*Christian Education Begins At Home*
Sonja Ely tells of watching her 5-year-old granddaughter, Christy, play with her dolls.
At one point, she “staged” a wedding.
First the little girl played the role of the bride’s mother who assigned specific duties, then suddenly became the bride with her “teddy bear” groom.
She picked him up and said to the “minister” presiding over the wedding, /“Now you can read us our rights”./
Without missing a beat, Christy became the Minister who said, /“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say may be held against you, you have the right to have an attorney present.
You may kiss the bride.”/
One thing for sure: She did not learn this in Sunday school.
Or at least I hope not!
God has entrusted us with the overwhelming task of teaching our children about Him and about life.
What does He want us to teach them?
How are we to go about it?
I call you to listen with me to God’s instructions to all of us who are parents and grandparents.
Listen to what God wants to say to us concerning how He wants us to teach our children and grandchildren.
Read *Deuteronomy 11:18-21*
/18 //“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine.
Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.
19 Teach them to your children.
Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors./
There are several key observations that we need to note.
**This is addressed to parents: not preachers**.*
It is God’s will that the primary Christian educators be parents.
For children who attend church regularly, only 1% of that child’s life is spent in Sunday school.
We can make a big difference but we cannot be the primary educators of your children.
It is not God’s plan that we should be the primary educators of your children.
*2. **We are to adopt God’s Word as our own value system before we teach it to our children**.
*Verse 18: “/C//ommit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine.”/
*3. **We are to develop a lifestyle that constantly and consistently teaches God’s Word**.*
Verse 19 /“//Teach them to your children.
Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
/ In other* *words,* *in every aspect of our life we are to look for ways to teach our children God’s Word.
James Baldwin once observed /“Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”/
If we say, /“Okay, let’s all gather around so I can teach you”/ and then we go about the rest of the family business as though it were a totally separate matter – totally unrelated – we have missed the message that God is seeking to communicate.
We are to constantly look for ways to model, illustrate and promote God’s Word – namely the 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes.
We are to consistently treat our spouse, our parents and our children in ways that teach God’s Word.
We are to teach forgiveness, by forgiving.
We are to teach kindness by being kind.
We are to teach compassion by being compassionate.
We are to teach honesty by being honest.
We are to teach generosity by being generous.
We are to teach tenderness by being tender.
We are to teach God’s Word by illustrating it in our lives.
In other words, we are to teach God’s Word by example.
If someone secretly placed a camcorder in your home, would there be enough evidence to convince a stranger that you are a Christian?
Now that’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
We teach, not so much by what we say we believe as by what we do.
There is an old saying that is rather trite but none the less true.
We are the only Bible that most people read.
It really does matter what we do and what we don’t do while we are teaching our children and grandchildren by our examples.
**The fourth observation about this Scripture passage that needs to be noted is we are teachers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.*
*/“When we are at home…on the road … going to bed… and getting up.”/*
God taught the Hebrews to make religion an integral part of life.
The reason for their success when they followed his instructions was that religious education was *life-oriented*, not information-oriented.
They use the context of daily life to teach their families about God.
The key to teaching your children to love God is stated simply and clearly in our Scripture lesson.
If you want your children and grandchildren to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences.
You must teach your children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related.
How we behave on the way home from church is as crucial as how we act in church.
How we act on the job is just as important as how we act in Sunday
How we act in front of the TV is just as important as how we act in
front of our Bible study group.
How we act in front of the TV when someone else wants to watch a
different program – well, you get the picture.
Someone has said, /“Children are natural mimics who act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.”/
If we have the responsibility of teaching our children, what are we to teach them?
*I. **First, we are to teach them the Word of God – the Bible.*
We are now known as the age of information and instant communication.
How ironic that we have also become the age of ignorance regarding God’s Word.
We are one of the most illiterate generations when it comes to knowledge of God’s Word.
There is no technology or new methodology that will substitute for the basic need of teaching God’s Word to our children one on one, day by day, in every way we live.
We can not delegate this to a computer or a program or a Christian school or a public school or a Sunday school or anyone else.
We are to teach this and make it our highest priority.
We are to give our children a solution to their problems that cannot be gotten any other place in the world.
If we are not doing that, we are failing them.
The good news is we have something to say that is worth saying.
We have solutions to life’s deepest problems.
In fact, so significant is the message that we have to share with our children that it is not even our word.
It is God’s Word.
As the old prophet put it:
/“All men are like grass,/
/and all their glory is like the flowers /
/of the field;/
/the grass withers, and the flowers fall,/
/but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”
The beautiful thing about God’s Word is that it is authoritative and dependable.
On the authority of the Bible we can say with confidence, /“The Lord says…”/
Parents and teachers, don’t ever lower yourselves to giving your students and your children any other message no matter how popular or impressive it may be.
Please do not cheat them out of the Word of the Lord.
Don’t ever cheat your children out of the greatest message ever proclaimed.
I would say the same thing to you Sunday school teachers both children, teen and adult teachers.
Let the foundation of your message be the Word of the Lord.
Immerse yourself in His Word.
Let it be the primary thing you are giving your students.
They can get the other during the week.
We cannot give anything else other than the Word of God.
No one knew the significance of this more than the first century Christians.