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Home "Sunday Schooling"

The answer for the spiritual education of our children in the home church

Training children and young people in the ways of the Lord is very important for passing on the faith to the next generation and to their children who follow. Building-based churches have used Sunday school and youth groups for years in an attempt to train children and young people. However, in the last 50 years or so, each succeeding generation trained in the church Sunday school has become more Biblically illiterate than the previous generation to the point today where there is little difference in belief between those in the church and those in the world. The Sunday school has not succeeded because it is based on the world's public school method of teaching children rather than following our Creator's instruction manual.

In the house church we have the freedom to look at what God's design is for the spiritual education of the children and implement that, rather than feeling like we have to make our home church a small replica of the conventional Sunday school. Most building-based churches are not open to making radical changes in the Sunday school in order to follow the Bible better. Sunday school has become a "sacred cow" in most churches that cannot be touched, even though Sunday school is not instructed in the Bible.

While "Home 'Sunday Schooling'" is probably not the best name, because the spiritual education of the children occurs throughout the week and not just on Sunday. I use the term "home Sunday schooling" to help you quickly identify what it means. With home schooling, the results are often superior to conventional public schools and Christians schools. In the same way, "home Sunday schooling" has the potential to be superior to Sunday schools in training boys and girls to become men and women after God's heart. The conventional Sunday school has been patterned after the public school system of graded education that home school students have proved to be an inferior method of education. But more importantly, Sunday school is not based on any command or instruction in scripture.

The Black Crime of Interfering With the Bucket Brigade

Sunday Schools became popular because fathers were not training their children, and the children were Biblically illiterate. Instead of giving the fathers the tools and training that they needed to train their children, the Church took over the fathers' God given responsibility. At first Sunday school appeared to be the answer. Children learned more about the Bible. But as the years have passed, with each succeeding generation the Church as a whole has moved further away from the Bible, and become more like the world. We are now at a point where a survey from the Barna Research Group has found that the beliefs and practices among born again Christians are basically no different from non-Christians. We have come full circle with the Sunday school, and the children in the Sunday school are little different than those who do not attend Sunday school. The answer is not to reform the Sunday school which is based on the wrong method of spiritual education of children, but to return the responsibility of the spiritual education of the children to their father.

Splitting the responsibility of spiritual education of the children between the church and the father will not work in the long run. If men allow others to take some of the responsibility for spiritually training their children, they by their very nature tend to turn the whole responsibility over to others. This is evidenced by the way that most men in building based churches feel that their children's spiritual education is being accomplished because their children are in church and Sunday school. Most fathers have little spiritual interaction with their children. They seem to feel that the spiritual part of the education has been taken care of, and they are uncertain of what else to do. As I see it, this is the greatest downfall of the current Sunday school system. Fathers have turned their God-given responsibility for training their children in the ways of the Lord over to others.

Your home church is the ideal place to do away with the failed Sunday school system and to implement God's method of training Children in spiritual things. Sunday school is such an integral part of the conventional church that it is almost impossible for most people in a building based church to objectively see the error of the Sunday school system and make such a radical change.

The fathers need a heart's desire and willingness to do whatever it takes to feed their children from the Bible. Fathers need to be given tools, curriculum and training, so that they know what to teach and can feel confident to be able to accomplish their God given responsibility of spiritually training their own children. When the fathers are given the full responsibility for training their own children, then the father has no one else to blame for how his children turned out, and he gets the credit when they turn out well. When the father has the full responsibility for spiritually training his children, then it becomes more apparent which men are spiritually qualified to be spiritual leaders because they can be judged by the spiritual maturity of their children.

What God says about spiritual training of children

Genesis 18:17-19 "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

The father needs to tell his children what they are to do and command them that they are to keep the way of the Lord. The father is to be an example to his children. It is not merely telling about God's commands but also commanding the children to obey God. It should be the goal of every Christian father to be a man like Abraham, that God can say of him that his children and grandchildren follow him in keeping the way of the Lord.

Exodus 10:2 'And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD."

The father and grandfather need to be directly involved in the education process and tell what God has done in their lives. You need to give your testimony. The purpose is to tell and give proof that God is real and that He is Lord. It is important that you write down the things that God has done for you, as a family record of how God worked in your life. This type of record and heritage is much more valuable and interesting than genealogies.

Deuteronomy 4:9 "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;"

There is more than one reason to teach. It is also for the father's and grandfather's benefit. The ones who teach learn the most - the father and grandfather. The father is to teach, lest he forgets what God has done, and so it does not depart form his heart all his days. The result of the father and grandfather teaching their children and grandchildren is faithfulness all the days of their lives.

Today many fathers are silent and are not teaching the next generation, and are leaving the spiritual training to the church. The parents are falling away from the Lord like their children and grandchildren.

Teaching by the father is so crucial to spiritual education. When the father teaches, the whole family draws closer to the Lord. When parents and grandparents don't teach, all three generations start moving away from the Lord! By the father teaching both the children and the grandchildren, he spans two generations. By doing so, he will help keep the message from being lost in one generation.

The father needs to teach what he has seen of God's workings. Write down what God has done in your life and share it to your children and grandchildren. It is important to retain and pass on lessons from personal experiences and observations. You need to tell your children how you have seen the Lord work during your lifetime, so that your children will know that God is involved in their lives and not just a God up there in Heaven. We forget so easily. God has given us as fathers the responsibility to remember the things God has taught us. Many Christian young people today have not seen God working in their father's life. Consequently God is not real in their lives.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 "Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 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. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

The father is to teach Christ's commands at all times, and to teach with diligence. The teaching is to occur all day from getting up to going to bed. Teaching our children:

  • "When you sit in your house" - Home schooling, meal times, when you have Christian friends over, etc.
  • "When we walk by the way" - Driving in the car, shopping, hiking in the woods.
  • "When you lie down" - Evening devotions, bed time stories.
  • "When you rise up" - Good music, Bible reading at the breakfast table, singing at the table.

God tells us several things to do to bring to our minds His Word so that we can teach it at opportune times. The things He tells us to do are to memorize the Bible, and to put verses on our doors and doorways so that we see them every time we go through the door. Also our children will see them every time they go through the doorways as well. Matthew Henry says this: "We need to frequently repeat to our children God's Word, trying all ways of instilling them into their minds."

The father needs to keep close to the Lord and take his spiritual life seriously if he wants to teach his children to follow the Lord. To teach our children as God prescribes here we must be more than just a Sunday Christian. God's Word needs to come to our minds while we are going about our daily activities. In order for a father to teach his children, God's Word must be on his heart, not just a head knowledge of the Bible. God's Word must be part of his life in governing all of his life. (v.6) The father must learn obedience to God's commands so that his children and grandchildren will fear the Lord and keep God's commands. Children learn obedience and the fear of the Lord by seeing their father and grandfather following the commands, statutes, and judgments of the Lord. What the father teaches by his actions spans two generations - his children and grandchildren. By seeing it from this perspective, it gives greater significance to what the father does. What the father does not only affects him but his children and grandchildren as well. V.5-7 tell us that the degree to which we love God (With all our heart, all our soul, and all our might) is indicated by the degree to which we teach our children the Word of God.

God does not imply here that our children should be taught in Sunday School, or church, or in a Christian school, but that we as fathers are to teach our children God's Word.

Deuteronomy 11:19 "And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth."

Parents are to teach their children. Teaching one's children spiritual things is to occur throughout the day and during various activities - when you sit in your home, as you work and travel, teaching them the last thing before they go to bed at night and first thing in the morning. Have things that remind you of God's commands. Write them on the door jambs and on the doors and gates. Memorize the commands of God. Hide them in your heart. This passage is a repeat of Deut. 6:4-9 and is an illustration that we need to repeat, and repeat things to our children so that they remember.

We need to teach our children to obey all that Christ commanded so that the days of their lives will be long and happy. If we teach ourselves and our children as God prescribes here, our children will grow up to love the Lord and not turn away to serve other things such as money, self, and wild living. 3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law."

The spiritual secrets and insights that God reveals to us belong to us and our descendants forever. God implies that the father needs to teach his children and grandchildren the things that God reveals to him in the Bible. The benefit is that we and our descendants will follow all the commands of Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:46-47 "And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it."

The father needs to really want to follow God's commands so he can train his children. He must not merely to tell his children what God's commands are, but he must command his children to do all the words of God's law. The reason why a father needs to teach his children is "this is your life." You will prolong your days in the land. It is not a vain thing. It does matter what you teach their children. It is worth your time.

Joshua 4:6-7 "That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever."

A father needs a reminder of what the Lord has done or he tends forget to tell his children. Unless children are told, they do not know what the Lord has done for their parents in the past.

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

The only way a father can with certainty make this statement that Joshua made is if he has invested significant time in training his children to serve the Lord and has seen the results and commitments in their lives.

Psalm 44:1 "To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil. We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, [what] work thou didst in their days, in the times of old."

Fathers, tell your children how God worked in your life and what God has done for you. Hearing is an important part of spiritual education. Children need to hear their father say "this is what God did for me…"

Psalm 78:1 "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide [them] from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know [them, even] the children [which] should be born; [who] should arise and declare [them] to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: 8 And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God."

It is important that fathers teach their children and grandchildren what God has done. It's God's law for a father to teach his children God's commands. God tells us that the result is the children will set their hope in God, they will not forget the works of God, and they will keep His commandments. Children need to hear what God has done in the past so they can see the power of God and know God is real and so they keep His commands. To not tell the grandchildren and great grandchildren what God has done is the same thing as hiding it from them.

This passage gives a hope and a solution for those who did not have a good, Godly upbringing. They can still step up to the plate and teach their children and grandchildren to serve the Lord. We need to keep in focus the importance of training so that those yet to be born will serve the Lord.

Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:"

Children need to be taught by their father to appreciate wisdom and instruction. The father needs to do the instructing and to teach his children to hear what he tells them. Children need to be taught to listen to their father's teaching; it is not something that comes automatic to children. Children also need to be taught to remember their mother's laws.

Proverbs 2:1 "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."

Children need to listen to their father's instructions so that they learn wisdom. To get a true spiritual education a person must receive his father's words and remember them, they need to have a desire to get wisdom and a heart desire to get understanding, and they must cry out to God for knowledge and pray for understanding.

A father needs to train his children to look for knowledge and understanding as if they were preparing for a career or for making money. An ear that is inclined toward wisdom and a heart that is inclined toward understanding will listen to his father's instructions.

Proverbs 3:1 "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee."

It is essential that a father tell his children to keep his commandments and remember his laws. He must also tell his children the benefits of obedience. The reason why should be given along with commands. They need to be taught that keeping their parents' commands will give them more productivity, a longer life, and peace. In order for a child to obey from the heart, there must be a desire to please his father.

Proverbs 3:11-13 "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. 13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."

The word chastening used here does not mean to only punish but to also teach and instruct. A father who loves and delights in his child will not merely punish the child, he will discipline the child; that is, he will teach and instruct the child in the way he should go at the time of discipline. A father can punish his child and not love him, but a person who does not love his child will not discipline him. A father who does not discipline (punish and also teach and instruct) his child does not truly love his child or delight in him.

We need to teach our child to not reject discipline. We can do that by: 1) Admitting when we are wrong. 2) Accepting God's discipline on us, and showing our children how God disciplined us and taught us a lesson. 3) By training the child to receive a rebuke with a learner's heart.

Proverbs 4:1-27 "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. 14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. 20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."

A father is to instruct his children and teach his children sound doctrine. The bulk of instruction should be from the father, not from the church. He needs to give the children the reason why they should obey his commands -- "keep my commandments and live." It is important that the father tells his children over and over not to forget what he has taught them. It is mentioned five times in the first six verses. Fathers need to write down their spiritual instructions to their children. A father needs to tell his children to be attentive and listen to what he says. Children need to see their parents' words as highly important.

God says over and over, "My son," which means, "Builder of the family name." In particular, sons, the builders of the family name, need to be trained by their father in spiritual matters. When the sons are what they should be, the daughters will often follow. Boys need to be taught to lead and to treat their sisters with gentleness and courtesy. Girls need to be taught to follow.

Wisdom needs to be taught hand-in-hand with God's commands because wisdom is necessary for keeping God's commands. Children need to be told to get understanding, and why spiritual understanding is so necessary. A father also needs to command his children to stay away from wickedness and to not stay in a situation where evil is occurring. It is this kind of spiritual training that the father gives to his children that makes them physically healthy.

Proverbs 5:1 "My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and [that] thy lips may keep knowledge."

Again it says, "Be attentive to what I am saying." Children need to be taught to have a learner's heart.

Proverbs 6:20 "My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, [and] tie them about thy neck. 22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and [when] thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23 For the commandment [is] a lamp; and the law [is] light; and reproofs of instruction [are] the way of life:"

Proverbs 7:1 "My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:"

Pro 8:32 "Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death."

Proverbs 13:1 "A wise son [heareth] his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke."

It's the father's responsibility to give instruction and correction. It is his responsibility to help his children gain wisdom so they listen to his correction and instruction. A wise son is not perfect. He needs correction and instruction. He needs to be encouraged not to give up.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Proverbs 23:22 "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. 23 Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."

Parents, especially the father, are to teach their children. Even adult children need to listen intelligently to their parents. This verse also gives the implication that adult children are to obey their parents. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for "Father" is the very first word in the "Strong's Hebrew Dictionary".

Proverbs 29:15-17 "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (16) When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. (17) Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."

Wisdom is taught by the father to his children, by spanking them and then training them in the way they should go. No one outside the home can give a child wisdom like their father can.

Isaiah 38:19 "The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I [do] this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth."

The father needs to teach the children spiritual truths and show by example and witness what is God's truth. The father needs to help the builder of the family name, the son, see God's truth with his own eyes so that it is personal and he believes it. It is also important for a father to praise God for what He does so that his children know God's truth. When a father praises the Lord, he's teaching his children truth.

This command for the father to teach the children is repeated over and over in Scripture.

Joel 1:2 "Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? 3 Tell ye your children of it, and [let] your children [tell] their children, and their children another generation."

Grandparents need to continue to teach their children even after they grown up. We need to teach with results in mind so that it will be taught by our descendants for at least four generations. God has established a law that parents are to teach their children so that their children teach the next generation. Psalms 78:5-7 states "For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: 7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:" God commands that what he has done is to be handed from father to son through all generations.

It is the men who are responsible to teach the children. The father in particular, bears the main responsibility. He needs to be sure that he trains his children how to teach the next generation. It is also important for a father to tell his children to listen intelligently to what he is saying and to give their whole attention to it lest anything escapes them. Unless the father passes things on to the next generation and they pass things on to the next generation... things will be lost.

Malachi 4:6 "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

For an in-depth look at this passage read the article "How to Turn the Hearts of Fathers to Their Children"

Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

God commands fathers to train their children in the ways of the Lord.

Colossians 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord."

1Timothy 3:4 "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

1 Timothy 3:12 "Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."

2 Timothy 3:14 "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Titus 1:6 "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly."

This verse implies that the father is responsible for how his children turn out.

Hebrews 12:6-11 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."

A child who has been trained by discipline will have two characteristics: 1) A Godly, holy life. 2) The child will be peaceful - the household will be peaceful. The purpose of discipline is to train our children, not merely to punish. Verses 12 & 13 give the balancing principle for discipline. If a child is lame - he has a problem for which he does not know how to help himself or how to correct - and in a time of weakness he repeats the offense, we need to show him how to change and how to work at his problem. To only punish, without showing how to change, will only cause the problem to become worse and to cause bitterness and anger to set in.




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The Missing Key to Spiritual Maturity

In the fall of 2007, Willow Creek church released the results of their three million dollar research into the effectiveness of their church program and 30 other churches. They were shocked to find that they were not bringing people to spiritual maturity. What they thought would produce spiritual maturity was not. They believed that the more people participated in church programs the greater spiritual maturity it would produce. They found that the amount of involvement in church programs had no correlation with the depth of someone’s spiritual maturity. What makes this mistake so significant is that Willow Creek is a church that has 12,000 churches in their Willow Creek Association, and has taught thousands of pastors how to “do church” to produce church growth. To some degree, Willow Creek Church has influenced how most churches today “do church”. “And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)


What is the answer to helping people come to maturity in Christ? Take another look at the Great Commission. The answer is there. We have been focusing on the first part of the commission – evangelism – and have overlooked the second half thinking we know what it is saying. But look again at what Jesus says in giving us the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19) The missing key to spiritual maturity is teaching others Christ’s commands in the New Testament and teaching them to follow the commands. An excellent subject for Bible study is to take each of Christ’s commands and study them. There is a list of Christ’s commands on this website.



Discipleship, Spiritual Maturity, and Christ’s Commands

Jesus defines a disciple as one who follows His commands. A person who is spiritually mature is one who knows Christ’s teachings in the New Testament and who follows them with all his or her heart, soul, mind and strength. The following passages of Scripture over and over stress the importance of doing what Jesus says to do:

 


Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.


Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.


John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.


John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.


John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.


1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.


2 Corinthians 2:9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.


Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.


Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.


1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort [you] by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, [so] ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.


1 Timothy 6:14 That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:


Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.


Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;


See Also

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