A Plea to Parents: Bring Your Children to Jesus – Part 2
Preached at Main Street Church on August 12th 2018
Aims of the sermon
- What I hope to convince you of
- God commands parents to lead their family in worship and diligently pass on the faith
- If you don’t lead your family in worship and diligently pass on the faith to your kids you are in violation of God’s will, and your children will most likely abandon the faith
- Desired outcome
- You lead your family in worship
- You examine your assumptions about what it means to pass the gospel on to your kids
“The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” -No other Gods; no idols
The gospel drives us to be distinct. Ephesians 4:17-24
Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law after Israel’s failure to enter the promised Land. They came out of a land of many Gods, and were going into a land of many gods, and they were to be distinct. The way they would be distinct was through faithfulness to the one true God. A God with No Rivals. “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
We are to be distinct, and to teach our children to be distinct, but we have in many ways started worshipping the gods of the land in which we live. Some of them are:
- The God of Academics (“I Just want my kid to get a good education”)
- The God of Consumerism (“I just want my kid to get a good job”)
- The God of Autonomy (“I just want my kid to do what makes them happy”)
The church has syncretized youth culture with Christian culture:
- Put off marriage as long as you can – long engagements
- A disdain for children or large families
- Modern American dating
- The priority of kids over the priority of marriage
The History of family worship in the Bible (explicit and implicit)
Abraham – Genesis 18:19 “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice,”
No ministries or others to turn to, he had to do this himself
Isaac said, “Where is the sacrifice?”
Moses – Deuteronomy 6:4-7 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one…”
Moses speaking to Israel here: Deuteronomy 4:9-11 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’”
Joshua – During the time that the OT was written people hardly ever gathered together for congregational worship. Don Whitney says this, “Even after the tabernacle and temple were built believers did not gather in large groups to worship God as often as is assumed. Only late in OT history and hundreds of years after Solomon built the temple did the local synagogues develop and people begin to worship God congregationally on a weekly basis.” Family Worship Pg. 19
Near the end of his life, after leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua said this to God’s people: “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the god’s of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Job – “Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” Job 1:5, and Job did this continually.
Job is described in verse 1 of Job as “Blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” And the only description of his blamelessness and uprightness is his righteousness towards his children.
The Nation of Israel – Psalm 78:4-7 (Written by Asaph) “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”
“He has established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments”
God commanded fathers among his people to tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord. When would they have done this? Fathers taught these praises to their children at home
Paul – Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Family worship in the Early Church
Acts 2:38-39 “‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’”
Acts 10:2; 11:14; 16:15, 31, 34; 18:8 – entire ‘households’ submitting to Christ
- There were no kids programs or youth groups.
Where things went wrong – history of government education
The Reformation (Printing Press, 1439, principle of Sola Scriptura)
- Martin Luther had a catechism for heads of households to teach their children
- Luther believed that the home must be the initial staging ground for the advance of the gospel; he taught that in each home, parents are priests, and it is their sworn duty before God to set the Gospel before the entire family. In a sermon on Marriage Martin Luther said: “The best thing in married life, for the sake of which everything ought to be suffered and done, is the fact that God gives children and commands us to bring them up to serve Him. To do this is the noblest and most precious work on earth, because nothing may be done which pleases God more than saving souls.” -Martin Luther, Sermon on Married Life, quoted in Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 1986), 239.
- Sola Scriptura – Literacy followed wherever Christianity went
- Sunday School founded in 1780 in England in “Scout Alley”
- Purpose was to teach poor children to read and basic education
- Religious instruction not part of it
- 1800-1920 Free public education (Horace Mann) (Established around 1870)
- Modeled after the Prussian format
- Rooted in secular humanism
- Opposed by American Christians for decades (fought against compulsory education)
- By 1900, two-thirds of high school children were educated at home or the Church
- 1920-1950 Progressive Education (John Dewey) (Evolution, Assembly Line, age and grade segregation.)
- Educationally, separating students into age or grade levels is an amazingly harmful practice in that it undercuts any number of non-linear learning opportunities and it breaks down the society of the school.
- Teachers in public schools should be applauded as they are front-line warriors.
- The key word is OUTSOURCED
- There is an expression: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ That is not a biblical notion. That’s not God’s design. But we have bought into the idea that others can raise our kids better than we can. “We have come to believe that parenting is a task best left to professionals.”
- The Church began modeling itself after cultural norms instead of Scripture
- We can’t escape culture; so every culture will have a different church and ministry expressions, but when the church looks more like its culture than the kingdom of God, we are no longer following Christ
How this has affected the church
- Family worship is virtually non-existent
- Our children abandon the church in droves
- Children’s and youth ministries are ineffective
**I am just presenting research findings, and we can work together to figure out what we ought to do**
Survey of 1000 people age 20-29 from coast to coast, men and women,
“Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children.” – Already Gone pg. 38
Mike Yaconelli, co-founder of youth specialties “The curtain must be pulled back. If we are to keep young people involved in the church and if we are to renew our congregations, we first must acknowledge that many of our current forms of youth ministry are destructive.”
Alvin Reid, chair of the Evangelism Dept. at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said in his book “Raising the Bar” “The largest rise of full-time youth ministers in history has been accompanies by the biggest decline in youth evangelism effectiveness.” Reid continues “For the past three decades, then, youth ministry has exploded across America, accompanied by a rise in the number of degrees in youth ministry granted by colleges and seminaries, an abundance of books and other resources, and a network of cottage industries devoted solely to youth ministry. Yet those same three decades have failed to produce a generation of young people who graduate from high school or leave youth groups ready to change the world for Christ.”
What we ought to do about it
Reclaim parental responsibility for passing on the faith
- Ephesians 4:11-12 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” -The job of the church is to equip the saints to do their jobs, not to do it for them.
- “Contrary to popular belief, the home, not the church, has been entrusted with the primary responsibility of teaching children the Bible.”
- Commit to leading our families in regular worship activities
- Family Worship Must be Born of Conviction
- Family Worship Begins with the Head of the Household
- Family Worship must be scheduled
- Family Worship must be Simple
- Family Worship must be natural (God sent them home with you; don’t fake it, be authentic)
- Family Worship must be mandatory (algebra)
- Family Worship must be participatory
- Take steps to be ‘salt & light’ in our community
- We are to be distinct. We are to be different.
- “If I teach my son to keep his eye on the ball but fail to teach him to keep his eyes on Christ, I have failed as a Father.” -V.B. FDF Pg. 20
- Learn from and support one another
- Come to the Parent’s Summit
I want my kids to grow up and choose religion for themselves
- First, there are few things more reflective of our godless culture than that statement. (The Lord our God, the Lord is ONE.)
- Second, that means “I don’t actually believe this is true.”
- Third, it is a cop out. It means I don’t want to do anything about it.
- What if that’s what we said about education? Morals?
I want it to be from their heart, not just memorization
- vii.Do you teach your kids their abc’s? do you teach them algebra?
I don’t know where to start
This is actually a valid problem, which is why we have our parents summit tonight, so we can work together towards passing the faith onto our kids.