This week we begin a NEW sermon series entitled ‘Family Issues’. Preaching from Nathan Gordon. Service led by Beverley Sills.
“The thing about parenting rules is there aren’t any. That’s what makes it so difficult.”– E McGregor
“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.”– F D. Roosevelt
Family Issues (New Series)
Welcome to a brand-new series which will hopefully challenge and encourage all of us in the area of our family lives. Today’s sermon addresses the subject of arguably the most challenging job in the world, Parenting! Raising children comes with no manual yet parenting is often critiqued the most by others. Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom parenting can be the most amazing experience one could imagine.
More than just the biological
This morning’s sermon is not just exclusive to parents but all of us have a responsibility to pray and care for the next generation of Christians. We’re going to see how the need is greater than ever for young people to find godly examples and mentors who can demonstrate Christlike attitudes and behaviour in this world.
Two Fathers and Wayward Children – 1 Samuel 2:12-17 & 1 Samuel 8:1-5
First Samuel presents a problem that has often been repeated throughout the generations. Here we see Eli the priest and judge over Israel, who was a good and upright man who served the people well. However, his two sons were described as scoundrels, and they had no regard for the Lord. Samuel who was raised under the tutelage of Eli would also grow up to serve the Lord as a priest and was well respected in Israel. However, Samuel’s children would not follow the ways of the Lord which was one of the contributing factors of God’s people asking for a king to rule them like the other nations.
Like Eli and Samuel are you frustrated that your adult children are not following the ways of the Lord?
Do you have concerns that your child may stop attending church when they grow up?
Do you have some regrets about the amount of time you dedicate to work and other things?
Are you concerned that young people are leaving churches and Christianity after spending years in Sunday school?
This morning let us consider the following lessons from Eli and Samuel whilst embracing God’s gracious and forgiving love for parents, older generations, younger generations, and children.
Why don’t my kids get it?
The problem could be the methods, not the message – v1 Sam 2:12 & 1 Cor 9:22
- We don’t have much background information on the day-to-day parenting style of Eli
- We do know Eli’s sons were raised under their father’s tutelage to become priests.
- Eli’s sons were described as dishonest and lacking in moral integrity. (They had no regard for the LORD)
- Without too much knowledge of how Eli raised his sons, we can assume both sons would have experienced a Jewish upbringing which included daily recitals of the Shema (Duet 6:4).
- They would have been prepared to become priests and judges in Israel.
Challenge – As parents and older generations within the church context, we may have a great message of hope to share with our children and young people. However, we must ensure that our methods of sharing do not become a stumbling block for them.
What worked for us growing up may not necessarily work for younger generations today and to come – we have to be flexible and adaptable with our methods whilst never changing the message of Christ.
Do the best you can and leave the rest to God
– 1 Sam 2:22-26 & 8:1-7
- Both Eli & Samuel desired for their children to serve the Lord and follow in their footsteps to become priests and judges in Israel
- Eli’s desire was originally the plan of God, however because of their sin they were overlooked. (See 1 Sam 2:30-36)
- Both Eli and Samuel served the Lord, but their children grew up to dishonour the Lord and subsequently let down their parents.
- We often quote Proverbs 22:6 as parents and older generations to younger people. The clause in the b section of the verse indicates, “When they are old THEY will not depart from it.”
- As parents and older generations in the church, our role is to train, and nurture children up on the right path, but when they grow up they have to make the right decisions for themselves.
Challenge – If your children are now adults and they are not currently serving the Lord or doing things that are contrary to how they have been raised. Remember – they must decide for themselves to follow the right path. Continue to pray and offer sound advice where needed but leave the rest to God! Like the Father of the Prodigal Son, be ready with open arms when they rerun to the truth of God’s love.
- Why do you think some parents may feel like they have failed if their children grow up to not serve the Lord and walk in His way? (see point two in your sermon notes to help your discussions)
- Discuss the sovereign will of God when children raised in a Christian home and environment choose to walk away when they grow up? (Think about Eli’s sons if they were following the Lord, Samuel would not have been raised to be the next priest)
- Why do you think Eli excelled at providing care and guidance for Samuel but struggled with his sons, how does this relate to Christian leaders with children today?
- Read ch.2 v22-25 What could Eli have said or done differently? Were his words of rebuke enough?
- What can the church do more to raise and inspire young people to follow the Lord and become actively involved in the ministry of the church when they become adults?