering, there’s no turning to the right or to the left for some vain pursuit, that their heart is fast after the Lord. When you have a family like I do and the children span and you see an older child here and you can sense a heart for God beginning to pump and beat, it gives encouragement, it gives satisfaction. But there’s also a tendency to be careless about some of the younger hearts. So I was asking a question of myself this morning, how can I pay a little better attention to my younger children so that I can deal with their heart issues while they’re still young because it’s a process, it’s quite unfinished in our home and I don’t want to lose one. In the home school ministry that we’ve been working with, I’ve had such a wide range of contact with families and we are now seeing families that began home schooling at kindergarten and they’re beginning to have children that graduate. I’ll just be frank, I’m not very pleased with many of the results that I see because when these children who in their youth they had this joy, they had this compatibility with their parents, they had this sense of unity, but when they hit that wall of the awakening of their thirsts and their passions and the attraction of the world, they hit that wall, they have found their parents to be incapable of bringing to them a correction and a direction. So we find capitulation after capitulation where worldly desire after worldly desire is capitulated to by the parent so that the child is satisfied. We have this stupid little standard that gets set up and that is “peace at any cost,” and if we have any sense of peace in our home, if we can avoid having conflict, too much conflict then things will be all right and they’ll eventually grow out of this. It’s kind of a laze fare attitude meaning “hands off,” don’t get too meddlesome and the kids will make it and get on their way. How we need parents with vision, how we need fathers with their hearts turned to their family, paying attention.

So I want to ask this morning as we go on in our discussion, I want to ask a couple questions kind of practically driven. Dad, do you know how to find, do you know how to identify the thirst in your child’s heart? Can you recognize when your child is thirsting after God? And that thirst is manifesting itself in something that’s not necessarily godly, can you recognize that? I just suggest here at the beginning of the discussion that that is part of our privilege, that is part of our need as fathers to pay attention to the thirsting in our children. Because I believe that if we’re alert to the spiritual thirsting of our children, we will have a greater sensitivity to our instruction and to how we deal with it. Simply put it this way, if God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and if God’s ways are higher than our ways and we see a thirsty child attempting to use the world’s ways and the world’s thoughts to satisfy a thirst, we as godly parents, as godly fathers will step in and by the grace and the opportunity given to us as fathers, interfere sufficiently to get that child to be challenged to try that thirst out on living waters where which you need no well at all to draw from. It’s that training, and I want to suggest here for us dads, sometimes we get embarrassed by our children’s immaturities and we think, “Oh my, my children look so terrible and people are going to think ill of me because my children are demonstrating such a sin nature.” Let’s not get caught there. Your children weren’t given to you as perfect little beings and you’re only job is to keep them perfect. Your children were given to you with sin natures. Your children were given to you with a desire bound up in their heart to live without God, that’s what foolishness is. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child and the fool says in his heart, “There’s no God.” So that’s the very nature of this little package of a kid comes to you and they’re filled with self. They’re filled with the world view that means please me and that’s life and you are entrusted with the care of that heart and you’re entrusted with the opportunity to capture where the heart is wrapping itself around the world and instead of letting them have what they want you pry their fingers, as it were, off the railing they’re clinging to and help them learn to cling to God instead.

That particular process involves basically two things. I just want to suggest that these two things are kind of like categorical responses. The first thing is this, I must recognize the thirst for what it is. I must recognize the thirst for what it is. Here’s a secret that I learned in child training that came out of my own childhood. I remember when I was a child there were occasions that I was corrected for something that I had a natural inclination to and that natural inclination that I had toward those things actually was something that God had ordained, that God had ordered and I was not taught that this is something that God has ordained and God ordered but it needs to be preserved and protected. I was simply taught it was wrong. Because it was wrong in that particular frame of reference I was dealing with it, but because I was just taught that that was wrong, I was not given a greater perspective, I was not given a greater understanding and I was not taught how to treasure things. What Satan always does is Satan likes to steal treasures that we have and he likes to dispose of them carelessly, he likes to cast them aside as if they’re meaningless. So there’s an issue here of training our children in such a way that we recognize that when they are demonstrating appetites for the world and when they’re seemingly desiring to embrace the things of the world, that that’s not an occasion to first react in disgust and disappointment and say, “How come you’re such worldly, Godless children,” but rather that’s an occasion to say, “There is the ground where ministry must take place. There’s the opportunity.” My child is expressing thirst and I have an opportunity now to train my child toward God and say, “You know, God’s going to meet this need, can we trust God with this?” We can transfer through that counsel and exhortation, we can transfer that thirst to God and teach our children that it’s good to have thirst but that thirst must be met in God. It’s good to have thirst but that thirst must be met in God.

The second thing that I find in this process is that you cannot live by a set of rules and have the rules do the thinking for you. What you have to do is you have to live by a set of recognitions. You have to recognize the passions of the child’s soul. You have to recognize that and you have to be able to describe to the child what those passions are both in Biblical terms and in practical terms of their experience. And you have to be able to train their focus so they see what’s going on. I’ve found that my children are remarkably capable of responding when they see that they are deceiving themselves and that they’re not actually laying a hold of the truth. This little practice here, we often call it, “spiritual warfare,” it comes out of 2 Corinthians 10 where it talks about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. And that whole concept of taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ centers around the understanding that the child already has a thought. And what’s the nature of that thought? Well from the Scripture we know that that thought is far different from God’s thought. It’s a completely different thought. So take the time to discover what the thought is: what are you thinking? What are you feeling? Discover that thought for what it is and then by the grace of God we have the mind of God and the thoughts of God that are useful for us today that He intends for us to deal with, those thoughts are recorded here in the Word. We can take this thought that our child is struggling with and we can exchange it for a thought that God has had. There’s the transfer of discipleship. There’s where it takes a father’s heart being turned towards his children to carry out this kind of activity because we have to identify the thought that needs being brought captive and we have to identify the thought of God by which to replace it and you replace it. You know what I find that’s incredible? It always has the capacity to dislodge for the child. And especially when you start young and you can identify what they’re thinking and identify what they’re fearing and you show what God has promised instead and then you challenge them, “Can we trust God this time? Can we do something God’s way this time? Can you wait?” In that process we take every single incident and the one thing that is pressed on my heart this morning is this: God has determined that we men be the heads of households. We are the priests of our homes. We have got to be there. You cannot depend on a great evangelistic preacher on the radio. You cannot depend on a great ministry, some Christian school or whatever. You can’t be looking to agencies and opportunities outside your home to rescue and salvage and deliver your children. You’re the one. You’re the one in residence. You’re the guy on duty. You have to be alert and awake and caring about the process that’s taking place in your children’s souls. Here’s the thing, many dads fail at this, there’s some canned statements I’ve heard from dads over the years. This isn’t going to be all of them because I didn’t make a list on purpose. But here’s one of them: “I went to public school and I turned out all right.” What kind of a statement is that? “I turned out all right.” First of all, who says you turned out all right? With a statement like that you show yourself to be an idiot. What kind of vision do you have? For some reason we dads hate confrontation with our children and I think part of that hate is we’re afraid of being rejected by them. Men, the greatest fear of a man is to be rejected. The greatest struggle he has in all his relations, he does not want to be rejected. You know what leadership is? Leadership is the most natural place of being rejected there is on earth. It’s the guy up front that gets shot with the arrow in the back by his own troops. So being a leader is not necessarily a position of great empathy and delight because you have to cross cut people’s feelings and their desires. So men as a tendency tend to want to avoid that because they like to be liked. So how often does dad come home and he has this little outlook on life, “Well when I was young I had to sow some wild oats too, but I turned out all right?” The old classic statement, everything comes back to, “I turned out all right, everything’s all right with me. Look around today, God’s grace covered.” It just doesn’t cut it. That has nothing to do with a man having leadership at all. It has absolutely nothing to do with leadership because a leader has to be one who’s considering the end, who recognizes the course and obstacles in that path and who devises a means of overcoming those obstacles to get to the end. That’s what a leader is. That’s what we’re called to be in our homes. I’ll tell you this: that was God’s plan from Creation, from day one. God has determined to raise up godliness, to raise up salvation, to raise up character and leadership, He’s determined to do it in our homes. That’s the place that He wants. What we have in the ministry of the church, the ministry of the church is primarily ministry to reach homes so that ministry can be extended. Paul had it real simply, he said, “Teach thou faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Why are we teaching faithful men? Because faithful men are the ones that are called, they’re the key. They’re the ones that pass on the baton from one generation to the next. So I see here a necessity. I just want to ask a question, do you know how to recognize thirst in your children’s hearts? Because I believe, simply put, that if you can recognize the thirst in your child’s heart, then you’ll be a little bit more alert to what’s going on and as you see that thirst and you identify it for what it is, you’ll be able to engage your child. If you can’t engage your child with a vision for what that thirst is so that you can place it a notch higher and say, “I see that mess, great. And do you know why that’s great? Let me tell you about what God has said about it.” We see the need we have. This is what you’re striving for, you’re striving to have that need met. But you know what? There are some wells that satisfy and there are some wells that don’t. And you’re trying to dig a cistern that won’t hold water and you need a well of living water springing up. So here’s what you do: God has offered that, can you trust God? Can we just set aside our own wisdom, can we set aside our own understanding, can we trust God at this point? And we lift that objective higher for our child and we establish the right response and our child through careful fathering, learns how to transfer that natural thirst to the living water that has been promised for us by the Lord and is readily available and accessible to anyone who responds. The question is how do you get your child to respond to the Gospel? Nobody is going to respond to the Gospel until their thirsting soul is aching for it. That’s the way it is. It’s never going to happen. But what happens is this: we don’t recognize the thirsting souls of our children, we don’t see the thirst in little ways when they’re children and when they’re young. We don’t recognize the thirst. We just grin, “Isn’t that cute?” And we see them feasting themselves on little things and we see their souls on little things and we see it’s so minimal and it’s so mild, it’s such an insignificant thing and we just enjoy their frivolity and so they don’t have any spiritual training at a time when it’s very easy to bend the twig. So our children go on. (comment) I think that’s a valid statement, I think that’s generally true of leadership that’s why we began with that question about how do your feet look? Do you have beautiful feet? The reason why I mentioned that passage, I hope you will forgive me so I can tell it again. The reason why I mentioned that in context was because I’ve always heard that passage “how beautiful are the feet upon the hills of those that preach that Gospel,” and all I could think of was the arduous labor of missionaries trudging over mountain hills wearing their feet out and their feet being really ugly and calloused and sore and dirty and God calling that beautiful. So I thought well that’s God’s way, He calls things beautiful that are ugly because He sees the sacrifice that’s there and that’s always been my idea. But when R.C. Sproul gave that illustration that that expression “how beautiful are the feet” came out of the walled cities age when the person bearing good news could be noticed in the far off to be someone that’s got a catch to his steps meaning victory. They could declare victory before the guy ever got to town. And when they got to town all they’d do is tell all the details. Or they could tell by the feet that there was no good news this time, bad news. And that’s the question. What kind of feet do you have? Do you bear about the impression in your life that God is real, that God’s promises are sure and that His ways are perfect? When you jump out of bed in the morning is it with that spring of hope in God, in the King of Kings? Are all of your treasures hidden in Christ? That’s the key. There’s a need, there’s a need of turning. I do think that God has enabled children to be a source of repentance for fathers. Perhaps as children, especially those of us who didn’t become converted when we were children, perhaps as children we never managed to draw from our own fathers sufficiently what God had for us from them. So we come into adulthood, we come into marriage, we come into parenthood without some of our skills in place, without some of our sensitivities enlivened and then God gives us children and all the sudden the significance of our own children strikes us and the importance of their success and their safety. There’s a desire to pass on a heritage to them that we ourselves haven’t really cared about, is stirred up. And God uses children to help draw men back to reality, to get our attention, to pay a price and to have a higher goal. That issue of our own example is an important part of this process, of this discussion.

But I’m going to give a couple practical points and then I’m going to go on. But if you want to evaluate the thirst in your children, there’s some little ways of doing it in terms of drawing out their talk. A little trick I’ve used over the years just because it makes sense, “If you can wave a magic wand and have anything you want, name three wishes.” That’s an old fairy tale thing that kids grow up with, “Name three wishes.” That’s a great tool if you can do it in sincerity to find out what your child’s thinking is. “If you can have three things changed in your life permanently that God would change if you just asked Him, what would they be?” And draw them out and ask why. Start talking about why those issues are issues they want to change. And through the wisdom of listening and hearing what they’re thinking, you can begin to identify their thirsts and let them become satisfied in God instead of their own understanding, instead of their own thinking. That which we focus on by our own understanding is only worldliness. That which we focus on by our own understanding is only worldliness. Can we turn to 1 John chapter 2 and we’re going to read some verses there. 1 John 2 beginning at verse 15, the Scripture says this, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” As a brand new believer, that verse just struck me, it struck me powerfully, incredibly. It was simple, it was direct. It has been a life changing verse for me. It’s just a categorical point of reference. I am not to love the world, neither am I to love the things of the world. That’s just categorical. I have no right, I have no privilege, I have no benefit in loving the world or the things of the world in any way, shape or form. Let’s go on. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but it is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lusts thereof. But he that doeth the will of God abides forever.” I’m going to continue but let’s just stop for a moment. That’s an interesting picture here. It’s quite categorical, it’s quite simple, it’s black and white and he does two things: he establishes the premise and the simple premise is this, you are not to love the world period with no exceptions and there’s no excuses. When we find our children being attracted to the world, emulating the world, seeking after the world and we fathers are capitulating in our leadership because we simply allow this love of the world to be implaced and implanted and permitted in their lives, we find that we are not parenting our children for God’s sake or for the Father’s sake. We’re parenting our children for some other model. And all I can really say is it’s out of fear, out of fear of losing our kid or breaking the relationship or what have you. But the categorical point of reference is this, we are not to love the world period and neither are we to love the things of the world. You know what’s amazing to me as I’ve watched young people? I’ve been in Christian ministry now for 22 years and I’ve been mostly involved in dealing with teenagers through school ministries. And in that time frame it is incredible to me. I observed this as a child before I was ever saved, but I noticed as a child (I think I mentioned this last week) that the older generation had really stupid styles of dress when they were growing up. And when I asked my parents about it, their answer was, “Well that’s just kids. You know how kids are, they just have to all dress funny and look alike.” Then we went through our 60’s and 70’s generation. We were just kids and the same thing. Here’s the point that I found. I became a Christian in 1972 and here’s the amazing thing that I’ve seen since then, I’ve seen probably, now this is just an emotional estimate it’s not a calculated estimate, but in my emotional estimate I’ve seen probably 85-95% of all Christian families capitulate to the world. Here comes the world’s standard, here comes the things of the world and the Christian parents have no capacity whatsoever to say “no” to their own kids, to teach their kids to how not to love the world. And the child comes home and starts begging and pleading and demanding and wanting and cajoling to get what they want and dad capitulates. You know it’s usually dad because dad’s the headsman, he’s the guy that’s responsible and so he’s the one Satan knocks out. So you usually have these moms who have no better, who are clinging to help and hope in dad and dad won’t help them. And after awhile many many moms give up and they say, “I’m trusting God to use my husband, this is what my husband says.” It’s kind of like “oh well, I can’t solve the problem.” But here’s the whole point of our discussion, there happens to be innately in man a thirst. There is a thirst innately in man that’s hungering to be satisfied and when I love the world, when I love the things of the world, what’s happening is my thirst that is designed to find God and find satisfaction in God, my thirst is searching; I’m looking for that drink of cool refreshing. And you know what I need? I need a parent with enough wisdom and enough courage to say, “That desire that you have is there from God for your benefit, for your life. And can we drink instead of the world, can we drink of God instead?” Right there in the incidental thing where the sin of the world comes pressing in, we have the wisdom and the insight and the courage to say, “Here, as for me and my house we’re going to serve the Lord and this is what it looks like. I’m going to give you an example, you can follow my lead but we’re not going to abide after the things of the world in this house. We’re going to love God.” Here’s the secondary point of reference. Now for parents, this is that secondary thing and that’s the thing of courage. Not only do you have to have the willingness to discover the thirst and to discover their mind, but you also have to have an eternal strength of determination to resist your child. Victory is going to come not because you have already thought of a canned answer, it’s going to be a permanent solution to every child that comes down in your house. That’ll never happen, you’ll never have one rule that’ll fit and cause every child to go right because you don’t win anybody by rules. If laws could be written that would win people, we’d all been won a long time ago by the law. But we win by determination. We just say like Joshua said of old, “But I want to tell you one thing, as for me and my house we’re going to serve the Lord.” Categorically settled, no questions asked, this is the direction we’re going. And the Scripture has an amazing thing when Joshua’s account is given and he ends that statement, “As for me and my house we’re going to serve the Lord,” and it says that all of that generation served the Lord. That’s a sweeping victory. The heads of households universally across the land said, “We’re going to follow the Lord in this day,” and they did. And they raised godly children and that whole next generation of godly children were the fruit of caring and careful parents. But in just a generation, the next generation of parents didn’t have the courage of their conviction. They didn’t have the determination to say, “We’re going to serve the Lord,” to their children. So, they capitulated to the temptation and the things of the world and they fell into sin and fell into judgment. When you look at this verse here, in 1 John chapter 2 verse 15, the second part of the verse says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” that is the kind of thing that serves me as a man to make me categorically determined to stick my heels in and serve God because God is not mincing His words, God is not playing games. He’s simply saying things like this, “Name an idol of worldliness that you struggle with in your children.” Don’t name it out loud or tell me but think about it. If you’re in the married world and you’re struggling with your children in your home right now, name it. Parents, fathers, dads, if you capitulate to your child, the love of God is not in you. You are bereft of the love of God, you have nothing of it. You do not love God and your child is not being given anything of the love of God at that point; you’ve abandoned God. I don’t know about you, but that’s starkly piercing to me. I do not want to find myself at a place where I can reflect upon myself and consider that I have made a categorical decision that we’re not going to love God here and we’re not going to expect His love to be upon us in this place. So we’re going to do our own thing and we’re going to have our own blessing out of our own thing. I’m just not willing to determinedly make that kind of a decision. I want God. I want God’s blessing. I want to be loving God.

But this categorical is what’s important to give us strength, men. There’s a little bit of black and white that’s so starkly white, that’s so starkly white that God just tells us, “Choose you this day.” You can’t be a little bit for God. You’re either going to be entirely for God or you’re going to be entirely against God. And if you are the least little bit for the world, you are entirely against God. Isn’t that something? If you are the least little bit for the world you are entirely against God. You cannot have the love of God in you when you are surrendering any turf at all to the world. It’s not there and if you think it is, you’re fooling yourself, but you’re not fooling God. In James, He calls us adulteresses and adulterers, “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God.” We are purely fake. We say we’re believers but we’re living with the prostitutes of this world. And the worst thing about it is we put a little Christian label on our heads saying, “I love Jesus,” as we walk around looking like the rest of the world, who sees us for what we are. They’re not blind to it. They see that we’re capitulating to their standards and we leave them nothing to desire. “Why should I desire to be like Christians, they’re trying to be like us? I don’t have anything to gain. Obviously we’re where it’s at. We’re something they can gain.” Think about it. It’s severely important. It has everything to do with what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We’re not talking about this little mamby pamby mild association with Christianity. It has to do with a different group of people which we’ll see here in the text in a minute. Then he goes on and he identifies the world in a little bit more plain terms for us to analyze it and reflect on it personally. And that’s this, verse 16, “For all that is in the world, all of it, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.” All of it. Now you get down to this, what’s the word “lust” mean? Simply put in the Greek the word “lust” means “desire.” But in the sense that that desire is spelled out, the King James word helps us to articulate that little concept a little bit more stark terms because lust is an appetite out of control. It’s where the appetite is wisdom, “I have to have this. I cannot be satisfied until I have this.” It’s an appetite. It becomes a flame, a fire as it were that must be quenched by its being satisfied. So it’s a pressure to conform, it’s a determination to have what you want. It’s this innate nature of foolishness that’s bound up in the heart of a child…(tape turned here)…and anywhere because when we get to Heaven these things will no longer be there. And everything associated with any kind of godliness in the flesh, can only be experienced here in the flesh. You will not get a chance to experience that later in Heaven because you will not have fleshly appetites in Heaven. There will be no flesh in Heaven. So the flesh is the occasion whereby this crossroads rubs. And I have to learn to set aside that temporary gratification of the flesh based upon its gratification. It tastes good to eat a big, juicy hamburger and that is the nature of the temptation, to let that juicy hamburger and its goodness as I enjoy it be the rule because it’s good I enjoy it, nothing wrong with that. It’s the whole nature of that giving yourself over in love, that appetite you’re attempting to satisfy the purpose of life by your appetite. And of course there are multiple areas that relate to the flesh, but basically that gratification of the flesh is a natural instinct of men on the earth and that’s the natural instinct of the world. The world is primarily chasing after an ideal by which the flesh can be gratified easily and often without interference, that’s the nature of the world.

Second point here is the lust of the eyes. Notice the difference between the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. The lust of the flesh has to do with appetites that are close at hand and able to be satisfied but the lust of the eyes happens to deal with covetousness, happens to deal with things that are outside your range. So here you are, you’re driving along in a little bucket of rust and you look over here and you see somebody driving in a shiny new vehicle and immediately the lust of the eyes say, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a shiny new car?” And so the lust of the eyes are at work. Your eyes are seeing something and you’re measuring. What’s important for us to understand in terms of lust of our eyes is the means by which we survey and search and seek out the wisdom of the world as it were to make our choices and we make choices based upon appearances and that’s the nature of man. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart. So with our eyes, we are subject to this different worldview. Remember how God said, “My ways are not your ways and My thoughts are not your thoughts?” Here’s one of the examples of it, our standard is our eye, what’s pleasing to our eye. I can tell you, I can look at a bucket of rust and I can look at a shiny new car and it doesn’t take me much effort to see which one is more pleasant, which one is more pleasing. It doesn’t take much. It’s just kind of obvious and I’m attracted to that which is more pleasing. That’s the nature of things. There’s a saying in Psalm about the rich, the only mistake that the rich have is that they have all this stuff that they heap up but the only thing they can do with it is feast their eyes on it. You really can’t get much else out of it than just look at it. I’ve found that it’s just as easy to look at somebody else’s riches as mine if all I’m going to do is feast my eyes on it. “I’m getting as much fun out of this as he is, but I don’t have to pay the bill.” The lust of the eyes. That’s a great motivator in man toward the world. And the little phrase that young people bring to us is this, “Everybody else is doing it.” You know what that means? That they’ve used the lust of the eyes to measure truth. They’ve set a standard by what they see and that’s what they want to have to be the standard for them. And that’s sin and that’s of the world and it has nothing to do with the love of God, period, no exception, no mistake, that’s it, it’s clear, it’s clear and simple and it’s also unholy.

The third thing here is the pride of life. What is the pride of life? Think about what the pride of life is. We all basically know what pride is in one way, shape or form, but what is the pride of life? The pride of life is that which actually shapes my entire motivational system because by the pride of life I find myself setting goals to achieve that which is important for my life’s existence and in this world the pride of life is built around the accumulation of wealth, treating myself well and having prestige among men and by that prestige being placed in prominence in society. I’ve heard a mock among churches when I was first saved and they said something like this, “The average church in America chooses for their board of deacons or board of trustees or whatever board they have to control, they choose the successful businessmen in the church to run the churchboard.” That’s the average ideal and I just ask one question, on what basis is that choice being made? Is it possible that very frequently, not always because thank God there can be an occasional rich man that has a godly heart, but I believe they are few and far between if the Scripture’s right. But the truth of the matter is, we get attracted to visual worldly success and we say, “They know how to put it together, they can help us put it together here and we’ll get that same success by getting these people in our group.” And that’s part of this lust of the world, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We want to appear to be successful. I wonder how great the scandal is, I wonder how great the scandal is when the total amount of money spent on American church buildings is calculated and weighed against the total need of the Gospel being spread. I just wonder. I imagine that people are attempting to attract the world to Christ by having elaborate successful looking buildings that attract people in and say, “Wow this is successful people, successful church. If God is here, maybe I want God.” It’s the whole attracting through the world as the lens and the means of the Gospel and it simply isn’t going to happen. You’re not going to get a Gospel watered down by God because you in your wisdom think that you can attract people by the outward appearance of success. Do God’s people have to look dumpy and dooped? No, no. People who are poor can wash their faces. A clean face is not necessarily a sign of being worldly. There’s other things that it can reflect. But the question is, where are we in this process? Are we those that are training our children after the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, are we capitulating? Because if we are you know what you’•re doing? Every time you capitulate to one of these lusts, you are not building in your children the hope in the Gospel. But you’re building it rather in something else. All I can say is don’t be surprised when they turn away from the Lord, they never had the Lord, they never saw the Lord in you. All they saw was your fear of losing the world and you capitulated on occasion after occasion after occasion after occasion and the result? Death. Death to all because you don’t have victory. You don’t have resurrection life. You don’t have transformation theology. You haven’t been transformed by the resurrected Christ. You haven’t surrendered the old, bleak, puny thoughts of man and laid a hold of the immense incredible thoughts of God. And you haven’t surrendered your life and forsaken the world. You’ve simply chased after that which is your own.

Let’s go on in the passage, verse 17 makes a point of reference. Here’s another help for dads. Verse 17, “The world passes away and the lusts thereof but he that doeth the will of God abides forever.” “The world passes away and the lusts thereof but he that doeth the will of God abides forever.” This is a very simple principle and it is the exclusive principle towards spiritual life and it’s what I call the transfer principle. Here’s my suggestion, you can always transfer affection from the world to God when you succeed at understanding that what you have in the world is only temporary. Remember that passage that I read when I came back from my mother’s funeral from Psalm 49? Incredible statement about the end of the wealthy whose only thought is their wealth, whose only thought for their life is the doing well in this life mentality. It says they’re no better than the beasts of the field that die. They have no more understanding being applied to their soul than a beast who wanders around and eats grass until he dies. But they’re just stupid because they’re living out of this carnal appetite and they’re falsely consoling themselves that they’ve arrived, that they’ve achieved some great thing because they have accomplished something financially speaking in the world. The lust of this world is passing away, the lust of this world is passing away. It is really a blessing that we have such a short span of life. God shortened our lives by about the time of Moses. He sharpened it to a focus that by Moses’ day Moses was able to say in Psalm 90, that the span of man’s life is 70 years and if by reason of strength it’s 80 yet it’s toil and trouble. This very limited number of days and he comes back and says, “So Lord teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” What a wise thing and thank God that we do have short lives. Here I am, I’m age 47 and I’m recognizing my mother just passed away, it was just yesterday, literally, it was just yesterday that my mother was my age and I was Daniel’s age. It was just yesterday and now she’s gone. My mother died at 71. She died in that age frame that Moses said. And it’s over, it’s a great challenge, it’s a great reminder that this life is short, that it’s not going to last forever and ever and ever. And we have to be alert to that end. So I always ask my children, I remember asking a class of seniors in high school years ago, I said, “I know you’re one week away from graduation and you’re all excited about your future and everything but what would you think if the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me to tell you that ten people in this class would not see graduation day, that they must give an account to God for a permanent graduation in Heaven? What would you think and what would you say?” I was just trying to get their attention on eternal things. You should have seen their faces turn ashen white. They were shocked. They hadn’t even given it a consideration. You know, last week we heard from an aquaintance that Kent worked for, a two year old girl killed. Death is close at hand. Our 70 year life span is only if we live a normal life and don’t get killed in some accident or some other kind of mishap or whatever. There’s no guarantee that you’ll make it to 70. The reality is so stark. Things are temporary and what does it matter if you can gain something temporarily and then lose the only permanent thing that you have which is your soul. That whole dynamic, fathers, is here: when you can first of all train your own eyes, train your own eyes to look past the temporary satisfaction. So what? So what if you get it? What’s going to happen to you? What does it really matter? What’s going to happen down the road? Begin training to see things from the eternal perspective. If it doesn’t contribute to eternity, don’t spend your money on it. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently and hear and delight your soul in fatness.” God wants to serve us today and fatten us in the spiritual man by which we ourselves of our own energy shed the love of this world. God isn’t going to reach in and grab the love of this world and yank it out of us. We are going to release it and we’re going to release it with joy. We’re going to release it with vision because we see, “Yes, I’m an eternal soul, there’s something more than this at stake and I’m going to buy into that which is eternal. I’m going to get a hold of that which really matters.” That’s how we make our decisions and that’s how you train someone towards Christ. You don’t train someone towards Christ by telling them about Jesus dying on the cross for their sins and that if they receive Christ they go to Heaven and that’s all you do. Absolutely not. You’re talking about transformation through repentance. You’re talking about an exchange. You’re talking about something that is naturally inclined in the child’s heart to lay a hold of this world. When you’re talking about that, you’ve forsaken because there’s a greater thing to hold onto. And you’re training that appetite, you’re training that thirst, to lay a hold of God, to lay a hold of Him with all his heart and that’s training kids. You know, it is a blessing when you get to train your children in that path and you see them of their own free will voluntarily let go of the things of the world because they have it in their heart, they have it in their mind. And dads, that’s why it’s your responsibility. The Scripture says you’re to rule your homes according to knowledge. That means you have to take the application of the Word of God, the bold simple statements that are there and you need to bring it right down into the living room of your own house and you have to shed light on the turmoil and the false thirst that is engaging children’s hearts to pursue and seek after the world. You’ve got to through the exhortation of the Word and hopefully by God’s grace through the discipline of that child especially in the early years, bring them to the place where they long to hear and turn their ear to God and to His Word, where they can yield their will because God is right and they’re going to yield to God every time. That’s our job, that’s our privilege. And you know what? It is a tremendous hopeful task. There is hope in this. It will transform lives. It will bring up godly children. It will cultivate a testimony that God will accept and own. That’s what our job is all about.

Look at verse 18. Verse 18 is real interesting in the context of this loving of the world. It said, “Little children it is the last time and as ye have heard the antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists whereby we know that it is the last time.” Stop. What is that warning? Theologically speaking from the place of time and space, God has set a day to judge the earth. He’s appointed that time and in the process of judging the earth He’s also going to judge Satan. And in that time and space continuum Satan is going to be turned into the world and he’s going to have one last hay day. And Satan is going to have one last evangelistic campaign to round up all his followers that he can. And Satan’s goal of course is the destruction of all the souls of those he gathers. His appearance is to resist God but he knows his doom is sure, he knows his doom is sure. So when he comes to earth it’s in a rage that his doom is sure. It’s not in a rage, it’s not in some hopeful that he’s going to win. He has no hope of winning and he knows it. But what Satan does is he imposes that which is the opposite of Christ, that which is the opposite of Christ. I want to get the principle here, real simple to you. In the future antichrist shall come, that’s the big one. That’s the one who is Satan himself. Antichrist is coming, that’s the premise, that’s the principle. Watch the practice because this is how God always teaches us to train, this is how always we learn to walk in a pattern toward godliness, “and even so now there be many antichrists, even so now there be many antichrists.” I want you to think about that statement for a moment in time and space. The apostle John wrote this. It could have been no later than 85 A.D. So we’re just a short distance after the time of Christ, still a first generation of Christ’s followers are still on the earth. And he says, “Now there are many antichrists. This is how we know that it’s the last time,” is what he said. Let me draw a picture for you. John is teaching us, he’s warning us about the love of the world, lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. He’s warning us about that and he’s warning us that we live in a time frame called “the last times.” We’re in the last times and in this last times there are many antichrists and they’re all imitation models of the future big one, the big antichrist. And here’s God’s pattern of training and dads, here’s your job. It’s time to wake up and repent where we are tuning into the little antichrists. We need to be training our children to see the antichrists in the little occasions and the little desires of the world as time goes on. It is our job, it is our duty, we are on line. We must carry the burden, we must set our heart to the task. We’re it. There be many antichrists right now. Now notice what happens, here’s something that’s fearful. Take this consideration, the theological premise of verse 15 was, “If the love of the world is in you, the love of the Father is not in you.” That’s a categorical statement. If we said it in a more blunt manner, it would be this, “Those who have the love of the world in them are not saved and those who have the love of Christ in them are saved.” Categorical. As we go along here and we see this process being building, he says that the world’s passing away, “But he that doeth the will of God abides forever.” Now we’re seeing that categorical demonstration be brought down into final fruition. There’s a coming judgement day and there’s only a select few who are going to make it through judgement day and those are the ones that have done the will of God, those are the ones that have learned by grace to lay a hold of Christ in all circumstances, those who are living by the Gospel. In that picture then of the last days, he introduces a concept of antichrist and he says here, “We know that it’s the last time that antichrist is coming.” Now look at the next verse because verse 19 ties in the thought practically, he says, “They went out from us but they were not of us, they went out from us but they were not of us.” That’s an important picture of practical application and it brings us right down to people in this room today. There are people in this room today who are not of us. You know how we will know that they are not of us? Because there’s coming a time that they will depart from us. They have nothing to do with us and they want to get away, they’ve got to get away, they’ve got to get out of here. There’s this categorical departure in terms of separation, the breaking off. That is the nature and that is the work of antichrist. Antichrist uses the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, he uses those things which are all of the world to come into the church and attract out those who have nothing to do with Christ and he robs right from our own midst those who could be reached by the Gospel, those who should be reached by the Gospel. That is the nature of the spiritual warfare. We’re looking at it as if the battle is raging, the bombs are being launched, the warfare is taking place and as we’re looking over through the smoke and we see what’s going on and we see these departing souls, we’re recognizing that there are those among us who have no concept of what it means to pursue God because their highest sense of value is the world. And here’s the key: when your highest sense of value is the world, you will not suffer the loss of it for Christ, you won’t. When your highest value is the world, you will not suffer the loss of it for Christ and there’s the pulling tail of antichrist, he’ll get you to the point and finally he’s got you and he separates you and you make that decision to hold fast to this world. Now dads, I want to say categorically, you have a lot to do to preserve your children and to protect your children from antichrist. Antichrist is an opposition to what you really want for your children. But you are on duty and when this worldliness of the world comes trucking into our home, it’s trucking under the sweet little umbrella of antichrist. Isn’t that wonderful? I just want to ask a question, maybe this will help, the next time your kid asks you to put an earring in their nose or paint their hair green which these are obviously extremes that we don’t have in our midst but when you get to that place where there’s a struggle going on, paint yourself a little picture, will you? Paint yourself a picture of antichrist with a little bucket of wares and all that your children are asking you are in his bucket and they’re trying to sell you for your child. And ask yourself a question, do you want to be buying wares from antichrist by which your child’s sense of affection is settled and fixed in the world? Is that what you want to be doing as a father? And if the answer is no then get on duty. Get on duty because your job is to turn that aside, your job is to get it out of your home, your job is to rid yourself of it. If you value your child’s soul, you’ll value the child’s soul more than the temporary tension that you’ll feel in the locking personalities in the conflict. But your care will be sufficient, it will be genuine and you’ll be able to hold up the prize and you’ll be able to say, “This is it.”

I want to say this, this is God’s Word and this is how God sees the whole playing field. He’s looking at everybody’s heart and God knows people’s hearts and here’s the picture, those who are truly born again have a condition which deals with baptism and we’ll get to that, but he says this, “They went out from us but they were not of us for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. But they went out.” (Comment- There are very few elements of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 but Paul is talking about the Lord’s returning ..and gathered together with Him, he said there will come a falling away first and that man shall be revealed.) Thank you Mike, that was an excellent point of reference because I was alluding from the context that there is one antichrist but now there are many little antichrists and so what Mike said was that in Thessalonians, two things are present. Number one, there’s the big antichrist who arrives. And with the big antichrist there arrives a falling away and there’s going to be an occasion when there’s a great falling away from the church. As I look at the church, I’m fearful. I look at the church and I say, “You know the falling away is going to be so amazing, it’s going to be so sweeping that we’re going to be stunned at the number of people pulled away by the antichrist.” It’s going to be stunning. We sit here and we think of it theologically, “Yeah, yeah there’s going to be a falling away, people are going to turn away from God but it’s not going to me because I’m standing for God.” But it’s like Peter, you know what Peter said? “I’ll die with you.” And He said, “Yeah? Tonight three times you’re going to deny me before the cock even crows twice.” That’s because He knows the heart. That’s because He sees where we’re meddling and piddling with the world and its affections. What was Peter’s affections for the world? Do you remember? What was Peter’s worldly affection? Remember when Peter made a profession of faith? He said, “Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God.” And Jesus said, “No man hath told you this but the Father alone.” And then five minutes later Jesus begins telling His disciples that He must die and be punished and be put to death, be crucified and be buried and Peter said, “Not so Lord, we’re not going to let this happen.” And Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan.” See, the antichrist was at work, opposing the work of Christ. “Get behind me Satan for you desire not the things of God but the things of man.” And that was Peter’s fall, he was desiring the things of man. Peter was imperfect in his following of Christ at that point because Peter was following Christ for the present kingdom. Peter was one of the ones that said, “Now when are you going to restore the kingdom? We’re getting tired of this game here we play, this business of dying and rising from the grave. Let’s have the kingdom now, we’re ready for that.” The whole issue is an illustration. The kingdom, the disciples and the Jews had transformed the kingdom into such a worldly thing that they were in a worldly mindset. They were anxious to get rid of the Romans, they were anxious to survive and have this prestige of nations and they were simply carnal in their whole thrust of what had been spiritually promised. And that’s a warning to me because if Peter can have a carnal appetite for a spiritual promise, woah! How much more can we be lost in the shuffle when we get tied up with the carnal promises of the world and thinking and putting cloaks on them of righteousness, which we do. It’s an incredible picture. This picture of denial is real present. As antichrist in the end will work on a great falling away of the church, so today the many antichrists working through the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, those many antichrists are also working at a falling away. I simply want to say this to you parents, when your children are young and in your home, they’re sanctified by your presence, they’re sanctified by your faith and there is that which you extend to them that they share in terms of your righteousness and your grace and the gift of salvation that you have received. That’s intended by God for their good as you lead them and walk them down the path of life. But there has to come a point at which they own Christ for their own. And sadly to say we get into this theology of saying a prayer for salvation that this theology pushes us to getting our children to repeat a prayer and say, “O.k. they’re saved now, I’ve got this one saved,” and so as soon as we get all the kids to pray the prayer then I’m satisfied, “All my kids are going to Heaven. Now the big part’s over, now the rest we’ll just hope they follow God.” Bologna! That’s absolute bologna. You have no capacity as a parent to tell the true test of faith of a child when that child makes a little profession of faith. All that you can do is lead them again and again to follow after. The whole point is continuance. God’s people continue in the faith. So your job as a parent is to be on duty cultivating the captivity of their thoughts to the obedience of Jesus Christ. That’s your job. And you are to be on duty, alert because here’s this child that you said claimed Christ and all the sudden this great thirst rises up in their soul, thirst for God and they know it not and they reach out to quench that thirst with the world. And where are you parent? Where are you? You need to be on duty and alert and capturing that thirsty appetite and teaching it and training it to find its satisfaction in God and God alone and that’s your duty and that’s your job. And that cycle repeats itself endlessly in the home. For me and my house, it’s important that I have an understanding that goes something like this, “The Lord knows them that are His, but let them that name the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” That’s the model for our home. We’re going to learn to walk in this house departing from iniquity. We’re going to pattern departure. We’re going to forsake the world, we’re going to forsake ourselves. That’s going to be the pattern, that’s going to be the identifying mark because that’•s what a Christian does and so that’s the model. And you can never capitulate to a child at that point. And what we have is is this tendency in American Christianity to capitulate. “Well they accepted Christ. They’re in a difficult point, all their friends are, they’re feeling so estranged, just a little bit won’t hurt.” We capitulate to the flesh and we feed it and we haven’t done anything but harm that potential reality because you never know the point at which suddenly, finally they tune in, they really understand and they transfer over to become a son of God. You don’t really know that point. But you’re on duty to be training towards it daily, day in and day out, constantly, continuously.

Look at the next verse. “€œThey went out but that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”€ Whether you are of God or not has to do with your faith in Jesus Christ that’€™s why you lay a hold of heavenly things instead of earthly things. But the proof of the fact that you’€™re laying a hold of Christ appears in your walk, it appears in the place where you set aside that which is vain, that which is worldly, that which has no fruit and that’€™s the place of the testing. And there will be a manifestation. I just want to tell you, I want to warn you parents, I want to threaten you parents if it’€™s possible to threaten you: you cannot pretend your children will one day manifest what they’€™re like. Don’€™t waste time on the pretenditures of your apparatus, the little things that you use to console yourself that “€œyes, I’€™m sure my little Johnny’€™s a Christian. I remember when he was 5, we knelt down by the bedside and he wept big crocodile tears. I just know he’€™s a Christian.” That’€™s not for you to know. The Lord knows them that are His. We can cry for a lot of reasons. The question isn’t whether you have the capacity to discern their faith, the question is whether you have the capacity to train their faith, that’€™s your job. And the faith of God’€™s people is expressed in a faithful continuum. Will there be slippings, will there be slidings? Yes, yes, yes. That’€™s the process. That’€™s why you keep coming back, that’€™s why you keep coming back. You keep marking the mark and you keep reestablishing the truth. And one day it’ll stand.

This Colorado shooting was a remarkable thing. If you have had any chance to read some of the more private and personal exchanges that have gone on just describing what took place with some of these young people in their own personal lives and the things that happened in the Christian community and the thing that I remark is this, God was able to reach in and shake some of His own people and at that hour of the shaking they stood up and they shone forth and there was no warning, there was no gentle, slow getting ready. There was just a sincerity that when the moment came, bang, they demonstrated what was the core value, what was their core beliefs. And that’s what we’€™re training, we’re training people that have a heavenly view. And there are going to be occasions for testing that heavenly view because many antichrists dwell in this world and they are always pressing and pursuing the agenda of the world. The question is, do you have the courage, do you have the courage, do you have the courage to preach Christ faithfully? To preach separation from the world? That one girl that was a martyr for her faith in Jesus, two years before, she was in witchcraft completely lost but the power of the living and the resurrected Christ transformed her and she was a child of God and she was a determined child of God. Her testimony was so bold and open and she was a remarkable example of the grace of God at work. And God was able to call on her at an instant and bring forth and magnify that simple continuance of the faith. That was her heritage, that was her lot. That’€™s what we’€™re raising up with our kids.

I don’t want to skip the last verse because that’€™s the key where we’re going with baptism. Verse 20, “€œBut you have an unction from the Holy One and you know all things. I have not written unto you because you know not the truth but because you know it and that no lie is of the truth.”€ He goes on and talks about the lies of the antichrist but I’€™m going to end right there. The point is simply this, I have some summary views of baptism which maybe I’€™ll get to next week, but water baptism is an expression of repentance. It’€™s an expression of an alignment. It’€™s an absolute expression of statement that says, “€œI have forsaken the world, I have set it all aside, I have nothing in the world that I’€™ve got invested that I want to hold on to. I’€™m done, I’€™m undone, I’€™m finished.” Water baptism is that public declaration of my allegiance. And what happens is though there is something else called Spirit baptism. And the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the actual transaction of salvation. That’s where God is doing the work, He transfers over. And what was looked to in this passage of verse 20 was, “€œYou have an unction from the Holy One, you have an unction from the Holy One.”€ Those who have the Holy Spirit have the resource, we have the resource. Now here’€™s the important principle to apply back down, if you’€™re raising children, you’re children are either born again or they’€™re not. If your children are born again, they have an unction from the Holy One. If your child doesn’€™t have an unction from the Holy One, they’€™re not born again. God is the superintendent of salvation. He’€™s the One that oversees people’€™s faith. He knows when someone has come to Him forsaking all and clinging only to Him, He knows that, and at the moment someone clings to Christ, God owns them and He puts the Holy Spirit as their evidence. There’€™s a Scripture that talks about this down payment, this little surety paper that says, “€œI belong.”€ The evidence I’m a Christian is the indwelling Holy Spirit period. That indwelling Holy Spirit has a work to do so if we’re training children who have the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have an advantage with them because we keep leaning upon the truth and the Holy Spirit enables their response. So we’€™ll make much progress with children if you walk in proper discipline with your children as I have spoken this morning and your children are saved, they will make much progress in their faith. They will incredibly well founded in the Word of God and in walking in righteousness and in turning from antichrist. They will have extreme success because they have begun to learn as a child in little things how to use the Holy Scriptures which makes them wise to salvation and they’€™ll be responding on that. If your child has a say-so faith and they’€™re not yet saved, meaning the Holy Spirit does not yet dwell in your child, you don’€™t know that. There’€™s not any way you can really tell as a parent. So if they say they believe, you treat them like they believe and you keep treating the truth. If they say they don’€™t believe, then you exhort them towards the truth. But in every respect and in every way you continually set forth that which is eternal and you continue to deny. And I just want to make one statement here for parents as a rule, whether your children are saved or lost, whether they have the Holy Spirit or whether they don’€™t, whether you know they have the Holy Spirit or whether you don’€™t know it, you only have one goal; you only have one objective. You don’€™t have to have different kinds of parenting, you just preach and teach the same one thing, and here’s what you do, you establish the rule of obedience. You have beautiful feet. You establish the premise that says, “As for me and my house, we Will serve the Lord. We are going to serve the Lord, that is our nature, we are going to pursue that path.” So you mark out for your children and make it plain that if your child comes in and I don’€™t forsee it usually getting to this point in most homes, but if your child comes in and says, “Well I’€™m not a Christian, I don’t believe anyway and I don’t care a bit about it, I just want to have the world, now let me have it.”€ If that’s how frankly your child speaks to you, then you just speak to them and say, “Well son, daughter, this is my house and I just want you to know something, in my house we’€™re going to serve the Lord. I’€™m sorry but we’€™re not going to errect any idols in our home and none of my children are going to dwell in my home and walk in idolatry. And if you want to live so categorically opposed to the Gospel, you’€™ll have to do it in your own house. If you’re not old enough to have your own house, you’€™re just going to have to wait, you’re going to have to tough it out. While you’€™re here you’€™re not going to get away with doing anything that violates my faith because we’re going to serve the Lord.” And you enforce your own obedience because this is your house. You’€™re the commander-in-chief, you’€™re the one responsible for setting the tone and you make that tone holy and you don’€™t let anyone come in under any pretext or under any weakness of theology, don’€™t let anyone come in and water down your obedience to Christ. You just stand there. Don’€™t let antichrist have any wedge, any edge. And force the issue. The sooner your child leaves home, the better the issue because they’€™re being made to decide, they’re being made to decide. That decision must be categorical as God Himself sees it, “You are either loving Me or you are hating Me.”€ If you love the world at all, the love of the Father is not in you, categorical. Make your home a categorical place. Don’t be so wrapped up with the feely weelies that your children mean more to you than your obedience to God because what is the sin of Eli? What was the sin of Eli? When God spoke against them and spoke of his sin, He said, “You honored your sons more than you honored Me.” That was his sin. How did he honor his sons? With weak will in discipline. He did not enforce holiness because of his authority and domain. Listen, this is possible. You can do this without being in a ranting and raving temper. It’€™s totally possible. You know what makes it possible? Your own sincerity, €œWe will serve the Lord. I’€™m going to honor God above all.€ God will help you. God will help you in whatever venue. He’ll help you recognize and see, “Here it is right here.”

Maybe it would be helpful to add one little comment and that is the issue of how your children argue with you and debate. First statement is, a child that debates with his parents and the parent answers back, the parent has lost their authority already. To answer back a child when they are engaged in debate, is to give your child honor that they don’€™t deserve. They don’€™t have the authority and they cannot speak to you in that manner. It’s not their place. They must learn to speak to you by a proper respect through an appeal, through an entreaty, train them how to speak to you with respect and entreaty. Don€™’t even talk about it. Doesn’t matter what the issue is. They may be right and you can tell them that, €œYou may be totally right but I don’t even care because you don’t have the first thing right and that is respecting God. God is the one you should be seeking and I’m a representative of God and you come to me with respect and if you want to say something, speak with honor and make your entreaty with kindness and show in your entreaty a willingness to submit because you respect my authority in this domain. And if you don’€™t get that right, don’€™t even talk to me because you have no place for discussion.€ But you know what we do. Our children mouth of at the tongue and say some stupid thing and we answer them back. We try to explain with logic how stupid that was and they’€™ve engaged us on their terms and now we’€™re in a debate. You know what’s amazing? The debate of a sinner is more agile than the debate of one who is stupid enough to engage in it who’€™s supposed to be holy. Because if you were holy, you wouldn’t have answered back. But all you’€™re doing is you’€™re clamouring for their affection and so you’€™re weak, you’re the weak person and you’€™ll lose. You’€™ll lose every time. Am I angry? I’€™m angry at antichrist, I’€™ll tell you that much. Am I determined? I hope I’m determined. I hope with the dying breath that I have that I can shake a few souls up to the simple reality that we can make a difference in our children, that we do sit in a sit of instruction and authority and that we can have an impact. I am sick and tired of the Christian world looking to great evangelists, great preachers, and great ministries to do all the work of training up a godly generation. It’€™s high time that the people of God in the person and in the authorities of the fathers get a hold of their responsibility and raise up a godly offspring because they have the will to by God’€™s grace. It’€™s time that we get to that point. I’€™ll tell you this by my experience over the last 22 years, I have never seen a family where the father was determined to honor God, I’ve never seen it fail to produce fruit. And I’ve never seen that family..(tape ends here).

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