Here’s the lesson I gave last night (7-20-11). Not certain what the title should be. Once again I forgot to record it.
They say when you’re looking for lesson topics, you’re supposed to talk about what’s on your mind, and of course for me it’s Wayne.
In the months approaching his birth, I had people tell me time and time again. “Life will never be the same.”
I expected the changes, anxiously awaited them even. The late night feedings and diaper changes and doctors visits.
But what I didn’t expect was how *I* would change. How my perspectives on life would changed.
The one thought that has changed how I view life the most is pretty simple: “I will be responsible for the way he grows up.”
It’s a little overwhelming because of the sheer size of this responsibility… This is a human soul that is going to depend on me to teach him how to have a love for the Lord.
BUT — This is not just a huge responsibility it’s also a huge opportunity! If I strive now to show him how to be a strong Christian, then he’s more likely to choose to become one himself.
Of course, the Bible says it best: Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This verse has never been more real to me than it is now.
What is important to remember is that everyone learns more through our influence and examples than by what we teach. “Do as I say and not as I do.” Just doesn’t work.
Now as I go through my day, I’m intensely aware and often consumed with how everything I’m doing will influence my son. What kind of man will he become because of my actions and words? How will he end up handling high stress moments? How will he treat those around him in church or out in the world?
So now the decisions I make in life are based on what I believe will help him grow up in to a faithful warrior of God’s kingdom.
One of the main decisions I’ve made is who he’ll be surrounded by. Christina and I are aware that we aren’t the only ones that are going to influence him — the people that he spends time with are. There’s a reason for the cliché “It takes a village to raise a child.”
And so we want to make certain he’s surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Hebrew writer says in 6:12 “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
While everyone we come into contact with will have some influence on us, we can choose who we spend the most time with and mitigate the bad influences in our lives.
Paul says to the Corinthians in chapter 11: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
We need to pick carefully who our guiding examples are going to be. As well as choose what kind of example we’re going to provide . It’s better to follow and provide the same example as someone like Paul, who chose God’s wisdom over man and provided guidance and compassion to other Christians. Rather than someone like Saul who chose man’s wisdom and dogma over God’s “foolishness.”
1 Cor. 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
And while they’re the same person, Paul was a radically different man than he was when he was Saul. He is an excellent example of becoming a new man in Christ.
We must strive to show others an example of Christian living that embodies everything Christ was. He was kind, sacrificial, and ultimately obedient. He put God’s desires above his own. He put God first.
If Bro George starts missing church services because of his grandkids ballgames, or if Jeremy decides to go back to school to get the ever so elusive basket weaving Masters degree and starts missing because of homework or tests, what kind of message would that send to Wayne? Are ballgames, homework, a job, or personal advancement more important than God?
So let me ask you the same questions that I’ve been asking myself: What kind of an example are you going to be to Wayne as he grows up? What kind of man will he become because of your actions and words?
Now ask that about the person next to you, or the people of the world that you work with or go to school with every day. Who will they become because of you?
As a Christian, are you setting a good example?
If your influence on the people around you takes them further away from God rather than closer to Him. It’s time to come back to the narrow path that God has set for us. Repent and your sins will be forgiven. Acts 8:22
If you have not made the decision to be a child of God, you still influence people. If you attend here regularly and hear the word each time and still do not make that good confession and are not baptized for the remission of your sins, you are sending the message to others of the world that this decision is not important enough for it to be done urgently. We see otherwise in scripture. In the conversion accounts in Acts there is always a sense of urgency. Words like immediately, and straightway are used. Once a soul heard the Gospel, they knew just how vital it was that they obey as soon as possible.
You’ve heard the Word, if you believe, then confess his name, and repent of your sins. Then be baptized for the repentance of those sins. Once that is done you’ll come out of that holy grave of baptism a new man whole and cleansed of your sins. And just as Paul was no longer Saul and became an example for Christianity everywhere, you’ll be starting out a new Christian setting an amazing example for all of us here.