I’ll admit, this was a strange Mother’s Day message.
The house unit has changed beyond recognition. In the 1950s, over 50% of families attended church each week. In 2014, it dropped to 36%. In 1969, there were 58.25 million TV sets in homes in America. Now, there are 119.6 million sets. There’s so much entertainment, and so much to keep people busy. While American families spend more time watching TV together, they are spending far less time having dinner together.
Family dinners were almost a nightly ritual in most homes during the 1950s-1970s. A recent survey revealed that 40% of modern families only eat dinner together less than 3 times a week. 45% of people claim to hate cooking. The average family spends about $3,008 a year dining out. A survey in 2000 found that the average family only spends about 37 minutes together each day.
A long time ago there was a city that an enemy was trying to overtake, but the enemy couldn’t manage to defeat it. The enemy knew that they could overtake it if they could get inside the city. So, they built this Trojan Horse on wheels, filled it with soldiers, and put it outside the gate of the city. The city saw the beautiful Trojan Horse and brought it into the city, not knowing the enemy was inside. Late that night, the soldiers came out, taking the city from within. This is what the devil is doing to our families.
One of the strongest things in Amercia is the family.
What about the church? If you don’t have good families, you can’t have a church. If the enemy can stop the family, then he has broken the foundation of our nation.
It takes a lot to raise a child. It takes a lot of love, money, patience, and prayers. With this message, I want to reach for that little momma that doesn’t have this type of help in her home. I want to salute that momma that didn’t know what it was for someone to hold her hands up and strengthen her. I want to tell you that you can do it and you can do it well.
Two of my heroes in the Bible are James the Greater, and John the Beloved Disciple.
You have the ability to raise a James or a John. Acts 12:1-2. James and John were a part of Jesus’ inner circle. Luke 9:28. John 9:23. John 21:20. Revelation 1:9. Matthew 26:37-38.
How does one momma raise two sons like this? Out of all the people who saw Jesus, these two (aside from Peter) were the closest to Jesus. Jesus picked these two out of thousands to be His pals and get close enough to see Him crying in the garden. The only ones He trusted His pain with. What kind of background did they have?
One of the great lessons we learn from James is readiness to answer the call of Jesus. Before Jesus called Him, he had a thriving fishing business that he was going to inherit. Jesus comes by. James, John, their father, and hired hands were there. Jesus says, “Follow me.” James got up and left his inheritance to follow a man he didn’t know. He left the boat, his source of living. He left his dad and mom. He must have looked at all he had and said, “Is a man a fool to give up that which he can’t keep to gain that which he can’t lose?”
John was the only one besides Judas who didn’t die a martyr’s death. History says when John got well up in age he got frail and they’d carry him to church. When they’d ask him to testify, he’d say, “Brethren, love one another. God is love. If we can’t love one another, we can’t love God.” We have to love each other. We can’t go to church and shout and then go treat each other wrong. If we are going to love God, we have to love each other.
Matthew 4:18-22. All Jesus said was, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus didn’t say, “James, John, follow me.” He didn’t give specific names in this passage. So, what was different between the call that James and John heard and the call that Zebedee (their father) heard? What was the answer to the call? The sons heard the call, but the dad was too busy. He was too caught up in his life, trying to work for things he couldn’t keep.
In the end, your money will not matter. Nothing will matter except where you are with God. What are you doing with your time right now? Life changes and your kids get older. Have you heard that call to follow Jesus? You don’t mind your spouse and kids going to church, but will you completely surrender to Jesus?
Matthew 27:54-55. Mark 3:17.
Thunder is the sound lighting makes because the air molecules heat up so fast they pop. Lightening produces a sudden increase in temperature and pressure which results in the rapid expansion of air around and within the lightning bolt. This expansion causes a sonic shockwave producing the sound of thunder.
Now, Jesus wasn’t calling James and John thunder. He said they were sons of thunder. Here’s what I’m trying to say, they had a dad who made a lot of noise. A dad who thought he was all that, but he never did anything but roar. Loud, scary, forceful, but just a sound. Wouldn’t pray, go to church, or pay his tithes. He never brought life or light to a dark soul, he was loud. Their dad didn’t do anything in their spiritual raising, it was their momma. But that little momma didn’t give up because she was married to a thunder. She made up her mind that even if Zebedee would drop out, she wasn’t going to drop out on her children.
I want to thank all the women that are married to a Zebedee and still made up their minds to keep those babies from the devil. Even if it was just you and Jesus raising them. If we don’t turn our children’s hearts to the Lord, we fail.
If the mother of James and John could do it, so can you. God helped her, He will help you. Listen to the boldness of this woman, Matthew 20:20-21. She didn’t ask God to give them a lot of money or a lot of faith, she just wanted them to stay close to Him. In verse 20, she brought her boys with her, worshipping God.
“Train up a child…”
You may bring your children to church, but do you train them? If not, it’s kind of like taking a coon dog out to the woods and telling him, “Alright, you go learn to coon hunt and I’ll just sit here.” Some people want their children to worship, but they themselves won’t worship. Your babies are watching you more than they are watching anyone else. If we don’t teach our babies to worship, they won’t stay in church. We are our children’s examples. If our babies worship like us, how pleased will Jesus be with our worship?
You will never raise good children if every time you get in a battle, you quit.
It has to be made up in our minds that storms will come, but we are staying right with Jesus. Jesus was dying and the mother of James and John was still there. If you are going to raise godly children, you have to be faithful. When Jesus moves, when Jesus is silent, when you are blessed, and when you have to sacrifice, you have to be faithful. Anyone can follow Jesus when he’s healing and blessing. But if we want to raise our children to love Him, we have to let them see us love Jesus when we are crying and hurting. This is what builds integrity.
Zebedee was a great provider for his family. But we have to have a heart toward God to raise these babies right. They need more than food, more than another toy.
— Pastor Anthony Wynn