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Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mother's Day Sermon, 1st Draft

MAY 8TH, 2005

Good Morning! As it’s Mother’s Day we’ll step aside from our study of Genesis and talk about the person to whom this day is dedicated and focus on Christian mothers. Let’s begin by examining one of the Apostle Paul’s statements about a godly mother and grandmother.
II Timothy 1:1-5 Read
Here we see Paul thanking God not only for Timothy’s faith but also the faith of his mother and grandmother. We are speaking of Timothy’s maternal grandmother, his mother’s mother. Timothy’s father was a Greek, but his grandmother and her daughter, his mother were Jews. You may remember that in Judaism, the "racial" status of being a Jew comes through the mother. Like Paul, these Jews were messianic, they had accepted Jesus as the Messiah and believed in him and were saved.
We don’t want to fall into the trap that some of our friends in reform theology do and assume that the faith Timothy had in Christ was passed on or conveyed from his grandmother, to his mother, and then to him. I quote Dr. R.L. Hymers, Jr.:
Faith in Christ does not come that way. The only thing that is passed on by blood is sin.
John 1:11-13 Read
So what we see in Paul’s passage is that Timothy had been born again by the same faith in Christ that his mother and grandmother had. Again quoting Dr. Hymers:
The influence that Timothy’s grandmother and mother had on him was not by physical inheritance, but by their spiritual influence. There is no greater influence on a child than the influence of its mother. The Bible makes it clear that the main authority in a Christian home belongs to the father. So, a Christian father sets the rules by which a house is run. But the love, and patience, and example of a Christian mother can be the greatest influence in a child’s spiritual life.
Now let’s look at some of the godly mothers of scripture who had a great influence on their children.
Exodus 2:1-10 Read
This woman, Jochebed, was Moses’ mother. We read here how she saved him from being killed and raised him to know God. Pharaoh had decreed that all male offspring of the Jewish slaves should be thrown in the river. They had become like "flies in the land". But verse 2 shows us that Jochebed loved her beautiful little son and hid him for three months. I do not believe that she just picked a spot at random and pushed his little ark out into the stream and waited to see how long it would take the crocodiles to notice him. I’m certain the place where Pharaoh’s daughter came to bathe was well known and Jochebed knew that only someone as powerful as this princess would dare to keep her son alive. She must have been deeply in prayer for the safety of her son and also used her wits. She did not stand in plain sight where she could easily have been identified as the mother, but had his sister Miriam who would appear too young to be the child’s mother watch and identify herself to Pharaoh's daughter.
We don’t know much positive about Miriam, but we do know she was brave enough to take her life in her hands and approach this lady and brave the wrath of her guards. So Moses’ own mother got to raise him. Verse 11 implies that she took care of him until he was grown. The princess named him Moses or in Hebrew "Mosheh" because "mashah" means "to draw out".
Acts 7:21,22 Read
So Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh. He learned all about the heathen religion of the Egyptian idolaters. Everyone thought that he was an Egyptian. But in his heart Moses knew that he was a Hebrew. In his heart Moses knew about God, because his real mother, Jochebed, told him about God when she was his nursemaid as a child.
We can see that Jochebed’s influence on her son was greater than that of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Her influence on his heart carried more weight than "all the wisdom of the Egyptians," which they had taught him. Moses went on to become one of the greatest men of God in history. Even in the midst of the pagan sensuality and the incredible power that was available to tempt him, he could not forget what he learned at his mother’s knee. Moses was so influenced by her that all of the wealth, power, and learning of Egypt could not stop him from following God.
In these wicked times of the 21st century, in a nation that can no longer call itself Christian, a mother's influence on the heart of her child could well be greater than any device or man-made "wisdom" that he hears from unbelievers. Jochebed should be an example to mothers today.
One of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament was the prophet Samuel. The first two chapters of I Samuel tell the story of how his mother Hannah prayed for a son and how God answered her prayer with the birth of her little boy. I want you to remember that she only had Samuel for three years. After that she only saw him once a year. But she prayed for him faithfully. So great was her influence that although he lived in the midst of the great wickedness of Eli’s sons, he was not drawn away and harmed by their influence because that of his godly mother was greater. He went on to become a great man of God.
Hannah’s love of God and faithfulness to him in the middle of harsh and unpleasant circumstances, influenced her son. Her prayers were answered, and her son became the greatest judge of Israel.
Throughout the history of our nation godly mothers have had great influence on their children. I work in a profession known for it’s dedication to feminism and have watched in it and in the society in general the thousand subtle pressures that are placed on women to consider themselves first and to see children, not as blessings, but as burdens. I would like to quote President Theodore Roosevelt’s wise observation on motherhood.
The good mother, the wise mother, is more important to the community than even the ablest person; her career is more worthy of honor and is more useful to the community than the career of any other person, no matter how successful.
I think of our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln. His mother sat him on her knee and read the Bible to him. She taught him to memorize the Ten Commandments. He learned to read and write copying from the Bible in front of a fire in their lean-to cabin. Of him, Nancy Lincoln once said, "I would rather have Abe be able to read the Bible than to own a farm, if he can only have one or the other." When Abe was only nine years old she died. These are her last words:
Abe, I’m going to leave you now, and I shall not return. I want you to be kind to your father and live as I have taught you. Love your heavenly Father and keep His commandments.
Later, as President, he was leading the nation through the horrors of the War of Rebellion. He said, "All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." Another time he said, "I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
The great fundamentalist preacher Dr. John R. Rice told how, when he was only five years old he was called to his mother’s deathbed and she told him goodbye and made him promise to meet her in Heaven. When he was twenty-four his aunt showed him a letter she had received from his mother two decades before that showed she had dedicated him to the Lord as Hannah had Samuel. He went on to become one of the great defenders of Biblical Christianity of the last century.
Lastly I’d like to talk about Nelle Reagan, the mother of late President Ronald Reagan. The President’s father, Jack, was a nominal Catholic and a hard drinker, but Nelle was a protestant who took her faith very seriously. The future President became a Christian and was baptized when he was eleven years old, not long after a major trauma in his life. He came home from school to find his father passed out drunk in the snow on the porch of their house. The young boy dragged his father into the house and into his bedroom. The shock of finding his father like that and the realization that he couldn’t count on his earthly father, turned him to his Heavenly Father and the Christian influence of his mother.
He became a believer and was among the first to be baptized in the new church that had started during the great revival of 1922 and met in the basement of the local YMCA. Nelle was active in that congregation and took her boys to services anytime the building was open. She passed her enthusiasm and love for the Lord on to young Ron, or Dutch, as he was then nicknamed. He became the Sunday School teacher for a group of young boys. He went on to attend a Christian college. In 1981 when he was sworn in as President, he did so with his hand placed on his mother’s Bible.
How our nation needs more mothers like these! Like Jochebed, the mother of Moses; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of our greatest President; Sallie Elizabeth Rice, the mother of Dr. John R. Rice; Nelle Reagan, the mother of President Reagan. We need mothers who will be like them, who will read the Bible to them every day. Who will pray for them each night before they go to sleep. Who will make sure they are in church with them every Sunday. May God help our Christian mothers to do these important things.
To quote again from President Theodore Roosevelt:
The woman’s task is never easy – no task worth doing is easy – but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest call and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the very foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.
There are several lessons to be learned from what we’ve look at today. First of these is that the impressions made on a small child are extremely important. Samuel’s mother only had three years with her son. President Lincoln’s mother was only with him until he was nine. Moses’ mother could only be with him until at most into his teens. Yet their influence for God carried on in their sons throughout their lives. I shudder when I see young mothers rush to dump their children into day care and get back to their "real" lives, leaving those sensitive souls to be imprinted by whoever happens to be in charge of them. The same is true of the influences of television and other entertainment. Last night on the way in to work I drove past mini-vans where the children sat in the back staring at a video screen instead of communicating with their parents. It’s bad enough now that the law forces us to strap our babies and toddlers into cushioned buckets in the back seat instead of cuddling them, but constantly I see the mother driving who could at least be communicating verbally with her children, ignoring them to chatter on her cell phone.
I beg of not just mothers, but fathers and grandparents, to grab every precious moment with those impressionable minds that you can. And that is my second point. Then time most of the mothers we’ve studied had with their children was often shorter than expected. It ‘s a sobering thought. The time we have to set godly examples for our children is limited at best. We need to seize every opportunity to discipline, pray, read the Bible with them and love them.
Lastly, the short time we have them with us, also points out the importance of the example we set. Our lives lived out before our children are the most vital example of what Christianity is. A hundred scripture quotes may never have the influence of one muttered curse, or blow struck, not in responsible discipline, but in anger. We often talk here of the importance of our walk as believers in the sight of the world, but nothing can be more imperative than the consistency of godly living mothers and fathers display to the little souls entrusted to them.


Blogger Hushai said...

Topical? Also, Darby practiced and taught infant baptism, dispensational Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodist, and (shudder) those Catholics who claim to be dispensationalists all practice infant baptism. The problem is not one of Reformed theology but of too much reliance on Church tradition.

8:33 PM  

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