Have you ever gazed upon the city skyline and stood in wonder at all the buildings your eyes could see? I know I have, and I haven’t even lived - yet alone visited - a megacity with a massive skyline. The biggest city that I ever visited would have to be Houston or Dallas, Texas. Even those pale in comparison to the top city skylines in the United States and our world.
I remember my first experience of seeing just a picture of the city skyline of all the buildings in New York City. It has been recorded that NYC has over 1 million buildings! A lot of the buildings are clustered together. The interesting thing about NYC is that these buildings span various architectural designs too. As impressive as the number of buildings in the Big Apple, the variety of the designs, or the scenic views of that city skyline, the one thing that impresses me the most is that they all require a secure foundation. Every one of those buildings in all their grandeur is sitting on a foundation.
A Firm Foundation Is Essential
When a builder lays out the foundation, it has to be secure. The foundation has to be verified, inspected, and up to standards. It has a purpose. It keeps the building stable. It distributes the weight of the entire structure to avoid unequal settlement. A solid foundation is very important to the structure of a building or house. You cannot have a solid building without a firm foundation!
If a building's foundation is the highest priority to ensure a solid structure, then discipleship is an even higher one for the foundation of our home. The home is not a building, just as the local church is not a mere building. The foundation that you can lay for your home is not physical; it's spiritual!
As followers of Jesus, we are to build a foundation for our families on things that matter and have eternal significance. We can live in a nice building or house yet lack the only foundation that matters. The ultimate foundation that matters is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the firm foundation that supports your family. Christ has done that for you and your family.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1 ESV).
Solomon wrote those words as he was traveling on a journey to Jerusalem. These songs would have been written for pilgrimages of the Jewish people going to worship on the high hill of Jerusalem during the festivals. Solomon would have been reminding himself that God is the one who builds. He is the firm foundation we need. God is the ultimate builder. He builds us together as families and we have the responsibility to pass on the baton of faith to others.
Redemption Through Jesus Is the Foundation of Family Discipleship
As a faith family, we ought to lay the foundation of the gospel for our families. Family discipleship can be defined in a lot of various ways. The main idea of family discipleship is to teach our families about the saving grace of Jesus Christ and equip them to share this with others. If we lay this foundation in our homes, we will have a firm standing in our ever-changing world. The gospel is a firm foundation we can stand on together. This isn’t a how-to guide on family discipleship; it's a reminder about the importance of the role families play in biblical instruction and spiritual formation. The local church can have solid programs and events, yet miss the opportunity to partner with families in their pursuit of discipling their kids for Christ.
Discipleship in the home is a concept in the Old Testament as well. Generations passed away in the wilderness prior to arriving in the Promised Land. So, their children needed a reminder of the character and works of the Lord. Parents still needed to remind their kids about the Word of God. The next generation needs to be taught about the promises of God, his works of deliverance, and stories of individuals who have been transformed by the Holy Spirit.
One of the most memorable verses when it comes to practically teaching families about the Lord is found in Deuteronomy 6 right after the Shema (Hebrew for “Hear”). The Shema would have been recited daily by the people of Israel! I’d say it is a very important passage of Scripture for the people of Israel then and for us today.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV).
Walking with Jesus and talking about what he has done (his life, death, resurrection) can be a very simple starting point of instruction as you begin to lay the foundation for your home. Family discipleship should be an ongoing conversation with your family as you live for God. Start with simple conversations about the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you lay this foundation, you will have a firm and solid ground for your family.
"According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:10-11 ESV).
No building or house can do that. Only Jesus Christ can, and he will. How do you plan to lay the foundation of the gospel for your family?
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