Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, June 24, 2011

    Question: How is the Word to be read and heard that it may become effective for salvation?
    Answer: That the Word may become effective for salvation we must attend to it with diligence, preparation, and prayer, receive it in faith and love, lay it up in our hearts and practice it in our lives.
    Scripture: Prov 8:34; 1 Pet 2:1, 2; 1 Tim 4:13; Heb 2:1, 3; 4:2; 2 Thess 2:10; Ps 119:11; James 1:21, 25.

    As we begin summer, Deb thought it would be good for me to take some classes. She informed me that I was already enrolled in a school that would be all men and the classes would be quite intensive for me. Here is the schedule I was given:

    Class 1  How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.

    Class 2  The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?

    Class 3  Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor--Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.

    Class 4  Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?

    Class 5  Loss of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Wife. Help Line Support and Support Groups.

    Class 6  Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming. Open Forum.

    Class 7  Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health. Graphics and Audio Tapes.

    Class 8  Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--Real Life Testimonials.

    Class 9  Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks? Driving Simulations.

    Class 10  Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Your Mother and Your Wife. Online Classes and role-playing.

    Class 11  How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion.  Relaxation Exercises and Breathing Techniques.

    Class 12  How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late. Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.

    By Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands

    Psalm 78:5-8
    5 He established a testimony in Jacob
    and appointed a law in Israel,
    which he commanded our fathers
    to teach to their children,
    6 that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
    and arise and tell them to their children,
    7 so that they should set their hope in God
    and not forget the works of God,
    but keep his commandments;
    8 and that they should not be like their fathers,
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
    a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
    whose spirit was not faithful to God.

    The Lord God of Heaven graciously provided His word (His “testimony” and “law”) as the foundational strategy and content for our parenting (v. 5). “He commanded our fathers to teach [it] to their children.” We see the same purpose in Deuteronomy 6.

    Why does God command His people teaching His word instead of some other methodology or subject for instructing the godly offspring He desires (Mal 2:15)? Why not video games? Why not public or private school? Why not applying the latest findings from psychology, sociology, education theory, or self-help? Why shouldn’t parents simply delegate this to the better prepared, better educated, better dressed, and better cultured?

    It seems God designs His word, and specifically parenting by His word, to accomplish several objectives:

    1. So that generations of families–not just individuals–might know His testimony and law (v. 6). God has a vision for our families to know and walk in his word from generation to generation. He has designed the family as the one institution for carrying that multi-generational ambition. The one consistent set of relationships that span the generations are the grandparent-parent-child-great grandchild kinships. We have Timothy as our example. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 1:5; 3:14).

    2. So that our children should set their hope in God (v. 7a). As Christian parents, “we have put our hope in the living God who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Tim 4:10). We “have no greater joy than to hear that our children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4). It is God’s word that is able to make our children wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures testify of Christ, and in them is eternal life. If the goal of our parenting conforms to God’s goal for our parenting, then we should use the word of God steadily and faithfully to encourage our children to set their hope in God. Schools teach our children to hope in education. Music and entertainment teach our children to hope in popularity and being “cool.” Self-help gurus teach them to hope in themselves. But we proclaim: Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God! That’s the mantra of biblical parenting and hope of every believing mother and father. So, we should teach the word of God in and as our parenting.

    3. So that our children would not forget the works of God (v. 7b). In Psalm 78:9-10, immediately following the great statement of God’s desire in verses 5-8, the word of God tells us that the Ephraimites “turned back” and “did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. They forgot His works and the wonders that He had shown them.” Forgetting God is the most dangerous thing about disobedience. What glorious works God has performed in creation and deliverance! It’s a stupendous thing that such a Reality could ever be forgotten! But we do forget. Our children forget. We retain trivial things (favorite jokes, shopping lists, etc.) while having foggy thoughts of God. Our forgetting is our sinful reverting to beastliness. But our remembering is our active toiling toward godliness. Remembering is work enabled and prompted by God’s grace through His word. If our children would remember God, which God commands and desires, then they must have the annals of His work and life engravened on their minds. Thus, we should parent by teaching them Holy Scripture so that they do not forget.

    4. So that our children would keep God’s commandments (v. 7c). The Bible maintains a strong connection between remembering and obeying (see, for example, Deut 8:11-20). We cannot obey what we habitually forget. It’s a truism in organizational psychology that “what gets measured is what gets done.” Measuring aids remembrance which prompts performance. Evangelicals get nervous whenever obedience enters spiritual discussion. But we shouldn’t. As naturally as we expect our children to obey us, we should expect and exhort them to obey God– not for righteousness sake, but for love’s sake. Three times the Lord tells His disciples, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15, 21, 23). Obedience is the blooming fruit of a loving root. Having taught our children to set their hope in God through faith in Christ, we dare not leave them little antinomians, disavowing any place for command, law, or obedience in following the Savior. We want them sanctified in the truth– His word is truth. We want them conformed by God’s grace through faith to the likeness of the Savior. Precisely because the Lord Jesus Christ is our holiness (Heb 10:14), we want them to pursue holiness through faith- and grace-motivated obedience (Heb 12:14).

    5. So that our children would not be stubborn and rebellious, but steadfast and faithful (v8). Oh to see our children walk in the truth and never turn to the left or right, never grow cold in heart, never be tempted by the siren songs of the world, or fall into the devil’s snare! We pray so. But we must also teach God’s word with this hope and vision of steadfastness and faithfulness. The exhortation of Heb 3:12-14 applies quite well to parenting. “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” Substitute “brothers” with “parents” or “one another” with “children” and we get marching orders for encouraging our children daily in the word of God.

    May the Lord make us faithful in teaching His word to the children He has entrusted to our care. His word does not return void. Let us trust it and use it with our children!


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