Those of us who grew up in a hot and dry climate know the value of tall, established trees. Their canopies are a glorious and desirable haven from the blazing desert sun. Those great trees are a profound reminder of an earlier generation who planted them with foresight for our present benefit.
Families are the unit that passes on truth and righteousness from generation to generation. Families are the units that provide discipline and instruction, and therefore create civilization. They hold society together. They provide, as a Chinese proverb says, “Shade for the children”—one generation plants the trees; the next generation enjoys the shade.
We are living in a time when one would wonder whether any shady trees are being planted for future generations. There’s a generation of young people, even Christian young people today, who are afraid of the prospect of bringing children into the world. Our culture not only allows for the destruction of the family, it aids and abets it. . . .
I understand why people look at all of this and wonder how it’s going to be for their children and their grandchildren. The culture has no solution.
Those are sobering realities for any parent to contemplate. And “Creating Shade for Your Children, Part 1” provides clear biblical answers where secular wisdom repeatedly fails and has nothing to offer. John taps into the timeless truths of parenting woven throughout Scripture.
This sermon was actually the first in a four-part series centering on Paul’s exhortation to the church in Ephesus regarding parenting:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1–4)
In “Creating Shade for Your Children,” John draws from the rest of Scripture—especially the book of Proverbs—to flesh out the meaning of Ephesians 6:1–4 and how we should apply those truths as parents. He points out:
In Luke 2:52 there is an interesting statement with regard to our Lord, but it gives us some categories in which we can think about children. Luke 2:52, “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
Children must be ruled, they must be disciplined, they must be taught, because they lack four things: they lack wisdom, they lack stature, they lack favor with God, and they lack favor with men. In other words, they are deficient mentally, they are deficient physically, they are deficient socially, and they are deficient spiritually. . . . It takes a nonstop, concerted effort to move them out of those deficiencies into a place where they receive wisdom and grow to strength—favor with God, favor with men. . . .
So what do you do as a parent? You have the responsibility, and the joy, and the privilege, and the command to raise children to be obedient. That means you have to be the instrument that God uses to help them increase in wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with man.
John teaches us how to leave a God-honoring legacy that will shade our children from exposure to the worst lies that this fallen world has to offer. Those of us who are parents—or one day will be—have a God-given duty to train, prepare, and protect our children. It is a responsibility for which we are ultimately answerable to God. To that end, “Creating Shade for Your Children, Part 1” provides the exhortation and instruction we need as the divinely-appointed guardians of the next generation.
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