Summary: Sermon looks at parenting principles and challenges for children from Luke 2.
Parenting Done Right
Rev. Brian Bill
I have a confession to make this morning. For the past 11 years many of you have had to endure my frequent references to Wisconsin as the Promised Land. I’m starting to feel bad about this because it’s not really fair to say that just one state is highly favored by God. And so from now on I feel constrained to refer to two states that comprise Paradise. Some of you have been waiting for many years for me to see the light so I might as well admit it today. God has especially blessed the land of milk and the land of mountains…Colorado.
Our family was able to leave the flatlands of Illinois and travel to the majestic mountains of Colorado for vacation. We started in Colorado Springs where we did a lot of hiking at the Garden of the Gods, visited Glen Eyrie, Focus on the Family and the Air Force Academy. We ended our time by spending a few days at a secluded place up in the mountains four hours northwest of Denver. A Christian couple graciously let us borrow their brand-new home for free (see www.engediretreat.org.) Everywhere we went we either saw mountains or we were in the mountains. It was incredible. One of the things we did was look up over 200 Bible verses that contain the word “mountain.” Reading 25 at a time, we learned that God is as unmovable as a mountain, that He met with Moses on a mountain, that we can find refuge in Him, that He shakes the mountains with His voice.
On the first day we were in Colorado Springs, I woke up early in search of a cup of coffee and went outside on the motel balcony with my Bible. The view of snow-covered Pike’s Peak was glorious. When I went back inside for a refill I noticed a man standing in front of a TV intently watching a sporting event. He was totally locked in. When I walked past him with my full cup of java, he didn’t even notice me. As I headed back to my perch on the porch I was moved again by the majesty of the mountains. I then looked back at the man and he was still glued to the TV, totally oblivious to the splendor of God’s creative beauty. I began to secretly judge him inside, only to realize that I had pulled out my phone and had my face in my messages.
As we wrap up our “Hope for Your Home” series, I want to draw our attention away from electronic devices and other distractions so that we can focus on some parenting peaks that are as immovable as the mountains. Please turn in your Bibles to Luke 2. Before we camp in our text, let’s set the context. After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Father. It was there that a man named Simeon blessed the young family and predicted that Mary would have her soul pierced. They also encountered a worshipping widow named Anna who spoke about the Savior to all who would listen.
Here’s where we’re headed today. I want to draw some parenting principles from Joseph and Mary and then we’re going to look at five key factors in a child’s growth.
Let’s look first at four parenting principles.
1. Live for the Lord. We see in verse 39 that Joseph and Mary were careful to do everything required by the Law of the Lord and then they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. They didn’t leave anything out. If God’s Word said it, they did it. In verse 41, we see how their spiritual fervor was demonstrated with action: “Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.” As we’ve established in this series, parents must live for the Lord before anything else. The trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem was about 80 miles and would have taken several days.
On the last leg of their journey they would have been singing the Songs of Ascent from Psalms 120-134. This shows a lot about their spiritual commitment. There were two other required feast days according to Deuteronomy 16:16 and they probably made those trips as well: “Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.”
Once they arrived in Jerusalem, they would have purchased a lamb and brought it to the Temple where it was slaughtered along with thousands of others, the blood flowing freely on the pavement. The lamb was then taken and prepared for the Passover meal. Joseph and Mary did not yet grasp that their son Jesus would become the final lamb, offering his blood years later as full payment for the sins of the world.