19(Psalm 078,01-11) Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions
Let us hear what our God commands concerning our children in the New Covenant community called the church.
There are those who believe that children are members of the covenant community by virtue of being born into believing families. This is why Presbyterians and others in the Reformed community baptize their infants. We believe, on the other hand, that this is a misunderstanding of the nature of the New Covenant community. We believe that the New Covenant Community is created by the second birth not the first birth. Therefore the sign of the covenant, baptism, is given to those who are born of the Spirit into a spiritual family, not to those who are born of the flesh into a physical family.
John the Baptist commanded those who had already been circumcised into the Old Covenant community to be baptized as a sign of entering a new spiritual community of repentant people. We believe this is what Jesus continued and commanded. This is why Peter stood up on Pentecost and said to 3,000 circumcised Jews, "Repent and be baptized." Church is not something you can be born into according to the flesh. It is something you are born into by the Spirit. The evidence of this new birth is faith and repentance, and the sign placed upon it by the church in the name of God is baptism.
So how then do our children fit into the church community, if they are not members by virtue of their physical birth? The way I would put it is like this: the children of Christians are beloved wards of the church fellowship. They are kept by a spiritual guardianship awaiting the day of their awakening to faith in Christ. Their attachment to a Christian family at the natural level, obliges a community foster care at the spiritual level. Very special, clear, biblical, obligations bind us to our children not because they are covenant members before they have faith, but because God gives us a special mandate to lead them to faith.
Which sets the stage now for the mandate of that guardianship. What does God require of us? What is our calling as parents and as a community of Christians toward our children?
I. Duties of Every Christian Parent & Church (78:4-7)
A. 4a Reveal God’s Word to Our Children.
§ 4b Tell the praises of the Lord (His Will).
§ 4c Tell His principles of character (His Word).
§ 4c Tell What He has done (His way).
B. 5a-b Teaching God’s Word is a fundamental part of a Godly home life.
§ Deuteronomy 6:1-9.
§ Ephesians 6:4.
C. 6 Develop a habit that is repeated.
§ 7a the habit of trusting God’s Will.
§ 7b the habit of remembering God’s Word.
§ 7c the habit of choosing God’s Way.
II. Dangers of Neglecting Children’s Ministry (78:8-11)
A. Danger of repeating failures of the past.
§ 8a danger of developing a stubborn rebellion.
§ 8b danger of wasting a mind on immoral behavior.
§ 8c danger of unfaithful living.
B. Danger that children will not be equipped to be victorious (9-11).
§ We certainly want spiritual champions.
§ 9a the children may have all the right tools
§ 9b yet not know how to use them or know the power they possess.
C. Reason behind failures.
§ 10a not choosing God’s Way.
§ 10b not remembering God’s Word.
§ 11 Not trusting God’s Will.
III. We need a fundamental change in Children’s Ministry.
A. We must teach the principles behind the stories.
§ Don’t buy into Satan’s lie that they are not old enough to understand principles.
B. We must involve the children themselves in personal ministry.
§ VBS collection of school supplies.
§ Making birthday cards or get-well cards to send to the sick of our church.
§ Family service projects – help a needy family.
I close with another implication for our church. I believe that one implication of this calling is a new kind of partnership between church and parents. Parents are the primary agents of God in this calling. But no parent can do all this without the help of others.
§ Parents need help in keeping a God-centered vision of parenting alive.
§ Parents need a deep confidence in God.
§ Parents need motivation to persevere year in and year out.
§ Parents need encouragement when everything seems to go wrong.
§ Parents need relief from time to time from the strain of parenting.
§ Parents need help in teaching subjects and skills where they lack expertise and time.
§ Parents need community reinforcement of truth and moral standards.
§ Parents need solutions to tough problems raised by children.
§ Parents need camaraderie for the sharing of accumulated wisdom.
§ Parents need prayer because in the end God is the great Teacher.