On Sunday evening ( 15/11/2009) we had our Youth Awards evening at Eastside Baptist Church . Our church seeks to encourage parents not to neglect the spiritual training of their children . The church' desires to help children to learn and to absorb the word of God , just as a body would absorb the nutrients that food provides. We remember that Jesus said : " Man shall not live by bread alone , but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Children were greatly helped this year to memorize Scripture passages. Our prayer is that the Word of God stored in the hearts of these children , and brought to life by the Holy Spirit in due course will make a real difference in Namibia . Namibia's children will remain greatly neglected , and our country will continue to be morally and spiritually impoverished, if we continue to withhold the training in the Word of God from them.
Below follows the address that Pastor Rieck gave to parents and children after the awards :
" Train a child in the way he should go , and when he is old he will not turn from it." [Proverbs 22:6]
The Hebrew word used here for ‘ to train’ is apparently a rare one in biblical use . It can include the idea of initiation or dedication  and of instruction .
Thus, if we combine the two aspects in which the word is used in the scriptures , there emerges a richer flavour to this word .
The child training process begins with a conscientious dedication of the child by the parents to the Lord , when they dedicate themselves as parents and their child before the assembly of God’s people , who promise to help them in this sacred duty . Successful spiritual training by parents can only ever be done in the strength of the Lord .
This training continues throughout the child’s life at home.
The training envisaged here is primarily that of ‘ spiritual training’ – the most important and foundational part of preparing a child for life ! Unfortunately many parents are only concerned about getting their children trained in academic fields and neglect to train their children in this foundational area . In this regard Paul reminds Timothy that training in godliness is vastly superior to any other kind of training . He says : “ Train yourself to be godly . For physical training has some value, but godliness has value for all things , holding promise for both the present life and the life to come .” (1Tim 4:7,8).
Parents and children , do you realize that in training children for godliness , we do not train them only for the here and now , but also for the hereafter !
So we see then that a biblical view of training must have as its primary goal to lead the child to Christ the Saviour. “Continually make your child’s soul a priority “ , says Bishop Ryle .
Furthermore , the goal of training is to prepare the child to love and obey God and His Word for life !
Now, children will not love God naturally . They are after all also constituted sinners . They must be born again- like every one . But fortunately in God’s providence children are soft clay in the hands of the Potter . They are humble and willing to listen , although this stage passes very quickly!
But, take courage! Once they are born again , the parental training will come to full fruition . Whatever you have taught your child before their conversion is not wasted . It is stored up for future use! From the moment they are born again, they can really live to the glory of God , living on all the spiritual stores that you have invested into them .
So , please note that while you as a parent cannot save your child , you are certainly called to prepare them for that time – and you may do so in the certain hope that this will happen ! God loves to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him (Lk 11:13)
This implies a consistency in spiritual training , which the godly Bishop Ryle describes in his excellent booklet “ The duty of parents “ in 17 points ! His 4th point is this: “Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends on you” . For this task you are given 18 or so years by God !
2. Parents – you must train your children !
We have already made this point , but it may be useful to emphasize this point again . The Bible envisages that the substantial , foundational training of a child is to be done by parents. From a biblical perspective it is the parent’s primary responsibility to train their children , and not the government , not the school , and not the church . [In fact , the government has no biblical authority /mandate at all from God to regulate the training of children!] . These institutions may be helpful to the process of education and training , but they are secondary to the training that the child receives from its parents .
Does this mean that the parent must do all the training ? No ! But it does mean that all the training must come back to the parent . If for instance your child hears in his biology class that our human race has evolved from green slime to monkeys to human beings (i.e. from the goo – to the zoo – to you!) , then as a Christian parent it is your duty to correct that teaching by showing your children that mankind is fearfully and wonderfully and purposefully made by God (Genesis 1; 2 ; Psalm 139) . Your children , whether in a home school environment or in a school environment will continually be bombarded with such issues . Life after all is lived in a sinful, imperfect world . You cannot keep your children from these things , but you can help them to see through these things , as Bishop Ryle says ( #2) “ with all tenderness , affection and patience” . Parents , help your children to reason from the Scriptures . That pre- supposes of course that you must know the Scriptures .
3. The way he should go versus the way he would go
Always remember that children are born with a decided bias towards evil , and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong . Children left to themselves do not become better children . (see the example of the street children of our city)
Parents you must take charge of your children- do not give them up to their own wayward tastes and inclinations . They do not yet know what is good for their mind and body and soul .
4. A great promise : A child well trained will not depart from the Lord .
Parents, you have a great promise on your side ! And children will be best equipped for life by such parents who care for them . A child well trained in the way which we have described will not depart from the Lord !
Many children shall rise up in the day of Judgement , and bless God for their parents for the good training they have received , even if the parents had seen but little fruit and evidences of these things in their own lives .
Go forward then in faith , and be sure that your labour shall not be in vain.
JC Ryle says : Three times did Elijah stretch himself upon the widows dead child , before it revived. ( 1 Kings 17:21) .Take example from him and persevere!
 German : “gewoehne deinen Knaben... “ ; Afrikaans : “Oefen die seun…”
 E.g. the word is used in this sense in Deut 20:5; 1 Ki 8:63 ; 2 Chron 7:5 ; Title to Psalm 30
 E.g. Gen 14:14; 18:19
 J.C. Ryle’s 17 points :
a. Train them in the way they should go , and not in the way that they would go !
b. Train up your child with all tenderness , affection and patience .
c. Train your children with an abiding persuasion on your mind that much depends on you.
d. Train with this thought continually before you – that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.
e. Train your child to a knowledge of the Bible
f. Train them in the habit of prayer
g. Train them to habits of diligence , and regularity about public means of grace
h. Train them to a habit of faith
i. Train them to a habit of obedience
j. Train them to a habit of always speaking the truth
k. Train them to a habit of always redeeming the time
l. Train them with a constant fear of overindulgence
m. Train them remembering continually how God trains His children.
n. Train them remembering continually the influence of your own example
o. Train them remembering continually the power of sin
p. Train them remembering continually the promises of Scripture
q. Train them with continual prayer for a blessing on all you do .