What is your parenting approach? Where did you learn how to be a mom or dad? Was it from your parents? From friends or a book? Or are you just winging it? What is your parenting style?
God’s Word teaches the importance of balancing discipline and affection in child-rearing. The apostle Paul told the Ephesians how to raise up their children according to God’s plan. As Christians, we can follow God’s Word in the training of our children and raise them up to maturity according to God’s plan.
Let’s admit it. Parenting can be very scary! Now, I realize that not everyone here is a parent. Whether you’re single, married w/o kids, or you’re empty nesters, what the Bible teaches about parenting is still relevant. Because as a church family, we all can help support and encourage the raising up of the next generation.
In Psalm 127, Solomon wrote about the necessity of recognizing the Lord as the One builds families and watches over them. As a result, he wrote that children are to be received as a gift from the Lord. We can receive our children as a gift from the Lord.
Many think the church is irrelevant to their lives. Responding to this, we have titled today’s sermon, “Eternal Over Relevant,” because the Church is the one entity in this world that will live forever! If we stay on the true message of the Word of God and live as God’s people, the church will always be not only eternal, but always relevant!
People are struggling with issues and they don’t think the church addresses them. They think the church is only for faith and religious stuff, not family, parenting, work, school, finances, mental health, and a host of other real-world issues. People in our community are asking questions and they don’t think the church is answering them. The church only becomes irrelevant when it forgets its eternal identity and purpose.
The original game of thrones goes all the way back to the beginning of humanity. For it was Adam and Eve who first “rejected God from being king over them.” And as a result humanity has fallen. Since then, humanity has continually struggled against God in a kind of game of thrones. Now Saul, the man who would not surrender his throne to God, has fallen. O how the mighty have fallen!
Who sits on the throne of your life? Is it you? How’s that working for you? Have you got everything under control? Or are things flying apart? And what about tomorrow? Can you see the future? Are you ready for tomorrow? Even more important, are you ready for eternity? Because there’s no sugar coating this last chapter of 1 Samuel. It’s about Saul’s fall, his death.
In the final chapter of 1 Samuel, the Lord brought Saul’s life and kingdom to an end, preparing the way for His anointed king, David. We can learn several important spiritual lessons from Saul’s death.
Does anyone need strength today? Do you need encouragement? Many are feeling weak and discouraged today. Are you discouraged? The dictionary defines discouragement as a loss or lack of confidence or enthusiasm. To feel dispirited, demoralized, despair, despondent, or disheartened. It is the loss or lack of strength and courage to go on.
David was struggling with discouragement too. But that’s when he turned to the Lord! In the book of 1 Samuel 29-30, when David was at his weakest, he found strength in the LORD his God. We can find our strength in the Lord.
When we doubt God’s Word or when we fear others more than we fear God, we fall into a world of dangers. One of the dangers is that fear and doubt affects how we think––how we think of ourselves, how we think of God and how we think of others.
How do you think about your identity? Do you let fear and doubt shape who you are, what you believe, the decisions you make? Or do you trust God for your thinking and your decisions?
In 1 Samuel 27-28, both David and Saul go awry. It starts with fear and doubt and goes down hill from there. In 1 Samuel chapters 27-28, both David and Saul experienced the dangers of giving in to fear and doubt instead of trusting in God. We can avoid the dangers of giving in to fear and doubt by trusting in God.
How do you respond when trouble comes your way? Some of us question God asking, “Why me Lord, why’s this happening to me?” Some of us try running away, hoping that trouble won’t be able to find us. Some of us get angry and embittered and just wallow in our pain. Others become immobilized with fear and stick our heads in the sand, hoping trouble will just go away. But trouble always finds us doesn’t it?
God was preparing David to be king and he was being persecuted by the king who opposed him. Let’s see how David responded to trouble. In the book of 1 Samuel 26, David again spares Saul’s life, depending on God to deliver him from all his trouble. We can depend on God to deliver us from all our trouble.
Are you ever tempted to take matters into your own hands? Sometimes it may seem to be your only recourse, but most of the time it only leads to more trouble. This is especially true when we become impatient with how things are going with our finances or in our relationships. We know what God’s Word says about debt and being a good steward, but we think we know a better way. So we take it into our own hands by going into debt to buy a new car or a new house, but then we can’t even enjoy them because of the financial stress. Or a single person becomes so lonely and worried about not finding a certain someone, that they take matters into their own hands and compromise on matters of faith and end up feeling even more miserable. The temptation to take matters into our own hands usually comes from a lack of patience and trust for those in authority over us. This is especially true in our willingness to trust God and to put things in his hands.
In the book of 1 Samuel, while fleeing from Saul in the wilderness, David learned to put everything in God’s hands. We can learn to put everything in God’s hands.
Where do you get your advice? Is it from a newspaper column or a horoscope? Is it from your parents, your mom or dad? Your grandparents? Many get their advice from peers or from the culture or from a Hollywood star or a sports hero. The truth is though, most of us just follow our own advice. We do what we want to do. But the Bible says: Proverbs 3:7 (ESV) Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
This is the better way. We can get wisdom from the Lord. We can live by godly wisdom. In the book of 1 Samuel 25, the Lord gave a woman named Abigail godly wisdom to prevent David from killing her foolish husband. We too can live by godly wisdom.
How many of you in going through a time of wilderness today? You’ve been asking those same wilderness questions, like, “Where are You, God?” Or maybe you’ve been running so long, trying to find your own way, that you just feel so lost that you don’t know where to turn. Some of you may be feeling like you’re in a great place today, but be certain of this, we will all face times in the wilderness at some time in our lives. That’s where David is in our reading today. He’s on the run and living in the wilderness.
In the book of 1 Samuel, David learned to trust the Lord more than he ever had, while living on the run from King Saul in the wilderness. We can learn to trust God when we feel like we’re living in the wilderness.