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Simple

It had almost become like a game, a competition of sorts. First the Sadducees, then the Pharisees…back and forth they went, attempting to make Jesus stumble with His words. If only they could get Him to say something, anything, that undermined or conflicted with the Law of Moses it would disprove Jesus’ claim on Messiahship.

 

On the heels of many unsuccessful attempts, immediately after another failure by the Sadducees, the Pharisees stepped back up to the plate: “And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:34—40) 

 

The question, “which command in the law is the greatest?” is like asking, “Jesus, what is the greatest, most important thing we can spend our lives doing—which, of all 613 commands, should we be most focused on fulfilling?” With the Jews hoping He might defy Moses, Jesus does exactly the opposite by quoting part of the Shema as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Then, without missing a beat, Jesus gives this expert in the law more than He asked for by quoting part of Leviticus 19:18: “love your neighbor as yourself.” Finally, so that no misunderstanding could be felt, Jesus puts the stamp of divine authority on His answer by stating that every part of the Law of Moses is summarized by these two, virtually inseparable commands. In fact, in 1 John 4:20—21 we read: If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen. And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother.

 

These two commands are Christianity simplified. Because God has reacted to sinful humanity by accomplishing salvation through Jesus for all who will receive it, so too has He given those who trust in Jesus for salvation simplified purpose for this lifetime: to love God and love others. So simple are these commands that if one were to fully live them out there would be need need for the 613 commands in the Law of Moses; they would already be perfectly fulfilled!

 

And there are no strings attached. Love for God is unselfish, loyal, and kind intention and commitment to God. It is a covenant love; an unbreakable love that never ceases to exist. To love God with heart, soul, and mind means generally to love God with everything you are, in every possible way, and to prefer nothing or no person over Him. Love for people indicates a concrete responsibility; the act of being useful and beneficial to all others. It is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person in which one gives oneself to another to bring the relationship to God’s intended purposes—to help them live as God has designed life to be lived. Love for God and others is not overly complicated, but it does require great humility, selflessness, intentionality, and perseverance.

 

So rather than than failing to fully relate to God, or make him the center of our lives, or guard ourselves against the Enemy’s attacks; or becoming bitter, jealous, resentful, divisive, judgmental, or hateful, we are to love God and love others. How? If you have trusted in Jesus for salvation, being reconciled to God and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, you are to simply put forth every ounce of effort to fulfill these two commands as an act of worship to God and expression of thankfulness to Jesus for salvation.

 

So how about it? Rather than pursuing meaningless endeavors and pursuits during this lifetime, how about we pursue our God-given purposes? Though such a pursuit, both individually and corporately as the church, may God be glorified and the church be unified and lost souls be brought to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.

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Why I love the Church

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In Matthew 16 Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The disciples responded by sharing what folks around Jerusalem were saying. Not satisfied, Jesus asked, “But what about you…who do you say I am?” Never-slow-to-speak Peter responded with his strongest declaration recorded in Scripture: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” About this declaration Jesus went on to say, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)

 

Indeed, the gates of Hades have yet to overcome the church of Jesus Christ! The church, instituted by Jesus, launched with the great commission, and sustained by the Holy Spirit has been attacked (from without and within), harassed, spoken ill of, subjected to never-ending criticism, and misunderstood for over 2000 years, yet she stands as strong as ever on the rock of Jesus Christ and His mission and purposes.

 

Despite the reality that many in our modern world think ill of the church, including many Christians, I love God’s church for the following reasons:

 

  1. The Church belongs to God, not man. The church, universal and local, exists because of God, for God, and empowered by God. Though the church is made of people, the church does not belong to people. While I often say things like, “this is MY church,” the reality is that the church belongs to God alone. And if the church belongs to God, in His timing and according to His will He will defend and extend the church until the day that Christ returns.

 

  1. The Church is made of people. The church would be a boring place if I were the only person present in it. Thankfully, the church is a gathering place for those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation. As such, the church is a diverse body. A body in which people from different places, backgrounds, and seasons of life, with different preferences and gifts and abilities can converge together in Holy Spirit initiated unity for the sake of glorifying God, growing up into mature followers of Jesus, and fulfilling God’s great commission. The church is the place in which I, with fellow Christ-followers, can engage in the worship and purposes of God.

 

  1. The Church is NEVER-changing and EVER-changing. The church is NEVER-changing in that the rock on which the church is built and the mission for which it exists has and will never change. That Jesus is the rock, and that God’s purposes as revealed by Jesus in the great commandment and great commission (evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, & worship) are without expiration, guarantee that the church’s reason for existence is NEVER-changing. But the methods through which the church accomplishes its reason for existence are EVER-changing. While Jesus is the rock, and He established the purposes on which the church is built, the methods through which the church functions have not been specifically prescribed. The core components of musical (AND lifestyle) worship, preaching & teaching of the Word, fellowship, and missions & ministry are commanded but not spelled out in detail. Why? As Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, the context and world in which we live will always be changing. And as changes occur, the methods through which we accomplish our God-given purposes can (and should) change too. As a result, style changes, but the truth of God’s Word and command to worship does not. Facilities shrink and grow larger, but the charge to go and make disciples does not. Programs start strong and fizzle out, but the ministry or mission that they accomplish does not. The rock on which the church is built and the mission and purposes for which it exists is NEVER-changing, but the methods through which they are accomplished is ever-changing.

 

While there are many reason why I love God’s church, these are a few that top my list. What are additional reasons for why you love God’s church?

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The Stuff that Drives Me Crazy

One of the things I enjoy about streaming music on Spotify is that on the radio setting it causes me to listen to all kinds of songs and artists. Such was the case this morning, when during my workout, Francesca Battistelli’s song “This is the stuff” came on (my Audio Adrenaline station might I add). The first two lines of the chorus go, “This is the stuff that drives me crazy, This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately.” Those lines sung over and over throughout the song caused me to begin thinking about the stuff that drives me crazy.

Since I was at the gym it only seemed appropriate to begin there: it drives me crazy when someone swipes the weights I am using. It drives me crazy when the restroom has no paper towels in the dispenser. It drives me crazy when the house music is so loud that I can hear it over the John MacArthur sermon coming through my ear buds. Then I extended my lamenting: bad drivers drive me crazy. Period. Cardinal losses drive me crazy. Botched coffee orders drive me crazy. The fact that my house does not remain pristinely clean drives me crazy. The fact that I’m a time oriented individual and my five year old doesn’t always operate according to my schedule drives me crazy. The lawn requiring a cut every week drives me crazy. The bees that invaded my backyard drive me crazy. Still, I went deeper. Casual Christianity drives me crazy. A false teacher leading folk’s astray drives me crazy. Majoring on the minor and minoring on the major in church life drives me crazy. Criticism, backbiting, and negativity among Christians drive me crazy. Pouring into students in hopes of being used of God to transform them into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ only to see them walk away from the Lord drives me crazy. Seeing some neglect the truths of God for the sake of personal preference and self-satisfaction drives me crazy. Wow! What a list, and it kept mounting up. This is the stuff that drives me crazy, this is the stuff that’s been getting to me lately…

Then, through the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit, God called my attention to Matthew 16:24: “Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow me continuously.” Perhaps you are different, but I have a tendency to “settle into” my Christianity from time to time. That is, I experience incredible stretches of growth, but then become comfortable with where I am. And every time I become comfortable, things start to drive me crazy. During my “drive me crazy” lamenting and focus on Matthew 16:24 I began to realize for the first time that the reason life begins to drive me crazy is because when I grow comfortable in my faith I have most likely ceased carrying out the daily assignment of Matthew 16:24: deny myself, pick up my cross (die to self), and follow Jesus continuously (daily).

Salvation in Jesus Christ is much more than what most of modern Christianity says it is. Salvation IS God’s initiative towards humans, it IS forgiveness of sins through Christ alone, it IS a newly restored relationship with the God of the universe, and it IS the promise of dwelling eternally with God in heaven after this earthly life passes away. But it is more. It is also enlistment into a process, a process called sanctification, which takes place between the moment one trusts in Jesus for salvation and the moment their earthly body ceases to draw breath. It’s a process of God, through the Holy Spirit, putting the broken pieces of a sinful human’s life back together. It’s a process because it is not instantaneous, nor is it automatic. It’s a process in which God does all of the work within the context of the individual’s willingness and availability. What willingness and availability? That of Matthew 16:24: that I deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus continuously. When continuously stops, when I stop denying and dying to self, when I stop following Jesus…life begins to drive me crazy because at that point I’m living outside of the purpose for which I have been created and saved for.

I desperately needed this God-ordained lesson today. In one respect I want to always be driven crazy by the things that matter in the scope of eternity (such as the last several things I mentioned in my lamenting above). But on the other hand I want to live above and beyond the little things that drive me crazy. I want to live in the realm of denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Jesus continuously all the while putting others above myself. The reason this lesson is so important for me is because sanctification is a never-ending process on this side of heaven. And unless I want to be driven crazy by every little quirk of life, I must keep my eyes on Jesus, denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Him daily.

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Designed Cooperation: Level 3-Families and Churches working together to direct students to SERVE God with their lives

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The third level of Designed Cooperation between families and churches in making fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ of their students is directing them to SERVE God with their lives. SERVING God includes two components: ministry and missions. Generally in the church we use these two components to mean the same thing, but functionally and in the Bible they describe two different tasks. Ministry takes place within the body of Christ (the church; to Christians), missions happens outside the walls of the church (to unbelievers). For example, if a group of students goes to the home of a shut-in church member and performs various tasks such as home repair and yard cleanup-that’s ministry. If however, the next weekend the group of students performs the same tasks but at the home of a non-believer, and while working shares with that person who they represent (Christ and the church) and how that person can be saved-that’s missions. Both ministry and missions are required components of SERVING God. Our students need to find out what their spiritual gifts are and find their place of service within the life of their church. They also need to be on mission with God, telling the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ as they go about their daily lives. But how do we raise students up to SERVE God in these ways? By families and churches partnering together…

 

First, the church has a huge obligation to call, equip, and release students to SERVE God. Student ministries and the church at large must begin by calling students to SERVE God. Salvation does not begin and end with a free ticket into heaven. And it goes further than growing as disciples. It extends to the point of actively living as servants of God. The church must courageously set this expectation (from God) right in front of students’ noses! As Samuel instructed Israel we too must “Obey the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart.” (1 Samuel 12:24) Next, the church must equip students to SERVE God. Equipping comes through Bible centered teaching and preaching, testimonies given from experience, opportunities for students to discover and understand spiritual gifts, and “laboratory-type” opportunities through which students can try and even error and SERVING God through ministry AND missions. Finally, the church must release students to SERVE God. Simply put, students are placed into both formal and informal roles of ministry provided the opportunity to be on-mission locally, regionally, and world-wide (see Acts 1:8). Note: missions is both corporate (accomplished through teams) AND individual (everyone is a missionary to the immediate context they live and exist in). 

 

Second, families have a huge obligation to raise up servants of Jesus Christ. The church is not the sole proprietor of making servants of God; SERVING must be expected, modeled, and intentionally accomplished within individual families. Has your family ever provided an act of service or ministry together? Gone on a mission trip together? Shared the gospel with the next door neighbor together? Before the church corporately gathers students together as ministers and missionaries, releasing them for service, families must first be calling, equipping, and releasing their students to SERVE to the best of their ability. There is no template for SERVING God that all must adapt to; simply get out there and meet a need with the love of Christ for a fellow believer (ministry) and convey the gospel message of salvation to the lost (missions).

 

Quite frankly, this level of SERVING God is the most avoided by families, individual Christians, and even churches. Why? Because it requires pro-activity, courage, time, passion and compassion for people, and consistency. But just as CONNECTING and FOLLOWING are purposes of God, so too is SERVING. As you serve, both as families and churches, understand the difference between ministry and missions while knowing that God calls you and I to both.

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Designed Cooperation: Level 2-Families and Churches working together to direct students to FOLLOW God as disciples

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The second level of Designed Cooperation between families and churches in making fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ of their students is directing them to FOLLOW God as disciples. Christians (those who have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation) become partakers of the nature of Jesus Christ through the Word, which is what discipleship is all about. Through the power of the Word (God’s Word, the Bible) and the Holy Spirit we escape the corruption that is in the world because of sin and are changed more and more into who God wants us to be during this lifetime as a result of FOLLOWING Him. But what exactly is discipleship, or FOLLOWING God? 2 Peter 1:4-8 lays out the process of discipleship:

 

  1. Repentance & Faith: New life in Jesus Christ begins by trusting in Him alone for salvation.
  2. Enlightenment & Guidance: Once salvation takes place, the disciple-FOLLOWER begins learning how to “put on Jesus Christ.”
  3. Growth in Christ: The disciple-FOLLOWER grows more and more into the fullness that God has for him or her in Jesus Christ.
  4. Ministry Development: The inward transformation of God’s Word begins to become an outward reality of righteousness that results in ministry to others.
  5. Testing: Ministry will always involved “fiery trials” (1 Peter 4:12) that build endurance and work to reveal the power and glory of God in one’s life.
  6. Ministry in the Power of Christ: The disciple-FOLLOWER ministers with a greater awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit, whether as a leader or a worker. The ministry is of and through Christ, not the disciple’s natural abilities.
  7. Fruit through the Fullness of Jesus Christ: The Word of God continues to manifest the fullness of Jesus Christ, resulting in greater love for those around him or her, and a heart for the needs of the world. Other disciple-FOLLOWERS are birthed and the Word continues to profit as God pleases.

 

In light of this process of discipleship the first question to ask (of yourself) is, “Am I growing as a disciple?” It is vital that those who have the most direct spiritual influence into a student’s life in regard to building disciple-FOLLOWERS of Christ must first be growing as disciples themselves. If this is not the case, do not expect your student to become a mature disciple because they will largely model what they see the spiritual influencers in their life (whether parent/guardian or pastor) living out.

 

The second question that must be asked is, “How do families and churches partner together in this process?” The overarching answer is this: by being ministers of the Word both in the home and in the church. Why? Because we seek not to make clones of any human being; we seek for God to build disciple-FOLLOWERS of Himself. That will only take place through the direction and command of God’s Word combined with the power of the Holy Spirit working in each student’s life.

 

Families must be ministers of the Word by knowing (for themselves and then teaching to their students) and doing God’s Word. James makes clear in his letter that faith (knowing) and works (doing) go hand in hand; you cannot have one without the other. Therefore, the adult leaders of families must personally be students of God’s Word (daily Bible study and prayer) and convey their understanding and knowledge to their students. Additionally, adult families of leaders must live out the truths of God’s Word in every aspect of their lives, first of all for the glory of God, and secondly for modeling obedience in front of their students. Practically this requires personal and family Bible study and discussion, honesty and transparency about the right way to live, and accountability for all members of the family to live God’s truth with resulting consequences for failing to do so.

 

Churches must be ministers of the Word in two ways. First, the church must teach and preach the Word of God. This seems like it could be assumed, but a large number of churches are failing to correctly handle the Word of truth. Scripture must be taught through, explained, and avenues for putting its truth into action must be offered. God has not ordained the church to offer an endless menu of man’s opinion on relevant topics; He has ordained the church to correctly handle the Word of truth by starting with the text of Scripture, interpreting what it says, and proposing how to live its truth. Secondly, the church must offer a variety of opportunities through which the Word of God is taught and preached that hit various levels of spiritual maturity. New Christians need the basics. Growing Christians need challenged. Seasoned Christians need accountability. All of these levels are addressed through God’s Word and the church must consistently be a minister of the Word on each of those levels.

 

At First Baptist O’Fallon we offer students several weekly “steps” through which they can continually grow through the church’s ministry of the Word. LIFE Groups (Sunday school) lead students to CONNECT with God through establishing a core understanding of God and His Word. Jr. & Sr. High worship seek to lead students further into the story and details of God’s Word with the goal of challenging deeper followship. Midweek Bible study aims to challenge students through God’s Word to be active in ministry and on mission with God. Regardless of what it looks like in regard to programming, the church must teach and preach and offer a variety of opportunities for families and students to engage God’s Word.

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Designed Cooperation: Level 1 B-Families and the Church working together to CONNECT students to others through genuine relationships

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Within “Designed Cooperation” (God’s design for families to be the primary spiritual leaders and disciplers of their students while the church assists and extends that ministry) there is a “part B” to the CONNECT level of God’s purpose. According to the great commission it is God’s will that student’s be CONNECTED to God through salvation, and that as a result of salvation they be CONNECTED to others through genuine relationships. This level of CONNECTION is most often called “fellowship” and is derived from Jesus’ command, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19b). Baptism is the first act of obedience that a Christian should engage in after salvation, which acts as a physical and visible testimony of salvation and brings one into “fellowship” with the church (Christians).

 

Being CONNECTED to others, or “fellowship,” is to have a “bond of common purpose and devotion that binds Christians together and to Christ.” (Holman Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Publishers, 1991, p.482). That bond of common purpose is nothing less than worshipping God and enjoying Him forever, starting with following His commands and will during this lifetime. At the onset of the church being established and after several thousand had been saved, we find Christians in the book of Acts (2:41-47) engaging in this purpose of CONNECTION. They did so by holding things in common, giving to one another as any had need, meeting together in the temple complex, eating meals together in one another’s homes, maintaining a joyful attitude and praising God together, and conveying the gospel to others so that people were constantly trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation and being CONNECTED to other believers through genuine relationships by being welcomed into the fellowship of Christians, the church.

 

In essence CONNECTING is “doing life together” with other Christians. Perhaps not every minute of every day, but regularly and as often as possible. CONNECTING is absolutely vital for every Christian. This CONNECTION should first take place in the context of one’s immediate family. Christian families ought to engage in and be described by the very actions of Acts 2:41-47. Additionally, it is especially important that families and churches work together to provide opportunities for students to CONNECT with others through genuine relationships.

 

To begin with, almost every church I know of offers a small group Bible study program. At First Baptist O’Fallon, we call our small group Bible study program “LIFE Groups” and aim for a two-fold result: 1) That the Bible be engaged through study and application, and 2) that each group provide a safe and consistent atmosphere in which students can CONNECT with others through genuine relationships. This is accomplished through students being placed into age and gender based small groups where they are led by an adult “shepherd” that engages the group in discussing and doing life together both during regular meeting time and during gatherings and events outside of meeting time. In addition, students can CONNECT with others through junior and senior high worship gatherings, as well as special events like DiscipleNOW weekend, summer mission camp, and a fall retreat which are all geared towards engaging students in settings that encourage and foster CONNECTION with others through genuine relationships.

 

Like any relationship, engaging in any of these opportunities in hopes of establishing CONNECTION with others requires effort from all parties involved. Just because a student tries a program or special event once and does not “hit if off” from the start, that is no excuse to cease putting forth effort to make CONNECTIONS with others. It is God’s design and purpose that we CONNECT with others, and when sinful human beings are involved, we can be assured that patience, endurance, and effort will be required.

 

As the church works to do its part to provide opportunities for CONNECTION, families must do their part of not just encouraging students to CONNECT, but actually ensuring that their students engage these opportunities. This requires…

 

  1. Parents/guardians must utilize their God-given authority by brining students to church each week. Weekend getaways, sports and clubs and squads and other teams, tiredness, the weather, laziness, bad attitudes, etc. can all become regular excuses for not going to church. However, parents/guardians must ensure that their family is in church each week.

 

  1. Parents/guardians must insist that their students engage in church-provided opportunities to CONNECT with others. Again, you have a God-given authority to steer your students through this part of their lives. Combat rebuttal and direct your students to engage in CONNECT opportunities. Perhaps your students will fail to CONNECT as a result of a bad attitude or lack of effort, but do not let them fail to CONNECT due to lack of your steering them to do so.

 

  1. Parents/guardians must set the example. More than likely, your students will reflect your spiritual temperature. Not always, but most often. If you are not part of a LIFE Group, do not expect your students to be part. If you are not CONNECTING with others through opportunities provided by the church, do not expect your students to. You must set the example by CONNECTING first of all within your family, then through opportunities provided by the church.

 

CONNECTING with others through genuine relationships is a life-long process. However, from this day forward there are significant ways through which families and the church can partner in hopes of fostering such CONNECTION. The church must continually work hard to provide opportunities while families must engage CONNECTION within their own homes and then ensure that their students engage opportunities through the church.

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Designed Cooperation: Level 1-Families and the Church working together to CONNECT students to God through Salvation

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There is a first level on which families and churches must partner together in fulfilling their roles in being used of God to lead children and students to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. That level is one in which each party places themselves in the hands of God to be used to CONNECT students to God through salvation. Ultimately, a child or students’ response to the love and offered salvation of Jesus Christ is out of the hands of both parents and pastors. However, each can cooperate together and be positioned in such a way for God to use them as vessels through which He reaches into the lives of children and students.

 

This first level of cooperation is derived from The Great Commission where Jesus says, “Therefore go…” (Matthew 28:19). Jesus goes on to say, “…Go and make disciples of all nations,” but for the family and pastor there is no more urgent place to “go” than to the children and students they guard and lead. It is God’s most definite will that your child or student be saved: “…God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:3b-4) Though God calls His followers to go to Jerusalem (home), Judea (surrounding area), and all the way to the ends of the earth to make disciples (Acts 1:8), I am confident that His desire would be for us to begin with the children and students that we are most directly connected to.

 

In light of God’s design, the question we must ask is “how do we make disciples of our children and students?” Forthrightly this means that we lead them to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. The first step to being a disciple of God is salvation. Immediately, a second question comes to mind: “how do we lead our children and students to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation?” The answer to that question comes in the form of God’s designed cooperation—that families and the church work together to CONNECT students to God through salvation.

 

As we came to understand in the introduction to this series called “Designed Cooperation,” the Shema places families, particularly parents and guardians, as the primary spiritual influencers (or disciplers) of their children and students. As such, it is the role of parents to “live the gospel” toward their children and students. The Gospel is the good news that despite our sin problem, Jesus Christ has done everything necessary to provide a way for separated human beings to have a personal and eternally saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Thus, “living the gospel” requires that parents and guardians pour grace, mercy, instruction and direction, discipline, nurture, time and affection, patience, and friendship into the lives of their children and students. These are the very characteristics that God Himself pours into our lives. Why this necessity? Because how you lead, treat, and engage your children and students is a reflection of your heavenly father. “Living the gospel” can urge your children and students towards the Savior. Consequently, failing to “live the gospel” can detour them away from the Savior. Ultimately, families must also have a firm grasp and clear means for sharing the truth of the gospel with their children and students and directing them to trust in Him for salvation.

 

The church cooperates with families in this task of “living the gospel.” The church must preach the plain and un-distorted truth of the gospel in a way that is understandable and transferable (that is, families can continually convey the same message). Additionally, the church should regularly provide opportunities for children and students to respond to the truth of the gospel. Finally, the church must provide a guidance and instruction by which new Christians can be rooted and built up into fully committed followers (disciples) of Jesus Christ (more on this when we talk about FOLLOWING God as disciples).

 

And so on this first level of CONNECTING children and students to God through salvation, families and the church are designed to cooperate together. The church cannot be held fully responsible to minster the gospel into children and students’ lives while the family sits back and does nothing to “live the gospel.” And families cannot be held fully responsible to minister the gospel into children and students lives while the church does nothing to consistently present and affirm the message of the gospel. Again, both families and the church are designed to work together to CONNECT children and students to God through salvation.

 

In Christ, John Howard, Minister to Students, First Baptist Church, O’Fallon, IL

 

(Writer’s note: please check back periodically as this series on “Designed Cooperation” unfolds.)

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