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TRAIN UP A CHILD

PRESENTATION #1 “THAT HE MAY BE GLORIFIED”

(Isa 61:3)

 

The title of our series this week as we study from God’s word, is “Train Up a Child”. And I’m delighted to see so many children in our midst, because where ever you see children, that means that there are parents around, and those are the folk, young parents, that I can especially identify with, being one myself. I have three precious children. I have an 8 year old son, he’s eight the 15th of this month, I’ll miss his birthday. And I have a 5 year old son. The eight year old is Stevie, the 5 year old is Ryan, and I have a little 3 year old by the name of Heather. And the Lord has blessed me with three precious, precious children, and a very precious wife, and I praise Him daily for my family. And yet parents, I with you, recognize that having children is not only a privilege it is an awesome responsibility isn’t it? An awesome responsibility, and I submit that we cannot be to often reminded as to the profound responsibility that we take upon ourselves when we bring children into this world. And I would invite you to approach this study with me carefully and prayerfully, recognizing that it is not a side issue, but it is a vitally important topic, especially for those of us who are in the process of raising children. Our time together will be in the study of God’s Word, we will be looking for principles of Christian parenting, and that is the sub-title of our seminar, “Train up a child, Principles of Christian Parenting”. And we will be looking in God’s Word for these principles because there is no other place that is really safe to look. What saith the Lord, will be our quest this week.

 

And since spiritual things are only spiritually discerned we must always pause at the beginning of our study time together to invite God’s Spirit to be with us and to give us supernatural capacities, to understand the truth as it is in Jesus. You know, I would suggest to you that there is a vast difference between having an intellectual accent to the truth, and having an experiential knowledge of it. It’s one thing to know the truth, it’s quite another to know it to the point of freedom. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall” what? “make you free”. (John 8:32) Brothers and sisters, we have to be set free from the tyranny of sin, self, and Satan, if we are going to be successful as Christian parents. And these principles that we are endeavoring to study together are only spiritually discerned, so let’s plead with God at the beginning of every session for the Spirit of Truth, that we might know the truth, to the point of freedom, and help our children to do the same. Would you kneel with me to that end?

 

Heavenly Father, as Your little children, we bow before You. So grateful to be able to call You our Father, and to know that we are accepted in the Beloved, our elder Brother Jesus Christ. We thank you that we have been adopted. We are Your sons, and Your daughters. We rejoice in that privilege of membership in Your family. And we thank you that in and through Christ, we have access to Your throne and the limitless resources of Your deity, and that gift that we seek now, which we need now above all others is the gift of Your Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of truth. Father we sense, as human parents, the awesomeness of the responsibility that we have to raise children to Your glory in this world that so militates against our efforts. We sense a special outpouring of Your Spirit, a special measure of Your grace, that we might succeed in our efforts to train up our children in the way that they should go. Father, at the beginning of our study we pray that You would condescend to bless us. Pour out Your Spirit upon us. Father I give you my earthen vessel. I wish that it were more than it is, but I pray that you would condescend to fill me, and in spite of my limitations and weaknesses, I pray that You would uplift Jesus Christ who is the Truth, through me and then draw each one of us to Him. May we come to know the truth as it is in Him, to the point of freedom, is our prayer, in Jesus’ name we ask it. Amen.

 

Train up a child, to what end? What is the goal? The great object of Christian parenting? The answer to that question is found in the verse from which the title of this first study is taken, That He may be glorified. It’s found in Isa 61:3. I’m reading from the New King James Version. Isa 61:3 and the last half of that text. A familiar verse to us isn’t it? “That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified”. That He may be glorified, brothers and sisters, I submit that that is the goal, that is the great object of Christian parenting. You see, this is what Jesus, “our everlasting Father”, as He’s referred to there in Isa 9:6. This is what Jesus was sent to do. He was sent to make us trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that the Lord God might be glorified in us. In spite of the fact that we are by nature rebellious children, by nature, children of wrath. And our divine Father says to us as human parents, “as the Father has sent Me, so send I you” (John 20:21). So send I you. May we paraphrase this verse? And put it as Christs words to us? Train up your children that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that in them, He may be glorified.

 

But brothers and sisters, fellow parents, in order for us to fulfill this grand mission to obey this awesome commission, we as human parents, must have this same power that Christ had that enabled Him to fulfill His mission. And what was that power? We read it in verse one of Isa 61, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me”. Is that same power available to us? Oh, indeed it is. Listen to the words of the Apostle Peter, Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. Why? Verse 39, “For the promise is to you and to your children”. “That He may be glorified”, that’s the goal of Christian parenting, and to reach that goal we must have the promised Holy Spirit.

 

But we need to ask ourselves at this point, what does it mean to glorify God? What does it mean to glorify God in practical concrete terms. If we are to fulfill our commission as parents, in our home family, and if we are to fulfill our commission as Gods remnant people in our Church family, we must know what it means to glorify God. Because indeed, not only is the commission to us in the home family, the commission is the same to us in the church family isn’t it? What is the mandate, the magna carta, of Gods remnant people?

 

Rev 14:7, what does it say? “Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment has come”. Here again we have our mandate, to glorify God. What does it mean to glorify God? Listen, inspiration spells it out so clearly, and I value this statement. It’s found in 7BC 979, from the pen of Ellen White, “To give glory to God, is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God”. What does it mean to give glory to God? It means to reveal His character in our own, to make Him known. To make Him known. You see, Gods glory is His character isn’t it?

 

Do you recall the incident there on Mt. Sinai when Moses said “I pray thee, show me Thy glory”? Ex 33:18 it’s recorded and what does God pass before him? His goodness, His character traits. Chapter 34:6,7 note them sometime. In response to Moses’ request to see Gods glory, God reveals His character to him. Gods glory is His character, therefore, to glorify God, is to characterize God. It’s to reflect His character likeness in our own. And brothers and sisters, again, this is our commission, not only in the home family, but in the church family. And the success, please note this and we’ll come back to it a little later. The success of our fulfilling that commission in the church family, is directly dependent upon how well we fulfill it in the home family. Please don’t miss that. We cannot hope as a people in the larger corporate church family to reveal Gods glory until we learn to do so in our own personal home families.

 

When we are talking then about successful Christian parenting we are talking about the success of us as a remnant people, to fulfill Gods commission to us. “To fear God and to give glory to Him”. This is our work parents, to train our children to glorify God, to reflect His character in their own. I read from MS 12, 1898. I recognize it’s not readily available, but it’s a special insight and I’d like to share it with you. “The intellect and affections are to be guarded, moulded, fashioned in accordance with the Word of God the moral sentiments are to be carefully developed, this is your work parents, you are to develop the characters of your children, in harmony with the word of God. Parents are responsible for this work, entrusted them of God”. What work are we responsible for? The development of the characters of our children. And did you note what it means to development of our children, what does it mean? It means the moral sentiments are to be carefully developed. This is what it means to develop the character of our children.

 

You see that is what character is, the intellect and the affections. Listen to this statement found in 5T310, this is the working definition for character that we’ll be referring back to over and over again through our seminar. I read, “If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong. And the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character”. Did you hear the words intellect and affections? The thoughts and feelings combined, intellect and affections.

 

Brothers and sisters, this is what character is. And this is what we as parents are commissioned to develop in accordance with the word of God in our children. It’s the nicest work ever given to a human being, and yet it’s the most frightening responsible position to be placed in. Because the consequences are not only temporal, and will not only determine the success of our children in this life, but our success or failure will determine their destiny as well. Their eternal destiny as well.

 

Brothers and sisters, the goal of training and disciplining our children, is to teach them to keep the heart with all diligence. The intellect, the affections, the thoughts, the feelings, to train our children to control their own thoughts and feelings, that is our goal as Christian parents. Self-control, especially at the level of the thoughts and feelings. Of course self control at the level of thoughts and feelings will be manifest in control of one’s words and one’s behavior, won’t it? But, please hear me parents. Is it necessarily the case that one has control of his thoughts and feelings if he apparently has control of his words and behavior? Did you follow your way through that, that wasn’t very clear was it? Just because a child has control of his words and his behavior, does that necessarily mean that he has control of his thoughts and feelings? No, not necessarily. And here is a trap that we must be careful to avoid. There is a kind of surface work that is very dangerous, that leads a child into a superficial understanding of what it means to be a Christian, of what it means to be Christ-like. That leads a child into thinking that just because he doesn’t say all the bad things that some of the neighbor children say, just because he doesn’t do some of the bad things that the neighbor children do, he must be a Christian? Not necessarily.

 

What determines whether or not we’re Christians brothers and sisters? Our behavior only? No, its our thoughts and feelings, its our character. A Christian must have a Christ-like character, he must be like Christ in the innermost private resources of his mind. And this is what we must help our children come to recognize and appreciate. Our children of course will be able to keep the heart with all diligence only as we have helped them to co-operate with the Holy Spirit. And only as we ourselves have co-operated with the Holy Spirit in transcribing the principles of Gods law upon the fleshly tables of their heart.

 

You see, it’s Gods law that must govern our thoughts and our feelings, and this cannot happen unless those principles are written there, upon the table of our hearts. Psalm 37:31 “The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide”. Another one that’s familiar to you is Psalm 119:11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”. Parents, this is what we must constantly seek to do, to impress the principles of love, the principles of Gods law, upon the fleshly tables of our children’s minds, their hearts. That those principles might in turn determine and shape and control their own thoughts and feelings, and therefore develop their characters.

 

You see, the principles that are impressed upon their minds will directly determine their thoughts and feelings. And that in turn directly determines their character. “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. ( Prov 23:7) Reading from MYP 144 “Many thoughts make up the unwritten history of a single day, and these thoughts have much to do with the formation of character”.

 

There’s an example in scripture that I think is very applicable in this regard, it’s found in 1 Chron. turn with me there. We have the privilege parents of helping our children build a character temple that will glorify God. Ours is the very important and fundamental work of laying the foundation, and equipping our children with guidelines. So that they, as they become more mature, might co-operate with those guidelines, through the power of the Holy Spirit and develop their own character. In that context, look at this passage with me, 1 Chron 28:9, this is David speaking. What was David’s longing to do for the glory of God? Build a temple, build a temple. But was he to do that? No, who was to do that? His son. Now he spent a good portion of his life, his energy, his means in gathering that which he could give to his son to build a temple to the glory of God, didn’t he? And he carefully received from God, the blueprint, the guidelines, didn’t he? For the development of that temple. But who had to actually build the temple? His son.

 

So it is with you and I parents. We cannot build the character temple of our children, but we gather the materials they need, we can help them lay the right foundation, and we can give them the blueprint. That is our commission, that is our commission. Note verse 9 of 1 Chron 28 “As for you my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts” You see the emphasis here on character, what goes on inside the thoughts and feelings? “If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary, be strong, and do it”.

 

You see parents, that is what we are to challenge our children with. Consider dear son, dear daughter, that God wants you to be a temple for His Glory. You yourself, are bought with a price, you are not your own. Glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are His. And what is the house? It is the body, for the sanctuary, which is the mind. But brothers and sisters we must remember and we must help our children to remember, that unless the Lord builds the house, they that labor, labor in vain. They labor in vain, who built it. And indeed, unless it is in according to the blueprint, it cannot be to the glory of God. Note verse 11, of this same chapter. “Then David gave his son Solomon the plans”. And where did he get those? Verse 12 “the plans for all that he had by by the Spirit”

 

There is our secret parents, we must receive from the Hold Spirit, the plans, the principles, and then give those to our children. We must do all we can to help them lay a solid foundation, and then challenge them to build a character to the glory of God. CT 107,108 “It should be the object of every parent to secure to his child a well-balanced, symmetrical character. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance–a work requiring earnest thought and prayer no less than patient, persevering effort. A right foundation must be laid, a framework, strong and firm, erected, and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward”.

 

But our special privilege in responsibility parents, is laying that right foundation, and giving them the right framework to work within. Oh important it is, how vitally important it is for us to lay the right foundation. You know the song we sing with our children, in family worship, “The wise man built his house upon the” what? “the rock”. And the foolish man? “upon the sand”. Oh brothers and sisters, the truth as it is in Jesus, He who is the truth, is the only sure foundation for a character that will last for eternity. We must help our children build upon the Rock, Jesus Christ . There are so few who do this, it is a shame.

 

CG 184,185 “We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their character is built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been molded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life.” But is that all? “The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their RUIN”. But is it only temporal ruin? It’s eternal ruin as well, brothers and sisters. Oh how vital that we help our children build upon the rock, how vital that we bare in mind that unless the Lord is the foundation and the builder, those who labor to build, labor in vain. Christ is the master builder parents, take courage in that. We are His associates, we are His workmen, we are His carpenters, His masons. Only Christ has a trustworthy blueprint for building a Christian home. And those beautiful plans and specifications are in His word. And no parent who diligently follows the blueprint need fail. (END OF SIDE A OF TAPE ONE – THAT HE MAY BE GLORIFIED) No parent need fail.

 

Therefore child training is a very comprehensive work is it not? It involves not only behavior patterns which are most readily recognized, but more importantly it involves patterns of thoughts and feelings, and most importantly it involves instruction in the principles of Gods word, His law. That our children might come to control their own behavior by keeping their heart with all diligence, by learning to “ bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.(2 Cor 10:5) This is what it means parents. It is our privilege to impress these principles upon the fleshly tables of our children’s hearts, when they are most receptive to them. When that heart is softest and most pliable, is when you and I have the privilege of working with it, and shaping it, and molding it.

 

You know the word character itself is an interesting word. It comes from the Greek word “khar-ak-tare”, that occurs once in the N.T. It’s found in Heb 1:3, turn with me there just briefly. I’d like to consider this word study with you, for the insight that it gives us into our responsibility as parents. Character, the Greek word, “khar-ak-tare”, occurs once in the N.T. and it’s translated into an English expression of two words here in this verse. Now let me tell you about the word character, its not translated character, its translated otherwise. Let me tell you about the word character, and then you tell me how its translated here. In the Greek, in the oldest, earliest usage of the word “khar-ak-tare” it referred to a coin minter, one who was an engraver or a minter of coins, he was called a “khar-ak-tare”. And then as words do, its meaning began to evolve and it came to refer to the tools that he would use, a dye, or a stamp, an engraving tool. Even a branding iron was called a “khar-ak-tare”.

 

But then by N.T. times the word “khar-ak-tare” came to refer to the very impression or the likeness that the coin minter, or that the engraver made with his tools, the likeness, the impression, the image, the mark, or the seal. Do you hear those words? The mark or the seal, was called a “khar-ak-tare”. Now that’s the N.T. usage of it. Well how is that word translated in this verse, this is in reference to Christ. (Heb 1:3) “who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person”. Where’s “khar-ak-tare”? “express image”, exactly, “express image”.

 

Parents we have young tender minds that are very receptive, and the principles that we inscribe, that we engrave, that we impress, upon those minds at their young impressionable age will have bearing upon the entire future of their lives. Please recognize that. It will set the foundation for their whole character temple. Those trenches that you dig, by those principles that you impress upon their minds, will determine the foundation of their character structure for the rest of their lives. This is an awesome responsibility that we have.

 

I read from the periodical Good Health Jan. 1880 “Childhood is the season in which the most abiding impressions may be made. What the child sees and hears is drawing deep lines upon the tender mind, which no after circumstances in life can entirely efface. What the child sees and hears is drawing deep lines upon the tender mind which no after circumstances in life can entirely efface. The intellect is now taking shape, the affections receiving directions and strength”. Intellect and affections, what are we talking about? Character. When are they taking shape? Right from the crib. “The intellect is now taking shape, the affections receiving directions and strength. Repeated acts in a given course become habits. These may be modified by severe training in after life, but are SELDOM changed. The whole future course of THOUSANDS is determined by the education received from parents in childhood”.

 

Oh that ought to make us tremble. I read on “At an early age, the path of virtue is entered upon which leads to honor and eternal life or the path of disobedience and vice which leads to unhappiness, dishonor, and the ruin of the soul.” Oh parents, “Fear God and give glory to Him” in your child training, “for the hour of His judgment is come”. And your success or failure is going to determine largely the ETERNAL destiny of your children.

 

In light of the impressionable age that our children are in, is it possible to be too concerned, about what we allow them to be exposed to? Is it? I submit it is not.

 

We hear an awful lot about, oh you’re too sheltered, your children are too sheltered. How are they going to know how to cope in the world, you’re sheltering them so much. Oh dear brother, dear sister, its only as we shelter them and teach them principles from Gods word, that they will ever be able to cope successfully in the world and not be influenced by it and perverted by it. I submit that you cannot be to careful.

 

Listen AH 469,470 “Guard your children from every objectionable influence possible; for in childhood they are more ready to receive impressions, either of moral dignity, purity, and loveliness of character, or of selfishness, impurity, and disobedience. ONCE let them become influenced by the spirit of murmuring, pride, vanity, and impurity, and the taint may be as indelible as life itself”. To sheltered?

 

Oh brothers and sisters, there are some things that we’re going to have to address in this context. “Fear God and give glory to Him”. Protect your children, from wrong impressions and by Gods grace make the right impressions upon their impressionable minds. Lay the right foundation, dig the right ditches, and give them the right blueprint, so that they can grow up to reveal Christs character in their own. And so that WE as a church family can fulfill our commission. Again as we’ve suggested brothers and sisters, it is not until we as home families learn to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the development of a Christ-like character. It is not until then that we in the church family will be able to do the same.

 

I read from AH 318 “IN THE HOME the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. The influences that rule in the home life are carried into the church life; therefore church duties should first begin in the home”. Why is that so? The home is the microcosm of all of all societal units isn’t it? If you destroy the home you destroy society in all of its levels of organization. Is this not precisely why the devil is working so hard to destroy the home? Why of course it it. And is this not also why it should be of ultimate crucial importance to us as Gods remnant people? To make the home everything God intended it to be? Brothers and sisters, EVERYTHING is at stake here. Not only our own individual destinies, but the success and DESTINY OF GODS REMNANT PEOPLE IS AT STAKE. I can’t over emphasis this. I long with all of my heart, for the church to rise up and give glory to God, BUT THAT WILL NEVER BE, UNTIL WE AS FAMILIES RISE UP AND GIVE GLORY TO GOD, AND THAT WILL NEVER BE UNTIL WE AS INDIVIDUAL PARENTS RISE UP AND GIVE GLORY TO GOD, in our own characters, and in the governments of our own homes. Where does it come to?

 

It comes to us, dear fathers and mothers. And grandparents, you’re not excluded either. You see the home is the heart of ALL society. “And out of the heart are the issues of life” Prov 4:23. We think of that in terms of the human heart, and indeed it applies, but the home is the heart of society. Listen MH 349 “The restoration and uplifting of humanity begins in the home. The work of parents underlies every other. Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are “the issues of life” (Prov 4:23), and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the HOUSEHOLD. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences”. And that depends upon what we, as heads of the home, make it.

 

Dear fellow parents, do you begin to recognize anew with me, the magnitude of your responsibility and mine? Do you? I want to challenge you with this concept, at the onset of our study. Because I would challenge you to approach these studies prayerfully, recognizing that we are not talking about peripheral side issues. We are talking about vitally important central fundamental basic issues, that will determine our present and eternal welfare, and that of our children.

 

The reformation of the church, begins with the reformation of the home. The reformation of the home begins with the reformation of the parents, and that’s where we come in. I read from R&H March 18, 1902 “the people of God are asleep….The Lord says to them, ‘Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee’. He desires them to go to work in unity, in faith, and love. He desires that the work of reformation shall begin in the home, with the fathers and mothers, and THEN the Church will realize the Holy Spirit’s working”. When will the Church realize the Holy Spirit’s working? Only when the fathers and mothers begin the work of reformation in the home.

 

Brothers and sisters we pray, so earnestly we pray for the outpouring of Gods Spirit upon the Church, but that will NEVER happen, until we as parents plead for Gods outpouring of His Spirit upon our own individual homes. “Then the Church will realize the Holy Spirits working”. Reading on “The influence of this work will go through the Church like leaven. Fathers and mothers need converting. They have not educated themselves to mold and fashion the characters of their children aright”. We haven’t done it, we haven’t educated ourselves to mold and fashion the characters of our children aright. And that, by Gods grace, is what we are going to be learning how to do in this seminar. Learning how to mold and fashion the characters of our children aright. And dear brothers and sisters I submit to you that there is no better way to mold and fashion your own character aright, than to seek to mold and fashion the character of your children aright. The best way to get a Christ-like education, is to seek to give such to your children.

 

Before we can have that army of youth rightly trained parents, we must have an army of parents rightly trained. To raise such to the glory of God. Manuscript 98, 1901 “To the parents who have received the truth of God, I’m instructed to say, give your children patient instruction and tender care. When parents in our Churches do the work the Lord has laid upon them, He will have channels through which He can do an advanced line of work.”

 

Who’s the model temple, parents? Jesus is. He came down and tabernacled among us. He took humanity that He might be for us, a model Child, a model Adult. And scriptures account of Him as a Child is found in Luke 2:40 and it’s very comprehensive and it gives us a significant insight into how comprehensive Christian character development is in our children.

 

Luke 2:40 “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him”. Verse 52, you know it don’t you? “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. He’s the model character temple. Did you see all the dimensions of the human nature there? And Jesus grew. . . “In wisdom”, mental, “and stature”; physical. “And in favor with God”, spiritual; “and man”, social. Physical, mental, spiritual, social development.

 

CG 186,187 “The physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities should be developed in order to form a properly balanced character”. Oh how comprehensive this is, isn’t it parents? It includes the health habits of our young children, doesn’t it? I read on “Children should be watched, guarded, and disciplined in order to successfully accomplish this”. Again commenting on this concept . CG 187 “The physical constitution of Jesus, as well as His spiritual development, is brought before us in these words, ‘the child grew,’ and ‘increased in stature.’ In childhood and youth attention should be given to physical development. Parents should so train their children in good habits of eating and drinking, dressing, and exercise, that a good foundation will be laid for sound health in afterlife. The physical organism should have special care, that the powers of the body may not be dwarfed, but developed to their full extent. This places the children and youth in a favorable position, so that, with proper religious training, they may, like Christ, was strong in spirit.”

 

Jesus is the model, and where’s our blueprint parents? It’s the word of God. AH 185 “We have Bible rules for the guidance of all, both parents and children, a high and holy standard from which there can be no swerving. God’s injunctions must be paramount. Let the father and mother of the family spread out God’s word before Him, the searcher of hearts, and ask in sincerity, ‘What hath God said?’”.

 

The Bible is the guide book parents, the manual for child training and discipline, character development. But there are some things that are hard to understand. And as I’ve come across those things in my own personal experience, I’ve often thought to myself, wouldn’t it have been , or wouldn’t it be nice to have the privilege that the disciples did, when Jesus mentioned something in His parable that was not easy to understand. And they had the opportunity to go aside with Him and say, what did You mean when You said….? And He would explain it to them in very understandable terms. And I often envied the disciples in that marvelous privilege. But you know, suddenly it dawned on me, that I have the very same privilege. I have the very same privilege of taking Jesus aside, sitting down with Him, and saying, what did You mean when You said in scripture…..? What is that privilege? That privilege is the privilege that we have parents, of prayerfully studying the Testimony of Jesus, in the Spirit of Prophecy. That you see is the simplification of these profound truths that are sometimes hard to understand. And I believe that it is no accident, that God chose a woman to use to give us this special gift. Because women you see, have a special and unique ability to take meat and to turn it into milk for children. And that what Ellen White has done for us. Isn’t it? She’s taken the meat of God’s word and she’s turned it into milk. It’s the lesser light, it leads us to the greater light. But praise God for it.

 

You can’t walk out from a dark room into the noon day sun. You have to accustom your eyes, with a lesser light, and as you do that then you can come out and you can stand the noon day sun. Praise God for the lesser light. And we will make no excuses, no apologies, for turning to it frequently as we study the principles in God’s word this week. Oh it’s precious insight brothers and sisters, the Testimony of Jesus. And those particular books, you’re probably familiar with them but for those of you who aren’t, that are relative in this issue, CP(TS), AH, ED, MH, AND CG. Those are gold mines. Just gold mines. And then of course there’s CDF, MCP, MYP, FE, T(1-9), they all have marvelous insights, but those first that I listed, are the ones that are particularly valuable and I highly recommend them to you parents, that you might have the Testimony of Jesus, to help you rightly understand the principles in God’s word.

 

Parents, one other thing that we must constantly keep in mind. As we seek to fulfill our commission, to raise our children to the glory of God, is that they are not our own, but they are His, they are His. Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is HIS reward.” CT 159 “Our children are the Lord’s property, they have been bought with a price. This thought should be the mainspring of our labors for them.” What’s the mainspring of our labors for them? They are not our own, they are “bought with a price.” Therefore we must teach them to glorify God in their body and in their spirit, which are His. Oh parents I challenge you, as I challenge myself, “Fear God, and give glory to Him”. In your own life, as models for your children, and in your practices as Christian parents, that your children might learn to glorify Him in their lives as well. Why? “for the hour of His judgment is come.”

 

RH May 4, 1886 “Oh, the sin of parental neglect! What a history the Judgment will reveal of affliction and misery produced by the children of parents who professed to be Christians, but who did not make the word of god their standard, their rule of life! What a record of crimes of every magnitude will then be opened to the view of parents, and traced to their lax discipline….The inborn evil of the natural heart was permitted to grow and strengthen.” Oh brothers and sisters, may that not be the verdict on that day, in regards to us, as Christian parents. May it rather be found on that day, that we by God’s enabling grace have raised children who have leaned to the fullness of their sin damaged abilities to reflect the glory of God, here and now. That they might do so with us, for eternal ages. May the Lord help us to that end.

 

Parents should let nothing interfere with the character building of their children. Those who have been training their children in an improper way need not despair; let them become converted to God, and seek for the true spirit of obedience, and they will be enabled to make decided reforms. In conforming your own customs to the saving principles of God’s holy law, you will have an influence upon your children. You will have the righteousness of Christ, and will obey the precepts of God’s law, and recognize the spirit of the law as an expression of the character of God. It is of the greatest importance that the attributes of his character be brought into your character, that you may train and educate your children to be obedient to God’s commandments, and thus secure happiness in this world, and life eternal in the world to come. (ST Sept 17, 1894)

 

Shall we pray?

 

Father God I thank You. I thank You for the privilege of raising children to Your glory. It is a tremendous privilege to shape minds. To lay foundations for character development. But Father, equal to the privilege, is the awesome responsibility. We ask for the special outpouring of Your Spirit, as we study together this week , Principles of Christian Parenting. Guide our minds Father, by the power and in the person of Your Holy Spirit be amongst us, not only as a group but be in our midst as individuals. Help us recognizing the importance of these issues, to seek to understand them, and to apply them, to incorporate them into our own practices as we seek to raise our children to Your glory. Thank You Father, that You have both heard and answered this prayer. For we have asked what we know to be within Your will, and we have asked in Jesus’ name. Amen.