Children and Community

It is often said that we in Australia live in a society characterised by ‘rampant individualism’. Is that true? Are we a society in which “I” is the be all and end all? Is the individual self (think of the newly coined word, “selfie”) of supreme importance?. While it may be true, but I think it is so only to an extent. For instance, think of State of Origin III (Wednesday 12th. July). The home crowd in Brisbane will without much prompting summarise their feelings in one word, “Queenslander!”. In other words the individual home supporters think of themselves in group not individual terms. They belong to Queensland. They think in terms of being a community.

During our present sermon series thinking about the Bible’s teaching on children, we noticed this idea of community is used in a number of ways in Old Testament times, didn’t we? David, while an individual, would have thought of himself in terms of being David, the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah. As we noted, when Achan sinned [as an individual], it was considered that all Israel had sinned against God (Josh. 7:11). When Noah acted individually in a righteous way (Gen. 7:1) or Joshua made a personal commitment to serve God alone (Josh. 24:15), their actions had consequences for their whole “households”. God dealt with His people in structures of family, tribe and nation.

This Lord’s Day, we will see how the New Testament continues to show this community aspect in God’s dealings with people. We will focus on the concept of “household” (Acts 11:14; 16:15; 16:31-34; 1 Cor. 1:16). On the basis of the belief of individuals, such as Cornelius, Lydia, a Philippian jailer, Stephanas, whole households were initiated into God’s covenant community through baptism. As you grasp this truth that God has always dealt with His people on a group or corporate basis (community), ask what is the implication for our children? How are they to be viewed and treated within God’s covenant community? The Church is presented and addressed in group terms, such as a family, a body, a race, a nation, a priesthood and a people.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31),