The Arrows Sermon
By Taylor Thompson on May 8, 2022
The Arrows Sermon
By Taylor Thompson on May 8, 2022
Hey, we want to wish you guys a very Happy Mother's Day. If you are a mom here in the room, thank you so much for spending your Mother’s Day here with us. We wish all the moms here a Happy Mother's Day. And, hey, if you see one of these kids outside bouncing on the bounce house or something after the service, you make sure you give them a big high five and tell them what a great job they just did. And something that they’re just saying, I don't know if you saw past all the cuteness, and you realize what they're actually saying, that the Word it's got nuggets of gold. Did you hear them say that? and it's a treasure for my soul that I'm going to dig in, dig in, dig in, like I'm digging for gold, some very deep spiritual truths that these kids are singing to us here this morning. And just as one of the pastors here at the church, something that is so exciting for me is I get to come, and I get to bring the Word to this group of people. You guys are a group of people that wants the Word of God. Like, you don't want the stories, you don't want my opinion. You're saying, hey, bring me the Word of God, teach me what it says. And so, it is very encouraging for us as pastors to come in to preach to a group of people that want to hear from the Word of God. So, I invite you to open up to Psalm 127. That's going to be our text today, Psalm 127. And this is going to talk about something that all of us can learn from but also even just specifically talking even to parents here in the room. And we're going to spend some time thinking about these children that God has blessed many of us with. And as you find Psalm 127, I invite that you would stand up for the public reading of God's Word out of respect for this Psalm, this is the Word of God. Psalm 127. Please follow along, as I read. It says that:
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
And that ends the reading of God's word. You guys can go ahead and have a seat. And Psalm 127 is one of fifteen Psalms here that are called the Psalms of Ascent, the Psalms of ascent. And the thing that you see is that Psalm 127 right in the middle of these fifteen Psalms. Psalm 127 and Psalm 128, both focus on the family. And the Psalms we're seeing by the Jewish people, the nation of Israel three times a year, what they would do is they were commanded by God to go up to Jerusalem. And they would celebrate these different feasts that they would have a couple of times a year. And so, these are the Psalms that they would sing as they were going up onto the mountain, up onto the hill there in Jerusalem to worship and praise God. And one of the feasts that they would go up to was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and that feast was a feast where they would worship God, and they would thank God for the way that he has provided for their needs. And you see that idea right here in Psalm 127. He's saying that you are providing for us unless the Lord is building the house. So, we have this building he's also watching over, he's protecting. And then there's also this idea here in verse 2 that we are eating bread that God is providing for us. And I don't know about you, but I grew up going on a lot of different road trips. And there are certain psalms that my dad would play in the car as we all drove to St. George, Utah. That's where my, my grandparents lived there. And St. George, we drive from here in California, to St. George about a six-and-a-half-hour drive, you know, six kids in the car saying, are we there yet? Right? That was my family, and we would drive. And I remember even to this very day, there are certain psalms that come on in the car, when I hear them in a store or something the certain psalms that are played, it brings me right back to that moment where I'm driving. I'm driving to my grandpa's house in St. George, Utah. And here, these are the psalms that they would sing, maybe the men would be going up or maybe they would have their wives and their children with them. And they would be singing the Psalms of Ascent. And right here in the middle of this time of worshiping God and praising him, well, they would focus sometimes on the family. And here in the beginning of our verse or in the beginning of this Psalm, verse 1, you see that there's this emphasis on God's sovereignty, on how God is the one who is building this house, and God is the one who is watching over the city. And as these men were going up and singing these psalms, I mean, man, that what would a cool experience that would be like maybe the next men's … What do you call it? We all go and we live somewhere. The retreat, right? Those things are called the next men's retreat. Maybe, instead of driving, we should just all walk up the mountain and sing some Psalms together. Right? That would be kind of cool, but maybe not. But here, they're focusing right here on God's sovereignty. And they're recognizing that God is the one, who is the one who's building like, yes, we work. Yes, we toil. Yes, we are hard at work. But God is the one who's going to give it success, that God is the one who is sovereign. He's the one over complete control of all things.
A good definition here for sovereignty is that he has and he exercise his ultimate authority over everyone and everything God has. He exercises complete authority over everyone, over everything that goes on. We see success, and we see good things happening in our lives, it's because God is the one who is granting that to us. Go over with me to Psalm 103, and we're going to see this idea. Psalm 103. And this is a Psalm of David here. And we're going to see how David he gives God the glory for this battle of victory. Many of us know the story of David and how he was the man after God's own heart, that he struck down Goliath with a stone, that he gave God the glory for that. How David won many great battles for the Lord, how David was a man who was conquering many nations. And then he had some enemies because of that one being Saul, and Saul chased this guy around. He's trying to kill David, and in this psalm he's praising God for the victory. And it says here, in Psalm 103:15-17, he says, “As for men” right here it says that “his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting, to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to the children's children.” We're actually going to see that a few times here, that as I'm fearing God, and as I'm living for him, well, that righteousness, it's like being passed on to my children. Verse 18: “to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” So, as you see here in Psalm 103, this first verse, it's telling us in verse 15, that our days are, we who are living on this earth, like, we're just here for a moment, and then we are passing away. Like, we're like grass that comes in; it flourishes for a moment, and then it's gone. But the steadfast love of the Lord, it never ceases. In fact, if you are someone who fears God, and you are someone who has been saved by God, and you're walking in his ways, although you might pass through this life rather quickly, but hey, guess what? The love of the Lord, the steadfast love of God will keep you forever, that there will be a day when you are with God in his presence in his kingdom. And that's what David goes on to say here in verse 19. It says that “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and that his kingdom rules over all.” Okay? Over every person in this room, over every church, right over every family, over every nation, over every king, over every president. God is the one who rules over all, that his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, that rulers come, and rulers fall, and we may be here for a moment, and then we're gone, but God's Kingdom remains forever. And he's the one who has sovereignly over all of it, that he's in control, that he is the boss. Look at this heart that recognizes that God is sovereign. Look at it. It goes on to say in Psalm 103:20-22, this is David saying, Okay, well “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his Word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers who do his will! Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
Here's David saying God is the one who is reigning over everything. Hey, you bless the Lord. Hey, you blessed Lord, hey, you bless the Lord. Hey, soul, you bless the Lord. Praise God for his sovereignty. Praise God, for he is the one who remains forever; his kingdom will last for all time. Go with me to Psalm chapter 112. Just a couple of songs here over to the right, Psalm 112. “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!” See the connection. You, his offspring will be mighty in the land. The generation of the upright will be blessed. Blessed is the man who fears God, blessed is man who walks in his ways. Look at how it goes on to say this in Psalm 112:6-8. It says, “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady;[b] he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”
You see, for the one who fears the Lord, he does not fear bad times because his confidence, his trust, is in God. It's like as God's steadfast love abides in us, as God is keeping us in His love, well, then my heart is steadfastly trusting in the Lord, because he's the one who's in control, because he is the one who is building. He's the one who is granting success. And so even when bad times come in many people in this room, we've all experienced bad times, we've experienced trials in our life. But those of us who are trusting in the Lord, well, we are steadfast in him. You see, we recognize that God is the one who's going to grant us success, he's the one who's going to get us through. And that is such an encouraging thought as we think through the things that we are building in this life. All of us are builders, all of us are building something. You might be a student, and you're building, you know, trying to be in school so that you can earn a job. Some of us have jobs, and we are building that, we're trying to provide for our family. Some of us have families, we have young kids or old kids, some of us, we're all building something, but what we need to recognize is that God is the one who gets the glory. In fact, if we are building, if we are toiling, if we are working hard in our jobs, if we're working hard in our families, and God's not in it, it's going to be worthless, it's going to amount to nothing, it's going to be in vain. You see, there's a lot of people building, Christians and non-Christians, but unless God is working, unless God is the one building, well then, your labor is all in vain. And we need to recognize that whether it's our schools, whether or not it's our jobs, our neighborhoods, whether it's not us trying to get out there and preach the gospel, whether it's us trying to raise up our kids and teach them all these things, God has to be the one who's granting the success. He's got to be the one who is in it.
Go with me to Psalm 18. And we're going to see a good example of somebody who recognizes that God is sovereign, that he is the one building. As we're toiling and striving, that God is the one who is granting this success. And we're going to see the heart of David here in Psalm chapter 18. And he's going to praise God for the salvation that he has over his enemies. This is Psalm 18:1-3. It says, I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Here's David, seeing that God has delivered him from his enemies, and he's looking, and he's saying, hey, God is responsible for that. God is the one who's delivered me from my enemies. And many times, if we go through a trial, and we come out of that trial, and we're able to say, wow, look what God did, look at how God preserved me, look at how God protected me, look at how God brought me through that trial. And we can look back on the trial and say, wow, God, look at how you brought me out of this. And God deserves the glory for that. But something that's so neat about what David does here, he doesn't just praise God for the kind of the big picture here. He also praises God for the intimate details of how God did that.
Look at Psalm 18. Let's jump over to verse 31-35. He says, “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?—the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” See, David is recognizing that without the Lord, even his hand wouldn't be equipped for battle. Even his arm would not be able to bend that bow. You see, David is not only praising God for the victory, he's praising God even for the way that he granted him victory. Even in the smallest of details, hey, God is the one who gave me strength. God is the one who got me up early this morning. God is the one who has given me a way to think so, as I go through my job, and I'm working unto the Lord, and I'm doing whatever it is that we do at work, well, God is the one who's giving me even the mind, the strength, the ability to accomplish those goals. If God has blessed you with children, and you are teaching them and they are growing up in your home, well, that's because God is the one doing it. And you’ve got to recognize that, and you’ve got to give God the glory for that. In fact, when we see this happening, two things will really take place for those of us who are looking to God as the one who's providing, as the one who is granting that success. Two things will really take place is, one, we are going to be people who have prayer, we're going to be going to God and saying, hey God, unless you do this, God, unless you're working in this, all my efforts are worthless. Everything that I do is going to be for nothing unless you are the one doing it. So, he's going to cause me to come to God humbly and pray to him.
Hey, did you get that promotion at work? Hey, did God grant you children? Hey, is God giving you success in your schooling? Have you given him glory for that? Do you recognize that that's the reason why you have those; it's not so that because of something great that you did. But just because God is giving you that ability, even the ability to think, the ability to move and breathe and walk and have life, all those things are from God. And you see, as we recognize that that will really give us this humble approach to our building. Whatever we're building, we’ve got to recognize that unless God's doing it, it's going to be in vain. It will also turn us into people of praise. And as we see God working well then, we're going to give him the glory for that. We're going to be saying, God, thank you for delivering me, God; thank you for answering my prayers. God, thank you for blessing me with this family. God, thank you for the promotion. God, thank you for all the good things that you're giving me in my life, you are the one who has granted me those things. God, I want to praise you for that on a praise you not even for giving me something good, but even in the way that you gave it all, the way down to those small details. As we see David praising God here, we’ve got to thank God, we’ve got to give him the glory, and praise Him for all that goodness.
Put this down for point number one, if you're taking notes: See God in your everyday life. You need to see God in your everyday life. As you're walking, as you're working, as you're building, God is the one right there with us. And that is a great encouragement for us. That is a great encouragement, if you're going through a trial, that God is right there with you. That if you have a family, and you want to really watch your kids grow, and you want to teach them from his Word, that God is going to bless that. See, we’ve got to recognize as God's people that he does not leave us, nor forsakes us, that God is with us. And he is the one who's going to grant us that success.
Go back with me to Psalm 127, and you're going to see two things in this first verse. And you know, the idea of building this house or watching over the city, these are two thoughts here. One is that God is going to provide, and the other that God is going to protect, that God is going to provide for his people, that God is going to take care of them. He's also going to protect his people. He's the one that gets the glory for that. And for many of these people, like when they were going up to the to Jerusalem to worship God during these feasts, really only the men were commanded to go up to Jerusalem. So, it might have been that they brought their families with them. But definitely, the men, they were the ones commanded to go. And if you know the history of Israel, they had a lot of enemies. So, if dad is gone, and all the dads in the community are now gone, and mom is home alone with the kids or maybe they went with them, well, who's going to be there to protect the family? Who's going to be there if everyone goes, to protect all their stuff, like they're going to come back? And it's like oh, yeah, we moved in and we took over all your stuff. Thanks, guys. Right? Like, how are these people going to be protected when they go up the hill?
And you can jot down Exodus 34:24, because this is a promise that God makes to his people. He says, “For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.” Hey, no one is going to come and covet what you have when you go up the hill. That's a promise that I'm making to my people that when you leave, when you go and you follow what I'm telling you, I'm telling you to go and to worship me, to keep the feasts, no one is going to come and covet your land. Like how does that even work? Like in real life? Is it like, these people are like, oh, there they go? They're leaving, and maybe next time, like, how does that even work that God is protecting the people here? He's protecting their stuff. He's protecting their families, God is saying, hey, when you obey me, guess what? Here's a promise for you. And you don't have to worry, you don't have to think about what's going on at home, because I have promised something to you. And I will keep my promise.
Go to Numbers, chapter 14, Numbers chapter 14. And this is such an encouraging thought as I think about my family and my kids, and even just how God is the one who's able to protect us. And in Numbers, chapter 13, a lot of us know the story that Moses led the people out of the nation of Egypt, right. And they were slaves there in Egypt, and God brought them out of the land. And he promised to give them a land for his people. And, and they come to this place where they send twelve spies into the land. And if you know the story, ten of the spies, they come back, and they give a bad report. Right? And two of the spies Caleb and Joshua, they give a great report. They're like, no, let's go take this land. God has promised to us this land, come let us go and take it. And in Numbers 14:3, this is the response of the people here. They say, “Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword?” This is a sound like what we know from the nation of Israel. It's like God delivered us, God brought us through, God is feeding us, providing for us, and now, all of a sudden, it's like, hey, we're going to fall by the sword. Why is God leading us into this place to die? They say, “Our wives and our little ones will become prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” Would it not be better for us to be slaves? Would it not be better for us, for our children and our wives to be slaves than to go and die by the sword when God already promised that he would give this to them.
So, they don't believe what God is saying. And in verse Numbers 14:5-6, Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb, they're ripping their clothes, they're crying out there, so burdened by what the people are saying that in verses 7-9, they address the congregation of the people of Israel, they say to them, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.” Hey, we're going to eat these guys up, right? God is giving us this land. Look what this says. It says, “Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” So, Caleb and Joshua, they're like, no, the land that we're in, it's a good land. God has promised us this land, God is with us. God has removed his protection from our enemies. God is granting us favor. Let's go and take it. And these guys, they, they get so angry that they want to stone Caleb and Joshua in verse 10. And God has to come and save them. And then it says in verse 26, God is now addressing Moses here and he and the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, this is now God's response. He says, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they have grumbled against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell,’” except Caleb and Joshua. These are the only two guys that go into the land. God is sick and tired of their grumbling and their not trusting in him. And he's saying you guys will all die by the sword, except Caleb and Joshua. Verse 31: “But your little ones are the ones that you guys were hiding behind your little ones who you said would become a prey, I will bring in and they shall know the land that you have rejected.”
This is a great encouragement to me as a dad because I know that God he is able to take care of my family, and God he's able to take care of my children, and as I walk in humble obedience to him, I will see God's good hand upon them. And we're living in a world where it seems like it's getting darker and darker every day. And sometimes, I wonder what kind of world my kids are going to be growing up in, and I think about passages like this where God says, I'm able, I will bring your children into the land I have promised you. This land, it's not going to be for you because you've rejected me. I'm going to bring your kids into this land. Who's protecting my family here? Isn't God? . He’s the one, when he makes a promise to us, that he will see that promise through. See, this is a such a helpful reminder to us that if God has spoken to us in his Word, that he will do what he says, and that we can trust him, and that we can believe him.
Go back to Psalm 127. And this is something that we really want to think through, is that if I'm someone who sees God's promises as something that is true for me, that God is going to be the one to provide for me. God is going to be the one to protect me. Well, it says in verse 2, that “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest.” Right? Is anybody waking up early to go to work? Anyone have maybe a family with young children, and those babies are keeping you up all night, right? Hey, in labor, you go, you rise up early, and you go late to rest. Right. You're working hard while you're eating the bread of anxious toil. Like we can become people that become so anxious. If we don't see that God is the one who is building, if God is not the one granting the success that could cause us to be greatly anxious, if you think that it's up to you to keep your kids alive, let me tell you that it's up to God, that God is the one who's going to protect them. Right? That God is the one who is going to deliver you. If you think that you're the one that's granting success at your work or whatever that you're building, hey, we’ve got to stop and see that if we're so inward focused that we are the ones that have, it's up to us, we have to be the ones building, we have to be the ones protecting, that it's up to me, nothing good is going to happen. Well, that's a very inward focus. It's going to cause a lot of anxiety. And God is saying right here that he is able, that he gives his beloved sleep. When I trust God, when I see that he is the one who is sovereign, that he's going to provide, that he is going to protect, and he's the one who's going to give me everything that I need, that he's going to keep everything safe, well, guess what, I'm going to go to bed, I'm going to have some nice sleep time. Like I'm not going to be anxious. In fact, Scripture tells us that when we feel anxious, we're supposed to make our requests known to the Lord. And when we do that, when we come to him, and we pray to him, we say, God, I need you, unless you're going to do this, I can't do it. It says that God's peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard you, it will protect you, it'll keep you safe. God will give his beloved sleep. And be encouraged by that. I mean, he calls you his Beloved, right? I mean, God loves his people, he wants good for you, he wants to give you rest, he does not want you to be anxious about these things, he wants you to see that he is in control, and that he will do good. I mean, I've met a lot of anxious parents, right, I've met a lot of anxious people who feel like it's up to them to help these little ones grow. And we’ve got to stop, and we’ve got to recognize that it's up to God, that God is the one who's going to grant success. Now, that does not mean as we read this passage, that we're just going to sit back on the couch and do nothing. It does not mean that we're just going to be like, alright, God, well, you're the one who's going to provide so I'm just going to kick back on the couch and wait for the money to roll in. Right? That's not what he's saying. The idea here is that we are laboring, that we are working hard, but God is the one who is granting the success, that he is the one who is working with us. And without him doing it, it's going to be in vain.
Put it down like this for point number two: We need to trust God to provide and protect. Trust God to provide and to protect. And when we see that God is the one who's going to do that, man that's going to draw us to him in prayer. I mean, I know there are groups of moms here at this church, where they see that God is the one. As a mom, like, our biggest concern for our children is that they would be saved, that they would come to know the Lord, that they would put their trust and their confidence in his saving work. I know moms here at this church that will get together on occasion, once a month or so, and they will spend time praying for the salvation of their little ones. They'll spend time, they recognize God, unless you save my children, they will never choose you. We know what that's like because we have been saved by God. We know what it's like to be walking in darkness and having God open our eyes that we can be saved, and we recognize as parents that, unless God opens their eyes that they will never choose him. So, we have got moms at this church coming to God, saying, God, please save my children. God, please grant my husband success. They are praying for their husbands, are praying for their families. They're getting together and they're doing these things. And we’ve got to make sure that, as a church, we see children. Look at verse 3 here as a blessing: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” So, children here, we see, so we got in the first two verses, we got God's sovereignty, his provision, he's protecting. Then it goes down to this example that children they're a heritage, they are a blessing. They are a gift from the Lord. They are something that God gives to us, that they are a blessing for you as a family. And I say that, because some of us don't treat our children like their blessings, some of us walk around, and they look at their kids, because parenting can be tough, and they look at their children, like, you're not a very big blessing in my life. Which is like horrible to think. Right? And some of us might think those things from time to time. You don't even have to have a child to think this way. Like if you go to this church, and you see the kids running around after church in the courtyard out here, you might be thinking, like, hey, kid, get out of my way, right? Like, save some doughnuts for the rest of us, right? And that's not how we should think about these little ones. I think everybody in this room would agree with me, that children, they are a blessing. And that's not how Jesus thought of these kids. That's not the way Jesus would speak of them.
Go with me to Matthew, chapter 19. Has anybody been reading Matthew with us in the Scripture of the Day? I mean, if you're not reading Matthew with us, we'd encourage you to jump on with us. Starting tomorrow. We're going to be back in the book of Matthew. We’ve got some videos, I think, some live videos here, coming up here pretty soon next week. And in Matthew, there's a story about how Jesus wants the children to come to him. And you can actually read the same story in Matthew 19. It's also in Luke 18:16. It's also in Mark 10:14, and you see that you have these parents, bringing their children to Jesus. Now he's been walking around, he's been doing many miracles. He's been having these great times of teaching, and people are seeing him and now you got all these parents saying, well, I would love for Jesus to pray for my children. I want to take my children to Jesus. So, you have all these families, maybe it's the moms and you told the homeschool moms right, coming to Jesus, and they're bringing their kids to him. And here we see this happiness story here in verse 13 of Matthew 19:13. The children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. But look, what the disciples do here. As these moms are coming, as these dads are bringing their children to Jesus, the disciples rebuked the people. And that word here for abuse is a strong word. It's like, here come the families, and Jesus is doing some kind of ministry and the disciples are like, hey, get out of here. Hey, don't come near Jesus. Don't bring these little ones to him. Don't ruin the ministry. Jesus is over here doing something important. Leave the kids out of here. Get them away, right? Like Jesus is over here doing important ministry, he's doing something and you're going to interrupt him. Look, how Jesus responds. In verse 14, it says, He said to them, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And you might read that, and it might not appear to you in the English as strong as it is in the Greek. But the idea here is that the disciples came and rebuked the people, and then Jesus turns and rebukes the disciples. Jesus said, hey, don't hinder the kids from coming to me.
And this word for children here, it's actually this idea of babies, like young ones, these little infants. Don't prevent these children from coming to me. And here at this church, we've had a lot of new babies born in the last couple of months. Like some of you might be celebrating your very first Mother's Day here today. We've got so many babies being born. In fact, this week, we are sitting down with the kids’ ministry team because there's so many babies that are showing up here on a weekend that we don't have enough room to put them in these rooms over here. And we're like, okay, well, how are we going to solve this problem? We’ve got this book nook right over here that's empty. Let's put a wall up. We'll make this another room for the little babies. And we're talking about that. And we're thinking, okay, well, that seems like something that would take a little bit of time. What can we do today? What can we do this weekend that would help so that we can fit all the children in these rooms in a safe way, in a way that they're comfortable, in a way that mom feels like they're protected, that they would leave their children there with us? And then it dawned on us at some point in this conversation that even if we had these new rooms to put these babies in, we don't have enough people to hold them. That we don't have enough people serving here at the church that could take care of them, and that can watch them for an hour to keep them safe, so that we can sit in here and open up the Word of God. I just want to say that if anyone in here has on your heart to come and serve in kids’ ministry, we could really use you because we have a lot of new parents here at the church. And we want to make sure that every child is being taught the Word of God in a safe way. And I don't know if you remember, maybe some of you had kids and you haven't been a parent or are you haven't had the young ones with you in a long time. But do you remember those days when you had a little one, and at first, it took like ten minutes for you to get ready and get out the door. And then all of a sudden, the little one comes along. And so, I've got to put on that cute little outfit, we’ve got to make sure they had like the matching teddy bear shoes with their matching sweater. And it's like, then we’ve got to make sure we have the diaper and the diaper bag. And the wipes got to go in there because without the wipes the diapers kind of useless, right. And then we got like, the outfit that we put on, and then the binky, and then the backup being the backup binky, right? And the sound machine and the humidifier and all these different things that our kids need. And it's like, okay, we're finally ready to get out the door. Right, and what happens? Blow out, right? And then we're late for church, right? That's how it goes. And so, we have a lot of new families here, a lot of new parents, and we have these little ones that we want to minister to. In fact, we encourage all of our infant teachers, if you have an infant in this building, we tell them to pray for those kids at least for a couple of minutes when they're holding them, hey, to spend time praying for the kids, spend time praying for those little babies. And we need to see that here at a church. Even if you don't have children, maybe you're too young, you haven't had children, or maybe you have grandchildren. Now, all of us, we need to be a church that does not cast them aside, we don't want to be a church that is acting here like the disciples, when they're rebuking the people for bringing their children to Jesus. We want to see that every child is a soul and that they need the word of God.
And you don't have to be a parent to think that way about kids. You don't have to be a parent to look down on them and think that, hey, we're doing something important over here, and you're just getting in the way. And maybe some of us as parents act like that, and maybe even in our daily life, like I'm going to take care of them and get them all their stuff and get everything they need so that I can go and do whatever I need to do that's important. You see, we’ve got to be really careful about that. We’ve got to make sure that we don't see kids as in our way as we try to do real things of life. We have to see that our children, they are our ministry, that our children that they need the gospel, that they need to be taught, that we need to raise them in the discipline and the instruction of God. And I've seen this happen both ways. One way is that we kind of cast them aside as we think we're doing important things. And they're kind of in our way. And the other ways that if we swing too far the other way, well, then we start to put them actually before God. And we start thinking of them as the people that are now going to control our calendar, we start thinking of them as that we're not even going to do the things we know God wants us to do. Because well, we’ve got these kids, right? Hey, we can't go into the land because what if our kids die? Right? We’ve got these kids, and hey, God, sorry, we're not going to be able to do XYZ because well, our kids have X, Y, or Z. You see who rules your calendar? Is it you? Is it like, hey, this is all about me and I need to make sure that I need to get my stuff done? Is it about your family? Like it's dominated by whatever you're doing making your kids happy and giving them whatever they want. Or is it ruled by God? Are we a family that comes together and says, okay, what does God expect of us as a family? How does God want us to live? And of course, we're going to have tons of fun, we're going to have tons of things that we can do with our children. But who is the one in control? Are we putting our children before the Lord, are we putting our children before his command? You see, the one who fears the Lord, the one who walks in his way, that's the person who's blessed. That's the one who then gets it passed down through to the kids. We have to be careful that we're not swinging one way or the other too far.
In fact, if you're going to a fellowship group this week, there's actually a couple of questions on the back of your handout, and one that I would love for us to just think through and consider. Question number three, right? Hey, which way have we swerved, one way or the other in our house? Do I see children whether I have them or not as kind of in my way, as kind of getting put aside so that I can go do the important things? Have we swung that way? Or have we swung maybe to the side that says, hey, I'm going to be dominated by my children's happiness. We want to make sure that we don't swing too far one way or the other. We want to make sure that we're doing all the things that God has required of us to do, and that we see these children as gifts from God, and we do not cast them aside.
Go to the Gospel of Luke chapter 24. And you know that in Matthew chapter 28, or at least if you've grown up in church, or you've been here for a while in Matthew 28, this is the commission for the Christian. This is our job as Christians that God has given us a responsibility, ask Christians to go and to make disciples of all nations. That is the command that he specifically given to us here in this room that we are supposed to go and bring the Gospel to every nation; we're supposed to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and Jesus is going to be with us as we do it. That's the promise. That's the command of Matthew chapter 28. Well, here's the same idea in Luke chapter 24. Start with me in verse 44. He says this: “’These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations.’” See, this is our mission as Christians that we would take the gospel that Jesus, he is the Christ, that he died for their sins, and that he rose from the dead, that that message will be brought to every nation. Every tongue, every tribe, every soul needs to hear that Jesus is God. And if you repent from your sins, and you believe in him that you will be saved. That's what every single person on planet Earth needs to know. And a lot of us know that, and a lot of us are doing that. And, and a lot of us are not teaching that to our kids. Our children, they need this same truth. They need to hear that Jesus, he is the Christ, that no one gets to the Father except through him. And that's what's happening over here. Right now, as we speak, there are people over here teaching children the word of God, that there are people laboring, there people taking it seriously. I mean, we have teachers in our classrooms that take this so seriously that they are preparing before they ever even get here, that we take a time once a month, all the kids’ ministry leaders are invited to come together. And we pray specifically for you as parents, and we pray for your children that they would be saved. We have people over here that are taking this so seriously, that they'll actually open the email before you know, before the weekend, and they'll read what they're supposed to teach the kids that weekend, that they'll see all the questions that they have that they're going to bring to the kids. And they recognize that unless the Lord is there teaching through them, unless the Lord opens their eyes, all their labor is in vain. And they're praying for you. And they're praying for your little ones. And they're asking God, God, will you use me today to teach your word to these kids? Will you use me today to cut it so straight, so clearly, that I would just be able to speak your truth? I wouldn't dumb it down, that I wouldn't say anything wrong about you, but that I would just give the word to these kids. See, we have people doing this on a weekly basis. And I wonder, are we taking this more seriously in kids’ ministry, people that don't even have children? Are they taking it more seriously than us here in this room, than some of us as parents? And as we see our children that they need to grow up, that they need to hear the Word of God? Are we taking that seriously? Are we bringing them the gospel? Are we telling them that Jesus is the Christ, that they need to turn from their sin?
See, what could happen is that we're so fixated on making our children good kids. And yes, we have to teach them the discipline and the instruction of God. We want to make sure that they grow up learning about who God is, and learning his commands. And we want to make sure that they are, you know, speaking well of their mom and treating their brother and sister, they're not hitting them. Or we’ve got to teach them all those things. But what can happen for some of us as parents is we're just so concerned with behavior modification that we're trying to make them good kids that we have forgotten that they are not good kids, that they are sinful, that they need Christ. We just read in Romans that no one is good, not even one, that our children, they need the gospel and we are you going to bring it to them? Are you going to bring them the gospel? Are you going to be someone who is teaching them diligently?
Go with me to Deuteronomy, chapter 6. This is a passage that we've come to know and love here at the church, especially us as parents, as we see this command to the nation of Israel. This is now the second telling of the law. And in Deuteronomy, chapter 6, they're going to talk about how they do this. How do we take the Gospel to our children? How do we do that? Maybe some of us are like, yeah, you know what, I need to do that more, I need to bring the Word to my kids. I would love to teach them the Bible. I'd love to read with them. But how do I do that? Where do I begin? Well, this is where you start. It says in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” But this is a command to us in this room, the command to the parents. He says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” I’ve got to get the commands of God on my heart. Well, then it says in verse 7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Hey, it sounds like Bible time is all the time, right? Like I'm teaching my kids when we're in the car, when we're out of the car, when we're going to bed, and we're waking up, the Word of God, you see, it's got to be on my heart first. And as the word of God is on my heart, as his commands are getting into me, well, then it's going to come out to my children. And I'm going to teach them this Word here, diligently, consistently ongoing, it's actually another way it's using the Scriptures, this idea of sharpening an arrow, like these little ones, they are little arrows in the hands of warriors. And our job as parents is to take those arrows and to launch them into the world to make an impact for God. And it's got to begin with the Word of God getting on to your heart; that's where it starts. And I don't care if you have kids or not, when you are going to go out to your workplace, and you're going to teach people the Word, if you want to make disciples in other places, if the Word of God is not on your heart, your labor is in vain. Unless you're connected to Christ, you can do nothing. That's what John 15 tells us, that Jesus has to be in it, that I have to be connected to the vine, that I’ve got to get the Word of God on my heart. And as I do that, it's going to come out to my workplace, it's going to come out to my coworkers, to my neighbors, to my family, to my fellowship group. I'm going to have something to say because the word of God is now in me, and I'm ready to speak it. That's what our children need.
Your children might be hearing more about the Bible from people that don't go home with them, that don't live with them. And they hear from us here in this room, we got to make sure that we are teaching our children diligently, that we're sharpening these little arrows, that we're teaching them how to even think about the world, that we're not just saying yes to Jesus, we're actually saying no to all the things that the world has to offer us. That's the decision that our children are going to make one day: Do I want to full fledge into the world? Do I want to love the world and the things of the world? Or am I going to turn and love God, we got to help them learn how to process those things and think about those things. And it begins with the Word being on our heart. You know, here at this church, I mean, we have such a dedicated group of kids’ ministry teachers, it's so encouraging for me to serve alongside with them. And we’ve got this guy, he's moving into my neighborhood, and I was talking to him, he goes here to this church, and I was saying, hey, it's going to be so awesome to have you on my street. Like, I think this is a really cool street, got a lot of people even going into the church on our street. It's going to be so cool to have you live here. And he turns to me, and he says, yeah, dude, during the summertime, we're going to get all the neighborhood kids, all the families, we're going to sit right here on my front lawn, and we're going to read the Scripture of the Day. I was like, dude, my neighborhood just got so much better, like, welcome, right? I can't wait for summertime. This is going to be great. This guy, he's like, I'm passionate. I want to tell everyone the gospel. Hey, neighbor, kids, you come over here, hey, families, come join us. We're just going to sit down and we're going to read the Scripture of the Day together. Do you know that that same guy is giving up two hours of his week, every single week to teach your children here at the church? Like this guy who loves it, he's passionate. He wants to tell your children about Jesus. And now he's the Christ. And if they turn from their sins, that they will believe in him that they will have eternal life. That's the same guy. He wants to bring that to your kids here today. And so, something that we've been doing here at the church is that we've been doing this ministry called Arrows. And if you're a part of a Tuesday night or Wednesday night fellowship group, your children are over here, if you have young kids, and they are in our Arrows ministry. And for a long time, what we were doing is we were kind of like driving the content like, hey, here's something that we want to teach the kids, hey, let's get into the Bible. It's teaching about God. Here's a cool study we can do for the next five or six weeks. And then it kind of dawned on us as we were going through the Word that I don't find any passages in here that tell the church how to do children's ministry. Like I don't know if I missed that weekend and the book of Acts, like did Paul ever address the church how to do kids’ ministry? No, but we can find passage after passage after passage telling us as parents how we are responsible for teaching our children, for raising them up, for talking to them about the gospel.
And so, we have this ministry called Arrows where we are trying to if all we're doing is we're taking the Scripture of the Day, we're saying, hey, we want everyone here to read the Scripture today. If you're reading it at home, you're getting the word on your heart. Okay? Read it with your kids. Just spend ten minutes talking to them about the Bible, hey, we're going to read the chapter today. This is the word that is on my heart. And maybe as the Word is getting on your heart, now you have something to say, you have something that you're excited about, that you want to teach them, hey, we're going to sit down, we're going to read for ten minutes, we're just going to talk about the Bible. Doesn't have to be crazy, doesn't have to be this sermon, where you get them on the couch, and you get your podium, right? And you're like, alright, kids, point number one right now. You just teach your kids diligently sharpening them, talking to them daily. And as you teach them from the book of Matthew, well, when they come here on Tuesday and Wednesday, guess what we're doing? We're just teaching them from the book of Matthew, we're teaching them the same things that you were hopefully teaching them at home. In fact, if a kid comes up to me and said, my dad already taught me that, right? We all know those kids, right? Oh, I already know this one, my data are telling me that. I'm going to be like, praise God. That's the point. Dad is teaching you at home, you come here, we landed, right? We just pack the punch, we just keep on giving it to them. Like as your children are hearing it from you, we want to have your back. We want to say, yes, you're teaching them at home. Okay, bring them here, we'll just teach them the same thing. Right? Maybe we'll have somebody jump off a playground or do some kind of crazy like skit thing that they can do. The Bible's alive, right. And we can do something fun, but we want to have your back as parents, we want to be teaching them the things that you're teaching them at home. And that's really our desire in kids’ ministry. And it is such a blessing for me to serve with so many people that are so committed to serving your children. I mean, the reason why we don't have enough leaders to fill up these rooms is not because we don't have enough leaders. We have more people serving in kids’ ministry not only in quantity, but also in quality, people that are coming ready and prepared to share the Word than we've ever had before. The thing that we also have more than ever before is we have more children here than ever before. So, the problem isn't that we are running low, like where people are leaving the kids’ ministry. The problem is that kids keep showing up here at the church. And we want to make sure that every single child here at the church gets to hear the gospel, because there are going to be some parents that come through here that are not teaching their children. And the impact that a teacher over there can have on their kids, the impact of a grandmother or a grandfather that you can have on your grandchildren can last for all of eternity. You could be the reason why your kids live with Christ in this kingdom forever.
See, I've got four little arrows at my house, and my life’s goal is that I would have four Gospel conversations for salvation, conversations with my kids. That's my life goal right there before I die, Lord, will you let me talk to each one of my children? Will you please grant them salvation, that they would come to know you, that the day that I'm standing them with you and all of your glory in this kingdom that will last forever? I will look and my children will be there with me. I mean, did you read Romans chapter 9 a couple of weeks ago? Did you see that Paul had unceasing anguish for people? Did you see that? How he had great sorrow for these Jewish people that did not know Jesus? Do we shed tears over the salvation of our kids? Do we have unceasing anguish thinking that they would not be with God? See, some of our teachers are taking this more seriously than us here in this room. And we got to really consider that. Not only for us as parents, but as a whole church do we pray for the kids of our church. I mean, something that's so exciting about this church is that seems like a lot of people around here are doing a great work of making disciples, that people at this church are passionate about praying for their neighborhoods, and they're bringing people to this church all the time. We meet new people here every single weekend because they were brought here by you. They were brought here by a family member; they're brought here by a coworker. I don't want us to forget that there are hundreds of little souls over here that need the gospel just as much as everybody else in our lives, that these people, they need to hear the Word of God and they need to hear it from their parents. They need to hear it from you. You know, there's a lot of great material that we can have. There's a lot of great books that we can read. And we’ve got books in our bookstore. And you know, there's a lot of good material that we can read about how to be parents, and how we can Shepherd our children. There's also a lot of bad material that we can get caught up in that talks about different things about kids. But the number one thing that you need as a parent is you need this book right here. This is the book that's going to help you as a mom, as a dad direct your children in the way that they should go this is the book that you need to know.
Put this down for point number three: You need to submit to God's book on parenting. You know, one of my favorite things that I've come to love here at the church is we've now had pastor Bruce Blakey join us. I mean something that I don't know if this is his favorite thing to do. But it seems like once a week, this man like comes into my office and like hands me a new book. He's like, here, read this, I'm just like, the stack is starting to pile up. Like, I'll get to a pastor Bruce, like, hey, let me read these other six before I dive into this one. He's always handing me a book to read. And he's telling me about this new book that he just handed me and he's like, telling me, hey, you should read this. And like, I might get to in a few weeks, right? I’ve got to read some other ones first. But he's giving me this book. And he's saying that by the time children are in fourth or fifth grade, they've already made up their mind about Christ. They've already made up their mind about church, they've already made up their mind, about life, about things that are good things that are evil. And if we're not diligently teaching our children while they are young, we are missing a very important moment in their life. And sometimes we think that only junior highers and high schoolers only college age people, adults that they need the Word of God. And if we think that way then we are really misrepresenting the gospel. Every child needs to hear from the Word of God. And there's a lot of different families represented in this room. And I would encourage you this week take time to pray for the families of our church. We’ve got families in this church, many of you who have adopted children. We may have families in this room who have blended families, maybe some families that are trying to have children, and they can't. We have families, maybe that have gone through a miscarriage, and the idea of talking about kids is a really sore subject for them. It's hard to think through that. And a lot of times we feel like we're going through these things all by ourselves.
And it's just not true. Because there are many people here that might be people in your very own fellowship group who have gone through the same thing. And as your pastors, we really care about you guys. And we've been thinking about this for a long time. How do we come alongside the families of our church and help walk through even some dark seasons of their life? That we as parents, we need a lot of wisdom as we teach these kids. How do we come alongside the families? And so, what we want to do is on Father's Day weekend, June 14, on Saturday morning, here in this room, we're going to have an Arrows symposium. We're going to have different pastors speak in different breakout sessions. And we're going to address some of these things that some of the people in this room are going through. So, if you're a parent, or you want to help minister to parents, we want to invite you to come if you want. If you are looking forward to having children someday, come to the Arrows symposium, get some wisdom from the Word of God, let's walk through these types of things together. Because at the end of the day, the number one thing that we want here in this life for our kids is we want them to be saved. And we need to pray for these little ones. And we need to pray for the parents of our church that they would have wisdom, that God would give them understanding to help them walk through the word with them.
And we're going to sing a song right now all together. And this song is really a prayer to God. It's a prayer that we're going to ask God for the wisdom that all of us desperately need. And we want to be thinking about our children. As we pray this, let's pray all together.
Father, we want to thank you so much, we want to thank you for being a God who provides for us, for a God who protects us, for God who is sovereign over every detail, for a God who is good. We thank you for being a God who even in the midst of this life, we see so many different rulers, so many different kingdoms rise and fall, we see so many different bad kings and bad rulers, we see so much sin, even in our very own country, but God, we know that your kingdom will last forever and that you are a God who is good, and that you are a God who reigns over all. And Father, we want to thank you so much for the blessing of these little ones. And God, I pray that we would not be a church that overlooks them, that we would not be a church that thinks that salvation is for later years, that we believe that the power of salvation is in the Gospel. And that every single soul, whether old or young god, we all need to hear the gospel. That is the power of God to save. So, Father, I pray for these parents as they are working hard, as they are laboring over their children to minister to them, to teach them, to instruct them. God, it's been so encouraging to see so many dads, so many moms here at the church where they take this seriously. They want to teach their children the Bible, where they're just diligently passing on what they know, as the Word is getting on their heart. God I pray that we would be a group of people that would be a whole church, where we love the children of our church, whether we serve in kids’ ministry or not, God. I pray that we would be a people that love the children of this church, I pray for the parents of this church. And God we do ask that someday, when we're standing before you, God, when we see your brilliant light, because we're in a kingdom that will last forever, God we beg that our children would be there with us. Can we pray for these young, so as Paul's got it they would grow up hearing the Word of God, and that they would be saved? And we pray for many parents who have older kids, who have not yet turned to the Lord God, we pray that their adult children would turn to God. And we pray for all the grandparents in this room, God, that there would be a great light to their grandkids and that you would receive all the glory, Father, and that your son's name would be exalted. And then we would handle your gospel with great care as we teach these little ones. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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