Jimmy Evans - How to Build a Safe Family
Matthew 18:18, "Assuredly I say to you whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". Now, the word "Assuredly" there means an emphasis, Jesus saying "What I'm saying is the truth. Listen to what I'm saying. This is the truth. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven". The word "Bind" is the Greek word deo, and it means to restrain or to bind up or disallow. Jesus said, "Listen to what I'm saying now. Whatever you disallow I'll recognize". And then he says, "But whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". And the word "Loose" is the Greek word luo, which means to loosen, to let go, or to allow.
So let me give you a paraphrase of what Jesus is saying to every single one of us. I'm telling you the truth. Whatever you disallow on earth will be disallowed in the invisible realm, and whatever you allow on earth will be allowed in the invisible realm. God has given us authority over our lives and over our families, and we can live in absolute safety if we will use the authority that God has given us to allow and to disallow, to bind and to loose. The authority that God gives us is the authority to bind and loose in the spiritual realm and to live a safe life. Satan has no authority over us to destroy us. But here are several statements in regard of what I'm saying. The first is, all of the authority the devil exercises in the world is illegitimate and can be stopped by believers. The Satan has no legitimate authority.
Listen to Colossians 2, and this is the apostle Paul talking about the resurrection of Christ. "Having disarmed principalities and powers, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it". Paul is reminding us here that when Jesus was raised from the dead, he took all power away from the devil. The devil has no power. The only authority the devil has is the authority that we let him have. The only authority the devil has is the authority he's stolen from believers. He's been disarmed. And not only has he been disarmed, Jesus made a public spectacle. When Jesus was resurrected, he took the devil and every demon in hell and paraded them through the heavenlies and said, "This man has no more authority. He's a loser, and he's been assigned to hell". And every angel knows it and every demon knows it. He just wants to bet that you don't know it. He has no authority over you. He has no authority. All of his authority that he has on the earth today is stolen and illegitimate, and we can stop it.
This is Matthew 16. Listen. Jesus is about to repeat what he said in Matthew 18. Matthew 16, this is the first time the church is mentioned in the Bible. "And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell, hades, shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven". Here we have Jesus repeat what he said, or actually, this is the original statement here. It's then repeated in Matthew 18, and Jesus says this to Peter. "Now, Peter, you said that I'm the Christ, the son of the living God. And upon that confession, I'm going to build my church. And I'm going to give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you lock on earth will be locked. Whatever you unlock on earth will be unlocked".
And by the way, they didn't have cars back then. A key was for one thing. That's a door or a gate. And Adam and Eve were the gatekeepers of the earth. The devil came, knocked on the door, tempted them. They opened the door, he came in, destroyed mankind. Jesus comes back and said, "I'm redelivering the keys of the earth to you, Peter, and to my church. And I'm telling you that if you want to unlock a gate of hell that the devil is using to hold people in darkness and destroy their lives, even the devil's gate cannot stand against my people and the key that I just handed you. I'm giving you the keys to the entire kingdom of heaven of good and evil. And whatever you want to lock and to bind and to disallow on this earth, so be it. I'll stand behind you. Whatever you want to allow and to loose, so be it. I'll stand behind you. But you have authority over all the power of the enemy, and he cannot harm you as long as you're using the keys of binding and loosing and the authority that I'm giving you".
Number-one truth: all the authority the devil has is illegitimate, and the church can stop it.
Number two: the devil has no authority to harm believers. We have authority over him. You never have to fear the devil. He fears you. Jesus said, "I give you authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm you". He has no right to harm you. And by the way, if the devil could kill us, we'd all be dead. He hates our guts. And the fact that he doesn't is just testimony to the fact he doesn't have authority unless we give him authority.
Number three: truth. In this regard, God will not do for us what he has given us the ability to do for ourselves. God has given us authority to live safely as his family, but we have to be the gatekeepers of our own lives. And I want to talk about the gatekeeping responsibilities that we have in two ways: personal and as parents. Because there's two ways that we keep the gates of our lives, and there certainly is national and other levels of this, but I want to focus this on personal and family.
I want to talk about being the personal gatekeeper of your life, and to help you understand there are seven gates into your life. Every person, there are seven gates that the devil or God will use to do good or bad things in your life. Let me go through these. There's the eye gate. Now, we all know Jesus said that the eye is the lamp of the soul. "And if the eye is good, the soul is full of life. If the eye is bad, how bad is that darkness"? That's what Jesus said in Matthew 6.
There's the ear gate. Jesus said in Mark 4, "Be careful what you hear". The ear gate is where words and music and sounds come in to our lives that can impact us in a huge way. And right now, I'm accessing your ear gate because you've come and offered it here in church. That's a good thing. So there's an ear gate.
Number three is the mouth gate. The words spoken, food and drink consumed. And this, by the way, "Proverbs" 18:21 says "The power of life and death is in the mouth". This is the most disproportionate gate in our lives, because what comes in and out of this gate will have more impact on our lives than almost anything else.
Number four is the mind gate. We have a gateway into our minds beyond our eyes, ears. In a dark room with our mouth closed, we can open our mind gate. And we can have imaginations, we can have deceptions, we can have, you know, all different kinds of things, but our thoughts, our ideas, our imaginations and beliefs come through our minds, and we control that gate.
The spirit gate. This is faith or unbelief, submission, rebellion, what I'm gonna do spiritually in my life. And by the way, Jesus says in revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock". He's talking about the door of our spirits. "If any man will hear my voice and open the door, I'll come in and dine with him and he with me". This is talking about the act of salvation. Jesus will not access the door of our life without our permission because that's his nature. He recognizes us as the gatekeeper of our own spirit, and he says, "My desire is to come into your life, but you'll have to open the gate for me to come in", ok? Our spirit gate.
Number six, our flesh gate. And this is our sensuality, our sexuality, our physical needs, desires, and wants both on a legitimate level and also on a sinful level, whichever door that we open. But our flesh is an entry point, ok?
Number seven is our emotion gate. Emotions and attitudes and response to life and people and things like that. And so I decide everything that comes into my life through those seven gates. Listen, who you are today has been decided by you and what gate you opened. Your mom and dad didn't do it. God didn't do it. God doesn't decide how you feel. God doesn't decide what you think. God doesn't decide where you put your eyes or your ears. Neither does the devil. Neither do I.
We all are responsible for the gates of our lives. And everything in my life right now I allowed to be there. And the things that are not in my life are not there because I disallowed them. Binding and loosing made me who I am right now, good or bad. And so when God gives us authority, and he said, "I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven", the first responsibility that we have with that authority is to manage our lives and the seven gates of our lives. And I've got to understand where I put my eyes, where I put my ears, where I put my mind, where I put my mouth, where I put my spirit, my emotions and everything else has a phenomenal impact upon my life and my safety and who I am.
The devil only needs one open door to come in and destroy. Now, when you left home to come to church, a burglar doesn't need you to leave every window and door open to rob your house. A burglar only needs one entry point. And through one entry point, a burglar can rob your entire house. Understand this: the devil is gonna try to access every gate in your life on a continual basis. Now, the purpose of this isn't to make you fearful. The purpose of this is to make you aware because you have authority over the devil. This is not complicated, it's not difficult, but understand, every gate in your life is an opportunity for God to bless you, and every gate in your life is an opportunity for the devil to destroy you, and you manage every one of those gates. And he's gonna keep knocking on those gates to find an open door, and he only needs one open door to destroy your life.
And let me give you an example of this. Ephesians 4, this is verses 26 and 27, the apostle Paul says, "Be angry, but don't sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath nor give place to the devil". Go ahead and be angry. God gets angry. Nothing wrong with anger, but don't sin in your anger and don't stew on it and let that become bitterness and unforgiveness by going to bed on it. So be angry, but don't sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger or you'll give place to the devil. The word "Place" is the word topos in the Greek language, and it just means location, foothold, a place in your life for the devil. The word "Devil" there is diabolos, which means slander. He's gonna come in through your anger that you didn't take control over. He's gonna use that as an opportunity to come in and accuse your wife, your husband, your parents, your friends, everyone that you have anger toward until he's destroyed relationships.
Now I want you to listen to me for just a minute, because this is something that I know as being a pastor for 32 years and a marriage guy who's helped a lot of people in marriages. That gate has destroyed millions and millions of lives and homes. How many couples have been destroyed by anger that they wouldn't forgive, that they wouldn't talk it out, they justified unrighteous actions because they were angry. How many relationships have been broken? How many families have been destroyed? How many nations have been destroyed through that gate right there, through hatred, through bitterness? We are the keeper of our emotions, and the devil is looking for someone who will open a doorway of bitterness and unforgiveness so he can come in and do his work of slander so he can destroy our families and destroy our relationships and destroy our society.
And this is what we see in the world today. And no one decides how I feel except for me. Life does not form me. My response to life forms me. And regardless of what you do, I make a decision of how I feel about that. And I can choose to love in the most difficult circumstance. And I can choose to hate in the best of circumstances. But I am the gatekeeper of my emotions. And so the devil constantly is going to try to access the gates in our lives, and as a responsible gatekeeper, it means I bind the devil by using my eyes and I loose God, whenever you're reading the Bible, what you're doing is you just loosed the Holy Spirit to work through your eyes to bless you. But when you put your eye on something bad, you've opened the door to the devil to come in and corrupt you. The same with your ears. The same with your mind. And so responsible binding and loosing, responsible gatekeeping keeps me personally safe.
But the second responsibility of gatekeeping is parents. See, little children, we have to, because they can't manage the gates of their lives, the purpose of parenting is to raise children in a safe environment where one day when they leave home, they have learned how to responsibly manage the gates of their lives. But let me talk about parents for just a minute. Parents are the gatekeepers of their homes in their children's lives. Let me say it. Everything in your home you allow. Everything not in your home you disallow. You're the gatekeeper of your home. God doesn't keep the gates of your home. The devil doesn't. Hopefully your children don't. All the devil needs is a careless gatekeeper to corrupt a child's life. He just wants a parent who doesn't understand that they're responsible for keeping the gates of their child's life.
Let me talk about the five gates of a child's life that a parent must diligently keep watch over, and you're totally responsible for these five gates. Number one is the God gate. The first responsibility of a parent is to lead your child to God. In fact, God put his image on Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 and then commanded them to multiply. They weren't ready to multiply until they bore the image of God. The number-one responsibility that I have as a parent is to lead my child into an understanding of who God is, the love of God, and the truth of God so that at the earliest age possible they receive Christ into their lives. And from that point forward, we're disciplining them in their faith, ok? Taking them to church, reading them the Bible, praying with them. The number-one thing that I do is I watch the God gate of my child's life. And I think that every parent should raise their children in church. Now, I'm preaching to the choir here, but I'm saying church is very important. The Bible, godly disciplines in a child's life, that is the parents' responsibility.
Number two gate in a child's life is the entertainment gate. And entertainment is cell phones, and I totally agree that children should not have a cell phone until very late, I mean, high school or something like that. And so for safety purposes, you may have a cell phone in your home that doesn't belong to a child. And they're going somewhere and you hand it to them and it's not a smart phone. It's just a dumb phone. It's just a phone that they can call you and they cannot access the internet, because the internet's a powerful thing. But computers... Did you know that 60% of parents say they do not have the time to monitor what their children view on the internet? You might as well hand your child a loaded gun.
I want to say something to moms and dads. Now listen to me. You cannot give your child an electronic instrument that you can't monitor. And if your children are smarter than you, that's a problem, you know. My 2-year-old grandson walks into the house and he jumps in my lap (Reed is his name) and he says, "Pappy, I want to play on your phone". And my grandson Reed is 2 1/2 years old. He gets on my phone and in a second, he's watching "Thomas the Train" on Netflix. He's brilliant. I mean, these little kids are brilliant. You have to stay up with that. I was talking with brent and stephanie, our son and daughter-in-law about this, and they said, "It is more challenging all the time to make sure that the internet does not corrupt your children". But we have to monitor their entertainment: social media, music videos, video games. So critical that we monitor children's video games and things like that.
There's never been a world like ours today where from outside, someone can come inside our home that we would never allow through the front door. But they do it through electronics. And so through phones, through social media, and all of that, you have to monitor that. You have to become educated on that and get the resources and tools to monitor your child's entertainment. It takes vigilance and it takes relationship with your children and knowing what they're up to. And, listen, don't let entertainment raise your children for you, you know. Because it's easy to let your kids sit there, our grandkids watch the video stuff like that, but that's not the basis of our parenting or grandparenting.
Number three is the friend gate. You have to monitor who their friends are. Their friends are their future. I Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be deceived. Bad company or evil company corrupts good habits". If you don't believe that a bad friend can corrupt your child, you're deceived. What are the beliefs of the parents of your children's friends? One of the neighbor boys in our neighborhood, his parents were not believers and we tried to bring him into our home and influence him in our home, and because of his home life, his family life, we would let brent play with him only in our home, ok?
So one day he came to me and he said, "My friend's dad wants to take us to the movies". And the friend's dad called me, and he called, and I said, "Well, what movie are you gonna take them to"? And he said, "Well, we're gonna have a great time. We'll be very careful. We're going to take them to this movie". That father took our son to an R-rated movie when he was 12 years old. That was their value system. And it so unbelievably violated me.
And so it was a good boy. We liked the boy, and we felt safe with him in our home to some degree. But as soon as his parents got control, they took brent to see something we would have never allowed. And he came home and said, "Dad, I saw a bad movie, and I want you to know I saw a bad movie". So who are your children's friends and what do their parents believe? Do you have a relationship with the parents? Does the child have a smart phone? And is the child able then to corrupt your child through that smart phone? All those things are very important things to look at when you're looking at friends.
Number four is the attitude gate. Attitude is the seed bed of behavior. If you only discipline behavior, you're showing up late to the party. Because long before a child acts out, they have bad attitudes. When a child rolls their eyes at you, they get disciplined for that. When they talk back to you, they get disciplined for that. When you tell them to do something and they go...
Let me tell you something about parenting. Don't just punish, reward. Reward good attitudes. Reward good character. Say to your children, "Listen, if you get along with your sister, you get along with your brother, you keep your room clean, you do your homework, Friday night we're gonna go to the pizza, we're gonna go to the movie, we're gonna go ride go karts, we're gonna do this, we're gonna do that. We're gonna have a special night if you have a good week. So I'm not just going to punish you, I'm going to reward you. But let me say this, too. I will punish you as much for rolling your eyes at me as I will for, you know, hitting your sister. I'm not gonna wait until you act out. I'm watching your attitudes".
Listen, God disciplines attitudes, and God rewards attitudes. James 4 says this: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble". Those are attitudes. Pride is an attitude and humility is an attitude. Long before we act out, God says, "I just don't like your attitude. You're prideful, you're arrogant, you don't think you need me, you don't treat other people well, and I'm gonna resist you for that. I love you, but I'm gonna resist that. I'm not gonna bless that".
And then he comes and says, "You're a humble person. You're a loving person. You know, you know you need me. You're gracious with other people, and I'm gonna reward that". And we need to monitor the attitudes of our children and never, not being legalistic, always in a relational context, we must demand of our children that they have good attitudes, that they respect us, that they respect the family and the other members of the family. And it's a job. I mean, you know, children aren't perfect and we have to raise them up patiently. But attitudes is a big deal.
Number five is the education gate. Parents are responsible for educating their children... Number one, beyond the school, beyond anybody else, it's our responsibility. And that means you're involved in your children's education. You know where they're being educated, you know who's educating them, you're staying up with it. Now, I'm gonna have shown you have to watch the gates of your life, and I'm gonna have produced a responsible gatekeeper and you're gonna live the rest of your life safely from the power of the devil and every desire he has over you. Safety is our birthright. Aren't you thankful we have such a great daddy in heaven that he obsesses over our safety? But there's a responsibility that we have in this: to watch the gates of our life, to watch the gates of our home.