Sunday, March 27, 2022

“Impress Them On Your Children” [Matt's Messages]

“Impress Them On Your Children”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 27, 2022 :: Deuteronomy 6:1-25

While you’re turning to chapter 6, I’ll say a brief word about why we are dipping into Deuteronomy today.

We just finished 1 Peter and next week, we will turn towards the Cross as we get near to Passion Week.

So I thought we’d use this Sunday in between to focus a little bit on what the Family Discipleship Vision Team has been emphasizing in their meetings.

As you know, we have a small team of volunteers in our church family who have been meeting every few weeks this year to review our ministries to children, youth, and parents with an eye on the future. Our church has a rich history of ministry to kids, especially to school children from busses to clubs to camp to classes to Family Bible Weeks. 

And this team has been praying and talking about what should be the focus and approach in the next chapter of our church’s story. What does the Lord have for us for the future of family discipleship at Lanse Free Church?

And as you might expect, this team has spent some time together in Scripture, and one of the key passages we looked at was Deuteronomy chapter 6. The whole chapter. After that team looked at it, the Elders looked at it, too. And both groups agreed that it would be good for the whole church to study it together some Sunday, as well. So here we are. 

“Deutero” means “second” (in Greek), and “nomos” means law so Deuteronomy is Moses’ restatement of the Law to the second generation of Israelites right before they moved into the Promised Land. They are on other side of the Jordan and just about ready to cross over into Canaan, and Moses preaches the whole Law to them again.

In chapter 5, Moses preached the 10 Commandments to them a second time. The “10 Words” first appeared in Exodus chapter 20. But Moses restated them in Deuteronomy chapter 5. And now, in chapter 6, he’s going to build off of them.

We're going to study the whole chapter, but drill down on verses 6 through 9 especially because what Moses told the parents of the children of Israel there I think teaches us some of the most important things for us to focus on as we teach our children here today.

“Impress them on your children.”

Our Lord has given Christian parents the great privilege of being the primary discipling influence in their children’s lives.

Dads and Moms who believe in Jesus are called by their Lord to pass on the faith to the next generation. To “impress” it on their children.

This is not just an Old Testament idea. It’s clear in the New. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 6, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’–which is the first commandment with a promise–‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ [That’s actually quoting Deuteronomy 5, and then Paul says...] Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

And not just Dads. Paul reminded Timothy how his Mom and his Grandma[!]–probably in the absence of a believing father–how those faithful women, Lois and Eunice, passed on their faith to him, as well (2 Timothy 1:5, cf. 3:14-17).

One of the key concepts that the Family Discipleship Vision Team has focused upon is the importance of parents in making disciples of the next generation. Parents. So whatever we come up with, we know that parents are a key factor in the equation.

Moms and Dads, this is your job.

It’s your job to teach your kids the faith. It’s your calling. It’s your responsibility.

More than that–it’s your great privilege!

To teach your children about your Lord. “Impressing” the faith on your children.

Now, of course, it’s not just Moms and Dads who do that. Pastors and Children’s Church Teachers and Youth Group Leaders and people next to you on the pew can all play an important role. And there are wonderful Christian schools like Clearfield Alliance School or Christian Servant Academy and wonderful camps like Miracle Mountain Ranch to come alongside Christian parents and help.

And when there are children with no Christian parents in the equation, the rest of the church needs to step it up and take their place.

You’ve heard, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, it takes a whole church family to raise a disciple.

But the primary people the Bible talks to about teaching the next generation are the parents of the next generation. “Impress them on your children.”

Moses told the Israelites in verse 6, “These commandments that I give you today [the 10 Commandments and all the rest of this biblical teaching] are to be upon your hearts.” So it starts in the hearts of the parents’ generation. It’s gotta be in our hearts first.

And then we need to try to pass it on towards their hearts.

“Impress them on your children.” 

The Hebrew word there translated “impress” is from a root word that means “to sharpen.”

So we might say, “Engrave,” this teaching on your children.

Drill it in there!

The King James Version says, “teach them diligently.”
The Christian Standard Bible says, “repeat them to your children.”
The New Living Translation actually says, “Repeat them again and again.”

“Impress them on your children.”

Parents, you should be a broken record!

Your job is to impress biblical teaching on your children.

You cannot make them accept that teaching. You cannot make them believe that teaching. You cannot guarantee that they will embrace that teaching all of their life.

But you can make sure they hear it again and again and again–from you.

Now, of course, that looks different with different kids and with different parents and especially at different times in their lives. It will look one way when they are really little and an almost completely different way when they are older. Heather and I are still trying to impress the faith on our children today, but at 21, 20, 18, and 17, it looks really different from when they were 5, 4, 2, and 1!

The point is to be at it. Continually.

As parents, it’s our job to not just to feed and shelter and protect and provide and make sure they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic. 

It’s our job to continually teach them about the Lord.

“Impress them on your children.”

And to do that, we have to open our mouths. Verse 7.

“Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

I think that’s a way of saying, “all of the time,” right?

The Israelites were to remind their children when they sat at home and when they were out on the road.

We would say, “When you are out in your mini-van.” 

When you are taking them to school or to soccer practice.

“When you lie down”–bedtime.
“When you get up”–breakfast time. 

Bedtime and breakfast time are key moments for discipleship!

And everything in between!

This is one of the reasons why parents are called to be the primary disciplers–they get their kids for some of the best times to learn about the Lord.

Parents, you may not have them all of the time, but all of the time you have them, you should be discipling them.

Impressing the faith on your children.

You’ve got them when they go to bed and when they get up. When they are sitting at home and when you are out with them on the road.

One of things we’ve noticed is that families are really busy these days. Lots of activities. And sometimes that means they are at church or church programs less than they used to be.

And while I think it’s good and right to ask parents to constantly monitor their family’s priorities and make sure that participating in spiritual community is a high priority–because the Lord calls us to do this together as a church!–yet no busy schedule should ever keep parents from discipling their children.

You don’t need this building to impress the faith on your children. You just need to open your mouth and continually connect everything in life to the Lord.

You can do this! There are lots of ways to do it. 

When they are little, there are Bible story books.

We have a bunch in the church library.

Heather just bought 3 more children’s books for the library, and they are beautiful.

Read a Bible story to your kids every night. Read a missionary biography.
Pray at the table every meal.
Sing with your kids at bedtime every night.
Pray with your kids at the table every morning.
Talk about Jesus as you drive to school in the morning.
When you pick them up, ask your kids about their day, and then bring the Lord into the conversation.

You can do this!

Discipleship doesn’t just happen in a classroom.

Or another way to say it is that everywhere is the classroom for discipleship.

“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Now, Orthodox Jews have taken that literally, and they actually have written down Scriptures and put them in little boxes that they wear on their bodies and attach to the doorframes of their houses. They touch them as they leave home and touch their mouths. And while I don’t think that’s what Moses meant, I applaud how seriously they take it! 

I think Moses meant to do whatever you can to keep the Scriptures in front of your eyes. Use whatever memory devices to get it into your kids’ minds.

Heather has chalkboards set up around our house with Scripture on it and posters and little pieces of writing paper stuck on cupboard doors. If I close my eyes, I can see Scripture all over our house.

The point is to do this everywhere and all of the time.

“Impress them on your children.”

Maybe use a catechism? Our kids memorized questions and answers from before they could understand them and they have given them hooks to hang truth on as they grew up.

I could ask them a question right now (I won’t because I don’t embarrass them that way, right? But I could ask them a question right now, and the answer would be on their lips.

“Q. What is sin? 
A. Sin is thinking, wanting or doing what displeases God.

Q. Is there only one God?
A. Yes, there is only one God and He exists in three Persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

If you want recommendations for good catechisms, I’d be glad to help you pick something out.

Even more importantly, memorize Scripture together.

On your way to church on Sunday, practice the “Hide the Word” verse in the car. Say it over and over again. Turn it into a song. Take turns. Make it a game. Flash cards!

“Impress them on your children.”

Parents, you can do this.

Now, some of you are like, “I don’t want to preach to my kids and tell them what to believe. It was forced down my throat, and I’m not doing that to my child.”

And there are lots of ways to do this badly, but one of worst ways is to not do it at all.

The Lord tells us to do it. So if He’s our Lord, we need to do it!

And we don't do this with math, do we? We don't say, "I don't want to preach to my kids all of this 2+2=4 stuff and tell them what to believe. All that math was forced down my throat, and I'm not doing that to my child."

That Jesus is Lord is just as true as 2+2=4. We need to teach the truth to our kids!

I think the key is to be living it out ourselves as we try to impress it on our children. It has to be “upon our hearts” first (v.6). Our kids will easily sniff out the hypocrisy if we are telling them one thing and then doing the exact opposite ourselves. 

We’ve all seen it done poorly.

But we’ve all seen it done well, too, right? Who are your models for family discipleship?

I think this is where the rest of the church can really help. If you have already been down this road, what can you do to help a younger parent travel it now?

I want to recommend another resource. This is a book I’ve been reading this Spring. It’s called, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home Through Time, Moments, and Milestones by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin, foreword by Jen Wilkin.

Time, Moments, and Milestones.

Time is quantity and quality time. You have to have both. Setting aside time to get your family into the Bible together.

Moments are like v.7 sitting at home and walking along the road.

Milestones are big events like baptisms and church camp and Challenge Conference and things like that.

Time, moments, and milestones. This book encourages parents to leverage all of those things to impress the faith on your children. And the authors also have a podcast where they talk about practical ideas for doing it well.

You can do this! And you are doing this! You are here with your kids right now.

If you are trying to disciple your family, the Lord bless you and your efforts. Keep it up! Keep going! We’re all with you!

And we’re all learning from you. I thought about walking around with a microphone today and asking all of the parents to tell us a story of how you are doing this right now. What your strategies are. But I didn’t want to put anybody on the spot. Maybe we’ll do that another Sunday. 

The key is keep doing it. Everywhere and every day, all of the time.

“Impress them on your children.”

Now, what are we supposed to impress on our children. I want to briefly summarize Moses’ message in three short points. (And we all need these things impressed on us, not just the children.)


Let’s back up to verse 1.

“These [what he just gave them in the preceding chapters and what he’s going to give them in the chapters to come] are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them [notice the generations there!] may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. [There is blessing with obedience. Let’s teach that our kids! V.3] Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. [This is the essence of the Old Covenant. With obedience comes blessing. Now, here’s where Moses teaches something essential about God’s identity. V.4]

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

The Jews call this the “Shema” from the Hebrew word to “Hear.”

And the Orthodox Jews recite it three times every day.

This is just as fundamental as what Kim Cone read to us last week about the LORD being the “I Am.” 

The LORD (Yahweh) our God, the LORD is one.

Impress that on your children.

“The LORD is one.”

Yes, that means that all Christians parents are theologians.

Mom and Dad, you are the resident theologians in your home.

The question is not whether or not you will be the resident theologian, but if you will  be a good one or a not so good one. Be a good one!  Learn about your Lord and impress it on your children.

For example, the LORD is one.

What does that mean? Well, it clearly means monotheism to start with. As my kids have memorized, there is only one God.

All the other gods out there are not God with a capital “G.” They are not the self-existent transcendent Creator above all things.

There is only One of Him.

Now, we learn in the rest of the Bible that while there is only One God, the One God is triune. Yahweh eternally exists in three Persons.

But there is Only One God.

And more than that, I think it means that He is consistent. Not only is He in a class by Himself–He alone is God–but He isn’t one kind of god one day and another kind of god the next. He is unchanging. He is perfectly unified. 

The LORD is one.

Impress that on your children.

Parents, what do your kids know about God? What have they learned from you about Who He is?

What have you insisted and instilled in them?

I have this thing with my boys when we went hunting together, I knew almost nothing about hunting when I did. I still don’t know that much about hunting. But I do know about hunting safety. And I would ask them, “Is there a bullet in the chamber? Is your safety on? Where are you pointing that? Is there a bullet in the chamber? Is your safety on? Where are you pointing that?”

I want it so that when my boys go hunting, I want them to hear my voice in their heads. “Is there a bullet in the chamber? Is your safety on? Where are you pointing that?”

But that is nothing compared to this. “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

“The LORD our God, the LORD is one.”

That’s Who he is.


If there is only one God, then He deserves one thing–all of our love. V.5

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

The Lord Jesus Christ said that this was the greatest commandment in the whole Law. If you have this and the second one like it, you have the whole thing!

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

That’s what He wants. 
He wants all of you.

Your heart, which is much more than your emotions. It’s really the center of you. Like your mind and your desires and your reverence and your worship.

And your soul. That’s not just the immaterial part of you. That’s like your whole being. 

And your strength, your might. That’s all of your efforts. All of what you throw yourself into.

The LORD wants you to love Him with all that you are.

Impress that on your children.

Tell them again and again in all of the ways you can think of that the LORD is worthy of their worship and calls them to love Him supremely, above all things, with all of their beings.

It’s easy to forget.

The reason why we have to be broken records is that our minds are broken, too.

And we easily get tempted to forget that the LORD is worthy of our worship and start to drift off to worship other things.

Skip down to verse 10. Moses says, “When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you–a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant–then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Don’t forget. When things get easy, it’s easy to forget. V.13

“Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. [The LORD is one!] Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; [Love the LORD your God with all your heart...] for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah [the place of testing, Exodus 17]. Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.”

Impress on your children what the LORD wants, and what He wants is YOU!

All of you!

He is jealous for your love. And that’s a good thing. 

It would be terrible if He didn’t care if you worshipped Him or not.

It would mean that He wasn’t worthy of all of your worship if He did.

But the LORD is one.

Impress that on your children.

Do you know Who memorized this passage (probably as a child) and then used it powerfully when He grew up? 

And maybe even more important than knowing what the LORD wants is knowing what the LORD has already done.


“In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?’ tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders–great and terrible–upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.’”

Notice that a good parent doesn’t just talk. They also listen.

Kids are curious. They have questions. That’s a good thing!

If your kid has stopped asking theological questions, that’s a warning sign.

All of that talking when you are at home and when you are on the road and at bedtime and at breakfasttime. That’s not all you talking, parents. That’s all of your family talking.

And sometimes the kids ask hard questions. Questions you don’t know the answer for.

That’s why I’m here. That’s why Heather’s here. That’s why we have church elders. Why we have teachers. And a church library full of resources.

But this question should be an easy. When they say, “Why do we do all this stuff, Dad?” 

“Why do we go to church?”
“Why do we do pray all the time?”
“Why do we open up our Bibles as a family?”
“Why do you make us memorize catechism questions?”
“Why do we sing the same worship songs over and over again?”

The answer is “Because of what the LORD has done.”

For the Israelites it was the Red Sea Rescue.

For us, it’s the Cross of Jesus Christ.

And it’s all of grace!

“Son, daughter, we don’t do all of these things to impress God. We don’t do it to earn His favor. We don’t do it to rack up ‘godpoints.’ We love Him because He first loved us. That’s where our righteousness comes from.”

Remember that land with large flourishing cities? We didn’t build those.
Remember that house filled with good things? We didn’t provide those.
Remember that gardens with all those good things to eat? We didn’t plant them.

We don’t deserve them.

But they are gifts of God’s faithful grace.

Parents, let’s make sure that we are motivated by grace and teaching grace to our kids, from start to finish.

Often family discipleship goes wrong when we somehow convey that we do these things because we are so great or to somehow get God’s attention or earn His approval.

No, we do all of this out of and because of the grace of God. And we know the grace of God because of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Let’s bring our kids back to Cross, back to His sacrifice, back to His gift, back to the gospel over and over again.

Don’t forget it, and don’t let them forget it either.

Our Lord has given Christian parents the great privilege of being the primary discipling influence in their children’s lives. Be a broken record of grace.

Impress God’s grace on your children!


Such an encouragement! May I ask what the HIDE THE WORD is? It sounded like it was a program?

Thanks! I'm glad it was encouraging to you. "Hide the Word" is what we call our ongoing Bible memory initiative at LEFC. Every few months we work on a new verse as a whole church family. Right now we're learning Jeremiah 17:7-8.