One of our favorite persons in our home congregation is an outstanding young boy named Will. We have had the privilege of going to some of Will’s birthday parties, and he always goes out of his way to give us a big hug at church. Last week, Will’s parents asked if he could recite the books of the New Testament to me. Will is not yet old enough to participate in all the Lads to Leaders events, but there are a few events in which he can be involved. As a brief aside, I would like to encourage as many families as possible to be involved in Lads to Leaders. It is a tremendous program for numerous reasons. One of my favorite reasons for encouraging involvement in this wonderful program is the fact that families have the opportunity to grow together in the Lord.
So, on Sunday evening before our worship service, I met Will and his family in my office for Will to recite the books of the New Testament. Will did a flawless job singing the New Testament books. It was an honor to hear him sing. We were all so proud of him. By the way, Will’s little sister also sung the New Testament books, with just a little help from her Mom.
Later after the evening service Laura was talking to Will and said, “I heard you did something special tonight?” Will said, “Yes ma’am.” Here is the rest of their conversation:
Laura: “Did you say your ABC’s?”
Will: “No ma’am.”
Laura: “Did you count to 100?”
Laura: “Did you tell him all of the Thomas the Train characters?”
Will: “Nooooo! I did the Matthew, Mark Song.”
It is a tremendous blessing when parents teach their children the Word of God. When God’s people were entering the land of Promise He commanded them to teach their children. “These words which I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7).
We find the same type of instruction in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4). There are a couple of insights that we can draw from these two great Scriptures.
First, in both of these passages, the emphasis is placed on the fact that Fathers should teach the children. Somewhere along the way, both as a society and as a church, we altered this God-ordained plan. We now seem to place the emphasis on Mothers teaching the children. We are not saying here that Mothers should not teach the Word to their children, but certainly God had a reason for placing this life-changing responsibility on Dads!
The second thought from these passages is that God places a great importance on teaching content. The Deuteronomy text mentions, “statutes and commandments,” as well as “these Words.” While it is wonderful to teach our children to recite the names of the books of the Bible, it is more important that we teach them the lessons found in these marvelous books! In addition to this, it is crucial that we help our children learn about the God who authored these books.
In our worship hour this past Sunday morning, we studied Jude 1:20-21. In v. 20, Jude instructed our first brothers and sisters with these words, “building yourselves up in your most Holy faith.” The “most Holy faith,” refers the Gospel. This is the first approach that Jude gives to keeping ourselves in “the love of God” (Jude 1:21) . As you continue to grow in your own faith and as you instruct your children in the “most Holy Faith,” here are a few thoughts that might be of some help.
REVIEW the Content of the Gospel Message
We must grow in our knowledge of the Word of God (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 5:12-14). Peter’s thought is that we must have an intense desire for God’s Word. Every parent can understand this illustration of a child wanting milk. We all remember how our children would not quit crying until they got the milk they wanted. As children of God, we should have this same strong desire for the Word. How much time do you spend reading, meditating on, and studying the Word of God each week?
REHEARSE the Content of the Gospel Message
It isn’t enough to study the Bible if we do not put it into practice in our lives. The message of God’s Word should transform everything about us. This is a life-changing message. Dr. Luke wrote all about what Jesus taught and did (Acts 1:1). There are many who know the Scriptures, but they refuse to live them. The Apostle Paul stated in Phil. 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Some old-time preachers used to say; “You can have a head full of Scripture and heart full of sin at the same time.” It isn’t enough just to read and study Scripture; we must translate it into our life.
REJOICE in the Content of the Gospel Message Every Day
When God’s Word is studied and translated into life, it brings great joy. Jesus wants His people to be joyful. He said that He had come to bring us “abundant life” (John 10:10). Scripture teaches us to always rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4). When Christians live rejoicing lives, others will want to know more. Most people in our world live unfulfilled and unhappy lives. God has placed an eternal void in our hearts that can only be filled when we come to know Him (Eccles. 3:11) Many attempt to fill this void with the wrong kinds of relationships, substance abuse, and a number of other lost causes. Our world desperately needs to see how Jesus changes lives and brings joy to our hearts!
Thank God for parents who are teaching children the importance of reviewing the Gospel, rehearsing the Gospel, and rejoicing in the Gospel. There is no greater legacy that we can leave for future generations.
Dear Father, help us to teach our children the importance of the Gospel message. Help us to review the Gospel with them throughout their lives. Help us, dear Lord, to be certain that we put into practice what we learn. Help us to show our children and everyone around us the joy that comes when we live Gospel-centered lives. In the wonderful Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.