family-Parents_02

Certainly, Christian parents would agree about the difficulties of teaching children. However, this will be the most important aspect of the Great Commission as parents. Children will be the parents’ most important students. Therefore, when one’s children freely choose God, it makes the time and effort eternally worthwhile.

Psalm 78:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

so that they should set their confidence in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;

What must parents do to teach their children effectively? First, set aside time for a family Bible study. This means that at least one day a week, the family gets together, husband and wife,[1] with children for a one-hour family Bible study. Second, be consistent, so the children know that the parents are not indecisive in their commitment to the family study. Children today have numerous time wasters: friends, cell phones, internet, television, video games, and so on. The parents must help their children realize early on the family study and its relationship with God has the greatest priority. Do not allow any distractions at the family study, such as a cell phone. All technology and friends must be set aside for a half hour before, during and a half hour after the family study.

Parents should make the family Bible study as enjoyable as possible. The half-hour before can be a time to sit, eat snacks, and find out how each person’s week went. The half-hour after the study can be for idle chatter. This must be a comfortable, stress-free time for learning. It should not be some formal, rigid study that the children dread. This can be achieved by having this night also include a special meal, such as ordering pizza or going out to eat after the study, even occasionally taking in a movie after the evening meal.

What should be studied at the family study? It could be a book, which the family studies together. It also could be the family preparing for a regular church service that they attend, which will instill in the children the need to be prepared for church. However, design this time so that the children have a very active role in the study, not simply reading to them. Ask the children questions, giving them an opportunity to talk about the Bible in their own words. This will enable the children to feel comfortable discussing God’s Word outside of the church.

The study should cover issues that benefit the spiritual growth of the children. Set aside fifteen minutes of each study to cover Bible topics that deal with being a teenager. This would include discussions such as peer pressure, bullying, dating, drugs, loneliness, gossip, self-control, and so on. Covering these help youngsters see the Bible has practical answers, helping anyone walk with God even in this modern world. This will embed biblical principles in the hearts of children so deeply that it will be their guide when parents are not near them. The only barrier is creating this free time, so one’s children feel comfortable opening up to Dad and Mom. They must know their openness is rewarded with love, and that they can talk about anything on their young mind, without repercussions of shocked expressions, startled response, or raised voices. They must feel their parents’ love, knowing their parents have a deep interested in them, and Dad and Mom will be with them and support them through everything they encounter.

It may be that a family has children of different ages, such as one that is six and another who is fifteen. This must be considered because they would not be on the same level as far as their individual knowledge. Perhaps the family study, in this case as, would be set up so all can understand, with the teenager playing a role to help the young one get the points being made. Then, at the end, one parent gives the teenager special attention, while the other parent helps the younger child. This should be alternated between parents, so both parents are drawing close to both children spiritually.

Parents must not have unrealistic expectations as there will be times the children will have a low-interest level. They are like adults and as pressures in the world weigh them down as well, they may be moody at times, or uninterested, as well. We must pay attention to the length of such periods, and the depth of them. Moods will appear occasionally, but if a child is moody or uninterested for a couple of weeks straight; then, more is going on than a momentary feeling of unhappiness. If it is a teenage girl, the mother may take her out on another occasion to see if she can get her daughter to confide in her. If it is a teenage boy, the father may do the same.

The father must take seriously his role as the head of the family. If the mother is a single parent, then she is responsible for the children’s spiritual growth. Regardless, the challenge of teaching the children belongs to parents, and they must take it seriously. Children, depending on their age, are accountable to God and contribute toward their parent’s role in the family study by participating fully. Each person has been given the special gift of life, and the hope of eternal life, for which we must be grateful to the heavenly Father.

Prayer for Spiritual Power

Ephesians 3:14-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

3:14. Repeating the opening phrase, Paul resumes his original prayer which he started in verse 1. The kneeling posture (compare Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Rom. 11:4; 14:11; Phil. 2:10) represents humility and reverent worship in contrast to the common practice of standing to pray (Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).

3:15. Prayer is directed to the Father. This Father is the Father of all fathers, for every family in heaven and on earth derives its existence and its family name from the Father. Certainly such a powerful, creative Father can hear and answer the prayers about to be uttered.

3:16. The prayer has four requests which build on each other, or which flow out of each other. The first request is for inner spiritual strength. This is not the “when the going gets tough the tough get going” kind of power. This is not self-discipline or the power of positive thinking. This is not mental renewing, or self-talk, or getting a grip on yourself, or turning over a new leaf. This is a fundamental work of God from his Spirit to our spirit.

3:17. This leads to the second request, deep faith. This is not salvation. Paul was writing to Christians, and Christ takes up residence in our heart when we accept him (John 14:23). This is more than resident faith that comes with salvation. This is Christ’s being at home in one’s heart.

In the little booklet My Heart Christ’s Home, Robert Munger (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1954) pictures the Christian life as a house, through which Jesus goes from room to room. In the library, which is the mind, Jesus finds trash and all sorts of worthless things, which he proceeds to throw out and replace with his Word. In the dining room of appetite, he finds many sinful desires listed on a worldly menu. In the place of such things as prestige, materialism, and lust, he puts humility, meekness, love, and all other virtues for which believers are to hunger and thirst. He goes through the living room of fellowship, where he finds many worldly companions and activities, through the workshop where only toys are being made, into the closet, where hidden sins are kept, and so on through the entire house. Only when he had cleaned every room, closet, and corner of sin and foolishness could Christ settle down and be at home. To have Christ dwell in our hearts through faith means for him to be at home in every corner of our life, because we believe his promises and therefore become obedient to his word.

The third element is a prayer for abundant love that finds concrete expression in 19a. First Paul gives the qualities needed to be able to receive this prayer. Love must become the dominant quality of life, the roots of your existence, the foundation on which all else rests. Such love in your life comes from the divine love.

3:18. The strengthening of our inner man by the Spirit allows us to let Christ be at home in all the rooms of our heart. Letting Christ be at home in all the rooms of our heart enables us to know the vast dimensions of the love of Christ.

We need foundations for our experiences and relationships. We can’t handle life unless we are assured that God loves us and has accepted us, that we are dear to him, precious to him. When we know this, then we know who we are. Then we have a sense of well-being. Love gives us that. This sense of identity and being loved gives us the ability to relate to others, so we can comprehend with all the saints the magnitude of the love of God. Knowing God’s love is not an individual accomplishment. It occurs only in the loving context of the church and involves the whole church, not isolated individuals.

3:19. Paul’s request then is that the church and each of its members know in a personal, emotional way, as well as an intellectual one, this love of Christ. We measure this love only with cosmic dimensions and understand it only by seeing it expressed at its deepest, most intimate level in the cross. Praying that we can know it, we ultimately confess that it is beyond our full comprehension.

The final request is a prayer for God’s fullness. The inner strength of the Holy Spirit, which is a gift which God gives to those who pray for it, leads to the indwelling of Christ, which leads to abundant love, which leads to God’s fullness in us. That is to be satisfied with God. We all want to be filled up to the fullness of God. The only way it will happen is if we pursue him. If we pray for him to strengthen us with power by his spirit by the inner man, Christ will be at home in each room of our heart. If Christ occupies our heart, we will have a confidence and security in his love for us. If we have such confidence and security, we are able to love others. This ability to know God’s love and thus love others, leads to the fullness of God in us. His presence, his power, his love, his life inhabit us. We participate fully in his kingdom on earth. That is Paul’s prayer for you.[2]

 0001 REVIEW QUESTION:

What must be done to effectively teach children?

Reasoning From The Scriptures: Using several Scriptures, effectively communicate why _________ is not biblical or is biblical. The director or assistant director will assign a subject.[3]

[1] If yours is a single parent family; then, the responsibility falls to the single parent.

[2] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 130–132.

[3] The Evangelism Program Director or Assistant Director will select the topic.