The Power of Truth: What Are We Supposed To Teach Our Children?

In light of God’s ultimate plans and desires for mankind, our methods and direction of education must follow in His wisdom and knowledge. To do this and be effective means we must first examine God’s priorities. We discover this as we read Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The obvious conclusion here is that the two most important things God would have us learn are …

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1) how to magnify God in our lives until we love Him with everything that we are and have, then,

2) how to provide for and protect our neighbors as we already do for ourselves, which is saying simply that we practice genuine [agape] love. These two combined with the great commission [three other purposes] must surpass all other goals and purposes in our lives.

Therefore, our general education philosophy must be to fulfill these five great God given purposes. We must be agents of change in our kids and students’ lives. Our knowledge of science must be to so magnify God that when mastered our students will be amazed at His handiwork and with all their hearts proclaim God is awesome! This means our English classes must be taught to build our student’s reading and writing level up to the place that each student can comprehend God’s Word fully and obey His commandments, benefit from His vast wisdom, join in His worldwide purposes, and communicate His greatness to all the world. Each of our departments of education are to fulfill God’s primary purposes.

This would mean then, that our primary focus is not giving people a happier life. This would mean our job is not to just fill their heads up with bits of knowledge. But instead, it is our duty to make them mature disciples in thought and lifestyle and thus prepare them with the foundational tools of learning and wisdom to glorify God and love their neighbor in whatever life purpose God calls them.

Filtering all learning through the Bible, we are to educate them in science, history, mathematics, social sciences, political science, etc. so that they can make wise healthy choices in life that reduces their chances of failure in family relationships, career pressures, church ministry, or government leadership. In fact God wants his people to be leaders and stand tall above all others while they magnify Him with their lives and care for those around them. “Study to show yourself approved unto God…”

What do I mean by these grand ideas? First, let us look at God’s timing for the visitation of Jesus to this planet. He came 2000 years ago. No television, radio, or Internet. The only means of communication was speaking and writing. If He waited and instead came today, He could have video taped all His life, shown everyone the miracles, raised the dead, given FOX rights to broadcast His crucifixion, then allowed scientists to test his corpse before He was raised from the dead. Instead He gave us a book, the Bible.

Now to really know how to love Him fully and care for others we must go to school! The dark ages of history proved when men are ignorant, disaster results! Unless I learn to read I can’t figure out what God is like or what He wants from me.

Then, in the Bible He talks about creating the universe, life, and the rest. If I don’t study science I can’t understand what He means. When I fail to understand scientific laws and principles I become deceived by evolutionists and other pointless theories.

He says we need to soar like an eagle, what’s an eagle? Suddenly, to glorify God I am forced to learn about biology and other aspects of this world He put me in!

How can I really love Him and receive His love unless I know what He is like? Now I must study history to find out how He has interacted with other people and nations. How should I live? Why do I need clothes? What is a family? Why work? What’s wrong with killing my irritating neighbor? What is truth? How can I express my love to God? God demands that we learn!

Finally, how can we tell if someone has learned? A coach can tell if a player is equipped for his role when he gets into the pressure cooker of a real game and follows all the instructions from his coaches and succeeds. A simple 50 question true and false test would tell the coach nothing. A coach who lectured all practice time and then took his players to a game would surely lose also!

Only when the players work together, fulfill their roles, and accomplish the tasks against strong opposition and win will we say the team and the coach are successful. In the same way a disciple has learned when he obeys all Christ’s commands on a regular basis under the pressures of life.

Until we integrate God’s methods of learning into our passive listening style of our education system we will not equip our children to glorify God and change their lives as God intended. Interactive learning, mutual sharing and exhorting, mission trips, ministry tours, creation science projects, etc. are the way of understanding and wisdom. Mentoring and experimenting truly test and develop the character and knowledge necessary to please God.

Remember Jesus involved his new disciples, then sent them on short term mission trips, then called them back, and taught them more. They were constantly learning and growing while Christ preached repentance, proclaimed the kingdom message, healed the sick, raised the dead, and washed their feet.

In the church, the only proof of true learning is when the disciples of Jesus Christ resolve their conflicts at home, work or school, when they love their neighbors as themselves, when they are contented to respect and obey their authorities, when they gather as the church and freely praise God and worship Him in spirit and truth, when they find their place in the body and help fulfill the Great Commission, when they travel on mission trips with joy proclaiming the Good News of Jesus, when they stand against evil in the community or in the political arena, when they live as salt and light instead of falling into all kinds of sin, self absorption, and the love of pleasure.

This is what Jesus taught from the very beginning. “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.Matthew 5:13-17 (NLT)

As parents, pastors, leaders, and teachers only then will we know that we have done our jobs, not before!

Remember Jesus made disciples [active, obedient, disciplined learners] not like our modern day “Christians” [inactive, disobedient, shallow listeners]. The disciple is the only type that Jesus gave his time and teaching to, the freeloaders and skeptics he told confusing stories [parables].

Know the Different Types of People According to Matthew 13
A. Hard hearts [not interested, won’t learn]
B. Shallow hearts [temporally excited, quits]
C. Distracted hearts [family, hobbies, job, fun]
D. Receptive hearts [committed disciples of Jesus]

Let’s read Matthew 13:3-9 NKJV

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

A. You see, the seed is the Words of the Bible. Jesus said, “… the word of the kingdom,” [Matthew 13:19] is planted by a preacher into your mind when you hear it spoken or you simply read it. These are specifically the commands of Jesus Christ starting with “repent.”

But, if your mind is not prepared properly like a farmer does before planting, you do not understand it, while you resist and reject it immediately. It is like a farmer throwing seed onto the road or hardened path. Nothing happens and the seed is wasted. The source of the problem is not the good seed, but the bad ground. Your mind is the problem, you won’t even listen to God’s Word. You refuse to listen and understand.

Remember, the first command of your Creator, repent, is to stop doing what you have always done in your life. Your way is completely contradictory to God’s way of life.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” [Isaiah 55:8-9].

You must understand this! You must turn away from your mindset and your lifestyle. You must admit you are wrong and God is right! Sin is disobeying the commands of God and living the life that says, “no one tells me what to do.”

This is the only road to transformation and eternal life. Truth is not what you decide it is. Truth is what God says it is. This is why the Bible says to repent, and receive God’s pardon through Jesus, who fully paid the criminal charges against you, by dying on a cross in judgment for crimes He did not commit.

Instead He chose to die in you place, for your crimes! Your mind must be open to receive this seed! You must listen and receive the ideas of God, believe in His power to create the universe, His eternal kingdom, His laws, His justice, His mercy, His love, and His salvation. If not, you have no hope of anything fruitful or lasting. You have no hope to know and understand God.

It is not good enough to just understand enough about God to want to go to heaven. It is not good enough to get excited about it and know and believe there is a heaven and hell. You must become a disciple of Jesus the Messiah and fully commit to His will.

B. “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles  [Matthew 13:20-21].

Let’s take a look at so called backsliders.

They can believe in God for days, months or years but like Judas, when they are confronted with making decisions of life that will cost them or conflict with their desires, they quit God’s will, and follow their own way. If they want a woman like King David of the Old Testament, it does not matter what God commands, they disobey His teaching and choose the woman. They “backslide“.

The problem was not the seed, but the mind or heart of this person. They did not have the endurance to obey God, because they are still a lost soul.“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” [1 John 2:19].

Still condemned under the just criminal charges of God’s holy law, they are just as hopeless as the first person described. Neither understood the cost of sin, God’s justice and judgment, or truly repented of following their ways and thoughts. They do not understand the words of the kingdom.

C.Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” [Matthew 13:22].

Even hypocrites do not understand God’s Word! Yes, the faithful church members who are too busy to love God with all their hearts, all their souls, all their minds, and all their strength.

They are too busy except to attend church services on Sunday or Saturday night. They have too many personal goals and problems to commit to God’s purposes. They are too busy with their careers, hobbies, and families to take the time to understand the eternal truths of heaven and hell. Far too busy to sacrificially live and work for Jesus Christ, and be a true faithful disciple.

Our half-way covenant of the 21st century is a verbal claim of eternal life, weekly or almost weekly church attendance as long as the church provides a joyful hour of singing, drama, and a short motivational speech from a charismatic speaker. No repentance, change of lifestyle, or powerful and radical transformation required!

God warns, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” [2 Timothy 3:2-5].

Too busy following their dreams and desires [lusts according to the Bible] they do not understand or heed God’s kingdom message, and are “… led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” This third troubled group describes unfruitful church attendees who enjoy going to meetings, donating a little money and feeling good about themselves, but deceived by thinking, just like Judas, they are righteous while secretly living in sin. Instead, they still have no power over sins or relief from the problems and conflicts it creates in their lives, homes, businesses, and churches.

D. We must devote ourselves to the few who are receptive and want to mature in the faith, not on the halfhearted and disinterested. Paul explained it to Timothy like this, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” 2 Timothy 2:2.

Paul went further with Timothy and warned him how hard it will be to find true disciples in the church. 2 Timothy 4:1-4 states: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

We must major on what God says is major, and minor on what God says is minor. We need to change our focus, our style, and our direction to God’s way found in His Word. God will bless nothing we do unless it is in submission to His instruction.

James 3:1 warns, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.”

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