Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE BASICS OF RAISING CHILDREN”

Deuteronomy 6.1-25 

Let’s do something a bit different this morning. Rather than me launching into my sermon, I propose that you and I do something different. Let’s take stock of just a few things before I begin my sermon. Are you game? The ushers are passing out a piece of paper to each person who wants one with three questions I would like you to answer by writing either “Yes” or “No.” Once you fill out the questionnaire, please keep it for future reference. There is no need to show your answers to anyone.

The questions I would like you to answer are, #1, Were your parents spiritual and godly when they raised you, setting an example for you in Church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer while you were growing up? #2, Did your parents pointedly teach you Bible truths from God’s Word by both instruction and personal example? #3, Did your parents implement a plan when rearing you that showed you the rightness of a God-centered and Christ-exalting approach to life that included you understanding how important your salvation was to them?

Please understand that I am not trying to persuade you to betray any loyalties toward your parents. Neither am I encouraging anyone to dishonor either their mothers or their fathers. I seek only to bring you to a mindset that recognizes that, in all likelihood, most of you were raised by moms and dads who loved you but who were pretty much clueless about how to go about preparing you for Christian adulthood and eternity. I know that was the case with my upbringing. If that be true, then you are in many ways like the Jewish people were who were rescued from Egyptian bondage when Moses led them from Egypt to the Promised Land. Their mothers and fathers loved them and wanted the best for them, but they did not grasp what was entailed in properly raising them.

That said, let me make two things clear to you: First, the Law of Moses was not given to you and me, but only to the Jewish people of Moses’ day and their heirs. In Deuteronomy 5.2-3 Moses declared, 

2  The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.

3  The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. 

As well, Romans 3.19 reinforces this understanding, Paul writing, 

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law.” 

What are we to make of this in light of Second Timothy 3.16, which declares, 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”? 

It means that we can learn principles from every portion of God’s Word, even when studying those passages that command Old Testament Jewish people to perform duties that we are not obligated to perform.

These things settled in your mind, turn to Deuteronomy chapter six, where we can review the basics of raising children. This will be especially important to those of you who think that kids basically raise themselves, and all you need to do is feed them, bathe them, clothe them, and keep them from being run over by cars when they play in the street. Perhaps people could get away with that approach to child rearing back in the days when kids grew up on farms or in neighborhoods where stay-at-home moms looked out for their own and everyone else’s kids on the block. But we don’t live in that world anymore. The world we live in has schools teaching kids that Islam and transgenderism are acceptable, has neighborhoods with registered sex offenders living in group homes, and with middle and high school kids since Bill Clinton’s presidency who think oral sex isn’t sex at all. Who would be so foolish to deny that our children are in great danger?

Our text is Deuteronomy chapter six, which I will divide into four parts for reading, observation, and application: 

First, MOSES ENCOURAGES OBEDIENCE IN LIFE 

1  Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:

2  That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

3  Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. 

In verse 1 Moses assures the children of Israel that he was passing on to them only what the LORD their God had commanded him to teach them for their obedience to Him in the Promised Land. This principle is repeated in the Great Commission directive of Matthew 28.20: 

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” 

The purpose of Moses’ instruction of the Israelites is their wisdom, verse 2, that they would fear the LORD their God and obey Him. However, notice the generational connection of father to son to grandson. The nonsense of “do as I say not as I do” and of fathers who abandon their part of parenting to their wives does not fit into this template for child rearing. The father’s importance in raising children is very prominent in this passage.

Verse 3 shows the relationship that exists between obedience and blessings that is lost on some people these days, who reward their children for disobedience, or who at least give kids what they want whether or not they misbehave. 

Next, MOSES ESTABLISHES THE FOUNDATION FOR LIFE 

4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. 

How is life rightly lived apart from one’s relationship with God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things? And while this passage does not explain how one’s relationship with God is established and maintained, we are here shown the underlying truth about God and the creature’s relationship toward God that applies as much in our day as it did during Moses’ time. Three things that children must be taught by their parents:

First, the doctrine of God. 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” 

Leading the children of Israel from a land of idolatry to a land of idolatry, it is profoundly important that God’s uniqueness and nature be firmly established in the minds and hearts of both fathers and their children. To that end, Moses gave his people the Shema, recited by religious Jews to this day. There would be nothing whatsoever wrong with fathers and their children reciting this verse on a daily basis: 

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” 

Next, one’s duty toward God. The revelation of truth always leads to responsibility in light of that truth. Therefore, in light of what the children of Israel have been revealed about the nature of their God, there is a corresponding duty that normally and naturally falls upon them, and upon us as well, as a direct result of that revealed doctrine. Verse 5: 

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” 

Wouldn’t this also be a great verse for fathers to recite every day with their children? And how long would it take? Five seconds?

Third, the diligence that derives from the duty, owing to the doctrine. The very nature of God demands that His creatures love Him with all our hearts, and with all our souls, and with all our might. To actually do that certain steps must be taken: 

6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. 

Notice the steps involved to love God so: First, the words Moses commanded must be in the hearts of the parents. That’s in verse 6. This corresponds to Psalm 119.11: 

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” 

I wonder how many moms and dads hide God’s Word in their hearts? Next, once God’s Word is in mom’s heart, and is in dad’s heart, then verses 7-9: 

7  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. 

I would suspect that the reason most children are not diligently taught, here, there, and everywhere, is the Word has not been hidden in mom’s heart or dad’s heart. Of course, these principles apply as much in our day as they applied in Moses’ day. 

Third, MOSES ISSUES A WARNING ABOUT PROSPERITY 

10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,

19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken. 

When Israel was ushered into the Promised Land they were given already developed farm land, already mature vineyards, already planted orchards and already built cities. In other words, they were given instant prosperity. The same is true to a great degree with your children. Just as you benefited from your parents’ accomplishments, so your children will benefit from yours. So, there is an application that can be made from Moses’ warnings in this passage that makes what Moses said to them very useful to you in the parenting of your children:

Instruct your children, again and again, do not forget God when you are greatly blessed: 

10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 

Remember that David was very godly and spiritual when he was poor, and when he was in distress, and when he was running for his life. But when so many of his urgent prayers had been answered, and he came to know where his next meal was coming from, he forgot God and committed great sins. When Solomon was young, and his life was threatened by relatives who wanted his throne he walked with God. But when he was established, and secure, and very wealthy, he forgot God and wandered far away. Do you want to make sure your children stay spiritual by making sure they are failures who have to pray down every meal and pray in every new pair of shoes? Or do you aspire for them to be successful in life? The answer is obvious. Then you need to teach them and train them and warn them and caution them, again and again, and again, to be careful not to forget God in their bounty. But, of course, you cannot teach your children what you do not practice yourself.

So, how are children to be prepared for the dangers of future prosperity and success? 

13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

17 Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.

18 And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers,

19 To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken. 

We haven’t the time to go over this passage in meticulous fashion, so allow me to selectively point out some important things to you parents about raising your kids: Verse 13 focuses on fearing God and serving God. How many parents address these issues with their children, both by their instruction and also their example? Not many, I fear. Verse 14 warns against idolatry. In Moses’ day, it was the false gods of the pagans. In our day it is the pursuit of money or fame or power. Anything that becomes more important than worshiping and serving God, even your children, is idolatry. Verses 15-16 warns of God’s jealousy and the consequences of anything being more important to you than He is. Verses 17-19 deal with being diligent and careful to obey God. This certainly goes against the philosophy of so many parents who think kids grow up well when they grow up on their own, using television sets or video games as baby sitters. Not that kids don’t need unstructured time, and lots of it. Children do not need overly structured lives or helicopter mothers who constantly hover over them. But diligence is an important characteristic of all good parenting. 

Finally, MOSES ISSUES DIRECTIONS FOR PASSING IT ON 

20 And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?

21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:

22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:

23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.

24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.

25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. 

Verse 20 anticipates those occasions when children ask questions of their parents, questions about your testimony, about Bible truths, about why your family approaches life the way you do, about God’s will, and things like that. May I suggest that you familiarize your children with their heritage, with where they have come from, and with your personal testimony about God’s dealings with you and your conversion to Christ? They need to hear those stories. Kids want to know both the what and the whys of life. Let’s say you came to Christ when your kids were in grade school, and the only thing they remember is that when you started taking them to Church those weekend fishing trips ended. Do you really want them to associate the Christian faith with no more fishing trips with dad? Unless you tell them, again and again, and again, they will not know or remember the great things that God has done in your life that makes you the person you are. They will only remember that you don’t take them fishing so much anymore. So you need to not only tell them the stories of your life, but encourage them to ask questions about you, about your life, about your upbringing, about your family history, and all the rest.

Verses 21-25 elaborate on the answers Moses urges the Jewish people when teaching their children and answering their questions: Verse 21 would correspond to moms and dads telling their kids about their lives before Christ and about God’s great deliverance when you came to faith in Christ: 

“Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” 

Verse 22 would correspond to your rehearsal of the great things God has done in your life over the years, including His many remarkable answers to your prayers: 

“And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes.” 

Verse 23 ties together your past with your future, explaining how God brought you out of your former life, and what God has in store for you when He fulfills the promises He has made to those who trust Christ: 

“And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.” 

Verse 24 shows how God’s will for your life as revealed in the Bible, and the wisdom you have for living that begins with the fear of the LORD your God, is good for you and your children in ways they may not understand unless you explain it to them again and again as they grow up: 

“And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” 

Verse 25 is a rehearsal of the benefits to you and your family as you obey God’s Word and comply with His will for your lives. At this point you might compare and contrast the blessings God has bestowed on you as opposed to the tragedies that unfold in the lives of so many others whose lives God has not touched because they reject the Gospel and give no thought to God or His ways: 

“And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.” 

This is obviously a survey and overview kind of message. It may very well not apply to those of you whose children are already raised and to those of you who are not parents. But to the parents among us, and to those who will someday be parents, there are two thoughts I would like to leave you with. Then there is a final thought I would like to impress upon everyone.

Here is the first thought. If the words of Moses to the Israelites, being inspired of God and therefore containing Divine wisdom, are of any significance at all, then it is clear that contrary to the thinking of the vast majority of moms and dads in our culture children do not raise themselves. Not that they cannot grow up without much more than food, clothes, and an occasional bath which are left to electronic devices instead of being parented, but they will not grow up well. Notice that Moses paid no attention to sports, beauty aids, or the development of dancing or singing or musical instrument playing skills. His comments about parenting were all over the moral and spiritual aspects of raising children, showing it to be an extremely challenging and time-consuming endeavor. No wonder so few parents pour their lives into this type of parenting when taking kids to theme parks and doing nothing besides is so much easier and also more fun.

On to the next thought. It is not mentioned at all in Deuteronomy chapter 6, but these child rearing instructions clearly take place without any exposure of the Jewish children to the surrounding nations. For forty years they were isolated from the Egyptians, they had left behind and the surrounding Gentile peoples they were passing by. And once they entered the Promised Land their exposure to other cultures would continue to be very limited. Even in that insulated environment the steps to be taken to properly raise children required great dedication and diligence on the part of parents. You see no danger when your child goes to school every day to sit under the influence of an infidel, to be programmed by infidels, and to develop friendships with classmates who themselves are infidels? Are you okay with that? It doesn’t bother you at all? You see no spiritual threat to your child with that?

Your youngster comes home from school, and you see no need to debrief him, to discover what wickedness he has been exposed to, what demonic doctrines he might have been taught? And this when we know that in some schools children are being taught the Quran and the Muslim faith? And some kids are being taught by homosexuals and transgender teachers? You think that might not affect your child’s views of right and wrong? I would think that as challenging as Moses showed parenting to be in an insulated environment with little exposure to sinful influences during their wilderness wanderings, the challenges to moms and dads in our day would be far greater, requiring a much keener determination and diligence to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Imagine how irresponsible it is for a future mom or dad to give little or no serious thought to the spiritual condition of the person they consider for marriage and the affect such a life choice would have on the eternal destiny of the children they will someday have.

These are serious considerations, to be sure. Is there nothing moms and dads can do? Yes, there certainly is. Get on top of it. Teach and train your children. Don’t expect what you don’t inspect, in their classrooms, in their after school activities, and with their friends. If you are at all concerned about your child’s friends and the impact they will have on your child, then do what you can to reach your youngster’s friends and their families. Invite them to Church, repeatedly. Get them to vacation Bible school. Make sure everyone plays at your house and under your supervision, and not at the friend’s houses with who knows what kind of supervision. Your children are at risk, but there is much you can do with some thought.

But there is another consideration that I want to leave with you as my final thought. What are we to do with the boys and girls of parents who simply do not care? What responsibilities are we left with concerning the kids who are raised by television sets or computer games, and whose parents think they are good moms and dads because they take their kids to theme parks on their birthdays, but otherwise have no concern for their eternal and undying souls?

Raising kids is very challenging, which is why so many put so little real effort into it. Pets are easier than children, aren’t they? But pets don’t die and go to Hell, and children do if they grow up, and live, and die without Christ. Which is why I urge you to consider participating in our Sunday School ministry. Maybe it’s not for you. You have no great burden for children, and watching them grow up without the Gospel has no effect on you. Okay. Sunday School ministry is not for everyone. But you may yet be young enough to play a part. Or you may be old enough to play a part. Some people are too old to be involved in Sunday School. Others are too young. However, if you are between the ages of 10 and 70, there is probably a role you could play in reaching kids whose parents are irresponsible, whose parents are unconcerned about their children’s eternal welfare, or whose parents are simply ignorant of what to do with children after they have made them.

Children bear the image of God. Children are important to the Savior. Therefore, please consider serving in the Sunday School ministry to reach the kids whose parents are unconcerned, uninformed, of unwilling to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org