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2 Examples of Family Worship

2 Examples of Family Worship

2 Examples of Family Worship

2 Examples of Family Worship

2 Examples of Family Worship

An Example from Israel

The Biblical command for Christian education in the home was commanded by God.

Before there was a church building for training, there was family, and the parents were charged with the responsibility of teaching God’s commands to their children.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6: 4-9).

This was the generation of Israelites that witnessed amazing signs, miracles, and wonders. Many of the younger Israelites not only witnessed the supernatural signs, but were allowed to enter the Promised Land, as well. However, if we read a little further into the book of Judges, we see that when that generation was gone, so was anything godly.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress (Judges 2:8-15).

Wow, in just one generation the people had reverted back to paganism! Verse ten says that “they did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”

Even though the parents had known God and seen Him do miraculous deeds to save them, they failed to pass this information down to their children. They did not “teach them diligently” nor make God a priority in their homes.

God had told them to talk of His commands when they talk, sit, walk, or lie down. God’s word was supposed to be a guide ever before their eyes. Their homes were to be a place that His commands were emphasized and taught, but the parents did not obey.

But that’s ok they had the tabernacle right? This was the role of the priest right? No!

God knew what He was doing when He assigned the spiritual oversight of the children to the parents. It was their duty, and still is a parent’s duty to make God’s Word a priority in our homes.

If we neglect this command of God, it is easy to see what we can expect of our children.

All it takes is just one generation and a whole nation had turned to paganism! Can this happen again? Of course it can. This is why we must reclaim family worship and catechism. The home is where God should be taught daily.

As Ligon Duncan writes, “The family is God’s divinely appointed ‘small-group’ discipleship program. The family is the first place that God appointed for teaching and learning about God and godliness. Children are to be instructed, guided in the way of life, and disciplined both directively and correctively.”1 

He later writes:

“Children growing up with the daily experience of seeing their parents humbled in worship, focusing on spiritual things, submitting to the authority of the word, catechizing and otherwise instructing their children will not easily turn from Christ. Our children should grow up with the voices of their fathers pleading for their souls in prayer ringing in their ears, leading to their salvation, or else haunting them for the rest of their lives.”2 

A Good New Testament Example

Hopefully, we will be like the mother and grandmother of Timothy.

Paul told him “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).

What a beautiful example of a generational transfer of faith! Three generations of believers who loved God, obeyed God, and diligently passed the things of God onto the next generation.

Timothy had a mother and a grandmother who took his training seriously, and the result was an outstanding young man who served the Lord.

If our desire is to raise boys and girls into men and women of God we must realize that the training ground is in the home. May we not neglect God’s word and His command to teach it to our families.

References
1. James Montgomery Boice et al.,

Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship: Celebrating the Legacy of James Montgomery Boice (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003), 320.

2. Ibid., 335.

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The Need to Include Catechism During Family Worship

The Need to Include Catechism During Family Worship

The Need to Include Catechism During Family Worship

The Need to Include Catechism During Family Worship

A good catechism should be a foundational part of the family worship time.

The Need to Include Catechism During Family Worship

My wife and I began to teach the Children’s Catechism to our six and eight year olds earlier a few years ago. After six months of implementing it, it was clear it has been, and will be, one of the most important things we have ever done as parents. These children already know more doctrinal truth than I did as a young adult.

It is a beautiful and wonderful thing to teach my kids the catechism, and to see them learning and memorizing it. Sadly, I have never known anyone personally, who was steeped in a catechism from their early years, but I am very excited to think of the cumulative effect of continuing with the catechism with them daily.

The catechism points are so rich and concise that once put to memory, they seem to form a structure of truth that the learner will always have in his life. It’s almost like memorizing the main points to a systematic theology book.

As Terry Johnson says, “catechisms are rich reservoirs of theological, devotional, and practical content. . . Children nurtured on the catechism will be formidable theologians in an age of irrationalism and general mindlessness.”1

It is sad that parents expect their kids to know so much secular information, but they assume that biblical matters and doctrine are too lofty for them to learn about at a young age. For some strange reason, parents often think that a child can handle math, algebra, biology, chemistry, and etc…, but they seem to always be too young to for the deeper things of God. This is nonsense, and definitely not true.

Our kids memorized and learned over 50 questions of the Shorter Catechism in only 6 months. The actual time spent in catechism is only five to eight minutes, four to five days per week. But, what an impact those few minutes will have in their lives!

Continuing through the catechism helps us to move through biblical concepts without getting stuck on the same ones for too long or not getting to others at all.

One father, that I gave a copy of Sinclair’s family devotion book, Big Book of Questions and Answers, to told me that he mainly just told his kids about Moses and Noah before I gave him the book. This might be an extreme example, but I believe many well-meaning Christian parents are guilty of something very similar. Often, they know they should do something, but don’t know where to start. Then, once they start, they run out of material quickly because they were just relying on some of the lessons that they thought their kids would enjoy. However, this is not the case with a parent who is teaching through a catechism.

Teaching a catechism helps a parent to provide a nutrient-rich, well-balanced diet of biblical truth. It also takes all the stress out of wondering what to teach the children. The catechisms are already structured and well-planned. Much thought by some great men of God have gone into creating catechisms like the Shorter Catechism. So, instead of spending so much time on wondering what to teach a child, a parent can, with the ease of clicking print, begin catechizing their children.

Catechism, a key part of family worship

A catechism is extremely simple to teach, memorize, and review. Ask my kids what they learned in Sunday School last year, and sadly, they will have no clue. Ask them to repeat the catechism, and you’ll get an earful. It really works.

This method was used in the earliest centuries, lost, and revived in the 16th century by the Protestant Reformers. Luther, Calvin, and Bullinger all wrote catechisms. Later the Westminster Confession of Faith was written by the collection of the Westminster Divines and became the most common catechism. Even later, as Baptists realized the power of a catechism, they wrote their own London Baptist Confession of 1689.

All of this was done as a measure to instill doctrine into believers and it worked. Hopefully, we will once again realize that it has worked and still will work if we get back to it.

In 1928, the Presbyterian Church had 17,000 youth who had memorized the Shorter Catechism and had their names published in the Christian Observer.1

It has been done by hundreds of thousands of young people, and today’s child is no different. It is truly not whether a child can learn this type of information, but today it is more about whether a parent is willing to teach it.

References

1. Terry L. Johnson, The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions (Fearn, Ross-shire, Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1998), 11.

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