1. “THE ISSUES OF LIFE”
a. Why should the heart be kept with all diligence? Proverbs 4:23. Explain how the family is the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation.
“Society is composed of families and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are ‘the issues of life’ (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 349.
b. Describe the results of beneficial home influences. Psalm 115:11–14.
“If the home life were pure and true, if the children who went forth from its care were prepared to meet life’s responsibilities and dangers, what a change would be seen in the world!”—Ibid., p.351.
“The members of a family should manifest honesty, candor, frankness, forbearance, and tenderness toward one another. By speaking encouraging words each should seek to help the other. Such words often exert an influence that makes reproof unnecessary. Look upon matters in a cheerful light, seeking to lift the shadows that, if cherished, will envelop the soul. Cultivate sympathy for others. Let cheerfulness, kindness, and love pervade the home.”—The Signs of the Times, September 1, 1898.
2. A PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION OF CHRISTIANITY
a. How can Christian families make a practical demonstration of the saving faith they profess? Matthew 7:20, 21; James 1:25, 27.
“Christian parents are to educate their children to obey the law of God. The reasons for this obedience and respect for the law of God may be impressed upon the children as soon as they can understand its nature, so that they will know what they should do, and what they should abstain from doing.”—The Review and Herald, May 10, 1898.
“To the man who is a husband and a father, I would say, Be sure that a pure, holy atmosphere surrounds your soul. . . . You are to learn daily of Christ. Never, never are you to show a tyrannical spirit in the home. The man who does this is working in partnership with satanic agencies. Bring your will into submission to the will of God. Do all in your power to make the life of your wife pleasant and happy. Take the word of God as the man of your counsel. In the home live out the teachings of the word. Then you will live them out in the church and will take them with you to your place of business. The principles of heaven will ennoble all your transactions. Angels of God will cooperate with you, helping you to reveal Christ to the world.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 213, 214.
“Let us have a practical religion. . . . If the praise of God is in our household, there will be no danger of discord in the church. Where there are peacemakers, there is the ministry of holy angels. Be converted; repent; realize what religion is. Open your hearts, and let the Lord Jesus in. We cannot be half-hearted in the service of God, and be prepared to stand in the judgment. We must have Christ in the inward parts, and His sacred presence will create a pure atmosphere in the home and in the church.”—The Youth’s Instructor, January 9, 1896.
b. What object lesson should Christian families set before the world? 1 Peter 3:15, 16; 2 Corinthians 2:15, 16.
“God would have our families symbols of the family in heaven. Let parents and children bear this in mind every day, relating themselves to one another as members of the family of God. Then their lives will be of such a character as to give to the world an object lesson of what families who love God and keep His commandments may be. Christ will be glorified; His peace and grace and love will pervade the family circle like a precious perfume.”—The Adventist Home, p. 17.
3. THE INFLUENCE OF A CHRISTIAN FAMILY
a. Against the corrupting influences of the world, what factors will impart a decided protection to our children? Matthew 5:13.
“True religion is the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Christian parents, will you consider that the salt possesses saving virtues for your family? There are to be no loud-voiced commands in the home. Let nothing come forth from your lips that is unkind and exasperating to your children. These children receive their first lessons from their father and mother; and no harsh, severe, gloomy representation should be given them. The love of Christ is to fashion their characters.”—The Review and Herald, August 22, 1899.
“In the morning the Christian’s first thoughts should be of God. Come before Him with humility, with a heart full of tenderness, and with a sense of the temptations and dangers that surround yourself and your children. Morning and evening, by earnest prayer and persevering faith, make a hedge about your children. Patiently instruct them; kindly and untiringly teach them how to live so that they may please God.”—The Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886.
“The home in which the members are kindly, courteous Christians exerts a far-reaching influence for good. Other families mark the results attained by such a home and follow the example set, in their turn guarding their homes against evil influences. . . . One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. . . . The influence of a carefully guarded Christian home in the years of childhood and youth is the surest safeguard against the corruptions of the world.”—My Life Today, p. 124.
b. How can Christian parents maintain a saving influence over associates and unbelievers? 1 Timothy 4:12–16.
“If you can exert a saving influence over one soul, remember there is joy in heaven over the one that repented. . . . You may, by judicious effort, be the means of bringing back the lost sheep to Jesus’ fold. . . . The firm purposes you may possess in carrying out good principles will have an influence to balance souls in the right direction. There is no limit to the good you may do.”—Ibid., p.122.
4. BE A CHRISTIAN AT HOME
a. To what extent will true Christians manifest the Spirit of God and have harmony at home? 1 Corinthians 13:6, 7; 1 John 4:7.
“Much may be gained by self discipline in the home. . . . Let each make life as pleasant as possible for the other. . . . We must have the Spirit of God, or we can never have harmony in the home. . . . We cannot cherish home affection with too much care; for the home, if the Spirit of the Lord dwells there, is a type of heaven. . . . Everything that would tend to mar the peace and unity of the family circle must be repressed. . . . Tender affection should ever be cherished between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. . . . It is the duty of everyone in the family to be pleasant, to speak kindly. A house with love in it, where love is expressed in words and looks and deeds, is a place where angels love to manifest their presence and hallow the scene by rays of light from glory. . . . Love should be seen in the looks and manners and heard in the tones of the voice. . . . Self control on the part of all the members of the family will make home almost a paradise.”—My Life Today, p. 84.
b. How is true love made manifest? 1 John 5:2, 3; 2 John 6; Romans 13:10.
“The affection manifested in the home is a manifestation of Christ’s love that flows through Him from the heart of infinite love to bless the members of the family circle. It is love that will constitute the bliss of the heavenly family. Those who cultivate love in the homelife will form characters after Christ’s likeness, and they will be constrained to exert a helpful influence beyond the family circle, in order that they may bless others by kind, thoughtful ministrations, by pleasant words, by Christlike sympathy, by acts of benevolence.
. . . Those who have heavenly discernment, who exercise tender regard for every member of the family, will, in doing their whole duty, fit themselves to do a work that will brighten other homes and will teach others by precept and example what it is that will make home happy.”—The Review and Herald, October 15, 1895.
5. FAITHFULNESS IN DAILY LIFE
a. To what degree will true Christian parents be faithful even in doing little things? Matthew 25:21.
“When the family gather alone around breakfast or dinner table, the same courtesy should prevail as if guests were present. Reproof, complaint, unpleasant discussion, and scandal, no less than moody silence, should be banished. Let the conversation be genial and suited to the little folks as far as possible.”—The Health Reformer, February 1, 1874.
“Speak the truth in regard to the smallest matters. Each day do loving deeds and speak cheerful words. Scatter smiles along the pathway of life. As you work in this way, God will place His approval on you, and Christ will one day say to you, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:21).”—Messages to Young People, pp. 144, 145.
b. As a result of their good influence, what will God’s faithful children hear from Jesus’ lips? Matthew 25:34, 35, 40.
“At the day of judgment, those who have been faithful in their everyday life, who have been quick to see their work and do it, not thinking of praise or profit, will hear the words, ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34). Christ does not commend them for the eloquent orations they have made, the intellectual power they have displayed, or the liberal donations they have given. It is for doing little things which are generally overlooked that they are rewarded.”—The Youth’s Instructor, January 17, 1901.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. To what extent will the influence of the home be noticed within the community wherein the family lives?
2. Describe a practical demonstration of Christianity.
3. How can a true Christian family exert a saving influence?
4. What is the evidence that the Spirit of God is in control of the home?
5. How will our influence for good be assessed at the day of judgment?