“Follow God wholeheartedly”

Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 11 Jan 2015

Luke 2:41-52

Let’s look more closely at this. This applies mostly to children, but the parents can listen carefully too. Often the children go off the track and if you look closely, you see the parents haven’t taught them properly especially those with children a bit older. This applies to young people and to parents who must bring up their children properly. The Bible says “Teach your children in His way and then they will not deviate from it.” You parents and mothers, do you hear? Parents complain and say the children don’t want to listen but the problem is with the parents. You can’t blame poverty for it. It’s usually those that are better off that go wrong. In the world you hear it is poverty that causes the problems. That is not true. If the parents follow the Lord faithfully, the children will follow in their footsteps.

Young people if you are driving your parents into the grave then you killed them. Honour you mother and father so that you may live long on this earth. Many die young and it is because they haven’t honoured their parents.

Jesus was 12 years old and they had the tradition that at twelve years the child is confirmed already. That child is recognized as one who can think for itself. Joseph and Mary always went to the feast in Jerusalem. As a Christian there are few things as wonderful as going to church. So often you hear parents say it’s cold and the child should stay inside. Why are you children at home? Are you a wolf with the cloak of Christianity? You say the child isn’t so well today and leave them at home and that child will be a nail in your coffin. You don’t bring them to youth services and you will reap the results.

Mary and Joseph would go up to the feast every year and it was from Nazareth to Jerusalem about 20km and they would take the child with them. Do you see where the parents go wrong? While Jesus was on earth, the parents brought sick children to Him. You leave them at home and they get up to mischief and do wrong things and communicate with their cell phones with boyfriends. You say your child is mature enough and knows what to do and not do. You don’t know how children deceive their parents. You say your child won’t do such a thing. Be careful that your child doesn’t deceive you.

Mary was His mother and Joseph was like his stepfather because He was begotten of God. May God be merciful to us parents. It would be terrible if your child is in hell and you must join them there. May it not be that your child says, “How can my mother go to heaven?” because the mother supported the child in what it did.
At Maphumulo there was a child who asked the mother for 5c. You could buy beer with it at that time. The mother would complain that he always begged for money and eventually the mother would give him the money. He would tell his mother that he would buy a cake but he would buy liquor. While he was on his death bed he asked his mother to come close and he bit off a piece of her ear. Then he said, “I am on the way to hell because you always gave me money and I bought beer with it.” Woe to us if our children are deceiving us and we don’t have eyes to see it.

Psalm 8:2 says,

“Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained praise.”

God meant children to bring praise to Him. That doesn’t mean you must be horrible to your children. In fact, if you make them stumble, you will be thrown into the deepest part of the sea. We can’t take it lightly. We must teach them God’s word so that together we can go to heaven.

Here we see that the parents took the child to the service whether hot, cold or raining. They made sure the child went to the service and they didn’t miss an opportunity. They travelled for a whole day and they didn’t notice that Jesus wasn’t in their midst. They had to walk. They didn’t have a taxi. If there was a service, they had to be there. After they had travelled a whole day, they looked for the child and couldn’t find him. Mary said, “Maybe he got left in Jerusalem.” After three days they found Him in the temple. Not in the soccer stadium or on the street. They found Him among the teachers in the temple. He was listening and asking them questions. He wasn’t just counting the lights or the beams in the roof. He was listening attentively. They found Him sitting among the teachers of theology. It shows that this was a result of His upbringing. They weren’t just interested in fireworks and soccer and those kind of things. Mary said, “My child what have you done to us? We have looked for you for three days.” Every one was astonished by this child but the parents were upset. The teachers were amazed by the questions he was asking. This is in contrast to parents today whose children make cheeky comments which is something you wouldn’t expect from a child. I have a lot of respect for Mary but here I am disappointed. But He quickly corrected her and reminded her who His real father is. “I must be about My father’s business.” Here she said a stupid thing. He knew who His father was. But then it goes on to say that Mary and Joseph didn’t understand it. It’s a pity that we don’t understand so many things. He said, “Do you not realize that I must be about My Father’s business?” But then He went home with them to Nazareth and there was an amazing word. It says that He was subject to them. Even if you do know more than your mother and father, you must respect them and be subject to them. Jesus grew in stature and in favour with God and men. You young people learn from Jesus. James said we should be an example to others in our conduct and even in the way we honour our parents. Jesus helped in the home: cleaning, doing the dishes and helping his father until he started his ministry. Do you children live this kind of life? Parents do you bring up your children and grandchildren in this way? What do you say about bringing up your children? Do you feed them heavenly milk? Will you enter heaven with your children? I am happy when a grandchild arrives but I always have the question, where will this child end up?

Remember Jesus said, “if you love father, mother, brother or sister more than Me, you are not worthy of Me.”

An Anglican minister had a dream and the wife saw something was wrong with him. He didn’t want to tell her, but she kept on asking him like a dripping tap. Eventually he told her. “I had a terrible dream. I found I was at judgment day. Suddenly I was all alone before that Great White Throne. I was called by name. God said, ‘You have been a minister in four different congregations. Where are they? Where are the deacons, the women, the choir and the youth?’ I didn’t know what to answer. He said, ‘Where are your wife and children?’” As he looked he saw a big group of people and they were all heading towards the bottomless pit. As they fell into the pit they cried. He also noticed his wife and children. He was sitting in bed as he told his wife this. And God said, “There they go and you join them.” And then he fell backwards in bed and died. This is a true story of a minister in England. Don’t say your child must decide. The Lord will require his blood from your hands.

Let us not be like that Anglican minister, but follow God in truth.