The ninth paragraph in the JPBC membership covenant reads:
We will raise our children so that they will know how to live righteously and will be able to recognize God when he makes himself known to them personally.
This part of the covenant lays down a distinct challenge to Christian parents. We are the primary teachers and models before our children of what a Biblical lifestyle looks like. We are to raise our children in Christian homes and teach them diligently the things of God. This is a Biblical mandate. Consider the words of Moses to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
This theme continues in the New Testament, as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:4: "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Christian parents must place a priority on the discipleship of their children. We need to make sure that our children are present each Lord’s Day for Sunday School and Worship. We also need to cultivate the custom of regular family devotions in our homes when the Bible is read and family prayer is practiced.
As a church we make a commitment not just to the raising of our own children and grandchildren in the faith but also to all the youth in our congregation. Some will not come from Christian homes, and we will need to be spiritual parents to them. It is important that all our mature members be careful of the example we set before the children. Consider the words of Jesus in Mark 9:42: "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea." Do the younger ones in our church see our infrequent attendance and half-hearted participation in the ministry of the church? Or do they see our zeal for serving the Lord and loving the brotherhood of believers? We should always be mindful of the example we are setting. As the covenant states, our goal in setting a godly example is that these little ones will be drawn to saving faith in Jesus.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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