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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
September 9, 2012
Proverbs on the Family, Part 14: Principles of Parenting, Part 6
This past Thursday, Aram and I went to the funeral for Ray Payne. An incredible man who has left a large legacy. Ray pastored for many years in Maine, but after his son, David, had become a police officer and was killed in the line of duty, he began a ministry to the law enforcement community. When an officer went down, Ray would be there for the family and the other officers. There were officers from many states and communities at the funeral because of that. The Police Department that David had served with from Lewiston, Maine, sent their honor guard in tribute. (See: Onlyoneson.org)
Ray was also an incredible family man. He and his wife, Barbara, not only extended their family far beyond their own children and grandchildren to extended family, but also to the law enforcement community. It was very impressive to see his four daughters, most of his son-in-laws, his son’s widow along with the man she remarried and quite a few of his grandchildren participate in speaking at the funeral. Their love for the Lord and for one another was obvious. What a wonderful legacy has been passed down through the generations. I am striving to pass down a similar legacy to my children and want them to pass it down to any children they may have in the future. That brings us back to the important subject of parenting, for leaving such a legacy is very difficult in the midst of the morally declining society in which we live.
We have already covered a lot in the previous last five sermons on this subject. We have talked about the priority of the husband-wife relationship in the marriage because if you are not properly fulfilling your God given role with your spouse, then your example will be contrary to what it means to be a successful parent. We have talked quite a bit about the importance of applying the principles in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to your family life. You must love the Lord God yourself with all your heart, soul and might and then diligently teach your children about Him and His commands in all the situations that come up in life. Teaching them the various Proverbs is a great way to set God’s truths in their minds so that they can be practically applied (See: Principles of Parenting, Part 1).
Christian parents desire their children to also become Christians, but that cannot be forced upon a child for it is the work of God. Our responsibility is simply to lay the foundation in the knowledge of God and His word so that the Holy Spirit can use that to convict our children of their sin, and then repent and place their faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We also set our goals to correct their inherent foolishness and instill in them behavior and character traits that reflect godliness even if they do not become Christians. We want our children to become responsible adults who are a blessing to society instead of a curse. (See: Principles of Parenting, Part 2). Again, that is increasingly difficult to accomplish in the midst of a morally declining society.
We also spent quite a bit of time talking about specific areas of responsibility within the family. God’s command is that children honor their parents. The obedience of young children to their parents is only part of that. We continue to have a responsibility to honor our parents even when we become adults. We honor them by the way that we speak to them, yield to them places of honor, show them respect and provide for their real needs when necessary. (See: Principles of Parenting, Part 3)
There is also a responsibility to siblings. The family is the training ground for relationships so it is important to teach your children to be friends with one another. Do not allow sibling rivalry to develop. Deal with their pride and jealousy quickly. Treat each of them with equity instead of favoritism. Protect them from outside friends and influences that cause conflict and strife. Be wary of what they read, watch and listen to including TV, movies and music. (See: Principles of Parenting, Part 4).
There are also responsibilities toward extended family and society. The elderly are to be respected and honored. Extended family is helped when needed. Proper authorities are given their due according to their office including tax, custom, respect and honor. Our allegiance is first to God, but we submit to the proper authorities as long as they do not require us to disobey God. Peers are treated with courtesy and we are to be humble ourselves with all people. We seek to help those in need when we have the means to do so, and gratefully accept help when we need it.
When it comes to the opposite sex, God wants us to treat those in older generations as we would a mother or father. Those in the same generation and those younger are to be treated as a brother or sister in all purity. Our society teaches young men and women to exploit each other for personal pleasure, but Christians are to flee youthful lusts and be protective instead. That protection extends to the way you speak, the way you behave and the way you dress. Do not seek to stir up passion and lust in others. (See: Principles of Parenting, Part 5)
This morning we are going to look at what we need to teach our children concerning their responsibility toward property and nature.
Responsibility toward Property
We want our children to have behave properly toward both their own property and that of others. Property is that which a person owns or to which they have a right. This includes not only physical objects, but also things such as reputation, time and character traits. I want to speak a moment about the value of things before we get into the specifics about responsibility to property.
The value of anything in particular is determined by the owner and is signified by what they are willing to trade for it. This is true for both physical items as well as non physical things such as time, reputation and advice. In business transactions this is usually the amount of money for which the owner would sell an item or a worker would agree to do a job, but remember that money is only a means of exchange. You sell something for X number of dollars because you can use those dollars to barter with someone else for something you would want. It must be understood from the beginning that the value of something to its owner may be very different from its monetary worth in the market place. There is an intangible side even for tangible possessions.
For example. The owner may sell something far below what he could sell it for in the marketplace or may even destroy it because he wants to get rid of it. His time may be more valuable to him than the item and he is trying to unclutter his life of things he does not find
useful to himself as quickly as possible. Or it could be that the item reminds him of something he would prefer to forget and so he just wants it gone. Estate auctions, yard sales and thrift shops are full of such items.
This same idea also works in the opposite direction. The sentimental value may far exceed the items worth in the marketplace. An inexpensive object may be considered by its owner to be a treasure because of who gave it to them. Items that would have no value in the marketplace can be invaluable to its owner. For example, if you had to evacuate your home because there was imminent danger of it being destroyed, what would you save? For the vast majority of people, included in the short list will be things such as pictures and particular mementoes that remind them of things important in their life. The sentimental value can far exceed the monetary value.
People will also place a different value on things due to the amount of time and labor it takes them to gain the item. A $5,000 second hand car is a lot more valuable to a man who makes $20,000 per year than a $30,000 new car would be to a man who makes $150,000 per year simply because it has taken him longer to earn the money for the car. The poor man’s humble home that has been largely restored by his own blood and sweat is more valuable to him than a mansion is to a rich man who pays for his home improvements out of his excess discretionary funds. Teach your children from an early age the importance and value of labor by giving them things to do by which they can earn the things they want.
I mention all of this because the manner in which you carry out your responsibility to your property and that of others will be determined by the value that is placed upon them. A very expensive item that is not important to you will not be treated with as much care as something inexpensive that you value very much. How you treat what belongs to others must reflect the value that they place on it. Teach this to your children by requiring them to treat others’ people’s property with as much care as they would something they value very much. That is part of the golden rule Jesus taught in Matthew 7:12. Again, this is true for not only physical items, but also for more intangible things such as time, reputation and talent.
Tangible Possessions include any physical object that is owned or over which you have right of possession. People tend to think of possessions as those things which would show up in a statement of net worth such as land, buildings, precious metals, jewels, any form of money, certificates of ownership, furnishings, machines, equipment, clothing, animals, etc. However a possession is any tangible item that belongs to someone. It could be large or small, significant or insignificant, expensive or inexpensive.
What are your responsibilities toward your own possessions? If they are truly your possessions, then you can treat them anyway that you desire. As Paul states in Romans 9:21, the potter has the right to make whatever he wants out of his clay. However, there are few things in life in which what you possess is exclusive of other people. For example, if the potter has a contract to supply water jugs, he cannot substitute plates. While he can make what he wants out of his clay, he cannot require others to accept it. As soon as your possessions have some affect on other people, then the freedom to do whatever you want it is curtailed by God’s many commands concerning how we treat others. Are you even being kind? Let me give you some examples to illustrate.
If you live by yourself, you have a lot of freedom to decorate your home anyway that you would like and to keep it as clean or as dirty as you can tolerate. As soon as other people become involved, those freedoms become limited. If someone else lives in your home, how you decorate and how clean or dirty it is must take them into consideration. The same thing is actually true even if you are only inviting others over to visit. If your home is so dirty or messy that it is a health risk, then don’t let anyone else in there. Safety is a basic consideration we must have for others. The Mosaic Law included many specific commands concerning safety issues such as digging pits, dangerous animals (Exodus 21:33f) and keeping diseases from spreading (Leviticus 14, Deuteronomy 24). If you’re such a clean fanatic that anything touched by someone else has been contaminated, then don’t have people over because you will not be hospitable.
Your responsibilities toward what you possess increases as those possessions affect others. How loudly you play music in your home must be curtailed as it starts bothering others. How are you being a good neighbor if you bothering them by what you are playing? Does that mean as long as you are not bothering anyone else you can do what you want? Probably not since Romans 14:7 states, “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself.” What we do even in private often does affect other people.
For example, while it is courteous to use earphones so that you do not bother others, even then you need to be responsible toward your own body. The common argument is that your body is your own possession so you can do what you want with it and you would only be harming yourself so it is no one else’s business. Really? If you abuse your ears and become hard of hearing, certainly the greatest negative effect will be on you, but it also makes it more difficult for everyone who comes in contact with you. Anyone who has lived with someone who is hard of hearing is acutely aware of this. Your body should be your most prized and personal earthly possession, but even with it you are not isolated from other people and so cannot do anything you want with it. You must have consideration of what effect your treatment of it will have on others.
There is another more important consideration in how you treat your possessions. You don’t actually own anything. You are only borrowing it for the few years of your fleeting life on this earth. If you have ever inherited anything or acquired any antique, then you are already living in this reality. Solomon stated this cynically in Ecclesiastes 2:18, “Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.” He then goes on in the next verse that even worse is the fact that the man coming after could be wise or a fool and yet would control the fruit of all his labor.
Ultimately God is the possessor of everything for “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1). All things were made by, through and for Christ (John 1:3;. Romans 11:36; Colossians 1:16). Proverbs 22:2 also makes this point, “The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all.” As I have pointed out previously from Genesis 1, God created man to have dominion over the earth as His steward. God is the owner of everything. Our responsibility is to oversee the use of what He entrusts to our care, and that includes even our bodies. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 6:13, the body is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body, then adding in verse 19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
This truth is actually what is to guide our responsibility toward all our possessions. We will give an account to God concerning them. Romans 14:10-12, “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” Since you are a steward accountable to God, then you are to treat what He has entrusted to you with proper care and respect. Give thanks for what God has provided and use those things properly for their intended purpose. Strive to get the maximum usage out of those
things that are consumed in their usage. Those things that are reusable are to be maintained properly so they will be useful for others and last as long as possible. Abuse and neglect of what you possess is never proper because it is poor stewardship.
It is this same mindset that then guides your responsibility toward what other people possess. Any time you use or even come in contact with what belongs to someone else, you treat it with great respect because that is what is due to the owner. It is the owner, not the object itself, that is important. You teach your children to be responsible toward their own possessions and those of others by teaching them to be respectful and fulfill their responsibilities to God and other people. If they do not respect other people, they will not treat their possessions properly. If they do not respect God, they will not even treat their own property properly.
Why is it wrong to steal? First, God has prohibited it – “Thou shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15; Matt. 19:18; Eph. 4:29). Stealing demonstrates a lack of trust in God to provide and lack of contentment in how He has distributed what belongs to Him. Second, it violates the dominion of other people by taking from them what God has given to them. Anyone who has ever had something stolen from them knows the feeling of personal violation that is much more than just the loss of the item. You may feel bad when something breaks or is lost, but when it is stolen there is a sense of being personally sinned against.
Stealing is an act of pride, selfishness and hatred. Pride and jealousy provoke people to act on their envy to take from others because they think they deserve better or at least the same. Selfishness pushes people to posses and control even what belongs to others. Hatred spurs people to take what belongs to others just to hurt them and cause them trouble. These are contrary to godliness.
You instruct your children in godliness when you teach them to ask with proper manners instead of making demands. This includes saying please and thank you. These actions instill humility and proper respect for the property of others. You are also to teach them to share what they have as part of learning proper responsibility toward their possessions. Ephesians 4:28 directs Christians to not only refrain from stealing, but also to work so that they will be able to help those in need.
There are more ways to steal than just taking away someone else’s property without their permission, and there are more things to steal than just possessions. To borrow something and not return it on time steals from its owner the usefulness of the item. The same is true when you borrow something and do not use it properly or maintain it properly so that it breaks. The owner has its usefulness stolen from him and then must incur the repair costs which takes away his ability to do other things. Vandalism is also a form of stealing. Breaking the property of others steals its usefulness and value. Defacing property steals the aesthetic value and forces repair and clean up costs which is another form of stealing. One way you can teach your children to be sensitive to these things is requiring them to pick up trash and put in the proper containers. They learn about the labor cost of litter while also learning to be kind and respectful for the property of others.
We are to be responsible with both our own possessions and those of others because ultimately it all belongs to God and we will have to give an account to Him of our stewardship. We also have to have the same attitude when it comes to our time, reputation and character.
(Note: I ended the sermon at this point due to time constraints the morning it was preached. The remainder of the sermon will be carried over to the September 16 sermon. SLH).
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about your responsibility to your property and that of others.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What have you learned from the previous sermons on the family and principles for parenting? How is the value of something determined? Why can there be such difference in value for the same thing? What is the relationship between labor and value? How can you teach your children the value of labor? What is a tangible possession? What is the relationship between your responsibility toward and use of your possessions and how that might affect others? How does the care and treatment of your body effect others? Do you truly “own” anything? Explain. How does being accountable to God affect your responsibility to your possessions? What are your responsibilities toward the possessions of other people? Why is it wrong to steal? Do you have to physically take something in order to steal? Explain. How can you teach your children to be responsible for their own possessions and those of others? Why is time the most precious commodity of life? Why is it so often squandered? How is the wise use of time contrasted with foolish use? How can you teach your children to be responsible with their time? How can you keep your time from being stolen? What is reputation? How does a person gain a reputation? Why is it so important to “end well?” How does God help us to do that? How can you maintain a good reputation even when slandered?
Sermon Notes – 9/12/2012
Principles of Parenting, Part 6
Introduction & Review
The priority relationship in the family is __________________________________________________
The priority command to children is to ___________________________________________________
Lay the foundation for your children to become Christians by __________________________________
Keep sibling rivalry from developing by ___________________________________________________
Responsibility to extended family includes _________________________________________________
We are to treat the opposite sex in our own generation as ______________________________________
Responsibility Toward Property
The value of property is determined by ____________________________________________________
You are to treat other people’s property with _______________________________________________
Tangible Possessions are _________________________________________________________________
You may treat your personal possessions __________________________________________________
Your freedom to do what you want with your possessions is curtailed by _________________________
You cannot treat your body anyway you would like because ___________________________________
You do not really “own” anything, you only borrow it ________________________________________
Ultimately, God is the possessor of everything and you will give _______________________ to Him
Teach your children to respect possessions by teaching them to respect __________________________
It is wrong to steal because _____________________________________________________________
Stealing is an act of pride, selfishness and hatred ____________________________________________
Manners teach respect of property by _____________________________________________________
Vandalism steals by ___________________________________________________________________
Time is the most precious commodity of life because it is ________________________________________
Time cannot actually be spent, saved or invested, it can only be used ____________________________
Responsible use of time is seen in the contrast of the diligent and the lazy ________________________
Teach your children to be responsible with time by __________________________________________
Prevent people from stealing your time by _________________________________________________
Reputation is ___________________________________________________________________________
A good reputation is earned by __________________________________________________________
A good reputation can be quickly destroyed by _____________________________________________
A good reputation is maintained by ______________________________________________________
A good reputation overcomes slander by __________________________________________________
Teach your children to value reputation by ________________________________________________
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