The Importance of the Home
One of the ten reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire, given by the secular historian, Gibbons, was the break up of the family unit. The family unit is one of the most important institutions of our civilization. The bulwark of the nation is the united family. If the solidity and sanctity of the home disappears, then the nation disintegrates. The same is also true in regard to the assembly.
Children raised by godly parents will be the backbone of the future assembly. Our future leaders will come from homes like these. God, in His Trinitarian nature, should be known intimately in the Christian home. He should be revered and worshipped. The Lord Jesus should be the head of the household, not a quest.
In this kind of home each family member works together. The love of God is experienced and shared by each member. The Word of God is read and obeyed. Prayer and praise to God is heard. Such a home becomes a Bethany, the nearest thing to heaven on earth.
At this point I want to address four pertinent questions. They are:
1. How can we lead our family by example? In reframing this question, I would say that you can only lead your family by example.
2. How can we lead by teaching?
3. How can we lead through prayer?
4. How can we lead in family devotions?
Parents should view themselves as priests. They are called upon to present God to their children. They do this principally through example. They love God with all their hearts, their soul, and might. Then they show that love to their children. They demonstrate a living, vibrant relationship with the Lord.
Children appreciate sincerity. They despise a phony or a hypocrite, who sits for hours watching T.V. and then spends a few hurried minutes in family worship. Dad and Mom’s constant prayer should be, “Lord, make me real.” We should teach our children through the Word, using material to suit their age group and their attention span. “And that from a child thou hast known the Scriptures.”
Read Deuteronomy 11:18-21. These are the conditions God would like to see in every home. He desires that the Scriptures be laid up in every parent’s heart and in evidence in their lives. He would desire that the Scriptures are placed in strategic places, readily available to the curious young mind. “Train up a child in the way.”
Parents, as priests, should represent (and present) their children before God. There is no substitute for effectual, fervent prayer. Prayerlessness should not be the case. Pray with and for your children and encourage them to pray with you. Husbands should pray for their wives, and wives for their husbands.
Some things to avoid:
- A set of dry rules and regulations.
- A stern and uncompromising moralism.
- A dreary round of formal religious duties, performed with no excitement and no real joy.
Every home should have a family altar. A look into a humble Jewish home on the Passover night would reveal an unusual sight; the family would be standing around a rough table. With staff in hand and well shod feet….they feast on the roast lamb. This is a true picture of the ideal Christian home. It should consist of the whole family, young and old, feeding upon Christ, the Lamb of God. The Jewish father portioned out the roast lamb to the household. The Christian father should share the person of Christ with his family. If the father is derelict in his duty, the mother should take over.
The Lord Jesus’ name should be a household word. He should be the center and circumference of the family activities. The family who meets God regularly in prayer stays together. Parents who pray with their children and teach them the Word and, in the process, exude the joy and ecstasy of Christ are making lasting impressions and forming the character of their children. The future men and women of God come from homes that share and participate in family devotions. “Take this child and nurse it for Me.”
In contrast we cannot be careless about these things. Take the following as examples:
- Lot, the backslider, lost his fortune, his family, and almost his faith in Sodom.
- The four tragedies in the patriarch Isaac’s home – (1) Rebekah’s partiality to Jacob. Isaac loved Esau. (2) Jacob’s covetousness. He obtained Esau’s birthright for a mess of pottage. (3) Esau’s lack of self-control, and (4) Isaac’s family breaking up.
- Eli, the priest, put his two sons before God (see 1 Samuel 2:29-30). His heart and neck were broken for his sin. 1 Samuel 2:30 says, “Them that honor Me, I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.”
Our priorities should be first God, then our spouse, and then our children.