Saturday, February 4, 2023

 


The ORDER of Parenting 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)


THE ORDER OF PARENTING 
God is a God of order and not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14.33). Disorder is a result of worldly, earthly wisdom which is demonic in nature (James 3.15). In parenting, then, order in the home must prevail. Parents should not allow their children to run wild and uncontrolled as if they run the house and “do what they want to do.”  Parents do not sit passive and refuse discipline and reproof “just to keep the peace.” Rather, parents must strive for, pray for, attain, and maintain an orderly environment in the home among the family. This is vital because it represents the character of God and the family of God which is to be orderly. 
 
Parents must exemplify order in their marriage. This means that parents should understand and fulfill their God-given rules and functions in the home. Obeying God in the order of marriage will provide a joy-filled, Godly, enjoyable, and blessed environment in the home for the children to see. 
As parents teach the children, there must be order in the childrearing. 
 
First, this must include discipline from the youngest of ages. There must be order and consistency in the discipline of sin and folly in the lives of young children. Disobedient children need to be taught when they have sinned against God. And God has ordained this discipline to come by means of the rod. As the child continues to grow, the rod may decrease over time as verbal instruction, probing the heart, and dialoguing together increases. Great wisdom is needed and counsel from Godly counselors can help in understanding a good age and season to stop spanking a particular child (though there is not a particular age that it has to automatically stop because children are different). Additionally, the discipline of children should be orderly. There should be the stopping of the situation, the gathering of patience (on the parent’s heart to calm down), going to a private area for the discipline, the asking of questions and gathering of information, the aiming for the heart and desires, ruling motives and wants of the child in that moment and how they then chose to respond, and then the clear opening of the Bible and sharing what God says about the situation and how and why He calls it sin. Then, the parent must spank and use the rod firmly and carefully to bring awaken the child to the folly and danger of unrepented sin and persistent habits of ungodliness. Then, the parent proclaims the gospel of Christ and urges the child to come to Christ through repentance and faith in Christ’s righteousness and substitutionary atonement. 
This order in the home should also show itself in the home-environment. Parents must lead in the home (not the children). Parents must ensure they have a parent-oriented home and not a child-centered home.
 
It can be so helpful for parents to have a schedule and maintain a schedule, or a routine, during the day. Obviously, God brings things that may alter that schedule from time to time, but most often, that schedule should generally provide guidance during the days. Fathers and mothers should come up with this schedule together and fathers should take the lead in implementing it and seeing that it is maintained and that the children are submissive to it and obedient to their mother’s guidance throughout the day (while he’s away at work). 
 
Finally: parents must strive for order outside of the home. When families travel together on vacation, or at a friend’s home for hospitality, or at church, or at school, or at the grocery store, parents must still strive for orderliness and good attitudes and conduct. There should not be rambunctious or uncontrolled children who scream selfishly and throw a temper tantrum. This behavior comes from a selfish heart that should be disciplined firmly. Parents must remember that even in public they ought to maintain a Christian witness before a watching world. Parenting is busy, nonstop and endless opportunities to minister grace, truth, love and instruction to naive children who need to be taught God’s truth and what God expects in a given situation. 
 
As hard and as counter-cultural as this may sound, Christian parents must strive for and maintain order in the home and in their parenting (whether in the home or traveling out and about). Why? Because the true and living God is, by nature, a glorious God of order and peace and not a God of confusion! Let Christian homes emulate this and exude the aroma of God’s character from our families. 

This is part of the ongoing blog series on parenting.


The TEACHING of Parenting

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)

 

THE TEACHING OF PARENTING
Solomon said to his son: “observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother” (Proverbs 6.20). One of the most fundamental and essential obligations God has given to parents is the regular teaching of the children. This presupposes a few things. First, children need to be taught and do not know the way of wisdom on their own.  Second, parents must obey God and make it their priority to actively teach their children. Third, it is a commanded duty from God to all parents to be the primary teachers and instructors of their children.  The teaching of the children must include instruction from Scripture concerning the things of religion and the instruction about wise and practical living for God in society. 
 
First, this should include formal teaching in regular, consistent family worship. Fathers have the leadership obligation to lead their families and manage them well. They should order their homes in peace, unity, love and truth around the Word of God. Fathers should gather all those in the family (wife and children) for regular times of worship to God so as to teach the loveliness of God and the gospel of Christ, to instill Truth in the hearts of the children from the earliest of ages until they are out of the home, and to provide an example to follow for the children when they are married and have families of their own. This formal teaching can include singing, Bible reading and instruction, and prayer. Fathers should take the words of Joshua and make them their own: “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24.15). 
 
Second, parental teaching must also incorporate informal instruction as life is lived together. As parents are “on the go” and innumerable teaching opportunities arise, fathers and mothers should utilize those occasions as God-given, providential occasions to stop and pause to teach the children how to think wisely and discern current events biblically. It could be as you are driving and see something that you need to share a word of teaching with the children. It could be as something comes up on TV, or a commercial, or on social media that provides a teaching occasion. It may be a current event or a world matter or a global disaster that may give opportunity to speak of how to think rightly, process biblically, respond joyfully, and live trustingly in God. 
 
So then, God has given parents to be the primary instructors of the children. The job does not rest on the pastor, or youth pastor, or school teacher, or friend or social media to be the primary influencers of the children. Parents! Parents! A father leading, a mother supporting and coming to his assistance as a team to minister grace and truth to the children in a biblical worldview, to think biblically, to process everything through the lens of Scripture, and to make wise decisions in a crazy world that will honor God and magnify Him. 


This is part of the ongoing blog series on parenting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


The PERSPECTIVE of Parenting

 Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO) 

 
 
THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTING 

The Bible provides all the answers that parents need as they care for, teach, instruct, and minister grace and truth to their children in the home. Christians do not need to look elsewhere for help or for supplemental advice. God’s Word proclaims itself to be the all-sufficient Word to save and to sanctify the man of God so that he may be adequate — prepared for every single good work. And that even includes parenting!  Parents must maintain the proper perspective in their work and duties. 
 
The proper perspective that parents must have is a long-term focus in their work. Parents cannot live by the moment and be discouraged when they don’t see immediate results from their labors. Like a farmer, parents must be patient as they await the harvest. Like a fisherman, parents must diligently cast the line and await God to bring the catch. Undoubtedly, times will come when parents grow weary, tired, discouraged and frustrated because of diligent labors in teaching and discipline, and then it seems like all of that is totally forgotten because the child returns to his foolish ways and discipline is needed again. Don’t lose heart or grow weary. Remember: Paul tells believers not to grow weary in well doing. He even says that your labor is not in vain in the Lord!  Persevere and press on!  Stay focused and stay vigilant.  
 
Christ has called you to this work and brought you to this moment and He will supply you with the necessary strength and grace to persevere through it obediently. So, when parents have faithfully taught and disciplined the children and then it seems like it fell on hard soil, and the child disobeys again, and then the parent is right back in that same discipline room with the same child (again!) — don’t lose heart! When a father gathers everyone together to lead in family worship and it seems like a particular night is a frenzy, with little involvement, and he begins to grow discouraged, let all parents remember that the work of parenting is not dependent on a one-day, or one-event performance. Rather, the proper perspective of parenting calls us to have a long-term focus. Parents must remember that a long, steady, consistent, habitual lifestyle of godliness, regular patterns of instruction and family worship (both formally and informally), and dinners together of conversation, love, laughing, and gospel-talk will, we trust, bring about great rewards in the long haul.  
 
Finally, then, what’s the perspective in parenting?  Don’t live by and parent for the here and now moment. Live and parent with the long-term perspective in view. Children must be trained up in godly character and habits so that they will be well-prepared to leave the home having received what parents have instilled in them all the years of childrearing. So parents must not grow weary and lose heart if a day goes bad, or if a family worship flops, or if there’s a season of regular, daily (hourly!) discipline of a child who continues in his wayward ways. Press on! Persevere! Keep your hand to the plow. Keep parenting with a long-term perspective. God will bless your labors! 

This is part 2 of a 10-part blog-series on PARENTING. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The GOAL of Parenting.

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)

 

The goal of parenting is to glorify God by faithfully obeying the Lord and teaching the children divine Truth. This further fleshes out with more reasons God has given parents to children. 
 
First, parents must diligently instruct the children in the word of God. This should be regular, daily, fervent, passionate, gentle, warm, and age-appropriate. Second, parents must seek to exemplify holiness so the children can see Godliness enfleshed. As parents sin, they should clearly and humbly confess it, ask for forgiveness and grant forgiveness lavishly and immediately. Additionally, parents must strive to prepare their children to be good citizens in society by being submissive to authority, hard-working, respectful, and dutiful and law-abiding. Fourthly, parents must fervently evangelize the children from the earliest of ages so that the children will constantly hear of a glorious God who is holy, just, righteous and true. Parents must instill the reality of sin — and indwelling sin — and call children to see their sin rightly and turn from it decisively and run to Christ for deliverance and grace! Next, parents must provide for and protect the children from dangers in this world. Parents must guard the children from the dangers of this world-system that violently opposes God and His Word. Children must learn the duty of gratitude and the dangers of grumbling. Furthermore, God has given parents to children to discipline them diligently when sin is committed. Parents must vigilantly fight against sin, carefully probe the heart, patiently expose the sin and show its heinousness before God, and tenderly and urgently summon the child to run to Christ alone for salvation from the penalty of sin. 
 
The goal of parenting, then, is to faithfully discharge the duties that God has given in His Word. With this said, the goal of parenting is not ultimately the salvation of the children. Every parent desires the children to be saved by grace but no parent has the ability to save his children’s souls. Faithful parenting is not dependent on the spiritual state of the children. May it be that faithful parents delight in and rejoice in the mercies of God in saving their children as they grow older, but even if the children do not profess faith and walk in holiness, that does not mean that the parents have failed in their obligations. The goal of parenting is always the glory of God and the obedience to His Word. This is also true in the realm of parenting. 

 

This is part 1 of a multi-part series on parenting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Family Worship: Planning What Books To Study

Geoffrey R. Kirkland  (Pastor, Christ Fellowship Bible Church)


As I lead my family, I regularly ponder what texts and themes to teach my children. Of course I recognize that my children won’t remember all of my points (Ha! I only wish that were the case; but I can’t even remember all my own teaching points!). But over the course of time, I do want my children to have a grasp of systematic theology, an overview of the Books of the Bible, practical Christian living, the means of grace, and the importance of knowing God and His attributes. 

We recently concluded a lengthy study through the Book of Proverbs. The way that we chose to work through this book in our evening family worship times consisted of me and my children (as I called on them) reading about 10 verses each (sometimes more and sometimes less) in a chapter.  Then, I would pull out 2 or 3 pertinent verses and drawn out points that specifically relate to where we are as a family or ways in which I want to teach my children.  I found this to be very helpful and beneficial for us. 

Having concluded that, we just began Jonah. I want to carefully work through Jonah with my kids so that I can teach on God’s mercy, the glory of grace, the duty to obey, the call of God to do things that sometimes seems odd and unnatural, the meaning of revival, understanding sinful anger, and the wickedness of prejudice and pride. I hope that God will bless these efforts in coming days as we study this together. 

Then, Lord willing, we’ll transition to a gospel so I can teach through the life of Christ to my kids (again). 

Be thoughtful in your teaching of your children. Be careful in planning and implementing family worship. Christ will help you as you seek to shepherd your families in the Word of God and in the ways of Truth. Don’t give up when the hard and difficult days come. Don’t grow discouraged and give up. Don’t allow a night (or a few nights) of missing due to family busy-ness prevent you from jumping back into the rhythm. Stay at it. Keep your hand to the plow. Never neglect the care of souls — especially those God has entrusted to your care in your own household. May God bless your efforts as you seek to lead and fulfill Joshua’s words in your own family: “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!"

More on Family Worship:  ARTICLES  |  PODCASTS

Wednesday, October 12, 2022


Some Ideas: Practical Ways to Evangelize. 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church 


God commands every Christian to “proclaim the excellencies of Christ.” And this command from the King is a delight to blood-washed slaves! We love to speak of our Lord! We don’t need to be coerced or manipulated or guilted into proclaiming Jesus. True Christians love to speak of their heavenly Lord and Savior. To evangelize, by definition, means to communicate the message of the gospel. So you can't evangelize by just showing Jesus with your good lifestyle. You need to communicate the biblical message of the gospel and call the sinner to respond. 

Here are some practical ideas for you to consider in sharing the gospel. 

  1. Hand a gift bag with an enclosed tract to someone who is on the side of the road begging (often, at a stop light at a busy intersection). As you roll down the window to give them the bag, give them a verbal expression of care and compassion with a 30-second gospel explanation with a clear call for them to turn to Jesus in full surrender. 
  2. When a new neighbor moves into the area, go visit them with a plate of cookies together with a gospel tract. Introduce yourself, let them know that you’re here for them if they need anything. Consider sharing where you go to church and that you gave them a welcome note as well that you’d urge them to read and consider. 
  3. As you parent your children, and when they disobey, use that as a God-given opportunity to proclaim the Law and the gospel to your children. Show them their sin with an open Bible by pointing out the text to them, showing their guiltiness before God, and calling them to trust Christ the substitute who died in the stead of ruined sinners. Your children will give you plenty of opportunities to proclaim this gospel as they sin and need parental and loving reproof. 
  4. Write a letter to a relative or family member. Maybe a parent or a child or a sibling or an extended family member is lost and your heart yearns for their salvation. And perhaps a rift exists in your relationship. Prayerfully write a letter expressing your love for them, love for God, love for truth, and love for their soul. Then proceed to convey the gospel by explaining it with Scripture references and a clear call to respond in repentance, submission and faith to Jesus Christ. 
  5. As you go to a store and purchase something (grocery store, Starbucks, hardware store) and someone serves you at the register or at the check-out counter, have a gospel tract on hand and cheerfully and warmly offer them a “Thank You” gospel tract and say: I want to thank you for serving me today. Here is a message that is for you and I give it to you with great compassion because it has changed my life forever! 
  6. We enjoy eating out at restaurants. When your server comes to take your order, then consider saying: “We pray before our meals; how can we pray specifically for you today?”  This open-ended question can lead to a great softening of the heart and a window into his (hurting) life.  Then, when you’re finished, leave a generous tip (!) together with a gospel tract. 
  7. Everyone has to get gas. When you are filling up your vehicle with gas, consider putting a gospel tract in the credit-card slot in each of the pumps. Then, when you leave the next person will come and pull out the gospel tract and read it. 
  8. Invite someone from your church to go with you to a local high school when classes get out in the afternoon.  When the final bell rings, stand on the public sidewalk as the kids are walking home and, with a smile and a warm greeting, offer the kids to know the Truth of the good news of God their maker.  See how many will take and receive a gospel tract from you! 
  9. Get some chalk and do “Chalk Evangelism.”  Simply on a public sidewalk, chalk out simple phrases of the gospel, Scripture references, Bible verses, and warnings of eternity on the sidewalk. Be sure to compel people to trust Christ and flee to Him for salvation without delay! Many people who walk dogs, run, and walk for exercise will see and read these messages on the sidewalk! 
  10. Have family worship regularly, daily and diligently. As you gather the family to worship God together, as a family unit, you will have many opportunities to speak of God, Christ, sin, man, salvation, the Church, and end-times. Undoubtedly, there may be unbelievers in your midst in family worship: perhaps a young child, or an unconverted teenager, or a friend or a neighbor. Family Worship can be a beautiful and obedient act of worship to Christ as well as a sweet evangelism opportunity as you read and instruct from the Word of God to all who have gathered. 

You can find podcasts and articles on evangelism at Geoff's website.

Thursday, September 29, 2022


My pastoral prayer 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, Missouri)



O Mighty God, Make me a man of of holiness.  Make me a man of... 
 
1. Proclamation 
O Truthful God, make me a man who proclaims the Word — your Word — with greater power, passion, force, authority, and fidelity. I long to be used of the Lord as a faithful spokesman for His Word. I want to be a man full of the Word, endowed with the Spirit, and enflamed with holy love as I herald forth the Word of God, the whole counsel of God.  
 
2. Power
O God of might and power, make me a man of indomitable power. Enable me to do what I cannot do on my own. Take me to places and put me in situations where I am weak and impotent in myself and yet I find your all-enabling grace and divine power more than sufficient for my needs. Make me a man of power as I study, pray, preach, counsel, shepherd, visit, evangelize, and disciple. Make the ministry a powerful, unstoppable, effective, faithful ministry. 
 
3. Prayer
O Holy Lord who is seated above the Cherubim, You who incline your ear toward me, such a weak creature of yours, and you invite me to come boldly to Your throne of grace! Show me the necessity of prayer, early prayer, urgent prayer, prioritized prayer. Make me to see and feel the urgency of prayer. Allow me to see even more demonstrations of answered prayer, your providential workings through prayer, and increased fruitfulness through prayer. Wake me earlier in the morning to commune with you in prayer. Show me the uncompromising importance of meeting with you before I meet with men. O God, make me more of a man of desperate, persistent, shameless, importunate, believing, powerful prayer. 
 
4. Piety
O God of unrivaled holiness and supremacy, you are unique and glorious. You are infinitely holy and impeccably perfect. I long to live more fully and more wholly in the Christian practice of my heavenly call! Sanctify me more. Use whatever is needed to make me more into a man of Christlikeness. Let me be holier each day. Make me as holy as a justified sinner can be this side of heaven! Chisel away the dross that still remains. Smooth out the rough, ungodly, self-impassioned lusts and desires. May I emulate Christ and His holy love. 
 
5. Patience 
O God of perfect patience and unspeakable long-suffering, You call me to imitate you and to walk in love. I so often walk in impatience and in selfishness. How often I want what I want and I desire my comforts and my agenda and my passions and my schedule. And when it doesn’t happen my way, I so often get angry and impatient. O Lord, grant patience in my life and in my ministry. Help me to shepherd with patience, to counsel with patience, to pray with patience, to disciple with patience, and to evangelize the lost with Christlike patience. As Paul tells pastors: Be patient with all men. Help me in this.
 
6. Purity
O God of faithful purity and love, grant that I would be pure in doctrine, pure in morality, pure in sexual love toward my wife, pure as an example for my children and the church that I’m called to shepherd. May I be above-reproach and always walking with a clean conscience. Let me not give into sin even a little bit. Make my conscience so sensitive so that I would see my sin, acknowledge it, confess it, hate it, forsake it, and replace it quickly! Let me not tolerate sin, or laugh at it, or minimize it, or re-label it, or compare myself with others when I see my sin. O Lord, make me a pure man who walks in your Word. Keep your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me!

Thursday, September 15, 2022


Four Reminders of My Pastoral Ministry. 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland,  Christ Fellowship Bible Church 


1. The motive - know Christ & preach Him
The motive of my heart consists in knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul said: I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This passion consumed Paul. His heart throbbed with the glory of God and the knowledge of Christ. He pursued the Lord intimately and lived for God fully. The driving force and the compelling purpose of the life of a shepherd must be to know Christ and make Him known to others. Nothing less will keep a man going strong. The ultimate motive must continually consist in a relentless, unshakeable, and deepening knowledge and love for Jesus Christ. 

2. The mission  - to preach the WORD (full counsel)
My mission, given by God and clarified by Scripture, demands that I preach the Word of God. I am called to herald forth God’s Truth. To herald means that I cry out passionately, clearly, urgently and precisely what the King has ordered me to declare. What I preach must be nothing other than the written Word of God, the Scriptures. I must preach the Bible. Paul declared the whole counsel of God to believers and the Bible calls all shepherds to preach the Word — all the Scriptures that make us wise unto salvation. All the doctrines must be preached. All the texts must be expounded. All the truths must be affirmed. The exegetical nuances and theological points must be known and proclaimed faithfully. My duty compels me to study intensely, to pray desperately, to craft the message carefully, to ascend the pulpit soberly, to exposit passionately, and then to trust God for results. 

3. The mechanics  to my ministry - to hold on to these 4 non-negotiables

  1. preach - my foremost duty is to preach and expound the Word of God to feed the people of God with divine Truth. 
  2. pray - that which makes my ministry, my preaching, my shepherding, my counseling effective is the almighty power of the Holy Spirit. So I must pray for power, intercede for the flock, care for the sick and weak and plead for lost souls to be converted. 
  3. pastor - I love the calling to ’shepherd the flock of God’. I must love God’s people as a faithful under shepherd pointing them to Christ and emulating Christ before the people of God. 
  4. stay - When ministry becomes so difficult and hardships arise and the temptation is to leave and move to another place of ministry, I must, by God’s grace and with biblical wisdom, seek to be faithful to serve and care for God’s people in this local assembly for the long haul. I do this because I love the people with genuine affection to see them know Christ, persevere with Christ, run the course, and finish well. 

4. The majesty - the high calling: ambassador, herald.
Awesome is the privilege to serve as a herald of Heaven’s Sovereign. Nothing can compare. The King of heaven has summoned me to partake of ministry together with Him to serve Him so that He makes his appeal to sinners through my lips. As Paul said: we are working together with God — and so we urge sinners to not receive the grace of God in vain. No greater calling ever existed than to serve the Lord as a spokesman, a prophet, a declarer, a herald, a messenger for the Lord. The calling is quite simple, really. I must take His message and deliver it the way He intended it to be communicated with the same force, sobriety, emphasis, balance, and authority to the hearers. When the word has been spoken, the work of the preacher is done. He leaves the results to God. So my high calling has seized my soul and has captured me with sovereign arms of love and driven me to prayer, to desperation, to humiliation, and to praise for such a calling to be the mouthpiece of the Lord. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

 


HOW YOU CAN ACTIVELY CARE FOR YOUR FELLOW MEMBERS AT CHURCH

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

When the church welcomes in new members, we have another opportunity to express biblical love toward the saints. How can we practically and actively show loving care toward our fellow members in the local church?  What are some practical pieces of advice by way of implementation?  I’ll present five pieces of counsel.


Print it & pray thru it. — When you receive the email with the updated membership directory listing all the names of the current members, you have a wonderful opportunity.  I would encourage you to print off multiple copies of the names of the members. When you print the list, you can put one copy in your Bible or by your desk for your morning Bible reading & prayer time. Perhaps you could put the other copy by your desk at work or in your car as you commute. God calls us to pray for the saints, all the saints. We are to show genuine love toward each other by thanking God for one another and interceding for all the saints. Perhaps you take 3-5 names each day and bring each before the Throne of Grace. Maybe you devote a particular day or two each week in your morning prayer time and pray through a larger number of members. But the point remains the same: intentionally pray for the fellow members in the church body. Consider having deliberate times of prayer in your family worship time where each member in your family prays through people in the Church. This is a great way to teach the children to pray for the church family.
 

Hospitality with intentionality.  — Another idea might include hospitality toward God’s people. Perhaps you could prayerfully consider opening your home periodically to a family, or perhaps even a couple of families prayerfully joined together for this time. When you invite them over, share a meal, have family worship, a time of prayer, and seek to get to know each other in a deeper way. When the folks leave, make it your aim to know them better and have one specific way you can pray for them (and then follow up!).
 

Write letters to edify.  — Something nearly lost in our media-driven age is the art and blessing of hand-written letters. There is something so encouraging and comforting to receive a hand-written letter in the mail and know that your fellow members are praying for you. You hear what’s on their heart. You are exhorted to greater love for Christ and driven to greater holiness through their stimulating reminders. Consider writing two letters a week to folks. See how this will encourage you and encourage them in the pursuit of Christlikeness. Be thoughtful in what you say, in Scriptures you include, in affirmations and reminders of Christ’s great love, and in carefully-crafted exhortations toward greater holiness.  See how this will encourage the people of God! Young children can do this as well as the oldest and most seasoned saints. The sick and home-bound can do this. Try it and see how the Lord adds His blessing to this endeavor.
 

Pray for kids’ salvation.  — You may also want to print out the listing of the childrens’ names so that you can commit to praying for them — regularly, specifically, individually and proactively. We know that our children are under the Word of God corporately when we meet and also domestically when the fathers and mothers teach the kids divine Truth, but we also understand that unless God supernaturally regenerates their hearts, they cannot hear nor understand nor apply these things. We need to beg God to save the children of our church. Let’s be like the Prophet Samuel when he said: Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. Pray earnestly! Pray specifically! Pray believingly! Pray that God would save our kids and use them powerfully for the advance of the gospel locally and globally.
 

Seek to greet all the saints.  — When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he said: greet all the brethren. Likewise, the author of Hebrews said: Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. To greet the saints includes a genuine, heartfelt welcome of Christian love when we see each other for the meetings of the Church.  Obviously, you cannot get to every single person every Sunday to greet them. So make it your aim to greet a few people specifically, genuinely and intentionally each Sunday. And then the next time you gather with the church, seek to find a few new folks. The following meeting, you can reach out to a handful of different folks. But the goal is to speak a word of edification, of encouragement, a warm handshake, a genuine expression of Christian care and stimulation to love and good deeds!

As you seek to consider these practical pieces of advice, may the Lord encourage you as you creatively and intentionally love one another in the Church family.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


WHEN A KID PROFESSES FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST: WHAT DO YOU DO? 

Geoffrey R. Kirkland 

Christ Fellowship Bible Church,  St Louis, MO

 

Maybe you're a parent begging God to save your children. Perhaps you have children in the home that you've been teaching, training, exhorting, disciplining, and pointing to Christ regularly for years. And your earnest heart-cry is for them to be drawn to Christ savingly so as to know Him, love Him, enjoy Him, and glorify Him with their lives!  You also recognize that you cannot save them and achieve this work for them. God must save their souls. But, what if a child does come to you and profess faith in Jesus Christ? Then what? What do you do? How do you respond? You respond with immediate excitement and joy but you also recognize the importance of true submission and surrender to Christ. Yes, a devotion to following Him is essential! What are some pastoral "helps" that could guide you when a kid professes faith in Christ?   Here are some suggestions:

  1. Rejoice and encourage them! — If your child speaks to you and says they have put their faith in Jesus Christ, your immediate response should be one of encouragement and joy measured with sobriety and compassion. You want to be sure to keep two crucial realities in balance with one another. First, you want to respond with joy and excitement because the best thing your children can do is profess faith in Christ and walk in the fear of the Lord! At the same time, secondly, you want to respond with sober-mindedness and a compassionate caution so that you don’t immediately give a full-blown affirmation of their salvation at the instant of their profession. Why? Salvation is not a decision but a devotion of one’s life to Christ. Salvation is not just profession of Christ but possession of Him. So, rejoice! Encourage your child! Hug them! But be thoughtful and caring and compassionate and wise with your choice of words. 
  2. Rehearse the gospel with them! — Take the time and make the priority to be with your child and ask them questions about what led up to their decision to follow Jesus. After you probe the heart and dig out their heart-desires and motives, then be sure to rehearse (again!) the saving gospel with them. Remember to carefully show them, from the text, the good news of the simple gospel of Christ. At the same time, emphasize the response to this gospel message. One must repent (turn from sin) and believe (trust fully in Christ alone). This will inevitably result in an abiding in Christ, a walking in holiness, a love for God’s Word and God’s people, and a joy in obeying in Him. Ensure that your child understands not just the facts of the message but the demand of a disciple!
  3. Affirm your care to journey with them! — I believe at this point the parent should again affirm that he will walk the entire journey together with his child. Let them know that you are here with them, to help them, to guide them, to minister to them, to shepherd them, and to point them to Jesus.  The goal of this step is to assure your child that you commit to walking with them not just to a decision about Jesus but a daily, ongoing journey with Jesus Christ in His Word, in prayer, with God’s people, in holy living. 
  4. Explain good works & Spirit-given fruit bearing! — Your child has heard you speak of these truths many times. But at this point, it behooves the parent to explain again the reality that no good tree can produce bad fruit and no bad tree can produce good fruit. The point of this? It emphasizes that a tree is known by its fruit — and yet its fruit doesn’t automatically grow and appear overnight. But it takes time for the tree to grow, mature, bear fruit. But yet it inevitably and certainly will do so. Encourage this with your children. Tell them what Christ expects of His own whom He saves. Let them know that if they are truly Christ’s, the Spirit of God will most certainly bear the fruit of the Spirit in their hearts and lives.
  5. Encourage that if God has saved, he’ll keep them & bear fruit in them! — One important element in the shepherding of young hearts is that they don’t believe your affirmation to give them their soul’s salvation, but you want them to trust Christ and rest in His promises. That means that you want to continually point to the Spirit of God who will bear witness (testify) with their heart if they are truly children of God. And, at the same time, you want to assure them to cling to the promises of God for those who believe. Again, you can encourage your child that if God has truly saved their soul, He will manifest fruit in them and so prove to be His disciples and He will keep them and protect them until glory. 

What an exciting time as a parent with children who grow up hearing of Christ, studying His Word, sitting in family worship, learning the catechisms, and understanding biblical truth. We pray for and earnestly implore God to save our children by His sovereign grace. They must be born again! We know that. And we recognize we are entirely powerless to accomplish such a soul-work. Only God can change the heart! But when your child makes a profession of faith. Walk cautiously but compassionately.  Walk with love and with grace. Pastor them diligently, carefully, biblically, and patiently — just like a pastor walks with someone who professes faith in the congregation. 

May the Lord give grace, wisdom, and discernment as we seek to honor Christ and shepherd the souls of children faithfully.
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