THE TRAINING GROUND OF CHRISTIANITY
The statement “the foundation of society is the home” is true for the Church. Good homes make good societies and they make healthy growing churches. The home environment is the true cradle of mankind. It is the kernel of the Church. After God made man, the next thing He created was the home. His intention was that marriage, the divine union between a man and a woman in love with each other and complimenting each other, would be the cement that holds society together.
The home is God’s training ground for life. This is where man is expected to spend the formative years of his life on earth. I use man here as a generic expression for male and female or humankind. The psalmist was in concert with God when he noted in Psalms 68:6;
“God setteth the solitary in families:” The Message Bible says “God makes homes for the homeless...” The NIV says “God sets the lonely in families.” According to Ronny Wade;
The home has been defined as “the father’s kingdom, the mother’s world, and the child’s paradise. Homes are the vestibules of heaven.” God’s plan for homes is to make them an extension of heaven on earth. The popular saying “there’s no place like home” is a truism. Over the years, I have collected quite a few quotes on home and I share some of them with you now:
“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.”
“East or West, North or South, home is the best.”
“Where we love is home- home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
One of my favorite quotes is this;
“In this home… We do second chances. We do real. We do mistakes. We do I’m sorrys. We do loud really well. We do hugs. We do together best of all.” Home is where we may not have it all together but together we have it all. While these quotes are anonymous, TS Eliot, that fiery English pen, has noted that “Home is where one starts from.” He was speaking God’s heart. If God started at home with His only begotten Son by causing Him to born and reared in a loving home and family, He would do the same with us because home is the training ground of Christianity.
Home is where all the best of the life of Christ are honed in us. Home is where we are blessed and we become a blessing. I cannot overstess the fact that home is divine in origin. It is the place where we honor God and where God advances His will and promotes us to the summit of His call for our lives.
The home is the oldest and most influential institution in human society. Homes that are built according to divine specifications can have tremendous impact on the building of a nation and churches. Homes that go astray and become the exact opposite of what God intended for the family can wreck havoc in individuals lives, societies, nations and churches. The state of our churches in these perilous day and time is a reflection of our homes and families.
God’s Assignment for the Home
As I have already stated above, the home is God’s training ground for the building up of a godly community that will impact church and society. What I am trying to say has been best captured by Dennis MacCallum as follows;
“If the local church is to truly develop the spiritual gifts of its members, and mobilize the terrific power of the Holy Spirit to work through a trained and experienced laity, if it is to facilitate true relationship-based community, it will need to organize smaller groups where these can be fostered.”
This makes a very strong case for cell groups or house churches. More about them later. God’s assignment for the home is to train up a child in the way that he should go so that he will not depart when he faces evil days (Proverbs 22:6). There is a way, a path of life, God has ordained for children as well as adults, that channel our lives and destinies towards fulfilling God’s plans, purposes and pursuits. Home guarantees that didactic preparation for life. The Power of Parenting
In telling and retelling Messiah’s story, not much credit has been given to His earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. The massive influence their parenting played in Messiah’s upbringing cannot be over-emphasized. The following portion of scripture implies that God took notice— Matthew 1:18-20;
“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)
This is perhaps one of the more detailed descriptions of Jesus’ earthly parents. The rest of the gospels are silent about them. They were no ordinary parents at all. God chose the best for His only begotten Son and they raised Him well to fulfill His heavenly assignment. The home is undoubtedly God’s academy for raising the men and women He uses to advance His kingdom on earth. It must play a central role in the building of Christ’s Church. Just as charity begins at home, so we must begin building Christ’s Church from home. God is calling us back to our Jerusalems. We cannot win the world if we are losing the battle at the homefront. I hear the Lord saying to us as the prophet Elijah said to Elisha; “Go back again... “What have I done to you?” (1 Kings 19:20). Let us take the gospel of the kingdom of God back to our homes.
~ Tony Osuobeni