The basis of any society is the home! We are in God's society — the Church of God! Perhaps many of us do not realize how vitally important our homelife is in determining whether we receive eternal life!
TIME is growing short! God's work is surging ahead, leaping through newly opened DOORS, taking on new vitality and strength! That means we are MUCH CLOSER to the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, than many of us have realized!
Problems in the Church
But — God promises us it is "through MUCH TRIBULATION (that we must) enter into the kingdom of God! (Acts. 14:22). There is not an individual reading this article who does not have major PROBLEMS to overcome! We are seemingly ENCIRCLED by worries, frustrations, financial problems, upset conditions in the home, a lack of Bible study and prayer — problems, PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS! It is NOT WRONG TO HAVE problems — but it is decidedly wrong to KEEP them! These problems, however large or small, are NECESSARY as a part of our TRAINING — to prepare us for positions in the kingdom of God! "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations. That the TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire (type of severe tribulation) might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:6-7).
Why a Church?
As we have shown in past articles, the Church is the INSTRUMENT in God's hands for the carrying out of His plan! The Church has the great commission which is two-fold: to preach the gospel of the kingdom as a witness to all nations; and to FEED THE FLOCK! But even MORE than this, the Church teaches us HOW to meet and to solve PROBLEMS — how to be OVERCOMERS, as a UNIT. It teaches us how to meet things UNITEDLY, in a FAMILY RELATIONSHIP! Notice Jesus illustrated there is a FAMILY RELATIONSHIP among the brethren! "Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, 'Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother'" (Matt. 12:48-50). The apostle Paul concentrated A GREAT DEAL on family relationship among the brethren in the Church! "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a FATHER; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as MOTHERS; the younger as sisters, with all purity" (I Tim. 5:1-2). In this family-like unit, the body of Jesus Christ, God has set a certain chain of command!
God answers this question very emphatically! "But now hath GOD set the members every one of them in the body, AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM!" (I Cor. 12:18). In this chapter of First Corinthians, Almighty God explained through the apostle Paul how the Church is VERY SIMILAR TO THE PHYSICAL BODY. WHY has God set these members so in the body? "That there should be no SCHISM in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another" (vs. 25). To keep HARMONY, UNITY, PEACE — and for united GROWTH! God says we NEED this organization — this CHAIN OF COMMAND "for the PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, for the WORK of the ministry, for the EDIFYING of the body of Christ, TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:12-13). The CHURCH is our training ground — as a large, collective UNIT — knit together in ties of deep FAMILY love and fellowship — so that we may eventually be born into the biggest family that will ever exist — the FAMILY OF GOD!
Hundreds of the brethren in God's Church, having gone along with the WAY OF THE WORLD, are now trying to really CHANGE their lives, and to fashion them according to God's divinely revealed pattern! The FAMILY — and our relationship as individual family members in our own homes — is the greatest PERSONAL TRAINING GROUND God has given us for gaining entrance into His kingdom! Just as God has set offices within His CHURCH, as a large FAMILY-GROUP, SO He has set offices in our own PRIVATE HOMES! It is not the purpose of this article to EXPLAIN those offices — as that has been thoroughly explained in the past. If any of you brethren have not as yet read the article "How to Have a Happy Marriage," then write in for it immediately! How often do YOUR CHILDREN disobey? How often do YOU have differences with your mate? How many times during the course of a week are there PROBLEMS within your own family? Of course, there are many in God's true Church who have not received the wonderful blessing of God of having their entire family in God's Church. For THESE, many of whom have had to put away a mate to whom they realized they were not truly married, others who have had to be separated because of religious bigotry and antagonism on the part of a carnal minded mate, or others through different circumstances who cannot enjoy this FAMILY RELATIONSHIP, THESE PRINCIPLES STILL APPLY! For those of us who DO have families, here is a real CHALLENGE! It has been clearly PROVED there ought to be government in the home! It has been clearly set forth as an authoritative command from the voice of Almighty God Himself, that the husband is to be OVER the wife, and the parents together OVER the children, and that there should be loving, kind, considerate GOVERNMENT in the home! But many have not known HOW! Oftentimes, a newly converted husband, suddenly realizing he has let the reins of the leadership of the family slip from his grasp, has tried to take them back by means of harsh, unreasoning, blind, dictatorial rulership! Many have, in their zeal of new-found truth, acted UNWISELY, and brought upon themselves undue religious persecution! Sometimes parents, realizing they should begin to really WORK at training and teaching their children, have gone to the opposite extreme, and begun to BEAT their children — showing them anger, harshness, and "lording it over them" rather than teaching them FIRMLY, but patiently, lovingly, and with great understanding and wisdom! And so — because I know many hundreds of you sincerely WANT to grow in additional grace and knowledge, and to have your families KNIT TOGETHER in bonds of love, mutual respect and harmony, HERE is what you can do about it!
Recently, in a sermon given here before the local congregation at the Headquarters Church, I outlined a positive step which I recommended the members of the Headquarters Church begin to do IMMEDIATELY. I have since heard from many sources that certainly the broad majority, if not all, HAVE BEGUN DOING THIS! That is — to begin a morning FAMILY WORSHIP HOUR — and to make it a daily HABIT! As a boy, I remember how my father would sit down with the whole family, open the Bible, and begin to expound and explain certain portions. Usually, the scriptures or the discussion would have to do with certain problems of the week, individual circumstances of the past few days, or a challenge to be met on that particular day. We would then all kneel, and, beginning with my father, and then on down to me, at the "tail end" because I was the youngest, we would all pray for a very few minutes aloud. This did not, I know, in any way SUBSTITUTE for the daily prayer of my father and mother! Rather, it was an ADDITIONAL time of prayer when the WHOLE FAMILY could get together in harmony, and with the proper kind of government, and draw closer to one another and to God! I want to EXHORT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to begin to have a morning family worship period! Or, some other SET TIME of day if that is better. If you are married, but do not have children — DO IT ANYHOW! If you are not married, do it BY YOURSELF! If you are separated or divorced, DO IT ANYHOW! If God has not provided the great BLESSING of having your whole family in God's Church — then have your OWN morning worship hour, even in private! WE ARE NOT TO IMPOSE GOD'S TRUTH ON OTHERS UNLESS THEY FIRST SEEK, IT!
Parents should select certain scriptures — and begin a regular series — so the children will know what to expect. My wife and I have begun in the book of Proverbs, and I have since found that others have also selected this book. From others, I have heard they have begun in Psalms, or one of the gospels, or back in the book of Joshua or Judges. Whatever seems to be best in your particular case for the WHOLE FAMILY — that is your decision! But the father and mother should select a certain portion of the Bible as a starting point. Then, even if you have to arrange to get up a few minutes earlier each morning, the whole family should be seated in the living room, or some other place, and the children be taught to sit quietly and attentively while the father opens the Bible and expounds and explains a few passages. Perhaps you will have time for only ONE PROVERB! The reason I chose Proverbs is because it is literally FILLED with admonitions about growing in understanding, wisdom, fear of God, and myriad scriptures on the obedience required of children. The father should read the scripture, then rephrase it, expound it, enlarge upon it, explain it, put it in simple, easy-to-understand terms, give down-to-earth everyday EXAMPLES of these principles IN ACTION, so your children will be sure to understand. Ask them QUESTIONS about it, have them repeat the principles back to you. The mother should add her bit now and then, helping the children to understand. Remember, this should be done in perfect HARMONY! The father should lead, the mother follow second, and the children maintain their place as God has intended! Then, all should kneel, and the father begin a very brief oral prayer. He should mention the challenges of that particular day, the need of God's work, and especially pray about those things pertaining to his own personal FAMILY! The mother should then follow his lead, adding whatever points she has thought of. The children, then, should be encouraged to pray — and perhaps their parents will even have to add certain words or remind them of things DURING THE PRAYER — TO TEACH THEM TO PRAY! Jesus TAUGHT His Disciples to pray! This does not have to be a literal HOUR in length! Usually, a family will not have this much time! But, depending upon the size of the family, it CERTAINLY should NEVER go less than fifteen minutes! For a family of three to five, about fifteen to thirty minutes would seem to be a good average.
Don't Let Circumstances Intervene!
Every temptation on the face of this earth will come to try to keep you from doing this! The telephone will ring, friends will come, emergencies will arise, you will over-sleep, or SOMETHING will happen! That is Satan's way of trying to lead us off, and trying to get us to "slip up" on such a practice! I KNOW that if every single person in God's Church begins to do this, as a DAILY OCCURRENCE, this whole Church will begin to grow — TOGETHER — much more rapidly! Again, let me restate, I do not mean this should SUBSTITUTE for your earnest, daily prayer! You should do your own personal praying in PRIVATE, just with God and Christ alone! However, for just a few minutes each morning, you should have this daily ORAL prayer as a help to your whole family! Your family will begin to be happier! The husband and wife will begin to recognize more fully their individual responsibilities! The children will become more attentive, more obedient! All of these things will not happen in two days, or even two months! But THEY WILL HAPPEN — IF YOU WILL DO as I very strongly exhort!
Your Responsibility to Your Children
Brethren, think for a moment! Our little children, more than any other children on the face of the earth, are going to have to shoulder tremendous responsibilities in the beginning of the millennium! THEY are going to be the "young adults" who, in the PHYSICAL REALM, will have to LEAD THE WORLD! The KIND of world leadership under the great family of God that is done THEN, will depend largely upon our TRAINING OF OUR CHILDREN NOW! Their CHARACTER, and, for that matter, WHETHER they will be in the beginning of the millennium, depends on YOU — RIGHT NOW! THEY are your FRUIT — and YOU are KNOWN by your fruit! THEIR character is in your hands! Teach your children a sense of PROPRIETY! Teach them OBEDIENCE! Teach them to do exactly WHAT they are told to do — exactly WHEN they are told to do it! Teach them to follow detailed, careful instructions! Teach them the meaning of love, of respect for authority, of deference to their elders, HOW TO LEARN! Any of you families who are blessed enough to have your children in one of our Imperial schools — remember to teach your child, above all else, HOW TO SIT STILL, and how to PAY ATTENTION — how to LEARN! It is amazing how few children at the age of six have ever been taught, in all their lives, how to merely SIT STILL for just a few minutes at a time! A young child entering the first grade, at age six, who has never had to sit still for even a few minutes — learned to fold his hands and pay attention to his elders — is going to be an unruly, rebellious, difficult-to-manage child in school! All of a sudden, he will be thrown together with a number of other children his own age, and told to sit still in a chair for SEVERAL HOURS A DAY! If he has not been previously TAUGHT to do this, AT HOME, he cannot be expected to do it in school! These are just A FEW of the principles to be considered! But they are important ones!
Don't Put It Off!
Finally, DON'T just lay this article down, or read another article, or roll over and go to sleep — and then arise in the morning having FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT IT! To PUT OFF this morning worship hour, or to become sidetracked, and to drop it off after you have once begun, will be one of the biggest mistakes of your life! Decide — RIGHT NOW — that you are going to DO this yet TODAY — or, AT THE VERY LATEST, TOMORROW MORNING! Set your WILL — ask God's help! As the apostle Paul exhorted Timothy, SO I EXHORT YOU: "Follow after righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I GIVE THEE CHARGE in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou KEEP this COMMANDMENT without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (I Tim. 6:11-14). Do it RIGHT AWAY — you'll always be glad you did!