The little congregation where I attend worship services just celebrated 150 years of being established as a group of Christians who meet to worship Jesus. Pictures taken in the past of various activities were displayed. Two things struck me as I looked through these photos. First was the fact that the congregation had dwindled. Why is that? That question is answered by the second thing that struck me.
There are fewer children in the Sunday school and fewer young families who come to worship.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching“ (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Christians are a part of the family of God and need the love and support of fellow Christians. The end of time is nearing and the days grow evil, which is why we need to draw nearer to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Now isn’t the time to forsake fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters.
We live in a day and age when God isn’t honored. Even many Christians live by the rules of the world rather than rules of God. Today’s children are taught “me first” rather than God first, a trend that’s been going on for decades. The 1950’s gave us Beatniks, whose lifestyle was far from honoring God. Then came the Hippies of the 1960’s who proclaimed “If it feels good, do it” and cared nothing about the results of living a sin-filled life. Then came self-centered materialism, and it’s been continuing downhill to where we are today.
What does God’s word teach us?
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever“ (1 John 2:15-17).
When the love for material things is put above our love of God, life will become miserable. Many Christian parents fail to teach their children to be humble before the Lord and to put Him first. Television stars, rock stars, and movie stars are the poor examples that kids imitate. Have you listened to the words of rap songs or almost any song today? Is this what should be written on the hearts of our children, or should it be God’s word that’s written there. Christian families need to honor our Lord, and that requires parents who lead by example.
Christians should stand out in a crowd, not because of tight clothing, purple hair, tattoos, and multiple body piercings, but because of modest behavior as described in Scripture. Instead of loving the world and the things of the world, our love and loyalty should be for Jesus. Those moral standards must begin at home.
Many families today are made up of people who inhabit a house, but the family isn’t a unit. God isn’t the head of the family and divorce is common. One result of the breakdown of the family is selfishness. Children learn to get what they want by playing Dad and Mom against each other, especially if Dad and Mom aren’t married. Parental responsibility needs to come long before the child is created. Choose a spouse based who loves the Lord. Then, after marriage, have children and be Godly parents.
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge“ (Hebrews 13:4).
Make Godly choices for your life and keep Him first. If you put everything ahead of God, your children will learn to do the same. Do you allow school activities and sports teams to come ahead of attending youth groups and worship services? Football will not bring eternal life nor will it teach a child to be morally true to God. It does teach a child that Jesus is subordinate to the activities of the world.
How does God feel about family?
Adam and Eve were the first people. Adam was created and Eve was taken out of him. “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh“ (Genesis 2:23-24).
This was prophetic. Adam knew that he and Eve would be man and wife for life. He also knew they would have children who would also marry and start their own families. Marriage is to be a lifetime commitment. Sadly, the divorce rate in the Christian community is comparable to that among secular people. That’s not a statistic to be proud of.
When choosing a spouse, God needs to be in on the decision before marriage, but too many choices are made through lust of the flesh with no thought as to the spouse being a Godly choice. Satan attacks marriage because it’s ordained by God.
Once the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by getting Him to say that divorce is acceptable for any and all reasons.
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?“ (Matthew 19:4-5).
Marriage isn’t to be taken lightly. The self-centeredness of today has caused this God-ordained way to be mocked. Children can’t wait to “come of age,” leave home, and jump into the sin of the world. “Living together” is sin; so are one-night stands, but these are considered normal by the Satan-honoring world. When God isn’t honored, the lust of the flesh takes over; and we see the results in our society today. God’s will is that there is a father and mother in the household. The father gives an example of a Godly man and husband, and the mother is the example of a Godly woman and wife.
The Apostle Paul taught that marriage is symbolic of the way Christ loves His ekklēsia (that is the called out body of Christ).
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church“ (Ephesians 5:31-32).
Paul talks of the foundation of marriage. That foundation is Christ. God’s order of authority was shown in the Garden of Eden and continued through time. The husband is the head of the family, but is to submit to Christ; the wife needs to submit to his authority. This isn’t a green light for men to be self-centered tyrants or abusive; but if a man honors Christ, then he’s a man who can be respected. With Christ as his example, the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves His ekklēsia (translated church).
Jesus laid down His life for us. That’s true love. When a man takes on the role of husband and father, he needs to put aside immature, childish ways and take responsibility by respecting God, his wife, and his children.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body“ (Ephesians 5:22-23).
God’s ways are always the best ways.
Children also have responsibility. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother – which is the first commandment with promise – that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth“ (Ephesians 6:1-3).
If you were raised in a family where God is honored, then thank Him for that blessing. Quite often when a child leaves home they reject God and family and begin following the lust of the flesh. It isn’t “cool” to live for God in a world that lives for Satan. Sad to say that most young people who leave home for college fall deeply into sin.
Why is sin such an attraction?
The results of moral degeneracy are well known. Unwanted pregnancies lead to the murder of the baby, sexually transmitted disease is an epidemic, and young alcoholics and drug addicts are a problem everywhere. Are these the examples they learned at home? Before you reject the moral foundation of your father and mother, think about how God sees it.
“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death“ (Matthew 15:4).
Parents, you need to put God first and teach by setting a Godly example. Take your children to worship services and help them build their life on a Godly foundation.
Peter also saw the importance of younger people submitting to older people. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you“ (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Young people need to look to older people for guidance, but if a parent is not an example of Godly ways then what are the children learning to respect?
We all make mistakes. Mistakes help us to learn; and the older we get, the more mistakes we’ve had the opportunity to learn from. The question is, have we learned? Has our Christian walk become a closer walk with Jesus, or is the world still ruling? Do the video games you play, the movies you watch, and the music you listen to reflect the evil of the world or draw you and your family closer to Jesus?
If you’re a single parent, are you looking for a Godly spouse to be the Christian influence to strengthen you and lead the children to God? Or are you making the same mistakes which led to single parenthood?
Put God first and let Him lead you.
Society today has been greatly influenced by Satan, and the breakdown of the family unit has played a big part in moral decay. In times past, a family would sit around the dinner table and discuss their day. Parents would listen to the children talk about friends and school. Any problems could be dealt with, and parental advice was easy to give.
Then television got in the way. Instead of talking, we ate in front of the TV and we could only talk during commercials. Then, in order to get the second car, a TV for every bedroom, and a bigger house, both parents held jobs. This meant that instead of parents raising their children, the children went to a babysitter and pre-school.
School is a very bad influence on children – teaching the lie of evolution, acceptance of deviant lifestyles, and withholding secrets from parents. No Christian child should be subjected to public education.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it“ (Proverbs 22:6).
Use the Bible as your guide instead of child psychologists or public school teachers. It’s your responsibility as a parent to teach your children to honor God. Maybe if the older generation had been a stronger influence for Christian values, the little congregation where I worship would be thriving instead of dwindling.
Christians are a part of a larger family. When we accept Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation, we are adopted into the family of God. We then need to honor our Father in Heaven by serving Him on Earth. God’s family is eternal.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God breathed.
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