The Value of a Christian Home (Rom 3:1-2)

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Pastor Mark Mikels – December 13, 2009
“THE VALUE OF A CHRISTIAN HOME”
(Romans 3:1-2)

Intro … This morning I want to talk about “The Value of a Christian Home”.
It’s a topic stimulated by the first two verses contained in our passage of the week … Romans 3:1-2 … The rest of the passage (verses 3-8) raises issues that Paul will deal with more fully later in the book – we will discuss them then. Verses 1 and 2 raise and answer a question that is of great importance.

Here’s how they read:

“What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.”

Now it’s important that we read this question in context … the word “then” in verse one is just like the word “therefore” … to understand the meaning of the verse we must know what it’s “there for”.

In Chapter One Paul outlines the horrible plight of a world lost in sin – a world from which God has lifted his gracious hand of restraint. He characterizes the people of such a world as having become “senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless”. He concludes chapter one with the judgment that those who do such things “deserve death” – a judgment with which he would expect his readers to agree.

However, in Chapter Two Paul immediately turns the tables on us his readers – on us who have just “agreed with his judgment” by saying “You who pass judgment have no excuse because you who pass judgment are guilty of doing
the same things” … you are as guilty as they are!

Then, just in case some of Paul’s Jewish readers were considering his remarks to be focused only upon his Gentile readers (as they no doubt were doing), Paul takes the Jews to task in the second half of chapter two as he points out that the Jews were the cause of much Divine Distress … in fact, he goes so far as to say that their behavior has caused “God’s Name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles”. He then pushes the point further by declaring that even the “Sign” of their Covenant Relationship – Circumcision” in and of itself is meaningless.

Now in light of those incredible statements, Paul begins Chapter Three by raising the very question that would be on any Jewish reader’s mind.

“What advantage (if any), then, is there in being a Jew,
or what value is there in circumcision?”

Do we need to throw away our heritage – do we need to forget everything that we have been taught – if we would be saved?

To that frustrated and perhaps even despairing question, Paul gives a most unexpected answer – “Absolutely not” he would declare …

“There is “much (advantage), in every way!” Chiefly (or most importantly)
“They (the Jews) have been entrusted with the very words of God.”

Today I would rephrase the question this way …

Today’s Key Question …

What ADVANTAGE Is There In Being BORN
Into A CHRISTIAN FAMILY?
(Romans 3:1-2)

Some Basic Parameters:
Christian Family Is Composed of PEOPLE who are Committed to CHRIST, Connected To His CHURCH and Convinced of the
TRUTH of His WORD.
(Joshua 24:15)

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Now having defined those parameters, back to our “Key Question”

“What advantage is there in being born into a Christian Family?” or
“What motivation is there to seek to establish a Christian Family?”

Now I raise that question because there have been times in my life when I felt like the proper answer to that question was “Not Much” … there is not much advantage to having been raised in a Christian Home.

I never got to experience the world … I was always told what was right and what was wrong … I was never allowed (it seemed) to just make up my own mind …
I was kind of spiritually “coasting along on my parents coattails” as it were …
I was saved when I was nine years old and therefore possess neither a dramatic testimony nor a lurid history with which to impress an audience. Being raised in a Christian home took most of the excitement out of my Christian life.

When I arrived as a freshman at Wheaton College, it was pointed out during our Orientation that the Wheaton years would provide me an opportunity to discover just how much of my “faith” was my own and how much I was in fact just riding on my parent’s coattails.

It was even suggested that I might find myself “setting aside the things that I had always believed” so that I could examine them and make sure that my faith was in fact “my faith” and not just something I had “borrowed” from my parents.

It seemed like I needed to dismantle everything that had been built into me so that I could build it myself … make sure it was my own. Maybe it would have been better (I thought) if I had been an unenlightened 18 year old pagan who was discovering these things for the first time! Then I might have the enthusiasm of discovery and the thrill of a “God turned me around” kind of testimony.

Needless to say, at that point in my life I did not necessarily feel like there was any great advantage to having been raised in a Christian Home. I would possibly have challenged Paul’s declaration in this passage … I certainly would have been lukewarm towards it.

Things drastically changed during those next four years and then in the three years of Seminary training that followed …

By the time I was establishing my own family and stepping into a ministry position where I would be seeking to encourage the establishment of others, I had become absolutely convinced that there had been (in my life) and would always be (for anyone else) great advantage to being born into a Christian Family!

Let me share just three of those advantages with you this morning.
Advantage #1: As a result of being born into a Christian Home …

You Easily EMBRACE Things Others STRUGGLE To ACCEPT.

(The EXISTENCE of God …The WORD of God
The PEOPLE of God …The PLACE of God)

Biblical Example: Timothy … 2 Timothy 3:14, 1:5

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of,
because you know those from whom you learned it and how from infancy
you have known the holy Scriptures,

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother
Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

“From Infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures” … what a legacy!

Timothy never lived a day outside the awareness that God had revealed His Purposes for man in written form. He didn’t need to be convinced through careful argument or reasoning that the Scriptures were reliable, though that process is helpful … He just knew it – He had always known it. His life was based upon it. His family was steeped in it and so was he!

Those who have been raised in Christian Homes easily embrace things that others (those not raised in Christian Homes) struggle to accept and/or understand.

They embrace the fact of God’s Existence … They embrace the Scripture as God’s Divine Word … They embrace the importance of the Church – their extended family of faith … They embrace the Place of God in the world – His Sovereignty and His Oversight. As far as they are concerned “It just the way things are”.

Advantage #2: As a result of being born into a Christian Home …

2. You Naturally KNOW Things Others Must WORK To LEARN.

(The WORKINGS of God – That’s Biblical HISTORY)

(The WAYS of God – Those are Biblical PRINCIPLES)

Biblical Example: Timothy … 2 Timothy 3:15-17

“From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise
for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is
useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that
the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

One does not become “wise unto salvation” without some understanding of the entire flow of God’s workings in this world … the Creation of the Perfect World, the Fall into Sin, The Promise of A Savior, The Choosing of A People, The Giving of a Sacrificial System, The Establishing of a Witness Nation … all the things that paved the way for the Coming of Christ into the world.

One does not become “equipped for every good work” without some detailed knowledge of the ways of God – the principles by which He would have His People live their lives.

For the child of a Christian Home these things are second nature – for someone raised in a non-Christian home these things can seem strange and mysterious … much work is needed to master them.

Advantage #3: As a result of being born into a Christian Home …

You Intuitively SENSE Things Others YEARN To EXPERIENCE

IDENTITY – I know who I am;
SECURITY – I know whose I am.
FORGIVENESS – I know that my slate is clean.
CONFIDENCE – I know that God is working in all things.

Biblical Example: Jesus … Luke 2:52
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.”

There’s a wonderfully natural progression that can take place in one who has been fortunate enough to be born into a Christian Home. He or she develops from infant to adult in all areas of life in an inter-connected way – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – and as a result such a one intuitively senses realities that others yearn for and frequently struggle to experience.

Final Thot … It’s an awesome thing to either CONTINUE or
BEGIN your LEGACY as a CHRISTIAN FAMILY!

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