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Kingdom Parenting

• Greg Boyd

This week’s sermon is entitled “Kingdom Parenting.” Greg kept our eyes on Luke 1:13-17 and pointed out that there is a prophecy being fulfilled here that might escape our attention if we read through this passage too quickly. It is found in verse 16 that John will “turn the hearts of the parents to their children” which echoes what was stated in Mal. 4:5-6. The focus of today’s message is what does it mean to be “kingdom parents”?

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This week’s sermon is entitled “Kingdom Parenting.” Greg kept our eyes on Luke 1:13-17 and pointed out that there is a prophecy being fulfilled here that might escape our attention if we read through this passage too quickly. It is found in verse 16 that John will “turn the hearts of the parents to their children” which echoes what was stated in Mal. 4:5-6.

We went back to God’s first instructions for humanity (Gen. 1:27-28). God intended that human beings would take responsibility for populating the earth and taking care of it on God’s behalf. When we succeed in these responsibilities, the role of human beings in reigning with God on earth is fulfilled (2 Tim. 2:11-12; Rev. 5:10, 20:6, 22:5). In this first command, we see three basic parts to our responsibility:

1. We are responsible to populate the planet by having children.

2. We are responsible for caring for the animals on the earth.

3. We are responsible for caring for the earth itself.

Greg clarified that the word “dominion” does not mean to dominate, but to care for in the same way that God cares for us. If we are in the image of God it is only fitting that we care for those we are responsible for in the same way that God cares for us. This means that a key indication of “how we are doing” as people of God is found in how we treat children, animals and the earth. Today’s message focused on how we treat children.

As human beings, we are to partner with God in caring for creation. Nowhere is our partnership more apparent than when we partner with God in creating a human being! We participate in the very creation of life! Of course, not everyone has children—either by choice or for other reasons. Greg pointed out that the first responsibility, to populate the planet may be the one command of God that human beings in general have actually obeyed and completed! And those who have children have a kingdom responsibility toward them. The focus of today’s message is what does it mean to be “kingdom parents”?

Principle #1: Get a Life! (Individually) The first and most important thing for parents and all people is that we get our life from Christ, not our relationships to others around us. As Greg put it: “A heart that’s hungry for life is a heart that has to be centered on itself.” Of course, this means that this heart cannot be toward children. In fact, if you are not getting your life from Christ, you may well be trying to feed your own needs through your children. Parents need to realize that their own spiritual life is a higher priority than their children. This sounds harsh, but if you are not getting life from Christ, then you are taking it from those around you, including your children. It is not selfish to invest in your own well-being. You’ll have nothing to offer others if you don’t. This is non-negotiable for a godly life.

Principle #2: Get a Life! Together! (Couples) Many households have only one parent, but there’s always the possibility for you to find a new life partner, so don’t tune out if you are a single parent. A marriage relationship has many parallels with the life of God within the Trinity. There is abundant love within the relationship of the Father, Son and Spirit. That love overflows in creation. Then creation is invited into the center of that love. Similarly, if both partners in the couple are getting their life from Christ their love for each other will overflow to others, if they have children, the love will overflow onto them and they will be invited into the loving dynamic dance of life with God in Christ. But just as God’s plan depends on God’s steadfast loving nature, so also, success as parents depends on steadfast love existing in the parents as a couple.

Too often, a couple comes together deeply in love with one another, they have kids, and then life becomes so focused on providing support and raising kids that the couple only relate to each other as mutual caregivers of the children. Their own relationship is deeply neglected. The original relationship of romance, love, intimacy and wonderful excitement over one another seems a distant memory. We must make the time to do what you got married to do! You didn’t get married just to work, pay bills and have kids. You got married because you are crazy about each other! Celebrate this! Get out and dance, wine and dine, enjoy life together! That’s why you got married

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Topics: Creation Care, Family, Marriage, Parenting


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 1:13-17

    But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

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