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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at a Banquet Honoring Mothers at
the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday, May 17, 2003

"I thank God…when I call to remembrance the unfeigned [sincere] faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded [I am sure] that in thee also" (II Timothy 1:3, 5).

The Apostle Paul thanked God for Timothy's faith. He also thanked God for the faith of Timothy's grandmother and for the faith of his mother. Timothy's grandmother was his mother's mother. His father was a Greek, but his grandmother and her daughter, Timothy's mother, were Jews. They were Jews who, like Paul, believed in Jesus and were saved.

We must not think that the faith Timothy had in Christ was conveyed, or passed on, from his grandmother, to his mother, and then to him. Faith in Christ does not come that way. The only thing that is passed on by blood is sin. Christians are not born "of blood…but of God" (John 1:13). What we learn here is that Timothy had been born again by the same faith in Christ that his grandmother and mother had. The influence that Timothy's grandmother and mother had on him was not by physical inheritance, but by their spiritual influence. There is no greater influence on a child than the influence of its mother. The Bible makes it clear that the main authority in a Christian home belongs to the father. So, a Christian father sets the rules by which a house is run. But the love, and patience, and example of a Christian mother can be the greatest influence in a child's spiritual life.

I. First, godly mothers in Bible times had great influence on their children.

Moses' mother saved her son from being killed as a baby and taught him about God. The mother of Moses was named Jochebed. When the Pharaoh of Egypt commanded that all male Hebrew babies should be drowned in the river, Jochebed "saw him that he was a goodly child, [and] she hid him three months" (Exodus 2:2). When she could no longer hide him, she made a little ark and put the baby in it, and let it float down the river toward the place where the daughter of Pharaoh came to wash herself. I think Jochebed knew that the only hope the child had lay in the possibility that the daughter of Pharaoh would save this beautiful baby boy. I think she prayed hard that God would intervene. And God answered her prayers, and the daughter of Pharaoh took the baby and "had compassion on him" (Exodus 2:6).

They had no "baby bottles" back then, so, by the providence of God, the daughter of Pharaoh had her servants look for a Hebrew woman to nurse the child, and they brought Jochebed to her. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me" (Exodus 2:9). Jochebed evidently took care of the child until he was grown, as Exodus 2:11 implies. Pharaoh's daughter named him "Moses," and she said, "Because I drew him out of the water." The Hebrew word "mashah" means "to draw out" (Scofield note on Exodus 2:10).

The Bible tells us,

"Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:21-22).

Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh. He learned all about the heathen religion of the Egyptian idolaters. Everyone thought that he was an Egyptian. But in his heart Moses knew that he was a Hebrew. In his heart Moses knew about God, because his real mother, Jochebed, told him about God when she was his nursemaid as a child.

Jochebed's influence on her son was greater than that of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Her influence on the heart of her son was greater than "all the wisdom of the Egyptians," which they taught him (Acts 7:22). Moses went on to become one of the greatest men of God in history. Even in the midst of all the pagan sin and sensuality of Egypt's court, Moses could not forget what he had learned from his mother. Moses was so influenced by her that all of the wealth, power and learning of Egypt could not stop him from following God.

In this wicked city, among these wicked people in Los Angeles, your influence on the heart of your child could well be greater than any device or man-made "wisdom" that your child hears from unbelievers. Let the mother of Moses be your example.

Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel. She prayed for a child, and God answered her and gave her a son. She named him Samuel, which means "asked of God." When he was about three years old, Hannah took him to the tabernacle, to learn from Eli the priest. She came to see Samuel once a year, and she prayed for him. Although Samuel lived in the midst of the wickedness of Eli's sons, he was not harmed by their influence - because the influence of his godly mother was greater than theirs. Samuel went on to become a great man of God.

Hannah's love of God, in the midst of harsh and unpleasant circumstances, influenced her son. Her prayers were answered, and her son became the greatest judge of Israel.

II. Second, godly mothers throughout history have had
great influence on their children.

Today, motherhood is often looked down on. In our society, women are told to have a career and not be burdened by motherhood. But President Theodore Roosevelt made this wise statement:

The good mother, the wise mother, is more important to the community than even the ablest person; her career is more worthy of honor and is more useful to the community than the career of any other person, no matter how successful.

Abraham Lincoln was our greatest President. His mother sat him on her knee and read the Bible to him. She taught him to memorize the Ten Commandments. Nancy Lincoln once said, "I would rather have Abe be able to read the Bible than to own a farm, if he can have only one." She died when Abe was only nine years old. Her last words were,

Abe, I'm going to leave you now, and I shall not return. I want you to be kind to your father and live as I have taught you. Love your heavenly Father and keep His commandments.

Later in life, when he was President, leading the nation through the horrors of the Civil War, Lincoln said, "All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." At another time, Lincoln said, "I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."

The mother of Dr. John R. Rice died when he was only five years old. Yet Dr. Rice said,

I could never tell the amazing influence of my mother on my own life, although she went to Heaven before I was six. When Mother lay dying, out in the country near Red River in Cooke County, Texas, and we were called in to see her and tell her good-by, she made each of us promise to meet her in Heaven…Mother lifted her thin hands, and there was a heavenly light on her face as she said, "I can see Jesus and my baby now!" Her hands fell across her breast, and she was gone. I knew she had gone to Heaven.

When Dr. Rice was twenty-four years old his aunt gave him a letter that had been written by his mother when he was only five. She named all her children in that letter but him. And then she said, "Let me tell you about my preacher boy." Dr. Rice asked his aunt if she was referring to him as "her preacher boy." She said, "She never called you anything else." Shortly after that Dr. Rice went into the ministry, and became one of the greatest defenders of Biblical Christianity in the twentieth century.

Oh, I wish we had more mothers like these - Jochebed, the mother of Moses; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the mother of our greatest President; Sallie Elizabeth Rice, the mother of Dr. John R. Rice. Will you be such a mother? Will you read the Bible to your children every day? Will you pray for them each night before you go to sleep? Will you make sure they are in church every Sunday with you? May God help you to do these needful things!

President Theodore Roosevelt said,

The woman's task is never easy - no task worth doing is easy - but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest call and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the very foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.

And one more thing. I have told you tonight about the mother of Moses, the mother of Samuel, the mother of Lincoln, and the mother of Dr. Rice. Notice that all four of these women only had their child with them for a short time. Moses had his mother only until he was perhaps a young teenager. Samuel only had his mother until he was about three, and after that saw her but once a year. President Lincoln only had his mother until he was nine years old. Dr. Rice only had his mother with him until he was five. What does this say to you? First, it says that the impressions you make on your child while very young are extremely important. Second, it should remind you that the time you may have to influence your child may be shorter than you think. That is a sobering thought, isn't it? The time to discipline, pray, read the Bible, and love is short at best. Our lives pass more quickly than we realize. Be the best mother you can for God now - "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). May God help you to do it.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon: II Timothy 1:3-5.



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"I thank God…when I call to remembrance the unfeigned [sincere] faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded [I am sure] that in thee also" (II Timothy 1:3, 5).

I.   Godly mothers in Bible times had great influence on their children,
Exodus 2:2, 6, 9-11; Acts 7:21-22.

II.  Godly mothers throughout history have had great influence on
their children, Ephesians 5:16.