Know­ing God’s word

The Covington News - - Religion -

A cou­ple months ago, I got a phone call at 2:23 a.m. in the morn­ing. A call at that time is sel­dom good news. This one couldn’t have been bet­ter.

“Hello Pas­tor Scharf!” said the ex­cited voice said. “This is Leo.” And even though it had been nearly five years, and even though I was still shak­ing sleep off, I couldn’t help but rec­og­nize that young man’s voice — so full of en­ergy. He was call­ing from Benin, Africa.

You see, now a teenager, this young man was call­ing be­cause he wanted to have a church in his home coun­try that taught the truth as he had come to know it — and he hadn’t found it yet.

You see, Leo had been brought to Abid­ing Grace by a friend about seven years ago — and from that day on — he didn’t miss. He had some­one pick him up any time any­thing was go­ing on at church. He couldn’t have been more than 10 or 11 years old. But he learned his stuff from his Sun­day school teach­ers and VBS teach­ers and even from wor­ship. He knew the truth — so much so that he could tell when he wasn’t get­ting it.

Or I could talk about the chil­dren who came to VBS eight years ago, which was re­ally their only con­nec­tion to any church of any sort. Then, just this last year, when their dad told them the fam­ily needed to make a change in their lives — it was these chil­dren, now teenagers, who said they needed to come to church that Sun­day. And they did. And not too long af­ter that, the whole fam­ily was bap­tized.

It’s amaz­ing what chil­dren pick up, isn’t it? The Proverb says, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not de­part from it” (22:6). The Psalm we fo­cus on to­day (Psalm 78) is some en­cour­age­ment from a man of God for you:

“O my peo­ple, hear my teach­ing; lis­ten to the words of my mouth…I will ut­ter hid­den things, things from of old — what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their chil­dren; we will tell the next gen- er­a­tion the praise­wor­thy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the won­ders he has done…which he com­manded our fore­fa­thers to teach their chil­dren, so the next gen­er­a­tion would know them, even the chil­dren yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their chil­dren. Then they would put their trust in God and would not for­get his deeds.”

Do you see how im­por­tant it is to bring your chil­dren up in God’s word? I know…it’s pop­u­lar to “let the kids de­cide for them­selves when they’re old enough.” I won­der if you have that same at­ti­tude about brush­ing their teeth or bed­times. You see, by na­ture, we won’t “de­cide for our­selves” the way of God. God’s word says it, “The sin­ful mind is hos­tile to God. It does not sub­mit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Ro­mans 8:7). By na­ture we want to go God’s way less than we want to floss our teeth.

You’d never think about let­ting your chil­dren set their own menu of noth­ing but candy and junk food to put into their body. Please don’t let your neg­li­gence set for them a spir­i­tual menu of noth­ing but self­ish­ness (all the com­mer­cials and ex­am­ples they see) and hu­man­ism (the world’s rea­son for do­ing good — which ul­ti­mately comes back to self­ish­ness).

What am I say­ing? Par­ents, you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity. Tell your chil­dren about Je­sus. Even though you think they’ve heard it be­fore, tell them again. Tell them about God’s love that saw our need and sac­ri­ficed his son. Tell them about our sav­ior who took our place and wiped away our sin. Tell them about God’s love shown to us in a mil­lion dif­fer­ent ways — and recorded for us so won­der­fully in scrip­ture.

And as you do all that — take ad­van­tage of your church to help you in that im­por­tant task. This week, at 9:15 a.m. on Sun­day, we start a new year of Sun­day school. At 5:45 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, our Mid­dle School Con­fir­ma­tion Class be­gins. We’d love to have your chil­dren there. Why not start now? Your chil­dren need it. And who knows what amaz­ing things God will do for them? Maybe they’ll be the next chil­dren help­ing their par­ents in their re­la­tion­ship with the Lord. Maybe they’ll be Leo, who, now as a teenager, is in contact with our Synod’s Board for World Mis­sions about bring­ing the truth to his part of the world.

I know, “They’re just chil­dren. What can they do?” Wrong ques­tion. What can God do through them? The an­swer to that is in­fi­nite. Bring them up in God’s word and let’s have fun watch­ing.

May God bless you as you em­brace this amaz­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity. In Christ,

Amen.

Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pas­tor of Abid­ing Grace Lutheran Church in Cov­ing­ton. Wor­ship ev­ery Sun­day is at 10:30 a.m. Full ser­mons and more in­for­ma­tion can be found at abid­ing­grace.com.

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