Series: Christ In ...
Christ in The Parent — Part One
July 14, 2019 | Randy Smith
Christ In The Parent – Part One
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Pastor Randy Smith
As we have been learning in Luke, Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There was always storm when they were together. Religious people preach salvation by works. Jesus preached salvation by grace. Religious people are into the outward appearance. Jesus is into the heart. Religious people sent Jesus to the cross for their egos – pride. Jesus went to the cross for our salvation – humility.
We all know religious man-made legalism is bad, right? We know that Christ-centered, true heart spirituality is good, right?
If that’s the case, then why do many professing Christians raise their children according to the playbook of our Lord’s greatest opponents? Why are we seeking in our homes and churches to produce a new generation of Pharisees?
So our goal as Christian teachersis to teach the Bible. I’ll teach you from the Bible, but I’d like to present biblical teaching from the perspective of the Pharisees. Today in our “Christ In ...” series my title is “Christ in the Parent.” Today I’d like to present 17 ways you can parent a Pharisee, although we will only get through the first six of them.
A few disclaimers before we begin. Yes, this is some of the material I presented to you in a sermon last month. There I just read approximately ten points. Today you’ll get 17 points with explanation. Yes, some of you who came to hear me at Bridgefest heard much of this message already. Then we had 15 minutes. Now we have 80 minutes over the next two weeks. I hope you enjoy it more because it is new and improved: “How to Raise a Pharisee 3.0 – the Manifesto.” And yes, much of this will be delivered in a sarcastic way indirectly telling you from a negative perspective what you should not be doing.
We will be moving quickly. So stay with me because at times I’ll be switching from the sarcastic approach to the serious approach. I trust you will be able to tell the difference!
So if you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these simple steps (numbers 1-6).
1. Make the Christian home all about rule-keeping (do’s and don’ts), but never explain to them why they should follow God’s Word.
There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – His good character. For example: Why do we tell the truth? Because Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Why is marriage between one man and one woman? Because God created marriage to reflect and promote His marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) – (Eph. 5:32). The Christian life is not about keeping “outdated and arbitrary rules” (as portrayed by society). It’s not about “following my religion.” It’s about following a Person. We follow that Person by acting like Him. The commands in the Bible tell us how to act like God, as opposed to acting like those who oppose Him.
2. Do you want to raise a Pharisee? Then add your own rules to God’s Word and make those rules more important than God’s Word.
Jesus said, “But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Mt. 15:9).
Let’s take for example the topic of the movie theater. Basically I never go. I believe I’ve been to the theater three times in the past 20 years. Why is that? Well, personally for me I struggle to support anything Hollywood does. I think it’s hard to see a movie now that is not dishonoring to Christ at some points. They are overpriced. I can’t sit still though a movie. And often can’t understand a movie until I see it five times.
But this is just MY conviction. In all my years at the church I have never said it’s a sin to see a movie. Likewise, Julie and I were careful not to demonize the movie theater with our children. I don’t want the banner of Christianity of growing up in the Smith home to be the avoidance of the theater. There are black and white biblical principles that are much more important than our personal beliefs. We need to minimize our personal convictions and maximize biblical precepts with our children.
3. Strictly enforce the rules on your children, but give yourself a pass.
Our Lord initial commentary on the Pharisees after the luncheon in Luke 11: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Lk. 12:1).
Your children are watching you at an age far younger than you would ever imagine. “Do as I say and not as I do” (even if you chose not to use those words) is a sure-fire way to turn your children off to Jesus. Have you ever noticed that the staunchest opponents to Jesus were raised in “religious homes”? If you want to do it right then echo the Apostle Paul – “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). How would you feel if your children grow up in their soul with the same fire for Christ you have in your soul? I am thankful for the many godly men and women from this church that have poured into my children, but those primarily responsible to teach and model Christian living is my wife and I. And in the Christian realm, there is no teaching without modeling. This was the fault of the Pharisees – hypocrisy.
4. Show your children nothing about grace, forgiveness, mercy and love.
I’ll elaborate for the Pharisees: Elevate God’s wrath and judgment more than His grace and mercy. Use the Bible as a vindictive weapon rather than a loving standard. Condemn rather than admonish. Yell rather than entreat. Discipline them in anger. Hold a grudge when they let you down. Fail to confess your own shortcomings. Avoid physical affection. Refuse to show and express your love for them. Neglect to make them feel special though your words, time and attention. Never given them hope by pointing them to Jesus when they sin.
Of course all good parenting must point out error. We know the Law is a tutor (Gal. 3:24). And children with soft hearts will experience guilt. They will want the guilt removed. The solution to that must not be achieved in parental or self-inflicted punishment. The solution is to flee to Christ for grace and mercy.
5. Never pray for them.
Why bother praying? Egotistical self-righteous Pharisees have it all within their power to save and sanctify a child.
6. Preach at them until they are blue in the face and never listen to what they have to say about God’s Word.
The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has the least amount to say, gets everyone involved, engages hearts, encourages interaction and processes life with the children using the Word of God. Even the Puritans would say to keep our family devotionals “Sweet, savory and short!” Don’t bore and exasperate your children with the Bible and then expect them to love God’s Word. A wise parent knows the right time and right length to teach the Bible – formally or informally (Dt. 6:6-7). And he or she also knows how to listen during those times more than they speak.
I have learned so much in this area. And there is a parallel between my personal development and the maturity of my children. When I started it was sit down and let me teach you the Bible. Merely fill your brains information. Then it became letting them talk about what we just read, or a sermon they heard or what they are learning from their own devotionals. Now it is asking probing questions based upon their own life situations and convictions that force them to determine if they are processing according to a biblical worldview. Proverbs 20:5, “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.” We use the same transition here at the church. For the children we teach them what the Bible says. For the teens we seek to help them process their lives based upon what the Bible declares.
We are out of time. Next time we are together I would like to finish this list. As I prayed earlier, I hope you see how this sermon has application to all of you: parents, future parents, grandparents, older believers who can help the younger believers and children themselves. May God give us the grace to parent His way and not the way of His opponents.