Sanctity of Life Sunday: Let The Children Come

God's Gift Of Children: Receiving Life's Greatest Blessing

Dan Franklin
Jan 21, 2024    30m
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Do you see children more as obstacles or blessings? This message explores how to see kids as God's gift, not a burden, and welcome them as the blessings they are. By recognizing God's gift of children, we can overcome cultural lies about abortion. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

George Fillinger: [00:00:19] Good morning church family, my name is George Fillinger. I have the pleasure of serving in the New Commandment ministry, which helped those in need with home repairs and maintenance. I also have the pleasure on this Sanctity of Life Sunday of serving in the LIFEkids Ministry. Today we're going to read from Psalms 127, verses 1 through 5, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. 3Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 4Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court." This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:15] Amen. You can have a seat. I want to say something, just before we get into walking through this great passage that George just read for us. We've already walked through some things related to Sanctity of Life Sunday, and Emily had some great words for us. But I just do want to acknowledge for some of you in here, this is an especially heavy Sunday. It's a heavy Sunday for all of us in many ways because part of what we're looking at is our culture, as a society, deciding that something evil is okay with abortion. But also, for some of you, this is an especially heavy Sunday because abortion has some role in your past. You're a woman who had an abortion. Your parents who drove your daughter to get an abortion. You're a man who financed or pressured a woman to get an abortion. And so talking about this just brings up a lot of baggage from guilt in your past, and it feels like it's freshly brought up. The fact is, for some of you, if you knew what today was, you would have stayed home because it's a heavy Sunday.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:28] And I want to make sure, before we get into anything with this psalm, that the basic truth that we believe as Christians is clear, and that's that God sent his Son to die for every sin. There is no sin that anybody in this room has committed that is not covered by the shed blood of Jesus on that cross. And so what we do, and what God calls us to do, is to look at what sin is, to look at what evil is, to not run away from it, to not justify it, and to not say that it's okay, and at the same time, to know that we all get to run to the cross as the covering for our sins. If abortion is part of your story, God's grace covers every sin. And as Emily said, maybe for some of you, the main reason why you're here today is because you are haunted by that, and you've tried to stuff it down. And maybe what God has for you is that today is going to be just a first movement towards experiencing God's healing and grace in a new way. So maybe that's going to mean after the service, you're going to come talk to one of the prayer ministry team partners. Maybe that means after the service, at some point, you're going to email one of the pastors and say, I need to talk with somebody. Maybe you're going to get in touch with the Assure and say I need to talk to somebody here about this. I want to say, that some of you are in here, and that's what God has for you and there's grace and mercy and healing ahead, don't miss out on it.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:05] But for all of us, what we're going to focus on and talk about today is, as we talk about the subject of the sanctity of human life, is just the whole idea of our attitude toward children in our culture. And at the center of this question is just a question, do we see children as a blessing or as a burden? Because even when we talk about abortion, a big part of what drives the whole idea of abortion is that you have an unexpected pregnancy, and in this moment, you see that child as an obstacle to a whole bunch of things that you want in your life. This child is suddenly an obstacle to my education, to my well-being. If you're a woman, maybe you're saying, suddenly I'm going to be tied to this man that I'm not sure I want to be tied to? I'm not sure about things financially. I'm not sure about things socially. I'm not sure how my parents are going to treat me. I don't know how any of this is going to go. And so that child represents a burden and an obstacle to your future.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:08] But even as we talk about this subject, we could be completely outside of the specific subject of abortion and still be asking this question how are we viewing the children that God has given us and the children that God has placed around us? Are we viewing them as obstacles to the best way that we can live our lives, or are we viewing them as God's blessings within our lives? And so, as we walk through Psalm 127, we're going to get to delve into how God's view on this is different than our culture's view on this. So Psalm 127, which you heard read, it's not a long psalm, it's five verses long. It breaks down into two pretty clear sections, where in verses 1 and 2 we get a big picture, foundational truth that Solomon is communicating to us because Solomon is the author of this psalm, so in verses 1 and 2, big picture foundational truth. And then in verses 3 through 5, Solomon applies that foundational truth specifically to how we view children.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:18] So we're going to start in verses 1 and 2, big picture, a foundational truth Solomon wants to make sure we get, "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." So it gives us two scenarios where we're trying to accomplish something. Scenario one we're trying to build something. Scenario two we're trying to protect something. And Solomon says you can build all you want unless God is making sure it gets built, it ain't getting built. And you can be as diligent as you want to be about protection and about security, but unless the Lord is in it, unless he's the one protecting, it's not going to happen. This big picture foundational truth starts with a humbling reality of our own limitations. And even part of it, our minds, especially if we already feel like we're kind of cynical people. We might read verse 1 and say, it kind of sounds like Solomon is saying, nothing I do matters. God's going to do what God's going to do, nothing I do matters.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:30] And if we start into verse 2, we might even feel more that way because he says, "In vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat." It's pointless to get up early, you guys know that that's why your second service people. You're like it's pointless to get up early, pointless to stay up late exhausting yourself, trying to put food on the table. Some of us are looking at this and we're like, yeah, yeah, maybe it's all pointless, maybe it doesn't matter what I do. Maybe I just sit around and wait to see because God's going to do what God's going to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:04] Now, just pause for a second. And if you're familiar with the Bible at all, think about Solomon who's the author of this. Do you think it is likely that Solomon is telling us, to just be lazy and sit around, God's going to do what God's going to do? And the answer is no way. If you've read the Proverbs and you've read all that Solomon talks about in the Proverbs, about diligence, and about hard work, what Solomon is saying is this he is saying, be faithful in what God has called you to do, but recognize you are not in control of your life. You are not able to unilaterally just make decisions about what you build and what you protect.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:44] In fact, at the end of verse 2, he gives us a statement that is meant to be deeply comforting because in the midst of talking about people who are getting up early, staying up late, and working, he says, he, God, grants sleep to those he loves. And here's what this means, this means if you recognize this foundational truth, I am not ultimately in control of my own destiny, God is; then you get to faithfully do what God has called you to do, and then when you go to bed at night, do you know what you get to do? You get to sleep. You get to rest because the weight of the world is not on your shoulders. You are simply called to be faithful with what God has called you to do, but you are not in control of your life. God is the one who gives success in the building. God is the one who gives success in the protecting. In fact, the big picture foundational truth Solomon is giving us is that God is the giver of every good gift. You don't protect yourself. You don't build for yourself. God is the giver of those gifts.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:52] And before getting into how Solomon applies this, let me just take a moment when we're talking specifically about when somebody gets to the point that abortion feels really appealing. Because people don't get abortions just to get abortions, people get abortions because there's something very appealing about it in the moment. And what's typically appealing about it is that it seems like an opportunity to grab back control of your life when things are getting out of control. To say, I'm not going to let this happen, I'm going to grab back control to make sure that I still have the kind of future that I long to have.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:32] And what verses 1 and 2 tell us is at least these two things. First of all, if you think I'm going to go get an abortion or I'm going to commit any act of sin in order to grab control of my life, you are deluding yourself because you are not that powerful. You don't have control of your life, you never will have control of your life, and you're fooling yourself. And the second reality is this, if in your life God is looking to build something or God is looking to protect you from something, do you really think that the presence of a baby, even an unexpected baby, is going to keep God from doing what he's going to do? The answer is no.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:23] One of the beautiful things about Assure, and you hear all kinds of stories coming out about this is, often when there's an unexpected pregnancy, all you can see is what's happening right now, like what's happening ten minutes from right now. And there are so many amazing stories that come out of Assure, so many women who are able to be a couple of years down the line and see the beauty that God has brought into their lives that they couldn't see right in that crisis moment. God is the builder. God is the protector. God is the giver of every good gift. And now Solomon wants to talk about one of those good gifts, and that's children.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:04] So verse 3, a beautiful verse, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him." Some parallelism here and this is frequent in Hebrew poetry. Children, offspring, heritage, reward, from the Lord, from him. So first of all, just I don't want us to get distracted or confused because when we see the word reward, we might translate that to say, well, what Solomon is saying is that if you have children, it's because you were good, and God gave them to you as a reward. Which then might make us say, well, if I tried to have children and I wasn't able to, maybe that's God punishing me for something that I did. And I want to head that off at the pass and make sure you know, that's not what Solomon is saying here. Reward is paralleled with heritage, and heritage is something you freely receive. He's using the word reward just to talk about a good gift that God gives.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:09] Some of you have had the pain of dealing with fertility issues, and it's been grief in your heart because you've longed for children. And what I want to say is, I don't know God's reasoning on everything that happens, but what I do know is that God is the giver of every good gift, and your struggles with infertility are not a sign that God is absent or that God doesn't care. In fact, one of the things that you see pretty early in the Bible and then throughout the Bible is some of the most well-known heroes in the Bible deal with fertility issues. And it's this constant reminder God is the giver of life. God is the giver of every good gift. You get 12 chapters into the Bible, and you get to Abraham and Sarah, and they can't have any children, and they're in grief over this. And then God decides they will, and so when they're old, way past the time that it should happen, what do they have? They have a son, miraculously. God is the giver of every good gift. And we saw, even through the birth of Jesus, that God doesn't even need a man involved at all for him to give a baby. God is the giver of every good gift, and Solomon presents children as one of those good gifts. Not a burden, but a blessing. A heritage from the Lord, a reward from him.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:41] He goes even further; he uses an illustration in verses four and five. He says, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." And there's a ton to be said about this illustration, and I don't have time for all of it, but I want to make sure we get the basics. So the basics, he gives an illustration of a warrior, and the warrior is an archer. The warrior has a bow and has his arrows, so he's got the quiver on his back. If you're a warrior with a bow, you want as many arrows as you can get. You're never walking around being like, I got eight arrows in here, this is kind of heavy. I wish I only had one, and then I wouldn't have to tote this thing around. If you're a warrior, you're like, the more arrows, the better. The more arrows I have in here, the better, if I've got one, that's great, that's better than none, if I've got four, that's great. Solomon is presenting the gifts of children, not in terms of us saying, hey, let me just keep this as few as possible. But he's saying, hey, this is great, children are a welcome gift from God, the more the better.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:50] Now your mind can start to go to places with this where you're sort of like, well, what does this mean? Does this mean if I could have had more children and I didn't, that I'm in sin? Like, how many is enough? How many is a full quiver? Like if I got four, is that enough? Do I need to double that to eight? We start going to all kinds of places, and what I want you just to hear is the main point about what he's saying here is not the number of children that you have, it's your attitude towards children. It's the idea of you looking at it and saying, as few children, the fewer the better. Are you looking at it saying children are a gift? So, man, if God's given us a child, that's awesome, if God's given us two children, that's really awesome, if God's given us more, that's great. What is our attitude toward the children that God has given us, not just in terms of how it affects our choices about abortion, but how it affects our attitudes toward our children, how much time we're spending with them, and how much we're regretting all of the things that we've lost out on because of having children. Children are a gift, he says. Hey, if you've got children, that's wonderful. If you've got a bunch of children, that's really wonderful.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:06] Now I want to pause here because I want us to take in something, a way that what Solomon is saying has become incredibly countercultural, especially today. The time I'm about to use is not a new turn, but it's a term that's suddenly sparked up in the last couple of months, and it's the word DINKs. Are you guys aware of this? All right. DINKs stands for dual income, no kids. Now, here's what I want to say before we go any further. For some of you, that's been your life, or at least that's your life right now. And I'm not here to say that that is not how God led you. God leads us in different ways. But what's happened with this latest thing with the DINKs has not so much been people saying, hey, we feel like this is what God's called us to, but people reveling in how much better it is to have a child-free life. In fact, we're going to take 30 seconds real quick, and if you haven't seen this before, I want you just to look at this brief video of some DINKs talking about how they're living it up in this DINK lifestyle.

Unknown Female: [00:18:13] We're DINKs, we go to Trader Joe's and workout classes on the weekends.

Unknown Male: [00:18:16] We're DINKs, we get into snobby hobbies like skiing and golfing.

Unknown Female: [00:18:19] We're DINKs, we can go to Florida on a whim.

Unknown Male: [00:18:21] We're DINKs, we're already planning our European vacation next year.

Unknown Female: [00:18:24] We're DINKs, we get a full eight hours of sleep and sometimes more.

Unknown Male: [00:18:27] We're DINKs, we get desserts and appetizers at restaurants.

Unknown Female: [00:18:30] We're DINKs, we can play with other kids and give them back. We're DINKs, we spend our discretionary income on a $8 latte.

Unknown Male: [00:18:37] We're DINKs, we max out our 401K's, Roth IRAs, and HSAs.

Unknown Female: [00:18:41] We're DINKs, we don't use our kids or dog as an excuse to leave a party, we just leave.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:47] Now, here, once again, I want to make this really clear, if right now you're like, we're technically dual income, no kids, that's not the problem I'm looking to raise right now. The problem I'm looking to raise is the attitude of saying, how great is it to have a child-free life so that we can meet our saving goals, provide for our hobbies, and have the freedom for sleep whenever we want? Now, with that said, be honest, if you have kids or some of you right now, like, wow, they might have a right. So some of us are like, wow, that actually sounds kind of nice sleeping in, there's a reason why there's an appeal to this. But there also is a deep emptiness to the idea of saying, I am going to live my life as free as possible from anything that gets in the way of my self-indulgence. That's not how God made us, and that's not how we're built to live our lives.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:54] Solomon here is pointing to something very different, as opposed to right now, where we're sort of like, all right, maybe no kids. And then maybe if we do, maybe let's only have a few, because we don't want them to get in the way of the lives that we want to live. Solomon is looking at this and he's saying, man, if you have kids, that's a blessing. Kids are an asset, they're a blessing, not a burden. And he ends verse 5, not even with a really deeply spiritual reason, but he gives a reason why it's great to have kids, great to have these arrows in your quiver. He says they, and they are the people that have a bunch of kids, he says, "They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court." And here's what he means by this, he's talking about the idea that in life you have opponents, you have difficulties, you have trials.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:44] In fact, the specific thing he has in mind might be a literal trial, where you have an opponent, you have somebody looking to take advantage of you. He says, when you have these different trials, if you have a bunch of kids, you're not going to be put to shame when you have people that you're contending with. And the reason why he's saying this, and he's speaking again of a general truth, he's saying, if you have kids, once they grow into adulthood, they will be contending alongside you. You're not going to be alone; they're going to be contending alongside you.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:18] This is true, as parents age, I remember the point when I got kind of into my early 20s, and suddenly for my parents, I became the person that came over and lifted things and climbed ladders. It's like suddenly they're just like, really glad we have an adult son right now to help out with these things. And it was great to be able to help out with those, and especially as you get to the point of aging to where you need care. I think one of the great sins and tragedies of our culture is that there are not enough children caring for their aging parents. Even if you're still using a care home and you're using some of those helps, but taking on the care and giving dignity to parents as they age. Solomon's looking at this and he's saying, hey, when you're getting older, you're going to want to have those kids around.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:13] But we could look at that and be like that's kind of mercenary, like have kids so that's better when you get old. I want to just add to this and say, that God has made us to live in light of us doing things while we're here on earth that outlive us. He's made us, Ecclesiastes 3 talks about it in terms of the idea that he's put eternity into our hearts, we are meant to live in light of something that will outlive us. And in the ultimate way, that's the eternal life that's promised through Jesus, but even within children, you suddenly get invested in the future, you get to be a part of the future. This is what we talked about last week with handing off the baton to the next generation. The idea that we are a part of something that outlives us through the kids and the grandkids that God has given us. You don't need to have kids in order to be a part of that, but if you have kids, you're definitely a part of that.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:13] And let me add in one more, in case I'm just adding to the reasons to have kids. One more is that man, when you have kids, you get the blessing of having close access to one of the greatest illustrations of understanding God's heart toward us. Because Jesus told us to pray to God as our Father. And man, if you're a parent, there are times where your heart just feels like it is going to explode because of how much you love your kids. And even sometimes you're saying, please listen to me, to your kids, please listen to me, I'm trying to spare you from pain, I'm trying to give you some wisdom to spare you from pain because I love you so much. And your kids don't always listen to you, and it breaks your heart. And just think, if that's a bunch of sinful, broken people who feel that way, how does God feel towards us? How deep is God's heart and his love toward us as his children? And when he's crying out to us with his wisdom, how trustworthy is he when he's trying to spare us from pain? Man, you get this front-row seat to just constantly say, well, that's how God feels about us. Once again, the message here is not that you have to have children, the message here is not you have to have this many children, but the message is certainly that we see children not as a burden to be avoided, but as a gift to be welcomed.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:46] I'll throw this in right now, some of you may even feel like right now you're kind of in the decision-making phase. Maybe you're a couple and you're like, we're not sure, we're not sure if we want to have kids. I'm not up here to tell you that you have to, but what I do want to say is that if you are two people who love and follow Jesus, I want you having kids. I want you having kids, I want you discipling those kids, I want you bringing up those kids in the instruction and the guidance of the Lord. I want more kids discipled by Christian parents who love Jesus. And are those kids going to be an inconvenience? Oh, yeah, they are. You will never regret what God does in you and through you, through the privilege of having the blessing of those kids.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:41] And so what we want to do as a church is, in the words of Jesus, we want to say, let the little children come. We want to be a community that is excited about the children that God has given us. We want to be a community of people who are saying, hey, we are involved in LIFEkids, we are involved in EXIT83. Hey, if we're a little bit inconvenienced in the service because there's a kid trying to figure things out or a kid that's getting a little bit loud, we are going to say, let the little children come, we're excited about them being around us. This also means, for some of you, that you're going to change your mind about whether or not to have kids, or maybe even you're going to change your mind about whether or not you are now done having kids, because God is going to lead you in a fresh way to say, let the little children come. For some of you, this is going to be a point just to change your attitude about your kids. Maybe you have kids and they're getting into sort of the teen years, and you're already looking ahead to saying it's going to be really great when they're out and I'm no longer dealing with them, and you're just sort of trying to live your life almost as if the DINKs were talking about it, and you're like, how can I get as much of that as I can? And you're going to end up changing your mind and saying, while these kids are here, I'm going to invest everything that God has called me to in these kids so that they're shot out like arrows into the world, bringing with them the Gospel and the way of Jesus wherever they go. And it also means that for some of you, you may be at a point right now, or you're going to be at a point real soon where you're going to have a life-or-death decision to make. There's going to be a real appeal to abortion because it's going to feel like taking back control of a life that's descending into chaos. And at that moment, I want to invite you to say, let the little children come, and to trust the God who says, I'm the one who builds the house, and I'm the one who protects the city, and to trust that that God who sent His Son for us is trustworthy as he leads us forward.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:53] And the final thing that I want to say is there are some of you, who might feel like this isn't really where I'm at right now, you're in grade school, you're in junior high, you're in high school, maybe you're even kind of early adulthood and you're like, this is down the line. What I want to say is, first of all, that's going to come sooner than you think. And secondly, the decisions and the attitudes that you are adopting right now are going to affect how you approach questions about abortion, questions about children, and questions about sex when it becomes more pertinent. There is a lie that you will be told that the best life is a life of self-indulgence, and what Solomon is reminding us of is the fact that we are all made for more. So don't wait to begin to adopt that heart now.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:45] So as we prepare for the last part of our service, I'm just going to invite now the members of the prayer ministry team, to go ahead and make your way up to both sides of the stage. Because once again, for some of you, you're going to have a next step right here in this service to get prayer, to get prayer for an upcoming decision, to get prayer for something going on in your family, to get prayer about something that has nothing to do with what I've talked about today, but just is something on your heart. Maybe you just want to come forward and say, hey, we've got this family, we want God to work in us, so we're just going to ask for prayer over us. The prayer ministry team is here to walk with you in whatever you're facing, but let's be a culture that says, let the little children come.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:32] Let's pray together. Father, thank you that you love us, thank you that we certainly are an inconvenience to you, and you are so patient and so gracious, and you are so forgiving. And Father, I pray that you allow those of us who are parents just to be a whisper of what you are to us. Father, we pray for the young people, we pray that they experience you welcoming them through us, welcoming them, and valuing them. And Father, I pray for any person in here right now that right now, or real soon, abortion is going to sound really appealing. Father, I pray that you preserve life, I pray that you surround them with brothers and sisters who will show them grace and not shame. And Father, I pray that you give them a vision of the kind of God that you are and that you love to bring surprising blessings in situations where we're not sure what we're facing. I pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus. Amen. Amen. God bless you. Thank you so much for being here on this Sunday.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Upland, California 91786
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