Church seems like such a burden sometimes. How good could it possibly be? Today AMBrewster shares with Christian parents a supreme glimpse into the ecstasy and freedom that God designed for your family within the church.
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If you are brand new to Truth.Love.Parent. I invite you to go back to our pilot season and start this parenting journey from the beginning.
Our content is evergreen because it’s rooted in God’s unchanging and eternally relevant Truth.
And I pray that I and TeamTLP can be used by God to help you become an intentional, premeditated, disciple-making parent to His honor and glory.
I recently received an amazing, heart-warming letter from Scott and Mindee. They are two of our Patrons, and they were explaining how God is using TLP in their family. I praise God for the honor and privilege it is to serve your families.
And I thank God for the families God uses to encourage me — including Scott and Mindee.
And, if you’ve been with us a while, and haven’t rated or reviews the show on iTunes, will you please consider doing that.
We are at the beginning of our 7th Season. We have four seasons a year and this season is primarily focused on the reality of Truth.
Obviously, we ground all of our counsel in Truth, but this Season is specifically about the nature and importance of Truth for your family.
We started Season 7 by sharing our deep desire that your family be set free. But you will never be truly independent of sin until you submit to Truth.
We then talked about how to be a Disciple-Making Parent, and we saw how our kids need to be disciples of God, not us.
Then we had a discussion about the Sufficiency of Scripture for your family. The Bible is the only source of divine Truth. We need it more than we anything else in this world. We can’t parent without it.
And then we started this series which is about another tool without which God says we can’t live. We need the church. We need to gather with other saints in order to please Him and become what He wants us to become.
Now, over the past couple episodes we hammered the idea that we shouldn’t obey because of what we’re going to get out of it, and yet we must walk the very real tension that the Lord does make promises.
And so we’re going to try to revel in the promises He’s made without being sidetracked by selfish thinking, because the reality is that when your children are participating in the body of Christ, God really does promise amazing things.
So, without any further ado, let’s talk about the consequences of assembling with the other believers.
Now, we have to assume that we’re assembling with the right people, and doing the right things in the right ways for the right reasons.
Of course, at the end of our last episode I pointed out that all bodies of believers are imperfect and flawed and sinful because God has not glorified us yet.
But what we’re talking about is trajectory.
Assuming the trajectory of your church is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father, then you’re going in the right direction, even if you’re moving imperfectly.
So, assuming all of that, what are the consequences of participating in the body? Well, obviously your family should be involved in evangelism and corporate sanctification.
So, we’re going to talk abut what God wants to do in your family in those two areas:
Other than entering into a relationship with God, the second most beautiful thing in the world is to introduce someone else to God and have them enter into a relationship with Him.
Listen to Paul’s words from Romans: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
I Corinthians: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians: “Because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you.”
Philippians: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Colossians: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”
I Thessalonians: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers.”
I Timothy: “To Timothy, my true child in the faith.”
Titus: “To Titus, my true child in a common faith.”
Philemon: “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints.”
In nearly every single letter from Paul, he starts with a gushing reminder of the fact that very little bring him more joy than to know those people are children of God.
And John says the exact same thing in 3 John: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” He wasn’t talking about his biological children, he was talking about his spiritual children.
The only reason God doesn’t save us and immediately take us home is that He wants us to participate in the glorious mission that is going into all the world and preaching the gospel and making disciples in every land.
If you’ve never had the supreme joy of doing that, let me encourage you as a friend that you that you ask yourself “Why?”
When you read through the Gospels you should be struck that the people who God used to turn the world upside down were people who understood the significance of the grace they received.
God incarnate visited an oppressed people. He targeted the down and outers, the fishermen, the adulterers, the thieves. And then God forgave them and saved their souls, they could not help but proclaim His goodness to anyone who would hear.
An Ethiopian Eunuch — a slave who had had his masculinity taken from him, was used by God to spread His Truth through Africa.
A serial adulteress was used to spread the gospel through Samaria. A previously demon-possessed man was sent back to his hometown to tell of the awesomeness of Christ.
My friends, we are no different.
We and our spouses and our children were nothing more than wicked, God-hating sinners. But He loved us, and for no other reason than He is good, He sent His son to redeem us.
That reality should have us all shouting His praises from the rooftops. We should all have blogs. We should all have podcasts. We should all be starting churches so that other people can come to know our Lord!
Yes, it’s true that some people need to overcome being shy. Others need to stop sinning and making excuses for their lack of love for the lost. But the other reality is that those who don’t love much haven’t been forgiven much — meaning they likely weren’t forgive at all. At least, that’s what Jesus says in Luke 7.
My point is that when we assemble with other believers, God wants to use the pastor to equip you and your family to understand how to introduce others to Christ. The church also is really good at creating events that make it easier to come in contact with unbelievers.
But the reality is that it’s not hard to share Christ, and we are surrounded by hundreds of neighbors and classmates and coworkers that it’s nearly impossible to not have opportunities to evangelize.
But if you are struggling. If it seems new and difficult and strange, and you’re not certain how to get involved in this exciting and amazing process of sharing the good news with the world — then the church is the place that should be equipping you and your kids to do just that.
Isn’t that a fantastic reason to go?!
So, that’s one huge blessing of participating in church.
Here’s the other.
2. Corporate Sanctification.
Now, I keep using that word, and I don’t want anyone to be confused.
Corporate Sanctification is a short way of talking about the process that God wants all of us to play in each other becoming more like Christ.
God wants me to work our my own salvation in fear and trembling, but He also wants you to participate in that process. In fact, to be honest, I need the body of Christ in order to mature as quickly and as well as I should.
There’s no such thing as a maverick Christian — a lone ranger.
Your kids need other believers. You need other believers if you want to be transformed.
Let’s finish off today by looking at a passage we studied a couple episodes ago.
I’m going to start reading in Ephesians 4:11, and I’m going to jump around a little and make comments as I go, and then we’ll be done.
Here’s what God has in store for you and your family as you assemble and participate with a Christ-Honoring body of believers.
“And he gave the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry."
Pastor/Teachers are God’s gift to us so that we may be equipped to do what the church has been called to do.
But they’ve also been called to build “up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
That word “build up” refers to the precision and efficiency of a skilled architect. When we listen to the preaching of God’s word and participate in the application of it to our lives, God wants to use it to make us — in the body of Christ — bigger and stronger. He wants to use it to mature your kids.
Do you want your children to really, truly, genuinely, be mature?
“How mature?” you ask. Paul tells us that the purpose is for us to be as mature as the fullness of Christ Himself.
And then Paul goes on to explain what that looks like. He says, “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
God doesn’t want you and your kids to be thrown around by the conflicting and destructive failure philosophies that so easily invade our homes and our hearts.
I encourage you to expand our study today by listening or re-listening to episode 61, “Are There Failure Philosophies in Your Home?” It’s so easy for them to sneak in and undercut our ability to stand strong and confident.
The lies of Satan produce doubts and dash our hopes on the rocks of errant worldviews. And the world is doing this on purpose.
Your children’s school is trying to proselytize your kids. The entertainment and sports industries are trying to preach a message of godlessness.
Science, medicine, government, and culture at large are using cunning and craftiness and deceitful schemes to ruin your family.
And God wants to use His church to disrupt that plan.
God wants to mature your children so that they will be like Jesus — untouched by the lies of this world.
And then Paul continues and gives us the positive side of the coin: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Let me break that down for you.
God wants to use His church — and if you and your family are born-again followers of Christ, then you are part of that church — He wants to use the church to train us to speak the Truth in love.
He wants to help us grow and be better connected with Jesus Christ — the Head of the body. It’s Christ who nourishes us, and since sickness in the body can hinder the brain from communicating with the body, God wants to make us healthy and strong so that connection with Christ can flourish in every joint.
And God wants to use the church to help each of you work properly so that you can all participate in the grand and glorious goal of flourishing in the body of Christ.
Isn’t that amazing?!
I wanted to end this episode by flying through the thirty-something one-anothers spread all throughout the New Testament, but I think the verses with which we just ended are perfect.
Perhaps you can further your study by going through the one-anothers yourself and then share them with your family as you train them to love God and the church.
It will be exciting to see how God specifically helps us mature and become more like Christ — and the one-anothers are how He does it.
I also encourage you to share these episodes with your family. This could be a wonderful family devotional time.
You can download the notes from TruthLoveParent.com, and you could engage in age-appropriate discussions about what all of this means for you, your family, and your church.
In fact, I’d love to visit your church and encourage them the way I’ve encouraged you. Perhaps your pastor would like to invite TLP to your church to do a Parents Workshop or Family Conference.
It never hurts to ask. I’d love to share this vision with your whole local body.
But even if I don’t have the chance to do that, you can still share this episode with your friends.
In the past six months I’ve been contacted by a number of families from Watermark church in Dallas. Apparently a couple people heard about TLP and shared it with all of their friends. I know Matt and Sonja played a huge part in that, but there are others of you as well, and I love getting emails from you.
My point is, this Truth is grand and glorious, and we need to be sharing it with everyone we can.
Now, I don’t like to end on low notes, but our next episode is called the consequences of neglect.
I know of far too many professing believers who do not regularly assemble with the rest of the church. That is nothing but dangerous.
And it’s so important that I believed it was best to end our study looking at the very real results of refusing to live life the way God created it to flourish.
So, I’ll see you next tim
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