We considered this morning the example of Christ who humbled himself even to the point of death on a cross as an act of identifying with his people. Paul exhorts us to pursue the same mind, and ultimately the mind of Christ which is willing to even die. Elsewhere, Paul says in Romans that baptism is baptism into the likeness of the death Christ. In baptism we are united to his death, and we are raised up to new creation life. This means living like that’s true. In the early church it’s sometimes almost humorous to read how quickly and almost haphazardly baptisms occurred. The Roman Centurian was baptized at night with his whole household, the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized on the side of the road, and surely it was a wild baptismal service for the three thousand who were baptized at Pentecost. And that exuberance is either really foolish or really faithful, and since these are the apostles Jesus sent into the world to found his church, we have every reason to think that this is nothing but faith. Faith looks at everything in light of the resurrection. Faith is busy trying to see the renewal of the world in everything. See that tree blossoming? That means Jesus conquered death. See that comet? That means Jesus is King of the World. Cell phones? That means sin and death are on the run. Faith sees the world through the resurrection. Everything is evidence of the victory of God.
So the exhortation to you as you raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is twofold: first look at them, teach them, talk about them in light of the resurrection. Look for every opportunity to see the work of Christ in them. Don’t do this because you are doting parents and you’re blind to their flaws and weaknesses. Do it because you believe the promises of God; believe that the promises of the covenant are for them. Believe that they are holy ones, saints, set apart as kings and queens of Christendom. When they’re loud remind each other that Christians are leaders in the world. When they’re wild and energetic remember that we have been given the world to subdue and evangelize, and that’s going to take a lot of energy. And so on. And this should not be understood as an encouragement to go soft on sin, but an encouragement to love them in faith, believing that these little ones will one day be scientists and pastors, governors and explorers, mothers and fathers, and all in service to King Jesus. And this leads to the second exhortation: as you teach them and train them, encourage them to see the world in light of the resurrection. This should mean that they grow in courage. What is there to be afraid of if Christ has conquered death? In Christ, we have been given back the world to rule it, to fill it, to glorify it, and to bless its inhabitants through the gospel. Train your children’s imaginations to dream big, to dig deep, to love the world that God made, and to expect wonderful magic in all the good gifts of our God.