Growing up as godly seed
Dear BPCWAians, Over the past 2 Sundays, I wrote about parenting God’s children. This week, I close to with a word for the young ones in our midst. Particularly, it is to the tweens, teens, and young adults who are growing into adulthood.
Your privilege. Do you realise that God sets His special attention and care for you? Often, when we conduct infant baptisms, we read from 1Cor 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. We do not teach baptismal regeneration and salvation. But God clearly tells us that the children who grow up with parents who bring them to church and teach them about God are sanctified and holy, ie set aside. What is this privilege of being set aside by God? Is it more toys, more intelligence, more holidays, or more of whatever you wish from the world? Rather, God is speaking of the many opportunities for you in such a family to know about the only glorious and gracious God, hear about the gospel of salvation, know what pleases and displeases God, the way to life, and the path that leads to destruction, and to be able to go to church frequently to be with God’s people. This is what differentiates a Christian home from other homes where the focus is merely on worldly achievements and earthly pursuits for this life. This is the blessed privilege of godly instruction and upbringing God intended for you. Many who have been saved from unbelieving backgrounds, some even facing persecution from their own parents, often wish that they had the blessing of a Christian home life. You must treasure this special goodness of God to you!
Your response to Christian upbringing. 1) Turn to Christ as your Saviour. God put you in a Christian home so that you may know Him early, and His way of salvation. What graciousness He is showing to you. You can know of Him not just from someone evangelising in the streets, but week after week as you come to church, and every time your parents or your Sunday School or fellowship group teachers teach you about the Lord of heaven and earth. Each time, the Lord is seeking you out, that you may respond to Him, humble yourself, receive and worship Him. Salvation does not come through your family name. You must personally be sure of your own salvation. Have you been born again? Do you have a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Saviour? If you are not sure, ask your parents or me about how to be saved. 2) Receive the truth, not resist it. Remember, as you grow, you will become resistant and want to rebel against instructions. It is a development of the sinful flesh in you. As your parents and the church do their utmost to teach you from His Word how to walk in His ways, you must remember to take it as God’s goodness in setting you aside for Him. You sit every week under biblical teaching at home and church that your parents bring you to. God reminds you in Luke 8:18, “Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have”. If you reject God’s truth, there is only one path – downwards spiritually – and that is not why God set you apart. Haven’t we come across many in evangelism who say “I know that, I grew up in a church too” … but yet are now unbelievers? Repeated rejection will only harden your hearts and eventually sear your conscience. 3) God chose your parents for you and also instructed you to honour them and obey them in the Lord (Eph 6:1,2). Yes, your parents may not be perfect. Neither are you. We will see more of this below. God set you aside by putting Christian parents into our life. He chose them for you to instruct you. When they do so according to His Word, see it as God’s choice for you.
Your personal accountability for the privileges received. As you reach adulthood, you will increasingly make choices for yourself. You will begin to rebel against being told what to do. Unlike modern psychology which heaps blame mainly on your background and upbringing and thus excuse how we behave, God will call each of us into accountability for our own sin. Circumstances will test us, but cannot and does not make us sin. If we choose to sin, we will bear the consequences of sin. At a stage in the children of Israel’s history when the land was going through God’s chastisement, they were blaming their circumstances on their parents. God swiftly dealt with it and gave them a stern warning that they were not being unjustly punished for another’s sin. They were practicing the very same sins that their parents had practiced and punishment had now come to them. God told them “the soul that sinneth, it shall die… the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). Don’t blame your parents or others when you yourself choose the path of unrighteousness. Those who have been brought up in a sound church that teaches the truth ought to know how to choose the truth. If you are truly saved, He will deal with you in His covenant. There will be curses for disobedience. If your parents are sincerely trying to be godly and following God’s commandments, don’t despise them for their failings. I hope that children won’t develop a self-righteous attitude, as if they are holier than their parents. While parents should not excuse their own wilful disobedience, neither should you blame them for your own disobedience. Read those verses regarding your own duties to God, and look at yourself in the mirror and see how miserably you too have failed the mark. God calls for mutuality of duties. If what your parents command does not contravene God’s word, nor take away God’s supreme place in your life, then do submit. They have their duty, and you have yours. In time, if you have a family of your own, it will be your children that will walk in your paths. And when they do so, it will cause you perhaps the same heartache as you are now causing your parents when they see you depart from your Lord. This is what is meant when God says that He is “a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Ex 20:5). Your children will develop the same character and learn the same sins that they see in you. Regardless of whether you are a young adult, a teen, or a tween, don’t fall into an overinflated view of yourself and your ability to make decisions independently. If the counsel is biblical, walk in it humbly. Prov 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Turning your back on what is right and biblical will only lead downhill. I have seen many a Christian life made useless because of a rash decision they made when they were young, disregarding good counsel. As God’s child, in their later years, God drew them back to Him, but by then the painful consequences of their earlier sin were irreversible and it is something they have to live with for the rest of their lives. Don’t repeat that story in your life. Sin has consequences which Satan loves to put in your life. Remember you are not wiser than God.
May BPCWA be used to bring up godly seed for our Lord in each generation that will continue in His ways, to love and serve Him in faithfulness. Let us pray and be that next generation that will be found in BPCWA, and will keep BPCWA a faithful church as an inheritance for every future generation.
Eze 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Yours in our Lord’s service,