Sunday, August 19, 2018 - A FAMILY THAT MODELS
Pastor Roger C. Marcos
August 19, 2018
Delivered at North York Church of Christ
There is a TV show "60 Minutes" ran a segment that tells us something important about the need for parents and adults in general to be role models.
Lesson to Think: The park rangers at South African wildlife preserve were concerned about the slaughter of 39 rare white rhinos in their park. It turned out that the rhinos were killed, not by poachers, but rather by juvenile delinquents.
The story began a decade ago when the park could no longer sustain the increasing population of elephants. They decided to kill many of the adult elephants whose young were old enough to survive without them - and so, the young elephants grew up fatherless.
As time went on, many of these young elephants roamed together in gangs and began to do things elephants normally don't do.
They threw sticks and water at rhinos and acted like neighborhood bullies. Without dominant males, the young bulls became sexually active, and exhibiting aggressive behavior. A few young males grew especially violent, knocking down rhinos and stepping or kneeling on them, crushing the life out of them. Mafuto the gang leader eventually had to be killed.
The park rangers theorized that these young teen-aged elephants were acting badly because they lacked role models.
The solution was to bring in a large male to lead them and to counteract their bully behaviors. Soon the new male established dominance and put the young bulls in their places.
The killing stopped - The young males were mentored-and saved.
What we learn about these animals has a definite correlation to what we are seeing among the human race in our culture.
Children that do not have proper role models will almost always suffer in some way as they grow toward adulthood and live in an adult world.
The Important Concept
Christianity is a Centralized Life in Love.
“Whoever Does Not Love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
The righteous walk in integrity - happy are the children who follow them! - Proverbs 20:7 NRSV
Ang ganap na tao na lumalakad sa kaniyang pagtatapat, mapapalad ang kaniyang mga anak na susunod sa kaniya.
7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.KJV
People Are Watching Us whether we like it or not, especially if we claim to be a believer.
What do they watch? They watch to see if our behavior matches our belief, if our walk matches our talk, if our character matches our confession, if what we claim to believe on Sunday is put into practice on Monday. In a word, they watch to see if we have integrity.
The hallmark of the Christian life is integrity.
To be the kind of people who have well-adjusted kids, there are five things that we need to model (this applies to being a role model for anyone). I Need to Model.
It is really difficult to be a role model for kids when we act like kids ourselves- I’m talking about the way that we deal with real life situations, and in particular, how we show the maturity that should go hand in hand with our Christian faith..especially on tough life situation.
That maturity should be evident to all through the way we act and react to different situations that we find ourselves in.
Christian maturity is not a declaration that we’ve made it and we have no room left to grow - Christian maturity is being on the journey to wholeness in Jesus Christ, and being able to admit that the journey has not yet been completed.
Maturity is not measured by age. It’s an attitude built by experience.
Grades don’t measure intelligence and age doesn’t define maturity.
“There are, in the end, only two ways open to us: to honestly and honorably make an admission of how far we are from the Christianity of the New Testament, or to perform skillful tricks to conceal the true situation.” - Soren Kierkegaard
Solid food is for those who are mature, who have trained themselves to recognize the difference between right and wrong and then do what is right. - Hebrews 5:14
Not only do the mature recognize right from wrong, anyone can do that, but they choose to do the right thing. In every area of life we have moral and ethical choices to make - your kids and others around you are watching to see whether you will choose for Christ or against Him.
We don’t only make a decision for Christ when we first commit our lives to Him and become Christians - we are constantly choosing for or against Him with every decision that we make in life.
While our families undoubtedly know we are not perfect and that we do stumble and fall, they also need to know that we are consistently making progress toward the next level, and each day we are becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. That’s maturity and the outcome of living a mature life is influencing others to do the same.
Most parents really like what Ephesians 6:1 has to say to young people:
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. - Ephesians 6:1
If you want to become an obedient, well-behaved child, respect your parents, even when you don't agree with them. ... Along with respect, show your parents that you appreciate them by doing nice things-For example, do the dishes without being asked, or surprise your parents with a homemade dessert.
- Before you can make the change, you must understand that your parents are adults, and you are a child, they are adults and you must respect your elders, you can never be truly well behaved unless you respect your parents
You should follow my example, just as I follow Christ's. - 1 Corinthians 11:1
We should be able, at the end of the day, to say to our kids, “I want you to be as obedient to Jesus as I have been today.”
"If you love me, you will obey what I command.” - John 14:15 (NIV)
There is a direct connection here between love and obedience.
This is true in our relationship with Christ - it is also true in our relationship with our kids.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, do we expect more obedience out of our kids toward us than we expect from ourselves in relation to Jesus Christ? - If so, we need to begin focusing on changing that.
But there is a certain amount of discipline involved that is necessary to become the person that God has created you to be.
I’m not talking today about the discipline that God gives us when we are going the wrong way - I’m talking about living a life of self-discipline.
A life that is filled with prayer, and with the study of God’s Word, and the expectation of doing great things for the kingdom.
Your kids and mine need to see that we take what we believe seriously, and if we take it seriously, that means we are constantly improving as Christians.
To do that takes discipline, hard-work, and intense struggle.
You want to be a person of prayer? Then you need to find a time, a place set aside for prayer everyday!
You want to know the Bible inside and out? Then you need to start reading and studying it - not tomorrow, but today and everyday.
You want to be an example for your kids? Then you have to be disciplined enough to take the steps necessary to be a Christ-like example for them.
Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
What’s he saying? He’s saying that he is not running this race to come in second place - he is running to win and running to win takes self-discipline.
We cannot possibly expect our kids to reach a level of spiritual achievement that we are not willing to strive for ourselves.
What it really boils down to is this: How serious am I about being a disciple of Jesus Christ?
To be a disciple I have to be a disciplined person - and that only happens when I’m ready to come out of the gate ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to win the race.
One Sunday morning, Pastor McGhee noticed that little Alex was staring up at the large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church.
The 7-year-old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."
"Good morning, Pastor," replied the boy, focused on the plaque.
"Pastor McGhee, what is this?" Alex asked.
"Well, son, these are all the people who have died in the service."
Soberly they stood together, staring at the large plaque.
Little Alex's voice barely broke the silence when he asked quietly, "Which one, the 9:00 or the 10:30 service?"]
Sometimes I can relate to little Alex’s concern.
Where is our enthusiasm for life? For God? For His Church?
“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” - John 10:10b
And He was not talking about fullness of life in heaven, but fullness of life in the here and now.
“We don't need ‘fasten your seat belt’ signs in our pews because we no longer fly. We're like a group of geese attending meetings every Sunday where we talk passionately about flying and then get up and walk home.” Tim Hansel
That is a scathing condemnation, but unfortunately it is often true.
Jesus said to the church at Laodecia:
"I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth!” - Revelation 3:15-16
- I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be lukewarm water - I want to be on fire for life, on fire for God, on fire for His church.
And I need to model that enthusiasm for my kids and for others that I am trying to influence.
If you go home from church and say - “we went over time” or “the sermon wasn’t that great” or “the music was too loud” rather than saying - “How can we apply what we’ve learned today to win the world for Jesus Christ?” then you are setting a bad example and are not the kind of role model that God will be pleased with.
Our kids need to see that we enjoy the life that God has given us, and that we demonstrate our joy through an enthusiasm for living.
Sometimes I just want to shout - “Everybody, Wake Up! God is here in our midst! He is empowering us to do great things for His glory! He is here to give us life that is abundant and full of meaning!”
How on earth anyone can know that God came to earth and died in their place, and rose from the dead and has given them eternal life, and wants to use them as His agent to invite others into that same relationship is beyond me.
I will never understand it, and I’ve given up trying.
Instead I simply say to those that are willing to listen - get filled with a zeal for living by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit - and show your enthusiasm for what God is doing and what He will do to the generation to come.
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I don’t think there is much I could add to that, but just let me say this: the love that you and I have for others around us - for our spouses, our friends, our fellow church members is seen and imitated by our kids, who are the ones we want to influence the most. If you blow it on everything else I said today, don’t blow this one.
It stands heads and shoulders above all the rest.
The day that I die, if my kids remember nothing else, I want them to know without a doubt that I genuinely loved people and showed it throughout my life.
- I hope that you feel the same.
Parents, it is your turn to go first in being a role model for your kids.
- Soon it will be there turn to pass that model down to the next generation.