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THE WITNESSING PARENT AND THE CHILD

Sunday 15th July, 2018 [Parents Day Celebration]

Bible readings
1 Samuel 1:21-28
2 Timothy 1:3-7
Matthew 18:1-6

Hymn of meditation: PH 620
For me and for my house, we’ll serve Jehovah,
We’ll praise Him for He saves and cares for us.
Jehovah is our Rock and sure foundation,
In Him our faith is rooted, steadfast, deep!
This world may seek salvation in vain treasures,
In worldly things and lustful pleasures all,
But we have found full life in God our Savior,
In Jesus Christ and in His Blood is life.

Matthew 18:5-6 (Amp. Bible)

Whoever receives and welcomes one child like this in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching], it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

These are the words of the Lord Jesus which implies simply that, whatever we do to the child, be it good or evil, we do to the Lord Himself. We do not want to hurt the Lord or put stumbling blocks between Himself and the children such that they are unable to come to the Him. Jesus made it clear also that heaven and earth shall pass away but His words shall never pass away; therefore, whatever He says and warns are true and we must take heed.

WHO THEN IS A CHILD?
Per the constitution of Ghana, anyone below the age of 18 is considered a child. A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child. This extends the definition of a child beyond biological relations. A child does not have to be of your own blood line to be your child. Do you have a child in your care as a parent? Are there some people who look up to you and holding and trusting that you are leading them in one way to follow the Lord? We have a huge responsibility for all children within our sphere of influence.

WHAT ARE THE QUALITIES OF CHILDHOOD?
There are varied things about children that we need to pay close attention to.

 Children, when very young between 1-5years:

  • do not desire authority
  • are free from malice
  • are teachable
  • are willingly dependent on their parents

These qualities give us hope as the Bible states “…discipline your child while there is hope…”. this stage between 1 – 5 is the period to impart the most training and formation. Remember how your child felt towards you when you came back from town; you are everything to him/her.

WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS THE CHILD
The responsibilities come in 3-fold

  1. Training:

Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Direct your child to God. Let him use his abilities and talents in service and even when he is old, he will never depart from it. Sow that seed into the child’s life.

  1. Setting right Examples:

Matthew 18:6a – “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching]…”
We have the responsibilities to set the right examples for the children to follow.

  1. Discipline:

Proverbs 29:17 – “Discipline [Correct] your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”
Children look forward to our discipline and correction.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRAIN UP THE CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO?
IT BEGINS WITH THE BIBLE:

2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

This scripture reveals that if your child would do right in life, the manual for training them up is the Bible. Do not leave the Bible out. If your child is going wayward, this is the way to go: The Word of God, sharper that any two-edged sword, sharper than any advice you can give. It all begins with the Bible.

How do you do it then?
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 – “You shall teach them diligently to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. 8 And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

You must dedicate yourself deliberately to make the Word of God abundant for them. Call the child and demand from them to quote the scriptures to you, discuss with them and teach them the lessons so they can walk in them. When the child steals or is quarrelsome etc, research on scriptures that talk about their behaviour and let them be convicted of those negative acts.

In my personal life, there are numerous scripture verses I did not read from the Bible directly for myself; my father spoke it out in the open at home daily so I got them from him as he spoke. You, as parent, can exercise this on your own child at home too.

Let them be interested in devotions, Bible study, Youth Camps, Scripture Union, Youth For Christ (YFC), etc.

This is not to suggest we only study Bible in life. Bible says in Luke 2:52 that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man.”

Give the child a balanced Christian life but training with the Word of God in righteousness should be paramount. Give them the opportunity to learn and search for God. Their relationship with God is what will bring you peace in the end. When they go wayward, they become rebellious and your own home will suffer the consequence. Schooling is important but training in righteousness is the most important thing.

THE SCRIPTURES MAKES WISE:
2 Timothy 3:15 – “And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Remember – Folly is bound up in the heart of a child – Proverbs 22:15a. This is because, the frontal Cortex of the brain is immature. The child may even cry when you rather take a knife from his hand and put it in a safe place. The part of the brain which helps in making concrete, executive decisions is the last to develop in every human being’s development. Hence, at the childhood stage, he will do folly every now and then. Patiently train him and lead him on the right path. It is the scriptures which makes wise: ‘inject him with that medicine (Scripture)’.

Training up children in the way they should go means, first and foremost, directing them to the Saviour: Even very young children understand that they are not perfect and can grasp at an early age, the need for forgiveness and salvation through Christ Jesus. Let the children come unto me… (Mark 10:14b). Teach them about heaven and hell.

Song interlude
The WORDLESS BOOK
My heart was full of sin
until the saviour came in.
His precious blood I know
has washed me white as snow.
And in God’s word I’m told
I’ll walk the streets of gold.
To grow in Christ each day,
I read my Bible and pray

THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING GOOD EXAMPLE
Remember this – children are like sponges. They continuously absorb their environmental surroundings as they are living in the day-to-day moments, watching new episodes unfold, and observing routine patterns. Even when you think they are not paying attention, they might be.

My Dad used to be very easily angered anytime we approached him for money until he read the scripture from Ecclesiastes 7:9 – “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools”. He responded to the scripture as soon as he read it and this affected us also.

THE PLACE FOR DISCIPLINE & CORRECTION
Proverbs 3:12 Amplified – “For those whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

Proverbs 29:15 – “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”

Mix Discipline with Love & Compassion – Even at a tender age, children are able to discern that discipline/correction is rooted in love. That is why children who grow up in homes without discipline often feel unloved.

Talk to the part of your child’s brain that you actually want to develop – to correct your child, activate the Frontal Cortex where high level thinking occurs, by stepping back and speaking. Yelling and screaming activates the Amygdala – Fight or Flight response.

Conclusion
It is crucial that we remain true witnesses to our Children. There are consequences if we do not. Jesus said:

But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble and sin [by leading him away from My teaching], it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

The Lord grant us all the GRACE to obey His Word to us.

Amen!

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