Friday, December 18, 2009

True Representation

Hebrews 2:10-13 (NKJV)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both [Jesus] who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of [One Father], for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” 13 And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again: “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

One of the lessons we learn from children is that they are under authority, entrusted by God to the care of others. Their position in their homes is entirely a matter of God’s Providence. He put them there; He gave them their parents; He instructs them to honor and obey their parents under Him. What this means is that their health and well-being are dependent on the conduct of those placed over them. So those placed over them need to understand their task.

Fortunately, we are not left adrift with no awareness of what we are called to do. Our Lord has revealed our responsibility throughout His Word and has exhibited it for all to see in the life of Christ. What then is our task?

Our text today informs us, in short, that our responsibility is to bring our children to maturity. We do this in imitation of our Heavenly Father whose goal is to bring us to maturity, to bring us – as our text today says – to glory. So how does our Father bring us to maturity?

First, note that He appoints a representative over us, our Lord Jesus Christ. And this, parents, is our position in regard to our children. God has placed us there, in a position of authority, as His representative. What this means, is that we are there to do His work in the lives of our children not our own.

Second, note the three things that Jesus does as our representative: He identifies with us, He gives us an example to follow, and He takes responsibility for us.

So, first, He identifies with us. Jesus declares, “I will declare Your Name to My brethren.” Though infinitely superior to us in His Person, Jesus calls us His brothers, treats us as His equals. And this is an important reminder to us parents in regard to our children. Though God has placed us in a position of authority over them, at the most fundamental level our children are our brethren – fellow creatures called to worship and adore the Living God.

And this leads us to the second task of representatives – we are to set an example for those under us. Jesus declares, “’I will declare Your Name to My brethren, In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You,’ and again, “I will put My trust in Him.” Jesus sets an example for us in two ways. He leads us in the corporate worship of God and He teaches us to trust God. And here we come to our second duty as parents. Our duty is not only to identify with our children, but to demonstrate to them what it means to worship the Triune God in company with His people, and what it means to trust Him. We are called to bring them, to bring our children, to glory, to maturity – and the height of maturity and glory is to love and worship God Himself.

Finally, Jesus as our representative, takes full responsibility for us. “Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” He is the captain of our salvation, taking our sins as his own, making our progress in grace His own business. It is He who sanctifies us. In other words, Jesus doesn’t treat us as alien from Him; doesn’t say, “Well there they are and those problems are theirs.” He brings us along with Him by taking responsibility for us. “Christian,” he says, “you are Mine; follow Me!” And so what is our calling as parents? It is, like Joshua of old, to declare, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” This is who we are; God has put me in charge here; I am going to lead this family as God’s representative.

So parents how are we doing? The health of our children has been entrusted to us. Are we being faithful stewards of that trust? Are we identifying with our children, treating them fundamentally as our equals? Are we setting an example of glory before them, being passionate about corporate worship and trusting in the Living God? Are we assuming responsibility for the state of our homes, bringing our children to glory, to maturity?

Reminded that so often we fail to measure up to the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ, that we often fail to do what we are called to do as His representatives, let us kneel and ask His forgiveness.