I am getting ready to speak at my son’s pre-k graduation tonight. I am very proud of him for all of his hard work over the past two years. He has learned so much. I am really excited about the number of Bible verses that he has learned and still remembers them. I want to challenge the parents tonight to continue what was begun in the classrooms. Many of these kids will head off to public school where they will not receive positive spiritual teaching and I want the parents to step up and fill in that gap. Many parents see the church as the place where their kids are to receive the majority of their spiritual training. From the Bible’s perspective, this is not true. They majority of a child’s spiritual teaching is to take place in the home. The job of the church is to come along side the parents and disciple them in such a way that they, in turn, disciple their own kids. We see this principle in both the Old and New Testaments. Moses was taught by God, he taught the people, and they were to teach their children the Scriptures, day and night. In the New Testament, I want to take a look at Timothy and his family.
I. Study the Bible with your children
In II Timothy 1:5 and 3:15, we discover that Timothy was taught the Scriptures from an early age by both his grandmother and mother. Timothy’s grandmother Lois had taught Timothy’s mother Eunice and now she is actively involved with teaching her grandson. This is a holy calling for a parent and a grandparent. The Bible tells us that we are blessed by God to be able to study the Scriptures with our children and our grandchildren. Lois experienced that blessing. Timothy’s father, on the other hand, did not see the value of investing in his son’s spiritual life. God saw that and sent Paul to Timothy to be a spiritual father to him. Moms, Dads, and grandparents, all of you are to be actively involved in the spiritual upbringing of the next generation. It is your holy calling and responsibility. Are you spending time with your children and grandchildren studying the Word of God, learning how to pray and how to walk with God moment by moment?
II. Be an example for your children to follow
It is not enough just to gain knowledge and information from the Scriptures, we also need to be an example for our kids to follow. We never want to be parents who say things like, “do as I say, not as I actually do”. Kids see hypocrisy faster than we adults do many times. As parents, we need to live out the principles of the Bible so that they kids will listen to the message because of our sincerity. Timothy saw sincere faith in his home from his mother and from his grandmother. He also witnessed this sincere faith in Paul. These people did not just teach him the Scriptures. They lived them out daily for him to see and follow. You children need to see your genuine relationship with God lived out at church, at home, at work, even during your recreation activities. This will have a great impact in their understanding of who God is and will create a desire in them to want to know Him the way that you do. Your own spiritual life must be a priority and the kids must see that each and every day.
III. The church is here to help
This is part of the reason why the church exists, to equip parents with the necessary tools to disciple their children. Over the past 14 years of being a pastor and missionary, I have met countless moms and dads who have learned the importance of discipling their children and their first response usually is, “we understand that we need to do this but we do not know how, we feel unequipped because no one has ever taught us how, step by step”. This is where the church leaders come in. In Ephesians 4:11-12, we discover the following truths about equipping people to disciple others:
- God equips leaders in His Word
- God sends those leaders out to equip others in the Word
- Once you are in the process of being equipped in the Word, you begin to equip others
- Parents need to be trained by leaders in the church, in the Word of God, so that they can teach their own children the Word of God
- The process repeats from one generation to the next
- The body of Christ grows numerically and spiritually at the same time
- When a person is being equipped, he begins to have a desire to serve the people around him
If you are a parent, how are you being equipped in the Scriptures to be able to disciple your kids? As a church leader, how are you coming along side young families and young parents in order to equip them in the Word so that they can disciple their own children? As a parent, is your spiritual life worthy of being emulated? Are you practicing what you preach? Is your faith sincere in every area of your life? As a grandparent, are you actively involved in the spiritual lives of your grandchildren, not just taking them to church but actually studying the Bible with them? May the Lord bless us to invest in our children and grandchildren to have a positive impact in the generations to come.