Sunday, December 4, 2016

Our Philosophy

I guess the most logical place to start is with the philosophy/theology that under-girds our decision to make family discipleship a priority in our family. Well, actually maybe we should start with a definition of family discipleship.

Jesus gave His followers a crystal clear commandment right before He ascended into heaven, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).

First, Jesus tells us to "make disciples," so we know that discipleship is the topic here. Next, He gives us some important aspects of discipleship; baptizing them, and teaching them. Now, I think it is fair to expand the rather narrow notion of baptism, which is a solitary act, to also include evangelism which is the necessary precursor to baptism. That is, it would be foolish to simply baptize people without seeing them choose to follow Christ and be born-again in the first place. In other words, we are leading the horse to the (living) water, and then after he or she decides they need it - throwing them in.

Secondly, Jesus tells us to "teach" people to obey what He has commanded. So, discipleship could be seen as sharing the Good News and guiding people in the truth of God's Word.

If we go all the way back to Deuteronomy we have another important command from God to His people, "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your sons and 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" (Deuteronomy 6:6-8). God has some important things He wanted His people to transmit to the next generation and His method of transmission was the family. Notice that the instruction to "teach" is clear in both the Great Commission and Deuteronomy 6. Truly, truly God must be trying to tell us something!

If we combine our understanding of Matthew 28:19-20 and Deuteronomy 6:6-8 we have a pretty good handle on what family discipleship means to us. It means that God has given us a job to do, make disciples of all nations, and that job begins within the four walls of our home, with the precious souls we call our children.

Guiding our children in the truth of God is not some passing fad, it is an actual command from God Almighty. Therefore, we disciple our kids out of obedience to God! Not only that, but it is a task of such monumental importance that I can't imagine wanting to pass it off to someone else. What we desire more than anything in the world is to see our children passionately and madly in love with Jesus Christ, obeying the things He has taught us and following His will for their lives. Why wouldn't we want to be the major contributors to that for them? This is one thing we don't want to farm out to the self-proclaimed experts because no one knows our children like we do, and no one loves them like we do.

Finally, if we take our faith seriously we should be finding great joy in the Lord Jesus and following Him. What could be more exciting than sharing with our children the thing that offers us, and them, the greatest, most complete joy imaginable?