Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 41
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
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Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
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In this issue:
FIVE SMOOTH STONES OF
In Goliath, David faced what seemed an indomitable foe. David's goal was not
so much to kill the giant as to protect the children and honor of God. He
took five smooth stones from the brook to achieve
his purpose. In the pervasive humanism of our society, parents face what
appears to be an equally unconquerable giant who is determined to destroy
their children. They have five stones with which to protect them.
"A child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (Proverbs 29:15).
Consequently, Wisdom says, "Train up a child in the way he should go..."
(Proverbs 22:6). This requires first determining "the way he should go,"
then pointing the child in that direction. For Christians one direction
supersedes all others: eternal life in heaven via Christlikeness on earth.
Scores of agencies with different goals challenge us for control of our
children. My father used to say, "I will not let the schools take my
children away from me." Today there are many additional threats: TV,
internet, video games, ipods, scouts, sports, neighbors, etc. These must be
constantly monitored and controlled.
Parents of good children are often told, "You are just lucky." No, good
children are not the product of luck, but of purpose-relentlessly,
sacrificially and pro-actively pursued.
"Bring them up in the training... of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Training a
plant requires knowing where you want it to go and then patiently bending
it, pruning it, and perhaps even tying it. Training an animal involves
knowing what you want it to do, using force at first, then patiently
guiding, correcting, and finally rewarding and punishing. In both instances,
training means establishing authority and maintaining control. Training
children begins with example and sometime physical force, then guidance,
correction, and eventually reward and punishment when the child understands
what is expected. Above all, it means establishing the parents' authority
and letting the child know who is in control. This must begin very early.
Once willful rebellion is tolerated, a wrong direction is established and
the necessary "bending, pruning, and tying" become all the more difficult.
The mother of John and Charles Wesley described good discipline as "shaping
the will without breaking the spirit." This agrees with the Spirit's
counsel: "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up…"
"Bring them up in the... admonition (instruction-NASB) of the Lord"
(Ephesians 6:4). Unlike plants and animals children can be admonished and
instructed. This, also, parents must do. The very intellect that enables
children to be instructed also enables them to exercise their free will as
they grow older. Parental control constantly diminishes, and unless God's
control is established, their lives will be out of control. God's control is
established by teaching them the scriptures. Long after Timothy was beyond
the control of mother and grandmother, their faith dwelt in him (2 Timothy
1:5). How was this accomplished?
Paul reminded Timothy, "From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures,
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith that is in
Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). Faith in older children is the result of
early instruction in righteousness. Parents should take advantage of the
classes offered by the church, but this is not enough-they must teach their
children personally. A mother once told me of overhearing her husband saying
to their young infant in the crib, "Let me tell you about Jesus." Not
surprisingly, that young infant is now a godly young teenager.
Training and instruction must be administered with love-a love that "suffers
long and is kind," that "does not behave rudely," and above all, "does not
seek its own" (1 Corinthians 13:4- 5). Children will forgive many mistakes
if they can always be sure of their parents' love. "Love will cover a
multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8). Affection without firmness is disastrous,
but equally disastrous is firmness without affection.
David did not attribute his defeat of Goliath to the stone, to his sling, or
to his skill. "The battle," he said, "is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:47). So it
is with the training of our children. God is concerned with the outcome and
we are servants whom He has entrusted with our little ones.
We must pray daily for the wisdom that He has promised to supply... "If any
of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and
without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5). and for His
providence to overrule our inevitable mistakes. And when our children have
become what we hoped for, we have no ground for boasting, only for the
humble exclamation, "to God be the glory!"
David succeeded, using only one stone; parents will need all five.
The Old Testament uses the term “worthless men” several times to identify
vain and idolatrous individuals. They were essentially meaningless, which is
about the worst description that I could think of for a human being.
Weakness goes hand in hand with
worthlessness. And even though you don’t find “worthless” in the New
Testament, the idea still exists. Preachers preach about strength. They have
to, not only because it’s commanded, but also because the worth of a child
of God is directly tied to strength.
There’s several ways that a Christian can
become weak and worthless, both to God and to His saints. Do one of these
four apply to you? Into
First, you can become weak and worthless
because of sin. Sin doesn’t build up. Sin doesn’t encourage. Sin destroys.
Because it destroys, every Christian who succumbs to it without repentance
becomes worthless. Demas was once a good fellow worker (Colossians 4:14),
but he walked away from the faith because he loved the world too much (2
Second, you can become weak and worthless
because of neglect. God wants us to grow because if we don’t we’ll decline
into nonexistence — worthlessness. There’s been so many times when I’ve
needed help in my congregation and would’ve loved to have asked certain
people, but they’re too weak to be of any value. They’re effectively
worthless to the cause of Jesus.
Third, you can become weak and worthless
because of discouragement. So many people in the Bible were discouraged and
it severely jeopardized their effectiveness for Jesus, but they found solace
in the Lord, and were strengthened by Him (1 Samuel 30:6). Use the fact that
He cares for you to ease your discouraged heart (Matthew 6:33-34; 1 Peter
Fourth, you can become weak and worthless
because of false doctrine. If truth sets you free (John 8:32), then what
does false doctrine do? It enslaves and makes you worthless. Jeremiah 23:16
says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the
prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision
of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the Lord’”. Don’t become a
liability to God because you’ve believed something erroneous (cp. 2
Revelation 3:15-16 is a classic passage about weakness and worthlessness.
The Laodiceans were told, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor
hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. The kingdom
needs people of strength and character. The kingdom needs people who’ll live
out their beliefs. The kingdom needs people who are unaffected by the world.
Only then can they grow and achieve their worthiness to God and the church.
Created by John Bass, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149