Today we‘re going to be looking at the third life stage in our message series called “Stages of Life.” In this series, we’re looking at five stages that we all pass through in life. So far, we’ve looked at the first stage from childhood through teens. Then the second stage, which is when young adults typically leave home and start their own families.
Today, we’re going to look at the third life stage with a message entitled “Prime Time Blessings.” This is the period of time when people are roughly in their thirties through fifties. During this life stage, people are engaged in full-time work and raising families. As I’ve mentioned before, each of us is in only one of these stages. However, The lessons that we learn from each stage can be applied to other stages. Also, we all know people in other life stages and we can use God’s Word to encourage them.
Our title today again is Prime Time Blessings. The word blessing or bless is used around 400 times in the Bible, which is quite a lot. A blessing is a God-given gift leading to success in life. Success in life according to God’s Word is carrying out God’s purpose. Blessings are not just an abstract idea, they always come from the presence of God in our lives.
Deuteronomy 28:1-2 (ESV) “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.
These were the words of Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to the nation of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. This chapter in Deuteronomy then lists all the blessings that God had in store for His people. If we read these verses closely, we see that God’s blessing would not come automatically. These verses are a conditional promise from God. If the people obeyed God’s Word, then and only then would the blessings come to them. Obedience to God comes through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
John 14:15 (ESV) “If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
As we grow in our love and relationship with Jesus, we will grow in our obedience. As we grow in our obedience, God will bring more and more blessing into our lives. When we are blessed by God, we have increased ability to bless others. Today, we are going to look at 3 areas of that God desires to bring blessing into our lives.
Psalm 1:1 (ESV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
The very first Psalm begins with the word blessed. God tells us that blessing begins by not doing certain things, things that lead to sin. We see three degrees of missing blessing in this verse. The first is not listening to or walking around the words of wicked people. If you walk and listen to ungodly conversation, you will tend to hang out or stand with sinners. If you hangout with sinners, you will end up sitting down with people who scoff at godly living.
Now, these instructions certainly imply being in the physical presence of ungodly people. But in today’s world, they also apply to listening or watching to those kind of people digitally or in the pages of a book. This first verse is the negative condition of the promise of blessing.
Psalm 1:2 (ESV) but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Rather than listening to and hanging out with ungodliness, the person who desires to be blessed ought to find delight and joy in God’s Word. Not only does he read it regularly, but he thinks about and meditates on it both day and night. Blessing comes to those who fill their minds with God’s Word. When your mind is filled with godliness, the rest of your life will follow a godly course. As we’ve already mentioned, obedience to God’s Word always results in God’s blessing.
Now, does that mean that those who walk in godliness will never have any problems in life? If you look at the life of Jesus or the life of Paul, you will soon see that that is not the case. Listen to what Paul writes in …
Philippians 4:11, 13 (ESV) Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. … I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Paul had learned to be content all the time, even as he was living in God’s Word.
Paul did not have an easy life. He was beaten, stoned, left for dead, attacked, mocked, imprisoned, yet content. How is that possible? Because he relied on God’s strength in every situation.
When you know that you are walking in God’s will, whatever comes into your life has been permitted by God. Some things may be seen by some as good, other things as bad. But for the believer who is living a godly life, whatever comes can be seen as a blessing. A blessing that will draw you closer to God as you become more like Jesus. These are some of the blessing of godly living.
I’d like us to think a bit more about contentment. I believe that contentment is one of the blessings of godly living. In the prime time stage of life, a person begins with the thinking of a twenty year old. You have your entire life ahead of you, the sky is the limit, all things are possible.
As you go through this life stage, you become wiser about life. Perhaps the dreams that you once had are not coming to pass. How can you be content therefore in this stage? Simply by living by God’s Word and trusting Him to take care of you. To be content is to not worry about anything. To seek God’s will and kingdom and leave the results to God. These are important lessons to not only live by, but to teach your children. Contentment is a blessing of godly living.
Malachi 3:16 (ESV) Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.
God did not create people to live isolated lives apart from one another. He put people into physical families and through Jesus God created a spiritual family. This verse speaks of believers, those who fear the Lord, speaking to one another. They were talking to one another about the things of God. God was so impressed that He had written an account of what they said. A church family is a place where those who fear the Lord can find strength.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
The New Testament speaks of believers in a church family encouraging one another and building each other up. Everybody needs and wants to be encouraged. The Bible teaches us that we reap what we sow. If you want to be encouraged, encourage someone else. If you need to be strengthened, build somebody else up. As you meet the needs of others, your needs will be met in the church family.
Ephesians 4:16 (ESV) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
This verse in Ephesians speaks of the beautiful image of a church family being the body of Christ. Each person represents a different body part, that is joined to all the others. Each part needs to function in the way that God made them in order for the body or church family to grow.
Growth in a church family is two-fold, growing closer to God and closer to one another. As the church family grows in serving one another, it is building itself up in love. The blessing of a church family is that each of us is part of something that God has designed to help us to grow more like Jesus. There are wonderful blessings in being part of a church family.
Now the prime time of life is a busy time, perhaps the busiest time of life. You are working hard at your job to earn a living and support your life. At the same time, you often have a growing obligation to raise your children in the ways of God, as well as building your marriage. Unfortunately, in this life stage, some people make the wrong decision to drop out of church. Or to attend a larges church that requires nothing from them except to show up occasionally.
The Bible warns us to not forsake regularly meeting together with other believers. We are to meet together for teaching in larger services and for more interaction in small groups. Participation in the church family is the road to increased blessing in your life.
1 Timothy 5:4 (ESV) But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
The prime time stage of life has often been referred to as the sandwich generation. This stage is often busy with raising children at home and being responsible for aging parents at the same time. This verse in Timothy refers to the responsibility for children, to care for their parents when they may no longer be able to care for themselves. This is part of giving back to your parents for all that they have given to you.
Proverbs 23:22 (ESV) Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Children are to honor their parents throughout life, even after leaving the home and starting families of their own. Honoring parents involves listening to their counsel and treating them in a loving way. Parents are to be trusted counselors of their children, friends throughout life. There is a tendency of the young to despise the older, but this verse and many others condemns it. God has given, especially godly parents, great wisdom that will help you even in the prime time season of life.
Ephesians 6:2-3 (ESV) “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Honoring parents begins when you are a child living in their home. Yet, it continues throughout life. This is not an option or a suggestion, it is one of the ten commandments.
And Paul notes here that it is the first commandment with a promise. In fact, it has a two fold promise. The first part of the promise is that when you honor your parents, it will go well with you. That is simply another way of saying that your life will be blessed. Then it adds a specific promise. Those who honor their parents will live long lives as they serve God. If you go through the book of Proverbs, you can find multiple verses what speak of the problems that come to children who do not honor their parents. There are great blessings in honoring your parents throughout life.
All of us have had parents. Some parents are godly believers and some were not believers at all. Yet, no matter what your parents were like, they were the ones God chose to bring you into the world. As such, you can honor them and seek to maintain a godly relationship throughout life.
No matter how wonderful your parents were, there are no perfect parents. As such, God desires for you as a grown child to forgive the wrongs of your parents. There are people who can be set free from bitterness even after their parents have passed. Unforgiveness will be a block to God’s blessing in your life. Forgiving and honoring is a key to unlocking God’s blessing.
Today, we’ve looked at the blessings that come through three types of relationships that we all have. The first relationship is our relationship with God. Our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience from which blessings come. The second relationship that brings blessing into our lives is in our church family. As we pray, worship, learn and live together, God causes us to grow and be blessed.
The third relationship is our relationship with our physical family. The Bible speaks a lot about extended families. Your family includes your spouse and children, as well as your parents. As you learn to obey God’s command to honor your parents, greater blessings will flow into your life.
Use these three keys to unlock more of God’s blessing.