Money (4 of 11) What Does Living For Heavenly Treasure Mean?

What Does Living For Heavenly Treasure Mean?

Living for heavenly treasure means that we manage all the wealth (money and possessions) that God has given us during our journey as pilgrims here on earth for His honor and glory—thus laying up for ourselves treasure in heaven and not on earth. As stewards and pilgrims we show that we serve God and not money through our giving.

Stewards And Pilgrims

  • Believers are stewards. As stewards, we recognize that God is the sovereign owner of everything, including all of our earthy money and possessions—He makes poor and makes rich—and we are to faithfully manage that which He has put into our care.
    Deuteronomy 8:18; 1 Samuel 2:7
  • Believers are pilgrims. As pilgrims, we recognize that our citizenship is in heaven—God’s kingdom is where our loyalties lie. Therefore, this world is not our home but we are just passing through. We are journeying through this world desiring a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Thus, we live accordingly—sending our treasure ahead.
    John 18:36; Hebrews 11:13-16; Philippians 3:17-21
  • Believers are stewards and pilgrims. As stewards and pilgrims, we recognize and aspire to live by the following principles:
  • Our journey (life) on this earth is short but our destination (eternal life) is forever. Our life is like a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Therefore, we only have this life to faithfully use and invest our time and resources.
    James 4:14; 1 Peter 5:10
  • Our journey on this earth will end (death) and when it does we will carry nothing away. Our wealth (money and possession) will all remain on this earth. Therefore, we are to take heed and beware of covetousness because our life on this earth doesn’t consist in the abundance of the things which we possess. We are not to be rich towards ourselves but to be rich towards God—this isn’t a prohibition against wealth but a prohibition against building personal wealth for a life of complacency instead of one that is used in the service of God. We see all money and possessions as tools we can use to serve God but also know that it can be dangerous if we place too much value on them or accumulate too much.
    Psalm 49:16-17; Luke 12:15-21; 2 Peter 3:11
  • Our journey on this earth means that we are continually seeking the kingdom of God and trusting in God to provide our needs. We work hard to build wealth that we use to provide for our families and give to the needy. Therefore, our mindset should not be that of “spenders”—those who spend their wealth for instant satisfaction, nor “savers”—those who save their wealth for future security, but we should have the mindset of “givers”—those who give their wealth towards the service of God and others as they live in the anticipation of Jesus’ return.
    Luke 12:22-40; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Earthly And Heavenly

  • We live on earth but we live for heaven. As believers, we are to seek those things which are above—where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. We are to direct our attention and thoughts on things above (Jesus, heaven, rewards), not on things on the earth. Our lives are “hid with Christ in God”—meaning our security and identity are found in Him and nothing else. Jesus is our life and one day we will appear with Him in glory—a place beyond all comparison. This is our hope for the journey as we live this life of trials.
    Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Peter 1:4; Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17
  • We gain treasure on earth but invest it in heaven. As believers, we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures upon earth because they have no lasting value (moth and rust doth corrupt; thieves break in and steal). Instead, we are to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven because they have lasting value (neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; thieves do not break in nor steal). Therefore, true wealth is found not in our treasure (money and possessions) here on earth but in treasure in heaven (rewards from God). God has an unlimited number of treasure to give to those who invest in heaven through using their wealth (money and possessions) to serve God and others.
    Matthew 6:19-20; Luke 12:33; Mark 10:21
  • Grace should results in generosity—which demonstrates our willingness to serve God and not money. Before salvation, wealth (money and possessions) had the wrong place in our lives, but after salvation we dethrone it by obeying God with a life of generosity.
    Luke 3:11-14; 19:8-9; Acts 2:45; 4:32-35
  • God is a rewarder. Our goal is to please God through obeying Him out of love and fear, but also for reward. It pleases God to reward His children with the heavenly treasure He is preparing for them. Thus, if it is good for God to give them rewards, then it is also good for His children to seek them. Jesus is our greatest reward, but we can also enjoy all that God has in store for us and seek after it as He has commanded.
    Deuteronomy 7:9; Hebrews 11:6; 12:28; 2 Corinthians 5:9
  • We guide our hearts by guiding our treasure. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The orientation of our hearts—(the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation and attitude of a person) should be towards heaven and not towards this earth. “Money” is central in our lives—it reveals and reflects what we think is the most important and the most valuable in our lives. It often controls our time and many aspects of our lives (what you do everyday revolves around the money factor). Your heart and your treasure are connected. Wherever your heart is oriented we will find your money there. Wherever your money is, we will find your heart oriented towards it. Therefore, you direct the orientation of your heart by devoting yourself and money—the indicator of what is important—to whatever you think is the most important. Your heart, time and talents all follow where you put your money, thus to orient your hearts towards heaven, you should start using your money for heavenly purposes. Where is your heart/money?
    Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34
  • We gain wealth to be more generous. Those who live for heaven see God’s material blessings in their lives as a way to be more generous (not to live luxuriously at the expense of others) which produces thanksgiving to God. We don’t ask for poverty or riches less we are deceived by either one and sin against God. Instead, we (1) daily make our financial decisions by faith; (2) choose to be content in our circumstances; (3) give more as God prospers us—thus living for heavenly treasure
    2 Corinthians 9:10-12; Acts 20:35; Proverbs 30:8-9

Review Questions

  • What does it mean to be a steward and a pilgrim?
  • As stewards and pilgrims, we recognize and aspire to live by what principles?
  • We gain treasure on earth but invest it where?
  • We guide our hearts by guiding our what?
  • We gain wealth to be more generous?

Money (3 of 11) What Does It Mean To Be A Steward?

What Does It Mean To Be A Steward?

Stewardship is the responsibility of a person to manage, look after, take care of, supervise, arrange and manage someone else’s wealth (money and possessions). A just steward is characterized by being “faithful”—meaning that he wisely and responsibly managed that which was put into his care. On the contrary, an unjust steward is characterized by being “unfaithful”—meaning that he unwisely and irresponsibly managed that which was put into his care. Biblical stewardship starts with understanding “God’s ownership” and “believers’ management” from the Biblical point of view.

God’s Ownership

  • Ownership is the act, state or right of possessing something. A “steward” needs to know who the “owner” is. As believers, we recognize God as the owner of everything and we are His managers.
  • God is the owner because He is the Creator of everything and repeatedly claims sovereign ownership over everything that He has created; therefore, He is the owner of everything. He never ceases to be the owner over anything that He has created.
    Genesis 1:1; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 24:1; 50:10-12; 1 Chronicles 29:11-14; Job 41:11; Haggai 2:8
  • God is the owner because He is the Redeemer of all who trust in Him. We are not our own for we were bought with the precious blood of Jesus. As believers, we recognize this fact and yield not only our bodies, but our whole lives, including our money and possessions to God. We concluded: “Everything I have belongs to God, not me.”
    1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Believers’ Management

  • Management is the process, responsibility and administration of controlling the wealth (money and possessions) of another. A “steward” needs to know what the “owner” has entrusted to him. As believers, we recognize that everything thing we posses is God’s and it is our responsibility to manage it according to His will.
  • Managing what God has given us is a limited opportunity (we only have one life), an unpredictable finish (we don’t know when it will end) and we will be held accountable (will we be found faithful). This is seen in a parable Jesus told of a certain rich man which had a steward. The steward was guilty of wasting the rich man’s goods. The rich man confronted the steward about this and told him to give an account of his stewardship (to settle the accounts).
    Luke 16:1-2
  • Managing what God has given us means to use it wisely. In the same parable, the steward used the remaining time he had to settle the accounts with his master’s debtors. But he knew he didn’t have any friends and wouldn’t have a place to go after he lost his job, so he discounted their debts so that they would be favorable to him and receive him into their houses when he lost his job. His boss might have been outwitted by his steward’s actions, but he praised him for acting with great practical wisdom. Jesus then tells us that unbelievers are often more wise about taking care of their earthly wealth than believers are about their heavenly wealth—meaning that believers need to have greater foresight and wisdom about their stewardship.
    Luke 16:3-8

Strategic Foresight

  • Believers are to manage what God has given them with strategic foresight. Just like the man in the parable shrewdly used his master’s wealth to “make friends” who would in return receive him into their houses when he needed it, we as believers are also called to do the same but with a heavenly focus. By faithfully and wisely using the means of “unrighteous wealth (earthly wealth)”—meaning by properly using our money and possessions here on earth that God has entrusted us with according to His will, we not only glorify God but also accumulate eternal rewards in heaven.
    Luke 16:3-9
  • We are to invest in souls. One of the ways that God wants us to use our money and possessions is by investing it into the work of God and gospel ministry that sees souls saved (make friends). Then when we arrive in heaven (everlasting habitations) those who were influence by our “investments into the work of God” will be there to receive or welcome us.
    Luke 16:9
  • We are to invest in true riches—treasures in heaven. Our focus is towards heaven, thus we are working to lay up treasures in heaven and not material wealth here on earth. All earthly treasure will one day be ruined, but heavenly treasure will last forever.
    Luke12:33; 16:11; 18:22; Matthew 6:19-20

Unwavering Faithfulness

  • If you are a believer, then you are also a steward of everything that God has given you. God has entrusted you with money and possessions here on this earth and your are responsible to be faithful stewards of them. It starts with being faithful with the little you have—meaning stewardship isn’t just for those who are rich, but it is for every believer and it includes everything you have no matter how much or how little. Therefore, the problem is not “how much do we have,” but “what are we doing with what we do have?” If we are unfaithful with our worldly wealth then how can we expect God to bless us with true riches? Have you been faithful in that which is God’s—all your money and possessions?
    Luke 16:10-13
  • If you are a believer, then you are also a servant of God—not money. Only one can be your master. The more that you love and are devoted to money the more you will hate and despise God—your fellowship with God will be hindered. Therefore, believers are called to have an unwavering faithfulness to love and be devoted to God (which results in hating and despising the idolatrous place of money in our lives). The way to serve God rather than money (mammon) is to faithfully use our money and possessions for the work of God and to serve others as the Bible commands. This means that we recognize: (1) God as the Owner of everything; (2) we are called to manage everything that God has given us; (3) we are committed to being stewards of unwavering faithfulness.
    Luke 16:13

Review Questions

  • What is stewardship?
  • Who owns everything—including your money and possessions?
  • What are believers supposed to manage?
  • How much do I have to have to be a Christian Steward?
  • What is strategic foresight and unwavering faithfulness?

April 2017 Prayer Letter

March has been an exciting and busy month. We had three baptized and joined the church this month. The lady who we mentioned in our February prayer letter made the decision to turn from Buddha and follow Jesus—she was one of those we baptized. Praise Jesus!

Seminary Update: Classes are going great, and the teachers and students are all enjoying their time together studying God’s word. We started with two students, and through a series of events, one of the wive’s of the men asked if she could join the classes so that she could also grow in the Word. So now we have three full-time students. Please continue to pray for the other teachers and me as we prepare and teach these classes. Also, please pray for the students as they prepare and train for ministry.

GraceResources.info: A side project that we have been working on is a website that host all of the material we are producing and other resources that would be helpful to the Chinese church. We completed a majority of the work on the website and launched it near the beginning of this month. All of the material is in Mandarin with simplified characters. The site offers the following:

  • Sermon Outlines: Over 200 of my sermon outlines—this will continue to grow as we continually update it with new sermons. These can also be download in PDF form to be used in the local church or a small group setting.
  • The Chinese Bible: Anyone can easily access the Bible in Chinese and read it online, download it in PDF form or listened to in MP3 format. Also, we have a request form that a person can fill out if they need a physical Bible sent to them in the mail.
  • Worship Songs: We provided all the lyrics and custom music sheets for the worship songs that we sing in our local church.
  • Other things include Bible verse art, theology pictures that help explain simple and complex truths, testimonies from our church people, other articles, and some of their daily devotions. There are also links to Christian and gospel movies or videos and other websites that provided helpful information in Chinese.

Survey Trip: We had two of our Project China teammates take a survey trip to China this past month. They visited us, and I was privileged to travel with them for a few days as they consider what city they will be moving to within the next year, Lord willing. Please pray as they are coming to the end of their deputation and making plans to go to the field soon.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China.

Money (2 of 11) What Should Be The Role Of Money In Our Lives?

What Should Be The Role Of Money In Our Lives?

The role of money in our lives should be that of servitude and not domination. Money is a neutral medium that that is required for us to use in our daily lives, but we should use it for good and not for bad. We are not to love it and serve it as an idol, but to serve God and use money in a manner that glorifies Him.

Understanding What Money Is

  • Money is the “medium” that has an established value to be used in exchange for something that, at least, two sides are willing to agree upon (payment for work, purchase of items, etc) and is widely accepted because its “all-purpose” exchangeability and usability. Money also includes our assets, property and resources that are in our possession and that have a certain value and can also be used for the same exchange purposes, but is more narrow in exchangeability and usability. Therefore, the “medium of money” is often more desired because of its ascribed value to almost everyone, where the “the money of possessions” is only valuable to those interested in the possession. Together, they equal the amount of a person’s wealth.
  • Money is powerful because it is the “means” by which we obtain things that we need and want. Since money is so powerful it is a major subject referred to in the Bible. Its influence appeals to our sinful hearts and directly fights against God to be the master who sits on the throne of our lives. God, through His word, teaches us how to not allow money to control our lives, but instead how to control money and use it to glorify and worship Him. We cannot equally love both. We cannot equally be devoted to both. Each day we have to choose who we will serve and allow to guide our lives, God or money.
    Matthew 6:24
  • Money is neutral, meaning that it isn’t good or bad in itself. It can be used as a tool for good or for bad. The Bible tells us that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. Therefore, the way that we understand, manage and think about money effects the orientation of our hearts. They are connected. You lead your heart by devoting money to whatever you think is most important. So we need to ask some hard questions: Where is your investment? Where is your treasure? Is it here on earth or in heaven?
    Matthew 6:21

Understanding The Peril Of Money (Domination)

  • The first danger of money is the “love of money” because it is the root of all kinds of evil, meaning it leads to many types of errors and sins. Rich people often fall into many problems because they often have a love for money that causes them to make many foolish decisions. Believers should flee from the love of money and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness. Some of these “evils” are:
    1 Timothy 6:9-11
  • Idol Worship—The love of money leads to establishing money as an idol in our hearts. It becomes the thing granted the supreme importance, influence and/or admiration in our lives. This is seen by: (1) worshipping money—meaning we have a deep affection for it and how we can get more of it; (2) having confidence in money—meaning we have a firm belief of security because of our abundance of money; (3) submitting to money—meaning we have a strong coercion to submit to money like a slave does to a master. But money is an imitation and phony god that hinders people from believing and serving Jesus. As believers, we are to have no other gods before the Lord.
    Ezekiel 14:3-6; Exodus 20:3; Matthew 13:22; Luke 16:14; 18:18-30
  • Greed—The love of money leads to an intense and selfish desire for wealth, often at the expense of others. Most people have a problem with greed (although most people will deny it) because they think it equals happiness or success in life. It is this excessive desire to posses more and more and not finding contentment in what really matters. Thus greed leads to establishing money as an idol of the heart. As believers, we are to put to death this idol of the heart and serve the one and only true God.
    Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5:5
  • Identity Fraud—The love of money leads to finding our identity in what we posses. This means that our self-worth and financial-worth are wrongly connected, thus leading us to wrongly believe that the more we have the better we are and the less we have the worse we are. But the Bible teaches that our lives don’t consist in the abundance of the things that we have. Instead, as believers, our lives are hid with Christ in God—meaning that our identity is found in Jesus and with this security of being accepted by God we should seek those things which are above and set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
    Luke 12:15; Colossians 3:1-4
  • Materialism—The love of money leads to placing a greater value on possessions and comfort more than spiritual matters. This is the love of things and the determination to obtain them to try and satisfy our craving for happiness and contentment. As believers, we are to realize that we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, thus we are to live godly lives and be content with food and clothing.
    1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5
  • The second danger of money is the complete “hatred of money” or asceticism. This sees any kind of wealth (money and possessions) or anything of this world as inherently evil and therefore tries to avoid them. It sees our material circumstance as an indicator of how “godly” we are—with poverty as a sign of holiness. This is misguided because everything God created should be received with thanksgiving and used for the glory of God. Believers are commanded to work, make money and be godly stewards of it.
    1 Timothy 4:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:31

Giving Money Its Proper Role In Our Lives (Servitude)

  • God should be first in our lives. Through the power of God even the most wealthy person can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. That means they are willing to repent of their “idol of money” and turn to the living and true God by faith. Since they no longer serve money, they start using their wealth to serve God and obey His word.
    Luke 19:1-10
  • We should be good stewards of our wealth. We use it to serve and befriend others, knowing that one day all wealth will fail but that God will eternally reward those who were faithful with the money and possessions He had entrusted them with.
    Luke 16:1-11

Review Questions

  • What is money?
  • Why is money powerful?
  • Is money good, bad or neutral? Why?
  • What is the danger of money?
  • What is money’s proper role in our lives?

Firm Foundations Eight (1 of 11) Christian Finances

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 |Book 6 | Book 7 | Book 8 |

Stewarding In The Faith

Money is a powerful tool that can be used to glorify God or sin against Him. There is much advice from the world about how to handle money, but as believers we need to understand the Biblical perspective about money. Everything we have is God’s. We are to manage all the money and possessions that we have obtained as good stewards. In these lessons, we want to help you understand what these truths are and how to use Scripture and Christian principles to wisely and responsibly managed that which was put into your care.

Book 8, Lessons 71-80

This is the eighth book in our Firm Foundations series. It covers the eighth set of ten lessons to help you be a good steward of your wealth. These lessons are considered the basic understanding of Christian finances. These lessons will hopefully help you to know how to serve God, not money, and use it to glorify Him. These lessons include:

  1. What Should Be The Role Of Money In Our Lives?
  2. What Does It Mean To Be A Steward?
  3. What Does Living For Heavenly Treasure Mean?
  4. What Is The Biblical Attitude Towards Money?
  5. What Is The Biblical Method To Obtain Money?
  6. What Are Wise Ways To Handle Money?
  7. What Is The Biblical Understanding Of Tithing?
  8. What Is The New Testament Paradigm for Giving?
  9. Why Should A Church Financially Support A Pastor?
  10. What Is Our Responsibility Towards The Poor?

About The Lessons

Each lesson has a main truth, a simple outline that supports it, Bible references under many of the points, and review questions at the end. These lessons are best used when a mature believer is able to guide you through them, studying one lesson per session.

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 |Book 6 | Book 7 | Book 8 |

Parenting (11 of 11) What About When Parenting Doesn’t Work?

What About When Parenting Doesn’t Work?

Parenting works when both spouses work hard at it and the children are willing to listen. Parenting doesn’t work when both spouses refuse to work hard at it. Parenting is difficult when only one spouse works hard at it and the other doesn’t. Not matter your situation, if you want to shepherd your children’s hearts to be oriented towards God and the gospel then the father and mother both should work hard to make it that way. You can’t control your spouse nor can you force your children to love God (they have their own free wills), but you can do your part to biblically parent your children and glorify God in the process.

Encountering Problems In Parenting

  • Summary: Biblical parenting is all about shepherding your children’s hearts to be oriented towards God and the gospel. God has given authority to parents over their children to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. By faith, parents faithfully apply the biblical method of the rod (discipline) and reproof (instruction) as God works in the hearts of their children. They train their children in the Lord—meaning they are intentional and habitual about instructing their children in the Christian way. They do their best to organize family worship, establish a household of grace and with the right attitudes, fulfill their biblical roles as fathers and mothers. Problem: But what if it doesn’t work?—Meaning your child doesn’t respond properly to the parenting. Every situation and scenario is different, and too numerous to mention individually, but if your children are still young and living under your authority, please remember the following:
    Psalm 78:1-8; Proverbs 4:23; 22:6; 29:15; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:21; Titus 2:11-15; Joshua 24:15; Titus 2:4-5
  • (1) Continue to faithfully apply all that was mentioned above (please review the parenting lessons) in regard to biblical parenting. Parents are responsible for the right process not the result. Ask yourselves: Are we truly applying the biblical principles of parenting in a consistent and biblical manner? Where do we need to improve? (If you think your children have mental or other medical issues, please see a doctor.)
  • (2) Stop any abuse or hypocrisy. If your children experience any of these, then they won’t respond correctly. Ask yourselves: Are we mistreating our children in any way? Are we living lives contrary to what we are teaching our children?
  • (3) Overcome your own sins. Are your children’s problems just a reflection of your own problems? Ask yourselves: Are they just copying what they see in us/me?
  • (4) Point them to their need of the gospel—it is the only thing that can truly change their lives. Ask yourselves: Are we clearly and consistently teaching them the gospel?
  • (5) Pray without ceasing. Parents should cast their cares upon God and ask for wisdom. Ask yourselves: Are we working hard at praying for our children?
    1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7; James 1:5

A Parable Of Hope

  • What if it is too late?—Meaning your child is already grown and is living a life in rebellion against God. The Bible gives us a glimpse at how the gospel can be applied to parenting through a parable about parenting that helps us to understand the gospel. It is the parable of the man with two sons. Both sons represent two types of rebellion against the father and the father represents how true love responds to such children. Read and apply.
    Luke 15:1-3, 11
  • The riotous child (self-indulgence)—this is the child who is characterized by living a wild and uncontrolled life when he is older. He brings the family shame. In the parable, this was the younger son. He sinned against his parents by: (1) Asking for his inheritance while his father was living—meaning he didn’t care for his father but just wanted his money. (2) He left home, moved far away and wasted his substance with riotous living—meaning he was reckless and wasteful in his morality (harlots) and finances. Results: Eventually, this type of lifestyle lead to him being in want—meaning that he became poor. He had nothing left. He had to get a job feeding pigs. He craved to eat what the pigs did, but nobody gave him any. Finally, he “came to his senses” and decided that the hired servants in his father’s house were treated better than the life he was living, so he decided to return to his father, confess his sins, and ask if he could just become one of the hired servants because he felt he wasn’t worthy to be called a son anymore.
    Luke 15:12-19
  • Parent’s Response: In the parable, the father didn’t approve of his son’s sinful lifestyle, but He allowed him to make his own decisions (he was of age), but when he “came to his senses” he was willing to love him. We can apply these same loving principles when dealing with riotous children: (1) Anticipating your child’s return—he never gave up on the child even though he was greatly dishonored by him. (2) Initiating your child’s reconciliation—he was ready and willing to accept his son as soon as he was ready to return. (3) Bearing your child’s shame—he humbly engage his son, endure shame and criticism to restore him. The father knew the towns people wouldn’t accept the riotous child back without much criticism, abuse, shame, etc., for his sinful lifestyle. Therefore, the father ran (which was a shameful thing for him to do in their day) to protect his riotous son from them and embraced him in the most loving manner (even though the son was most likely in a very repulsive state) without first requiring acts of repentance to prove his sincerity or to earn mercy (like the religious leaders taught in their day). (4) Restoring your child’s reputation—he restored his child’s reputation by greatly honoring him and not shaming him at all even though the son had tarnished both of their reputations.
    Luke 15:20-24
  • The moderate child (self-righteous)—this is the child who is characterized by living a tolerable and controlled life when he is older. He brings the family social acceptance. In the parable, this was the elder son. But he also sinned against his parents by: (1) Being angry over his father’s restoration (dislikes grace but trust his own merit) of the riotous son and refusing to celebrate—meaning the son was proud about his own outward obedience to his father, but was missing the “weightier matters” of obedience in the heart. (2) Being obedient with the only motivation being that he will receive his inheritance after the father died—meaning he didn’t care for his father but just wanted his money. This was the same sin as the riotous son, but just lived out differently. Everything this son is now doing is insulting and dishonoring to the father.
    Luke 15:25-30; Matthew 23:23-28
  • Parent’s Response: In the parable, the father responds to the moderate son in the same way as the riotous son. He anticipates, initiates and is willing to bear and restore his son even though he has been greatly dishonored. The father affectionately appeals to his son, explains their relationship hasn’t changed and he doesn’t want it to change (he doesn’t want to loose him). He also explains that it was necessary and right to celebrate because of the riotous son’s restoration—thus he is also extending grace and mercy to the moderate son who has yet to come to his senses.
    Luke 15:28, 31-32

Review Questions

  • What is a summary of biblical parenting?
  • What are five steps you can take if it isn’t working?
  • What are the two types of sons in the parable? How are they different/similar?
  • What was the father’s response to each of the sons?
  • What steps do you need to take today?

Parenting (10 of 11) What Is The Biblical Role Of A Mother?

What Is The Biblical Role Of A Mother?

The biblical role of a mother is to be the assistant parent that helps through biblical femininity—selfless service. A mother should submissively take up her God-given role and take on the responsibilities of family-loving, care-taking, home-making and disciple-producing.

Establishing Biblical Motherhood

  • The mother is the assistant parent because the Bible establishes the authority structure within the home as patriarchal, thus the mother is to help under the leadership of the father. She is the one who is accountable for submitting to and assisting her husband in raising their children.
    Ephesians 5:22-6:3; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:13-15
  • Equality: Women are created equal with men in the sight of God. This means that the female gender is neither more or less important or valuable. They can equally serve, love and worship God. They are redeemed in the same way, and in Jesus Christ are one. But women have different roles and should hold the position of submission at home (and in the church) based on God’s original intent at creation (this doesn’t change over time or because of culture).
    Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2; Galatians 3:27-28; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
  • Matriarchy: God did not create women to be the head of the home, but to serve in a position of submission under her husband. Thus, women should not be the rulers of their homes. They should assistant their husbands, the fathers, who are the head parents. This is the healthy and correct authority structure established by God.
  • Femininity: Every woman is born female (physiological gender) but she has to learn what it means to be feminine (gender identity). True femininity is exemplified in the Bible and should be passed on from mother to daughter. Every woman needs to evaluate her life and see if she is living according to the Bible’s definition of femininity—selfless service. If your mother wasn’t present in your upbringing or didn’t give you an example of biblical femininity then you should seek council from female believers within your church to learn how to live in accordance to the preordained identity that God has designed for you. Every woman’s first step is a relationship with Jesus.
    1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:9-11
  • The mother has the incredible privilege of childbearing. Originally it was Eve—the woman, who was deceived and overstepped the moral boundary that God had established, thus leading mankind into sin. Her reputation was tarnished. But now women have the ability to be delivered from this awful reputation through childbearing. This means that the mother has the unique privilege through motherhood (the relationship between a mother and her children) to lead her children away from sin if she continues in faith (trust in the gospel), charity (Christian love), holiness (sanctification) with sobriety (moderation, self-control).
    1 Timothy 2:13-15
  • What does this type of mother look like? She loves God with all her heart, soul, mind and strength. She loves, serves, submits and takes care of her husband. She loves, teaches, cares for and bears children. She manages, guides and keeps her home. She is full of good works, good speech, prayer, hospitality and compassion. She is modest in appearance, demeanor and behavior. She is a teacher and mentor to the younger generation of women/wives/mothers.
    Proverbs 31:25-26, 29-31

Putting Primary Responsibilities Into Focus

  • Family-loving: Women should by characterized by love for their families as wives and mothers. This means that God expects women to faithfully love their husbands and children. This is a special wifely love that causes her to love, serve, submit and take care of her husband and a special motherly love that causes her to affectionately nurture and tenderly nourish her children. Everyone in the family benefits from the mother’s love and are blessed.
    Titus 2:4; Proverbs 31:11-12, 23, 28
  • Care-taking: Women should by characterized by rearing children for their families as caretakers. A woman marries, bears children and then in unity with her husband and under his guidance takes on the primary responsibility of looking after and caring for the children (thus allowing him to fulfill his roles).
    1 Timothy 5:10, 14; Ephesians 6:2-4
  • Home-making: Women should by characterized by joyfully guiding the house for their families as homemakers. This means that they are keepers at home—to diligently manage, care for and take on the everyday responsibilities within their homes. They work in unity with their husbands to provide, organize and give special attention to the finances, food, clothing and whatever other necessities that their families need.
    1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:5; Proverbs 31:13-21, 24, 27; Psalm 113:9
  • Disciple-producing: Women should by characterized by a sincere faith that teaches their children the holy scriptures (even if the father isn’t a believer). This means they fear the Lord and desire to actively teach their children the way of wisdom. In everything, they desire to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior and live in such a way that the word of God be not blasphemed. Therefore, they are committed to the Word of God and see their families as ministries, their homes as the mission field and their children as potential disciples who they have the responsibility of diligently discipling in the things of the Lord.
    2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-17; Acts 16:1; Proverbs 31:1, 30; 23:24-25; Titus 2:1, 2,10

Other Areas Of Motherhood

  • Mothers should submit to God’s will for their role in the family. They must repent of their rebellion or arrogance and start focusing on their primary responsibilities. Each responsibility is equally important and needed. They shouldn’t choose one over the other.
  • Mothers should properly respect their husbands and have a healthy marriage that reflects the gospel so that: (1) their husbands can function as the leaders they need in raising godly children; (2) their children have a stable environment full of grace and truth.
    Ephesians 5:33; Proverbs 1:8; 6:20
  • Mothers can be encouraged towards biblical femininity by their husbands. Husbands should love, nourish and cherish their wives and encourage and allow their wives to serve, especially in the areas of their primary responsibilities.

Review Questions

  • Why is the mother the assistant parent?
  • What opportunity do women have to be delivered from their awful reputation?
  • Can you explain equality, matriarchy, and femininity in relation to motherhood?
  • What are the four primary responsibilities of motherhood?
  • What are some other areas of motherhood to consider?

Parenting (9 of 11) What Is The Biblical Role Of A Father?

What Is The Biblical Role Of A Father?

The biblical role of a father is to be the head parent that leads through biblical masculinity—selfless servant leadership. A father should courageously take up his God-given role and provided leadership, protection, provision and spiritual direction for his family.

Establishing Biblical Fatherhood

  • The father is the head parent because the Bible establishes the authority structure within the home as patriarchal (the mother is to help under the leadership of the father). He is the one who is accountable for leading his family. Thus, in the Bible, most verses that deal with parenting refer to the father’s responsibility.
    Ephesians 5:22-6:4; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Colossians 3:19
  • Hierarchy: God has ordained three institutions within society—the family, the government and the church. He has set in order and gave rules for how they are to function. The family is the foundation for the other two institutions because it is the most basic and fundamental institution of society that everyone is a part of. Therefore, the health of the family affects the health of the government and the church. Many problems in today’s society stem from the problems within a dysfunctional family.
    Genesis 1-4; Mathew 18; Romans 13
  • Patriarchy: The head (under Jesus) of this fundamental institution (the family) is the father. Thus, dysfunctional families are often the result of a dysfunctional father. Fathers who don’t lead their families are not only causing their families to suffer, but also governments and churches. When biblical fatherhood and masculinity breakdown in society, so do many other parts of society. Therefore, fatherhood needs to be a position of honor and respect. Christian men need to wholeheartedly bear their responsibility as fathers under the headship and after the example of Jesus.
    1 Samuel 8:1-9; Deuteronomy 6:5; 1 Timothy 3:5
  • Masculinity: Every man is born male (physiological gender) but he has to learn what it means to be masculine (gender identity). True masculinity is exemplified in Jesus and should be passed on from father to son. Every man needs to evaluate his life and see if he is living according to the Bible’s definition of masculinity—selfless servant leadership. If your father wasn’t present in your upbringing or didn’t give you an example of biblical masculinity then you should seek council from male leadership within your church to learn how to live in accordance to the preordained identity that God has designed for you. Every man’s first step is a relationship with Jesus.
    1 Kings 2:1-3; Titus 1:5-10; 2:2, 6-8; 1 Timothy 3:1-7

Putting Primary Responsibilities Into Focus

  • Leadership: Men should take the initiative in providing leadership for their families as husbands and fathers. This means that God expects men to take the initiative in leading their families in all areas. They lead by example. They love and cherish their wives, and bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Jesus exemplified this by being a servant and initiating our salvation and sending the Holy Spirit to guide us.
    Ephesians 5:25; 6:4; Matthew 20:26-28
  • Protection: Men should take the initiative in providing security for their families as protectors. This means that they are responsible for their families’ physical and emotional security. They are willing to physically protect them at the cost of their own lives and they are constantly watching over the protection of their hearts so that they aren’t abused or hurt by the wrong things. Jesus exemplified this by giving up His life for us and holding us securely in his hands.
    Nehemiah 4:13-14; John 10:28; 15:13; 17:12
  • Provision: Men should take the initiative in providing the needs for their families as providers. This means that they take measures in preparation for providing nourishment for their families. They desire to be the primary workers so that they can provide lodging, food, clothes and whatever other necessities that their families need. Jesus exemplified this by providing out greatest need—salvation, but also in teaching us to trust God through prayer and first seeking His kingdom and righteousness.
    1 Timothy 5:8; Ephesians 5:28-30; Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:11, 33; 7:7-11
  • Spirituality: Men should take the initiative in providing spiritual direction for their families as men of God. This means that they personally (individually) and collectively (as a family) will serve the one true God. They have a personal relationship with God through Jesus and worship Him. They desire to lead family worship in the home but also to lead their families to the local church for corporate worship. This includes putting away anything that hinders or discourages the worship of God. Jesus exemplified this by obeying God’s will and showing us the right spiritual direction—He is the way, the truth and the life.
    Joshua 24:15; Genesis 35:2-3; John 8:28-32; 14:6-7

Other Areas Of Fatherhood

  • Fathers should submit to God’s will for their role in the family. They must repent of their irresponsibility or passiveness and start focusing on their primary responsibilities. Each responsibility is equally important and needed. They shouldn’t choose one over the other—for example: choosing to provided provision (the best financial life possible) at the expense of not providing leadership, protection and spiritual direction.
  • Fathers should properly love their wives and have a healthy marriage that reflects the gospel so that: (1) their wives can function as the helper they need in raising godly children; (2) their children have a stable environment full of grace and truth.
    Ephesians 5:33; Proverbs 1:8; 6:20
  • Fathers can be encouraged towards biblical masculinity by their wives. Wives should submit and respect their husbands and encourage and allow their husbands to lead, especially in the areas of their primary responsibilities.
  • Fathers are to be courageous. They are to bravely assume their roles as the leaders of their families. In the Bible this is what “quit you like men” meant—to not be deterred by danger or pain. Manliness is defined by courage. This courage is the strength to lead your family and not be deterred by a hostile culture that deems men as lazy or incompetent. Fathers are to courageously lead their families because they are convinced, convicted and assured that God has called them for such a purpose as this.
    1 Corinthians 16:13-14; Deuteronomy 31:6; 1 Kings 2:2; 2 Samuel 10:12; Joshua 1:6-9

Review Questions

  • Why is the father the head parent?
  • Can you explain hierarchy, patriarchy and masculinity in relation to fatherhood?
  • What are the four primary responsibilities of fatherhood?
  • What are some other areas of fatherhood to consider?
  • What does the Bible mean when it says, “Quit you like men?” Are you?

Parenting (8 of 11) How Do I Create A Household Of Grace?

How Do I Create A Household Of Grace?

A household of grace is where free and unmerited favor permeates the climate, environment, conditions, atmosphere, mood, attitudes and speech of a family. As a Christian parent you are called to be a minster of grace in the same way God extended grace to you through Jesus, so that your children can thrive.

Establishing An Environment of Grace

  • Grace is free and unmerited favor. It is unmerited and free for the receiver but it is costly for the giver. As believers, we have experienced this in salvation. We didn’t do anything to deserve our sins to be forgiven but it was freely offered to us. It could be freely offered to us because Jesus paid the price for our sins. This favor means doing more good things for others than they deserve and greater than they imagine. In Christ, God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. He speaks well of us and no evil. He has given us the benefit of a new life empowered by the Holy Spirit to live for Him.
    Ephesians 1:3; 2:5-8; 4:7; Romans 3:10-12; 4:16; 11:6; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Timothy 1:9-10
  • Therefore, a household of grace is one where free and unmerited favor permeates the family in every area of life. Parents set moral boundaries (what is right and wrong) that are rooted in the grace of the gospel and teach their children to live according to it. This means hating evil and loving good motivated by Jesus’ humble sacrifice on the cross and the expectation of His glorious return. The heart is the aim because saving faith is the only way they can be justified. This often results in children with a heart of faith and repentance because they see their need of the gospel of grace. If we establish this kind of household, then we can guard against the following ways of legalism or abuse:
    Titus 2:11-15; Romans 3:10-31
  • A household of judgment—is one where criticism and hypocrisy permeates the family in every area of life. Parents set moral boundaries that are rooted in God’s law but parents teach their children to use it as a means to judge others even though they themselves fail to live up to its standard. This means judging those who do evil things but they themselves do evil things. The heart isn’t the aim because judging others becomes the way they justify themselves. This often results in children with hard and unrepentant hearts who don’t see their need of the gospel of grace.
    Romans 2:1-29
  • A household of authoritarianism—is one where obedience and self-righteousness permeates the family in every area of life. Parents set moral boundaries that are rooted in God’s law, but they also make their own rules and regulations that become equal to God’s. This means working hard to please God, but they themselves are never able to accomplish it. The heart isn’t the aim because outward conformity becomes the way they justify themselves. This often results in children with rebellious and unrepentant hearts who don’t see their need of the gospel of grace.
    Romans 4:1-25
  • A household of permissiveness—is one where appeasement and indifference permeates the family in every area of life. Parents set moral boundaries that are rooted in God’s grace, but they accept or allow sin. This means knowing they aren’t under the law, but they themselves choose to continue in sin. The heart isn’t the aim because the lack of conviction (guilt and shame) excuses the necessity for justification. This often results in children with resentful, carnal and unrepentant hearts who don’t see their need of the gospel of grace.
    Romans 6:1-23

Putting An Environment of Grace Into Focus

  • Grace in the home creates a place where affection, appreciation, acceptance and assurance reign. This kind of environment allows your children to thrive.
  • Affection: Grace says, “You are loved.” Your home should be a place where your children know that you are willing to love them in the same way that God does: sacrificially—you are committed to their good no matter the cost; securely—you give them all your love and they don’t have to earn it, nor can they loose it; perfectly—you are not selfish, but work towards their best interest; relationally—you spend time with your children, both in quality and in quantity, to nourish and cherish them.
    John 15:13; Romans 5:8; 8:35-39; 1 John 4: 9-10; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Appreciation: Grace says, “You are important.” Your home should be a place where your children know that they were created for an important purpose and that God works in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure. God has a plan for their lives. They can accomplish great things. It starts with teaching them how their lives fit into the will of God that is revealed to them in the Bible—allowing His desires to become theirs and giving them the freedom to live out their God-given purpose.
    Psalm 37:4-5; Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:12-13; James 1:5-7; Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Acceptance: Grace says, “You are accepted.” Your home should be a place where your children know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Parents allow their children to be different from them and each other by accepting their differences: predetermined characteristics (gender, body structure, etc.) and relative characteristics (talents, personalities, temperaments, etc.). But they also teach them how to bring all their characteristics into submission with Christ for His glory.
    Psalm 139:13-18; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
  • Assurance: Grace says, “You are assured.” Your home should be a place where your children know that they can have confidence in the sovereignty of God as they go through life’s changing circumstances. As the family processes the struggles and hardships of life they are taught to rely on the sufficiently of God’s grace—knowing and confidently expecting that He can work good out of it. There is a lively hope in God.
    2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 1:6; 12-14; 29-30; 2:4-16; 2 Timothy 3:12; Philippians; Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Hebrews 2:10; 4:14-16; 11:1-40
  • Grace in the home creates a place full of grace and truth. Grace doesn’t compromise the truth. Truth doesn’t compromise grace. They support each other. Jesus it the perfect example of how these two co-exists. Grace can only be given after justice is satisfied. Grace and truth work together to renounce ungodly living and to embrace godly living. Therefore, neutrals are dealt with in a way that doesn’t confuse or hinder the truth. You don’t condemn certain things or actions (calling it “worldly”) just because you don’t like or understand it. You have to look at the attitudes and how it is being used in your children’s life. Grace is extended to allow your children the freedom to be different and creative. Mistakes are allowed to be made. Forgiveness is easily accessible. Questions, cares, concerns and doubts are all welcomed. Truth is taught and firmly stood upon.
    John 1:14; 1 John 2:15-17; Titus 2:11-12; Colossians 4:6

Review Questions

  • What is grace?
  • What is a household of grace?
  • What are the three households of legalism or abuse?
  • What four things does grace in the home create?
  • How does grace and truth work together?

March 2017 Prayer Letter

February was a great month to be able to get ahead in preparing sermons and making plans for the future of the ministry here. Many exciting things are happening, and we praise the Lord we can have a small part in it.

Dalian Baptist Seminary: Back in November of 2014 we started working on organizing and laying the foundation for our Bible training center. We had a few students who were partially interested in ministry. At the beginning of the year, I started a class in the evenings with those who were interested. Every Thursday night we would meet for class. We finished a course on “Galatians” and then over the break the young men who were involved became busy with their work at the universities they still attended and needed to choose one or the other. Each made their decisions and classes were suspended by July 2015.

Now, it is March 2017, and we are starting back up. We made some initial mistakes at the beginning, but we have learned from those mistakes and the advice of others. This month we are re-starting “Dalian Baptist Seminary” with full-time classes (the first class was held on February 27th). We will be having day-time classes with 18 credit hours this semester taught by five teachers. We are excited about this opportunity to train young men to be pastors and investing into their lives.

Students: We have two young men in their twenties who have surrendered to full-time ministry. Both men are married without children. Their English names are Lebron and Charles. Lebron has purposely quit his job to start taking classes full-time with us. Charles recently sold his restaurant and decided the Lord was calling him into ministry the day before we started class.

Please pray for the following: (1) Each of the teachers will be able to accurately and clearly teach God’s word. (2) For more students and young men who forsake their life plans to serve full-time in ministry. (3) Wisdom for me as I will be doing a bulk of the teaching this first semester.

Thank you! We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. Thank you for giving, praying and being a part of our team, Project China.