3 John 4
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
(3 John 4)
A popular show on television many years ago was a show called,
"Kids Say the Darndest Things."
Children make some hilarious remarks.
Most parents can relate the funny things their children have said and done.
Here are some I have read,
A little girl named Amy sent a note to her pastor which read,
"Dear Preacher, I heard you say to love our enemies. I am only six
and do not have any yet.
I hope to have some when I am seven.
Your friend, Love, Amy."
The following happened in Sunday School.
After the Sunday school teacher told the story of the Prodigal Son to the class,
she asked, "Was anyone sorry when the Prodigal Son returned?"
One boy answered, "The fatted calf."
Bringing home report cards have occasioned many strange comments.
A cartoon in the New Yorker showed a father scowling over a very bad report card
while his little boy stood by, asking, "What do you think it is, Dad?
Heredity or environment?"
Here is another. The young boy brought home a report card filled with poor grades.
His mother asked, "What have you to say about this?"
The boy replied, "One thing is for sure, you know I ain't cheating!"
A little boy asked his mother where he came from, and also where she had come from as a baby.
His mother gave him a tall tale about a beautiful white-feathered bird.
The boy ran into the next room and asked his grandmother the same question
and received a variation on the bird story.
He then scampered outside to his playmate with the comment,
"You know, there hasn't been a normal birth in our family for three generations."
Here is one about a little boy with a positive attitude.
A little boy was overheard talking to himself as he strutted through the backyard with his ball and bat.
He was heard to say, "I'm the greatest hitter in the world."
Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it and missed. "Strike one!"
Undaunted he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself,
"I'm the greatest baseball hitter ever," and he swung at the ball again.
And again he missed. "Strike two!"
He paused a moment and look at his bat and ball carefully.
Then a third time he threw the ball into the air.
"I'm the greatest hitter who ever lived," he said.
He swung the bat hard again, missed a third time.
He cried out, "Wow! Strike three! What a pitcher!
I'm the greatest pitcher in the world!"
There was a sign in a church nursery with the following quote from 1 Corinthians 15:51:
"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."
One thing is for sure, our children have changed and will change a lot over the years.
We live in a world where change is constant.
Some changes are for the better and some are for the worst.
If our children can go through this changing world and come through intact -- we are grateful.
Some children do not.
We have all seen rebellious children.
We have seen children who choose a lifestyle of self-indulgence, wilful disobedience,
dangerous behavior, and obvious sin.
All of us are saddened by this sight, but none of us are saddened any more
than the parents of these children.
There are many mothers and fathers who have cried over a wayward son or daughter.
Words cannot describe the depth of pain and sorrow that comes to a heart broken by love.
Parents experience a depth of feeling for their children that even the children
do not understand.
Most parents are convinced that they care more for their children's welfare and future
than even the children care about themselves.
One of the most difficult things parents face is the realization that although they have
experienced life and gained wisdom from their own mistakes and failures,
their own children will probably not benefit from them.
They will not understand until they make the same mistakes.
But the mistakes will be made.
And parents never want their children suffer needlessly.
And when children turn out right, words again fail to describe the joy parents experience.
Instead of tears of grief, tears of inexpressible joy are shed.
When our children succeed in life, it brings parents a sweet satisfaction
The apostle John spoke of such a joy.
In 3 John 4 he said, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children
are walking in the truth."
He is speaking of his spiritual children.
He was speaking as a pastor.
This is the literal interpretation of the text.
But, by implication, he is speaking of the joy that any Christian parent would feel.
There is a great similarity between how a spiritual father feels for his spiritual children
and how a natural Christian father or mother feels for their children.
The apostle John spoke of these people as his spiritual children.
He had a pastor's heart.
He felt a responsibility concerning their well being.
He wished to see them follow the Lord completely.
This kind of pastoral concern is expressed by the apostle John.
The apostle, like any minister, wanted to see his spiritual children living fulfilled lives.
Pastors pray that their preaching and teaching would have an impact on the lives
of those who hear.
Are their lives being changed?
Are they growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Are they bearing fruit?
Are they having an impact on others?
John has great joy to know that his spiritual children are walking in the truth.
These words can also apply to the sons and daughters of Christian parents.
Of course there are many parents who are not Christian.
There are some parents who care only for the things of this world and they do not care
for the things of God.
Unless the parents are walking in the truth, they have no desire for their children
to walk in the truth.
There is a saying that "No wolf prays for its offspring to become a sheep."
So it is probably true that non-Christian parents will make no effort to have
their children become Christian.
They care when their children are sick, but they are not concerned that they are sick with sin.
They pride themselves on dressing their children in the latest designer fashions,
but it is not matter to them if their children are not clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
There are many who are more concerned with grades in school than whether
their children's minds are renewed.
But when children lose the crown of eternal life, there will be no consolation
that they have Doctor Degrees.
They may have successful businesses, and have large salaries,
but they will not be able to spend one penny in hell.
Parents, are you are more concerned with these earthly things than with spiritual things
that are eternally important .
Our children have eternal souls.
They will spend eternity in heaven or hell.
There is great joy for parents when their children are Christians and are living for Jesus.
Children may act a certain way around their parents and a different way
when they are not around them.
But when they are walk in the truth even when their parents are not around
brings great joy to parents.
Parents, how we can help our children to live this way?
We can love Jesus ourselves.
We will never be able, as parents, to inspire our children to love the Lord
if we do not love Him passionately ourselves.
By loving Jesus, we show our children what is really important in life.
By loving Jesus, they see in us the kind of character they should emulate.
This is the first thing we can do.
Then,we must live a Christian life before our children.
Most of us have become like our parents, like it or not.
Our children will probably become much like us.
We must live before them in such a way that they see Jesus in us.
We must express our faith with them.
We must tell them how Jesus has made a difference in their lives.
We must let them know that we want them have Christ as their own personal Savior.
We must teach them how terrible sin is.
Some may need to commit themselves to be the parents that God would have them be
and that their children can truly honor!
Then parents you will experience the joy.
(Sermon was adapted.)