The question is not whether you will make disciples; it is what kind of disciples you will make? Wes speaks to the parents at Watermark and teaches from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The goal of discipleship is full-hearted devotion to the Lord, and the key to discipling your kids is your own transformation. It is not taking your kids to church so the pastors and experts can teach them. However, Watermark Kids does want to help partner with families in their discipleship efforts by providing resources, leaders and teachers, and community groups.

Scripture References: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Wes Butler

About Wes Butler

I had the privilege of serving as the Director of Single Adult ministry from September of 2004 until April of 2012, and am now Watermark's Director of Children's... Read more

Message Transcript
When I was 16 years old, I had a chance to go to Europe. I was working with camps for boys, and it just so happened we were doing some work with a camp of boys whose parents were in the military. I had never been out of the country before. I got my passport, and I set off on this adventure full of cars that drive on the wrong side of the road, people with really cool accents, and the glorious discovery, for me, of _Wiener Schnitzel_. It was an amazing experience. We were in England, and then we made our way to Germany. As we were passing through Germany, we went to the town of Cologne, Germany. We pulled into the town and got off the train that day, and we walked down the street and out into this courtyard. When we rounded the corner, we saw the cathedral in Cologne, Germany. At one point in time, it was the tallest building in the world. Still, today, it's the largest two-spired cathedral in the world. It is an overwhelming, enormous structure. It's beautiful in all its intricacies. We walked out there, hired a tour guide, and said, "Take us around and show us." We began to walk through the church, and we saw all the beautiful stained glass windows and all the artifacts and historical things that were in the church to see. We went to see where some really cool, important old dead guys were buried. We saw all these things, and then our tour guide took us outside the cathedral so we could walk around and see all the beautiful architecture. As we were walking outside, we noticed all the scaffolding along the side. The tour guide explained to us, "The legend of the Cologne Cathedral is this: It must always be being built or else the church will die, so there's always construction going on." The irony of that in that moment was what we were walking through wasn't really a church. It was just a museum. It was a museum where they were saying, "This is what used to happen here. Here's what happened a long time ago. Here's what we built." It was just this museum, but the church had really died a long time ago. Just this week, the Pew Research Center released a report about Germany specifically that said among people who would say, "I'm a Christian (Protestant or Catholic)," only 12 percent would say religion is a very important part of their lives, and only about 7 percent go to church on a regular basis. The church died a long time ago. The reason I tell you that story is we're really no different or better than the church in Cologne, Germany. We are consistently on the verge of this place becoming a museum where people come and go, "Remember when there was a church there?" Ray Ortlund says, "We are always one generation away from total ignorance of the gospel, the profound spiritual darkness, and the strong triumph of evil." As I have the responsibility of leading us and serving the next generation, that statement strikes a holy fear into me. It causes me to ask the question, "How do we keep that from happening here in Dallas, Texas? How do we keep that from happening here at Watermark? How do we ensure this place doesn't just become a museum people visit some time in the future and say, 'Remember when…?'" That's a problem for all of us, for everyone in the room. Kids, parents, the church at large… All of us have to figure out what our roles and responsibilities are. Today, David, Harrison, and I want to talk to those three different groups, share with you what the mission is that God has called you to, and help you to accomplish that mission. Kids, when you walked in, we handed you one of those cool sheets. This is the time when you might want to pull that out and jot down some things, but right now, I want to talk to parents. Parents, listen to me. Mom and Dad, there's no other human being on the planet who will have more of an impact on your child's life than you. For better or worse, you are right now making an impact in their lives. You're setting the stage for them. It was designed this way. God designed it this way from the very beginning. This isn't some mistake. When he created Adam and Eve, he told them, "Go, be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Fill it with children who will also bear the image of God and represent God to the world, to all of creation." As we know, sin entered into the world, and immediately that sin, that Serpent, that Enemy attacked the family. It divided that husband and wife. They began to blame each other for the sin that was in their lives. Shortly after that, it affected two brothers, Cain and Abel. Cain began to be envious and jealous of Abel to the point of hate and murder. That's just in the first four chapters of the Bible. Ever since those early chapters of Genesis, the family has constantly been under attack by that Enemy, but the attacks of the Enemy couldn't stop the family from doing what God designed the family to do. The family was designed to pass this on. The only thing sin could do was distort what the family was intended to do. C.S. Lewis said it this way: "Our Enemy has never had an original idea. He's just a master at taking God's original ideas and twisting and distorting them." That's what he's done to the family. Parents, here's the deal. You can't help but make disciples. Right at this very moment, you're making disciples. The fact that you're here at church on Labor Day weekend is a discipleship move. Where you will eat, what you will eat, what you'll talk about around your dinner table tonight, or whether you'll eat together as a family tonight is a discipleship moment. The way you spend your time, the way you spend your money, what you do or don't watch on TV, how you do or don't use your phone… All of these things are discipleship opportunities, including, even, the way you root for your sports team. You are always making disciples. The question is not whether or not you'll make disciples. The only question that remains is…_What kind of disciples are you going to make?_ Let me show you what I mean by this. Kids, think about UT and A&M. Your parents taught you one of those was good and one of those was from the pit of…you know. That's what they taught you. They discipled you in that. Here's the deal, kids. Can I be honest? UT and A&M haven't done anything for you, good or bad, but your parents have told you… We are always discipling our kids, so it begs the question…_How can we, as parents, disciple our kids in such a way as to keep from losing a generation to total ignorance of the gospel, profound spiritual darkness, and the strong triumph of evil?_ This morning, I want us to look at God's Word, because I believe this is something we must be intentional about as parents. If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Deuteronomy 6. In Deuteronomy 6, God laid out a plan for us. He said, "This is the way you should go." This text is one of the most important moments in all of the Bible. It's been important ever since Moses was walking the earth and he shared these words for the very first time. The Jewish people would say, "This is our most sacred text." When Jesus was asked, "What's the most important commandment?" he essentially pulled out his Bible and turned to Deuteronomy 6, and he read these words. He read, beginning in verse 4, **"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. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."** 1._ The goal of discipleship._ I want us to see three things that are here in this passage and one thing that isn't in this passage. If we have been instructed to go and make disciples, the goal of discipleship is _full-hearted devotion._ Do you see what it says right there? It says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might. It's a Hebrew poetic way of saying, "Love them with everything you have." The goal of discipleship is to love God and have that love be so big that there's not one area of our lives that it doesn't touch. This is not a "go to church on Sunday" type of religion. This is a life-changing, life-altering love relationship with the God of the universe. The goal of discipleship is full-hearted devotion. 2._ The key to discipleship._ Parents, the key to your discipleship is _your own transformation_. Parents, we can't give our kids what we ourselves do not possess. Here's the deal. Kids are expert observers. They're brilliant observers; they're just lousy interpreters. They're always watching you. They're always observing what's going on in your life, and we can't expect our kids' lives to be transformed by the love of God if they don't see God's love transforming our own lives. 3._ The how of discipleship._ The how of discipleship is _constantly out of the overflow of our hearts._ Right here it says, **"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."** In other words, all the time. Discipleship doesn't happen in a classroom. It happens in life-on-life moments. Parents, this is the reason why you have the most important and significant impact on the lives of your kids. Parents, your discipleship of your kids is the key to us keeping this place from becoming just a museum. Your discipleship of your kids is the key to us not losing a generation to total ignorance of the gospel, profound spiritual darkness, and the strong triumph of evil. 4._ What isn't there_. I want you to notice what isn't there. It doesn't say, "Parents, take your kids to church so the experts and pastors at church can teach your kids about loving God with all their heart, soul, and might." It doesn't say that. The church certainly has a responsibility. It is our responsibility to teach your kids, but parents, you are the primary disciple-maker in your child's life. The church is intended to be the original Home Depot, where we say, "You can do it. We can help." That's our job as a church. The job of the church is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. You are the saints, and the most important ministry you have is to the kids who are in your own home. Parents, you are the primary disciple maker in your child's life. That's why the mission of Watermark Kids is to partner with families to train up the next generation of fully-devoted followers of Christ. Let me share with you really quickly three ways we're trying to do that. One is _through__resources_ we're making available to you_._ Parents, every week when you come here, there's already a blog post up that describes what your kids are learning in their classes and then gives you Deuteronomy 6 moments you can do this week where you go, "Let's talk about these things of faith." We're constantly trying to put resources into your hands to help you. The second way, and you're going to hear more about this in a minute, is _through relationships._ We're trying to give your kids teachers, small group leaders, in our children's and student ministry who will come alongside you and echo the commands of Deuteronomy 6 right back into your kid's life. Hopefully, they're hearing them from you, and then they get to hear from leaders here. The third way we talk about all the time up here is _through Community Groups_. We can't do this parenting thing alone. We need each other, so we spend time within this Community Group we call you to just talking and going, "How are we doing at passing on our faith to the next generation? How can we do better?" Maybe today you want to take out your phone, text your Group, and say, "Next time we get together, let's talk about how we're doing at training up the next generation within our own homes." We are always one generation away from total ignorance of the gospel, profound spiritual darkness, and the strong triumph of evil. Let's not let it happen on our watch. We don't want to see this place become a museum. We want the walls of this place to continue to resound with the praises and hallelujahs to our God forever and forever, and it's only going to happen as we pass on our faith to this next generation, so let's go, church.

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