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Grounding Your Kids in the Truth

with Al Mohler | September 29, 2009

You’d never think of teaching your kids to spell before first teaching them their ABC’s. Why then would you try to teach your kids life skills before first introducing them to the Life Giver, God himself. Today Southern Seminary President, Al Mohler, exhorts parents to protect and bless their children by teaching them God’s law.

You’d never think of teaching your kids to spell before first teaching them their ABC’s. Why then would you try to teach your kids life skills before first introducing them to the Life Giver, God himself. Today Southern Seminary President, Al Mohler, exhorts parents to protect and bless their children by teaching them God’s law.

Grounding Your Kids in the Truth

With Al Mohler
|
September 29, 2009
| Download Transcript PDF

Dr. Mohler:  The psychologies of the self, of the modern and post-modern worlds, are psychologies that assume the goodness of the human being.  So much of what goes on in the name of contemporary education and pediatrics and the entire world of the therapeutic has to do with helping children to be who they want to be.  Let me just give you a little hint, in the Bible there are sixty-six books here about how not to raise your children to be who they want to be. 

Bob:  This is FamilyLife Today for Tuesday, September 29th.  Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey and I’m Bob Lepine.  We’re going to hear today what we can do as parents to help our children move from looking inward to looking Godward. 

Welcome to FamilyLife Today thanks for joining us on the Tuesday edition.  If we went to a lot of moms and dads today and asked them do you understand what your fundamental, primary, chief, number one assignment is as parents?  I wonder how many Christian parents would say I understand it clearly and I’m on mission.  I know what the job is and I’m doing it.  Do you think most parents today would be able to answer that the way you and I think it ought to be answered?

 

Dennis:  It would be interesting to know if they listed in their top five assignments teaching their children the truth about God and the truth of what the scriptures teach about life.  I don’t know, I really don’t know, Bob.

Bob:   If it’s on the list, are they actually doing it?

Dennis:  That’s right.  Our listeners know that on FamilyLife Today we become somewhat strident and passionate about the need for us to build strong homes where we are teaching the truth about God.  The heart and soul of our nation begins at home; there is no more powerful institution in America than a family.  Just listening to the news and seeing what’s happening around us, the moral decay and all the electronic media that is just bombarding the family. 

As never before a young family starting out today must know what it believes about God, about the scriptures and about life.  If they don’t know, the culture is going to tell them what to believe and what the culture tells you is not the truth.  The culture is going to lie to you and it’s going to seduce you and your children.   It really points out the need, Bob, for what you talked about young families today and for that matter families of all ages need to be teaching the truth about God to future generations.

Bob:  We’re going to provide some help today because we’re going to be listening to part two of a message from Dr. Al Mohler.  Dr. Mohler is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dennis:  Its press release says that it’s the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Bob:  Well, it is, it’s got more students than any of the other seminaries.   In fact it’s got more students than any seminary in the world as far as I know.

Dennis:  Is that how you become a flagship?  You got more guns than anybody else?

(Laughter)

Bob:  It doesn’t hurt.  Dr. Mohler spent some time here with us here at FamilyLife not long ago and he spoke to our staff giving a message out of Deuteronomy chapter 6.  You know in Deuteronomy 6 there is the great statement what’s called the Shama – “Hear O Israel the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.”  It doesn’t stop there and in fact as we listen to part two of this message that’s where Dr. Mohler picks up the passage to remind moms and dads that that truth about who God is has got to be passed along.

Dr. Mohler:  These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart, the heart again this is the seed of knowledge, it’s going to proceed from the inside out.  Israel’s morality and Israel’s understanding of these things is that all truth comes from the inside out as the Lord reveals to the heart.  This is a revealed religion.  It isn’t that they came up with this; it isn’t that they looked in the mirror and discovered this. 

They heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire and they survived.  They saw thunder on the mountain, and saw Moses come down with two tablets of stone.  This is a revealed knowledge but it is then implanted in their hearts and then it works outward from the heart to life.  These words which I am commanding you today shall be on your heart and then Israel’s told they are to teach. 

You shall teach them diligently, to whom?  To your sons.  We are in an age in which Christianity is marked by a great deficit of teaching and Christianity is compromised by a great deal of false teaching.  Here the children of Israel are told that their first responsibility as God’s covenant people as they prepare to enter the land of promise, is to teach. 

They are to teach their sons and they are to talk of these laws, of these words.  The words there refer primarily to what you find in Deuteronomy 5, where the actual 10 words, the Ten Commandments, but they become symbolic of the totality of all that God has spoken to His people.  You shall teach them to your sons, you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise up. 

They are very specific things they are told to teach.  They are told to teach monotheism, the exclusivity of the God who has made covenant, the fact that He is the only God.  You will see very clearly, you shall not follow other Gods, you see in verse 14.  Any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, that’s a great danger.  It’s a reflective danger, it’s an inescapable danger. 

They were going into a land of promise, but that land of promise was very much inhabited and it was inhabited by people who had idols and they built high places and the reality is that our children today are in a land just like this.  Our children are in a land in which they also are surrounded by pagan worship, by pagan idols and by high places of worship.  One of the things that is in the background to the warning here from Moses is the reality that these things are alluring to the eye.  They are fascinating to the mind. 

They are often popular, and they are cherished and they are sacred to a people committed to paganism.  That’s very much where we are today.  Because of time and the accumulated experience of human creativity, we may have even greater dangers that Israel here faced because the paganisms we face are sometimes more subtle. 

There in the land of Canaan as is well known, there were high places to the god Molech.  Molech was worshiped by the Canaanites he was a god of purity and as a god of purity he desired and demanded a pure sacrifice.  Given the understanding of the people of that day, the purest sacrifice, the only acceptable sacrifice to Molech would be that of a child of innocence and that meant a child of roughly 24 months or younger.  They would bring their children and they would put them into a furnace in the name of Molech often in the actual shape of how they envisioned this god of purity who demanded a pure sacrifice, and they would burn their children. 

God speaks to His children saying, very specifically in this same book.  I don’t want your children burned, I want them taught.  Israel now is told, what does God demand?  He doesn’t demand you to kill your children.  He demands you to teach them.  He demands you to discipline them.  He demands you to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  That’s grace.  It’s grace to be told He doesn’t demand the sacrifice of your children.  He wants the souls, the teaching of your children.  He wants them to grow up to be people of the covenant. 

Doctrine is so very important because we need to understand that contrary to so many of the contemporary psychologies of children our most important task as parents is not to draw out what is in them, but to put in them what must be put in them  to be God’s people.  The psychologies of the self of the modern and post-modern worlds are psychologies that assume the goodness of the human being and the human being is the source of all wisdom.  So much of what goes on in the name of contemporary education and pediatrics and the entire world of the therapeutic has to do with helping children to be who they want to be. 

Let me just give you a little hint in the Bible, there are sixty-six books about how not to raise your children to be who they want to be, and who they would be otherwise.  But instead what we have is a cannon of scripture about how to raise them not to be pagans and it begins with teaching.  They are not going to know these things if they are not taught time and time again Israel is told you teach.  Every single member of the covenant people is a teacher. 

Most specifically, every parent is a teacher.  One of the first callings of the parent is to teach lest our own children become pagans.  Because if we do not teach, it is not that they will not be taught, it’s that they will be taught by teachers who will teach a very different reality, teachers who will inculcate paganism in our own children.  If we do not teach them they none the less will be taught.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons, you shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 

You have to teach them very specific things.  They are to teach the law that is very, very important, that is central to Israel’s responsibility.  Parents were to teach their children the law.  That is the reality and it gets to the second issue, which is discipline, because to teach is to discipline.  To teach is to have disciples or followers, to be disciples is to learn a discipline, it is to follow.  Now we use the word discipline in an altogether too restrictive sense and I’m thankful we use it in any sense at all to tell you the truth in a world as confused as ours.  But we confuse discipline with punishment. 

The bad news for modern and for pre-modern humanity is that punishment is a necessary part of discipline because we are a hard-headed people.  It still remains true that a good many of the lessons that must be learned by discipline are learned by punishment.  However, discipline is an over-arching term which means the making of a disciple.  It means to inculcate not only a knowledge of the head, but a following in the way because that’s what Israel is called here to do. 

Parents are to make certain that their children know enough that they actually follow in the way.  They become not only those who are aware of the covenant, not only those who are aware of the law, but those who obey the law.  Look how many times obey comes in here and the default position again is that if they are not taught, they will not know.  But they also have to be taught in such a way that they are disciplined by that teaching so that they obey and so that they follow. 

The warnings here are very clear as you see the warnings especially for Israel entering into the land of conquest in verse 10— “Then it shall come about when the Lord brings you into the land which he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give you great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill and cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and other trees which you did not plant.  You eat and are satisfied, then what, then comes grave and deadly danger, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” 

The great danger is that God’s people forget, and in that forgetfulness, they will disobey and in that disobedience they will stray.  The stakes cannot be higher let’s just look at the statistics that we know, without even having to count the numbers we know that we are losing our young. 

Evangelical churches are experiencing the phenomenon of having young people graduate from high school and then disappear from the life of the church.  The reality is that we do not have to have anything above anecdotal evidence in terms of our own knowledge to realize that we are failing to do here what Israel was commanded to do.  The proof is in the fact that we see our own children walking away and entering into a paganism that we are to teach and discipline them to reject. 

The last word is diligence and it comes up again and again.  In verse 17 we read, “You should diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God.  Diligence is required because this is not an anecdotal, once in a lifetime, every once in awhile responsibility.  This is the full time, birth to death responsibility of the people of God.  There is no opportunity to let the guard down, there is no safe place where we can say this task is accomplished, there will always be the need to teach and to discipline the people of God and starting at the family to teach and to discipline children. 

It’s diligence that is called for.  It’s pictured here in this passage as we read and have already seen, the calling to teach is when you are in your house sitting, and when you are out of your house, walking.   For Israel that meant 24/7 because at any given time they were either inside the house and sitting or outside and walking in the way, this means all the time and this is one of our key responsibilities as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in the twenty-first century. 

We’ve got to teach Christian parents how to teach their children all the time.  This means knowing how to translate every event of life, decision of life, and moment of life into a teaching opportunity and to understand that every single waking conscious moment children are being taught.  It requires diligence; the Christian parent has to be taught how to translate every single moment, every decision, and every incident into an opportunity to teach.  If that is not done, our children will be taught by others making the same observations, experiencing the same experiences, seeing the same things with their eyes.  The diligence here, the context here of God’s covenant people, the importance of the family is made clear at the end of this passage when the son comes to the father and says, alright, what’s all this about? 

Why do we have these laws, why do we have to live this way, why can we not live as others live, why can we not eat and drink as others do, why can we not follow in the ways of others, why can we not do what they do, why can we not give ourselves the creativity to which they give themselves with their paganism why can we not give ourselves to the idolatrous practices that they know and do, why can we not do these things? 

Well it comes down to this, we were slaves of pharaoh in Egypt and the one true and living God brought us out with His mighty hand and His outstretched arm.  He brought us out of that bondage in order that He could bring us in here.  He preserved us.  I’m telling you this because I’m of the generation that was preserved in the wilderness until such time as the Lord brought us to the threshold of this land He has given us. 

We are not here by accident, we are not here by our own name, and we are not here in our own power.  We are a people who belong to the one true and living God, and it is grace to us to know how you would have us to live.  For a God who would rescue us from bondage to pharaoh would give us what we need to know in order to live to His glory.  You’ll notice that time and time again in Deuteronomy chapter 6 it also says and for our good.  It is our blessed knowledge to know that what brings God greatest glory is where we will find our greatest good and we will experience our greatest joy. 

We are in an altogether different position than this parent in Israel, because when our son and our daughter comes to us and says what do these things mean, we do tell the story of an exodus, but it’s not an exodus from slavery to pharaoh in Egypt, it’s an exodus from slavery to sin. 

Child but for the grace of God we would be just as everyone else.  But for the fact that God loved us and His son the Lord Jesus Christ we wouldn’t live in a way any differently or any better than anyone else. 

But for the fact that God in Christ was reconciling sinners to Himself, we would be just as blind, we would be just as hopeless, but the Lord God brought us out of slavery to sin and He did so by His son who died on Calvary’s cross and shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins.  We are a purchased people and that means not just that we can’t live as others live, it means that we don’t have to live as others live, its grace to us. 

When your son asks you in time to come, saying what mean these things, that’s when we will find out what it means to see the glory of God in the family.  Writ large the glory of God in the church, the glory of God in a fallen world, when God’s people say, let me tell you what these things mean.

Bob:  Well we’ve been listening today to part two of a message from Dr. Al Mohler, the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  It’s a great reminder that the hope of every civilization really can be boiled back to what’s going on in that civilization’s smallest unit, the family.  The hope of churches can be narrowed down to what’s going on in the churches smallest units, the family.  Really the family is the cornerstone of any kind of civilization.

Dennis:  It is and so goes the family, so goes the nation.  I believe today the way to address the spiritual poverty of our nation is by equipping families to do just what Dr. Mohler has instructed us to do here this week.  He’s encouraged us to teach the truth about God to our children and equip them to know that truth and to live out that truth in their generation.  If you think about it, if they don’t have that truth, they’re going to be left to find their own way in the midst of who knows what kind of evil, Bob that will be perpetrated upon them. 

I really think we have a generation today that’s at risk because I just wonder at points, Bob, if young families today are taking the command of Deuteronomy 6 really seriously in their own families and are teaching the truth about who God is to their sons and daughters.

Bob:  I think there are a lot of families who want to do that they just don’t know where to start.  I think about some of the resources we’ve come across over the years and some that our team has put together, the Just Add Family resource that we’ve got where parents have a family devotion ready to go all they have to do is pull a card out of the box and it’s essentially ready to launch.  Or Charlie Boyd’s book for parents called What God Has Always Wanted, a book that explains the big story of the Bible in a way that children can get it.  

If you go to our web site, FamilyLifeToday.com we’ve assembled there a number of resources that are designed to help parents who have heard what Dr. Mohler has been talking about today and they say ok, I’m ready, I want to do this, I want to make sure that I am passing along the truth of God’s word to my kids.  I’m just not sure exactly how to do it.   We’ve got resources designed to help you with that. 

Again, our web site is FamilyLifeToday.com.  You can also call us if that is easier at 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number.  That’s 1-800-358-6329.  Just ask what resources are available, how you can get them sent to you, someone on our team can answer any questions you have and make arrangements to get what you need sent to you.

You know this assignment of parents making the spiritual hand-off to the next generation is really one of the four core message that we have here at FamilyLife.  We’re committed through this broadcast and through all of our outreaches to talking about these four things; your walk with God and the need for repentance and purity, we’re committed to talking about the marriage covenant and how important it is for a man and a woman to keep their vow. 

We’re committed to talking about what the Bible has to say about our roles in marriage as husband and wife, as mom and as dad, and we’re committed to helping parents to understand what we can do to pass along a legacy of spiritual vitality to the next generation. 

Some of our listeners really resonate with those four messages and it’s the reason, I think, why some of them have called or gone online to help support the ministry by making a donation.  We’re listener supported, we’re a nonprofit organization, we depend on your donations to continue the work of this radio program and all of the outreaches that are a part of FamilyLife Today.  

So if what we talk about here resonates with you, and you can help with a donation, this month we’d like to send you as a thank you gift a copy of a message from a recent FamilyLife Weekend to Remember marriage conference where Dr. Crawford Lorritts talks about God’s plan for marriage, what it means to leave, and to cleave and to become one flesh with your spouse. 

If you’re making a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, you’ll come to a key code box on the donation form.  Type in the word “GIFT” and we’ll know to send you a copy of this CD.  If you’re donating by phone, call 1-800-FLTODAY, make your donation over the phone and just ask for a copy of the CD we talked about on the radio, they’ll know what you are talking about and we’ll be happy to send it to you. 

And let me just say thanks again to those of you who do support the ministry and if you’ve never made a donation to FamilyLife Today we’d love to hear from you.  We’d love to know that God’s using this program in your life, in your marriage and in your family and we hope you will consider a donation to FamilyLife Today.

Now tomorrow we’re going to be back with one of Dr. Mohler’s colleagues, Dr. Russell Moore.  He’s going to be talking about what the Bible has to say about adoption.  I hope you can join us for that.

I want to thank our engineer today Keith Lynch and our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our host Dennis Rainey I’m Bob Lepine.  We will see you tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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