Helping a child find their "way"
#191 (8/5/18 morning)
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(Sermon given for a baby dedication)
Please read Proverbs 22:6. The Hebrew word for "train" is defined as dedicate, set apart, sacred use, commit to a course of action, begin instruction in a certain way, filling the hand as to give an offering. The word "way" is also the same "way" that Jesus used to describe Himself in the gospels as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. So we see, that to dedicate a child to the LORD is to introduce it to Jesus and the Word of God. Jesus has a plan, a way, that a child should go. It is the responsibility of the parent (primarily) to help him/her find their "way" in God. As children, the way is shown through the ministry of the parent with no option of choice. The choice is made for the child to show them the proper path they should take. At 18, using the example of the parent throughout childhood, the young person chooses the way or the world (depending on how the parent has taught the child). There are 3 ways a child learns: through words, tone, and body language. Mixed signals can easily be transferred to a young mind if a parent is not faithful and committed to Jesus Christ. The tone, words and body language of an adult must be convincing and powerful in order to present Christ in a positive way and some day lead him/her to make a choice for Jesus and His Way. Future choices for Christ depend on the current way Christ is being presented to the child. Behavior is learned from the parent. Parental behavior determines the future choices of the child; the absorbent mind is learning and watching.
Many times in the Old Testament, when a new altar was dedicated, the offering of sacrifices accompanied it. Dedication involves bringing a sacrifice. Parents, at a baby dedication, should bring an offering. This offering should involve a commitment to be a positive example by not being "religious" but displaying a "relationship". A parent can be religious and have no relationship. A deep, faithful relationship with Jesus Christ is the best teacher! Many lessons are learned, silently, as the child observes.
Please read Genesis 37:1-4. Notice in verse 2, the Bible refers to "Jacob" and in verse 3, it refers to "Israel". Jacob is the natural man and Israel is the spiritual man. Jacob's spiritual man, Israel, loved Joseph because he was the "son of his old age". Old is the Hebrew word "zaw-kane" which means spiritually mature. Israel loved Joseph because, at the age of 17, he was spiritually mature. Jacob loved all his sons, but Israel loved Joseph; a special connection existed between the two because of Joseph's maturity. The first time Jacob was called Israel can be found in Genesis 32:27-28. When the nation of Israel exited Egypt, their relationship with God was that of a Son. After crossing the Red Sea (water baptism), their relationship changed to a Church or an Espoused Bride. In between Egypt and the Wilderness was a spiritual experience that raised them higher in God; the nation became engaged to the LORD. It was the experience that moved them to a closer relationship with God. With Israel and Joseph, it was Joseph's experiences that brought him closer to his father. He found the LORD in his spiritual experiences which endeared him to Israel. Jacob did not interfere in the painful circumstances of Joseph, he helped him by showing how to find and see God in his pain. It is not wise to shelter a child from their pain. It is better to let them experience the pain and show them how God is the Head of it. Lead them to find the LORD in the pain!
The child is an empty canvas upon which the parents and the grandparents paint by example. Moses was trained by his mother so, later in life, he rejected the Egyptian way and chose the way of God. Samuel was trained by Hannah for only 5 years before giving him to the sanctuary. Those 5 years produced a mightly and powerful prophet in Israel. Parents, grandparents, and the whole church teach the child by relinquishing their own headship and humbly pointing the way to Christ.
Knowledge not understood is cast away and forgotten!
#190 (7/29/18 morning)
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read 2Peter 3:18. The author instructs the reader to grow in both grace and knowledge. Knowledge is something not known previously. What the Christian does with knowledge after receiving it is important. The tendency is to discard knowledge when it is not understood. In this lesson, two characters in the Bible will be contrasted. The first, Jacob, protected knowledge he didn't understand. The second, Jeroboam, cast knowledge behind his back and forgot it.
Let's start with Jacob. Please read Genesis 37:5-10. This passage of scripture involves Joseph telling his parents and his brothers about two dreams. God had a plan for Joseph's life but to fulfill it Joseph could not stay where he was at. It ended with his brothers and his parents bowing down to him but it started with a dark, stinky pit. Then the plan took him as a slave to a foreign land. Additionally, the plan led him to be falsely accused and cast into prison. Joseph was willing to endure all hardship that the plan executed in his life. Because of the dreams, he was able to walk through whatever the plan gave him, knowing someday that he would be a ruler that people bowed down to. Like Joseph, the believer has been given a vision of a plan, a New City that awaits at the end of the journey. Whatever pit, slavery, false accusation or prison the believer must endure is part of the plan. Notice is verse 11, despite showing Joseph strong disapproval, Jacob "observed" the saying. This means to guard, heed, protect, hedge with thorns. He didn't cast this new knowledge away. He hid it in his heart and reverenced it.
Jeroboam is another story. Please read I Kings 14:1-9. Ahijah told Jeroboam earlier that the LORD had given him 10 tribes of Israel. The remaining two would be given to Rehoboam, Solomon's son, which would begin the kingdom of Judah (also including Benjamin). Notice at the end of verse 9, Jeroboam is excoriated by Ahijah for casting the LORD behind his back, or, throwing away knowledge. This is the same "casting behind his back" that is referred to in Isaiah 39:17. God casts our sin behind his back and remembers it no more. Jeroboam cast knowledge behind his back and forgot about it. In reality, he did to God what God does with sin.
Knowledge comes, as in the case of Joseph, to change the enviroment. His dreams (knowledge) produced a change, a new set of circumstances, a new enviroment. Joseph did not cast away this knowledge so he could maintain his comfort zone. He protected and guarded it; hedged it about with thorns. From the pit to the throne of Pharoah he "observed" his dreams, his knowledge. He never threw away his dreams; he never forgot them. Knowledge comes in two forms: theory and experience. Joseph not only clung to the theory, but also his experiences all along the journey to the throne of Pharoah. Christians are admonished to "observe" the theory as well as the experiences all the way to the New City!
A jasper wall under construction
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Psalm 56:8. Tears are an indication that the spirit is actively connected to the Holy Ghost. The spirit of man is what understands God. It can discern and recognize the invisible, spiritual movements of our celestial Father and His Glorious Son. When we ask the LORD to "move" on our being, we are asking for God to engage, sweep over, and breathe on the spirit. When tears flow, the spirit is being influenced, swayed, and provoked by His Sweet Presence. Tears start in the invisible and move out through the soul and body. The spirit is weeping when the body is weeping. It is a very special and precious act to allow tears to flow in His Presence. So much so, that He collects each one in His bottle. These tears are the primary substance used to construct the jasper walls of the New City. Not one tear falls to the ground and is lost; each one He cherishes and rushes to the New City to contribute to the jasper wall.
Please read Psalm 42:1-4. Part of the journey is to experience personal circumstances that make us weep (verse 3). These are given by the hand of a Holy Father to, ultimately, urge the Christian to "go to the house of God" (verse 4). In Psalm 62:8, David, the Psalmist of Israel, says to "pour out your heart before Him". Spoken another way, pour out your spirit in liquid tears, weep in contrition and brokennes at His Brazen Feet. Tears cleanse the eyesight. Faith and Imagination are refreshed as a result.
The Apostle John, on the island of Patmos, received the "Great Revelation" when a door was opened in heaven and he was ushered before a throne (Revelation 4:1-2). Please read Revelation 5:1-4. While in the spirit, he wept much because no one was found to open the book and to look upon it. Notice that John is the only one weeping; everyone in heaven knew what was going on---except him. This experience was just for John to get him to weep. The LORD desired John to record what he saw for all humanity to read until the return of Jesus Christ. He wept and wrote the Book of Revelation. The LORD puts us in places where personal circumstances provoke us to weep. He manufactures hand-picked events that engage the spirit to cry. He works on a personal level to deliver situations that crush the spirit so it will ooze tears. Crying, weeping, and travail are rare in the Christian world in these modern times. They are a precious thing in the eyes of the Great God. The world tells us the polar opposite; hold in the tears, tears are a sign of weakness, tears make you less of a man, etc, etc, etc. The Truth is: tears are precious and are not wasted. A beautiful jasper wall is being constructed with them.
The stone will roll away at His appointed time!
Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Matthew 28:1-15 and 27:64-66. Pilate authorized the use of Roman soldiers to seal the stone behind which Jesus lay, and to set a watch. The Jews wanted to make sure the diciples didn't come by night and steal the body of the LORD and say He had risen. The soldiers set a watch for three days. On the morning of the resurrection, they were the first ones to witness Jesus being raised from the dead. The Roman soldiers were the first ones to witness the LORD Jesus Christ bursting forth from the sealed tomb in His glorious, shining garments and radiating raiment. They were so stunned they "became as dead men". The soldiers had toiled sealing the stone with the intent of keeping Him inside the tomb. They set a watch to scare off any intruders into the area. Yet, after planning and executing their earthly inventions, Jesus came and messed up the plan. These trained, elite soldiers were put on the floor as dead men when Jesus exited His burial tomb. They were paralyzed with fear and terror. Jesus proved that HE WILL RULE despite man's plots and plans. The LORD is unimpressed with man and will not let him interfere with His Master Plan. Notice in verse 5 that the women were not paralyzed! They witnessed Roman soldiers paralyzed with fear and terror on the ground as dead men! GOD WILL RULE! The stone will roll away when the time comes. They were told by the angel to testify about what they had seen and they ran away in awe and respect (fear). They felt great joy, excited that Jesus had risen just like He said. In verse 9, Jesus gives them a chance to demonstrate their inward reverence by allowing the women to hold His feet. They renounced all human sense; they surrendered by giving over all their authority. Verse 10 says that Jesus told them not to be afraid. Afraid of what? The Roman soldiers.
Notice in verse 11 that "some" of the soldiers returned to the priests to show them all that had happened. Those that didn't return knew they would likely face death. To keep their silence about the truth, they were given a large sum of money. Look at verse 13. If they slept how did they know the diciples came and stole His Body? The Romans had a different story about what really happened. Their version said the resurrection never happened---even though it did. The flesh will talk us out of an experience. After having an experience with God, feeling the power and the glory, witnessing the Son of God bursting forth in glorious light, seeing His resurrection, the flesh will try to convince the believer that none was true and it never happened! The Christian must beware of the denial and lies of the fleshly nature. It can steal away an awesome experience with God! The believer walks by faith, not the eyesight of the natural man!
Release the old and embrace the new!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read John 12:23-24. The word "except" is defined as a condition. "Fall" means a lighting upon, a new place, a new route, new growth, new experience. The corn of wheat must die, be slain, be separated. Around a seed is a shell that must die in order for the new life contained within the seed to spring forth. The shell is the way things used to be. The new life is the change. By releasing the shell and the way things used to be we can accept the change and the joy that will come because of new life, a new relationship. Dying to the old shell of past pleasure ushers in new pleasures as a new, refreshing relationship buds and blooms. Release the old to embrace the new! The new will bear much fruit! Change will come but it will be positive, joyful, and new. Regarding close family relationships, if the change is embraced by all then all will grow and become closer in the end. Being closer to a family member means embracing the change and releasing the old relationship so it can bring forth much fruit in the future.
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