1. CHRIST’S PRESENCE IN THE HOME
a. How will Christ’s presence in the home be manifested? Psalm 16:11; Galatians 5:22, 23. What will be inherent in the home where children love their parents and God?
“The home that is beautified by love, sympathy, and tenderness is a place that angels love to visit, and where God is glorified. 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. In the atmosphere of such a home the children will learn to love both their earthly parents and their heavenly Father.”—The Adventist Home, p. 19.
b. To what extent will daily sanctification be instrumental in forming Christian characters in the home? 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (last part); John 16:13 (first part).
“The churches need to be enlightened in regard to practical religion in the home life. Again and again the necessity of living a virtuous life, of having a sanctified heart, of revealing a growing conformity to the image of Christ, must be presented to the people. Do they realize that the work of sanctification is to be the work of a lifetime?”—The Review and Herald, May 24, 1892.
2. PROPER ATTITUDES
a. What are the two extremes that are to be avoided in every Christian home? Isaiah 3:16; Proverbs 23:21 (last part).
“While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honors God and the truth. . . .
“God is displeased with disorder, slackness, and a lack of thoroughness in anyone. These deficiencies are serious evils, and tend to wean the affections of the husband from the wife when the husband loves order, well-disciplined children, and a well-regulated house. A wife and mother cannot make home agreeable and happy unless she possesses a love for order, preserves her dignity, and has good government; therefore all who fail on these points should begin at once to educate themselves in this direction, and cultivate the very things wherein is their greatest lack.”—The Adventist Home, pp. 22, 23.
b. What temptation should be counteracted by true home training? Ephesians 4:17.
“Those children are most attractive who are natural and unaffected. It is not wise to give children special notice and repeat their clever sayings before them. Vanity should not be encouraged by praising their looks, their words, or their actions. Nor should they be dressed in an expensive or showy manner. This encourages pride in them and awakens envy in the hearts of their companions. Teach the children that the true adorning is not outward. . . .
“The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 141, 142.
“How is it with you, fathers and mothers? Are you drinking in the things of this life and forgetting the eternal interests of your children? or are you coming to the throne of grace, pleading and agonizing with God for His mercy and blessing upon your household?”—The Review and Herald, December 21, 1886.
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF RULES
a. What will be present as a central part in every well-disciplined Christian home? Proverbs 6:20–23.
“Every Christian home should have rules; and parents should, in their words and deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. Purity in speech and true Christian courtesy should be constantly practiced. Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God.”—The Adventist Home, p. 16.
“The mother must have firmness and decision. She must be as firm as a rock and not swerve from the right. Her laws and rules should be carried out at all times and under all hazards; but she can do this with all gentleness and meekness.”—The Review and Herald, December 21, 1886.
b. What influence will a well-ordered and well-disciplined family have on the world around them? 1 Timothy 3:4, 5; Genesis 18:18, 19.
“One well-ordered, well-disciplined family tells more in behalf of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached. Such a family gives evidence that the parents have been successful in following God’s directions, and that their children will serve Him in the church. Their influence grows; for as they impart, they receive to impart again. The father and mother find helpers in their children, who give to others the instruction received in the home. The neighborhood in which they live is helped, for in it they have become enriched for time and for eternity. The whole family is engaged in the service of the Master; and by their godly example, others are inspired to be faithful and true to God in dealing with His flock, His beautiful flock.”—Ibid., June 6, 1899.
“Every man, and every woman, and every child must be in earnest. It is no time to be discouraged now, for the evil one is pressing upon us harder than ever before, and we cannot afford to lose ground by going backward. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, we must rally for the right; and we must strive not to have our children taken right out of our arms, and out of our homes, to pass into the ranks of the enemy. We cannot afford it. We must work for God, and we must work for heaven, with all the might and faith there is in us.”—Ibid., December 21, 1886.
4. HEAVEN ON EARTH
a. Too often children are considered “disturbers of the peace” at home. What can parents do to improve this situation? Psalm 128:1, 3, 6; Proverbs 31:27, 28.
“Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 539.
“To a large extent parents create the atmosphere of the home circle. . . .The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny.”—The Adventist Home, p. 16.
“Do you plead with your children to come to Christ, and then go where there is no eye to see and no ear to hear, and there pour out your petitions before God for them? Why do you have your homes filled with unconsecrated children?—It is because there is no sense of the claims of God. It is because there is no sense that Christ has bought them, and they are His children.”—The Review and Herald, December 21, 1886.
b. What experience should be the aim of every member of the family? Philippians 2:1–5. How can parents make the home an attractive place?
“While there are weighty responsibilities devolving upon the parents to guard carefully the future happiness and interests of their children, it is also their duty to make home as attractive as possible. This is of far greater consequence than to acquire estates and money. Home must not lack sunshine. The home feeling should be kept alive in the hearts of the children, that they may look back upon the home of their childhood as a place of peace and happiness next to heaven. Then as they come to maturity, they should in their turn try to be a comfort and blessing to their parents.”—Ibid., February 2, 1886.
“The home should be to the children the most attractive place in the world, and the mother’s presence should be its greatest attraction. Children have sensitive, loving natures. They are easily pleased and easily made unhappy. By gentle discipline, in loving words and acts, mothers may bind their children to their hearts.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 388.
5. EFFICIENT HOME TRAINING
a. What may we learn from the brief record of Christ’s childhood? Luke 2:40, 52.
“There is an important lesson for parents and children to learn in the silence of the Scriptures in reference to the childhood and youth of Christ. He was our example in all things. In the little notice given of His childhood and youthful life is an example for parents as well as children, that the more quiet and unnoticed the period of childhood and youth is passed, and the more natural and free from artificial excitement, the more safe will it be for the children, and the more favorable for the formation of a character of purity, natural simplicity, and true moral worth.”—My Life Today, p. 299.
“The more quiet and simple the life of the child—the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature—the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength.”—Child Guidance, p. 139.
b. How did Christ, by precept and example, teach that Christians should always pray? Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12; 18:1.
“Have a place for secret prayer. Jesus had select places for communion with God, and so should we. We need often to retire to some spot, however humble, where we can be alone with God.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 84.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What experience should be seen daily among those who are striving to emulate the life of Christ within the home circle?
2. What are some factors that will improve the home situation?
3. Why are rules necessary for all the members of the family?
4. As children reach maturity, how will they look back to the Christian home wherein they were brought up?
5. How can parents ensure that their home is a spiritually-safe environment for their children?