I grew up a half mile from Harsh Memorial United Methodist Church. My siblings and I would walk to the church for activities. Sometimes we would walk home after worship services. When we would be at church, our neighbors in the community would be teaching us songs about God and Jesus. Our neighbors would teach us stories from the Bible. We would be in the sanctuary with our neighbors to hear the pastor do some preaching.
As I have visited my home church over the years, some of the same people are teaching the children’s Sunday School classes. There are still children in the community who are going to Harsh Memorial to sing to, read about, and to get to know God. Generations of children have come and gone through that church. There have even been times when I was visiting my parents that I have been able to catch up with some of the old neighborhood kids.
As we look around and realize the number of children who have been through this building, we praise God we were able to teach them about Jesus. There have been good Sunday School classes. We shared our love for Jesus with the children during Vacation Bible School. We have been intentional about teaching the children about Jesus. Now, we can continue to be intentional in teaching the children about Jesus.
For us to be intentional about teaching the children, we continue to learn about faith in God. Then as we continue to learn as Christians, we can continue to teach the children about faith in God. It is when we stop learning as Christians, or as parents, that we fail to grow in our own faith, let alone be able to teach the children intentionally.
How do we continue to learn as Christians? We figure out where we are. We figure out the stuff from God we need to know. We discover the reason we are doing this work of intentionally teaching the children.
A. Where are we? (Deuteronomy 11:16-17)
1. Moses has come down from the mountain with the 2nd set of tablets (10:1-11)
2.The Israelites are discovering freedom in following God
3. We too know freedom in following God
4. We are here today because of the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit
5. God has brought us to this place, this time in our lives
6. We need to be aware that we could be seduced into following other gods!
7. We got to this place, this time because God reached into this world and pulled us out the mud. Maybe someone was praying for you. Ila Robinson prayed for me as a child. She even told me that I would someday be in the white house – Harsh Memorial’s parsonage at that time was a white house! Maybe someone invited you to meet Jesus. Maybe someone told you about the cute girl/handsome boy at the church. However you got here, God has been working in your life. We have been growing in grace ever since we got here, to this place in time. What a blessing we have received!
B. What, then, are we to teach? (Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
1. We have learned the words of the Lord
2. We have learned about God’s love for us – choosing to get us away from sin
3. We spend time pondering, studying, and living the words of the Lord
4. Teach the words of the Lord to the children – when we are home & away
5. We get to teach the children. Yes, I know some of us have no children. Yes, I know some of us have children and grandchildren who are not living in the community. But, there are still children in our community. Is there a desire in our hearts and souls to learn the words of the Lord? Is there a desire in our hearts and souls to keep on following Jesus to the end of our days? Then there will be a desire in our hearts and souls to make sure the children are taught about Jesus Christ. We realize that all of the children in our community need Jesus as much as we need Jesus. It is a matter of our faith being lived as teach what we know about Jesus Christ.
C. For what reason are we doing this work? (Deuteronomy 11:20-21)
1. The signs on our doorposts and gates remind us of how good God has been
2. When we live the words of God, then the children get to know why we have signs on our doorposts and gates
3. The children also get to have a hope that this world cannot give them
4. God has promised his kingdom to those who follow Jesus Christ
5. We want to live as Jesus’ followers today
6. We want the children to live as Jesus’ followers, today
7. We are doing this work of intentionally teaching the children so they may live in the land the Lord has sworn to give Jesus’ followers. We want our children in the community to know God. We want them to know the same thing we have been taught. We want them to know the hope we have for this life and the life to come.
We are here because God has brought us here. Someone taught us about Jesus Christ. Somehow we came to believe in Jesus Christ.
We are here learning about the good God has for us in Jesus Christ. We get to teach the children what we have learned about God. We get to help the children to live as we teach them about Jesus Christ.
We want the children to live long in the land the Lord is giving us. Somebody had that desire for us. Now, it is our turn to have that desire for the children of our community. Let us spend this week praying for God to show us a child to teach. Write down in your bulletin a child’s name that God is placing on your heart to teach. Write down a child’s name that God is saying you are to teach them about the word of the Lord. My neighbors taught me. Which children are we to be teaching?