Biblical Advice to Children
It’s Father’s Day & so I’d like to take this opportunity to preach a sermon to the kids.
And I thank God that our children are wise and mature in the Lord …
… & so an admonishment to them is also an admonishment to us.
Most sermons about children focus on kids obeying their parents, which is right in the Lord & they should …
Exodus 20:12, the 5th Commandment says: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Ephesians 6:1 says: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
20 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck.
22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and [when] thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
When God has blessed you with Godly parents, their sound counsel to you from your childhood will be one of the most valuable things that you will retain in this life.
Proverbs 6 says that their Godly instruction will lead you all the days of your life.
Other sermons to children are about discipline, and rightly so.
Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 29:15, 17 says:
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
And while we ought to discipline our children, we are not supposed to be overly heavy-handed with them, but only correcting them as is appropriate and necessary with all parental love, patience and long-suffering.
Ephesians 6:4 says: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
So we are also to nurture and admonition them gently in the Lord, but also discipline them when needed.
Proverbs 19:18 says: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
These are the topics that are usually covered when discussing parenting or giving advice to children from the Bible.
But thankfully, we have Godly children in this congregation;
… Children who have been taught the discipline of the Lord from the womb …
… and who in some cases understand Biblical doctrine better than the average Christian adult …
(And I’m thankful for that!)
… and so rather than doing another sermon on obeying your parents or another sermon on disciplining your child …
… what I’d like to admonish the children with today is the topic of wholeheartedly seeking the Lord all the days of your life.
Your life’s mission is simply this:
Love God, love your neighbors, Study His Word, preach His Gospel, and God willing, become Godly men and Godly fathers who raise their children to do the exact same thing.
That’s your prime directive.
Everything else in life is secondary to that.
& What I want you to understand today is that you don’t have to wait until you’re older to serve God and to be useful to Him!
• So I’d like to begin today’s sermon with a story from 1 Kings, Chapter 2.
In 1st King, King David has aged & is on his death bed, about to pass his kingdom to his son, Solomon.
You’ve all heard of King Solomon, how he was the wisest man listed in the Bible.
1 Kings 4:29-31 says:
29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that [is] on the sea shore.
30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
31 For he was wiser than all men …
But King David had some final words of wisdom for Solomon.
1 Kings 2:1-4
1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:
4 That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.
King David was a mighty man of God, and he had only 2 final words of advice for his Solomon, before his death.
You can imagine that such words must have been very important, if it was his final counsel to his son & his royal successor.
King David’s final words to Solomon was:
to be STRONG, to be a MAN & to obey God!
King David knew that it was time for his son to grow up.
King David knew that there comes a time to put away childish things.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Notice that Paul didn’t criticize children for acting like children.
It’s OK to speak and to think as a child when you are a child.
But there does come a time to grow up and to be strong and to act like men.
In modern times, our generation has been taught that we should never grow up … & to be perpetual Peter Pan’s.
But there comes a time to put away childish things and to seek after the things of God.
You know, I love the fact that you are children & behave as children.
Sometimes I think I never want you to grow up, because as parents, these moments of childhood for us, are the most precious season of our lives.
But at the same time, as I see you growing into young men & women of God, there comes a time to put away childish things …
… like all the frivolous games & the toys and the fruitless adventures, and to focus on something more permanent …
… something that will last.
… such as training to become valiant & mighty men and women of God!
In 1 Corinthians 16:13, Paul said to the immature carnal believers exactly what King David said to Solomon: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
They were spiritual babes, and so Paul had the same advice for them.
When God set Joshua up as the leader of Israel, after the death of Moses, God gave Joshua the same advice, in Joshua 1:7: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”
We see the same admonishment again and again: (1) be strong like men (2) follow God wholeheartedly (3) & obey His commands all the days of your lives.
And if you, God promises that He will prosper you.
What does it mean to prosper?
This word is abused today among some wolves in sheep’s clothing who have entered into the ministry of our Lord Jesus for filthy lucre’s sake (which means they’re greedy for money).
And they teach that if you follow God, you will be rich, and have lots of cars and a big house and maybe even a jet airplane (if you’re like them) and that God will give you all the desires of your heart.
But those are lies from the devil.
If God gave you all the desires of your heart, it would destroy you …
… because oftentimes our desires are not God’s desires & they’re not what’s best for us.
God will only give us the things we need to become strong men and women of God.
To prosper, according to the Bible, really means that GOD WILL MAKE YOUR WAY SUCCESSFUL, when you are abiding by His will.
The first time the word, “PROSPEROUS” appears in the Bible is in Genesis 24:21.
When Abraham’s servant was looking for a wife for his son Isaac, he met a woman drawing water at a well, and the Bible says:
“And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.”
Notice that Abraham’s servant was relying on God to make his journey prosperous, not on his own abilities or intellectual prowess.
We see the same pattern nearly every time the word “prosper” is used in the Bible.
Genesis 24:40: “And he said unto me, The LORD, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father’s house:”
Speaking of Jospeh in Genesis 39:2-3:
2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.
3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
The Bible says that it was God who made Joseph to prosper, and eventually become the ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself.
So in order to prosper in this life, we have to rely completely on God for everything that we do.
Don’t try to live life by your own strength.
Psalm 127:1-2 says:
1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
It’s good to be a hard worker. You will get nothing accomplished in this life without hard work …
… but if you don’t rely on God, you can work hard all your life, get up early to work, and work late into the night, but you cannot prosper without God’s blessing and favor.
Speaking of the things we need in this life, the Bible says in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Make sure God is the #1 priority in your life, if you want Him to make your way prosperous.
Proverbs 3:1-6 says:
1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
4 So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
• But what I want you to get more than anything from this sermon today is for you TO WANT to seek God out on your own …
… I want you to catch the fire of the Holy Spirit and to serve God by your own volition!
I want you to serve God from your heart, because you want to serve God!
And it’s not just what you do for a few minutes or a few hours a day … serving God is a commitment for life, it’s a way of life.
I want you to understand that serving God is the most profitable and most adventurous thing you can do in this life!
• I also want you to have an eternal prospective.
• The time we spend on earth is very short in comparison to all of eternity.
The Bible says in James 4:14: “… For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
We’re here for maybe 80, 90 or even a 100 years at best.
Compared to the space of all eternity, that is nothing.
You can spend your life toiling for material possessions that you cannot take with you …
… or you can spend your time working towards eternal riches that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 3:11-14 speaks of the Judgment Seat of Christ, where ALL the things that we did in this life will be evaluated & judged.
Most Christian don’t know a lot about the judgment seat of Christ.
They think once they get saved, it’s all over, and that heaven is a communist utopia.
But the fact is that there are different levels of eternal rewards awaiting the Saints of God who work for God’s kingdom in this world.
So it’s important for you to gain an eternal perspective on life.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15:
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
You all understand the concept of working and saving your money to buy bigger things that you can’t afford now.
With God, it’s the same concept, except when you work for Him, He will repay you with much greater wages when you get to heaven.
(And He’ll bless you here in this life also!)
And the good news is that God’s wages are eternal. They last forever and ever.
So the wages that God pays are infinitely greater than any wages that you can earn here on earth.
• It’s important to work for earthly wages also, so that you can grow up to be good men and good husbands who provide for their families.
But that’s not the prime directive here on earth.
Look @ Matthew 13:44-46:
44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
The Kingdom of God is that pearl of great price and that great treasure hid in a field.
We should be willing to trade everything that we have for it.
Matthew 6:19-21 says:
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
[this is talking about material gain in this life. Anything that we possess in this life will get old, will break down, will wear away.
And if it doesn’t get old and waste away, there is the possibility that someone could steal it or that it can get lost. Either way, it’s not permanent.
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
[treasures that we lay up in heaven by doing good works, will never be lost or destroyed.
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Pay attention to that last verse.
For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This means that you can tell a person’s heart, priorities, and values based on what they are always seeking after.
If a man is determined to be rich in this world and is always seeking after material wealth, then we know that person is a worldly man.
That’s where his treasure is, and it reveals where his heart is also.
But when a man is seeking the Lord and working for His Kingdom, it reveals the heart of that man.
And that is the type of man you should seek to befriend & to be.
The worldly man works for earthly treasures, the Godly man for heavenly rewards.
Proverbs 13:20: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
If you make friends with people who are wise, you will become wise too, as you learn from them;
But if you hang around foolish people with foolish & worldly pursuits, you will become like them too, and will be destroyed when they are destroyed.
• But here’s the excuse I usually hear from children: I’m just a child, I just want to have fun. It’s OK for me to play games.
And that’s true, there is a time for fun and games, but if that is the main focus & trajectory of your life, you will become an adult who only cares about himself and seeking worldly pleasures.
There comes a point where you have to have a paradigm shift about the way that you view life.
Or you’re going to become one of those adults who plays video games instead of preaching the Gospel.
Saying that “you’re only a child” is only an excuse!
• Samuel served God faithfully as a child.
Let Samuel be your example.
In 1 Samuel 2, the Bible describes the wicked, older sons of Eli, who the Bible calls men of Belial …
… which is a term for worthless, reprobate men who are good for nothing.
Eli was the High Priest of Israel at this time, but his two older sons were stealing the meat offerings from the sacrifices & offerings of the Lord.
And so we get this picture of these useless and evil men who serve only their own bellies and appetites …
But then immediately following, we get a picture of a tenderly young and obedient Sameul standing before God in 1 Samuel 2:18:
18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod [this was the garment of the priests in the temple. He was doing priestly work even as a child].
Samuel was serving God faithfully, even as a child.
There’s no reason to wait to serve God.
Jeremiah the prophet was set apart for God from his mother’s womb;
he was called as a prophet when he was very young.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Josiah was only 8 years old when he became king.
2 Chronicles 34:1-2:
1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
Josiah was a good king, who served the Lord faithfully, and removed the idols that his disobedient fathers had set up.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
It says in his 8th year as king (when he was 15 or 16), he began to seek after God, in the way that King David did.
And in his 12th year as king, when he was 19 or 20, a fully grown but young man, he was breaking down & burning the altars of false gods.
Josiah from the time that he was a child, served God faithfully.
The apostle Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 to let no one despise thy youth.
What Paul was saying to Timothy was: Don’t let being young hinder you or stop you from serving God!
… Even if people disregard you because of your age.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Timothy was to be an example of Godliness to older believers.
Paul also said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
So one way you become a great man of God like Timothy is to serve God & to study the scriptures from childhood.
Psalm 148:12-13 says:
12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
Jeremiah wasn’t too young to serve the Lord, Josiah wasn’t too young to serve the Lord … Samuel wasn’t too young to serve the Lord …
… even David was just a youth (likely just a teenager) when he slew Goliath in the name of the Lord of hosts.
Saul said to the young David in 1 Samuel 17:33: “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth”.
But David was not going to let his youth stop him from defeating the enemies of God’s people.
34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
If a young David could slay Goliath and defend against lions and bears, then you can serve God and preach the Gospel!
And when you are not preaching the Gospel, you need to be studying the Bible, so that you can learn HOW to preach the Gospel and to become Godly men & women.
When does the Bible say children are old enough to start studying and understanding the Bible?
Isaiah 28:9 says: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.”
Basically, as soon as soon as you are old enough to start eating solid food!
Proverbs 8:32 says: “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.”
There’s no reason to wait! The sooner you serve God, the better.
Let me end with a final example, from our greatest example of all, of Jesus Himself as a child.
Jesus was at work, at the age of 12, busy doing the work of His Father.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
What you’re going to face in this life as adults is going to be a lot harder than what we had to face …
… and I want you to be equipped.
And the only way to be equipped is to love God and serve Him, so that He’ll bless and prosper your way.
Psalm 119:9 says: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
So make a new commitment to serve God, to study the Bible DAILY, to PRAY, and to shift your focus away from games & vain adventures to seeking God & that eternal treasure hid in a field.