|Sunday May 31, 2009
|| Phone: 570.829.5216
|Pastor David Miklas
||Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-13
"What Makes a Family Strong?"
Introduction: In a few weeks we will celebrate the 233rd year of our nation’s birth. I believe the facts bear it out that America is great because God made her great. The Bible says, "That RIGHTEOUSNESS exalts a nation, and that the nation whose God is the Lord is a blessed nation."
God honored America because America honored Him and upheld His STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. America has a heritage that cries, "We cannot go without God."
Psalm 33:11-12 "The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…"
Proverbs 14:34, "RIGHTEOUSNESS exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people."
Proverbs 29:2, "When the RIGHTEOUS are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn."
Follow me as I expand for you Proverbs 29:2, "When those who endeavor to RIGHT what is morally wrong and endeavor to do it publicly, when they increase in number, people rejoice…"
We have come to a time in our nation in which we must do something about this verse. Today in America we are faced with tremendous moral, spiritual and family issues.
We are facing in all levels of government a political crisis of integrity and leadership.
We are facing a moral crisis in this nation as immorality is running like a river of booze, adultery, abortion, pornography, and filth.
We are facing a family crisis in America that is destroying the very foundation of our nation as well as our churches.
Should we be surprised? No! God predicted this would happen in II Timothy 3:1-5 where I read, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
In Proverbs 14:34 we read, "Righteousness exalts a nation…." Our nation was steeped in RIGHTEOUSNESS and as a result enjoyed freedom. But we as Christians must maintain that freedom by continually being the moral conscience of America. Listen, "One may acquire freedom, but it will never be recovered if it is ever lost."
When we lose our freedoms we lose the platformfor the preaching of the Word of God and the development and the expansion of the church.
When we lose our freedoms we lose the potentialto train and develop our Children who will become the most powerful influence on earth for God and His glory.
Now the strength of any nation lies not in its government, but rather in the foundation of its families that provide the strength for the church, which in turn provides the strength for the nation.
Many years ago, I preached a message entitled, "Who Cares for the Children?" In that message I said:
"Over the years I have watched with great delight children who turned out right as they went on living for the Lord. But I have also watched with a broken heart other children who left the things of God and chose worldliness and sin away from the things of Christ. To whom shall credit be given for those who did turn out right?
Let’s thank God for caring, consistent, godly parents who acted the same behind the scenes as they did before the public.
Let’s thank God for church members that cared for them and maybe a Sunday school teacher or youth leader or a pastor who loved them and prayed for them out of a sincere heart.
Let’s thank God for churches that set a consistent standard with conviction, and lived by the rules they set.
We need to give God all the Glory for helping us to do what we ought to do and for preserving the little ones as they grew in the things of Jesus Christ.”
On the other hand, where shall the blame lie for those who did not turn out right?
In the FIRST place, as Pastor, I take the blame for some. I wish more could have been done to reach them and keep them for the things of God.
Maybe I should have loved them more.
Maybe I should have prayed more for them.
Maybe I should have preached harder to them with greater passion and greater fervency.
Maybe I should have given them more of my personal attention.
Maybe I should have provided more for their spiritual and physical outlet that they so crave.
In the SECOND place I blame the ministry for those who left the things of God and wandered out into the world. Because of that, I have watched God’s people fuss at one another and complain and bicker over some of the most stupid and inconsequential things. And then, not over doctrine and not over sin but simply out of PRIDE and SELFISHNESS, get mad at the preacher or get mad at the ministry and stomp out of the church leaving the little ones and the teenagers wondering what happened.
Over the years I have watched this happen time and time again. Parents, as well as so-called leaders, leave the church thinking they have gotten the upper hand on the Pastor and the ministry. But what they don’t realize is the tragedy left in the hearts of the children and teenagers of the church.
An even greater tragedy is what will happen, and believe me it will happen, it will happen, it will happen, in the lives of their own children and even in the lives of their own grandchildren. They will leave the things of God, and go out into the world; marry the unsaved, and eventually look at Christianity as something just to take or to leave.
In the THIRD place, I blame the parents whose inconsistent life-style within the home has forced the children to make a decision as to what road to take. Should they live for Christ or should they live for the ways of the world? My friend, very rarely have I seen them choose to go the way of righteousness.
In a recent interview with some run-away youth, the question was asked, "Why did you leave your home?" and the answer was without exception "we had all the material things that life could offer, but we were not wanted. There was no love there. There was no feeling of being wanted there. Our parents were telling us to live one way, all the while they were living another way."
The question from the students of Junior High Schools through the High Schools on to the college campuses is who will love us, who will care for us? Youth of today are searching for the answers to life:
Where did we come from?
Why are we here?
What is the purpose of life?
Where are we headed and how do we get there?
They have the questions, but who is giving them the answers? One young lady, from a Christian home, echoed the feeling of so many when she said, "I wonder if the Christian life is just a passing dream, where one day I will awake and find it will all be gone." She was voicing what the world has been saying. "Christianity is just a harmless fad, don’t take it too seriously." Again I ask you this morning, "Who cares for the children?" With a heavy, broken heart I sincerely believe the answer to this current crisis is not found in our government or in our schools or even in our churches, but rather in our families. The question then becomes, "What makes a strong family?" From earliest time,
God cared so much about the family He provided the foundational guidelines that would make it solid and keep it strong. God set everything in motion in order for us to sustain domestic strength.
He did so through Moses as he reminded the people of Israel of the importance of maintaining strong families as they were about to invade Canaan to take up residence in the Promise Land.
The events recorded for us in Deuteronomy 6, were really a family scene. Hundreds of thousands of husbands, wives, and children were gathered on the edge of enemy territory. Before these families could occupy Canaan, they must invade and conquer. Once that was accomplished, they could settle down and begin living normal lives. It was that fact which most concerned the Lord. Once they "settled in," if they were not careful, they would become indifferent and just like those around them.
In Deuteronomy 6:1-3 Moses spells out the foundation, “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: (2) That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. (3) Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Now in verses 4-15 God gives us four guiding principles that would enable these families to survive. These four guiding principles form the basis of the four principles which keep a family strong. Verse 4 – HEAR, Verse 5 – LOVE, Verse 7 – TEACH, and verse 13 – FEAR.
First: Hear the Truth Continually, verse 4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” If you are Jewish, those words have a familiar ring to them. Two primary tenents are spelled out here.
Number 1: Jehovah "The Lord" is unique, unlike any other deities. He alone is God.
Number 2: Jehovah "One Lord" is one in essence, one in harmony.
The ancient Israelite’s were commanded to hear this truth over and over again. It was the foundational statement of their faith. Strong families lean hard on certain unshakable facts, and this is a major one.
Teach your children “We believe in God. He is ELOHIM, the God who created everything, the most High God, the eternal one; He sees what’s going on. Maybe you can’t, but He can. He is EL-SHADDAI; He is able to meet our every need. He is JEHOVAH, Yahweh, the I AM, in the present tense, right now, all that we need today. He is for us. He is ADONAI, the ruler, the master of our lives.”
Teach your children “We believe in God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is perfect deity and perfect humanity without sin. He is our redeemer crucified, buried, risen, assented, intercessor, coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Teach your children “We believe in God the Holy Spirit, our eternal security for our redemption. He empowers us as our guide and teacher.
Strong families amplify this creed: "The Lord is our God. We acknowledge His presence, His uniqueness, His place, His right to rule over us. We seek His will, we endeavor to walk in His way." When times are good or when times are hard and even when the future is uncertain, you would do well to repeat words like these to affirm confidence in our God and determination to trust Him.
Second: Love the Lord Fervently, verses 5-6, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:” Now as we read again verse 5, notice the repeated word "ALL." “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with ALL thine heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy might. As parents and grandparents our love for God should not be partial, casual or questionable. There ought to be fervency and confidence. Our love for God must be complete.
It is impossible for me to transfer to my children a principle I do not personally embrace which is a love for God that permeates all my heart.
It is impossible for me to convince my children of the value of honesty, if I am dishonest.
It is impossible for me to transfer my love for the Lord, if I don’t read His Word.
It is impossible for me to transfer my love for God, if I only come to the house of God when the spirit moves me or when it is convenient.
It is impossible for our children to grasp the importance of care and compassion forothers, if we as parents run roughshod over others.
Our love for God must be an all-encompassing love, a deep-down dedication. Notice verse 6 where it says that love "shall be in thine heart." This is not simply a nice-sounding religious idea washing around in your mind. "Truth is more permanently transferred from a parent’s life than from his lips. Modeling the truth far exceeds preaching to the young." But our next point does give place to actual teaching.
Third: Teach the Young Diligently, verses 7-9, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” The task of indoctrinating children was a responsibility of the home, not the church, school or other institution or the combined efforts of a group of government professionals. The word teach here suggests "repeating it over and over again."
Let me pause and say something about how we look at teaching Christianity. You and I are seeing many Christians who were taught an enormous number of biblical facts, but somehow they lacked authenticity and example. Perhaps the thing that was omitted was the diligence…verse 7, "You shall teach them diligently unto thy children…"
The word "diligently" in the Hebrew means "to sharpen." So if read literally, the statement would be "… and you shall sharpen your children." Additionally there is in the Hebrew an intensity creating a strong command, "… you shall intensely sharpen your children…"
God’s desire is for a conscious, consistent, transfer of His truth from the older to the younger in the family. If there is an unconscious mistake Christian parents make it is thinking our children automatically capture our zeal for Christ. Quite to the contrary, the only thing automatic is that our children automatically get turned off to spiritual things. Never forget, we are living in spiritually hostile territory and there must be authentic visible training sessions.
Notice in verse 7, we are to "TALK of them" We are to talk of spiritual things just as we would talk about anything else in our home. That is what will make your Christianity authentic. It isn’t a Sunday lifestyle! It is a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and on and on and on in the cycle of living. Talking of spiritual things ought to be a natural occurrence. It ought to fit into everything we do, whether we are eating, playing, working or resting.
I’m certainly not the first to point out that the teaching is to permeate every sphere of life. Note again verse 7 and see the word "when" repeatedly used. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them WHEN thou sittest in thine house, and WHEN thou walkest by the way, and WHEN thou liest down, and WHEN thou risest up. Whatever we are doing, wherever we are going, truth is to be deposited into the lives of our young.
Fourth: Fear the Lord Greatly, verses 10-15, “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, (11) And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; (12) Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (13) Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. (14) Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (15) (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” Here is the problem. After giving so many things, God warns us about forgetting Him. When blessed, it is so easy to adopt a presumptuous, arrogant spirit.
Remember this, "Indulgence leads to indifference, which results in independence that finally says, "Who needs God any longer?"
So what’s the secret of keeping that from happening? Notice again verse 13, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.” By "’fear of God" we mean:
a reverence for His holy name, a wholesome respect for His sovereign will which is the ever present realization that God is the Almighty, Holy God.
What calm assurance and confidence this gives a family! The longer this attitude persists, the more the Lord honors it by lengthening the shadows of stability. It is as if He wraps an invisible shield of protection around your family. Perhaps that is what is meant by verse 14, “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;” In a very real sense we, too, are surrounded by gods. The gods our families face today are:
the gods of materialism and money;
the gods of sensuality, immorality, and hedonism;
the gods of fame, popularity and power;
the gods of drugs and alcohol;
the gods of humanism, and man-made religions.
But strong families remain strong because they are always aware that from Proverbs 18:10 we read, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and are safe."
The only hope of providing a strong family foundation for our children is found here in Deuteronomy 6:
to HEAR the truth continually, "the Lord is our Lord;"
to LOVE the Lord fervently;
to TEACH the young diligently. and
to FEAR the Lord greatly.
The only hope of turning this nation back to God is for those of us who name the name of God to turn back to Him and become, once again, the moral conscience of this nation. In II Chronicles we read, "If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." There is nothing wrong with America that you couldn’t cure. As noted from II Chronicles 7:14,
Nations do not repent, individuals repent.
Nations do not turn from sins, individuals turn from their sins.
Nations do not get right with God, individuals get right with God.
Remember Psalm 9:17 says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God. In Psalm 11:3 we read, "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" America is but a reflection of our heart and lives. May we do all we can to stand for RIGHTEOUSNESS, so that the next generation can still have "One nation under God."
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, ""What Makes a Family Strong?"then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior let me know? Please send an e-mail to, pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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