Things that really count

III John verse 4 - I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Introduction: Why is the greatest joy in hearing that my children walk in truth? Why isn’t salvation the greatest joy? Why isn’t getting a good job or buying a nice house the greatest joy? Notice also the phrase “to hear.” This indicates that the parent or guardian no longer has control over the actions of the child. The greatest joy is hearing that the child is making Godly decision on their own.

1. Physically being born. Without the physical birth, there can never be a spiritual birth. For those that die in the womb, they are kept safe in the arms of Jesus, though they are not saved. This thought primarily comes from II Samuel 12:22-23 where David explained to his servants about his eating and cleaning himself after Bathsheba’s child died. I believe the Bible teaches that all children who are aborted by their parents are safe in the arms of Jesus. They will be in heaven, and the new earth for all eternity. It is good when a child is born physically correct, but when we consider the short time this life lasts, it is much better if children are saved than physically perfect. It is hard on parents and other family members when deformed children are born, yet all family members I have talked to relate how much God has blessed them when their child was born deformed. Dale Evans wrote the book “Angel Unawares.”

Salvation. II Tim. 4:15-17 - Timothy was taught the Word of God from his youth. II Tim. 1:5, Paul remembers the undisguised faith of Timothy’s mother and grandmother. One of the most important things you can give you children is a Godly heritage. I remember in my youth my parents talking about the Word of God. My grandparents sitting on the porch reading the Bible at the close of day. I remember Brother Taylor coming to our home and teaching us how a church was supposed to be organized. This he did sitting at our kitchen table, which was one of those metal tables with chrome legs and a yellow and white swirl top, curved corners. The edges of the table was curved chrome. The chairs were chrome with a yellow seat and back. I received the foundations of the doctrines of grace in an ABA church, which didn’t believe in the Bible doctrine of election, predestination, and foreknowledge of God. They believed God wrote your name in the book of life when you believed. That is, of course, false. But they believed the Bible doctrine of total depravity. When I first heard the doctrine of election, it made perfect sense to me. If we are totally depraved, God must elect us, else we will never, of ourselves, come to Christ for eternal salvation. It is not important to teach your children your opinions about life. It is very, very important to fill their minds with Bible stories, Bible songs and holy things. You don’t have to teach them to watch T. V., or to memorize worldly songs, they will do that naturally enough. It is nice to be able to give your children a large inheritance when you die, but it is more important to give them a living legacy while they are still alive. Confession of Christ in salvation isn’t the greatest joy because the person could be mistaken. Notice the following scriptures: I Cor. 15:2 - “…If you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Col. 1:23 - If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” Hebrews 3:6, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,” Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Hebrews 3:14, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;” See also John 6:66 where many disciples went back and walked no more with Him, and John 8:31 when Christ explained to those that believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;…”

  1. Baptism and church membership. I Cor. 12:13 - “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” These two go together. You can’t have one without the other. Scriptural baptism is always by the authority of one of the Lord’s local churches. If you don’t have this kind of baptism, Christ will not recognize you baptism. Baptism isn’t important before salvation, but after salvation, baptism and church membership become very important. How do I become a member of one of the Lord’s churches? By being baptized into the membership. Some people don’t like this terminology, but I don’t believe a person can be a real member of one of the Lord’s churches without scriptural baptism.

  2. Faithfulness to God in that church. Gal. 3:27 - “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Many people are trying to be faithful to God without being a member of one of the Lord’s churches, or without being faithful to one of the Lord’s churches. There is no way you can be faithful to God without being faithful to His church. Eph. 3:21 states that God will receive all glory though His kind of churches, throughout all eternity. Some people believe they can be faithful to God by attending church services, and going to sleep. This doesn’t work. Some people believe they can be faithful to God by attending church services when they have a job to do. This won’t work. If you aren’t faithful to God without a job to do, then you aren’t really being faithful to God at all. Remember that almost all of the New Testament is written to churches, not to people outside the local church.