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Entries in Children (3)

Tuesday
Nov012016

Society under Siege: The Educational System

Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 22:6.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on October 30, 2016.

The first colleges of the colonies in America were started in order to train ministers, with Harvard being the oldest.  It was actually founded by the Massachusetts legislature in 1636.  Today its motto reads, “Veritas,” which is Latin for Truth.  However, originally it was, “Veritas Christo Ecclesiae,” which is Truth for Christ, for Church.  This simple truncation explains much of what has gone on in America when it comes to education.  We have been rejecting Christ and His Church.

Education is a critical area in the life of a young person.  It has a huge bearing upon where their life will go.  As our families disintegrate and fall apart, it becomes harder and harder for kids to get a good education.  Yet, at the same time our educational system is falling apart.  I do not mean that there aren’t enough schools, but that they have changed and become something that is often harmful to them.  Many of our college campuses have become the last place you would go to to find the truth.  Oh, yeah, I am not talking about mathematics and physics.  However, even the hard sciences find themselves bending under the weight of political correctness.  Let me give you a few examples of how Truth is lost on our campuses.

Martin Luther King Jr. promoted in speeches and sermons what we could call being color-blind.  Instead of judging one another by the color of our skin, we should make our judgments based upon the content of one’s character and the actions they take.  Yet, in our colleges, race and color are everything.  The true liberal promoted the idea that race is insignificant, but the leftists of today promote that it is racist to say, “All Lives Matter.”  This brings up the area of free speech.  The liberal idea that ideas must be freely debated without threat of well-being or jail is the foundation of our country.  However, on our campuses there is an iron-clad political correctness on what can or cannot be said.  If you cross these lines you will become the target of some of the most hate-filled language, all in the name of love.  These actions that happen on many campuses do not help us.  They only further hamstring our ability to deal with the issues of society.

So what does the bible say about education?  Let’s go to Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Education Begins with The Teacher

God understands that the education of the next generation is critical for any society.  So He engrained the duty of teaching children into the minds of the people of Israel.  However, in this passage, God is not addressing the “State of Israel.”  There was no government at this time, just a leader named Moses.  Rather, God is addressing to each and every parent as a part of the group called Israel.  His command is to them, not the state.  A pernicious idea has risen and grown over the years that parents are not equipped to teach their kids.  There is some truth in the idea that parents can’t teach their kids everything, especially if the kid is going to enter a profession different than their parent.  Yet, this is misleading.  Do you remember this statement?  “The best things in life are free.”  Similarly we could say that the most important things in life do not need a rocket scientist to teach them.  Our colleges often do a good job at teaching small things like how to build a better bridge or computer.  But they actually propagandize against the big things in life that those same young people need to know.  Historically parents were the primary teachers of their kids.  If there was a school, it was because parents got together and paid for a building and teacher.  Little by little education has been taken over by the state and parents have been more and more squeezed out of the process.  The manipulators of our society understand that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.  So they have inserted themselves between the cradle and parent in order to establish and secure their power.  Parents, beware that you do not pay for your kid to be brainwashed against everything you ever taught them.

This passage opens with the word, “Hear!”  Though Moses is speaking to Israel, he does this on behalf of God.  Moses is telling them that they need to hear or listen to what God is saying.  Thus parents need to teach, but they need to teach after having heard from the Lord.  When God and His revelation are separated from education, we end up with pure humanism.  Pure humanism will always fail because it cannot face the ramifications of wickedness found in the heart of mankind.  It continually seeks more and more sophisticated ways to get around the reality that men are sinners and cannot be fixed by other men.  Yes, humanism when coupled with science is very powerful.  But when it comes to ethics, it is powerless and impotent.  Many Christian teachers have left schools or been run out of colleges because they didn’t toe the line.  We must not surrender in this clash.  But continue to stand for truth.  Two counter movements have sprung up to help slow down the damage done through public (actually “state”) education (propaganda).  Many private Christian schools have been built and continue to thrive.  Also, the Home Schooling movement has been able to convince many Christian parents to teach their kids and band together in order to protect it from an antagonistic society.

Having heard from the Lord, it is even more important that parents love the Lord.  I am not talking about having fuzzy feelings for Jesus.  But, rather, a parent must love the decisions and plan of the Lord.  Too many Christians do not love how God has interacted with mankind.  So we focus only on what God has promised.  If our love for God is only based on what He has promised us and refuses to deal with what He has done throughout history, it is not based on reality.  Many people who are supposed to be believers do not believe what Jesus told us to believe.  Similarly they do not do what Jesus told us to do.  The problem is not that they struggle with faith and action.  Rather, it is that they do not exercise enough gumption to struggle with the Lord in prayer and searching of the Scriptures.  Thus they wear Christianity like a mask that covers an inner rejection of the Lord Himself.  We need a generation of Christians who have not just fallen in love with what God is offering, but also love who He is: the judgments He has made, and the grace that He has given.

Lastly Moses tells them to be “diligent” in verse 7.  Diligence often fails on the difficulty of the task.  A child doesn’t want to learn all the time and will vary in their degree of cooperation.  They often resist the principles that we are teaching.  It would be easy to throw up your hands and quit.  However, Christians, we must not do so.  The desire to give up must be extinguished by the reality of the duty that our Lord has given us.  Just as the Lord says to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go,” so He says to us.  It is not the perfection of the process, but the loving diligence to being a perfecting influence that makes a difference in the life of a child.  Now let’s look at the side of the child.

Children Need to be Taught

In Proverbs 22:6 we are told, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  It is easy to take this as a kind of guarantee.  The truth is that the proverbs are words of practical wisdom.  The point is that if you want your kid to go in a good direction then you better train them.  Kids are not born “pointed in the right direction.”  Training and education are critical to the future of a child.

Leftism within our society acts like education is extremely important.  But the truth is that leftists believe only certain education is important.  When a young person enters the average leftist-run college, they encounter many teachers who purposefully antagonize any faith and Christian belief they may have.  They use a kind of historical hypocrisy in doing this as well.  Notice how leftists judge the people of the past by the present context.  Thus our founding fathers were bad guys because they had slaves.  Yet, within the context of those societies, these men valiantly fought the demons of their day and laid the groundwork for what we have today.  Leftists also demonstrate a sort of arrogance, as if they will always be in power.  For they care not that people one hundred years from now will judge them based upon a future context.  In other words they will be judged in the same way that they have judged others.  As Jesus said, “make a right judgment.”  Leftists pretend to want to open kid’s minds.  But, in truth, they only want them open enough to take out what they don’t like and put in what they do.  Then they want those minds locked back up.  They only want your mind open to their ideas.  They pretend that they want open discussion, but in truth only certain things will be allowed to be discussed.  Children do not need such hypocrisy.  This kind of stuff is poison to the minds and souls of our children.

In Deuteronomy God reminds us that all of life is a schoolroom.  “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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  Parents are the teachers that are always teaching.  In fact, parents, we should never stop learning.  As children our parents teach us what they believe we need to know.  But when we become adults, they cease to have the role of primary teacher in our life.  Why?  It is because by then we should have learned how to be taught by the Spirit of God.  On into our adult years to the day of our death, we walk arm in arm with the Spirit of God and learn the mind and heart of God.  If a child is ever to be able to do such a thing, they need parents who will teach them the wisdom of God’s love.

God help us to show this generation that there is a God who loves them, despite their sin.  He has made a way for them if they will only turn away from the propaganda of this world and hear the words of life.

The Educational System audio

Tuesday
Sep202016

Society under Siege: The Littlest among Us

Genesis 9:6-7; Luke 1:36; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on September 18, 2016.

Today we are going to talk about the topic of abortion.  I am convinced that, given enough time, future generations will judge our generation for abortion as harshly as we judge previous generations for slavery.  Some of the judgments are true.  However, sometimes we overlook the context of how people can be blind to that which is socially acceptable.  We also often overlook that many people worked within the system in order to overturn it.  The reason I bring this up is to point out that in some ways our society has gotten better and yet in other ways we have gone backwards.  Abortion is one of those areas in which we have fallen backwards.

The taking of the life of a child, whether in the womb or shortly after birth, is a practice that was not invented in the modern era.  It has happened on into the recesses of history at the altars of the fallen gods of antiquity.  Instead of looking down upon our ancestors with moral certitude, as if they were brutish, unthinking beasts, we should recognize the ways that we do the very same things ourselves.  They may not be the exact same things or in exactly the same ways, but we share a likeness to them.  When one objectively looks at a society that aborts a million babies a year, it becomes clear that something has declared war upon the littlest among us.

Human Life Is Sacred

The Word of God to Noah after the flood is an important passage.  Along with other passages in Genesis are critical because they are foundational to how we live our life.  In this country we have been building a society that no longer sees human life as absolutely sacred.  We have intellectually reached a point where we can only say, “Some human life is sacred.”

In Genesis 9:6-7 God reminds Noah that mankind has been created in His image.  This alludes back to Genesis 1:26-27.  This passage helps us to see that the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden did not cancel out this issue.  Even in his fallen state, man is designed to be an “image-bearer” of God.  So what does that mean?  Neither passage completely explains it other than to make it the clear distinction between mankind and the animals.  Throughout history theologians have come up with an answer that divides the attributes of God into those attributes we cannot share (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence) and those that we can.  These are often called communicable attributes because they can be shared with us.  They are things like love, goodness, rationality, knowledge, mercy, justice, language, truthfulness, and wisdom.  This list can easily be expanded upon further thought.  Though the fall of mankind definitely impacted our ability to be “like” God, it did not change our design and status as image-bearers of God. 

In this passage God makes this point to deal with the subject of murder.  Before the flood we recognize that God gave Cain (who murdered his brother Abel) a punishment and yet also mercy.  There was no capital punishment.  Yet, the whole earth became full of violence.  So after the flood, God institutes the command that murders must be put to death by mankind.  A society (whether family or larger) would be responsible to uphold the sacredness of the image of God within mankind.  Here we see that an attack upon a human is an attack upon God by extension.  There are many today who believe that abortion is not wrong, but who are staunchly against capital punishment.  They will often point out the “hypocrisy” of a God who would say in Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill,” and then sanction the death of the murderer.  Of course this is a simplistic treatment of what God is saying.  First, it is better to translate the Exodus verse as, “You shall not murder.”  Anyone who murders other forfeits their right to life because they have sinned against the image-bearer of God.

Now notice how many of these same people will promote the sacredness of life to the degree that not even a murderer should be killed.  Yet, they only believe life is sacred when it is outside of the womb.  Even this idea is challenged by many who believe that the value of a person (rather than sacredness)is dependent upon one’s ability to help society.  Ultimately, under this kind of thinking, only certain lives are sacred, and that will always be defined by the powerful in the end.  God’s point is that the taking of a murderer’s life is righteous.  You may disagree with that, but it is far more intuitive than the idea that it is okay or good to take the life of a fetus.  Is the taking of the life of a fetus ever righteous?  What have they done that is worthy of death?  Even in the case of incest or rape, why would you punish the child for the actions of a wicked person?  Is having a baby something that will destroy a person’s life?

Though these arguments may not be persuasive enough to change a person’s mind, at least they ought to help you see that it is easier to make the case for capital punishment than abortion.  According to God the taking of a human life must only be done in response to murder and abortion fails this test.

Human Life Is Recognized In The Womb

All throughout the Bible the baby in the womb is recognized as human.  In Luke 1:36-37 the angel Gabriel has finished telling Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God.  Gabriel then reveals that Mary’s relative Elizabeth has “conceived a son.”  The language of the angel is important.  He not only refers to the product of conception in human term, but even further, in gender terms.  It is interesting that science has demonstrated that gender is determined at conception based upon which chromosome comes from the male parent.

Later in verse 44 we see Elizabeth use the term “baby” used of the baby in her womb.  I bring this up to point out that the Greek term translated baby is the same term “baby” used in Acts 7:19 in reference of a baby that had already been born.  The language of the early believers clearly demonstrates the belief that they saw the baby in the womb the same as a newborn baby.  Although there is a distinction between them (i.e. whether birth has occurred), there is far more commonality.  Both are human and extremely vulnerable.  They require total care.  But this is only the beginning.  When we look deeper into how God and the Bible speak about life in the womb, we are amazed at what is said.

God Has A Plan For Each Life

Psalm 139:13-16 is a powerful song of David.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he describes the depths of God’s knowledge of our lives.  Any time you are tempted to think God has forgotten about you, sit down and slowly, meditatively read Psalm 139.  In this portion we are told that it is God who “formed” David’s “inward parts” and “covered” him in his mother’s womb.  Though the development of the unborn baby is hidden to the eyes of man, it is not to God.  In fact God is actively involved in the formation of the child. 

A further point is made.  Even when a child is still being formed, the days that have been “fashioned” for it are written down in God’s book.  This idea that God had a purpose for the child even before it could demonstrate ability is a marvelous thing.  David does not elaborate on this point, but let’s look at another passage in Jeremiah 1:4-5.

“Now the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’”  Here we see that God not only knows a child and how long it will live, but God also has a purpose for that child.  It would be easy to say that God only has a purpose for great people like Jeremiah, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus.  However, this flies in the face of all the Scriptures which speak of God’s purpose for all mankind.  In destroying the lives of unborn babies we squelch a part of what God wants to do in our lives. 

So where does this horrible idea come from that we should abort about a million babies a year in the USA and 59 million since 1973?  Countless societies throughout history have purposefully killed, sacrificed their children to the God’s of their time.  Perhaps we have created our own new God called comfort and ease.  Clearly a war has been declared and is being waged against our babies.  This war is waged by the same spiritual being that convinced Eve that the fruit would make her life better.  Women today need to see through the deception of the serpent and the destructive lies that he has promoted in our society.  Abortion is an evil that will only bring death and destruction into your life.

Of course there are difficult situations that can make this issue complex and challenging.  I've mentions the cases of rape and incest earlier.  No matter how traumatized a young girl may be, we only traumatize her further when we encourage her to terminate her pregnancy, which is a euphemism for killing the human that has been conceived within her.  Abortion may make her life “easier” in that she doesn’t have to go through 9 months of pregnancy and give birth to a child she hadn’t planned for.  But, it does not make her life easier in getting over what happened emotionally and even physically.  Let me be clear.  Having a baby will not “fix” a woman in this case.  But trusting God and going forward can.  Giving love and life in the face of evil is the greatest act of defiance against our spiritual enemy.  Likewise, to turn to death as a solution to evil is to be overcome by it.

What if a woman’s life is in danger?  We must admit that this can happen.  The point here is not against a child ever dying.  There are some choices that only God should make.  If a woman’s life is in danger, the doctor should do their best to save the baby without endangering the mother.  If the baby is lost, at least it is lost over all our efforts to give it a chance at life.  This is the exact opposite of an abortion.  Even when we approach childbirth with a great respect for life, and looking to God for help, some die during birth and some even before (both babies and mothers).  Such tragic times may seem like God is not involved, and that they had no purpose.  But this is not completely true.  Yes, tragedy causes some to become hard and angry towards God.  But tragedy has also caused some to become a source of comfort and care for others that would not have come about without it.  God does not always step in and miraculously protect because He wants us to grow in ways in which we become more like Him.

Let me close by recognizing that our battle is not against people.  To save babies we do not have to fight women.  The deception of Satan is great in our land.  Although a punishment was given to Eve, God also gave her grace.  One of her offspring would one day crush the serpents head.  God would redeem Adam and Eve back from their unwise choice.  God is still the same today.  Christians must be a heart of compassion towards women who have had abortions.  Yes, it is wrong and even evil.  But they have been deceived by a world that could care less about her.  The truth can set her free.  God loves her and will even still give her true healing if she will turn to Him.

The Littlest among Us audio

Wednesday
May112016

The Godly Mother

Proverbs 22:6.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on May 8, 2016 for Mother’s Day.

There are many adjectives that can be used to describe a mother.  Ultimately all of them would be classified as good or bad.  In our society today it is very clear that many women are struggling to embrace motherhood, much less being a good mother.  In fact that word can mean different things to different people.  I would suggest to you that for the believer being a good mom begins with being a godly mom.  A godly mom looks to Him for her direction, strength, wisdom, and purpose.  She wrestles with God and her child over those things out of her love for both.

Now we could highlight mistakes and errors that mom’s should avoid, and that would have its benefits.  However, it seems more important to strengthen the courage and dedication of mom’s so that the inevitable mistakes do not hijack their ability and desire to be a good mom.  Listen moms, don’t give up.  You are God’s gift to your child, mistakes and all.  Let the act of raising a child draw you closer to God and that will in turn draw you closer to your child.  Today we are going to look at a well known proverb that has given encouragement to some and a great sense of guilt to others.  Let’s look at it.

A Mom Trains Her Child

The word for child here is not a word that is focused on age.  It is a term that focuses on a person being untrained and in need of preparation for taking their place in society: an occupation, raising a family, etc…  Thus the term was used of a young person even up to the age of 30.  So this verse does have something to say about raising your small child.  But it is not limited to this.  A wise parent recognizes that part of their duty is to train and prepare this small child for taking their place in society.  The child will need a strong foundation of preparation that includes: instruction, discipline, and nurture (encouragement).

So what exactly is meant by the word training here?  The word points to a process of preparing someone for a trade or function.  However, it also has the sense of dedicating a person to that task.  As parents we can tend to focus so much on the right and wrong of teaching a child that we lose sight of the larger duty of launching a new person into society.  How we launch a young person into society is just as important as the things we have taught them.  Don’t get bogged down in the details of everything you can teach.  Instead keep in mind that the young person will grow up and make decisions for their self in the end.  Seek to be an influencer more than a teacher. 

This verse also reminds us that a child or even a young adult needs training.  Evolutionists see humans as just another animal.  However, we are the only “animal” that shows little if any true instincts.  The closest thing is our ability to pick up communication.  We are very dependent upon learning behavior from one another.  This pool of learning then becomes something that a young person can reflect upon and determine if they want to change or not.  Without nurture and instruction a child would die, and a young person trying to “reinvent the wheel” will be far less successful.  Thus this proverb is encouraging parents to give themselves to this task and teach them diligence, righteousness, integrity, etc. as well as the specific skills they need in life.  They are going to need both in everything that they do in life.

One thing the proverb leaves out is the issue of love (most likely because it is not focused on a parent with a small child).  You can teach your kid all the right things, but if you do it in a harsh, or resentful way, then it will harm the young person.  1 Corinthians 12 ends with this statement, “Earnestly desire the best gifts.  And yet, I show you a more excellent way.”  It then begins the next chapter with this, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”  Thus the Apostle Paul points out that having great gifts is not as important as using them in a loving way.  It could be said that though I spend every waking hour training my child until the day that he leaves, and yet have not love, it will profit me nothing.  Yes, love does correct and discipline.  But it also does so to successfully launch the child into life, rather than to control exactly what the young person does.  Of course, loving a child has its ups and its downs.  If we only look at the emotional side of love, we will see that it fluctuates often.  A young mom can come to resent the loss of “fun.”  They can also grow weary with the incessant needs of a child.  Yet, love is more than a feeling.  Love begins with a decision to act for the good of another person.  When Jesus faced the cross his emotions were putting on the brakes.  Yet, Jesus still decided to do the supreme act of love because he knew it would be for the good of all mankind.  Now let’s look at the second half of that proverb.

The Child Will Take Its Place In Life

No child remains a child, and no novice stays a novice.  The incessant persistence of a child to grow and change can be daunting to a parent.  However, the child will eventually become an adult regardless of what you do and how you do it.  All training comes to an end.  In fact, training often adapts to the stage of the person learning.  It will not help a young person if you teach a 16 year the same things and in the same way that you would a 2 year old.  Thus training must adapt and then eventually launch.  Yes, a person should continue training in any field, but at that point it becomes self-directed.  The adult has learned to become a self-directed learning.  A parent has to learn to step back and let the young adult begin living life.  Of course you want to be available and help as much as possible, but in the end, they need to live their life.  Prayer becomes a huge part of our duty at that stage.

It has been said that our eternal destiny is not to be fathers, mothers, and children.  Rather, it is to be brothers and sisters in the family of God.  Yes, in this life you are the “older, wiser sister.”  But you need to let your child grow up and take their place beside you in the family of God.

This brings me to my last point.  I mentioned at the beginning of the sermon that this proverb has given encouragement to some and a great sense of guilt to others.  What I meant by that is this.  Some people see it as a guarantee that if they teach their child to serve God then they won’t leave the faith when they are old.  Yet, those who have a child rebel, leave the faith, and perhaps die in unbelief, can feel a deep sense of guilt.  “What did I do wrong?  Why didn’t God bring them back to Him?”  Part of this dynamic is because we misunderstand how this verse is to be taken.  It is not intended to be taken as a promise or guarantee from God.  It is not a “recipe” for making a saved adult that always works.  Proverbs are sayings of wisdom that teach us the issues involved in making a wise decision.  A classic example of this is to look at these two proverbs.  “Rebuke a fool, lest he think he is wise.”  “Do not rebuke a fool, lest he turn and tear you.”  These give us insight into dealing with a fool, but they leave you with the question, “So when do I rebuke and when do I not?”  The wisdom comes from contemplating the weight of either result.  So one would not be quick to rebuke one who has proven to be a fool, but eventually the day will come when a rebuke must be given.  Thus, it is wise for a parent to train their child in the ways of the Lord and in the ways of society.  However, this verse is not a guarantee that they will not fail.  In fact, where other people are involved the outcome cannot and should not be controlled.  Without free-will we destroy any foundation for a loving relationship.  Thus, God Himself has taught mankind righteousness, but He does not try to control our choices and actions.  Why?  He does so because He wants a loving relationship with us and not the relationship of a slave.  So moms, don’t give up.  Love your child to the day they become an adult and beyond.  The time of training will come to an end.  Hopefully it will bear much fruit over the years.  But know this for sure, whether your child turns out good or not will be up to them.  Just make sure that you are a godly influence, and your Father in heaven will be pleased.

The Godly Mother audio