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Category Archives: Family Life Seminar Notes

The Importance of Personal and Family Worship

The Importance of Personal and Family Worship

Text: Psalm 95:1-11

Purpose: The Psalmist is calling his audience to worship the Lord because He is worthy of our worship.

Proposition: God wants us to worship Him.

Interrogative: How can we worship God correctly?

Question 1: What is family worship:

It is the deliberate, habitual, and corporate practice of worshiping God through song, prayer, and Biblical instruction as a family.  This does not take the place of corporate local church worship; however it prepares the family for those times of corporate local church worship.

Question 2: Why should we worship as a family?

  • We were created to worship
  • Question: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25–26).[1]
  • It involves daily instruction
  • It has historically been the practice of the church
  • To the Puritans, family life was enormously important, for ‘a family is the seminary of church and state and if children be not well principled there, all miscarrieth.’35 So ‘keep up the government of God in your families: holy families must be the chief preservers of the interest of religion in the world.’36[2]
  • It emphasizes the authority of fathers in the home.
  • It emphasizes the authority of scripture over fathers in the home

Question 3: What are the most basic elements of family worship?

  • Sing praise to God: 95:1-2 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.  Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
  • Pray as a family: 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
  • Study God’s word: 95:3, 8 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation,

 Question 4: What are we teaching when we worship as a family?

  • We are teaching our children how to reverence God.
  • We are teaching out children how study the Bible.
  • We are teaching our children Bible doctrine.
  • We are teaching our children how to teach.

Question 5: What are some family worship considerations?

  • Be age appropriate.
  • More time is not always better.
  • Ask your children questions to keep them engaged.
  • Teach your children doctrine.
  • Encourage focused discussion.
  • Prepare the heart of your children for the gospel.
  • Pick a time that you can make the practice common.
  • Start as soon as you are a married couple.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are you living your life as an expression of daily worship to God?
  • Are you having a consistent time of personal worship?
  • Are you having a time of family worship?
  • Are you emphasizing the three key elements in family worship?
  • Are you teaching doctrine in family worship?
  • Are you being age appropriate in your teaching?
  • Are you engaging your children with good questions and illustrations?

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). A Catechism, With Proofs (p. 3). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

35 35.‘Mr. Thomas Manton’s Epistle to the Reader’, The [Westminster] Confession of Faith (Free Presbyterian Publications: Glasgow, 1973), p 8. The Geneva Bible’s note on Genesis 17:23 says: ‘Masters in their houses ought to be as preachers to their families, that from the highest to the lowest they may obey the will of God.’ The thought of the husband and father as spiritual instructor to the household recurs constantly.

36 36.Baxter, Works, IV:229. Baxter wrote The Poor Man’s Family Book (1674) and The Catechising of Families (1683) as resources for the instructional side of family government.

[2] Packer, J. I. (1990). A quest for godliness: the Puritan vision of the Christian life (p. 270). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 

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Setting Boundaries for Our Children

Setting Boundaries for Our Children

Text: 1 Samuel 3:13 …because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Purpose: The writer of 1 Samuel emphasizes the justification for God judging the house of Levi.

Proposition: God wants us to restrain our children from and to a Biblical worldview.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Truth 1: Realize all parents restrain their children, but not all parents restrain them from and to a Biblical worldview:

Illustration: Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and his wives, David and Absalom.

  • Excellence from a selfish motive: Life will be easier for me if I can just get these kids under control.
  • Excellence from a proud motive: I want my kid to be a rich nuclear physicist living the American dream.
  • Morality from a pragmatic motive: If my daughter has a child out of wedlock, the chances of them living in poverty is higher than if they do things right.
  • Frustration: I can’t take this any more.
  • Glory of God: God created my children for His own glory, so they could be living testimonies of the power of the gospel.

Truth 2: Restraint from a Biblical worldview recognizes the fallen nature of all Children:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Psalm 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Proverbs 23:12-19 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.  My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.   For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Romans 3:10-18  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 8:7-9 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

  • My children sin because they are sinners, and they must be restrained.
  • My children must be taught not to sin.
  • My children’s conscience must be shaped by the word of God.
  • My child’s view of God must be shaped by the word of God.
  • My children are powerless to be sanctified apart from new life in Christ.
  • My child will always need legitimate accountability even where he has freedom.

Truth 3: Restraint from a Biblical worldview recognizes the importance of the Gospel in setting boundaries for children:

  • Success is not found in the American dream

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

  • The gospel is rejected until the conscience is awakened by the law.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Philippians 3:5-9 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

  • Our position in Christ is the primary motivation for holy living.

Colossians 3:1-3If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;

  • Our position in Christ is the primary motivation for good stewardship.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  • The Holy Spirit working in a regenerated heart enables us to walk in holiness.

Romans 8:7-9 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Practical examples:

Entertainment:

  • Some entertainments should never be allowed in a Christian home: They are sinful.
  • Some entertainment should not be allowed in excess: They are distracting. 
  • Some entertainment should only be allowed with legitimate accountability: They open the door to temptation. 
  • Entertainment should be presented from a Christian worldview: We are able to do this to the glory of God.

Education: (I would encourage parent to consider home education for a number of reasons, but for those who are not convinced as I am on this point, here are some questions you should think through honestly.)

  • Am I putting my children under the instruction of the ungodly?
  • Are my children being forced to compromise truth?
  • Are my children strong enough to handle the peer pressure at this stage in life?
  • Is this schooling arrangement hindering my interaction with my children?
  • Is this schooling arrangement compromising the instruction my children are receiving in the home?

Friends:

  • Is this relationship shaping my child’s worldview in a worldly way?
  • Is this relationship stirring up rebellion in my children’s heart?
  • Is this relationship presenting unnecessary temptation?
  • Is this relationship causing my children to pull away from me?
  • Is this relationship focused on evangelism?

Future spouse:

  •  Do I have my children’s respect and trust?
  • Am I planting Biblical ideals in my child’s heart regarding marriage?
  • Am I responsibly allowing my children to interact with future marriage prospects?
  • Is their an open line of communication between parents and children as they approach this season of life?
  • Am I providing legitimate accountability for my children as they enter this season of life?
  • Am I willing to trust God to work out what I cannot control?
  • Am I willing to be selfless through this process?

Questions to Consider:

  • What is my primary motivation for restraining my children?
  • Am I restraining them Biblically?
  • Is discipleship unto holiness through the gospel at the heart of my approach to parenting?
  • Am I factoring the fallen nature of my children into my approach to parenting?
 

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God’s Help for the Family

God’s Help for the Family

Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-7

Purpose: Moses wants to warn God’s people that their future enjoyment of their covenant relationship with God was dependent upon their willingness to instill a fear of God in their children that would point them to trust in the coming Messiah, and to walk in humble obedience to their covenant God.

Proposition: God wants us to shape our children’s worldviews leading them to salvation and discipleship through instruction in the context of our daily living.

Interrogative: How do we do this?

God’s tools: 6:1 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

  • Meditate on the nature of the Gospel: 1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us.
  • Study and internalize the Word of God: 2 Timothy 3:17 The word of God was given that we might be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
  • Have a consistent Biblically prioritized prayer life: Philippians 1:9 Paul prayed that their love might abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment,
  • Do not neglect the local church: Ephesians 4:12-13 The church body and all the gifts is for the equipping of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Our context: 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Our personal walk affects our children:

Exodus 20:4-6 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

I Kings 15:25-26And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.  And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

1 Kings 22:41-43And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.  Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.  And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD:

Our relationship with our spouse affects our children

  • Gender and family roles are shaped by what children observe in the home.
  • Solving problems and making decisions are shaped by what children observe in the home.
  • Resolution of conflicts is shaped by what children see in the home
  • A child’s view of love and submission are shaped by what they see in the home.
  • The credibility of our Christian faith is strengthened or weakened by what our children see in the home.

Our local church affects our children: Ephesians 4:12-13 The church body and all the gifts is for the equipping of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

  • Our children’s view of worship is shaped by the church we attend.
  • Our children’s pool of friends is shaped by the church we attend.
  • Our children’s doctrine is shaped by the church we attend.
  • Our children’s approach to Bible study and interpretation is shaped by the pattern they see in the pulpit of the church we attend.
  • Our children’s commitment to the body is shaped in the church we attend.

Our choice of education affects our children: Psalm 1:1-2Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

  • Our children’s worldview is shaped by those we allow to school them.
  • Our children’s friends are chosen within the environment we allow them to be schooled.
  • Our children’s life skills are shaped by those we choose to school them.
  • Our children’s future spouse is likely chosen in the environment in which we chose to allow them to be schooled.

Questions to Consider:

  • Are you focused on the gospel?
  • Are you focused on the word?
  • Are you on your knees?
  • Are you committed to God in the context of the local church?
  • Are you patterning and teaching a Biblical worldview in your daily living?
 

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A Portrait of the Christian Home and Family

A Portrait of the Christian Home and Family:

Text: 1 Peter 2:9-12

Purpose: Peter reminds his audience that they have been saved in part, to have a way of life that points people to God.

Proposition: God wants our family life to be a distinctly Christian testimony to the power of the gospel.

Interrogative: How can we have a distinctly Christian home that demonstrates the power of the gospel?

Truth 1: The Heart of the Christian home is the Gospel: What does it mean for the home to be distinctly Christian?

  • Does not mean moral
  • Does not mean orderly
  • Does not mean kind
  • Does not mean disciplined
  • Does not mean restrictive
  • Does not prosperous
  • It means that the gospel is properly understood and whole-heartedly embraced and centerpiece of all activity in the home.

Romans 5:1-2Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

  • Peace with God
  • Motivation to walk in holiness
  • Enablement to walk in holiness
  • Hope

Truth 2: The distinct roles within the Christian home are articulated in the Scriptures: How does Christ command us to order the home?

Example: Christ and the church…Ephesians 5

  • Husband: Provide loving leadership: Ephesians 5:23-25  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.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  • Wife: Complement your husband with reverence and submission: Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
  • Dad: Bring your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord without provoking them to anger: Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • Mom: Complement your husband enabling him to lead and guide the home in godliness: Proverbs 31; Titus 2:4-5 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
  • Children: Honor your parents obediently putting yourself under their authority: Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honor 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.

Truth 3: The activities practiced in the Christian home are articulated in the Scriptures: What activities should be going on in the Christian home?

Psalm 96:1-10O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.  Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.  Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.  For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.  Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.  Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.  O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.  Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

  • Private Worship
  • Family Worship
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Instruction in a Christian Worldview
    • Work
    • Pleasure
    • Church life
    • Home life
    • Care of the environment
    • Care for the body
    • Social interaction
    • Care for the mind
    • Role of authority
    • The redemptive value of suffering and pain

Questions to Consider:

  • Is the gospel the center of our home?
  • Is your goal good discipline and morals, or salvation, discipleship and a Christian worldview?
  • Do you understand your role in the home?
  • Are you submitting to God in that role?
  • Is private and family worship an integral part of your personal and family life?
 

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