My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30 WMB
My sheep hear My voice through parents
From my observations, I think the vast majority of believers came to believe in the Lord by believing the gospel their parents taught them in word and deed. An ad hock survey I observed bears this out. One time around the year 2000, I was with Judy at a conference in Colorado Springs with about 4,000 fired up believers. The speaker asked for a show of hands on how they first believed, or got saved. Was in through the gospel Billy Graham preached at one of his crusades? About 10 hands came up. Was it at any other kind of Christian Crusade or Conference? About 10 hands came up. Was it by hearing the gospel your pastor preached? About 100 more hands came up. Was it by being led to the Lord by someone you knew other than your parents? Around 500 hands came up. Was it by believing the gospel one or both of your parents taught? More than 3,000 hands came up.
We parents teach our children to hear Jesus by our love, words and example.
Family is like a micro-body of Christ, where love is shown in word and deed. Following the Messiah is the way to build a godly home. God plans for us to be a supportive clan that thrives on doing good for one another.
How we love one another as husband and wife sets the tone in our home. Our children pick up on peace or strife. Our husband and wife marriage relationship is congruent with God’s Messiah and Church relationship, our Good Shepherd and us sheep. Wives need love. Husband “love your wife as you love yourself. Husbands need respect. And a wife should respect her husband” An excellent book I recommend on this subject is: Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs, Emerson Eggerichs. He says, a wife has one driving need—to feel loved. When that need is met, she is happy. A husband has one driving need—to feel respected. When that need is met, he is happy. When either of these needs isn’t met, things get crazy. Love and Respect reveals why spouses react negatively to each other, and how they can deal with such conflict quickly, easily, and biblically.
Parents, the best thing we can do for our children is to love and be faithful to our Messiah Jesus, to God’s Word, and to one another. We teach by example of our relationships. Our devotion to God is shown by our devotion to our spouse and our children. As we grow up into Messiah, we do our best to facilitate each other’s love, fulfillment and worth. Our children trust us. How we nurture them, greatly influences how they relate with Jesus and our Father in heaven.
Whether we are good parents or not our children look up to us. “Parents are the glory of their children” (Prov 17:6b AAT).
God plans for parents to serve their children by loving them in word and deed. When we lay down our lives to nurture each family member, we are as life givers to those we love. Children thrive in God’s peace/shalom environment—in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This nurture is primarily relational but includes feeding, clothing, even changing diapers. Through our personal ministry to our children, they get to know Jesus and learn to relate in shalom. Anything we do that is motivated by the love God has poured into our hearts (Ro 5:5) is pleasing to God.
A godly mother’s hugs and soothing words are special ministry, beyond anything an unbeliever can muster. They encompass her children with a soft glow of love. Love is so vital that babies deprived of it die. Think of the sting a mother takes out of a wound. With her mothering she makes it better, whether it’s a toddler’s owie, an adolescent’s shattered expectation, or an adult’s heartache. That’s listening to Jesus and doing what He prompts by His Spirit!
Fathers, we bear the ultimate responsibility to help our children get to know the Jesus and relate in fellowship with God and one another. In order to do that, we must do our utmost to be faithful to the Lord (1 Jn 1:6-7; 1 Jn 2:3-6). “And you fathers, don’t make your children angry, but raise them by letting the Lord train and correct them” (Eph 6:4).
The Lord Jesus leads in love. He says: “A new commandment I give you, to love one another; that as I have loved you, you also may love one another” (Jn 13:34 WNT). And, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (Jn 14:15 WNT). That how we are to lead.
Our children obey because they love. Our godly lifestyle blesses our children and they obey because they love. As we walk in love and help our children love they willingly obey us. Our children don’t just naturally love. They are by nature self-centered. Our children must be taught to love. If we learn to be obedient to Jesus and our Father in heaven and His Word, we have a rich heritage to convey to our children.
Showing by our actions and telling our children we love them is very important. When we verbalize our love, we also share the inheritance God has given us with them. As we tell them of our love, we can also speak a blessing to them. This can begin with something as simple as thanking God for His blessing during our table and evening prayers. Or when we tuck our children in at night, speaking a blessing like: “We love you and God loves you. The Lord bless you with life and health and well-being.”
The nurture of a godly family helps children grow up in the Messiah. By learning to obey godly parents, they learn to share, to lay down their lives for those that they love. If we parents love, discipline, and nurture our children in the way of the Lord, our work of service becomes very rewarding. If we are harsh or unfair or unfaithful, we are in danger of making our children angry with us and with the Lord. May we love so our children learn of the love and grace and glory of the Lord and find it to be true by family and life experience.
Child, you are a blessing to your parents and grandparents and you can continue to be a blessing to them. If you love your parents, you obey your parents and God’s peace/shalom is upon you.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because it is right. Honor your father and mother – this is an important commandment with a promise: it will be well with you and you will long on this earth. Eph 6:1-3 AAT
You children, obey your parents in everything. This is pleasant when it is done in the Lord. Parents, don’t irritate your children, or thy will get discouraged. Col 3:20-21 AAT
Listen to your father—you are his son and don’t despise your mother when she’s old. Buy truth and don’t sell it; acquire wisdom, training, and understanding. A righteous man’s father can surely rejoice; and who has a wise son will take delight in him. May your father be happy, and the mother whose child your are be glad. Prov 23:22-25 AAT
Grandchildren are the crown of grandparents, and parents are the glory of their children. Prov 17:6 GW