Upbringing by Pastor Abidan Shah

UPBRINGING by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Introduction: Yesterday, Ryan and Elizabeth had a mini-golf tournament at Adventure Island for all the students and their dads. We had a great time. I couldn’t help noticing how much kids took after their dads – active dads, active kids; quiet dads, quiet kids; competitive dads, competitive kids – not sure if the kids or the dads would admit to that. One thing was for sure, kids need their fathers.Our culture thinks that fathers are just an accessory (cell phone case, fancy purse, or limited-edition hat) but God has appointed fathers to be the primary influence in every child’s life. Today’s message titled “UBBRINGING” will help us see that.

1 Corinthians 4      15“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yetyou donothavemany fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”

Question: Fathers, you are to be the Instructors, Models, and Protectors to your children. Have you lived up to and are you living up to the calling God gave you as a dad? Children, of all ages, have you been grateful for what your fathers have done for you? For some, this may be a tough message.Either you were not the father you were supposed to be or you broke your father’s heart. Ask God to forgive you and give you his grace. Are you saved? John 1:12“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

Context: In light of Father’s Day, today’s message is a little different than how I typically preach.I want to dwell on the father-son relationship between Paul and Timothy.In I Corinthians 4:17, Paul refers to Timothy as “my beloved and faithful son in the Lord.” If you’ve studied the Bible, you know that Timothy was not Paul’s biological son. In Acts 16Luke gives us some background on who Timothy was. Listen to verse “Then he (Paul)came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, theson of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his fatherwasGreek.” Apparently, Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman and a Greek man. The way Luke phrases that statement, Timothy’s father never converted to Judaism. Intermarriage between Jewish people and Gentiles was not as problematic to the Rabbis as long as the Gentile person converted to Judaism. The requirements for conversion were still quite high. But, if there was no conversion, it was strictly prohibited. According to the Book of Jubilees (a Jewish writing from that period), “And if there is a man in Israel who wishes to give his daughter or his sister to any man who is from the seed of gentiles, let him surely die … because he has caused shame in Israel.”(Jub 30:7) You can imagine what kind of a life Timothy must have had. Probably, his mother’s side of people did not accept him because his father was Greek and his father’s side of people did not accept him because his mother was Jewish. Then, it was probably on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14)that Timothy’s grandmother and mother got saved, and even Timothy. Paul mentions them in 2 Timothy 1:5“when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” Paul doesn’t say a word about Timothy’s father which means he never got saved and maybe even cut off all relations with Timothy and his mother.

The gospel can be very costly. Accepting Jesus as our Savior and King may lead to a loss of relationship with family. Listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 10     37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.38And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Illustration: My own father lost his family when he became a Christian. Its mind blowing!

Let’s return to Acts 16      2“He (Timothy)was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. 3Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he tookhimand circumcised him…” Scholars have long debated this action by Paul. He had fought hard against circumcision as a requirement for the Gentiles. He even refused to let Titus, who was also Greek, from having to be circumcised. He says it clearly in Galatians 5     2“Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing….6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” In fact, Paul was on a mission to take the news of the Jerusalem Council’s decision to the churches that circumcision was not necessary in order to be saved. Why then did he get Timothy circumcised? Listen to the rest of Acts 16:3 “And he tookhimand circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.” This was not about circumcision but about sonship. In a symbolic way, Paul was claiming Timothy as his son. Other than Luke, Paul had Timothy as his closest companion in ministry. Except for his letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus, he mentions Timothy in all his letters. 

Illustration: Going back to my own dad, he was symbolically adopted by a missionary scholar by the name of Dr. Fred Schelander. He was a Hebrew and Greek scholar who translated the Bible into Marathi. 

Application: Did God bring some godly men into your life? Are you such a father figure to someone who didn’t have one? Nicole’s dad was such a father figure in my life.

Paul filled this role of a father in Timothy’s life. We see this clearly in the 2 letters he wrote to him. 1 and 2 Timothy are referred to as the Pastoral letters. I like to call them the Parental letters. Let’s look at just a few of his statements to Timothy in his 2 letters to him. This should teach us how we need to fulfill our calling as a father or a father figure to the children God has biologically or spiritually given to us.

1. Confidence – 1 Timothy 1:18“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.”

2. Church – 1 Timothy 3:15“…I writeso that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

3. Self-respect – 1 Timothy 4     12“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

4. Communication – 1 Timothy 5      1“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhorthimas a father, younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

5. Flee Sin and Chase Righteousness – 1 Timothy 6     11“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…”

6. Relationship with Christ – 2 Timothy 2:1“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

7. Endurance – 2 Timothy 2      3“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of thislife, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.”

8. Focused – 2 Timothy 2     23But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25in humility correcting those who are in opposition…”

9. Avoid bad company – 2 Timothy 3     1“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

10. Example – 2 Timothy 3     10“But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out ofthemall the Lord delivered me. 12Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Here’s one more that tells us how protective Paul was over Timothy.

11. Protector –1 Corinthians 16:10“And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I alsodo. 11Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.”

Invitation:Have you been the father you were called to be? Are you being the father God has called you to be? Have you been grateful to the father (biological or spiritual) that God placed in your life? Is God your Heavenly Father? Its only through Christ that he can be.

ALL WE NEED IS TRUE LOVE

ALL WE NEED IS TRUE LOVE by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

TRUE_LOVEThe world has a caricature of love that is far from the real thing. It is temperamental, conditional, and disappointing. When the Holy Spirit fills us completely, what will overflow will be the I Corinthians 13 kind of love. What our marriages need, what our families need, what our churches need, what our communities need, and what our nation needs is True Love as found in I Cor. 13

1Cor. 13:1-8 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…

Overall Background: Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthian church in order to correct many wrong beliefs and wrong behaviors. There were all manner of sexual sins among them; all manners of divisions among the people; and all manner of conflicts. The reason for this was that the Corinthian church had allowed the sins of the city to enter into the church body. They were looking down on each other based on spiritual gifts. So Paul gives them a lesson on love. Here’s what he wants to communicate: The mark of a spirit-filled person is not spiritual gifts but love. No amount of spiritual gifts can compensate for lack of love. In other words, the more spiritual you are, the more loving you will be. The mark of spiritual maturity is not gifts of the spirit but fruit of the spirit. According to Galatians 5:22 – the first fruit of the Spirit is love.

Application: In the English language we use the same word “love” when we are talking about our wife or that juicy hamburger. We use the same word when we are talking about our husband or that new app on the phone. People are looking for love in all the wrong places and all the wrong faces. All you will find is the same hollow look and the same dull conversation.

This morning we will see what true love looks like from I Corinthians 13.

I. WHAT DOES A LOVELESS CHRISTIAN LOOK LIKE?

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

Background: The Corinthian people were accustomed to hearing noisy gongs and clashing cymbals. They had seen the worshippers of the Greek god Dionysius (the god of nature) and Cybele (the goddess of wild animals) use the chalkos (gong) – a piece of copper and kymbalon (cymbal) – a single toned instrument that could not produce any melody. It just made a loud noise to invoke a god or drive away demons or to wake up the worshippers.

For e.g. Nicole’s mom has threatened to give a drum set to our boys for Christmas.

I can preach fantastic sermons and teach wonderful bible truths that can even rival angels but if I don’t have love, it sounds like that heavy monotonous clanging.

1. A LOVELESS CHRISTIAN IS ANNOYING TO PEOPLE.

2. A LOVELESS CHRISTIAN IS WORTHLESS TO GOD.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Background: I can have all the Bible knowledge in the world and even faith to do great things but if I don’t have love, I am nothing to God = no use to God. What’s the use if I can remove mountains but I cannot remove malice from my heart?

3. A LOVELESS CHRISTIAN IS WORKING IN VAIN.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Background: You can do things to help people and even give your own life but if you have no love, it does you no good. There is no crown in heaven waiting for you.

For e.g. Those terrorists who die for their religion and commit suicide don’t get anything.

II. WHAT DOES A LOVING CHRISTIAN LOOK LIKE?

4 Love suffers long and is kind; Meaning = “Love has a big heart and does what is good.”

People say – “Love is Blind.” That’s not true. Love is not blind. It sees the faults of people but it is willing to bear with people’s faults and shortcomings.

For e.g. I heard the story of the teenager who grew up in a terrible situation and saw her parents abusing each other mentally, emotionally, and physically. Then she gave her heart to Christ. Someone asked her why. She replied that she was waiting for her ride in the church and from the window she saw the youth pastor lovingly walk to his car with his wife. He opened the door for her and gave her a peck on the cheek, all the while unaware that someone was watching them. That’s when I realized that there is such a thing as true love.

love does not envy; Meaning = it does not go around wondering how come you have it better than me. You think that if somebody has it better that you are getting it lesser. You have love in your heart when you rejoice to see someone doing well.

love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; Meaning = You cannot have a big heart and a big head at the same time. You cannot be proud and loving at the same time.

Proverbs 13:10a “By pride comes nothing but strife…”

Application: Why do husbands and wives fight? Why do church members fight? The source is pride and the source of pride is lack of love. The only way that you and I can stay away from the Evil One is by refusing to allow pride to come in to your heart. The only way you can reject pride is by having love in your heart.

Adrian Rogers would say – “There is no problem too big to solve. There are only people too small to solve them.”

5 does not behave rudely, Meaning = have manners, not be rough and rude and hateful

How sad it is when husbands and wives are hateful and rude and make fun and sarcastic remarks towards them. When you first get married, I’ll get you a glass of water. After being married for sometime – “you have two perfectly good pair of legs.”

How sad it is when church members are rude to each other and make fun of people in the church.

Love says please, thank you, I’m sorry. It’s not rude.

does not seek its own, Meaning = not selfish

It’s not always where I want to go and where I want to eat and what I want to buy.

is not provoked, Meaning = easily irritated

For e.g. A person I admired from the distance and really looked forward to meeting him. Then I met him and I heard about his reputation of how he would get mad at his secretary and throw temper tantrums. I lost all respect and even became distrusting of authority.

When you take your eyes off the Lord and you are not full of the Holy Spirit, you are easily provoked by circumstances.

thinks no evil; Meaning = A loving person does not entertain evil thoughts; does not harbor evil feelings; does not hold grudges.

For e.g. Some people are like a volcano. They wait and wait and wait and then explode and destroy everything in their path.

If we keep collecting hurts and disappointments, it is a matter of time before you will unload all of it at once.

6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Meaning: it does not enjoy hearing bad news – not interested in gossip. A gossip is a person who enjoys bad news. If someone is constantly gossiping to you, just know – they are using your ears for a trash can. By the way, if someone will gossip to you, just remember, they will gossip about you.

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

See if you can substitute your name in each of those statements.

1Cor. 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away… All the spiritual gifts will one day be done away with. You don’t need them in heaven. What will remain? 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Three things will remain – faith, hope, and love. Faith will become sight. Hope will become a reality. But love will continue forever.

Do you have this love in your heart?

Jerry Shedd – “Sadly, many people have never been loved properly.”

Hurt people hurt people.

For e.g. When I started college, I dropped out of church because when I went to church, I felt unwelcome. Then I met Nicole’s dad and in just one handshake I knew he loved me.

True love requires a source that is deeper and higher than anything we can produce on our own. We have to be plugged into someone who can love us consistently, unconditionally, and satisfyingly. Then only can we love others consistently, unconditionally, and satisfyingly.

Romans 5:5 “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

JOHN 3-16In order to receive this love from the Holy Spirit, you have to first receive the love that was shown to you from the cross by Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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