Gary Thomas has spent the last couple days at Providence. If you want to follow his ministry you can do so at @garylthomas on twitter. The last session is on The Cost of Parenting. If you haven’t read his book on parenting, Sacred Parenting then you need to get it!
Sacred Parenting Session 3 – Gary Thomas
Providence Baptist Church
September 27, 2010
The Cost of Parenting
2 Samuel 24.24: “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offering that costs me nothing.”Is your attitude that of David’s? We serve a generous kind God. He meets our needs. We think God is obligated to come through. The same God throughout Scripture talks about our need to sacrifice on His behalf.
Romans 12.2 “Present your bodies as living sacrifices.” Paul says we should see ourselves primarily as ongoing sacrifices because of the mercy of God.
John Calvin “How shall he be reckoned among the disciples of Christ who desires to be wholly exempted from the cross?
These thoughts of sacrifice have much to do with our role as parents. It is terrifying to me that I have to teach my daughters how to sacrifice. What I had to do when my last daughter was baptized, I picked out a nice cross, when she came up out of the water, I put the cross around her neck. Two messages. One to Kelsey: you’ve given your life to Christ. He is someone you can trust. He also puts a cross on your soldier. He will have to break you. He will ask you to deny yourself. That is the nature of the God we serve. He saves us by the cross. He leads us to the cross.. To me: You’ve got to let her go to the cross. Point her to the cross. Learn a life of self-denial.
One of the few times in the NT where parents are admonished: 2 Cor 12.14-15 – Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?God knew that Jesus would have to pay the cost of sacrifice for us. Jesus had to bleed and die on our behalf. The Bible calls us to the end of ourselves, the denial of ourselves, our sacrifice. It is by God’s design – parenting. We need to push in to parenting that leads to sacrifice. This will also help us grow as Christians.
Divorce so often says to our kids “our pain is so great, we are asking you (the children) to carry our pain.” By a copy of Generation Ex – read the first chapter, and re think.
The other part of sacrifice is teaching and training our kids. To be an involved Dad, we need to sacrifice. To be an involved Mom – there will be sacrifices you need to make. In this culture, where one parent is at home, it will call you to a sacrificial lifestyle. By and large, if we make that choice, we won’t drive those same cars, we won’t vacation in the same place, we won’t live in the same neighborhood. It is possible to reject this notion of sacrifice with parenting, but that doesn’t line up with God’s Word.
The reality is we live in a culture that values achievement more than spiritual character. In the world or in the church. When I read Scripture – I see we need to value character. It will be tested in our world. Fulfillment in life comes from serving and giving ourselves up for others. Don’t be mistaken – this is the only real marker of maturity in the faith.
Paul, when saved, adopted an attitude of sacrifice. That is what a mature Christian does.
1 Cor 9.19: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.”This is shocking by today’s standard. He would be classified as a co-dependent in today’s psychological world.
Romans 9.3: “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Paul took this notion of sacrifice to the inth. Paul knew something we lack. Paul didn’t see sacrifice as a heavy-duty obligation, but as something that tasted sweet. This is my belief – when he wrote in
Gal 2.20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” There was a fascination that Paul had in the sacrificial giving Jesus. How come he is so sensitive and passionate about this? Paul lives with this notion
Rom 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
Gal 1.3-4: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever.”
Eph 5.2: “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
1 Tim 2.5-6: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
Titus 2.11-14: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Eph 5.25-26: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”The reason we aren’t sensitive to the work of Christ on our behalf is because we haven’t tasted sacrifice. Paul knew what it was to be a living sacrifice. Then when he thought of Christ as a sacrifice, he lost it.
God has also given us our children to teach us sacrifice. To teach us sacrificial living. Like last night…the Bible must not give us much on how-to’s in parenting, but the whole of Scripture teaches us how to live as parents.