What the Gospel demands of parents

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I had the privilege to speak this weekend at Redeemer. Love my church. I spoke on parenting, here are a few of the points from my message that I think apply to leaders everywhere.

What does the gospel require of parents?

1. Walk in Humility 

- say your sorry – - Kids have a sense of justice at an early age. They know when you have wronged them. They know when you have overstepped and overreached.

Phillipians 2:5-8 – Christ modeled for us humility. He was God but did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage, but humbled Himself. If God can do that for us we can lead our families in humility.

“The Key to the family functioning as a redemptive community, where the Gospel is the glue that holds the family together, is parents who so trust in Christ that they are ready and willing to confess their faults to their children.” Paul David Tripp

If you want your kids to understand the gospel model humility.

2. Live in Transparency

- Be the same person at home and at church – One of the greatest things we can do as parents is not be a perfect parent but point to a perfect savior.

The greatest example you can give your kids is a genuine faith filled relationship with Christ. In which you not only teach them the truth of the gospel but they see you walk out the vary things the gospel demands of us.

3. Suffer publicly

- What do you do when you lose that which is most precious to you? How you suffer will preach a more powerful message to your kids about what it is you value most than any message you could preach to them.

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12

We have bought into the lie that God is interested in our happiness and our success. He isn’t. He’s interested in our obedience.

We can fake our faith to those outside our homes, but its our kids who see us suffer in private and it’s the things that we lose that cause pain and the things we turn to in our pain that teach our kids. Those are the things we find more valuable than anything.

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” C.S. Lewis

4. Trust Jesus completely

- Don’t try and engineer your child’s future – As a parent your children and your family can become an idol. Idol’s are not just bad things Tim Keller says so perfectly that an “idol can be good things we make ultimate things.” We try to live out our dreams through our kids. We try to engineer our children’s future. We do everything to ensure they are on the travel team, staring in the school play. We try to create a perfect well rounded kid that will be accepted by a “good college”  and give little thought to  what we should be doing so that they are accepted by God. It’s a partnership of the church and the family.

Our success as a parent is based on our connectedness to Christ “apart from which we can do nothing”.

John 15:4-8

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

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19 thoughts on “What the Gospel demands of parents

  1. awesome. I just sent this to all my parents. So many of these quotes ring true even for folks that don't have kids. In america we get so stuck on success and accolades that we'll pressure our kids to study or train athletically for hours but we won't serve in their class at church or encourage them to drive into God's word. I have also had so many parents who are afraid of doing it "wrong". The quote about not having to be the perfect parent I think is a breath of fresh air while at the same time reminding people that Jesus is the only perfect thing we know.

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. The past few weeks I've watched a sweet, sweet friend bury her husband and figure out how to live life and glorify God as a now single mom of a first grader. This sentence, "We have bought into the lie that God is interested in our happiness and our success. He isn’t. He’s interested in our obedience." Is so, so true. If we could get a hold of that as believers, what a difference it would make!

    • So sorry about your friend. What a painful time, at the same time what an opportunity for Christ to be glorified. How your friend suffers will preach louder to her kids than anything she could ever say. I will continue to pray for your friend and her tragic loss.

  3. Whenever I lead a baby dedication class parents are quick to ask what can I do to bring my child up in the faith. My answer is similar to yours; "Be the same person at home and at church". However, that answer does not always get received positively because the parents know that they are not the same person at home as they are at the church; it is convicting. And if we truly believe this, then we need to invest sometime bringing up the faith in parents as we do with kids. Many times I forget, that we should not solely minister to kids but also to the parents that care for them the other six days of the week.

    Thanks Sam, great piece.

    • So good Trevor as a kids pastor your are less of a pastor to kids and more of a pastor to people who pastor kids. If you are only pastoring kids you are missing out on the depth and reach that your ministry to those kids can be by leveraging and pouring into the adults in their lives.

  4. Great reminders. We can't hear them enough. What you have provided here is extremely thoughtful, practical and right on. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hear the full message!

  5. A really good article. Thanks for posting it. I recently read a book called Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson which was also helpful and informative. You can check it out at cruciformpress.com