Do you want your family to be vital and victorious? To be successful in the ways that count? To have a home where your children learn to love God, love others, and turn that love into a living testimony for Christ?
As much as you want this, God wants it even more. So much so that He gave parents a blueprint for building a spiritually successful family: the Ten Commandments.
Unfortunately, our generation has come to view them as being more or less like black-and-white television: revolutionary "back then"; sorely outdated now. But pastor Adrian Rogers opens up the wonder of the Ten Commandments in a whole new way and encourages you to look at them again. When you do, you'll discover for yourself that they are not obsolete, as so many think, but absolute—and absolutely essential for your family today.
This book not only shows you how to teach these ten "liberating laws of life" consistently, creatively, convincingly, and compellingly, but lays out why it is so important.
Want your family to thrive? Take these godly principles to heart—help write them on your children's hearts—and watch as God passes His blessing on to those youngsters you cherish so much.
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About the Author
The late Adrian Rogers was the pastor of the 27,000-member Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. He served three times as President of the Southern Baptist Convention and wrote many books. He also reached many people through his television and radio ministry, “Love Worth Finding.”
Read an Excerpt
It Takes God To Make A Home
The life of the nation is the life of the family written large.
Something terrible is happening in America. We are losing out spiritually in our homes, and the results of our loss are being felt in every corner of society.
Let me give you two illustrations to help set the stage for what I want to share with you in this book. Not too long ago the cover of Newsweek magazine was emblazoned with the word Shame. Under it was the question, "How do we bring back a sense of right and wrong?" That's quite a topic for the secular press to be tackling, wouldn't you agree?
The article says, "Shame — that's something they have over in Japan, isn't it? Our country's about shamelessness. Here we have TV shows where people tell the world about bestiality inside their bedroom — and the world yawns." In an accompanying sidebar article, Kenneth Woodward writes:
Ninety percent of Americans say they believe in God. Yet the urgent sense of personal sin has all but disappeared in the current upbeat style in American religion. In earlier eras, ministers regularly exhorted congregations to humbly "confess our sins." But the aging baby boomers who are rushing back to church do not want to hear sermons that might rattle their self-esteem. And many clergy, who are competing in a buyer's market feel they cannot afford to alienate.
Now, if we are losing the battle for basic decency and subsequently for our homes, then somebody better be rattling our self-esteem! The preacher's job is not to fill the auditorium, but to fill the pulpit.
Whether people want to hear the truth or not, we've got to stop marketing religion and pandering to people's desires. Our nation's moral and spiritual crisis is much too deep-rooted to allow for superficial fixes. Even nonreligious people in America are beginning to realize that we are facing disintegration as a society. This is a problem of fundamental values.
No wonder our young people are so confused. I feel sorry for today's youth, which brings me to my second illustration. I saw a young man in an airport recently. I suppose he was about eighteen years of age. He had an earring in one ear, a lot of facial hair, and he was wearing a T-shirt.
I took out my pen and wrote down what it said on the back of that shirt. Here it is: "I am not scared. I am not afraid. I am an animal. I will eat you alive if I have to. NO FEAR." This was the first shirt of that kind I had seen. Now there is a whole line of clothing with that basic theme.
This young man wanted the world to know he was not afraid. But you know something? I think he was very much afraid.
We used to have a cat. When a dog would come around, our cat would puff up real big. But the reason he puffed up was because he was afraid of that dog. This generation may talk big, but it experiences a great deal of fear — and much of it is homemade.
Losing A GENERATION
So we are raising a generation of youngsters who feel like animals, ready to eat us alive! And why shouldn't they? They've been systematically taught that they are animals, that they were not created in the image of God. Instead, they are accidents of nature. That's why that teenager in the airport felt it was important to advertise that he was not afraid — because he was an animal.
With this kind of mind-set, is it any wonder that our children and young people often behave like animals? More than 100,000 of our young people are caged in prisons today. More than a million teenage girls in America will get pregnant this year. And more than ten million minors are infected with sexually transmitted diseases. So much for the animal farm!
It doesn't sound like our homes are very successful, does it? But the thesis and the heart of this book is that we can have homes that win — homes that not merely survive, but thrive.
God has a plan to give us successful homes. It is given to us in His Word and is communicated in divine shorthand in the Ten Commandments, His perfect law. If we want to have homes that win, we can rediscover God's will as revealed in His Ten Commandments. That's my primary goal for this book — to give you a strategy and a plan to transport God's perfect plan for the home from the pages of Scripture right into your living room. Obviously, biblical instruction on the home is not confined to the Ten Commandments. But in this book our focus will be primarily on that crucial and foundational section of the Word of God. This is not the totality of God's communication on the subject, but it is a good starting point and is a strategic portion of what God wants to say to us.
Many of our young people today could not recite the Ten Commandments if their lives depended on it, even many who are members of Bible-teaching churches. One reason is that their parents don't know the Commandments either, except for some vague idea of right and wrong. Today kids have computers in their bedrooms, but they're becoming roadkill on the information highway.
There is a war going on in America, a battle for the soul of our nation. The battleground is the home, and the issue is truth. Satan has aimed all of the artillery of hell at our homes, and every shell in that artillery is a lie.
Satan's chief weapon is deception. The devil would rather peddle a lie than a barrel of whiskey or a kilo of illegal drugs any day. Satan would rather get you to believe a wrong thing than to do a wrong thing. He is the sinister minister of destruction.
Why? Because a lie is the most dangerous thing on the face of this earth. It is antithetical to God, who is the Truth and whose Word is truth (John 17:17). Satan is a pusher of lies, because the thought is the father of the deed. And if he can get a nation to move away from truth, if the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Recent polls indicate that the majority of Americans no longer believe in absolute truth. And here's the frightening thing — some 62 percent of the people who call themselves evangelical Bible believers say there is no such thing as absolute truth. Now you can begin to see why our generation has lost its standards, its moorings, its moral compass. We now have morality by majority, and the result is chaos in society.
I'm weary of hearing about the religious right and the religious left. The issue is not right or left. The issue is right and wrong. Let me say again, the issue is truth.
God has given us His Ten Commandments, His unfailing and perfect plan for life, and we'll never have homes that are victorious and happy without them. They may be "secrets" to the world, but they are God's clear revelation to anyone who will heed them and teach them to their children. That's what I want to help you do in this book.
I realize that to some people the Ten Commandments may fall into the category of black-and-white television — okay for its time, but sort of out of date. But as we begin this study my challenge to you is to hear and heed them afresh.
Preparing the Way
In the chapters that follow we will look at each of the Ten Commandments in detail, and at the end of each chapter I will give you some specific ideas to help you communicate God's truth to your family.
But before we home in on Exodus 20, I want to show you how vital this is and prepare the way by considering what many people believe to be the most important passage in all of the Old Testament — Deuteronomy 6:1-9, which includes the great Shema of Israel. Here Moses tells us how we are to observe and teach God's Commandments.
Something hit me like a hammer as I was pondering this passage in the preparation of these studies. It clearly shows how God wants to communicate the Ten Commandments to His people. Are you ready for it? Here it is: from father to son. It's that simple.
The Ten Commandments were not meant to be taught primarily in the public school, the halls of government, or the boardrooms of business. These places may be well and good, and the truth of God is certainly needed there, but they are not God's ideal plan. The primary setting for the communication of the Ten Commandments is the home. With that in mind, let's consider the teachings and applications of this great text.
The book of Deuteronomy is Moses' farewell address to the people of Israel just before they entered the Promised Land. He was reminding the people of God's dealings with them and was preparing them to live in a way that would please God and guarantee them a future. Moses knew that God's answer to the chaos of pagan society was the family, and he wanted to strengthen and equip Israel's families to stand strong.
To set the context of Deuteronomy 6, we need to back up to chapter 5. In verses 6-21 of that chapter, Moses restated the Ten Commandments as he had received them from the Lord on Mount Sinai. Notice verse 29, where Moses is speaking for God and says:
Oh that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (emphasis mine)
Let me tell you, it will not be well with us and with our children if we do not make some radical changes and begin teaching the Ten Commandments in our homes.
Now look at the opening verses of Deuteronomy 6:
Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: that thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
— Verses 1-3, emphasis mine
God says that if you want your home and your nation to last, then take these Commandments and hand them down from father to son. What a wonderful "winning streak" that would be for our homes — God's Commandments being handed down generation after generation.
We need homes that succeed with God because our kids have lost something. I'm very concerned about the generation growing up today. So many children and young people attend churches filled with squishy theology, where the authority of the Word of God is questioned and the life of the Lord Jesus Christ is not being manifest, where the worship is empty and futile.
It has well been said that in the fifties kids lost their innocence. They seemed to be liberated by music and films and cars and money.
Then after losing their innocence, in the sixties kids lost their authority. During that decade of rebellion, young people challenged every authority — their parents, teachers, religion, government. But nothing replaced those authorities, so the youth were left without anything to believe.
That led to a loss of the ability to love in the seventies and especially in the eighties, the so-called "me-decade." Having lost their ability to love, young people substituted sex for love without knowing the difference.
So in our day, having lost their innocence, authority, and ability to love, our youth have lost their hope. That's why young people in the bloom of life are taking their lives. They have lost any confidence in the future. It breaks my heart to see this happening.
James Madison is called the father of the American Constitution. Here is what he said about our nation: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of our politics upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
Madison said that America had staked everything on the ability of its people to govern themselves and control themselves according to the Ten Commandments. That's an incredible statement! It wasn't a pulpit-pounding preacher who said that. It was the father of the Constitution.
But the Ten Commandments have been all but lost in our homes. And even though I said above that the public schools are not God's primary place for the communication of the Commandments, at least several generations of American schoolchildren were able to read them on the walls of their schools.
But no more! The Ten Commandments have been removed from America's schools. One would think they are a sinister plan for the overthrow of the government and so must be banned from the vulnerable minds of students.
Who are we listening to today? Not to James Madison, but to people like the scientist Carl Sagan, who stands before the TV camera and confidently announces, "The cosmos is all there is."
Well, if this universe is all there is, the idea of a God must be obsolete. And if God is obsolete, His Commandments must be obsolete — an archaic code for a musty age.
But I want to say that the Ten Commandments are not obsolete. They are absolute — absolutely true and absolutely necessary. And America's homes cannot hope to survive apart from the moral foundation they provide. Here is what God says fathers and mothers are to do with His Ten Commandments in the home:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
— Verses 4-9
Embracing God's Truth
Here is the great Shema (taken from the first word, "Hear") — Israel's confession of faith. As I said earlier, the Jews consider this to be the most important passage in the book of Deuteronomy, if not in the entire Bible. Orthodox Jews would repeat it at least twice a day. They would repeat it in the congregation. God says primarily to fathers but also to mothers, "Teach My commands to your children."
Remember the background here. Moses has restated the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5, and now God tells the people through Moses to teach these truths to their children.
We complain that the Ten Commandments can no longer be posted in public places. May I meddle a little? How many Christian parents know the Ten Commandments? How many of us have the Ten Commandments posted in our homes or in our minds?
God told Moses, "Tell the people to put these laws upon the doorposts of their houses." And God says to fathers today, "It is your responsibility, not the government's or the school's responsibility, to teach these Commandments to your children." Dad, it's your job. I don't know where we got the idea that teaching God's Word and spiritual truth to children has been assigned to the school or is strictly women's work. The Bible always places the primary responsibility on fathers. Dads, the onus is on us. We cannot punt the ball to our wives or the government or the school. It is up to us to see that the Ten Commandments are handed down to our children.
Psalm 127:4 says, "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." Fathers are God's mighty warriors to launch their children like arrows straight and true to the bull's-eye. If you have ever tried to bend and string a large bow like those used in archery competitions, you know how hard it is. It's even harder to pull the bow back and fire the arrow if you're not used to it. It takes strength and skill.
A father who wants to shoot straight as a warrior must be strong and skilled. Dads can't fire their "arrows" straight unless they are developing their own spiritual, mental, and emotional strength.
But fathers must also shape and sharpen their twigs into arrows. Children are not born arrows — they are born twigs. We are all twisted by sin from the womb. So the Bible tells parents to raise their sons and daughters in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
Further, the warrior's aim must be true. He must keep the target in sight. What are your goals for your children? What target do you want them to hit? Are you helping aim them toward God's will for their lives?
Once you sight the target, you need to fire the arrows. Arrows are not meant to be collected. They are to be projected. Our ultimate goal is to release our children spiritually and emotionally, not to try and keep them in the "quiver."
All of that is primarily the responsibility of the father. That's why I am thankful for the renewed attention being focused on fatherhood today. Amazingly, all of the studies and anecdotal evidence being gathered points to what the Bible has taught for centuries. If a husband and father is not the head of the family, the result can only be chaos. The father is God's person to lend stability and character and strength to the home.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Ten Secrets for a Successful Family"
Copyright © 1996 Adrian Rogers.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. It Takes God to Make a Home, 15,
2. One God Per Family, 29,
3. Learning Family Worship, 41,
4. The Name Above All Names, 55,
5. How to Make the Rest Day the Best Day, 71,
6. Has the Nuclear Family Bombed?, 85,
7. Families That Choose Life, 101,
8. The Key to a Magnificent Marriage, 115,
9. Honesty: Don't Leave Home Without It, 131,
10. Truth or Consequences, 145,
11. The Secret of Satisfaction, 161,
12. A Word of Encouragement, 177,