We're currently preaching a series of messages from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This passage lays out God's plan for passing the torch of faith from one generation to the next---IN A CULTURE THAT DOES NOT SHARE THAT FAITH!
That's so huge for Christian living in twenty-first-century America!
You know we live in a POST-CHRISTIAN culture, right?
A generation or so ago, the morals and values of our culture were somewhat aligned with what was taught in church. I'm NOT saying everyone was Christian---but our sense of what was considered "right" and "wrong" was somewhat reflective of the Judeo-Christian worldview.
Those day are gone.
Following Christ today. Believing and embracing the teachings of Scripture today--that is one-hundred-percent OUT OF SYNC with mainstream culture. As Christians, we just need to own that and say, "Okay, world, you can live however you chose. But I (and my home and brothers and sisters in Jesus) are going to live for Christ, period.
With all of that as background, our church has decided to scrap the traditional "kid's ministry model" of having a couple "programs" at our building per week. We are diving into FAMILY MINISTRY---exhorting and equipping parents to be the PRIMARY "disciplers" in their kids lives---which is exactly what Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is all about.
IF YOU ARE A SINGLE or an EMPTY NESTER (no kids at home) DO NOT blow this off!
DO THIS: When ever you read the words "parents (or mom/dad)... and "kids/children" -- replace it with YOU, and your circle of influence... If you do that, I think you'll receive a powerful message!
OK, LET'S GET INTO THE MEAT OF THIS...
In Deuteronomy, Israel has been wandering around in the wilderness for forty years! They are camped just east of the Jordan River, right on the verge of stepping into Canaan--to begin the conquest and settlement of the Promised Land.
Moses wrote Deuteronomy to REMIND Israel of all of the most important things they needed to keep front and center as they settled into their new homeland. ONE of those “SUPER IMPORTANT THINGS” was PASSING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD--on to each generation.
It’s awesome to share your faith with neighbors, friends, co-workers. We are called to do that, but the FIRST EVANGELISTIC PRIORITY for the Body of Christ is to raise their children in “the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4) In Deuteronomy 6:4-7, God lays out exactly HOW TO DO THIS.
Here’s what God called parents to do in Deuteronomy 6:4-7.
Verses 4-6: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts."
Everything begins with and depends upon--MOM & DAD loving God with their whole being! You can’t pass on to your kids what you don’t personally POSSESS. Our FIRST priority as Believers is to cultivate and nurture our PERSONAL commitment to and love for God!
Verse 7: "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
THIS IS MASSIVE!!!
Do you see what God is, & IS NOT saying here?
He is NOT saying, “Parents, you need to MAKE TIME in your already busy schedule to sit down and TEACH your kids about me.”
Nope… Not even close.
What HE IS SAYING is this:
“Make all of life your classroom. As you wake up, do breakfast, sit around the family room, drive in the car, get ready for bed, etc. weave ME into your conversations with your kids!”
This is why verses 4-6 are so important. If you don’t possess a personal, ever-growing relationship with God & His Word---the notion of discipling your kids in the general flow of life will feel awkward and contrived, but if your life already revolves 24/7 around your relationship with Him, then this will be a very natural extension of your walk with God. Life will present endless opportunities to weave Christ and His Word into conversations. Think about it---every week your child will experience times of fear, doubt, discouragement, joy, victory, defeat, and on and on.
Does God speak to those experiences in His Word?
God is simply instructing parents to INTEGRATE Him/His Word into our daily lives and routines, not in a religious, Bible-Thumper--kind of way, but genuinely.
In moments of fear--"You know, I live Joshua 1:9. 'Have I not commanded you,' declares the Lord, 'Be strong and courageous! Do not be discouraged. Do not be terrified! For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.'"
When you've been let down by someone and you're bummed out. "Dude, I'm so thankful for Jesus in times like this. His promise in Hebres 13:5 is awsome, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.'"
Thoughts... reminders... mini-testimonies like that sprinkled into spontaneous, every day conversations are MASSIVELY powerful and influential!
Deutueronomy 6:8-9 goes on to talk about how we engage with and witness to the world outside of the home, but verses 4-7 are the HEART of God’s plan for passing our faith onto the next generation.
So decide today to love the Lord with all of your being and allow His presence in your life to be part of all your routines and conversations and you'll be amazed how He will use that to reach your kids (and/or friends) for Christ!
80s Christian Metal Blessings,