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Impress Them On Your Children

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from Words of Life Radio Program)

 

It is great to be together again as we look into the word of God.  The title for the lesson is, “Impress them on Your Children.” Our main text is from the book of Deuteronomy chapter six verses five through seven. Listen to the word of God:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all of your soul and all of your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them upon your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  This is the word of God.  May he add his blessing to the reading of his word. This sermon is a family sermon, it is for everyone.  Directed to parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, and to all Christians to impress upon our children and to all our extended families.  Even to our grown children who now have families of the need to remain faithful to the Lord.

Consider this question this morning. As parents, as grandparents, certainly as concerned Christians. Will they faithfully attend church services when they are older?   Our children and grandchildren, when they have to make their own choices regarding worship, formal worship of the Lord.

There have been many statistical studies and surveys. Of course, there are no guarantees regarding what our children, our grandchildren, our nephews and nieces but studies have shown that usually, when both parents regularly attend church services while the children are growing up, about 72 percent of the children are also faithful or about three out of four, are faithful to attend worship services, faithful to the Lord.  One way they show their faithfulness is thru worship to the Lord, when they make their own choices.  However, if dad only regularly attends while children are growing up, 55 percent of children are faithful to church services or two out of four. If mom only attends regularly while children are growing up, only about 15 percent of children are faithful to church services.  That is a very dramatic drop off. Why is that?  Well, I will leave that to your own speculations since there are probably a lot of reasons. Yet, if neither parent or step parent or guardian, attends church services, only six percent, six out of 100 children will regularly attend worship services. And that is the growing trend today.      So obviously, as parents and as grandparents, as adults setting a consistent, godly example and remind extended family of the importance of attending worship assemblies, it does matter. And it is evidence of our faithfulness to the Lord.  As adult Christians, we cannot, automatically pass our faith and obedience to our children or grandchildren regarding what we do or what we do not do, but we as Christians, as consistent Christians, have a significant impact and influence on our families.

In ancient Israel, in particular, pious Jews placed a great importance on worship of the God of Israel and, of course, our God, the God of all nations even certainly today.  As in Deuteronomy chapter six and verse five it says: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your strength.

That is then and today we need to love the Lord our God with all of our being, fully dedicated to the Lord.  And one of the most telling ways that we prove, that we verify, that we validate our love for God deeply is to worship him.  We should be worshipping him opening, publicly, persistently in formal worship assemblies.  Most professing believers in God would probably claim to love God.  However, if you and I who are physically able, why would we not desire to worship God regularly if we claim to love him?

Consider this parallel.  Most of us, would certainly claim to love, to be devoted to, our mom and dad.  However, do you think, reasonably, that a son or a daughter who rarely visits or talks or calls or spends time with their parents really loves them?  Where is the proof.  Worship is a major way that we show that we love God.

Our English word worship is wonderfully expressive of the act that it describes?  Worship means to attribute worth to someone or something. As Christians, when we genuinely worship our God in our spirits and in truth, we are giving our God supreme worth Yes, of course, we can offer God our supreme worth privately at home, but we also are exhorted and commanded in the form of a command in Scripture to worship our God publicly and with other Christians in public worship assemblies.  God knows that we need other Christians, other believers to strength us, to encourage us.

 

Consider Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 25 in the New Testament it says: Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.

So, to neglect Christian meetings is to give up the encouragement and the fortification that we get from other Christians. And God is certainly worthy of our adoration and our homage and our honor in assemblies together as we strengthen one another in the Lord.  We are also commanded. We are commanded to remember Jesus Christ in his death on the cross on our behalf as we meet around his table, the communion service. And the day is the second coming of Christ when we will worship him by sight.  So, we are practicing now by faith. As difficulties arise in our lives, we who are physically able, should realize that these are times, we should be even more faithful in our attendance needing to be uplifted, to hear his counsel when we listen to the word of God and apply it to our lives.

But my child doesn’t want to go to church services. And I don’t want to force him or her to go to worship services.  We should ask ourselves, then: Do we require our children to go to school?  Well, why?  Because it is important for them to learn, so then is it really important that our children learn about God at church services, learn to worship him, learn to meet around his table when they are Christians, when they learn to take of the Lord’s Supper, to hear these messages from the word of God.  Are these things important or are they not for our children to learn and to grow spiritually?  These are the kinds of thoughts that we should pass to our children.  They are the kinds of thoughts we should share with our grandchildren.

In Deuteronomy chapter six and verses six though seven it says: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.  Talk about it. Talk about them, that is the commandments, when you set at home and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you get up.  Meaning that we are to impress these principles and precepts these spiritual truths these spiritual realities on our children on our extended families.

Here In this context, the commandments that are recited in Deuteronomy chapters five and six, there are many commandments, particularly the 10 Commandments, which includes the first and foremost commandment in Deuteronomy chapter five and verse seven where the 10 Commandments are repeated and the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before me. And then the corresponding New Testament words of Jesus in Matthew chapter four and verse 10 that says, in part: Jesus stated: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.  Impress these commands on our children.

Especially as our children live under our roofs and have their feet under our tables, it is our responsibility not just physically and economically, but spiritually as Christians.  As we practice faithful attendance and with much prayer for our children and for our grandchildren. Generally, three out of four, will remain faithful when it is their choice to attend worship assemblies because it has penetrated their hearts and minds.  They have seen it from our good example. Then they will live out their obedience thru their faith., faith needs to be proven by obedience including attending worship assemblies.

For example, usually women love to shop for clothes. Usually men love sports.  Well, what is the proof that women love to shop for clothes and that men love sports? Action.  Activity in those areas, involvement regularly and persistently. What women who claims to loves to shop but never goes shopping, or what man who claims to love sports doesn’t participate or watch?  Where is the proof?  If we love the Lord, there is proof that certainly includes assembly worship. Jesus clearly stated in John chapter 14 and verse 15: If you love me, you will obey what I command.  In 1 John chapter five and verse three it says: This is love for God to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.  Worship assemblies should not be burdensome, should not be a chore, but, instead, should be a joy.  Perhaps this need to develop, to grow in our hearts and minds as we mature.

Worship as a verb is what you and I give, an offer to God, not primarily what I get out of it.  We offer our worship to him.  Our heartfelt worship to him.

Can we capture the same joy that we have shopping or for sports or for gardening or for fishing in our worship services of the Lord, can we model this kind of rejoicing in the Lord before our families?  Surely, we can as we mature in Christ Jesus. Someone has written that, quote: To our forefather’s faith was an experience. To our father’s faith was an inheritance. But to many faith has become a convenience. God forbid that to our children faith has become a nuisance, end of quote.

Proverbs chapter 22 and verse six says: Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.  These are wise statements in the book of Proverbs that are generally true if followed closely and consistently. Train means consistent tutelage, especially throughout the years that a child is in the household growing and learning and maturing not just physically but spiritually.  The way that he should go here is God’s way as a daily way of life, correction of ungodly habits is so also very important. If we give in, if we give up on a child, he or she is likely to cop out on the Lord.

Sunday is not sleep day.  It is the Lord’s day.  Junior Christians can become senior Christians by perseverance, beginning with godly parenting and mentoring.  The apostle Paul wrote to the younger man Timothy, 2 Timothy chapter one and verse five: I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice. And I am persuaded now lives in you also.  Timothy had to exercise his own faith, but his grandmother and his mother greatly impacted Timothy by their faith. And so, it can be for us as we model our faith before our children, before our grandchildren, our extended families, even friends.

2 Timothy chapter three and verse 14 and 15 says: But as you continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of because you know those from whom you learned it.   How from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  Timothy had Godly mentors that can have a tremendous influence in our lives and hearing and heeding Scripture over many years also has a great impact. In Timothy’s day, young Jew boys would begin to learn the scriptures at age 5, this can have a great impact as we teach the scriptures of the Bible to our young ones.  Even as they are very small and able to understand, even on their elementary level basic truths of God.  Faith and obedience in the Lord is not just a duty, but needs to be a devotion, dedicated to the ears and eyes and hearts around us can learn from us.

I remember many times years ago, when parents would drop off their children to Sunday school or church services and go home What kind of example are they giving that they think that only their kids need Sunday school.  Do we ever stop learning regarding the Bible?  Children and grandchildren know if church services are a drudgery to us as parents.  Which usually causes us as parent to later have to drag them to church services.  Worship and service to our Lord should be in awe of him and in love with our Lord, not a religion, not a ritual, but a relationship with the living God.  And it’s evident in our worship our it should be.

Years ago, I remember seeing and hearing a mother threatening and whipping her child in the church parking lot saying loudly:  You will go to church. You will behave.  Our persuasion to our children need not include persecution.  This mother probably did not impact and impress upon this child something about worship in assembly that was pleasant, it was not positive and probably counterproductive.  We need to make formal worship assemblies the high point of our Sundays as we love our children, as we love our grandchildren, our nephews and nieces. We should also teach them to love our Lord and to prove it by joyfully worshipping him and serving him with all of our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our strength and to impress this on our children and our extended families and friends.

 

David Johnson is minister of Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10