Introduction: Jesus calls each of us in Matthew 28:18-20 to make
disciples of “all nations.” Would this include making disciples of
our children? Of course it would! Last week we discussed what the
Bible teaches about the blessings and challenges of having children.
This week we turn to the topic of “discipling” our children –
teaching them to love and obey God. Let’s jump into our study!
- Read Joshua 3:14-15. Imagine that you are one of the
Israelites heading towards the place God has told you He
will give you as your home. You come to the Jordan river
and have to cross it with your family and all of your
possessions. Unfortunately, the river is at flood stage.
What are your thoughts and your concerns?
- Read Joshua 3:15-17. Now, tell me, how do you feel? What
is your attitude towards God?
- Read Joshua 4:1-3. Those of you who have spent time in
the outdoors, tell me what these stones would look like?
How would they differ from other stones in the area? (They
would be very smooth – perhaps even have a little shine.)
- Read Joshua 4:4-5. Did this require faith on the part of
the stone retrievers? (The water is still piled up. I
would be concerned that it might come down on me!)
- Why do you think Joshua chose 12 stones? (One to
represent each tribe of Israel.)
- Read Joshua 4:6-7. What is the purpose of these stones?
- Read Joshua 24:25-27. What is the purpose of this stone?
- Read 1 Samuel 7:12. What pattern do we see with the use of
stones and the relationship between God and the people?
(They memorialize great events in the history of God’s
- Read Joshua 4:20-24 for the end of the story about the
stones from the Jordan river. Notice especially verses 21-23 and the comment about children. What lessons about
teaching our children can we learn from this story? (1.
Teaching children is an intentional act of the Christian
community. 2. Teaching the children involves using
something that catches their attention. Did you notice
that Joshua intended the stones to be attention-getters?
3. The stones are a consistent generation to generation
reminder. 4. The stones remind the children of God’s
power, love, care and provision for them and their
- What can the church do today to create “stones” for
teaching the next generation? (Read Exodus 12:12-14
and Exodus 12:26-27. By observing and explaining
religious holidays we can create “stones” for our
- How can parents create “stones” in their home for
teaching their children?
- Is the weekly Sabbath a “stone?”
- How can you create a visible reminder of
- How would you make sure a “stone” does not
become an idol?
- Read John 13:34-35, Matthew 5:44 and 1 John 3:14. If
Christian parents are to show love to others, should they
show it to their children as well?
- Parents of teens, does Matthew 5:44 resonate in your
life? (We may be tempted to return hurtful words with
hurtful responses. We may be tempted to turn away
from our children when they say they hate us. But if
enemies deserve better, so do our children.)
- Parents, leaving aside the question of discipline,
would you say the things to others that you say to
- Read Exodus 4:22-23 and Isaiah 66:13. How does a child’s
view of God get influenced by his parents? (God
consistently portrays Himself as our parent. If you want
your children to have a proper view of God, you need to be
very careful about the mental picture your children draw
from the word “parent.”)
- Read Genesis 37:3-4. Is this a foreseeable result of
showing favoritism among your children?
- What problems followed because of father Israel’s
(Jacob’s) favoritism in his love? (Scan Genesis
37:23-36. Would it be too far a stretch to say that
400 years of Hebrew slavery can be traced back to
this event? Parents, do not show favoritism!)
- Read Proverbs 22:6. What do you think it means to “train
up” your children?
- Let’s look at some texts that more fully explain this
“train up” idea. Read Genesis 18:19. What did God expect
of Abraham as a parent? (Do what is right and just.)
- Read Proverbs 2:1-9. Notice that these verses have an
“if/then” sequence. What are children called to do? (To
seek to know God and His will.)
- What does God promise if they do this? (God will
given them wisdom and understanding which will help
to protect them from making harmful mistakes in their
- How can parents instill in their children a desire to
know God and His will? (The first thing they must do
is present God’s words to their children. They should
be presented as something that is desirable.)
- Read Proverbs 3:11-12. What should a child’s attitude be
- How do we teach that attitude to our children? (This
gets back to the “stone” issue. If God has
disciplined you, tell your children about it and how
it has helped you to grow.)
- Read Proverbs 1:8-9. How is learning from parental
teaching like wearing jewelry? (It makes you more
- Do you know some “good” kids that just draw you to
them? You feel pleasure in talking with them? I think
that is part of what Proverbs is talking about in
- Read Proverbs 3:13-15. What is another benefit of parents
teaching their children the wisdom of God? (It makes you
rich. Whether this means rich in money is not clear,
because the Bible says that God’s wisdom is better than
- Read Proverbs 3:17-18. What else lies in wait for those
parents who teach their children to accept the wisdom of
God? (Peace, blessings and life.)
- Parent, do you want your children to have a great life
here and eternal life hereafter? Disciple them. Show them
God’s love. Teach them the wisdom from the Bible. Remind
them with “stones” of what a great God they serve! Will
you determine today to do this?
- Next week: Wise Words for Families.