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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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Mothers Pass on Their Faith

On this day that we honor mothers, its good for us to think about how much you really do honor mothers.

Being a mother is not a walk in the park:


There are some great portraits of motherhood in Scripture:

A Grandmother, a Mother, and a Boy
I’d like to introduce you to a young woman named Eunice. She was raised in a religious home and was greatly impacted by her mother Lois. She loved to learn the stories from the Bible when she was young and enjoyed going to services where she could learn about God. As she approached her teenage years, she was still focused on spiritual matters but she became attracted to a young man who was not into religion at all. Against the best wishes of her godly mother, the teaching of her faith, and the tug of her conscience, she married the man. Don’t get me wrong ­ he was a nice guy but thought spiritual matters were for weak people.

After a couple years of marriage, Eunice and her husband had a baby boy who they named Timothy. In the meantime, Eunice’s dad had died so they asked her mother Lois to come and live with them (customary in those days). Little Timmy was a delight to everyone. Both his mother and grandmother spent hours with him, teaching him the stories of the Old Testament, praying with him and for him, and training him in the things of God. While they didn’t have any Veggie Tale videos or VBS, they created a spiritual environment where Tim could flourish.

Then, one day, a preacher named Paul came to their town of Lystra and spoke about a man named Jesus. Both Lois and Eunice listened intently. They saw in Jesus the fulfillment of all the promises in the Old Testament and placed their trust in Him and were converted. These new believers in turn focused on teaching Timothy all about Jesus. We know from reading the book of Acts that Paul himself took a personal interest in Tim as a teenager and with his mother and grandmother, led him to saving faith.

Later, Paul and Timothy partnered together in ministry as the gospel continues to spread throughout the area. Many years later, while Paul is in prison, awaiting his execution, he writes two letters to young Timothy. These letters contain some teaching about how Timothy should behave as a church leader and are also filled with some reminiscing and nostalgia on Paul’s part. As Paul writes these letters, that we know as 1Timothy and 2 Timothy, he reflects on the mothers who made an impact in Tim’s life – Eunice his mother and Lois his grandmother.

With that as background, I’m going to draw from three different passages of Scripture­ two of which are found in Paul’s second letter to Timothy -- to show how a mother­ and a grandmother - can make a significant spiritual impact on her children – we all can make spiritual impacts on children as well if we instill these principles: Respect for the Scripture, Live out An Authentic Faith, and have a Desire to be in Ministry.

1.  Thankfully, we do not have to do this all by ourselves:

Illustration
Four scholars were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its beauty and eloquent old English. Another said he liked the New American Standard Version for its literalism and how it moves the reader from passage to passage with confident feelings of accuracy from the original text. The third scholar was sold on the New Living Translation for its use of contemporary phrases and idioms that capture the meaning of difficult ideas. After being quiet for a moment, the fourth scholar admitted: “I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.” When the other scholars started laughing, he said, “Yes, she translated the Scriptures. My mom translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I have ever read.”

II. ­  Secondly we need to instill an Authentic Faith in our children - The second way to make an impact in the lives of our children is by instilling within them an authentic faith. We see this in 2 Timothy 1:5: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

III. ­ Thirdly we need to instill a Desire to Minister / Serve The third way to impact our children is to instill within them a desire to minister. After Paul preached in Lystra, and Timothy was converted, he returned a short while later. Let’s pick up the story in Acts 16:1-3: “He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey…” I see three qualities in Timothy that were no doubt passed down from his mother, and his grandmother:
A.   First of all, he was a strong believer. He is referred to as a disciple. Luke, the author of Acts, could have referred to him as a believer or a Christian, but he chose to call him a disciple.

  1. Second, he had a good reputation. The believers in the area spoke well of him. People knew him as a man of integrity and as a man of the Word. He was rock solid. Again, this had a lot to do with his mother and grandmother.
  1. Third, he was available. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey. As you continue to read the Book of Acts, you’ll see that Timothy was eager to minister.

Conclusion:
As adults, as parents - part of our job is to instill:

Closing - I want to applaud mothers who take the task seriously of making spirituality important and for our mothers who are older now or may have passed on let us remember.  Happy Mother’s Day.


Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.