King's Business - 1949-09


"Great Things”

By Norman V. Williams of the Family Altar League of America

T HERE is a great commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 with regard to the family altar: “ Thou shalt teach them [the words of God] dili­ gently unto thy children.” God is speak­ ing to parents, not to pastors or Sunday school teachers. The consecrated lives of others may influence the children for God, but no one can substitute for mothers and fathers in fulfilling the divine command! They are to diligently teach their boys and girls the Word of God. A good definition for the function and work of the family altar is found in this word diligent. The family altar really is a diligent teaching of the Word of God to ourselves and our chil­ dren. Its exact function is to impart the Word of God to the members of the household gathered around it. The greatest Bible Institute in the world is a father reading the open Bible to his family! The Word of God is to saturate the whole atmosphere, conversation, and life of the home. The Bible is pre­ eminent in the entire life of a family- altar home and no Christian father or mother can fulfill this divine command apart from a family altar. Disobedience to this definite command to teach the Word of God in the home is responsible for much modernism, worldliness, and lukewarmness of the last forty years. Forty years ago 50% of Christian homes maintained a family altar; now only 5% of such homes have one. Disre­ gard of this command and the corre­ sponding one from the New Testament: “ And, ye fathers, provoke not your chil­ dren to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4) has let in a flood tide of un­ belief, apostasy and godlessness. Before the modernist tore down the altars in our churches, we tore down the altars in our homes! Before indifference para­ lyzed our churches, it had paralyzed our homes! Before pastors denied the Word of God in the churches, parents denied the Word of God access into their home life! Much of the energy funda­ mentalists waste chastising the mod­ ernism and worldliness in our churches might be better spent in calling parents to sincere repentance for their neglect to bring up their children in the nur­ ture and admonition of the Lord. Unless there is such a repentance before God for the broken-down family altars, an­ other twenty-five years will find many more churches, now bearing fundamen­ talist labels, going under the outfight control of modernism. It is right that prayer for a revival according to Second Chronicles 7:14 should be made, but coupled with it should be obedience according to the command of Deuteronomy 6:5-9! S E P T E M B E R , 1 9 4 9

What is the great offense mentioned by the Lord Jesus? We read it in Mat­ thew 18:6: “ But whoso shall, offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” There is no greater offense against a child than to deny his never-dying soul the daily nourishment of the Word of God. Sunday school and church are not sufficient. From a tract published by the Family Altar League of America I quote the following: “ Imagine that per­ fect Sunday dinner . . . it’s delightful to think about, isn’t it? But listen—how about Monday morning; when it rolls around? That Sunday dinner won’t be quite so satisfying, will it? And Tues­ day evening and Thursday noon—and Saturday all day long. You are weak, listless, with no ambition. The fact is this, no man (and no child) can live on one meal a week, no matter how much he eats!” The great offense is to starve a child’s soul day after day by withholding the Word of God. Children called unruly and disobedient are usually the ones who have been thus sinned against. That child has no resistance against the striv­ ings of the flesh and the sins of the world. It is easier for him to drift along with the tide than to fight it. A woman worried over her son’s delinquency was asked if she had a family altar in her home and if her boy had ever heard her praying for him. When she said “No”, to these questions, she was told that the boy was suffering from spiritual malnu­ trition, and ,she promised to go home and tell the boy she had sinned against him and to start a family altar. She fol­ lowed this good counsel, and within a few weeks was overjoyed when one night before family worship her son threw his arms around her, and with tears of joy exclaimed, “Mother, you’ll have no more trouble with me! I’ve ac­ cepted Jesus as my Saviour and I’m going to be a good boy from now on. I’m sorry I have caused you so much worry.” In hundreds of Christian homes, chil­ dren are stumbling around in the dark for lack of Scriptural knowledge. The devil has a subtle and well-organized plan to draw children into evil ways, and only those nourished on God’s Word around an old-fashioned family altar can hope to escape. Acts 16:31 is a great promise but is often looked upon as an isolated prom­ ise. It should be read in the light of its vital connection with the verses that follow. What God has joined let not man put asunder. While Acts 16:31 contains a great promise of household salvation, verse 32 shows the believer’s responsi­

Mr. Williams

bility toward the entire household: “ And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” Here is a family altar. Here is the ful­ fillment of Deuteronomy 6:7. It is not scriptural to claim the promise of verse 31 without fulfilling the condition of verse 32. Note the result of this as described in verses 33, 34: “ And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was bap­ tized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and re­ joiced, believing in God with all his house.” The whole family was saved be­ cause the whole family received the Word of God. A sure prescription for salvation in a family is: Believe Acts 16:31; practice Acts 16:32 (erect a family altar); enjoy the answer of Acts 16:34. It is estimated that children in fam­ ily-altar homes are usually saved some­ where between two and six years of age. That means that a whole life, as well as the soul, is saved for the Lord! Isaiah 28:10 sets forth a great meth­ od: “ For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Spiritual training must be thor­ ough, consistent, continuous, and whole­ hearted. It must be methodical and regu­ lar, not hit and miss. The child takes on the spiritual rhythm he finds in his surroundings, basically, his home circle! Daily family worship makes for an ac­ cumulative spiritual effect in the life that can be had in no other way. There is a spiritual build-up in the life which comes from the daily worship of the family together around God’s open Word. To get the full force of this, the fol­ lowing verses should be studied in this connection: Deuteronomy 6:5, 11:9, and Acts 16:32 give us a glorious content; Isaiah 28:10, a glorious method, and Acts 16:34 the glorious result. Matthew 18:20 contains the great promise: “ For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When we think of two or three persons, our minds na­ turally visualize a home—a family. Un­ doubtedly Jesus was looking down the ages of time and was visualizing in His mind all those little families that would be gathered around His open Word in love, worship and prayer; and this was the special promise of His presence in (Continued on Page 2b) Page Thirteen

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