Here’s the message audio (CLICK HERE) and my write-up for our first installment of VENDING MACHINE…
“Given all that is going on in the world, how do I get prepared? How do I prepare my children (which is my biggest worry)? What kind of world will my children be in when I’m not around? How can I make sure they are equipped to handle it?”
We spend an awful lot of time worrying about the world we live in but even more so about the world our children and grandchildren live in. We want to protect them, to equip them, to make them ready for all we know and have experienced, a world our hearts disapprove of everyday.
But to truly protect and prepare our children and others from a harmful world, we ourselves as parents and protectors of children must be grounded and firm in our own beliefs and in our own faith. It is not enough for us to ride the coat tails of OUR parents and grandparents. It’s not enough to belong to a church that knows what it believes. YOU have to know what you believe and why you believe it. You must enter into the same faith journey that you desire your children enter into.
As Christians, we are no different than the people being led out of the oppressive land of Egypt and into the saving arms of God. Yes, the Exodus people wandered in the desert for 40 years, but their wandering was a result of disobedience, selfishness, griping and discontent. The world God was leading them into made little sense in the moment, so they abandoned the journey in their hearts before they ever reached the spiritual destination God was leading them toward. The promised land was more than just a piece of property with their name on the deed. It was a location that would provide the people with a place to worship God freely and completely.
What stopped the people from achieving that, either during the journey or after they reached the physical land, was a divided heart. Without a firm devotion to God and the mentality that was driven by community (rather than individualism), they would wander for years to come.
This fits into our question for today in that we must come together as husbands and wives, sons and daughters, family units, friends and neighbors, and live out our faith in a way that is intentional and worshipful. We must fight the current culture with the culture of God. As God was leading the people out of captivity, he was also leading them out of an captive culture, too. He would mold them and change them into something that looked nothing like the culture they once knew and nothing like the cultures they would encounter. It was both the cultures of the past and the cultures of the future that God would protect the people from by building a godly culture; one that superseded what they knew with what God intended.
Paul helps us understand a uniquely Christian culture through his writing of many letters to different churches. To the people of Colossae he wrote the following, from Colossians 3.12–25…
12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, 24 since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.
In this text, we learn that through each role that a family members plays, each member acts in a Christ-like way toward the other. Each role witnesses to the other roles, encouraging Christ-likeness within each person. Each individual role is a witness; each relationship is a witness; each family unit is a witness; and as the family reaches out to others we see the witness passed on and on to the world. These roles are the same in the different societal structures. Whether you are an employer or employee, a seller or a consumer, etc. We witness through our connections and show Christ as we interact.
Therefore, in order to be prepared against a world that is at war with our principles, our standards, and our ways, we must live a new life, a “Christian” life. We must let God deliver us from Egypt. We must let God warn us from the ways of cultures we’ve yet encountered. We must teach our children to live, think, act, and breathe in godly ways. If we do not, then like the people of the Exodus, our children will wander in the deserts of life, captivated and captured by the ways of the world and not the ways of God.
We can live as Christ lived, because He has gone before us, living as God commanded and empowering us to follow Him through the Holy Spirit. If we will be a worshipping people, a faithful people, we will live Christian and enter into the promised land, where God awaits our arrival with joy. Amen.