TEXT:    Deut. 6:1-7:11


The job of parenting is never an easy one. There are many voices in the world today trying to tell us how to be fathers and mothers, but there is one voice that really is the authority on this subject, God! The future of our society rests on the job we do as parents! The world is always only one generation away from anarchy! Considering that children today are even more remote from the fathers we need to consider the importance we dads have in their lives. ILLUS: Percentage of U.S. children living apart from their biological fathers in 1960: 17. Percentage of U.S. children living apart from their biological fathers in 1990: 36. -- Utne Reader (Sept.-Oct./96). Leadership, "To Verify." Much like a chair that requires 4 legs in order to properly support someone, God has created 4 pillars for parents in order for our society to find proper support and our children as they grow.PROP. SENT: The Bible will teach us that we need to adhere to law, love, legacy, and loyalty in order to develop the kind of men and women who will honor God tomorrow.

I. LAWS 6:1-3

A. Purpose 6:1-3a 1. Life without laws is anarchy! a. As Israel was crossing over the Jordan to enter the Promise land God clearly tells them that they will need to adhere to His laws if they want to have His best. b. Laws have purpose to them, to guide lives into being productive and to contain wickedness. 2. God has always wanted his children to enjoy a good life, a long life both as individuals and as a nation, laws help insure that this is possible. 3. If God who loves us as His children has laws to obey it is sure that we as parents will need to have laws our children obey too, if we love them! a. Law must be seen as a positive thing, not a negative. b. It is also for the purpose of building character, not just controlling characters! 4. God gives 3 purposes for His laws: a. "So that you may enjoy long life" 6:2b b. "So that things may go well for you" 6:3a c. "So that you may increase greatly" 6:3a 5. These alone are worthy purposes! and they reflect a loving concern by a loving God. 6. Only if they obeyed these laws however would they find God's blessings, that is always the catch, to OBEY! ILLUS: When you stand beside a 747 jet on the runway, its massive weight and size makes it seem incapable of breaking the holds of gravity. But when the power of its engines combines with the laws of aerodynamics, the plane is able to lift itself to 35,000 feet and travel at 600 miles per hour. Gravity is still pulling on the plane, but as long as it obeys the laws of aerodynamics, it can break free from the bonds of earth. "Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).-- Bill Morris in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership. B. Promise 6:3b 1. The promise of God for a people of law is that they will have "a land flowing with milk and honey" - a truth evident in our history as well when we followed God's laws as a nation. 2. Some people today think it is impossible to expect others to live by the law, there seems so much corruption. a. But literally our fate as a people rests on following God's laws! b. Our testimony rests on this also! ILLUS: The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present. "Who is the most obedient?" he asked. "Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?" Five small voices answered in unison. "You play with it, Daddy!" --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 199-200. 3. We best show our teens the blessings in obedience to law when we practice them! a. They then can see the fruit of obedience in our lives and so encourage them to emulate it. b. When Israel entered the promise land it was a new generation that didn't know much about Egypt, but they did know that God's blessings only came from obedience to His laws. c. Their parents had failed to gain this blessings because of their disobedience, each generation must make a choice and live with the consequences. 4. The blessed nation we hope for will only come if we as fathers teach our children the importance of law, especially God's laws! II. LOVE 6:4-9 A. Personal 6:4-6 1. This cry "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" is the great Shema to the Jewish people, which means "HEAR" . It is the defining relationship Israel has with God, a personal relationship based on love! a. God did not want an impersonal relationship with Israel, He wanted it personal. b. Hence the request here is to love Him with all our "heart, soul, and strength" 6:5 2. Notice too God asks them to have these commandments "upon your heart" 6:6 not just on tablets of stone in the Ark of the Covenant! a. God never meant for His laws to be a rigid set of external controls, they were always meant to be a guide to our lives toward something that is good. b. The law however did not have the power in itself to change us, but God's love did through His son Jesus Christ! 3. If we are not careful, we can get lost with good intentions but still miss out on the personal relationship aspect of God's commandments - and we can do the same with our kids too! ILLUS: When I took the job as head football coach at the University of Colorado in 1982, I made a solemn promise: I told everybody that with me, God was first, family second, and football third. But I didn't keep that promise for long. The thrill and the challenge of resurrecting a football program in disarray simply took too much time and attention. As my teams kept winning year after year, I kept losing focus of my priorities. When we won the national championship in 1990, many people said I had reached the pinnacle of my profession. But for me, there was an emptiness about it. I had everything a man could want, and yet something was missing. I was so busy pursuing my career goals that I was missing out on the Spirit-filled life that God wanted me to have. All because I had broken my promise to put God first and foremost in my life. -- Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1. B.Parental 6:7-9 1. The same kind of love relationship with God we develop should show in our love for our children. a. Notice that by loving God they were now in a place to love properly their children. b. The same concern God has for them as parents He wants them to show to their children about His commandments. 2. Hence they were called upon to "IMPRESS" the commandments upon their children: 6:7 a. When they "sit down" b. When they "walk along the road" c. When they "lie down" d. And when they "rise up!" 3. They were to permeate everything they did WITH their children God's ways! a. Even if it meant tying symbols of the laws on hands and their foreheads! b. Or - to write them on the doorframes of their homes and their gates! c. This was taken literally later by the Jewish people, but God was merely trying to make a point of how much their children's lives needed to be saturated by the parent's example and sharing of those laws. 4. They were to care enough about their children and God's Word to actually set out to do everything they could to help prop up those commandments and their kids! ILLUS: At the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, the world watched as a parable of the father's love was played out on international television. As the gun sounded for the 400-meter race, Great Britain's Derrick Redman knew that his lifelong dream of winning the gold medal was in view. But as he entered the back stretch, Redman was sent sprawling by the ripping pain of a torn hamstring. By an act of sheer will, he struggled to his feet in excruciating pain and began hopping toward the finish line. Suddenly Derrick's father bounded out of the stands, past a security guard. He threw his arms around his son. In a voice choked with emotion, he whispered, "Come on, Son, let's finish this together." The crowd cheered and wept as they watched the father half-carrying his wounded son jerkily down the stretch and across the finish line. -- Jim Nicodem, "The Father Heart of God," Preaching Today, Tape No. 152. III. LEGACY 6:10-25 A. Past 6:10-12 1. When they find God's blessings are many and they are prosperous they are to be careful NOT TO FORGET their past where they have come from. a. We need to share with our children our journey of faith. b. A future is appreciated more when you know where you have come from. 2. The idea is to make a link to successive generations to what God has done for them as a people so each generation desires to preserve that important legacy. a. When you know your grandparents and parents have walked with God it increases the desire to perpetuate it. b. The idea is to so present a family with God's ways that it becomes a part of that family's legacy. ILLUS: During a visit to the children's Bible class, my preacher friend looked into their serious faces and asked, "Why do you love God?" After a moment a small voice came from the back: "I guess it just runs in the family." -- David L. Roper, Judsonia, Arkansas. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom." B. Perspective 6:13-25 1. God's desire for them to know the past is to produce a sense of perspective. a. There will come a day when your children will begin to understand the perspective of life if we have done our part well as parents. b. That legacy of the past will bring appreciation at some point in time. ILLUS: There was a family in the San Francisco Bay area that grew up with that kind of commitment. The son's name was David Kraft. His father was a pastor, a godly pastor in the South Bay. David Kraft grew up with a father who constantly remembered God's faithfulness in the past so that David might trust in God in all of his tomorrows. David grew up in love with Jesus, and he felt the call of God into the pastoral ministry. He went to Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary. David was a big, athletic young man. At the age of 32, he was six feet two inches tall and weighed two hundred pounds. He worked with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. That dear young man was diagnosed as having cancer. It wracked his body, and, over a period of time, he dropped from two hundred pounds in weight to eighty pounds. When he was about ready to pass from this life into eternity, he asked his father to come into his hospital room. Lying there in the bed, he looked up and said, "Dad, do you remember when I was a little boy, how you used to just hold me in your arms close to your chest?" David's father nodded. Then David said, "Do you think, Dad, you could do that one more time? One last time?" Again his father nodded. He bent down to pick up his 32-year-old six-foot two-inch, eighty-pound son, and held him close to his chest so the son's face was right next to the father's face. They were eyeball to eyeball. Tears were streaming down both faces. The son said simply to the father, "Thank you for building the kind of character into my life that can enable me to face even a moment like this." -- Ron Lee Davis, "Introducing Christ to Your Child," Preaching Today, Tape No. 92. 2. What kind of legacy are you leaving your children? a. Is it a righteous one? b. Will it bring them comfort? 3. Moses told Israel here that there would be a day when their children would ask, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees, and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?" 6:20 - can you answer this question? a. This was a call to put historical context to their present faith. b. Our children need to know how their forefather's walked with God!IV. LOYALTY 7:1-11 A. Purity 7:1-6 1. God's concerns should be ours as parents - He was concerned that Israel would permit their sons to marry unbelievers and then have their hearts drawn away from the Lord. a. This would end the generations of those who love Him. b. This would also end the blessings of God on them as a nation. c. Indeed history bears this out, as they intermarried with unbelievers their hearts were drawn away from the Lord and judgment fell on them as a nation. 2. God wanted a loyal people - and wanted loyal parents as examples to their children. a. Developing a godly generation of youth begins with the loyalty of godly parents! b. Mom and Dad, are you loyal to God and His Church, to His causes and His Word? 3. The next generation's success depended on the previous generation's loyalty, and this is still true! 4. It must be our proclamation of loyalty to God that begins the process. ILLUS: In 1863 President Lincoln designated April 30th as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. National humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Let me read a portion of his proclamation on that occasion: "It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, who owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by a history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. The awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has grown, but we have forgotten God." -- Richard Halverson, "The Question Facing Us," Preaching Today, Tape 46. B. Privilege 7:7-11 1. Israel's position was one of privilege, do we present this aspect of our faith to our children? a. It was a privilege to be called by God. b. It was a privilege to be the people of God, part of His Church. c. Loyalty was a door to blessing, not anguish. 2. We need to teach our children by example and by our words that it is a privilege to serve God and be called as His children. a. This will inspire them to want to have the same faith as their parents. b. No doubt this is what made Paul say these words to Timothy: 2 Tim 1:5 "I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 3. More of our kids would want to serve the Lord if their parents projected the joy and privilege there is in being a Christian. 4. It is an awesome privilege to be called and used by the Lord! ILLUS: My parents, Salvation Army officers, were out on a miserable December night for an open-air meeting. Not another person was around, but my dad said that "God didn't need people to be out listening--he only needed us to be faithful." So they played a few carols and Dad gave a short message before everyone retreated inside. A few weeks later, Dad was ringing the bell at a mall when a lady asked him if he had been on that street corner two weeks earlier. She explained: "My father had been in a coma for six months. We were dreading the holidays since Dad was not really with us. But then we heard the carols, and to our amazement, my father sat up and said, 'That's God's music.' And with that he died." What an encouraging proof of God's faithfulness to those who are faithful. -- Pauline Hylton, Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no. 6. CONCLUSION: Like a chair with 4 legs, biblical parenting has 4 pillars to hold it up. Take away a leg or two and sit in the chair - it won't hold you up! We cannot avoid these 4 pillars of parenting if we want to see one godly generation after another. Is your parenting build on these 4?