Topical Sermons

Stones and Serpents


1.  "The family is the nucleus of civilization." (Will Durant)

2.  Matt. 7:9-10 - Parents are well-meaning. Our intentions are good: We intend to give our children bread not stones, fish not serpents.

-"Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them." (P.J. O'Rourke)

3.  Matt. 7:11 - We must learn (or be reminded) how to give our children "good gifts?"  Do we understand what the "good gifts" are we should be giving our children?

4.  It has been said, "The hardest thing about having children is that they don’t come with manual," but not entirely correct: Bible teaches us -- and we need to use its teaching! - Eph. 6:4; Tit. 2:4



  A.  …When They Ask For (Need) Our Time & Affection & Instead We Give Them Material Things.

      -"If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money on them." (Abagail Van Buren)

    1.  1 Sam. 1:20-23 (~2-12 yr.) - "She stayed" - Children need the presence of their parents to rear them ("child-care society")! It doesn't take a "village" to raise children--does take a mommy & daddy!

      -"A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take."

    2.  Time slips away…Are you giving your time to your children? (cf. 1000 Marbles)

      a.  "We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly." (Mark Twain)

      b.  "The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf." (Bertrand Russell)

    3.  Our children's emotional & spiritual needs cannot be served & nurtured by material things!!

      a.  They need communication with you, & you need it with them!

      b.  Make yourself available to them - regardless of when it is they need you!

        -"The best thing to spend on your children is your time." (Louise Hart)

    4.  Our children need us, not the things we can give them.

  B.  …When They Ask For (Need) Our Guidance & Discipline & Instead We Leave Them Alone & Look The Other Way.

    -"Some families can trace their ancestors back three hundred years, but can't tell you where their children were last night." (Author unknown)

    1.  Prov. 4:3-4 - Must guide & teach our children.

    2.  Deut. 11:18-21 - Constantly teach God's word to children.

    3.  Prov. 29:15, 17 - Have the courage, will & wisdom to guide & correct your children! (cf. 1 Sam. 3:13)

      -"The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children."  (The Duke of Windsor, Look, March 5, 1957)

    4.  Children need parents who have the strength to exercise consistent & reasonable discipline, regardless of the cost.

  C.  …When They Ask For (Need) Our Guidance On Morality & Ethics & Instead We Give Them Unrestricted Access To Immoral Entertainment (TV, movies, music).

    1.  Entertainment always reflects the (im)morality of its society.

    2.  Eph. 5:3-7 - One of the hardest temptations for many to overcome! Parents must set the example!

      -"You're not a good parent, if at some point you are not an embarrassment to your children."  (Malcolm Forbes, Sr.)

    3.  Children need strong, disciplined, spiritually mature parents to serve as models & to surround them with nurturing love.

   D.  …When They Ask For (Need) Spiritual Focus In Their Lives & Instead We Help Them Focus On The Physical Pleasures Of The World.

    -(Don't misunderstand: Many good things can have one's interest in life. Is it moral?  Does it help or hinder faithfulness to God?)

    1.  Yes, we live in the world, but we are not to be of it - Jno. 17:15-16; 1 Jno. 2:15-16.

    2.  Matt. 6:33 - Children should see that Christ is 1st in our lives!

    3.  Must educate them in Christian living, not just academics! Phil. 4:8-9

      -"So live that you wouldn't be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." (Will Rogers)

    4.  Our children need parents who actively & faithfully participate in spiritual work!

  E.  …When They Ask For (Need) Our Compliments & Praise & Instead We Are Quick To Criticize & Belittle Them.

    1.  Col. 3:21 - Discourage them when all they hear is the negative!

    2.  If we spend more time telling them what they don't do right, they will lose respect for us & a willingness to listen to us!

    3.  Children need to be reinforced with praise, trust, attention & affection!

  F. …When They Ask For (Need) Order & Stability In Their Lives & Instead We Give Them Chaos & Unpredictability.

    1.  Divorce - Mal. 2:16.

      -" The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." (Theodore Hesburgh)

    2.  Parental / moral standards & expectations - Gen. 18:19.

    3.  God's order ignored - Eph. 6:1-4.

    4.  Children need the security & growth environment which comes from orderliness in the home!



1.  Prov. 22:6 - We will never fulfill this passage if we, as parents, are not living the way we should!

2.  Let's work hard at being godly parents so that when our children ask for bread and fish we don't give them stones and serpents!


-(Source: "Stones and Serpents" by Dr. Carl Mitchell, Church & Family, Summer 2000, 14)