Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Psalm 101:1-8
However, in Titus 2:6-8, we learned last month that discipleship is communal. That older people—the parents—should “6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
Today’s sermon will be short but practical. I will emphasize the importance of the said spiritual discipline on our title, the practice of family worship. Listen, parents especially fathers because all of you have this imperative command from God. This spiritual discipline, a biblical model for our faith has been a lost practice amongst many Christians.
Old Testament Model: Joshua 24:15, But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
The challenge is that we let our children be discipled by pop culture. Or maybe even yourself. How many hours do you watch Netflix? Spend time on your work? Play a game? Or read Facebook posts or use other social media?
Well going back, while in NT Model we learned that Timothy learned how to do worship and the practices of the faith not through other people but through Eunice (his mother), Lois (his Grandma.
In Acts 10, when Cornelius heard about the coming of Apostle Peter, he called his entire household and even his relatives which led to regular time for them to do family worship. If you are going to survey the book of Acts, there are many times where the household of Christians—or the early church, the early converts—worshipped God continually.
What happened then? How come many churches and Christian families no longer practice such spiritual discipline? Short church history lesson, during the Medieval years, the shift from Family Worship to Church Catechism happened. From the Reformation years, even Baptists had Catechism classes where we train children about the doctrines of our faith. So, when they will engage with the outside world, they are equipped with this knowledge. The Puritans also adhered to the return of the Family Worship.
However, in the late 18th century, Sunday School was introduced. Instead of teaching doctrinal faith or doing family worship. Sunday school classes focused on Bible stories and moralistic lessons that can be learned in those stories. A shift from worship and doctrine to some GMRC lessons. Then in the last quarter of the 20th-century meaning, in the 80s-90s, Sunday school shifted to small groups where Youth also have their own group and was being led by a Youth Pastor.
Practical Guide for Family Worship:
What constitutes Family worship? Two major things: Prayer and the Word. Both are inseparable. Just as how Christ modeled prayer, teach your children to pray. Actually, the best method is to pray with them. You do not need to pray long, “Sleepy prayers will put your children to sleep.” Be varied. Don’t pray the same thing every day; Don’t reduce your prayers to self-centered, shallow petitions.”
Read a verse. Explain shortly how you can apply it in your lives. Another method is you can explain the Sermon last Sunday, many things were mentioned during the preaching that your children were not able to grasp somehow. “Be plain in meaning. Ask your children if they understand what you are reading. Be plain in applying scriptural texts” (Beeke and Jones).
The goal is simple. Family worship. Keep it short, you do not need to replicate the entire worship service during Sundays. You can be creative if you want. Integrate music, YouTube, devotional apps, and more. As long as Prayer and the Word of God are there, and your family is there, then you are doing it well. Again, this is a biblical model. This is not a new discovery, nor an invented system by some pastors.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
November 21, 2021
This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.