Title: Ten Statements every child should hear their parents say
Text: Ephesians 5.33-6.4; Colossians 3.21; Deuteronomy 6.4-6
Introduction: Turn to Eph 6.4; and Col 3.21
I first heard a similar message by Dr. David Walker nearly 30 years ago in a revival we were hosting in Cotulla. I didn’t take notes, but some years later, as a pastor myself, wanted to preach a similar sermon. I preached once in Worland, once in Tyler, and now, I’ll preach it here today. I honestly don’t know how close this is to Dr. Walker’s message, but it is my own.
Read Eph 6.4; Col 3.21
- “I love you, Lord”
exp.: more than anything your children knows about you, they need to know there is nothing, absolutely nothing in your life that is more important to you than your relationship w/ God.; they need to see you from the outside – looking into your time alone w/ God; to know that now is not a good time to bother daddy cause he’s praying. They need to have no doubt that you are saved and that you have a deep abiding relationship with the Father.
ill.: Michael Reagan received many gifts from his father, President Ronald Reagan. But at the 40th President’s sunset funeral, Michael described the greatest gift a child can receive:
I was so proud to have the Reagan name and to be Ronald Reagan’s son. What a great honor. He gave me a lot of gifts as a child—gave me a horse, gave me a car, gave me a lot of things. But there’s a gift he gave me that I think is wonderful for every father to give every son.
Last Saturday, when he opened his eyes for the last time…that’s when I realized the gift that he gave to me: that he was going to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He had—back in 1988 on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Point Mugu—told me about his love of God, his love of Christ as his Savior. I didn’t know then what it all meant. But I certainly, certainly know now.
I can’t think of a better gift for a father to give a son. And I hope to honor my father by giving my son, Cameron, and my daughter, Ashley, that very same gift he gave to me.
Knowing where he is this very moment, this very day, that he is in heaven, I can only promise my father this: Dad, when I go, I will go to heaven, too. And you and I and my sister, Maureen, who went before us, we will dance with the heavenly host of angels before the presence of God. We will do it melanoma and Alzheimer’s free. Thank you for letting me share my father, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Transition: There is no greater gift to give your child, than for your child to know that you belong to God. At the end of your life, when your body is lying lifeless and the services take place committing your body to the ground and your spirit to God. Nothing will mean more to your child than knowing where you are.
2. “I love you, Sweetheart”
exp.: your kids need to know you love their mom/dad. Let them see your demonstrations of love. Open the door for her. Pull out the seat for her. Grab her when she walks by and pull her down into your lap and give her the biggest sweetest hug and make her laugh as you kiss her neck! Reach out and hold his hand, or slip your hand under his arm
Dad, Teach them to Honor and Respect her. Get angry when they miss treat her. And never, ever mistreat her yourself. Mom, teach them to Honor and Respect him. Don’t ever say a negative remark about him. Always show respect to him. Parents, if you do, then your kids will, too.
Ill.: Listen to this writer whose article appeared in the Arkansas Democrat: “Women are very touchy about certain gifts, as I discovered years ago after buying my girlfriend a catcher’s mitt for her birthday. It seemed to me to be a particularly thoughtful gift, especially since she claimed not to be getting enough physical exercise. But apparently, she didn’t see it that way. The minute she unwrapped it, she ran sobbing from the room.
“At first, I thought those were tears of joy streaming down her face. I figured she was overwhelmed at being the first in her crowd to have a catcher’s mitt—that sort of thing. Or I figured she was so excited she couldn’t wait to get outside and work on her throws to second base. But when she didn’t return after a few hours, I got the hint.
“Here I’d spent all that time running around from one sporting goods store to the next trying to find the perfect gift. I mean, we’re talking the Johnny Bench model here; top of the line. And she calls me insensitive. I mean, you’d think I’d given her a year’s subscription to Field and Stream or a box of shotgun shells, which everybody knows should be saved for Christmas stocking stuffers. Personally, I think she just had a lot of anger in her and took it out on me. Not that I’m trying to play amateur psychologist or anything.”
Listen, unless your wife specifically asks for her own set of tools… my wife did. Outside of your relationship with God, there is no greater relationship on earth than that of your spouse. And your kids should know it.
Transition: the 3rd phrase:
3. “I love you”
exp.: your child needs to know that you love him/her. Hug your kids, everyday. Do things with them. Build things with them. Read to them;
Ill.: I’ve told my children and it is being passed on to my grandchildren: there are three things I want you to know about me. Like, at my funeral someday, you’ll say, “These three things I know about my dad. First, He loved the Lord. 2nd, he loved my mama. And 3rd, he loved me.
Transition: Say, I love you with words, but also with your actions. And say I love you everyday. Everyday.
4. “I’m sorry, I was wrong; will you forgive me.”
exp.: read Col 3:21;
Eph 6:4 Col 3:21
Do not Do not
Your children to anger Your children
But, instead lest
Nourish them, (not just food),
In the training and the instruction they become discouraged
Of the Lord
- It is an incredible moment when your child realizes you’re not perfect. Set the example on how to restore relationships. Show deep humility. Show honesty. Don’t arouse a deep-seated bitterness within them. Go to them and teach them what you did was wrong or how you handled the situation was wrong.
ill.: 15 years ago, The AP reported on a young man named, Jesse Jacobs, who made it possible to apologize without actually talking to the person you’ve wronged.
Jacobs created an apology hotline. People unable or unwilling to unburden their conscience in person call the hot line and leave a message of apology on an answering machine. Each week, 30-50 calls are logged, as people apologize for things from adultery to embezzlement.
“The hot line offers participants a chance to alleviate their guilt and, to some degree, to own up to their misdeeds,” said Jacobs. “I’m just hoping that these people will feel better themselves, just by getting whatever’s been bothering them off their chest.” One caller to the hot line remarked, “I hope this apology will cleanse me and basically purify my soul…God knows, I need it.”
Here’s the thing: you can now download the app! You can go to the app store and find the appropriate app to put on your phone. Then confess to your heart’s content.
app.: don’t confess your wrongs to an app or a hotline!
Here’s why: your marriage is a picture of the Gospel.
Transition: Go to your child and look them in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry.” 5th:
5. “You’re doing a good job.”
Don’t discourage them; Encourage your kids; For some reason, this one is hard on parents. I don’t know why, but parents: everyday, find something good to say to encourage your child;
ill.: Scott Larson, in his book, A place for Skeptics, writes:
I remember being approached by a 16-year-old boy named Ricky after I wrapped up my first speaking session at a weekend retreat for high schoolers. “I just hope you’re not heading down a path where at the end of the weekend you’re going to ask us to make some kind of commitment to follow God with our whole lives,” he said. “‘Cause if you are, I want to go home right now.”
Without pausing for breath, Ricky continued: “I’ve been coming here for a long time, and I’ve made these promises year after year, promises I can never keep, and ended up worse off than before I started, with God even more mad at me. ‘Cause now, not only am I sinning, but I’m breaking another promise I made to him. And so I just want to make sure that’s not where you’re headed this weekend. Is it?”
Feeling sad for Ricky and not knowing exactly how to respond to him, I took a shot in the dark and asked: “What can you tell me about your dad, Ricky?”
He proceeded to tell me a story from when he was in fifth grade. “Every day when my dad came home from work, the first thing he would always ask me was, ‘Have you done your homework yet?’ It was a pretty safe bet that I hadn’t. Then one day I decided to surprise him. When he got home, I met him at the door saying, ‘Guess what, Dad. I did all my homework!’ His response was, ‘Then why aren’t you working on tomorrow’s?'”
Suddenly it wasn’t so surprising that Ricky felt the way he did about himself and about God. He had learned that no matter how close he came, the mark of approval would always move a few notches higher. He would always come up short.
- Do you realize how important your approval is to your kid? – that your approval sets them up for how they view their heavenly father? I know you want your child to always be pushed to be better. And you should, but don’t forget to affirm them, too.
ill.: Lisa B.: I love Jesus, but I don’t like God.
Transition: find ways to build up your child’s confidence and know how much they mean to you – how proud you are of them. Every day! They’re going to get beat down in so many ways, be a ray of sunshine for them. #6
6. “Let’s Pray”
1st, public speaking; at dinner; at bedtime
In situations and circumstance other than at the dinner table. Some guys, not even then. You are the Father, it’s sweet to have your kids pray, too. Like when you get in the car and travel.
They need to hear you speak to the Lord on your knees beside their bed. In “your chair” in the midnight hour. But they should see you living life in relation to your Master.
ill.: a mother came to me once and shared her concern of her little children. They asked her in private: How come daddy won’t pray before dinner. Mama, how come daddy won’t pray out loud?
Transition: I didn’t know what to tell her, except to encourage her kids by respecting her husband. #7
7. “We’re going to church”
Why? – To be with people who love God, too.
Why? – obedience; you can’t tell your kids to obey you and live in disobedience to God. Heb 10.25; It’s not your wife’s responsibility to get to church.
ill.: One Sunday morning, two men are out in a boat, fishing. After several hours on the lake without catching a single fish, one of the men says to his friend, “You know, we probably should have stayed home and gone to church this morning.”
The other man says, “Well, I could have stayed home, but I couldn’t have gone to church.”
“Why’s that?” asks his friend.
“My wife is sick,” the fisherman answers.
App.: Funny the excuses we can come up with to miss church. Consider this: you only get together with all of God’s people once a week. If you miss a Sunday, that’s 14 days since last you got to be together. Miss two Sundays – that’s 21 days!
8. “Yes, But God has a plan”
Things may look bad, but God is going to use this to glorify himself and accomplish his plan. My biggest failure as a dad has been not trusting God in the early years when I couldn’t understand why things were going bad.
He can be trusted in every situation Rom 8:18; 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us; 28 – 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to understand it. But, even when bad things happen, faith can carry you through.
9. “If you were to die tonight, are you absolutely, positively sure that God would let you into his heaven?”
Daddy, have you ever led someone to the Lord? Do your kids know about it? Maybe they can’t be there, but around the dinner table when your talking, tell them about someone coming to know Christ or a witnessing opportunity where someone said, “No”. “Kids pray for them.”
Your kids need to know that you have a passion for God and a passion to see others come to know him.
Seriously, how much do you have to hate someone to not tell them how they can have the promise of heaven?
Ill.: C.H. Spurgeon. – “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.
- Can I let you in on a secret? The greatest joy in a person’s spiritual walk is to get on his or her knees and pray with their children to accept Jesus as Lord and savior and teach them that God is worthy of our lives.
Transition: and that is the 10th phrase:
10. “God is Worthy of your whole life”
It all starts and ends with God. Not only that, but He flows through all the others.
I was considering this week about my job – as pastor. God has been so good to me to allow me to serve him this way. I don’t deserve it. What an honor! It is the highest calling vocationally. I truly do have the greatest job in the world. But, do you know what is even more satisfying? It’s being a dad.
Now, you all haven’t been called to do what I do – and I’m sure you’ll find great pleasure in doing whatever God has called you to do. But as a parent, that’s a really cool gig. Here’s the problem, it’s really only temporary. You get this short time to get it right. It may not feel like it when you’re in it, but listen to those of us who’ve gone before you: the time is short – so seize the day.
Let your children hear you say and watch you do the things that are most important. Let them know you love the Lord and that you love their mom or dad. And let them know you love them. Everyday! When you do things wrong, and you will, ask them to forgive you. Encourage them – everyday! And teach them to walk with the Lord as you walk with him.
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.