Hope for Hurting Families
Hope for Hurting Families
Mother’s Day Sermon 2017
The role of a mom is simultaneously one of the most important roles in the world and one of the most unglamorous. Raising kids is TOUGH. There is no simple, clean, easy, comfortable way to be a loving, faithful mom. Rather than a sprint, motherhood might be likened to a “Tough Mudder” marathon. A "Tough Mudder" is a modern marathon where one competes not only against other runners, but also against ice, fire, electricity, and of course, mud. Lots of mud. And yet, “Tough Mudder” marathons are easy compared to being a faithful, loving, tough mother!
There are plenty of days when raising kids feels less like a church service and more like a circus, less like The Brady Bunch and more like the Twilight Zone, less like a fashion show and more like a freak show. This Mother’s Day we are going to take a look at the first family. Not the Presidential one but the Biblical one. Do you find yourself dealing with family issues today? Perhaps peering into this first family’s mess we can find a message of hope. Let’s dive into the passage.
Hope In Redemption
Genesis starts beautifully with creation and the commissioning of Adam and Eve to be “fruitful and multiply”. One chapter later, however, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and everything changes. God brings judgment against sin. Yet buried in the midst of these judgments we find a promise which gives hope. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” -Genesis 3:15 NIV
Eve was promised that one of her descendants would crush the head of the serpent, Satan.
It would be very natural to assert that Eve thought this of her son Cain... “Perhaps Cain is the one to undo the curse and destroy the serpent?” Where Eve had failed, pehaps she thought Cain would succeed and all would be well... "Perhaps my son will fix the mess we made."
The destructive power of sin is made evident when, instead of Cain being the Messiah, he becomes a murderer. Instead of crushing the head of Satan, Cain crushes his brother Abel. But there is hope for this hurting family.
Hope In The Mess
There is a lot of speculation about why Cain’s offering was rejected, but one thing it seems certain: Cain’s offering was not rejected because of the offering itself, but because of Cain himself. Cain’s heart was not right. “So Cain was very angry.” Anger is a very powerful and potentially destructive emotion. James tells us what causes our conflicts with each other.
“What causes quarrels and what cause fights among you? Is it not this, that passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:1-3
Cain was filled with passions that were at war within him. And yet, “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry and why has your face fallen?” -Genesis 4:6 Even in the midst of Cain’s angry heart, God is there. How reassuring to know that long before you try to win back a wayward child, the LORD is already there. He is not at a distance. He is right in the mess.
Hope In The One Who Is Faithful
Mother’s Day sermons can contain a lot of “shoulds”, and not much Savior. They can contain an over-emphasis on sentimentality and not warn again the pernicious danger of idolatry.
All rivers flow out of the sea of worship. What we attribute worth to defines us, shapes us and instructs us in how we live and how we parent. Perhaps Eve’s hope was misplaced. Perhaps her hope was in Cain rather than her God. Her worth and value were focused on her role as a mother and this son, rather than her Savior. The only one that would fix this mess.
CS Lewis put it this way, “God gave us family. And what a precious gift! But it is a gift, not the Giver. Jesus will not allow Himself to be demoted to high Priest in the Temple of Family Values. When we come to Christ, we leave that Temple behind, never to return, and we spend the rest of our lives recruiting our families to worship Jesus.”
Here is our hope: there is no greater object of worship than Jesus Christ!
More than comfort, more than success, more than pleasure, more than even our families themselves; we are happiest, healthiest and most whole when our hearts exalt Jesus above all things! It is for this very reason our hearts were made. It’s for this very reason the gift of family was given.
Luke 3:23-28 connects the first family with God's only begotten son...“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth” Genesis 4:25a “Jesus was the son of Joseph…the son of Levi…the son of David…the son of Judah…the son of Jacob…the son of Isaac…the son of Abraham…the son Noah…the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
Satan’s head was crushed by one of Eve's descendants. Not by Cain, but by Christ. God's promises did not fail then, and they will not fail us now.
God gave hope to hurting families and hope has a name. Not Adam, not Eve, not Cain, not me, not you... its Jesus Christ. He is our hope.
Have a Happy and Hope-filled Mother’s Day!
More in Pastor Chris: In Christ Alone
February 21, 2019Signposts in our Journey Through John's Gospel
February 9, 2019Biblical, Biological, Ethical Foundations for the Cause of Life
March 1, 2018The Lord's Prayer: Forgive Us Our Debts