Saturday, February 19, 2005
Evangelism must begin in my home
Evangelism Begins at Home
Teaching God's Word Begins at Home
This means that Evangelism ~ spreading Good News about Jesus ~ begins at home! The Lord, through Moses, encourages us to teach His Truth to our children:
"Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:7)
As Christian fathers and mothers do this, impressing on their children God's message of sin and grace, the Holy Spirit works through that message, and their children are blessed with repentance, faith and salvation in Christ. Yet, as Christian parents seek to instruct their children in God's Word faithfully, they face many challenges.
First among the challenges is our own sin and weakness. To be blunt, the sin that lives in every Christian parent's flesh, the Old Adam, hates God's Word. It does not want to hear, read or teach about Jesus. This is the basic reason all fathers and mothers fall short of impressing God's Word on their children as they should. Sin also tempts parents to allow the bustle of daily life to choke out family time spent in God's Word.
"I have a house to clean."
"I have to give the kids their baths."
"I'm just too tired."
"The children have too much homework."
The list is long.
The other challenge to evangelism in the home is the sin of our children. Sin is just as strong in them as it is in us. This is why our children frequently need to be encouraged to make use of daily devotion time and regular church attendance.
If Evangelism in the Home is Lacking
A lack of evangelism in the home is harmful, not only to our children, but also to the broader effort of the church to go into the entire world with the Good News. Christian parents can fall into the trap of getting so wrapped up in "doing evangelism" to save the world that their children, their first evangelism responsibility, are left behind. How does this affect the children? Their faith does not receive the nourishment it needs in order to mature. They can also begin to feel like leftovers. How does it affect the broader mission of the church? Let's put it this way: how sad if we Christians of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod became known for losing our own children in our zeal to evangelize the world!
We Christians of the ELS have been blessed to hear and learn and believe the pure Good News message of the Bible. Jesus lived a perfect life, (including a perfect life of evangelism) to fulfill everything we have left unfulfilled in our sinful lives. Jesus died an atoning death for all our sins (including the sins we have committed by failing to evangelize our children well). By Word and Baptism, the Holy Spirit has given us faith to trust in Christ. Through this faith we are clothed with Christ and receive forgiveness. This is salvation for us sinners, full and free! It is also the lifeblood to a healthy and balanced approach to evangelism. So it is essential that we Christian parents remain in God's Word and baptism day by day, so that faith grows, confidence of salvation remains firm, and love for our children increases. In this, our love and hunger for teaching them about Jesus increases! In faith and love we don't see this as something that keeps us from doing real evangelism; rather we recognize it is the starting point for all evangelism! Certainly the concern we have for those inside our homes will be evident to those we seek to reach outside our homes - in the small towns, suburbs, and cities of our country.
written by Matthew Crick, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in San Antoinio, Texas and published in the January 2005 issue of the Lutheran Sentinel