Date: February 27, 2020 (Midweek Service)
Bible Text: Luke 10:42 | Dave Olson
Picture - a young child learning to walk
- Start early.
- Strengthen them.
- Provide examples.
- Let them cruise. (strengthen a good thing)
- Hold their hand.
- Establish boundaries.
- Correct their gait. (Proverbs 22:15)
- Cheer them on. (Proverbs 12:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Matthew 25:21)
- Other verses about edifying one another: Ephesians 4:29, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:2, 1 Corinthians 12:19.
- Children must learn to walk with God. (Micah 6:8, Leviticus 18:4)
- Parents must teach their children to walk with God. (Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:15)
- Parents and children must understand what it means to walk with God.
- Desire for God (Hebrews 11:5-6)
- Living for God (Genesis 6:8-9, 11)
- Communication with God (Genesis 6:13)
- Obedience to God (Genesis 6:14, 22)
- Agreement with God (Amos 3:2-3)
- Children must decide to walk with God. (Romans 6:13, 2 Corinthians 5:10, Psalm 34:8)
- Parents must focus on the heart, not just the behavior
- Love for God comes from the heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
- Actions come from the heart. (Proverbs 4:23)
- Words come from the heart. (Matthew 15:18)
- Sin comes from the heart. (Mark 7:21-23)
- Forgiveness comes from the heart. (Matthew 18:35)
- True obedience comes from the heart. (Romans 6:17, Ephesians 6:6)
- Solomon’s lessons about the heart to his son: Proverbs 2:1-2, 3:1-5, 4:4, 4:21, 6:21, 6:25, 7:3, 7:25, 10:8, 14:14, 18:12, 18:15, 19:21, 22:15, 23:7, 23:12, 23:15, 23:17, 23:19, 23:26, 23:33, 24:17, 28:14, 28:25, 28:26.
- Teach them the Word of God daily.(Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
- Guide them to develop a structured devotional time. (Jeremiah 29:13, Proverbs 8:17)
- Teach them to fear God. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, Deuteronomy 5:29)
- Other verse to study include: Proverbs 1:7, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26, 22:4, 23:17, 28:14; Acts 9:31.
- Discipline them. (Hebrews 12:6, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 22:15)
- Help them understand the battle between the flesh and Spirit. (Galatians 5:17)
- Remind them to confess sin immediately. (Galatians 6:19-21, 1 John 1:9)
- Do not allow them to consistently get their way. (1 Peter 5:5; John 5:30, 6:38; Luke 22:42)
- Use life’s problems as opportunities to teach them to trust God. (Romans 8:28, Deuteronomy 32:4, 1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:22)
- Explain the importance of being right with others. (1 John 4:20)
- Pray like crazy. (Job 1:5)
Okay, we will take our Bibles and turn to Luke chapter number 10. We are going to be speaking on the family tonight. And in particular, we are going to be talking about, teaching your children to walk with God. There are some truths that you have to teach your kids. And there are some truths that they learn on their own. Ones like this, no matter how hard you try, you can not baptize cats. That is just one of those things that they learn all on their own you do not have to tell them that. Here is another one that kids learn on their own. (Someone gave me these jokes, by the way.) This must be a girl. When your mom is mad at your dad, do not let her brush your hair. You can just picture that, right. If your sister hits you, do not hit her back. They always catch the second person. You can not trust dogs to watch your food for you. Here is another one with hair, do not sneeze when someone is trying to cut your hair. And then, puppies still have bad breath even after eating a TicTac. Yeah, they fed the dog a TicTac. And then a classic one, you can not hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. You got to picture these things, you know.
Luke chapter 10, really though, I love to teach on the family. I think it is great to be part of a church where so many people really want to learn about the family. It is refreshing and it is a blessing and it makes it a whole lot easier to prepare and to teach when, you know, there are people who actually want to listen. So some, actually a couple of people have already said, are you teaching tonight, brother? That looks like one of your outlines. And then someone earlier said, Oh, it sounds like you are writing a book. So I only have 22 pages and I am not planning to get through them all. You will notice that there are less blanks to fill in as you go along. So you have some scriptures there. I fully understand we will not get it all done and that is okay. So we will get what we can done. Now, there has been a lot of practical teaching about the family, a lot of practical teaching about raising your kids, things to do things not to do, but as we think about it, you know what is the most important thing you can do for your kids?
What is the most important job a parent has? Well, some might say, food and shelter and raiment. That is pretty good. Others would say, ensure they get a good education. Not just a good education, but a Christian education. That is pretty good too. Others say no, I will build character and instill some self-discipline and correct their wrong behavior. All of those are important, but they are not our foremost duty as parents. As parents, we should have three main objectives in teaching our children. The first one should be to know God and I have verses for this, but I do not have time to get to everything here. So the second objective would be to love God. Love the Lord, thy God, with all the heart, right? And then the third one would be to walk with God. And that is what I want to key in on this evening is teaching our children to walk with God.
Mary and Martha provide a very important lesson for us here in Luke chapter 10, we will begin here in verse number 38. It says, "Now it came to pass,.as they went, that he (Jesus) entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Let's pray. Father, we do thank you again for your Word and ask that you give clarity of thought as I teach. And I pray that each one would listen and we would apply these things to our lives as parents, but also that we apply them to our lives as Christians. There are many people in here who are not parents, or not yet parents. And I just ask that you would have your will and way and help me to focus on what needs to be said. There is more material here than there is time to cover. So I pray you would help us as we get through this, we ask in Christ's name. Amen.
Of course we all know this passage. Jesus said that one thing was needful. Martha was focused on the external. She was focused on the physical things in life. Mary was concentrating on the internal things. She was concentrating on spiritual matters. Martha was we could say, she was walking for God, doing things for him. Mary was walking with God. Now think about how you, if you are a parent, how you are training your children. Are you just trying to instill in them, all the things they should do? Don't do this, don't do this, don't do this. Do this, do this, do this. And you are trying to shape them into this perfect little servant, or are you focused on trying to teach them to become a Mary and have a heart that loves God and wants to follow God? And I am not trying to be little practical advice because even a lot of what I am going to give you tonight is practical advice. All the ideas of training, character, discipline and self-discipline all that is important. I am not trying to negate that in any way, but we can not neglect the most important thing of all. And that is getting our kids to walk with God. And I hope this will make more sense as we go along. So I want to consider this subject about teaching our children to walk with God. And we are going to start first of all, here by looking at a picture. That is the first point. So if you have got your outline, you will notice that there are a fewer blanks to fill in as we go along. Because when we get to main point number three, you basically have it and you can study it on your own.
So first thing we will do is look at a picture. We learned some spiritual lessons by considering how a child learns to walk physically. I was just trying to think, okay, how do you teach a child to walk? You say you do not teach your child to walk. Really, there are some things that you do that helps them to walk, believe it or not. We are going to cover that and these ideas really help us as we put together an idea of how to teach our kids, how to walk with God spiritually. So imagine a little child taking their first steps, or it is usually considered a major milestone. And then once they do start taking their first steps, your life has just gotten complicated because you can not keep up with them. You are like where is that Pack and Play. I am going to stick them in there for a couple hours so I can get some things done, right? You know, you do not want to carry them around for the rest of their life you want them to walk.
The same things pertain spiritually. You are not going to try to carry your children spiritually, the rest of their life. They must learn to walk with God. Learning to walk physically is a pretty quick process. It does not take months and months and months, but learning to walk with God takes years. That is why you have kids in your house for 18 or so years. So teaching to walk physically here gives a picture of how to teach kids to walk spiritually. So what are some things you can do? You might not even know some of the things that you did to help them get started. But first of all, letter 'A' there, if you are going to keep your outline, 'early' start early. You do not wait until a child's a teenager before you encourage him to walk. You know, some people think, well, my kid is going to be the super baby. He is going to be walking at five months. You know, more power to you, right. But, you are not going to wait until they are 18. It is kind of ridiculous before you get them to start. So you start when they are young and, and, and you are, you know, people get the little Johnny Jump-ups there and they are jumping up and down in the little thing. And you know, they are learning to get their legs moving and all that type of stuff.
And so you do not wait till the day your children are old, too old to begin to develop a walk with God. Paul said to Timothy, that from a child thou hast know the Holy scriptures. And so we have to start early when they can first begin to read, then they should begin reading the Bible. Really? Yes, they should. My kids started having their own personal devotions when they were around five years old, when they started to learn to read. We did not give them huge long passages, but we helped them get started. So start early.
Secondly, letter B is, strengthen them. So before infants walk, you know, before an infant can walk, he has got to have some strength and it takes time exercising and eating. You know, you have to feed your children spiritually with the word of God to help them get strong and help them build some spiritual muscles, right? That physical child, you know, you do not think about it, but they do not even know how to lift up their head. They are not even strong enough to lift up their head. You know, it takes time to develop those muscles and it takes time to roll it around. They are developing their core muscles and they are going to need their hands to pull up someday. And so they are picking things up, they are moving their hands, they are getting strength that way and so they keep adding strength. In like manner, our children need to be strengthened spiritually, if they are ever going to be able to walk with the Lord. So we have to feed them a steady diet of the word of God and they need to be exercised on godliness. And we need to lay a good foundation in them.
This idea you can really develop on your own and think about it. It starts by teaching them who God is, right? He is the creator, He is our Father, He is our friend, and He is our Savior. You need to teach them what He is like. You know, He is love, He is Holy, He is wise, He is good, He is just, He is powerful. All of these things. And you have to teach them how He interacts with people, and that He does want to deal with people. So you teach your children the basics of having a relationship with Him, teach them that He is Holy. Man who is sinful and our sin separates us from God and man must repent. And then Christ is the one who reconciles. And by the way I am giving you ideas, it is not like you are going to go through and have one set of lessons and think you are all done. These are all truths that you need to continue to reiterate over and over and over just like we come to church and we hear preaching on the same thing over and over and over again, because it takes a while to sink in. And so we should continue to do that.
Then you have to teach your children how to walk physically, well, we gave you a couple of points, but here is another one. Letter C is, you provide them with some examples. You know, kids are great imitators. They copy what they see other people do and we have all heard stories. I remember doing this myself as a little kid, you know, two or three-year-olds getting in their dad's shoes. You know, they are way too big and trying to walk and follow their dad. Right? I walked out of the house one day, and I was trying to follow my dad to work. And it was winter time and, I was not dressed for that, but I had his shoes on and that was all I needed. Right? So small children they are motivated to walk. When they see their parents walk, when they see their peers walking, it makes them want to walk too. And spiritually, if you walk with God, you can motivate your children to want to walk with God too.
But if you are not walking with God, you are not going to motivate your child. You can tell them to walk with God all you want. If you are not walking with God, they are not going to walk with God, and we have got to have a walk with Him. So what kind of example we should ask, do we have for our children? Do you parent walk with the Lord? Are you consistent with your devotions? Well, you want your children to be consistent and if you are not consistent, how do you expect your children to become consistent?
How do you react to trouble? See, part of walking with God is not flying off the handle all the time. Do you? And you are going to teach your kids not to, but you do. See walking with God, it is not just reading your Bible and praying. It is how you live. Do you walk in the Spirit or do you let the flesh control your actions and your reactions. Do you make things right with each other with people that you have offended? Do you apologize for your wrong actions? It is amazing that we teach our children to say, sorry. You know when they do something wrong to their siblings. Say, sorry to your brother. Sorry. You know? And then we offend our kids and we do something wrong. We act the wrong way and we won't apologize to them. Oh. So, you are telling them one thing and you are not doing it yourself.
So as parents, we must be sure that we are a good example, but not just that, but that their peers are because they are going to learn to walk like their peers walk. And if their friends walk with God, they are going to be challenged to walk with God. If their friends are reprobates, then they should not be their friends and you should not let them hang out with them. So you can teach a lot about that. So we are learning this little picture of a little child, little infant, trying to learn to stand up and walk and take some steps. And one of the things they need is a good example.
Letter D in the outline is, let them cruise. Cruising is a term used to describe a child when he pulls himself up next to an object, like a couch or something and pulls himself along. And he thinks he is walking, but he is really not, right. He is in this cruising stage. Now when they are little infants physical, that cruising stage does not last too long, but spiritually it lasts a long time. That helps a little child as they are cruising along, they are trying their best. And you know, they are getting a little stronger. And we, we need to encourage our kids when they are "cruising," trying to walk with God, you know, at five years old, they are not going to be John the Baptist. No, but if he is reading his Bible at five, he is going to get stronger. And if he shows an interest in reading in his Bible, you can say, that is great. I am glad you are doing that.
Do not expect that your kids are going to find God's will for their lives at the age of 13, but you can be happy if they are interested in it. They are cruising. The early years in your home are just, cruising times, okay? If you help them, they are going to have ups. They are going to have downs. They are going to have some successes. They can have some failures. They are going to have some times where they are consistent. They are going to have times where they are not. These are all opportunities for you to see how they are living, how they are interacting with God, how they are interacting with you, how they are interacting with their brothers and sisters, how they are interacting with their friends. And you can see their problems and you can help them approach them spiritually.
Now let me continue here. Letter E, would be hold their hand, hold their hand. Right? A little child who wants to walk. He gains coordination and balance by holding up, you know, holding mom's hand as he is walking along. And, we hold their hands by having family devotions with tthem. You know, when you have family devotions, you are indirectly teaching them how to apply the truth of the Bible. Think about it. You read the Bible, you explain a little bit, you read a little more, you explain a little bit, you are developing a pattern for them to see how to study God's word for their own. That is just an indirect way. And prayer time and family devotions teaches them how to pray. Parents also hold their hand spiritually by helping them to develop a time of personal devotions as I have already mentioned. Little children are not going to get a whole lot out of your family devotions. They are not probably going to get much out of their personal devotions, but they are learning something. They are learning. There is a guide. They are learning that the Bible is an important book and they are learning that, they need help and they can talk to God who can help him them. So what you are doing is you are holding their hand in this process. You are developing a God consciousness. There are a lot of kids in this world growing up without a God consciousness. They have no clue what to do with their problems. They have no clue how to interact with other people. They do not want to know how to interact with other people. They do not know what is right and wrong. They do--but they don't. They have no moral compass. Talk about that in a moment here.
So the next, one letter F would be establish boundaries. So when your children learn to walk, you do not let them just go anywhere. If you do, you are not doing your job, you establish boundaries for their protection. Okay? So lets take an example, if someone has got a woodstove in their house. You know, they are probably going to teach their toddler to stay away from the woodstove so they do not get burned. Right? And in every neighborhood and every home, there are some places and some things that should be off limits. The same is true with walking with God. Children need to know what God forbids, that there are some attitudes they can not have. And there are some actions they can not have. And you have got to make sure that they understand that it is God that says that.
You can not be disrespectful. Why? Do not back talk to mom or dad, do not back talk to your father. Why, I am bigger than you. I can let you have it. That is not the reason that they should respect you. The reason they should respect you is because God says to the children that children should honor parents. That is why they should respect you, not because you are bigger than them. And you can put the hurt on them, or you can take all their privileges away. So we have got to understand why we are setting boundaries and how we enforce them. They have to know what is right, what is wrong? And that it is God that says that. And there are conditions to walking with God. They must be going in the same direction He is going. You know, if you are walking with somebody and they are going one way and you are going another way, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out you are not walking with them anymore. And if God is going this way and you have taught them the way that God says to go, and they are going a different way, it is pretty obvious then that they are not walking with God. And you can point that out, say, God says this and you are going this way. And this is the way he says, we are supposed to go but you are going this way. Are you right with the Lord? No.
You need to help them understand that it is a relationship with God. Their behavior has all to do with their relationship with God. And it is important that they understand what is right and wrong. As I have said, a lot of people in our society, they have no moral compass, but we can give our children a moral compass. They can know definites, absolutes, right and wrong. Not because it is my opinion, versus your opinion. For example listen to the politicians. The Democrats, they all say they are right. The Republicans, they all say they are right. And they are all emphatic about it. Are they all right? No. What is right? This is right, the Bible. This is the guide that we use them to teach right and wrong. And so we establish biblical boundaries.
Letter G would be to correct their gaite. What do you mean by that? All right, in front of the girl's dorm in that grassy area, not exactly but by where those reeds are all grown up now, there used to be a park and tree house. So we were home on a furlough one time and my son was up there in the tree house playing with some children. And some other kid had this brilliant idea that he would just push John out of the tree house. So John went tumbling out of the treehouse and landed on his hip or his back or something. He came home, he complained of some pain, you know, it was hurt. And I was like, Oh, okay, you will be all right. That is what you always tell your kids. Right. It was during the summer and they are getting ready to go run. You know, they are doing the training, running the lake for the cross-country race. Now, John, John was born a runner. What do I mean by that, he did not walk. He never started to walk. His first steps were running and, he just was always, he still loves to run.
Well, he was trying to run the Lake and I am looking at him. I was like, your time is pretty messed up. And I am looking at him and he is like running cockeyed. He was crooked. So what is wrong with you? Something got a little misplaced when he was tossed out of the tree house, you know, he said it hurts to run. So we got him to the doctor and he helped us get it adjusted. And pretty soon his gaite was straight. So the point is this. When our children are hurt physically, we help them get straightened out. Don't we! It is a little easier sometimes to get them straightened out, physically than it is spiritually. But spiritually, we need to try to do the same thing. Get them straightened out. When our children are not walking on that straight and narrow, there is something wrong. And we can not allow our children to go through life cockeyed and out of sorts with God, we are going down the wrong path. So we have got to straighten them out. And how do we straighten out their gaite spiritually...discipline, right?
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Notice it is a rod of correction. It is not a rod of revenge. I took him to the doctor to get the problem corrected. And he got straightened out and he was able to run. And we need to make sure that when we are disciplning our children, it is not because we are trying to get back at them. Not because we are angry at them. Not because we are going to make them pay. They broke my thing. No, we are going to correct bad behavior. And we are correcting those missteps so that they go forward and go straight, and have a good life. A lot of it just comes right back down to your perspective on things.
Then letter H, cheer them on. Okay. Imagine little junior. Now, mom and dad are across the room a few, few steps away. Come to Mommy, you know, and then little junior stands up there. And all of a sudden, he all by himself, he takes his first step and his second step and his third step. And mom, and dad's first kid is taking his first steps. They are jumping up and down, clapping, etc... You do not have to get that dramatic when your kids walk with God, but there is some excitement when they are taking some steps. Parents it is okay for us to show some excitement when our children show a little bit of an interest in walking with the Lord. You can actually pat them on the back. You can pat them on the head. You can say, that a boy. that a girl, whatever. And sometimes, we only acknowledge when they do something wrong, and we fail to cheer them on when they do something right.
Now, how do you talk to your children? Think of this verse in terms of child rearing, Proverbs 12:18, "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword (poking, cutting): but the tongue of the wise is health." Build them up a little bit, cheer them up. First Thessalonians 5:11, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do." Edify one another, that is okay to even edify our children. One day we are all hoping to hear the Lord say to us, "well done thou good and faithful servant." I have given you some other verses on your handout that you can look up edifying some time.
Let's get to the second point,-- principles. As we looked at this picture, you know, of a little infant, trying to learn how to walk and learn some parallel things for us, but also get some principles. Now this is concerning teaching your children to walk with God, a few basic ones. First one, letter A. Children must learn to walk with God. It is not just for adults. Children need to learn, if it is just for adults, well then when do they learn. When they become an adult? Well, when did they become adult, 18? So at 18, they have to start learning to walk with God. I think you waited a little too long. Micah 6:8, "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee (this is something that is required), but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" So everyone is supposed to walk with God. And when should they learn how to do it? As a child. That is why we have been given our children for a number of years in our home.
Secondly, letter B, parents must teach your children to walk with God. So children must learn, but it is parents who must teach him. Do not expect the school to do it. Well, I send my kids to Sunday school. Sunday school, once a week, that is not going to do it. Teaching them is a non-stop process. Ephisians 6:4, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." There are two words here that are important. The word nurture, refers to correction or that idea of discipline. The word admonition speaks of gentle reproof and instruction. So it takes both things. Parents are not merely to correct, that is the nurturing, but we are supposed to admonish and instruct them in the ways of the Lord. Some people only focus on the correcting part, correcting all the problems as an investigator, everything is just correcting problems, but there has to be some instruction. Spurgeon said about this passage, undue harshness and irritating severity are here forbidden, but holy discipline and religious training are commanded. Timothy, he had a godly mother and godly grandmother. And Paul said of Timothy in that "from a child thou hast known the Holy scriptures." So it must be taught in the home.
Third point is letter C, parents and children then must understand what it means to walk with God. Now parents need to understand so they can teach your children to walk with God, and the children need to understand so they can learn how to do it. So what are some scriptures that actually reveal some things about walking with God. I am going very fast. I understand this. I wish I had time to take and really develop all of these points, but it is like five different sermons all in one. And I do not have that time. So let's continue. The first one that we are talking about is, what is walking with God. We have got some scriptures that help us with this.
First of all, number one, we see a desire for God. There has to be a desire for God. This is one of the things that is involved with walking with God. There has got to be desire. Hebrews 11:5 and 6, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, (Here is the testimony) that he pleased God." Then it says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." So in other words, what was pleasing to God? What is pleasing to God is when someone diligently seeks God, they have a desire to know God and that is how Enoch was walking with God. Your kids live in your house. You can see if they have a hunger and a desire for God. You can see the receptiveness they have when they are sitting at family devotions. You can see when you try to correct them, you can see when you say, God says this and you are going this way. And you must have some sense of understanding of whether or not they have a desire. And if they do not have the right desire, then you have got to work on them and you have got to help them. And you have got to address those problems. Enoch had that hunger and your child, your children can not walk with God unless they want to spend time with him. There has got to be a desire. And if there is no desire, you have to develop that. So how do I do that? Walk with God yourself, okay? And then let them see it. And then as David, you can say, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good."
Secondly, another thing that is involved with walking with God is living for God. Noah gives us this example, and this is in Genesis 6:8-9, "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Living for God is something that is involved in walking with God. The earth was corrupt. It was filled with violence according to verse 11, but Noah was righteous. He was still following the Lord. And so if our children are going to walk with God, they need to follow Him despite what everyone else is doing around them. And that is one thing you need to teach them. That part of walking with God is just doing what God says and pleasing Him. It does not matter how bad everyone else is. Because when you address them with something and say, you should not be doing this. They should not say, well so-and-so does it. Or this is one I love the most, pastor so-and-so's kids do it. They love throwing it out, the staff kids get to do it. Oh, they just love that. You know, anyway, it is not always true either, by the way, when they are giving you that line. They have got to want to walk with God. And then they got to live for God, regardless of what anyone else is doing around them.
Then thirdly, there is going to be some communication with God. Part of, obviously, walking with God is talking with Him. In Genesis chapter six several times it says, the Lord said unto Noah. So God was talking to him and they were having communication. And our children have got to learn to hear God through the scriptures and to pray to Him. So there has to be some communication. If they are not praying to God and they are not reading His word, they are obviously not walking with God and you need to help them with that.
Number four, another thing that involves walking with God, is obedience to God. So the Lord told Noah all the things to do and get ready. He said, "make thee an ark." So what did Noah do? According to Genesis 6:22, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." So if our children are going to walk with God, they must learn to do all that God commands them, just like Noah. All that God commands. So it goes back to God again, doesn't it. It is not just mom and dad said. Yes, it is mom and dad said, but it is because God told your mom and dad to tell you. Everything, all of their actions and reactions have to be directed right back to God. That is how you are going to teach them to walk with God. You have got to make them conscious that there is this relationship. It might not be a good one because of how they are living, but there is a relationship and it is your job to pull this out and, help them understand.
And then last of all, there needs to be agreement with God, that is number five, agreement with God. The prophet Amos warned the children of Israel that they were going to be punished for their sins in verse number three of chapter three. He wanted them to see that they were not in agreement with God. And he said, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" So you have to teach your children. God is always right. And you have to be honest with them and say, there are going to be some times you do not want to do what God wants you to do. And you have to be honest with yourself. Sometimes I do not want to do what God wants me to do. Really, mom and dad. Yeah, because I am a sinner just like you. How do you figure you got it? You got it from me. So teach your children that God is always right. And help understand that our sinful hearts do not always want to do what is right. But if we are in agreement with Him, things go well for us. But when we are in disagreement with Him, we are not walking with him anymore, then things are not going to go so well. These are simple little truths that we have to understand. So we got a pretty difficult job done, right? Walking with God is an internal matter. It is a decision that the child has to make for himself. It is not a decision that the parent can make for them. Isn't that frustrating at times you want your children to walk with God. You tell them to walk with God. You instruct them on how to walk with God and they are not walking with God. You have to create that desire and influence them.
So letter D would be, children must decide to walk with God. You might want your kids to walk with God, but they have a free will. Now, I think that if you are teaching them and give them a good example, they are going to walk with God too, but let's be pretty honest about this. Do you walk with God every day? No. Are they going to walk with God every day? No, but you help them back up so they can continue to walk with God. Now this verse is written to all Christians, Romans 6:13, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." So we are supposed to, everyone is supposed to yield themselves to God. You either yield yourself to sin or you yield yourself to God. And you have got to explain that to the children. Again, all these lessons I am teaching you tonight, you have to teach your children, that you are not going to teach him in one setting. You are going to have to continually bring them back, but continue to bring their focus back to the Lord and help them make the right choice of following the Lord. Let me just get through some of these things.
Let's get down to the letter E. Parents must focus on the heart. Now you will notice there are some sub points here too. At least, we can get through points one and two tonight. Parents must focus on the heart. Our goal should be to correct the heart. Now listen to me, not just correct the behavior. I think a lot of times we are so focused on you did this wrong. I am going to correct you. And Yeah, I understand taht we need to correct bad behavior. You can correct behavior without correcting their heart. You really can. You can get your children to comply, even if they do not want to obey. Partly because you are bigger than them. You do, as I say, or.... And they learn at a young age that or is not usually a good option, so I will do what they say. You do not have their heart. But because of the, all the externals you put on them, they will buckle down and do it.
No, and you have not necessarily fixed the problem. However, if you reach the heart, the behavior will change. Okay? So I am not saying we should not correct bad behavior, but that is not our goal. Our goal is to correct the heart. And if we can get that accomplished, the behavior will be corrected also. And a lot of times it is all focused on the outside, the externals, and you did this and you did that and you did this and we are not pointing them back to God. And we are not trying to get them right in the relationship back with the Lord, but we are putting the screws down on them. I am not saying you should not, you know, discipline it. We teach that. But I am saying you got to get to the heart. You can, John Wayne, it all you want, but that does not get to the heart. It might get them to, to buckle down and do what you said, because you are bigger than them. Walking with God is a matter of the heart, it is not a matter of conforming to rules. And some children never learn this. They think, well, I did good. I did this, I did this. I did this. I am a good Christian. There is a lot of young people that grow up here that they do a lot of the right things, but they do not walk with God. It is a rule, it is a set of rules to them. There is no relationship.
So I want to consider a few reasons why it is important to focus on the heart. Number one underneath here, love for God comes from the heart. If you do not focus on the heart, you are not going to get that, that little love mechanism working right. Deuteronmy 6:5 says, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Love him with what? All the heart. If our children are ever going to walk with God, their hearts must learn to love him more than anything else in the world. And so when we see their affections are on things below and not things above, we can come alongside and say, no, wait a minute. It seems like you are loving this a little too much. And you are not loving the Lord as much as you love it. So now we have a reference point then to correct them. It is not just you shouldn't like that. Why? Because I said so, okay. I won't when you are around, but I will when you are not. You see how that works. And so what we need to do is have their reference points and say no. You ought to love God first and that comes from the heart. You are trying to reach their heart.
Secondly, actions come from the heart. Now Solomon charged his son with these very important words in Proverbs 4:23, he said, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Out of it, are the issues of life. The word issues means the outgoings. In other words, the actions of a person stem from the heart. So you show your children that their behavior is not an accident. Why did you do that? I don't know. How many times have you asked your kid, why did you do that? You know why they did that? They have an evil heart, something bad is in the heart. And so you are not really helping them a lot. Why did you do that? I don't know. Help them know why. The reason why you did this is because it was first in your heart. You are trying to get them to see their heart is not as good as they think they are. If we just follow the world's line of reasoning, that everyone has a little spark of divinity inside, you know, we are all good people we are inherently good. No, we are not. We are inherently bad. And we are sinners. And that puts us at odds with God. That means we need forgiveness and that means we need to have a relationship with Jesus Christ who can bridge that gap between us and the Father. And this is how we teach them to walk with God. So actions come from the heart.
Number three, words come from the heart. I wrote down Matthew 15:18, that is a good verse. And it goes more with the second point. The next point, number four, I am going to give you another verse here. Matthew 12:34b "...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Did you ever say, I do not know where that came from. I do not know why I said that. I do not know where that came from. I will tell you where it came from a bad heart. I know my heart is inherently evil. No. Do you ever scared to death of what might come out of your mouth? We have a bad heart and they need to understand that.
Number four, sin comes from the heart. Jesus said in Mark 7:21-23, he said "For, from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. They come out of the heart. He said, so teach your children what their heart is like, and what is in their heart and why things come out of their heart and get them to see that their actions are sinful because they have a corrupt heart. Then point them to Christ as the one who can cleanse them, as the one who can change them. And so now when they have sinned and they have disobeyed, it is not just that they disobeyed you. They have disobeyed God, and you can bring them and say, you need to be forgiven. You need to be cleansed. You need to tell the Lord, you are sorry. You need to seek His forgiveness. So things can be right between you again. So discipline then can be a time where you can instruct them, not to get back at them because they have done bad and they have made you mad, but so that you can help their relationship with the Lord be right again.
Number five, forgiveness comes from the heart. Jesus taught forgiveness is a decision of the heart. So when warning of judgment, he said in Matthew 18:35, "So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." Jesus said, forgiveness has to come from the heart. Your children will have people do bad things to them. They will be wronged and you are going to have to teach them how to forgive people. And that forgiveness has to come from the heart. And if you fail to teach them to forgive, they are going to have bitterness in their heart, in all relationships of life. As they grow up, they will never learn how to get over things. You are not giving them a good life, but if you teach them from the heart to learn how to forgive others, wow.
Number six, true obedience comes from the heart. Romans 6:17, "But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." And in Ephesians 6:6, "...doing the will of God from the heart." Solomon gives us a whole list of them in Proverbs 2. That would be a great study for you and your family. If you are looking for something for family devotions sometime. All these verses have to do with lessons that Solomon taught his son about the heart. Why? Because Solomon was not trying to just correct behavior, Solomon was trying to get his son's heart. In Proverbs chapter two verses one and two it says, "My son, (you can hear the enphasis here) "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that, thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding." Then it goes down through all this and if you do all this, you will have a good life is what he is saying. You read those verses in chapter four, verse four, he is talking about what his father David had taught him. "He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words..." And just verse after verse, verse after verse, and then in verse 21, "Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart." Keep God's words, my sayings, in the midst of your heart. He talked about lust not after a woman in thine heart. He talked about all sorts of problems and all sorts of things that can prevent the problems if we have our hearts right. And he wanted his son to internalize a relationship with God, not just do this, do this, do this, do this. You're bad. You're bad. You're bad. I hope this is making sense to you. I hope I am getting it across.
I am going to close with an example of Daniel. He stood didn't he. He was a young man and he stood. Why did he stand? Well, his parents did a good job training him. I agree with that. They taught him character. They instilled self-discipline and he was able to just stand. He must have been a Fairhaven wrestler, right? He was on the mat, just grind. That all is nice, but that is a little speculative. Let's see what the scripture says, Daniel 1:8, "But Daniel purposed (where?) in his heart..." He purposed in his heart. It was not just that he had some really good, you know, character. He had a really good heart. I am not dismissing character. We need character. And we need our guys to get tough. I understand all that, but we have had a lot of tough guys that grow up. We have had a lot of good wrestlers grow up and do not walk with God one bit. So don't think that the physical and the flesh is going to make you a great man of God because it is not. Daniel purposed in his heart. His heart was involved. He did not want to defile himself. He wanted to please God. It was his walk with God, that let him stand. We need to spend some time talking to our children and find out what is in their heart. And as we do, we can begin to correct it and we can begin to point them heavenward.