Raising Children to be Christians

Text: 3 John 4

Parents strive to “bring [children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The ultimate goal is to lead them to the Lord. Parents may hope that their children enjoy good health and prosperity in this life. But in the end, what matters most is that their “soul prospers” as they walk “in the truth” (3 John 2-4). So in this lesson, we will focus on raising children to be Christians.

Faith That is Passed Down

  • One generation must teach the next (Deuteronomy 4:9; 6:6-7; 2 Timothy 1:5) – initiate the teaching (Deuteronomy 6:7); answer questions (Joshua 4:21-24); children will not automatically know the truth just because their parents do (Judges 2:10)
  • The parents’ goal must be to lead their children to Christ (2 Timothy 3:15)
  • However, even if parents work to pass down their faith, there is no guarantee that the children will be faithful (Ezekiel 18:9-10) – everyone has free will; they will choose to follow God or not

How Parents Can Pass Down Their Faith

  • Teach them the truth, the word of God (John 17:17) – this produces faith (Romans 10:17)
  • Teach them the plan of salvation – believe (John 8:24), repent (Luke 13:3,5), confess (Romans 10:9-10), be baptized (Acts 2:38)
  • Teach them why we believe, teach, and practice what we do – not because of human tradition (Matthew 15:3-6), preference (Proverbs 14:12), others do something (Romans 12:2), other churches of Christ do something (Revelation 3:1); because it is commanded (Matthew 28:18-20), authorized (Colossians 3:17), expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23); the focus must be on the word of God (Isaiah 8:20)
  • Display a genuine faith (2 Timothy 1:5) – hypocrisy can prevent children from being faithful (Matthew 23:13)
  • Let them see that there is joy and liberty in Christ (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 2 Corinthians 3:17) – if the way of truth appears to be miserable, it will not seem appealing

The Age of Accountability

  • Though the term is not used in Scripture, the concept is – no “original sin” (Ezekiel 18:20); we must be saved from our own sins (Acts 22:16)
  • This is the age in which one has sinned against God and is, therefore, in need of salvation – this age will be different for each one
  • Must know the truth for themselves (Acts 8:35-38) – able to believe and confess (Romans 10:9-10); able to know the difference between right and wrong (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:15-16)
  • Must appreciate the nature of the commitment (Luke 14:25-33) – repentance; becoming a disciple (Matthew 28:19)

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