Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

This is an article I wrote for our church newsletter, so I thought I would share it with the 3 or 4 regular readers of this blog.

As Paul approaches the end of his 2nd letter to Timothy, he warns his young protégée about the conditions that will prevail in the latter days. 2 Timothy 3:1-7 contain well known words that have been the source for many sermons decrying the cultural disintegration of our times. As a contrast to all of this, Paul encourages Timothy to “Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15, ESV).

Among many other issues, this speaks to the rationale behind our church’s ministry to children. Why do we expend time, energy, and resources for Sunday School? For some, the answer is inadequate; “We have always had Sunday School. I’m sure there is something in the Bible that tells us we should do this.” What about VBS and KidVenture? Do we conduct these programs so that we can say that we have something for the children; something to entertain them and keep them busy?

I hope you would agree that our motivation in this area – as in everything else we do – should be rooted in Scripture. The Bible says that the “holy Scriptures” (KJV) is that which God uses to bring children to salvation. This implies several things:

The Scriptures should be taught to our children.
Paul reminds Timothy of what he had learned and from whom he learned it. This may refer either to his mother and grandmother, the instruction of Paul himself, or to both. We assume that children cannot learn Biblical truths, but this is a fallacy. Certainly, they learn at their own level, but they can and must learn.

Of course, this implies that they should be taught. This is where the role of the teacher enters the equation. It is a great responsibility and privilege to teach God’s Word to young people.

The Scriptures are God’s instrument to bring salvation to our children.
This is a very important truth. Note that the Bible says that it is the Word of God which makes one wise to salvation. It is not the Sunday School curricula, the Jr. church or VBS material, it is the Word. Insomuch as these are aids in communicating the Word, they have value, but they can never be a substitute for Scripture. None of our urgings, pleadings or invitings can replace the power of the Holy Spirit as He uses the Word of God.

The Scriptures make children wise to salvation.
We believe in sudden conversion. But, this passage seems to indicate that there is a process that leads to this conversion. In fact, some people cannot point to a definite time and place when they “gave their heart to Christ.” Timothy was reared in an atmosphere of Scripture, so much so that it is likely that he was saved at such a young age that there was no dramatic conversion story to tell.

It is not by accident that, in the next chapter, Paul instructs Timothy to “preach the Word.” If the sacred writings (the Bible) are God’s instrument to awaken one to salvation, why would we preach anything else? Those who are truly evangelistic and who have a genuine compassion for the souls of men (and children) will be diligent to teach the Word of God clearly and carefully.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

True, so true. As Proverbs 22:6 puts it: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." This verse has encouraged me when it comes to teaching and educating children in the word (and life) of God.