Make no mistake about it, believers, no matter what Christian denomination or non-denomination, whether you hold a pre-, post- or even amillennial position on end times, then you believe that Jesus Christ will someday physically return in power and glory to walk this earth again. C. H. Spurgeon, the 19th century prince of preachers commenting on Acts 1, reminds us all of this truth:
"This same Jesus" will literally come again. ... [L]et us be doing what He was doing before He went away. ... If the Lord Jesus Christ were to come today I should like him to find me at my studying, praying or preaching. ... Would you meet your Lord in idleness? Do not think of it.
Honestly, I don't think Christians give Christ's return that much thought these days. The reality of Christ's return, a day unknown to any of us here on earth, is something that we have not gotten into our bloodstream quite yet. Since many live as though our King will never come back in our lifetime, it matters not what we do with our time, treasure, talents and children that He has given us.
In the 16th century when the Protestant Church was explaining how we as followers of Christ should be living our daily lives, they used the phrase, coram Deo. Coined by Martin Luther, it literally means "before the face of God" and carries the idea of living our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God and to the honor and glory of God.
How about this for one heck of a coram Deo moment? Let's say Jesus unexpectedly returns, perhaps next week sometime about mid-morning and stops by your place of work or your house. What would He find you doing? Sitting in front of the TV? I hope not. That is one of the biggest time wasters known to mankind today. The average American currently spends over 1,500 hours a year staring at the boob tube.
Try to see in your mind's eye the Lord of heaven and earth coming over to you and striking up a conversation like He did with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). You're speechless at first and filled with incredible emotions while you and Jesus talk, then the conversation turns to your children. "How are they doing? Where are they now?" Jesus asks.
Your reply is, "Oh Lord, I dropped them off at the local public school for their education and training up."
The Lord responds with a gentle rebuke, "But I gave them to you to train up."
"Oh, yes, Lord, I know that, so that's why I try to take them to Sunday school every week," you reply.
Jesus replies, "But I gave them to you to disciple."
What would the Christian parent's reply be then? "I didn't know"?
Didn't know? Is God's Word vague on such an important topics as how to train up the next generation? Are not some of the following verses clear: Deuteronomy 6:1-9; 11:18-22; Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4, to name a few?
Sadly, the majority of local churches today, including pastors, are naive, believing that it is the church's main job to disciple our kids through Sunday school, children's ministries and youth programs. Here are three quick points about that fallacious thinking:
- It is not the local church's, your pastor's, your Sunday school teacher's or youth minister's responsibility to train up your child. Our Lord gave the children to the parents, not the church. The church can aid in the training up of our children, but it is not the church's responsibility. Period.
- Sunday school, children ministries and youth ministries were originally intended for children of non-believers. Author Donald Van Dyken put it well in his book "Rediscovering Catechism":
"The modern Sunday School movement began in 1780 by reaching unchurched children. The movement was outside the official ministry of the church, although its efforts were evangelistic and admirable. However, the Sunday School concept has been embraced by many churches. … [The Church has] blurred the biblical distinction between the children of unbelievers and the children of believers. [emphasis added]
- Those vehemently opposed to the Christian faith know that in order to have things go their way, they need to convert the majority of the next generation to their way of thinking. Alas, they have the perfect tool for converting the children of Christian parents – public schools. They are not doing this in secret either, nor is it a relatively new idea. The ardent Humanist Charles Potter wrote in 1933: "... every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?"
The church is heading rapidly in the wrong direction due, in large part, to the following three reasons:
- Lack of parental obedience and mis-prioritized goals in the training up of their children.
- The church's and pastor's negligence in teaching the "whole counsel of God" in regard to training up the next generation (Acts 20:27).
- That approximately 85 percent of Christian parents send their children to secular-humanistic indoctrinating centers for about 1,100 hours a year for their "education."
Friends, you believe Christ is coming back, right? Guess what? When He does He will shut down all of the anti-God establishments of our culture, including the unbiblical, godless public schools faster than a blink of an eye. If Christ's return, whether next week, next year or next millennium, would close those places that cause millions of children to stumble, then why would we as a church send our children there one day longer right now? Let us be about our Father's business of properly training up the next generation for God's glory. Again, C.H. Spurgeon's words remind every believer:
Jesus is coming as a matter of fact, therefore go down to your sphere of service as a matter of fact. Get to work and teach the ignorant, win the wayward, instruct the children. ... Go and serve the Lord by helping the poor and the needy, the widow and the fatherless; serve him by teaching the children, especially by endeavoring to train your own children.