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How Christians Can Help Our Families

Notes & Transcripts

How Christians Can Help Our Families

Psalm 25:1-21 (Initial reading vs. 1-7)

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 1, 2014

*All families have problems. Many ungodly families bounce non-stop from trouble to trouble, and many godly families mostly live in triumph. But all families have problems, and King David's family was no exception. In fact, David's family had more trouble than most. David was an older man in these verses. And something had gone terribly wrong in his life.

*Charles Spurgeon and other Bible scholars thought that it was the great rebellion of David's son, Absalom, and that makes sense. In his younger years, Absalom was a great favorite of his father and the people of Israel. He was handsome, charming popular and persuasive.

*Terrible family trouble started when his half-brother, Amnon, raped Absalom's sister Tamar. Sadly, King David shut his eyes to this great crime. But two years later Absalom carried out a successful plan to avenge his sister, and Amnon was murdered.

*To avoid punishment Absalom fled into exile for 3 years, before being allowed to come back to Jerusalem. Two more years passed before he was allowed into the royal presence. By that time Absalom had determined to rebel against his father. And he was able to convince so many people to follow him that David had to flee Jerusalem.

*The Lord gave David time to raise an army that fought a great battle in the forests of Ephraim. There the rebel army was utterly defeated. Twenty thousand were killed in the initial fighting, and even more died in the forest that day.

*One of the men who died in that battle was the king's son, Absalom. He was riding on his mule when his long hair got caught in the branches of a tree. Then, in spite of the fact that his father had ordered Absalom to be taken alive, he was killed with three darts to the heart, and finished off by a beating from ten soldiers. (1)

*David's heart was broken. What a horrible chain of events. David may have still been on the run when he wrote this Psalm. We can see his anguish in vs. 15-19:

15. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.

17. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Oh, bring me out of my distresses!

18. Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins.

19. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred.

*That's how bad things can get. And rebellious children can break our hearts too. All families have to go through heartache and tragedy. All families face problems: all the way from skinned knees to Alzheimer's, from broken toys to head-on collisions, from kids fighting in the back seat to parents fighting in court.

*All families have problems. What can we do? How can Christians help our families? David shows us four things that can make a world of difference.

1. First of all: We have to keep trusting in the Lord.

*One of the greatest things about King David was that he kept on trusting in the Lord. King David was viciously betrayed by his own son. Terrible things had happened. But even in the most treacherous situations, David had learned to trust the Lord.

*Here in Psalm 25, we can see David express his trust at least ten ways. For example: In vs. 1&2, David trusted God enough to cry out for His help:

1. To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

2. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me.

*David took his troubles to the Lord, and that's what we should do. Then in vs. 3, David trusted God enough to wait on the Lord. There David prayed: "Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed; Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause."

*David knew that the answer might not come right away. But he was willing to wait on the Lord. And David talks about waiting on the Lord two other times here in Psalm 25. In vs. 5 he told God: "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day." And in vs. 21 David said: "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You."

*Scott Harrison is a dog lover who learned a lesson about waiting on the Lord. It came through one of Scott's favorite dogs. Listen to part of his testimony: "Sam was my best dog, ever, a field trial dog who found birds and pointed them with contagious enthusiasm. Sam taught me the joy of becoming part of nature. He was so much more than a bird dog, though.

*Late one afternoon, Sam and I became separated (in an unfamiliar area). I called and whistled. No sign of Sam. I had to get back to town for an important appointment. But how could I leave Sam? If he finally came back and I wasn't there, would I lose him for good?

*Then I remembered a trick a old dog trainer had passed on. I unbuttoned my jacket, removed my shirt, and laid it on the ground under the branches of a small bush.

*I worried all night. But when I returned the next morning, there was Sam curled up with his nose under the sleeve of my shirt. He looked up and wagged his tail. 'Where've you been friend?' his eyes seemed to say. 'I've been waiting for you all night. But I knew you'd come back.'

*Later I wondered: 'When I feel alone and confused, do I have the trust to look for some part of God's Word to rest under and wait by? Do I have the trust to wait patiently, knowing that my Friend will find me, if I just wait on Him.'" (2)

*David trusted God enough to wait on the Lord. Then down in vs. 15-20, David trusted in God's help, deliverance, comfort, forgiveness and protection. That's a whole lot of trust! Starting in vs. 15, David said:

15. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

16. Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.

17. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Oh, bring me out of my distresses!

18. Look on my affliction and my pain, and forgive all my sins.

19. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred.

20. Oh, keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

*David had complete confidence in God, and so can we! He is never too busy for us. I like what A.W. Tozer said about this: "An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others." (3)

*Who do you trust? I trust my wife. And I know hundreds of good, Godly Christians I could trust with my life. But standing over and above all, we can trust God! And the cross of Jesus Christ proves that forever! I trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior 38 years ago, and though I have failed Him many times in those years, He has never failed me once. And He has blessed me beyond measure!

*We can trust in the Lord! Trust in the Lord to save you. Then keep trusting Jesus to help you in every trial of life. Your trust can make a world of difference in your family. So keep trusting in the Lord.

2. But also let the Lord teach you.

*By this point in his life, King David was a very mature believer. He was a hero of the faith to God's people back then, and he is still a hero today. But even though David was farther along than most people, even though he was closer to God than most people, David was still teachable.

*That's why in vs. 4&5, the king prayed this prayer:

4. Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

5. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

*If David needed more teaching, then we do too! And this is certainly true when it comes to family life. The reason why is because God created earthly families to be models of His heavenly family. God designed human relationships to help point us to Heavenly relationships.

*This is true of godly marriage, where Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride of Christ. But this is also true of the parent/child relationship. That's why in Matthew 6:9, Jesus teaches His followers to pray: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."

*The Lord made the same kind of connection in Matthew 7:9-11, where He said:

9. . . "What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

10. Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

*Then in John 3, we find that we cannot be saved unless we are born again into the Family of God. And when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are born again by the Holy Spirit of God. Romans 8:15 also teaches us that Christians have been adopted into the Family of God. There Paul tells believers that we "received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'''

*These Scriptures show us that God designed human relationships to help point us to Heavenly relationships. And this means that we will never be able to fully function as families until we let God teach us what to do.

*When Mary and I got married 39 years ago, I knew about as much on marriage as a two-year-old knows about flying a jumbo jet. As you can imagine, I had a good bit of trouble getting that plane off the ground. And we came very close to crashing three or four times. Thank God, I can say I have learned some good things about flying the plane. But I've still got a long way to go.

*We all need to be teachable, because we've all got a way to go. And the Lord has some lessons for us all: Lessons that will help us turn away from bad habits and attitudes, lessons that will help us avoid some of the traps that bring trouble to our families, and lessons that will help us be more like our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. So let the Lord teach you. That can make a world of difference in your family.

3. But we also need to talk with the Lord.

*Most of this Psalm is a prayerful conversation King David was having with God. In 15 out of 22 verses, David was talking to the Lord! And like David, we need to praise God in our prayers, we need to thank the Lord for His countless blessings, and we need to ask for God's help. But we also need to confess our sins to the Lord, and ask Him to forgive us.

*What does sin have to do with our family troubles? -- A lot! Ultimately, all of the world's sorrows can be traced back to sin. All of our sorrows can be traced back to sin. And many times the problem is our own sin.

*In 2 Samuel 12:10, the Lord told David that his house would always bear the burden of his sin with Bathsheba. Thus said the Lord through His prophet, Nathan: "Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife."

*Christian author, Kay Arthur, helped us see the danger of sin when she said: "If you tolerate sin in your life, that sin will not only take you farther than you wanted to go, it will keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and it will cost you more than you thought you'd pay." (4)

*At least part of David's trouble was his own fault, so he confessed his sin to the Lord. Three times David mentioned his sins:

-In vs. 6&7, David prayed:

6. Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.

7. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness' sake, O Lord.

-In vs. 11, David prayed: "For Your name's sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great."

-And in vs. 18, he prayed: "Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins."

*David was going through some deep feelings of guilt for his sins. But he had trusted in the Lord for salvation. So David knew that the Lord would forgive him. And Christians, we know that the Lord will forgive all of our sins, because of the cross of Jesus Christ.

*David had the promise of the coming Messiah and His redemption. David had the promise. We have the performance! Jesus already came to save us. Jesus already died on the cross for our sins, and rose again from the dead!

*This is the good news that Jesus announced in John 3:16, when He said: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." And it's the good news that Paul summed up in 1 Timothy 1:15 by saying: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

*David knew that the Lord would forgive him. And Christians, we know that the Lord will forgive our sins through the cross of Jesus Christ. But God wants us to confess our sins to Him. So 1 John 1:8-9 says:

8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*We all need to talk to God about our sins, and talk to God about the problems our families face. It can make a world of difference in your family.

4. But we also need to testify for the Lord.

*When David wasn't praying here, he was testifying to other people about our wonderful Lord. David knew that this song wasn't just for his own benefit. He knew that other people would hear. So in the middle of his own heartache, David gave strong testimonies for the Lord.

*In vs. 8-10 he said:

8. Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.

9. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way.

10. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.

*Then in vs. 12-15, David gave another strong testimony:

12. Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.

13. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth.

14. The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.

15. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net.

*Every Christian has a salvation testimony: Your story of how God worked to bring you to faith in the cross of Christ. On top of that, we have countless other testimonies of how God has worked in our lives.

*Our testimonies bless other people, but they also bless us as we recall how good God is, and how He can help us. There is no end to the testimonies we can give about our God! God can even turn our troubles into testimonies.

*Joseph Bayly has seen this happen in his own life. Talk about family troubles. Joseph and his wife lost all three of their children. The first died after surgery at the age of 18 days. The second child died at age 5 from leukemia. And their third child died at age 18, after a sledding accident complicated by hemophilia.

*Joseph and his wife were comforted by the knowledge that they would see their children again in Heaven. They had the hope of Jesus Christ living in their hearts. That's why Joseph could write a hopeful prayer to God, when one of their precious children was critically ill in the hospital. He was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and machines, very close to death. And this pastor/poet told God:

"If You should take him home

to Your home

help me then remember

how Your Son suffered

and You stood by

watching

agonizing, watching

waiting

to bring all suffering to an end

forever

on a day

yet to be." (5)

*How in the world did Joseph Bayly get to the point where he could write a prayer like that? He did the same things King David did here in Psalm 25, the same things we need to do when trouble comes our way:

-Trust in the Lord.

-Let the Lord teach you.

-Talk with the Lord.

-And testify for the Lord.

*These things could make a world of difference in your family. And they will surely help you. Please take your troubles to the Lord, as we go to God in prayer.

(1) 2 Samuel 13-18 - Information on Absalom condensed from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, General Editor: James Orr

(2) Adapted from: KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 14742 - SOURCE: Fredericksburg Bible Illustrator Supplements - TITLE: "Waiting On God's Word"

(3) Quotation by A. W. Tozer - Source: SermonCentral PRO illustration - Topic: God as Father

(4) Quotation from Kay Arthur - Source: SermonCentral illustration contributed by Joel Vicente

(5) Sources: SermonCentral sermon "With Me In Paradise" by David Swensen - Luke 23:32-43 and KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 9271 - SOURCE: A Slice of Infinity: Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; http://www.gospelcom.net/slice - TITLE: "The Inescapable Way of Death: On a Day Yet To Be" - AUTHOR: Dale Fincher - DATE: 212005

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