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GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1–4 NIV).
God has a plan for the world. It begins in the home and was initiated in the family unit. When God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, He created a woman to complete him and be his compatible helper. To this union God granted the creative power of reproduction and children were born in the expanding definition of family. Through families the earth was populated, cultivated, and cultured, creating an environment of continuance and the possibility for life to have fulfillment and purpose.
Throughout history the family has been the basic unit of society and the means of perpetuating the human race. Without the safety of family and the protective guidance of parents there would be no chance for children to survive and no future of progeny. Without children there would be no families and the human race would become extinct within one generation. The future depends on the success of the family and the continuation of the species is incumbent on our ability to protect this institution that God ordained in the beginning. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
The plan of God is dependent on families and our commitment to teach His Word and His plan to each succeeding generation. Moses instructed the people concerning the commandments of the Lord, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). The transmission of God’s Word is an essential task and is to be incorporated into everyday life. His commandments are not just, “Thou shall not’s,” but daily guidance for all of life’s challenges.
Every father and mother are missionaries. They have the responsibility of sharing the gospel to their family and establishing God’s truth in their home. As parents our primary mission is to communicate the most critical beliefs to our children as they are bearers of truth to the next generation.
From the foundation of the church in the Book of Acts the vital need of family inclusion was recognized. Peter quoted Joel’s prophecy declaring that the Holy Spirit was being poured out on young and old, male and female. He included the next generation when he said, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17). Following the message at Pentecost, Peter responded to their questions and gave direction so that all might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He illustrated the inclusiveness of the gift of the Spirit for more than the present audience. He stated, “The promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
Our mission begins at home. We can read wonderful stories of past experiences of heroes of faith in the words of Scripture. Faith building testimonies of other believers can increase our faith. Sharing truth from messages of preaching and teaching can also be a way of building faith in the hearts of our family members. This is our mission and our joy. Let it begin at home.
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).