Date: 
Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 10:45am
Service: 
Sermon Series: 
Author: 
Bible Reference: 
Exodus 20:1-3

VALUE #1
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO PUT GOD FIRST
EXODUS 20:1-3

        Today we are beginning a new sermon series on the Family.  We are going to look at what values are needed for strong, highly-functional, well balanced and productive families.  We are going to take 10 weeks and look at the values you need to teach your children. 

        See, the issue is, we have been living the past 35 or so years in what sociologist call, “A values vacuum”.  The permissive philosophies of the 60’s have created a culture in which anything goes, tolerance has been replaced with acceptance, and permissiveness has gone mainstream.  Ozzie and Harriet have been replaced by Homer Simpson and Jersey Shore. 

  • Every 30 seconds there is a divorce. 
  • Every fourth child is born to an unwed mother. 
  • In the next 12 months, 1 million teenager girls will get pregnant.  According to the CDC, almost 20 % of the population has a sexually transmitted disease and 2/3 of the new cases occur among people under the age of 25. 
  • And by the way, AIDS is still an epidemic. 

        Everyone says that society needs values, but because of political correctness and progressive secularism nobody is defining those values in measurable terms.  Politicians can sound really good talking about values all day long and never define what those values look like. 

        In the Book of Exodus, God gave a list of values upon which you and I can build our families.  These values are called the Ten Commandments.  They are not the Ten Suggestions, they are the Ten Commandments.  They are not a fad.  They are eternal.  They are not political correct.  They are the truth.  They don’t evolve, change, or grow in any way. They are perfect.  They are as relevant today as they were 4000 years ago when God etched them into the stone tablets for Moses to take to the people. 

Deuteronomy gives us direction and tells us what to do with the 10 Commandments.  And this is the point of this series. 

          Deut 6:6-7   "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.   7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

        We are to remember them.  And we are to teach them.  They are absolutely essential for the development of moral character.  They are absolutely essential for strong, healthy, well adjusted and fully functional homes. 

        God gave us the Ten Commandments for our good not His.  He gave them to help us, not to hurt us, to free us and not to restrain us, and to protect us, not to punish us. 

        Look with me at the very first commandment.

Exodus 20:1-3  Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2     "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 
3     "You shall have no other gods before Me.

I.  THE FOUNDATION FOR A STRONG FAMILY

        The order of the Ten Commandments is not haphazard.  God intentionally put the first one first because it's the basis of all the others.  For your sake, God demands top priority in your life. 

        So we are to have no other gods, but what is a god?  A god is anything that dominates your life, anything that controls your life.  A god is something that gives you a sense of identity, direction, security.  A god is something you can’t live with out.

        Can a job be a god?  You bet it can.  Can another person be a god?  Yes.  Can golf be a god?  Even good things that God has created for us to enjoy, become gods when you give them first place in your life.

        Today, in America, families are dropping like flies.  They're falling apart faster than we can put them together.  Why are so many marriages crumbling?  Because they have bought into the wrong value system.  The divorce rate in America for first time couples is now more than one out of every three marriages.  But Harvard University did a study a few years ago:  marriages where the family is active in a bible teaching church, the divorce rate is one out of fifty marriages.  Would you say that's a little different than one out of three?  Put God first. 

II.  HOW DO I PUT GOD FIRST?

        But how?  What do we do in practical, everyday terms to put God first?  What are the practical things we need to teach our children?  Let me borrow an acrostic from another preacher. Let’s use the word FIRST.

F - FINANCES

          If you are going to put God first, you have to give Him your finances.  You know why people get upset when the preacher preaches on money?  Because their money is a bigger god in their life than Jesus is and they don’t won’t the preacher messing with their god. 

Proverbs 3:9-10 "Honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income, and He will fill your barns to overflow." 

        Money is the number one test of your priorities.  We spend most of our lives trying to earn it and the rest of our lives spending it.  Nothing wrong with having stuff.  Everything wrong with stuff having you. 

        Use your finances to teach your children their worth is based on their relationship with Jesus and not the size of your house.  Teach your children their identity is in Christ and not in the label on their cloths. 

Deut. 14:23 - Also set aside ten percent of your wine and olive oil, and the first-born of every cow, sheep, and goat. Take these to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshiped, and eat them there. This will teach you to always respect the Lord your God.

        We're in sluggish economic times right now.  We have people in our own congregation out of work.  I understand times are hard.  But I don't know any clearer, simpler advice to give you as a pastor that cares about you than to say, if you are going to put God first, you have to start with your finances. 

I - INTEREST

        If God's really going to be number one, you put Him first in your interests.  That means in your fun times, your play times, your hobbies. 

        You can tell what a person's priorities are seeing what they get excited about.  What gets you excited?  That tells you what's important to you.  And we need to be excited about God. 

        What do you talk about the most?  I know people who can talk for hours on end about other people.  But they couldn't talk three minutes about the Lord.  There are people who can read newspapers and blogs all day long and won’t read their bibles.  If you will seek God first and seek to make Him the most important thing in your life, you will be amazed how interesting He becomes.  

        Teach your children to value their bibles as more than they value their facebook.  Which means you are going to have to value your bible more than you value your facebook. 

R - RELATIONSHIPS

If you want God first in your life you're going to have to choose your friends carefully. 

        Who your friends are has everything to do with God being first in my life because you become like the people you spend the most time with.  If you spend time with people who take God lightly, you will tend to become a casual believer.  But if you spend time with people who are committed and take God and His word seriously you will become a stronger, more committed Christian.  Whoever you spend time with that is who you're going to be like. 

Prov. 12:26 The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.

        Choose your friends carefully.  It is always easier to pull somebody down than it is to pull somebody up.  Put Him first in your relationships so you can teach your children to put Him first in their relationships.

S - SCHEDULE

Put God first in your schedule, in your time. 

        You have just enough time to do God's will.  When God made you, He had a plan for your life.  If you find yourself having more things to do than you have time to do, it means you're doing some things that aren't part of God's plan.  They may be good things, but that doesn’t mean you have to do them.  God never puts more on you than you can bear.  He doesn't ask you to do more than you have time to do.  But we do it to ourselves all the time.  When you start feeling frustrated and hassled and frazzled it's because you're trying to do more than God wants you to do. 

        Go to the Lord and say, “God let's review my life.  Let's review my schedule, my goals, my priorities.  What is really important because I don't have time for everything and I know You don't expect me to do everything." 

        I have to remind myself all the time that Jesus never got in a hurry, but He got everything done. 

T - TROUBLES

        When you face unexpected problems and pressures, when you have a crisis, who do you turn to?  God says, "Turn to Me first when you've got a problem."  For many people, when they're in a tight situation, prayer is the last resort, not the first option.  They do everything they can to try to correct the problem and then when they fail they say, "I guess now all we can do is pray."  Prayer should not be your last resort, it should be your first option.  If you just get undercut by a competitor or slammed by your boss, if there are problems with your kids or you are fighting with your parents, pray "Help".  Make God your first resort in a crisis. 

Psalm 46:10 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."

        This brings up an interesting point.  How do you know when God's first in your life?  You stop worrying.  Worry is the warning light that God is not first in my life at this particular moment.  When I start worrying, it says, I'm playing God, I'm assuming responsibility He didn't intend for me to have.  When God is not first in any of these five areas we begin to worry about it.  When He's not first in my finances I worry about them.  When God is not first in my relationships, I worry about them.  When God isn't first in my problems, trials, troubles, I worry about them.  When God isn't first place in my schedule, I worry about my schedule.  But when I stop and do a priority check.  "God, You be number one in this area, You handle it, You're in charge."  I take a deep breath and relax. 

Matthew 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

        This is what we need to spend our lives teaching our children.