2. What is the seed?
We are answering questions introduced last week to help us prepare children for the Gospel.
1. Who is the sower?
2. What is the seed?
3. What kind of soil is in the hearts of children?
4. How do we sow, tend and harvest?
5. How do we lead a child to salvation, and what are the evidences of saving faith?
We discovered in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 that the sower of the seed is the 1. Triune God of the universe himself and, 2. we are his ambassadors.
Remember, the transformation of our children by the Gospel is not going to be a one-time event where they raise their hand and pray some magic prayer and never grow in the Lord. Our children’s transformation is a journey that begins the day they are conceived and culminates the day you pick the ripe fruit of their salvation in their submission to the Lord and our baptism of that follower of Jesus. This is a long haul proposition.
This is going to require:
1. A long-term attitude. Marathon not a sprint.
3. Much communication to the child
4. Much question answering and you will need to know the bible well enough to answer
5. Discernment to know the fruit of the Gospel as opposed to the fruit of a moral culture
This is why we are doing this series and getting you these books. This is why we do RK the way we do it.
This week we need to answer the question, “What is the seed?” What is the “seed” that we are to be “sowing”, using Jesus’ agricultural parable.
The very obvious answer to this question is the Gospel.
Father, Son and Spirit have created all and intend to fellowship with Adam and Eve and enjoy their worship as they enjoy the Lord himself.
However, something catastrophic has happened. There has been a rebellion in the angelic hosts of creation and one of those creatures has taken up the prideful lust of his rebellion and propagated it on our parents in the garden.
Our parents believed the lie that our great King was holding out on us and that we could be “god” and know all that Father knows, therefore, he gives us rules to follow to hold us down.
So, ignoring the plea that if they eat of the one tree there will be death, destruction, disease, separation, lies and a host of other horrible things they eat and from that day on they and all of their descendants all the way to you and I have been cut off from the presence of Father and put under the sentence of death to receive justice for rebellion.
Justice is part of the glorious reality of the Gospel. “God engineered the Gospel to reverse the effects of the fall.” – Farley
We all must admit that we love justice. We want justice to be done. That is not the problem. We just don’t believe we are truly guilty of anything deserving justice. We believe we are good enough and smart enough and well liked enough that we deserve to be treated like royalty. Our culture believes we are basically good (some 70% of Christians surveyed do not believe in original sin).
Hitler, give him justice.
Stalin, give him justice.
Pol Pot, give him justice.
Mao Tse Tung, give him justice.
Mitch Jolly, well, um. He’s a pretty good ole fella.
Father is not giving justice simply for deeds done, but because the deeds come from a nature of rebellion that produces the fruit of deeds (more on that next week).
We are guilty and justice will be done either at the cross in a glorious substitutionary act of love and kindness or in hell forever.
The Gospel is the “good news”, however, the good news is only good news when it is presented in light of the bad news.
Last week I told you a little bit of my story. I told you how I attended an event for children at a church and hell was presented and heaven as the escape by just praying a prayer.
My problem on this side of that is not that hell was talked about. Jesus spoke more of hell than anyone. It’s that hell and heaven were disconnected from the whole story of the Gospel. Why hell? What is hell? What is heaven? Why heaven? What makes hell, hell and heaven, heaven? Who is God? Why does God send people to hell? Why is God angry? What is the problem? Can God fix the problem?
The Gospel is only the Gospel when we tell the whole story of the Gospel. You often here me call this the metanarrative (a narrative about a narrative).
The reason this word is so vital to the Christian is that metanarrative assumes that there is a reality that explains the narrative of this life (this was assumed until the enlightenment).
Without the metanarrative of the Gospel to explain life mankind comes up with some crazy stuff such as Secular Humanism (Naturalism: no God just the natural world therefore man needs the metanarrative of evolution to provide him some explanation for how we came to be here), Cosmic Humanism (pantheism: many “gods” in nature, including man).
We have to tell the whole story of the Gospel to our children: 1. Creation 2. Fall 3. Redemption 4. Consummation
All of this is the “seed” that Father, Son and Spirit is sowing and we, as Father’s ambassadors, are sowing as well.
Now, if we are not sowing this entire story, we are failing. If we just tell our kids that Jesus came to save us without telling them what he came to save us from (fall and subsequent judgment) we will create lukewarm, passive and passionless moralists who have no reason to die for issues that are worth dying for when it comes to being a Christian.
Even if we teach all the right things about the person of Jesus and leave out why he came and what he did to make the good news “good” then all we do is make following Jesus a list of optional rules to help us feel better about his dying for us so that we can not feel so guilty about it. Following Jesus, in this scenario of good news with no bad news, fixes our guilt from statements such as “he died for you so you can certainly live for him.”
We have trouble reconciling the bad news with the good news because in our culture we have been sold a “good news” that contains no bad news.
A. What is the bad news that makes the good news good that is an integral part of the Gospel of the Kingdom Jesus says is being sown? In other words, what is the Gospel seed we are to be sowing?
Creation / Fall / Redemption / Consummation
We are going to highlight the bad news first because it’s how Paul begins all his messages. Take note in Acts 17 at the Areopagus and Acts 24 before Felix that Paul starts telling about the bad news first. From 1 Thessalonians to Galatians to Corinth there is bad news that comes before the good news.
This is vital. Now, let’s look at Romans 1:16-3:20 at a glance to see Paul’s most crystalized statements on the bad news and the good news.
1. Romans 1:16 – 3:20
From 1 Thessalonians to Galatians to Corinth this pattern is seen in Paul’s
proclamation of the Gospel and he goes to great length in 2 Corinthians to
explain how it has gotten him beaten, imprisoned, stoned by angry mobs and
left for dead. Here is a nugget for you: For those outside the bad news may
make people angry and make then hate you, but for those who have believed,
the bad news makes you happy beyond your ability to contain it!
a. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes 1:16
(a summary statement on the good news)
b. Bad News: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven 1:18-3:20
1. Passive wrath (three times mentioned “God gave them up”) 1:24, 26,
2. Jew and Gentile alike are storing up active wrath on the day of
judgment through unbelief and sins that are the fruit of sin 2:5
3. Mankind will be judged by their works 2:6-11
Romans 2:6-11 casts a hypothetical scene: what if someone who existed who sought God with all his heart and lived righteously? Paul concludes that the person’s works would save him. But later, in the third chapter, Paul makes it clear that, short of Jesus, this person does not exist. He reminds us that “no one seeks for God (3:11) and that “none is righteous, no, not one” (3:10). God’s judgment will be impartial and according to works. It will not help to be a Jew, a member of a certain Christian organization, or the child of a well-known Christian. The basis of God’s judgment will be the same for everyone (2:11).
4. Ignorance will not help 2:15-16
“The work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness…therefore on the day of judgment everyone who did not obey the sum of the ten commandments (love God and love neighbor), and none have obeyed them, will be without excuse.
c. God’s wrath is averted through the substitutionary work of Jesus 3:21-26
According to Luther, Romans 3:21-26 was the center of the whole bible. I would agree.
Our presentation to our children can’t be hell / heaven / choose in one single Sunday school event and we are done with it and satisfied. It is a daily barrage of sowing the Gospel into these little ears by telling the story on your part as a parent.
We have to begin to tell this story of the Gospel to our children early on and ingrain this reality into their little beings. We will get to some practical ways to do this, but I dare not give you methods without you knowing fully what those methods are intended to plant.
Our job is to sow the Gospel into the soil of their lives and work toward tending and harvesting the fruit of transformation.
Have you believed the Gospel?
It is no good for you to be telling this Gospel to your children if you have not believed it.
What does the totality of the Gospel produce in us as parents?
1. The Gospel keeps us focused on eternal things
2. The Gospel points us to the love and grace of God to crush the Son in our place for our sin
3. The Gospel keeps us zealous
People who don’t feel their need are usually lukewarm. People who see and know their need yet understand that they have been rescued from that abound with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:7).
4. The Gospel motivates us to go to the lost
5. The Gospel motivates parenting
“Someday our children will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Men and women who are sensitive to this truth make the best parents.” – William P. Farley