Marriage and Family | Psalm 78:1-8

2022 Messages

How can the institutions of marriage and family be a part of restoring our culture to God’s original design? As we take a break from our 1 Corinthians series, Chris Sherrod, Watermark’s new Director of Marriage and Family, shows us how to love completely, train intentionally, and testify personally so that every generation is equipped to teach the next generation about the wondrous works of God.

Chris SherrodMay 8, 2022Psalms 78:1-8

In This Series (10)
Christmas Eve | John 1:1-14
Timothy "TA" AteekDec 24, 2022
All Hands On Deck | December 2022
Blake Holmes, Kyle Thompson, Ben Caldwell, Marvin Walker, Carson SmithDec 1, 2022
God is Here | John 2:13-22
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 3, 2022
From Good to Godly | 2 Samuel 6:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 14, 2022
Living a Life of Faith, Not of Logic | John 2:1-11
John ElmoreAug 7, 2022
“Why Doesn’t God Do Something?” | Revelation 21:1-8
Timothy "TA" AteekMay 29, 2022
Marriage and Family | Psalm 78:1-8
Chris SherrodMay 8, 2022
All Hands on Deck | May 2022
Blake Holmes, Kyle Thompson, Todd Anders, Ben Caldwell, Mickey FriedrichMay 1, 2022
Good Friday 2022
John ElmoreApr 15, 2022
Leveraging Our Lives for the Sake of the Gospel | 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
Timothy "TA" AteekApr 3, 2022


How can the institutions of marriage and family be a part of restoring our culture to God’s original design? As we take a break from our 1 Corinthians series, Chris Sherrod, Watermark’s new Director of Marriage and Family, shows us how to love completely, train intentionally, and testify personally so that every generation is equipped to teach the next generation about the wondrous works of God.

Key Takeaways

  • Marriage and family ministry applies to everyone because:
    • The church is consistently described in family terms.
    • Throughout Scripture the believing community creates an opportunity for parents to explain and pass on their faith to their children.
    • Civilization depends on the strength and health of the traditional family.
  • We tend to forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget.
  • Every generation has a responsibility to teach the next about the works of God (Psalm 78:4b-5).
  • Our goal is multi-generational faithfulness so that the next generation:
    • Knows God’s works and words (Psalm 78:6)
    • Puts their confidence in God (Psalm 78:7)
    • Remembers and obeys (Psalm 78:7)
  • God’s works and word are commemorated by the community and then illuminated by the family. The corporate celebration sparks the personal conversation.
  • Kids’ first impression of the gospel is modeled in the home (Ephesians 5:25-30).
  • Love completely, train intentionally, and testify personally (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
  • We must decide if God is the designer and definer of reality first (Proverbs 9:10).
  • Training our children is intentional, directional, developmental, and generational.
  • Home is to be a Word environment, and more is caught than taught.
  • Kids aren’t asking for perfection; they just want to see the reality of their parents’ transformative relationship with Jesus (Deuteronomy 6:20-23).
  • Kids don’t reject our theology; they reject our hypocrisy.
  • Family and children’s ministry is both evangelism and spiritual formation.
  • If something is important, we make the time; if it’s not important, we make excuses.
  • The legacy that you leave will depend on the life that you live.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • Are you submitted to God as the designer and definer of your reality, or is culture shaping you more than Christ?
  • In what ways are you committed to passing on your faith to the next generation?
  • Is it clear for the next generation to see how the gospel has transformed you, or is your theology misaligned with your actions?

Resources for Further Discussion

  • Suggested Scripture study: Psalm 78:1-8; Judges 2:10; Ephesians 5:22-30; Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-24; Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 127 (arrows); Isaiah 29:16; Hebrews 13:4; Psalm 44:1; Psalm 71:18; Psalm 102:18; Psalm 145:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:13-14; Deuteronomy 32:7
  • Book: Family and Civilization by Carle C. Zimmerman

Good morning. I'm excited to be here. Happy Mother's Day. If you have your copy of God's Word, open to Psalm 78. We're going to look at a couple of different passages this morning, but we're going to start off looking at God's design for passing on faith to the next generation, and then we're going to look, specifically, at how God wants us to do that in our families.

While you're turning there, I'll share with you an interesting thing I discovered a few years ago. It's kind of crazy. I thought, when I first heard about it, it sounded like something that was in a science fiction movie. The name of it is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It's also known as the Arctic Doomsday Vault. Believe it or not, there is this real thing. This really exists. It is on this remote Norwegian island. This is real.

What it's there for is for countries to take seeds from their native land, their native soil, and store them there. They preserve them there so that in case something ever happens back in their own country, because of famine or a natural disaster or just mishandling, and they lose that seed there, they can go back to the seed vault and pull it out and bring it back to their country. Isn't that cool? That's a real thing. Some of you are already looking that up, probably. It's a real thing.

The reason I share that with you is we're going to begin emphasizing and talking a whole lot more about family and marriage and the importance of that, and in our country, we have, in a lot of ways, mishandled the seeds God has given us when it comes to those issues. It's time where we need to go back to the vault of God's Word and bring out these truths again and focus on those.

What does God have to say about this, and what's God's plan for passing faith on to the next generation? Before we get to Psalm 78… The whole psalm is all about God's faithfulness and our forgetfulness. Let me challenge you with three reasons family ministry applies to everybody here no matter what your age and stage is.

The first one is God constantly refers to his people as a family. If you were here last week with TA bringing the Word from 1 Corinthians 6, he talked about that: we are a family. The most constant phrase between us, as believers, is brothers and sisters. We're the household of faith. Older men teach the younger men. Older women teach the younger women. That's God's design for us. So, we are one big family anyway, so family ministry applies to us.

A second reason it's important for all of us is you see this pattern in the Old and New Testament (I'll expand on this in a minute) where God's people come together as a believing community and celebrate or commemorate or worship together, but then that provides an opportunity for parents to go a little bit deeper on what they experienced. Again, I'll give you some examples of that in a minute.

The third reason marriage and family ministry applies to everybody… Some of you have heard these stats before, but it is fascinating to look at, over and over again, these examples of people who study this stuff, and it demonstrates that every great civilization, when it begins to crumble and decay and disintegrate from within, it has to do with the family. G.K. Chesterton famously put it this way one time: "Every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things."

There's a guy named Carle Zimmerman. He was an eminent Harvard sociologist. He wrote this really amazing book called Family and Civilization. He traced what family looked like through all of these great empires, the Greeks and the Romans and other things like that. What he found was every single civilization, at its peak of creativity and power and growth, all had this domestic family model. It wasn't individualistic. It was all what we would think of as the domestic family.

Here's what's interesting. He gives this list of warning signs. Like, this is what you see when these civilizations are on their last leg before they decay. I'm going to share these with you because he was writing this in 1947, and here's what he said are the signs that this culture is entering its final stage of decay.

He said, first of all, marriage loses its sacredness and is frequently broken by divorce. The traditional meaning of marriage is lost, and alternate forms of marriage abound. There's a breaking down of most inhibitions against adultery. He said there's a decreased number of children and increased public disrespect for parents and parenthood, and this anti-familism attitude of the pseudo-intellectuals then spreads throughout the civilization.

He said there's a refusal of people with traditional marriages to accept family responsibilities and maintain their tradition. There are revolts of youth against parents so that parenthood becomes more and more difficult for those who do try to raise children. There's a popularity of pessimistic attitudes about the nation's early heroes. Isn't that interesting? Lastly, he said, there's an increasing interest in and spread of sexual perversions of all forms. This was in 1947. He said that's what we see in these other nations, these other civilizations.

So, marriage and family are a big deal for all of us for those reasons. Psalm 78. We're going to read the first eight verses, and I want you to look at what God outlines here. Basically, you're going to see this plan for multigenerational faithfulness, that God's plan is for faith and trust in the Lord, and then obedience to the Lord, to be passed from one generation to another. So, read with me in God's Word.

"Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children…"

Do you guys see the pattern there? Children and grandchildren, even great-grandchildren. Here's the goal: "…so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God."

So, here's the task. Each generation has this responsibility to teach. He mentions two things: the wondrous works of God (that's in verse 4) and the eternal words of God (that's in verse 5). We're supposed to pass on what we've seen God do, who God is, what God has revealed. Then there's this result.

Here's the goal, and three things are mentioned here. This goal of multigenerational faithfulness is, first of all, that the next generation knows God's works and words. That's in verse 6. "…that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children…" You know God's works and God's Word.

The second result of this is the next generation puts their confidence in God. That's what it says in verse 7. "…so that they should set their hope in God…" Having a hope in the midst of crazy times. You can still know peace without knowing what's next. It's okay. You have confidence in God. Then the third result of multigenerational faithfulness is the next generation remembers and then obeys.

The rest of this psalm goes on and talks about Israel's history, where they constantly forget what God has done, and then they remember, or they forget and then God remembers, and it's all about them forgetting. It goes through the time of Joshua and into the time of the judges. What's so interesting about the time of Judges is this book starts off, Joshua's generation dies off, and it says another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.

You come out of Egypt, and then you go into the Promised Land, and you're conquering, and then you get to this next generation. They don't know who God is or what he has done. How does that happen? Whose fault is that? Guess what? Now you enter into one of the darkest downward spirals of Israel's history during the time of the judges.

So, this is the multigenerational faithfulness model that God wants us to pass on. Parents are the primary agents God wants to intentionally do this with, to pass on truths to the children, but God wants it to also happen in a community. We can't do this alone as parents. We need a community to surround us to provide what these parents need.

Here's the pattern. I mentioned this a little bit earlier. There's a pattern you see in Scripture where God's works and Word are commemorated by the community and then illuminated by the family. We get together as a community, and we talk about and celebrate what God has done together, but then that gives parents the opportunity to talk to their kids in the home.

The corporate celebration sparks the personal conversation. The corporate celebration, what we're even doing right now, is supposed to spark this personal conversation you have in the home. That's God's plan. Let me give you some examples. In the Old Testament, in the book of Exodus, you have the Passover, this big celebration of God's people where they symbolically act out reminders of God's deliverance.

God specifically says, "When your children ask you, 'Why are we doing this, Dad?' then you tell them, 'Here's what God did for us.' You pass that on." The same thing you see in Joshua 4. God does this really amazing miracle where they cross the Jordan River. It's a miraculous crossing. Joshua says, "Hey, we're going to take 12 stones. We're going to build a memorial, and then in time to come, when your children ask, 'Hey, what are those stones for?' you tell them what you saw God do."

So, there's this pattern where God is trying to put in front of the people, but also the children, this visible picture or reminder. When they got into the Promised Land, God had the tribes split up into two halves. Six were on one hill, and six were on another, and they all pronounced either God's blessings or God's curses as a community. That's right there before the eyes of the children.

In the New Testament, we have symbols. We still celebrate them today. We have Communion. What do we do Communion for? We had a baptism just a little bit ago. What is this all about? God is trying to give us an opportunity as a community. As we celebrate, a believing family here, then the kids can say, "So what is that about?"

For our children, God gives a really clear opportunity in something called marriage. It's before their eyes all day long. Ephesians 5 says, "Husbands, we have this living parable here, and you are going to be representing… You'll be playing the role of Jesus in your marriage. You are to model, imperfectly and by God's grace, what it looks like for Christ to lovingly lay down his life for his bride. That's what I need you to do.

Wives, your assignment… You'll be playing the role of the church, and your job is to model, by God's grace imperfectly, what it looks like to submit to Christ, and that's going to be before your children." Two nights ago here, we got to celebrate the different marriage ministries that are going on in this church. God makes a big deal about marriage.

Ephesians 6, then, right afterward, says, "Hey, by the way, fathers, it's your job to bring up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord." It's still going back to you, parents, talking to your kids. So, you have this one main way that God is passing on faith to the next generation. It's through these symbols, these opportunities, these ceremonies. They remind children, "Hey, I'm part of a bigger family. I'm part of a bigger community. This is what my parents are all about, but then I get to talk to my parents about these things."

Here's where we have a challenge, and this is part of what we're going to be doing here in our ministry. We do a really great job here on Sunday mornings for your children, but here's what my friend Kurt Bruner pointed out: we've been so busy focusing on what's happening on the weekend that we're missing out on what's not happening in the homes during the week.

We have, more than ever, some of the most incredible programs for kids. I think some of you recognize… When we were kids, we had flannelgraph story time. That was kind of what it was. Now we have amazing stuff, so many more amazing things for our kids, but the bigger issue is…Is this getting transmitted at home? Is there anything going on later on? Just think about the hours. You have one hour here versus all of the opportunities during the week when you can talk to your kids, if you'll take them. That's what we're going to see here in this other passage.

This is where it's interesting. I want you to think of it this way. My grown-up kids and I love to go see movies together. We'll make it a big deal. If it's a final chapter of a movie coming out or something we've been looking forward to, we'll talk about it. We're all going to go. Which one will reserve seats and maybe buy snacks? We usually actually try to ride together and talk about the movie before we go.

I want you to imagine we go and see a movie together, and it's an epic, Academy Award-winning movie. It's really a cliff-hanger. We get in the car afterward, and we don't ever talk about it. We just ride home in silence. Wouldn't that be weird? What we do when we go to the movie… Afterward, it's exciting in the car to say, "What was your favorite part?" or "What did you like?" Maybe the next day we're still talking about it.

Here's what's going on a lot of times in our families. We show up here at church. It's a big deal. We make it a big deal. There's all this amazing stuff going on. Kids hear these great lessons. Then we get in the car, and we never talk about it. It's like it didn't happen. I think a lot of kids are like, "So, wait. Was something supposed to change or be different? What's supposed to go on now?" God intends for the primary discipleship to be in the home where you have the opportunity literally given to you to pass on your faith to the next generation.

Let's look at this in another place. Turn back to Deuteronomy 6. Here is why this passage is really, really helpful. God actually gives a very specific way we can do this as parents. If you want to, you can swing by Deuteronomy 4. I'll just share it with you really quickly. The whole book is a series of sermons by Moses before Israel goes into the Promised Land, and he's reminding them of a lot of stuff.

He gives them this warning. It sounds like what we read in Psalm 78. Listen to what it says in Deuteronomy 4:9. "Only take care, and keep your soul diligently…" Some versions say, "Watch yourselves closely." "…lest you forget…" Remember what we just read in Psalm 78? We don't want to forget. So many times, we forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget. Right?

"…lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children…" This is our job as a parent, as a grandparent. I'm telling my kids, "This is what I've seen God do." So, let's read this together from Deuteronomy 6. This chapter is important, by the way. Jesus quoted from here three different times, twice while he was tempted, but the big one… When he was asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" he went right here, starting in verse 4.

This is called the Shema. In Hebrew that means to hear, and it really means listen with an intent to obey. It starts off in verse 4: "Hear, O Israel…" He's talking to the community. "…the Lord our God, the Lord is one." We learn about who God is there. Verse 5: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." Literally, all your muchness. It's all your everything.

"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." From this chapter, I want to give you three big principles you can apply.

  1. Love God completely. You have this declaration here of who God actually is. This is really important that we realize we're learning who God is. Not a deified version of myself, not some kindly grandfather in the sky, not my buddy, not some detached, impersonal force or deistic God. It is the God of Scripture who has revealed himself to us that we celebrate…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…the amazing fact that he's infinite yet intimate at the same time. That's the God you need to know. That's the first thing.

The second thing of loving God completely is you need to love him with all of your everything. That's why he mentions your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength. It's everything. It's complete surrender. It's complete lordship. This undivided God is looking for undivided worshipers. It's all of me, not just a part of me that I've added on.

It says God's words are supposed to be on your heart, not just in your head. This is why it's crucial. Out of the overflow of the heart, Jesus said, the mouth speaks. We talk about what's important to us. When we're excited about something, we want someone else to be excited about something. That's what social media teaches us. I saw that sunset; I want you to see this sunset. I saw this picture; I want you to see it. I heard this joke; I want you to hear it. That's what we do when something is on our hearts.

So, you love God completely. The beauty of his Word is it brings clarity. It brings authority, especially in this world where we have so many issues of our day. Before we can resolve these issues, we need to be able to clarify them. Let me give you an illustration to help think about this first point of loving completely.

Each of my sons has done this at some point. We're getting ready for church, and they come out dressed for church, and their shirt is buttoned up, but it's off. Do you know what I'm talking about? You know exactly what happened. They got their first button wrong, so every button after that was wrong. I'm like, "Good job, buddy. Here we go. Let's start over. You have to start back with that first button."

This is what has happened, and this is why this passage is so crucial. In our culture, and a lot of times in our lives, we've gotten our first button wrong. We have to answer this question…Is there a God and has he spoken? This is the first button…Is God the designer and definer of reality and morality? That's the first button we have to get. If you get that button wrong, all of these other issues you start to talk about… You're going to be wrong.

You want to talk about marriage? Great. All of that depends on how you define marriage. Well, is there a God who has designed marriage and defined marriage for us? You want to talk about gender? Okay, great. We have to first ask the question…Is there a God who has designed and defined gender for us? Whatever the issue is…your identity, your value, your purpose, the value of human life…all of those things go back to getting that first button right.

Knowing who God is and what God has said then informs how I think, how I act, how I feel. It's not the other way around. It's really tempting to do that. Right? To let how I think, how I feel, how I act inform me of who God is and what he has done, what he said. That's not the way it works.Three times in this chapter it talks about the fear of the Lord. It's a really healthy thing that you live in the fear of the Lord.

I think of it as being in awe of the person and power of God and being aware of the presence and promises of God, living in that awareness…who God is and what he has done, and then the fact that God has spoken and God is with me. This infinite God is also intimate. Living in the fear of the Lord.This is why Proverbs says that is the starting point. It's your first button. When it comes to knowledge… It's the starting point of wisdom. It's the foundation. Everything you know about the world flows through that first understanding, living in the fear of the Lord.

Tim Keller described it as the life-rearranging, joyful awe and wonder before the greatness of who God is and what he has done. So, that's the first thing. You have to love completely. You know who God is and you love him with all your everything.The second application I want to make… This goes specifically to parents. You love God with all your everything, God's Word is on your heart, and then what's the first application you're going to make from that? You tell your children.

  1. Train intentionally. Israel is about to go into this pluralistic, relativistic, pleasure-loving, sex-obsessed culture. What's God's strategy for them? "You love me with all your everything, my Word is on your heart, and then you are going to pass this on to your children." Look at what it says in verse 7. "You shall teach them diligently to your children…"

Here's what's interesting about that phrase right there. This is the only time in the whole Old Testament where that Hebrew word is actually translated teach. Every other time it's referring to sharpening something, like a sword; whetting a knife or a sword or sharpening an arrow. It talks about piercing. That's what that word means.

What God is saying here is you sharpen your children with God's Word. It's not just telling them a story. You're training them. You're sharpening them with God's Word. Psalm 127 actually says children are a blessing, a heritage, but it says they're arrows. You're sharpening your arrows to go make an impact. Arrows aren't meant to stay in the quiver. You take them out and aim them, and then you launch them. That's what your children are supposed to be like: arrows. Not boomerangs, by the way. That's the plan.

The second part… This is where we get a little more specific. You teach them diligently to your children. You shall talk of them once a week in a group setting. Is that what it says? No. What does it say? "…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."

There are four windows of opportunity. Just pick one of those. When you're sitting around the house at the dinner table, when you're in transition in the car, end of the day, beginning of the day… Pick one. God's Word then is supposed to be central. It's on your heart. Now you talk about these things. You sharpen your kids with them. Then put them up in front of their eyes. Put them symbolically on you.

Whatever it is, your home is a Word environment. Mom and Dad possess this passionate love for the name and fame of Jesus, and then they pass this on to their kids. Modeling it is crucial. More is caught than taught. Have you ever heard that phrase before? It's not just verbally passing on your faith, but parents are clearly modeling what it looks like to passionately follow Christ, to stand in awe of God, to understand your purpose. What does it mean to live in the fear of the Lord?

That kind of legacy that you're passing on then equips your kids. Like, "Okay, that's the kind of faith I want to follow," and then they're equipped to pass it on to their kids. It can kind of end up sounding like what Paul said. "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." Or what he said to Timothy. "You know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance. You've seen it lived out in front of you."

So, you love completely. You train intentionally. This third point is at the end of this passage that I want to skip to, starting in verse 20, but let me just tell you what Moses does. He says, "Let me remind you of something. When you go into this land and are living in houses you didn't build and enjoying crops you didn't plant and wells you didn't dig, don't forget." Sound familiar? "Do not forget this is all by God's grace. You're following his commandments."

Then look at what happens in verse 20. "When your son asks you in time to come…" Does that sound familiar? It's what we saw in Exodus and in Joshua. "When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?'…" In other words, "Hey, Mom and Dad, why are we doing this? What's the big deal of getting together? Why do we bow our heads? Why do some people lift their hands? What's with the baptism we saw there?"

When your kids ask you, "Why are we following these commandments…?" Now, here's the tempting thing to do, you guys. It's tempting to skip to verse 24. Verse 24 says, "And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes…" It's really easy to go, "Well, God said so." I want to encourage you to fight that temptation. God actually tells you what to say. Look at what he says in verse 21.

"…then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.'"

  1. Testify personally. You share the gospel. What do you tell your kids? You tell them your story. Now, their story is a shadow of the gospel, but basically, their story would be this: "Well, son, I was a helpless slave, but God entered history to rescue me by his grace and with a mighty hand, and I only escaped the judgment of God by taking shelter under the blood of the lamb." Does that sound familiar? You tell your kids your story. Don't ever get over it.

Don't just skip to "Well, this is what we're supposed to do. This is what we do." Don't do that. This is the meaning behind it. Charles Spurgeon said, "Whenever you think about your own conversion, dear friend, regard it as a miracle, and always say within yourself, 'It was a wonder of grace. If the conversion of anybody was ever a miracle of mercy, it was my conversion; it was extraordinary condescension on Christ's part to look on such a sinner as I was, and nothing but a miracle of grace could have saved me.'" Don't ever get over your story. Testify personally.

Parents, our kids are not looking for perfection. I think they know you're not perfect. What they want to see is the reality of a relationship with Jesus that makes a difference. They just want to know, "Does all this stuff we do really change how we act at home and what you do at your job? Does it affect your marriage? How does it affect your priorities and what you spend your money on?" That's just what they want to know.

For a lot of kids, I don't think they're rejecting our theology; I think they're rejecting our hypocrisy. It's not just something we do here, and then we live and we never talk about this. We live totally different. They want to see, "Okay. I think you do love God with all your everything, imperfectly." Let me give you a couple of applications. This is for all of us here, whether you're single or married, single parent, grandparent, old or young. This is what we have to do as a community.

We want to move ahead. Our culture is all about progress, but C.S. Lewis said something one time, and I want you to listen to his wisdom. He said, "We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be, and if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."

We're going back to the vault of God's Word. What does God say on how we do this? It's not about programs; it's about a lifestyle God has called parents to. So, for an application, let me give you two questions. First question: Are you submitted to the designer and definer of reality? You're submitting everything to him. Who God is and what God has said is now your final authority. "I'm submitted to him." God is there. God has spoken. Our culture doesn't like that.

First Corinthians 6… We're right in the middle of that here in our Bible teaching. It says this really offensive phrase, by the way. It says you are not your own. People don't like that today. Our culture's ultimate values… I think of three A's. Autonomy. It literally means self-law. "I get to call the shots. I define myself. I define my morals." Authenticity. "I'm being true to however I feel, no matter what it is." Then affirmation. "You have to celebrate whatever I've decided I feel." Autonomy, authenticity, affirmation. Those are the big things, where we're saying we're deciding for ourselves.

It reminds me of Isaiah 29:16. It puts it this way: "You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, 'He did not make me'; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding'?" Did you catch that? People are either saying, "He did not make me" (there's no designer) or "He has no understanding" (he's not the definer; he doesn't know what he's talking about). That's why the fear of the Lord is so important. It's the starting point, again, of our knowledge and our wisdom.

So, which is shaping you more, church? Christ or the culture? You don't want to just be an echo of our culture. You're going back to, "Okay. God is the designer. God is the definer." A high view of Scripture is going to produce a high view of marriage, a high view of family. That's just what it's going to do. Hebrews 13:4 says marriage should be honored by all, the marriage bed kept pure. We're all upholding God's design, his exclusive design, for sexual activity.

So, that's the first question: Are you submitted to the designer and definer of reality? Second question: Are you committed to passing on your faith to the next generation? This generational mindset we keep talking about. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said a righteous man is one who lives for the next generation. We're a very individualistic culture where we don't want to think about anyone else coming behind us.

Sadly, we're not a culture that's thinking about repeating itself, of who's coming on behind us, but that's what you see in the church. We're reaching up to take the hand of those who have gone on ahead of us, and we reach down to take the hand of those who are coming behind us, especially if you're a parent. That's your kids. There are a ton of ways you can get involved doing that in this church. I don't want you to just think of this as children's ministry or family ministry. I want you to think of this as evangelism and discipleship, spiritual formation.

The number-one way to evangelize someone, you guys, is to raise them in a Christ-honoring home, rooted in relationship. That's a huge way you evangelize someone, and then you disciple them. Whether or not you're a parent, your great task is to magnify the name and fame of Jesus for the world, but also for the next generation. You're passing that on. You might not be currently called to marriage and family, but Scripture says we're supposed to pass this on.

Listen to some other examples. Psalm 44:1: "O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days…" Psalm 71:18: "So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come." Are you seeing a pattern here? Psalm 102:18: "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord…" Psalm 145:4: "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts."

Again, Paul tells Timothy in the New Testament, "What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you…" That's the task of parents and the church family. We're guarding the good deposit, the message of the gospel, and then we're passing it on to the next generation.

Parents, I'll just tell you this. I know the challenge. The challenge is time. I know we're busy. The Bible says, "Make the best use of the time, because the days are evil." In my life I've learned if something is important to me, I make the time. If it's not important, I make excuses. That's just the nature of it. You have to make the time to do this. Make the most of every opportunity.

You have to have this mindset: "I'm launching my children as arrows for the short time they're in my home." One of the big things we're going to be emphasizing in this church right now is how to help you create a culture of home discipleship. That's what we want to do. We want to equip you. We're going to continue to encourage you and support you, and regardless of where your family is or what it looks like right now…

There's a lot of brokenness, I know, but we are here to help. You can do this, parents. God is equipping you, but we're here to help you, and there are people who want to come alongside you with all of the unique challenges you're facing. Parents need to see themselves as the primary discipleship center for their kids. We want to help you make it easy and make it likely that it's going to happen. That's part of what we're going to do.

Again, kids can see this most consistently, most clearly, in their parents. A lot of kids, unfortunately, are adopting maybe the religion of their parents, but they're not following the God of their parents. We want to change that and leave a legacy. There's a theme we had at Pine Cove camps a few years ago called Legacy: You Leave What You Live. The reminder is the legacy you leave will depend on the life you live. Will your legacy move your children, your grandchildren, those coming behind you, to love God passionately and love people practically in the name of Jesus?

So, you skip to the end of Deuteronomy, and there's this generational reminder. Let me read to you Deuteronomy 32:7. "Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you." So, it's me looking ahead to those who have gone on before me. "Show me. Tell me. How do I do this?" Then I'm able to turn and help those who are coming behind me. That's our prayer and our desire. You love God with all your everything. You love him completely. You train intentionally, and then you testify personally. Will you pray with me?

Lord, thank you so much for this reminder from your Word of the supremacy of Scripture, of who you are and what you've said. Thank you for the command and the reminder, Lord, that we can't be silent about this. Lord, I pray, as we saw there in Deuteronomy 6, that we will be faithful to testify personally of what you've done, the amazing grace you poured out through your Son freely by his sacrifice on the cross and his victory over death.

God, I pray that we would intentionally look for opportunities to do this. Again, I know we're busy, but I pray that we would make time for this. I pray that, as a church, we would be united as a family, that we would relate to each other as a family, that we would look to the coming generation behind us as our responsibility, that we would look ahead to those who have paved the way and learn from them, God.

Above all, I pray that we would love you most and first and best as the designer and definer of reality, the infinite creator God who's also intimate and knows us. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your love for us that you pour out over and over again. Lord, help us to stand in awe of who you are and what you've done. We ask this in the name of Jesus, amen.