Summary: 2nd in A series based on George Barna’s book Thermoforming Children into Spiritual Champions.


Text: Ephesians 6:1-4


1. Begin by calling small children up front. Bring out box. Ask them to guess what’s in the box. After they guess bring out the puppies. Let them pet them. Ask them what they think of the puppies. Ask them, “Who made the puppies.” Ask them, “Why do you think God made puppies?” Ask them, “What kind of God would make puppies for us to enjoy?”

2. Last week we began studying a subject that I believe is absolutely crucial to the future of the church.

3. Last week we discussed the fact that, Children are Special to God.

4. Age of conversion slide

5. slide “research regarding.”

6. If children are so important to God, then we must ask, “What do they need from us?”

7. Before you tune me out understand that this topic is important to everyone.

8. So if the spiritual development of our children is important to all of us, What Do Kid’s Need?


I. Parents must recognize that the primary responsibility for spiritual development is theirs.

A. “My naïveté led me to conclude that if parents loved their kids and took care of their material needs, if the school did a good job of addressing intellectual growth, if the Church provided a regular diet of religious teaching and experiences and if the children had opportunities to engage in physical activities that facilitated both fun and fitness, then they would grow up to be fulfilled happy Christians (Barna).”

B. Human development is a complex mixture of growth in five core areas: the moral, spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual dimensions of life. But the basis of each of these areas is one’s spiritual foundation.

C. Character Development – such traits as: respect, courage, honesty, compassion, kindness, humility, generosity, gentleness, loyalty – all of these are predicated on a strong spiritual base

D. Without that base as a point of motivation, developing such attributes is less compelling.

E. The bottom line is that

A person’s moral foundation is either based upon Christian spirituality and God’s Word, or it is based on worldly perspectives

F. Parents are of primary concern, it is the role of the church to support and equip the parents – not to replace them.

G. There are three tiers of influence in American culture today (for children and adults).

1. “In American society today, it appears that the most dominant agents of influence are contemporary music, movies (including videos and DVDs), television programming, the Internet, publications (dominated by books but including magazines and newspapers), laws and public policies, and parents.

2. The second tier of influence agents includes peers, schools, radio, mentors, colleges and universities and siblings.

3. The lower tier of influence encompasses churches and faith communities, adult education, counsel¬ing and therapy experiences, and extended family.’ Naturally, the relative levels of influence vary from person to person, but these tiers appear to reflect what affects most kids in the 5- to 18-age category in America.”

H. So you see why parents are so important.

I. The order of Creation – God created the family before religion, or civil government.

J. Instructions to parents.

Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV) 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

In the nurture, ενπαιδεια. The word here used means, training of a child; hence education, instruction, discipline. Here it means that they are to train up their children in such a manner as the Lord approves; that is, they are to educate them for virtue and religion.

And admonition. The word here used-νουθεσια-means, literally, a putting in mind; then warning, admonition, instruction. The sense here is, that they were to put them in mind of the Lord-of his existence, perfections, law, and claims on their hearts and lives. This command is positive, and is in accordance with all the requirements of the Bible on the subject. No one can doubt that the Bible enjoins on parents the duty of endeavouring to train up their children in the ways of religion, and of making it the grand purpose of this life to prepare them for heaven.

—Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament

II. Parents must first love God and his word, live it and share it with their children. (Deut 6:1-9)

A. They must not be hypocrites.

B. Teach them diligently (Deut 6)

C. Make it part of your entire life. (Deut 6)

III. Raise up a family alter.

Genesis 12:7-10 (ESV) 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. 10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

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