Today, we’re continuing in our message series called Biblical Parenting. In this series we’re looking to God’s Word for principles on how to raise our children for Him.
Today’s message is entitled “Teach God’s Word.” Our message series title is “Biblical Parenting” so not only our methods of teaching should come from the Bible, but also the content of our teaching as parents. There are all kinds of books you can read on parenting. Why is the Bible so important?
2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
The Bible is “breathed out by or inspired by God.” That means that the words of the Bible were given by God through His Spirit to human authors who wrote them down. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. What we learn about God from the Scripture could not be known any other way. As God’s revelation of Himself, the Bible is the authority for every believer and is to be studied and obeyed. All of scripture is useful in teaching reproof, correction and training in righteousness, just what we need in parenting children. It is the parent’s responsibility to teach their children God’s Word.
Proverbs 6:20-22 (ESV) My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
In this passage, we see that both the father and mother are to train their children in God’s Word. The truth and principles of Scripture will lead them throughout life. What is the role of the church in training children? While it is very important for both the parents and the children to be involved in church, the church simply supplements the parent’s teaching. The idea that an hour or two in Sunday school or youth group is all a child needs to grow in God is misguided.
So, it is vitally important that parents grow in their understanding of God’s Word so that they can both obey it in their own lives and teach it to their children. As a parent, one of the first resources you should acquire is a good study Bible. A study Bible has notes, cross references, articles, maps and a concordance to help you learn. Unfortunately most study Bibles on the market today are written from a cessationist point of view, which denies that God still works today as He did in the Bible. This renders the majority of your Bible of no use today except as a record of past events. If you’ve been around Life Church for awhile, you’ll know that the Bible clearly does not teach that view. The Bible teaches that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The God who worked miracles in the Bible still works miracles today for those who believe.
So, today, I want to tell you about the Fire Bible, a Spirit-filled study Bible from the Assemblies of God. The notes and articles in it clearly build your faith that God is still alive and working miracles in our world today. I’ve been using it for years and each member of our family has one of their own. The notes on each page will help you understand what God’s Word is saying and how it applies to your life. The articles are fabulous at explaining important biblical topics and answering questions. There are outlines for each book of the Bible. The Fire Bible is available in a multitude of translations, most popular are NIV and ESV. It is available in many different languages and is used by AG missionaries around the world.
I’m going to put this paperback sample on the Ministry Table for you to take a look at, but don’t take it home. You can purchase paperback, hardback and leather editions. The best prices and variety are at cbd.com, but it is also available at other places like amazon.com. There are youth and children’s editions also available for parents. I would strongly encourage everyone to purchase a Fire Bible for yourself and your children.
So, let’s look at Deuteronomy 6 to better understand how to teach our children God’s Word. As parent’s we must begin by …
Deuteronomy 6:1 (ESV) “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,
The background to the book of Deuteronomy is that Israel had been delivered from slavery in Egypt, but had spent the last 40 years wandering in the desert. Israel, led by Moses, not stood on the border of Canaan, the land promised to them by God. The book of Deuteronomy records Moses reminding Israel of God’s commandments before they enter the promised land. Moses, as the leader of Israel, was instructing the parents to be careful to obey God’s commands as they went in to it to conquer it. Notice that Moses was to teach the people and they were to do what they were taught. He goes on the teach them to …
Deuteronomy 6:2 (ESV) that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
The parents were to fear the Lord, along with their children and grandchildren. To fear the Lord was to keep His commands all through their lives. And the promise in this verse was that those who feared the Lord by keeping his commands would have a long life. To fear the Lord means to fear missing God’s blessing by disobedience. And disobedience does not just forfeit blessing, it brings open the disobedient curses. Moses goes on to emphasize God’s blessing for obedience.
Deuteronomy 6:3 (ESV) Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
In this verse, God adds two more promises of blessing for those parents who feared God and kept His commands. Notice that he says they should be careful to do them. Those who kept God’s commands should believe that it would go well for them, they would live in God’s blessings. Deuteronomy 28 lists the blessings for obedience followed by the curses for disobedience. God’s blessing meant that they would multiply greatly, fulfilling the creation mandate from Genesis 1 to be fruitful and multiply.
So, now let’s apply these principles to our families today. In order to train children in God’s ways, the parents must live according to God’s ways. Parents must spend daily time reading God’s Word and praying individually. Then you begin to teach your children. At first you read to them every day and pray with them. Once they are able to read, you listen to them read and pray with them daily.
As they get older, teach them to begin a daily quiet time of Bible reading and prayer. Have them keep a journal of date, time, Bible passage, prayer and what they learned. From time to time, have a discussion with them and review their journal. Oftentimes, the children will have questions that you can answer for them. Through this daily time, you are training your children to learn and keep God’s Word. This will only work if you are personally having a daily time with God. Teaching your children will only work if you teach both by word and example.
Deuteronomy 6:4 (ESV) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Moses taught Israel that there was only one true god. All other supposed gods are not gods at all, but simply idols. Believers are to worship God alone and to never worship idols in their lives. To worship God alone means to …
Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
As parents, you must love God not with 50%, 90% but 100% of all you are. You see, the point is that if you don’t give God 100%, what you don’t give to Him you give to an idol. We see throughout the OT, that when people tried to worship God and idols, God brought curses and judgements into their lives. If you hold anything back from God, your children will see your example and follow it. Whatever you hang onto in your life that is not of God must go in order to live in God’s blessing.
Deuteronomy 6:6 (ESV) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
Finally, the Word of God must not just be in your head, it must be written on your heart. What does it mean to have God’s Word on your heart? To have God’s Word in your head is to mentally understand what it is saying. For example, the ten commandments say that you shall not murder. Someone can understand that and choose never to physically murder another person. Yet God’s Word says in 1 John 3:15 that is you hate your brother or sister, you are guilty of murder. No one who has God’s commands on their hearts will hate their brother or sister.
God’s Word must first of all be understood in our heads and then be written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit where it can direct our thoughts, emotions and actions. This is all part of worshipping God alone as a parent.
Let’s move on to a second practical way to grow in worshipping God alone in your family. I would encourage you to have a least a weekly Bible study and prayer time with your whole family. This is a time where the parents lead the children in a Bible study that has a practical application in the children’s lives. It should be a time for the parents to ask children questions to make them think. And for the children to be able to ask the parent’s questions. It should have a time of prayer for the needs of the family, brought both by the parents and the children. Both parents and children should pray during the Bible study time. This type of family Bible study trains children and helps prepare them for other Bible study groups as they grow up.
Deuteronomy 6:7a (ESV) You shall teach them diligently to your children,
The thought of teach God’s Word diligently is to teach it repeatedly. Just as adults rarely learn a new concept by hearing it once, so children need to hear the principles and truths of God’s Word. Diligent teaching of God’s Word gets it first of all into the children’s heads and ultimately into their hearts. The goal is for the truth not just something my parents told me, but God’s Word to the child. An important aspect of teaching God’s Word is to …
Deuteronomy 6:7b (ESV) … and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
As parents, we should be talking about God’s Word whenever we’re with our children. What this means is that whatever a child or the parent is doing, you talk about how God’s Word applies to the situation. When something good happens, it’s an opportunity to pray and give thanks to God. When somebody is hurt, it’s an opportunity to pray for healing. When a child disobeys, it’s an opportunity to talk about repentance and forgiveness. When an important decision must be made, it’s an opportunity to seek God’s Word for guidance. Bring God’s Word into every conversation.
Deuteronomy 6:8-9 (ESV) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The Jews took these verses very literally and constructed little leather pouches containing pieces of Scripture that they put in these places. That’s not what God had in mind here. What He meant was that whatever you do with your hands should be guided by God’s Word. Wherever you look with your eyes should be guided by God’s Word. Your house should be a place where God and His Word is honored. Every aspect of your life should be honoring to God and your children should see it.
At the end of Deuteronomy 6 in verse 20-26, it gives instructions for the parent to answer a son’s question about the meaning of God’s commands. The answer was that God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt and brought them into the Promised land. Obeying the commands was essential for our own good, for God to continue to bless us as we walk in righteousness before him.
Today, we do not obey God’s commands to be saved. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ to forgive our sins. And those who are saved will willingly obey the Lord Jesus out of thankfulness. Knowing that obedience brings blessing and pleases the Lord. I believe that every believer of middle school age or older should go through a discipleship training that teaches the essential aspects of God’s Word. The discipleship curriculum that we are using as a church is called Thrive – A Handbook for Christian Growth. Many people in the church have gone through it in the past couple of years in groups. But actually, it is most effective one on one. If you have not taken the Thrive discipleship training, please sign up on your Connect Card. Once you’ve gone through it, if you have middle or high-school students, you can go through it with your children.
God’s Word is the standard by which we live our lives as believers. Therefore as parents, we must set the example in our families by keeping God’s commands and worshiping God alone. Don’t keep you faith a private matter, let your children see and participate with you. Train your children to have a daily time of Bible reading and prayer as you do. Have a family Bible study time, at least weekly.
Ask God to help you to talk about God’s Word to your children all the time. Ask for wisdom to see how the Bible applies to your children’s lives. As we learn to obey God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit, the blessings promised in God’s Word will come to our families.