God’s Great Guidance about Children
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 22, 2012
*On a scale of 1 to 10, how important would you say children are to their parents? -- Ten! -- Yes, of course they are that important to all good parents.
*All Godly Parents recognize the truth of vs. 3 that “children are a heritage (or gift) from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is His reward. Verse 5 adds, “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” Listen to vs. 5 again from “The Message paraphrase: “Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.” Godly parents recognize that children are one of the greatest treasures we can ever receive from the Lord.
*But what about the church? How important are children to a church? -- Also a ten. A church without children has no future. They may coast along for a few years. But a church without children is a dying church.
*Now, how important do you think children are to God? -- Again a ten!
*In Matthew 18, Jesus said:
5. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
6. "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
*Then Jesus told His followers:
10. "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
11. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.
12. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
13. And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.
14. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
*Nobody cares more about children than God. He wants the absolute best for our children, so He gives us great guidance in His Word. And Psalm 127 is one of the places to find God’s guidance.
1. How can we help children? -- First, we must depend on the Lord.
*There’s no doubt about it in vs. 1: “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it.” We can try our tip-top best, but we are not going to make it without the Lord’s leadership, guidance and help. We must depend on the Lord.
 That’s certainly true in our spiritual life.
*In Matthew 16:18, the Lord said He was going to build His church, but Jesus wasn’t talking about bricks and mortar. He was talking about hearts and souls. He was talking about building a living church. And this is something the Lord cares about deeply, because it’s the place where His Spirit lives.
*The Bible makes this truth clear in Ephesians 2:20-22. Here the Apostle Paul was speaking to Christians, and said that we have:
20. . . been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21. in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22. in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
*Jesus Christ is building a brand new, everlasting life for everyone who will trust Him as Savior and Lord. And “unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”
 We must depend on the Lord in our spiritual life, and in our family life.
*That word “house” in vs. 1 can mean a building, but the Bible also uses this word “house” to talk about our families. We find an example of this usage in the Christmas story. Luke 1:26&27 says:
26. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27. to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
*“Unless the LORD builds the (family), they labor in vain who build it.”
*Rob Morton tells about a preacher who was finishing up a series of sermons on marriage. At the end of the service he gave out a small wooden cross to each married couple. Then the preacher said, “Put this cross in the room where you fight the most. It will remind you of God’s commands, so you won’t argue as much.” One lady came up after the service and quietly said, “You’d better give me five.” (1)
*We laugh at that, and that’s O.K. But it reminds us of a deeper truth: Many Christian families are in trouble.
*A group called “Family Life” once put together a family needs survey for Little Rock, Arkansas. By April of 2000, they had collected over 10,000 responses from local churches, and the statistics were alarming.
*Less than half of the Christian couples said they have a good marriage.
-58% said their marriages were in trouble.
-43% of those marriages were in the “yellow light” area with signs of trouble.
-And 15% were in the “red light” area with serious trouble, headed for divorce. (2)
*“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”
*I strongly believe in the triangle model of marriage I first heard from Bruce Wilkinson. This model puts husband and wife on the two sides of the triangle, with God at the top. So, the closer we both get to God, the closer we naturally get to each other. (3)
 We must depend on the Lord in our family life, and in our national life.
*At the end of vs. 1: “Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
*America has the strongest military force in the world today. And we should thank the Lord for the people defending our country today. But remember this: We could have all the guns and planes and bombs in the world, and that wouldn’t help a bit, if God is not our Defender!
*Without God’s help, we don’t have a chance! But if God is our Defender, we can win with sticks and bricks.
 We must depend on the Lord in our national life, and in our emotional life.
*That’s the message of vs. 2: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”
*We’re not supposed to worry, but when we have children, it’s part of the package. And God gives peaceful sleep to the ones He loves, but when you have children, you will surely find yourself awake some nights:
-You may be walking the floor when your baby gets a belly-ache or is just cutting teeth.
-But you could be stunned by the news of a much worse disease.
-Or waiting and worrying over a child who is headed down the wrong road in life just as fast as he can.
*Yes we will have worries. But we can learn to cast all our care upon God, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). And vs. 2 here reminds us that God is watching over His children to give them comfort, peace and rest. As Mary Crowley once said, “Every evening I turn worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” (4)
*We can depend on the Lord. And we must depend on the Lord.
*Charles Ryrie told about a dad who was standing in the shallow end of a pool as he held his 3-year-old son. Dad started walking toward the deep end, and the little boy started to panic. He held on to his dad tighter and tighter, even though he was never in any danger, because his dad always had his feet firmly planted on the bottom.
*The truth was that the little boy was in just as much danger in the shallow end, because he couldn’t swim, and the water was over his head even there. His safety anywhere in that pool depended on Dad.
*And Charles Ryrie said: “At various points in our lives, all of us feel we're getting ‘out of our depth.’ Problems abound; a job is lost; someone dies. Our temptation is to panic, for we feel we've lost control. Yet, as with the child in the pool, the truth is we've never been in control over the most valuable things of life. We've always been held up by the grace of God, our Father. And that does not change.” (5)
*God is never over His head! -- So we are safe in His arms, even when we go through the deepest water if life.
-How can we help children? -- We must depend on the Lord.
2. And we must help defend our Christian culture.
*The last part of vs. 1 says, “Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” The watchmen were the guards, doing all they could to protect their city. And in a very real sense, all of us are watchmen for our society.
*By the grace of God, the United States is the best nation in the world. And we are where we are today, because for the most part our nation was founded by Godly people following Godly principles.
*But our families are under almost constant attack today. Even 50 years ago, our culture helped steer families in the right direction. But today, almost everything works against Christ. Liberal politicians, runaway judges and media elites have a social and moral worldview that is radically opposed to the Word of God.
*Under God, WE are the watchmen for our families, our community and our nation. That takes commitment and Godly character. And here are 3 keys to be the watchman God wants us to be:
 The first key is intercession.
-Pray! -- Pray every day for the President and all of our leaders.
-Pray for our country.
-Pray for our troops.
-Pray for revival.
*Paul asked us to pray like this in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, where he said:
1. Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,
2. for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
3. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4. who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 We need intercession. -- But we also need information.
*Don’t stick your head in the sand. Do your best to stay informed. And don’t buy-in to the flood of lies our mass media pours out every day. Let the Bible be your guide for what is good and true.
 We need information. -- But we also need involvement.
*Get involved. Call and write our leaders. And be sure to vote. Do everything you can to be a Godly watchman for your country.
-How can we help children? -- We must help defend our Christian culture.
3. And we must help develop our children.
*Verse 4 reminds us of this truth when it says that children are like “arrows in the hand of a mighty warrior.”
*I used to wonder what vs. 4 meant, but Alan Smith helped me understand when he said: “You see arrows are designed to fly. Our children were designed by their Creator to make an impact on the world.
-To live for a reason.
-To set their minds toward a goal.
-To accomplish a purpose.
-To count for something in God’s great scheme of things.” (6)
*One of the children here this morning could give you that by-pass surgery you will need some day. And one could find the cure for cancer. One could help turn our country away from the scourge of abortion. Another could help take care of you at the scene of your accident. One could marry your daughter, or teach your grandchildren. One of them could win your youngest child to the Lord. One could write beautiful new hymns. And one could be the next Billy Graham.
*God has great plans for our children! -- He wants them to fly far and true for His glory. So vs. 4&5 end with a joyful celebration:
4. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.
5. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
*Children are like arrows. But an arrow doesn’t start out as an arrow. It starts out as a stick, rough and knotty.
*When I was a little boy, we used to make our own bows and arrows sometimes. We tied kite string to both ends of a big stick to make the bow, and the straightest sticks we could find to make the arrows. About all we would do is take the leaves off and break off the side branches. You can imagine how far those arrows went, maybe 10 feet, in almost any direction other than the one we wanted.
*Arrows have to be shaped, smoothed, and sharpened before they’re ready to fly. That takes a lot of effort. God wants all of us to do everything we can to help. And all of us can help.
*Isabel Wolseley reminds us of this truth in old the story of a shy Christian lady from Oregon. She wasn’t the type you would notice in a crowd. This woman often felt worthless and told her pastor, “Everyone else at church seems to have some special talent, but I just don’t have any ministry at all.”
*About that time, halfway around the world in Papua, New Guinea, a young missionary stooped down to go into a grass-thatched hut. Sometimes this missionary hiked with those natives down a jungle trail. Sometimes he flew his helicopter to take them to a doctor or bring them supplies. Sometimes he flew over dangerous country to carry Bible translators to their work stations.
*One day a friend asked him, “How did you happen to become a missionary?”
*He gave this answer: “Well, my brother and I were going around our neighborhood one Halloween when a neighbor dropped an invitation to Sunday School into our trick-or-treat bags. That’s what started Mom and Dad and my little brother and me going to a Bible-believing church.”
*“What’s happened to the other three in your family?” his friend asked. “My brother is a Sunday School director. Mom writes articles for Christian publications. Dad directs the church choir and other activities.”
*His friend was astounded and sat silent for several seconds before saying, “And all this resulted from a simple invitation to Sunday School that was dropped in your trick-or-treat bags.” (7)
*Isabel Wolseley told this story, because she is the mother who became a Christian writer, and that missionary is Isabel’s son.
*Extraordinary things happened, because an ordinary Christian did something to help shape young lives. And God wants us to help every way we possibly can.
*Think for a moment about all of the people who have been blessed by Isabel’s articles.
-All of the people her husband helped lead in worship.
-All of the people their son helped in Sunday School.
-And all of the people over in New Guinea, who were led to the Lord by Isabel’s missionary son.
*All of those blessings can be traced back to a woman who thought she was worthless for the Lord. She made a difference that went far beyond her wildest imagination. And glory to God, so can you! -- Because all things are possible with God.
*So do everything you can to help develop our children in our church and community. And do everything you can to help defend our Christian culture.
-But first, you must depend on the Lord.
*Trust in the good news about Jesus Christ. God loves us even though we are all sinners. He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus rose again from the dead. -- And now He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who will receive Him as the Savior and Lord of their life.
*Put your trust in the Lord.
-You can do that in a moment as we go to God in prayer.
-Then get started making a difference in our world.
(1) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Rob Morton
(2) “Marital Bliss or Breakdown” by Mike Sciarra, Rev, Nov-Dec 2001 - p. 28 - Source: Dynamic Illustrations AMJ 2002 - Marriage
(3) Original source unknown
(4) SermonCentral sermon “Worry, the Life Stealer” by Darron Khan - Psalm 127:1-2
(5) Charles Ryrie, “So Great Salvation” - Victor Books, 1989, p. 137ff - Source: Sermonillustrations.com - SECURITY
(6) SermonCentral sermon “Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior” by Alan Smith - Psalm 127:3-5
(7) Testimony by Isabel Champ Wolseley - Original source unknown