When you read a list of professions from earlier times, it reads like a roster of surnames. That’s because people were identified by what they did for a living (as opposed to recently, when we pay attention to what’s on their iPod). John Smith was a person named John who worked as a blacksmith; Bill Sawyer was a lumberjack, and so on. In India, in the Parsee community, you’ll find people with surnames such as Contractor, Doctor, Engineer, etc. But watch and see: when someone asks, “Who is he;” “Who is she,” invariably, people start to describe what they do and with whom they are associated. “Oh, he is a salesman over at the Ford dealership,” or, “She is the preacher’s wife.”
ROLE MODELS FOR OUR CHILDREN
Revised December 27, 2016
After describing the wicked behavior of two NFL players, one father noted the two bad choices (bad sportsmanship and alcoholism) he saw demonstrated and asked the question, “Which has more potential to do harm to our impressionable children who watch the NFL and look to its players as role models?”
Not one person in the discussion even mentioned the cheerleader’s costumes or the new gay NFL player, but another parent observed, “Everyone got so upset with what one player said, which was loud and unsportsmanlike, but not vulgar, yet, not one word was said about the Chevy commercial played repeatedly through the game with a vulgar profanity in it.”
As I read, my first reaction was to consider the command of God in Ephesians 4:17-18—“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” What things are highly esteemed among men? Work? Sports? Obviously work produces something useful and is generally not in vain. What about games? Do they produce anything useful? Will the Lord reward us on Judgment Day for watching the Super Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Rice Bowl or the Rose Bowl? We all know the answer to that.
So what about those things not done for the Lord? Hebrews 6:1 and 9:14 speak plainly. Living works are done for God and dead works are at least vain (useless) if not eternally destructive. Finally, because of the aforementioned things that are part of any football game, I pondered which category it might fall into? Can anyone truthfully say he watches the football games for God?
Dead works are just that. They are works not done for the Lord—mind you…not necessarily sin, but at best just vain or useless time spent. It is a sad day when we have to make a choice between wicked lifestyles that affect our children! Whatever happened to following Jesus’s example in learning to discern between good and evil and choosing only the good (Isa. 7:15, Heb. 1:8)?
How can spending our time in a dead work (any dead work) serve God—especially a dead work that has so many obvious evils associated with it? Both wicked choices mentioned by the first father, plus the obvious evil advertising during the game, fall into the list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10, KJV).
If those sins cause a man to be put out of the fellowship, is it OK to deliberately expose our children to either one? What should be the obvious choice in order to avoid such wickedness?
The real problem is found in 2 Cor. 5:15, Luke 9:23-26, Mark 8:35, etc. Not only parents but also all those who would be Christ’s disciples must die to self in order to live for him and the gospel!
Because of our own weaknesses and disposition toward worldliness (1 John 2:15), our children are watching and becoming part of it—emulating its evil “heroes.” The process takes place by what is called osmotic learning or osmosis. They gradually become like the people they are taught to admire (1 Cor. 15:33).
The only way to save our children from the world’s evil is to protect them (shelter them) from it. We must do our best to guide them in following the great heroes of the Bible—especially Jesus. Remember also that even though Christians have to live in the world, they should not be part of it (1 Cor. 5:9-10).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The King James Version.
Disclaimer: Whereas I sometimes link Bible verses from BibleGateway.com or BlueLetterBible.org for the reader’s convenience, I have found there are serious issues with both programs. I neither believe nor recommend the Calvinist’ doctrines of predestination/foreordination nor the doctrines of grace only. I firmly disapprove of the denominational advertising found there.
TEACHING OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
Many have asked the question: Should grandparents as well as parents teach the children in the home? Let us listen to the Lord as He describes His will for these matters.
There is no doubt whether parents were to teach their children even under the Old Law. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.” (Deut. 6:6-8)
In his Psalms, the Lord used King David to give counsel for teaching future generations. “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” (Psa. 78:1-8)
Every aspect of the Law was to be taught to the children and grandchildren. “Thou shalt not eat it (blood or any unclean thing-BJ); that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD. Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose: And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.” (Deut. 12:25-28)
The Israelites were to constantly affirm the things they had seen and heard so that their children and grandchildren would have true witnesses to God’s work. “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” (Deut. 4:9)
Continuing the tradition of teaching children and grandchildren, we see that Timothy was the product of a faithful mother and grandmother. If they were justified in teaching Timothy, and if his faith came from them, then who could question their authorization to teach him? If Lois and Eunice could instill their faith in Timothy, who would question grandparents today following the scripturally approved example? Was there anyone superior to Timothy among Paul’s fellow workers? We need more men like Timothy, but we also need more grandmothers and mothers who have faith and will teach the children.
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (2 Tim. 1:1-5)
A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. (Prov. 13:22)
THE INFLUENCE OF AN EVIL FATHER
Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done (1 Kings 22:51-53).
What kind of example had Ahab been for his son?