The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 9

Christian Education at Home

Thank God for a good ministry with the brethren at Evangel and Tangkak B-P Churches, and with the full-time students and participants at the night lectures in the past week.

Let me share a little from what was delivered to the students.

I. Biblical Command to Educate the Christian Faith to Our Children At Home

As mentioned in last Sunday’s article, it is important for Christian parents to teach their children values from the Bible. The church can impart some Biblical values during Sunday school time, but this is just an hour or slightly more each week (only 1% of a child’s life). Parents who presumably spend more time with the children should shoulder the greater responsibility in sharing their Christian faith with their young ones.

Deut 6:7; 11:19 emphasize the role of parents in imparting God’s Word at home:

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

James Baldwin once observed “Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

Children learn from imitating their parents through observation of the parents’ values, thoughts and views, speech and behaviour. The importance of God and His Word in the family is seen in the amount of time the parents give to God in reading the Bible, praying, and talking about spiritual things. Children pick up the non-verbal expressions and/or attitudes that parents adopt in response to things related to the church and other believers.

II Parents are to Teach God’s Word to their Children

Too often we see parents preferring to do their own thing, leaving the children to their own devices, and sadly nowadays, the electronic ones. What the children need is for parents to spend time having family devotion and praying together concerning their needs. The newspapers have warned us of the stress that today’s children have to bear, with some resorting to suicide when they have no one to confide in.

What do parents teach their children?

God has entrusted parents with the overwhelming task of teaching our children about Him and about life. As prime educators, parents need to know the commandments of the Lord, and Christ’s teachings from the Bible. Parents are to adopt God’s Word as their own value system before they teach it to the children. Parents are to develop a lifestyle that constantly and consistently teaches God’s Word.

Deut 11:18 – “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.”

Deut 11:22 – “For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him.”

When do parents teach the children?

Parents are to talk to children

i. when you are at home and
ii. when you are on the road,
iii. when you are going to bed and
iiii. when you are getting up.

In every aspect of our life we are to look for ways to teach God’s Word to our children. How we behave on the way home from church is as crucial as how we act in church. How we act on the job is just as important as how we act in the Sunday school classroom. How we act in front of the TV when someone else wants to watch a different programme is being picked up by the young ones who are watching us.

Someone has said, “Children are natural mimics who act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.”

  1. We are to teach forgiveness, by forgiving.
  2. We are to teach kindness by being kind.
  3. We are to teach compassion by being compassionate.
  4. We are to teach honesty by being honest.
  5. We are to teach generosity by being generous.
  6. We are to teach tenderness by being tender.
  7. We are to teach God’s Word by illustrating it in our lives. In other words, we are to teach God’s Word by example.
  8. We have the only Bible that most people read especially our children and grandchildren. Our good examples mean a lot to them.
  9. We must teach our children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.

III What Are We to Teach Our Children?

1. First, we are to teach them the Word of God – the Bible.

  • There is no technology or new methodology that will substitute for the basic need of teaching God’s Word to our children one on one, day by day, in every way we live.
  • “The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.” (1Pet 1:24-25)
  • The beautiful thing about God’s Word is that it is authoritative and dependable. On the authority of the Bible we can say with confidence, “The Lord says . .

2. Teach them Christ.

History has shown us that it is easiest to lead a child from 5 to 10 years of age to a definite acceptance of Christ. That is the age span where they are most receptive.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)

We must teach and train our children in the way of Jesus Christ because John 14:6 says that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man can come to the Father but by Him. We must teach and train our children the way of Jesus Christ because He is the Savior of the world. We must teach and train our children about what the Word says about Jesus Christ; that He is the Son of God, God in human flesh, who was born in a virgin birth of a virgin woman, who performed many great miracles, who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead so that we might have everlasting life. We must train and teach our children to put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation, and for their daily needs.

A living Christian faith is taught in the home basically through relationships and conversations between the adults and children. Parents need to start early before the battle with the children starts. It is often referred to as the battle of wits, a civil war of values (as the children grow older), and this war rages on with both sides offering vastly different and incompatible world views. Oftentimes, the two sides are locked in bitter conflict that affects every level of society, resulting in a struggle for the hearts and minds.

James Dobson & Gary Bauer state in their book, Children at Risk, that the “struggle is for the hearts and minds of our children. The enemy’s main weapon is the government schools (in USA and Western countries) which have indoctrinated generations of children to believe in evolution, relativism, post-modernism, feminism, multiculturalism, socialism, mindless tolerance, sexual promiscuity, phony self-esteem, and indoctrinate children into accepting homosexuality as a normal alternate lifestyle. Schools have also lowered academic standards; teaching that God is irrelevant and that the philosophy of secular humanism holds the best hope for mankind.”

Studies show that by the time a child reaches the age of 13 he has developed the worldview and the relationship he will have with Christ throughout his life!

Deut 11:18 tells us that parents are teachers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…”When we are at home, on the road, going to bed, and getting up.”

God taught the Hebrews to make religion an integral part of life. The reason for their success when they followed His instructions was that religious education was life-oriented, not information-oriented. They use the context of daily life to teach their families about God.

May God help parents in our midst to teach the right things to our children from young before the world snatches them out of our hands through the smartphones and other devices, their peers, teachers, employers and many more.

May God grant us wisdom and strength to guide our children in the way that they should go. For parents who feel that they are unable to teach their children, God’s Word says, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalm 32:8)

Pastor Bob Phee

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