- Love and Liberty
"Are you prepared to meet your children in the judgment, if you have not reproved nor chastised them, nor watched over their morals?" ~ Charles Finney
Like John Wesley, who said, “I look upon all the world as my parish”, I feel compelled to help everyone I can by studying and teaching the Word of God. I feel an obligation to do so. It drives me. I must preach submission to Christ. I must move against error. I must write.
It all begins with the individuals in my household. How many claim to want to serve Christ in speaking his Word, yet look beyond the people in their own home, or the people with which they have close familial relations?
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Proverbs 13:24)
"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." (Provers 23:13-14)
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Proverbs 19:18)
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)
I am not responsible for everyone and every household in the world, but I am responsible for my own household as a husband and father. I must teach them - with the Word, by being an example of holiness, and with appropriate (non-abusive, not brutal) discipline. Children should be trained from infancy to obey. Not that infants and small children have developed reasoning capabilities to choose between right and wrong, but they must be trained to obey over appeasing the flesh. What a difference this would make in a person’s life if his or her parents committed themselves to the training of their children in this way, preparing them to choose obedience to God over gratifying the flesh. Yet it is often the other way around. Parents teach their children to serve the flesh by what they say, what they do, and what they allow their children to do. This is yet another reason why it is vitally important for the wife and mother to submit to Christ, and to obey the Word by being a keeper at home. As seen above, children are to be trained by their parents "when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." The command to be a keeper at home is ignored by even many professing Christians, but the Word says when this is not followed, the Word of God is blasphemed. When parents turn their children over to be trained by child care workers, unholy family members, the State, etc., they are setting their children up for failure, and ignoring God’s commands. Some parents may say they didn’t follow that command from God and things didn’t turn out so bad. It didn’t turn out bad according to whose standards? The world’s? Or God’s? In a day when merely claiming to be a Christian is “good enough”, we see why so many are satisfied with a disobedient Christianity, which is not Christianity at all. Then they wonder why the world claimed their children.
A man can seek many accomplishments in life, but the only one that matters is having a Christ-ruled home. Obedience to Christ must be the standard in a man’s home, with no exceptions and no excuses. He must not allow things in his home that promote selfishness and ungodliness. He must discipline himself to be a holy husband and father. He must teach his wife and his children to be holy. A woman can seek many accomplishments in life, but the only thing that matters is having a Christ-ruled home. She must submit to the Word of God in every area of her life, for failing to do so will not only harm her, it will harm her children who learn from her disobedience. The father and mother together are responsible for teaching, correcting, and leading their children. Children have free will, so they may make a sinful decision while being dependent on their parents in their home, or after they leave the home, but in either case, when someone in the family is sinning, the parents are to seek to turn them to Christ with urgency.
The reverential fear of God is missing in the lives of seemingly most people today. Many preachers, in a sick twist, are more afraid of preaching the necessity of obedience, works of obedience toward Christ without which a person does not have saving faith, than they are of preaching against sinning. As James said, “ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”, and as Paul said, only a faith which worketh by love amounts to anything. We are not saved by the works of the Mosaic Law, nor “good works” of perceived self-merit, but works of obedience toward Christ are essential for salvation. We are not saved by a "faith" that lacks obedience (Go here to see this explained further). The beginning of salvation is not saying a prayer merely because someone doesn’t want to be thrown into the lake of fire. It is coming to an end of oneself, being broken over one’s sin because he has sinned against God and others, and turning to the Lord to follow him because it is good and right.
If one of my children were to fall into sin, I must not allow him to remain comfortable in his sinning. I cannot be so worried about his feelings toward me that I refuse to rebuke him and call him to repentance. I must not allow selfishness to cause me to fellowship with him as if all is well. If he is in sin, all is not well. He is in danger of eternal death. How can I put a false temporary peace before his eternal well-being? We may not always know the right words to say, and we can seek counsel, but we must rebuke him or her and call for submission to Christ. Imagine standing before the Lord and seeing your children condemned to the lake of fire and it coming to your mind that you were more worried about being on friendly terms with them than you were chastising them for their wickedness. If one of my children were to fall into sin, I would love him in the sense that I would be charitable and compassionate, but I would not act as if we have reason to fellowship together. I would lovingly rebuke him, day after day, and pray for God’s mighty influence in his heart. If he were to get upset at me and refuse to talk to me, then so be it.
We should know that the powers of darkness are going to move against Christ ruled homes in a way that make-believers will not experience. As Paul was buffeted by a messenger of Satan, so it will be with those today who are following Christ. As David Wilkerson has preached, Satan targets the minds of Christ’s true followers with lies, accusations, reminders of sins, evil thoughts, etc., in an effort to devour us. We must not allow these attacks against our mind to lead us into sin, no matter how strong and how persistent the attacks. We must not give up. Evil spirits wish to bring pain and misery into our minds, and into our homes. We must submit both to God so the devil will flee from us. But then we must know that he will return. The powers of darkness may leave for a season, but they will be back, using against us what they can. We must prepare ourselves and our children for spiritual warfare.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
Warn those in your home of the deceitfulness of sin and the wickedness of sin. Also warn them of the dangers we face as followers of Christ and never, ever give place to the devil to have his way in your home.
It is never too late to surrender all to Christ, even if our children no longer live in our homes. If we have not been what we should have been, we can start now, by admitting our sins and forsaking them, and we can go forward in the name of Christ. We must judge ourselves now by the Word of God. We must judge our children by the Word of God.
“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”