Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered DATE by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Root of Wisdom

(RealAudio Version available)

This morning I would like to speak with you about the Root of Wisdom. I want knowledge, wisdom and understanding in my life, and I believe that comes through Jesus Christ.

You know, times are changing in our world.. Righteousness is languishing. Evil is growing. How would those of you that are older like to grow up in today's modern fast-paced age? It's harder to rear youngsters after the fashion of Jesus. There are so many temptations that weren't there when I was a kid, that are there now. I admire all of the young people that are here today. I appreciate you being here in church trying to make something of your life, trying not to be like the world, trying to get ready for heaven. That's so special. Some of you have 4-5 children maybe, and others may not have any at all. But how many of the children coming into the doors of this church belong to you? They all do. That's the premise that I'd like to operate on this morning. Each of us is responsible before God for each child with whom we come in contact.

Kids are in trouble. A major incongruity of our age is that far too many so called Christian homes do not have prayer, do not have Bible study or bed time stories. They don't have Jesus. Their talk does not match their walk, and the kids see that. Kids desperately need direction in their life, and they get that from adults, usually. If they don't, where do they get it from? The Wall Street Journal says, "More and more kids today are looking outside the family for values and structure. That's a shame.

To acquire proper values, children must be taught. Their minds are like a fresh new hard drive in a computer. They have to be taught. Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Children are so easily influenced. A child is easily confused by the inconsistency of what the church teaches, what the their parents teach and what the school teaches. It's an incongruity, and such a child could easily question the validity of anything. Faith is shaken. Parents are in a great measure accountable for the souls of their children. You are responsible. You bring a child into this world, you're accountable for the soul of that child. Ellen G. White says, "Upon Fathers and Mothers devolves the responsibility of giving a Christian Education to the children intrusted to them."1 You need to do that. You have the responsibility of educating them in the way that they should go.

Two men were talking and the visitor said, "I don't believe in giving little children any religious instruction whatsoever. A child's mind should not be prejudiced but he should be permitted to choose for himself." After a while, the owner (Coleridge) invited the visitor to come out to see his garden. They went out to the garden. Only weeds were growing there. The visitor said: "This is not a garden, but only a weed patch" "Well, said the owner, I did not wish to infringe upon the liberty of the garden in any way, I was just giving the garden a chance to express itself and choose its own way." That's not Biblical, is it, with a child. Please turn to Proverbs 9:9,10. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. I'll tell you, I want knowledge, wisdom and understanding. And how do you get that? Through training in the fear of the Lord. Christian training, Christian instruction.

Children today need direction. They need a Christian Education. Many teens are becoming very materialistic. They listen to thousands of advertisements on television and are inundated. They go to the malls and they're very materialistic and very hard to motivate toward positive values: harder perhaps than any generation before them. If you notice where some hang out, it shocks you. If you observe what some teenagers on TV, it is very exasperating. Take note of what videos they rent. Look at the places and the group they are hanging around with. If time lasts, where are we headed? Zephaniah 1:14 say, The great day of the Lord is near near and coming quickly. I don';t think it's very long before Jesus comes, do you?

I see this great push for the Ten Commandments by all these protestant churches out here. They believe the Ten Commandments were nailed to the Cross. And I think, 'Something is gong on. It doesn't make sense. There is an ulterior motive. I don't know what that motivation is, but I suspect something. And we don't have much longer, probably until Jesus will come.

Where are your children getting their moral values? From their worldly peers? Hopefully not. They should be getting it from

Those are probably the major areas that people get religious instruction when they're young. All of these areas of influence must be the best they can be. All of them must agree. If Christ is upheld in your home and at Church but not at the school the attend, it's like saying: "Well, at least two of the three tomatoes I used in my salad were not rotten. That's pretty good." Actually, that's pretty bad. That's failure.

We are all responsible for these youth here today, even if they are not our own children. That is why we support a Christian education. Someone told me that until the Civil War, all of our schools were church schools in America. Public Schools are a relatively new innovation. Have you found the perfect school? There was a perfect school one time. Adam and Eve attended one. Christ was their teacher.

    Adam and Eve's school:

  1. . The Atmosphere was perfect. There were no swear words. As students they could look around the class and not see people one all tattooed up or using tobacco in the restrooms. No one dressed immodestly. There was no bad peer pressure. No drugs. Example is often the best teacher. Their example was perfect. And yet they failed. You can fail even in a good school. Don't blame the school. You should choose the best example for your children.
  2. . They had no Sabbath Problems. No games were scheduled on Sabbath hours. No scheduled baseball practice on Sabbath afternoon. By the way, an Adventist youth in a public school might have a lot of desire to enter the art contest only to find out that to win he must be there to display his work on the Sabbath hours. It is hard to say no to the parties that come on Friday night. The dancing is attractive. The Proms with their related problems will heavily entice even Adventist youth. If you can't provide a Christian education in your home them certainly choose a Christian school.
  3. . All Adam had to do to avoid temptation was to stay away from one forbidden tree. It was off limits. When your children are bussed to school they face big temptations. One mother told me that her son discovered that in the back of the bus some kids regularly hold their Satanic Group Meetings on the way home from school. And who knows what else they do? Secular schools divert the mind from the true aims of life.
  4. . Many schools require exercise classes. While there, your children are required to listen to some of the loudest rock music that you would never think of playing at home. Adam's only music was heavenly.
  5. . We have some of the finest Public Schools in the world. It is not that they are totally teaching wrong, and I'm not up here saying that. It's not that their education is substandard. The problem is that they are not allowed to teach Jesus. That's the problem. Many things are simply just not in harmony with God's Word. It is illegal for secular schools to teach from the Bible. They cannot present sin as an offence against God. Obedience to all God's commandments is not taught. Prayer is banned. Adam's teacher was God. In Adam's class God was front and center. That's the ideal.

    Ellen White says, "Efforts to educate our children and youth in the fear of the Lord without making a study of the Word prominent are sadly misdirected."2

  6. . Public Education, by law, contradicts the first sentence of the Bible. Evolution is presented as a fact. In Adam and Eve's classroom they were there in the fresh creation that had just come from the hand of God. They could see all around them the evidence of creation. The science books today in the worldly system make God a liar. How can a child believe in God under such circumstances? How can they believe in the Bible? Personally I cannot believe that Jesus Christ would come down to this world from Heaven to give His blood and give His life for noble beasts that evolved into higher life forms over millions of years. I just don't see how Jesus would do that.

In 1990 in Livonia, Michigan a second grader, Kelly, an 8 yr old at McKinley Elementary school, brought a home made video to school for show and tell time. Her teacher found out that it was a tape of her singing a Christian song at her church. The principal agreed with the teacher that this was not proper and she was not allowed to show her little song on tape. What is our government education system coming to? How can we avoid this happening to our children?

Fortunately there is a way to avoid most if not all of these problems and that is to send them to a school where Creation is taught. Where Christianity is not only taught but practiced by the teachers. Example is so high, and we must have schools where moral values and ethics are taught.

Paul Harvey said this: "It used to be argued that students in a church-related school were "Too Sheltered"; that they would emerge unable to deal with the problems of the "Real World....We have since learned that it is the public school student who is overly sheltered; he is denied an understanding of rightness and wrongness. It is he who graduates naked and vulnerable."3 Think about that.

Look at Proverbs 9:10. the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the root of wisdom. In the secular schools of this land by the time a youth reaches 8th grade seventy-seven percent of them have tried alcohol. One out of every five girls reported that someone had tried to force them into breaking the seventh commandment and one third of the time it happened right there at school!4

The root of education is God. One of the major objectives of our schools is to bring about the salvation of our young people. Another is to help them achieve growth in character towards Christlikeness. Another is to train our young people to witness by making them into fishers of men.

A Christian teacher is similar to an electrician: Both take a lot of live wires and make sure they are well grounded! A Christian teacher tries to connect your child with Jesus, the source of power. Coupled with your prayers and your volunteer efforts we can make our school even better than it is.

Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it. It says, "Train up." You see, to go down takes no training at all. Down is the direction we revert to when there is no training or when there is improper training. If you want your child to advance in an upward direction, then you will have to give them good training. Train up the child.

Who should do the training? Does this text say? The text implies whoever is reading is responsible for the training. YOU train a child. Not just your child but all the children. Any child. Any person. That is why we call our schools church schools and not parent schools. We both share in the burden. Both share the cost. When you give to our church budget, a large percentage of that money goes to help children in our school to have the opportunity of a Christian Education. When you do not give to the church budget, you withhold the help that some child needs.

Training or education is a big job. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has built up a large system of Christian Education. We have the largest protestant school system in the world. It is expensive. Our North American Division problem is illustrated something like this: Imagine....

Such a task would be impossible! But Seventh day Adventists are doing just that. (Hamilton County has 17 High Schools.) That would be like three Hamilton counties.

It takes a lot of dedication and considerable money, but this is what God wants us to do.

Hosea 4:6. My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. There is a lack of the true knowledge of Christ in America today that is absolutely leading this great country to destruction because Christ is not front and center. We must send our children to schools where Jesus is loved and Christ is upheld, and where the Bible is taught and lived, where each child is fully knowledgeable of God's moral values. Let us do our best to keep this precious wheat as tare free as is possible. Commit your children to Jesus. Weed your garden. Train it in the way that you want it best. Pray for them. Pray for our teachers.

We must do our best for the children in our church, in our Sabbath School, and in our home. What is best is Jesus.

An evangelist was once asked: "How many converts did you have last night?" "Two and a half." "You mean two adults and a child, right?" "No! Two Children and l adult. A child saved is saved for an entire life. An adult is saved just about half-way." Half the life is already squandered. Our children are worth the effort.

One of our leaders told me that less than 30% of Adventist students who attend Public Schools are ever baptized. However he said 75% of our Adventist kids who attend all 12 years are baptized into the church. I think we need to take our precious children and connect them with Jesus, and allow Jesus to lead them all the way to heaven. And He will. We need to leave them to God, and God will lead them into eternity.


1. Fundamentals of Christian Education by EG White, p.545.

2. Counsels to Teachers by EG White, p. 204.

3. "Signs of the Times," Sept. 1991, p. 6.

4. AP - Chattanooga News Times Free Press, 3-10-89

 Hymn of Praise: #20,  O Praise Ye the Lord
Scripture:  Proverbs 9:9-10
Hymn of Response: #653,  Lead Them, My God, to Thee


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