Holiday Bible Program – Will we have a godly future generation in BPCWA?
Dear BPCWA worshipper, We recently concluded our Holiday Bible Program from the 4-6 January. The theme of the program was “Growing Up as Godly Seed”, taken from 1 John 3:9 “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” I chose this theme to tie in with the Family Seminar conducted last October, which was along the same lines. While the Family Seminar focussed on teaching the parents, it was also important for the children growing up in our church to also know and understand their role and respond correctly in this as well. This being a year with COVID restrictions and hence a need to reduce registrations, participation in our HBP program is largely (with only a few exceptions) from the children in our church – children who should indeed grow up from young as godly seed in the families that God has given to us. Importantly, these children will grow up to be the next generation of worshippers in BPCWA if they stayed on.
What we sought to plant in the children over the 3 days. Day 1) Whose seed am I? We believe in a familial God that is a God to us and our families, but salvation does not come through natural procreation from Christian parents. We must be sure of their salvation, because only through the inward regeneration of the Holy Spirit in their hearts can they have a genuine and sustained desire for God and His Word that is necessary for them to grow in Christ. There can be no godly seed without God’s seed first having been established in their hearts. Recapping Christ’s answer to Nicodemus’ question, children were asked to examine themselves. They were reminded to ensure that they have indeed personally turned to Christ to seek for salvation, and understood that they needed to be born again and indeed have the signs of it. Just like the wind, the effect of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of God’s seed would be evident in their desires and their lives. This is an important check as our children grow up in a Christian environment and are familiar with God’s word but yet could have been like Nicodemus in John 3, who did not know how to be saved. Day 2) How will I grow? One who has truly been born again “doth not commit sin … and he cannot sin, because he is born of God”. While we are still susceptible to sin, a genuine believer will not want to sin and will war against sin. When he sins, he is remorseful about his sin and desires not to sin again. The key lesson for them was that they should feel this way not because of external pressure from parents or church to conform, nor because of the fear of punishment, but because the new creature within him hates sin. Also, the born-again child must know that he cannot continue in habitual sin without repenting by giving excuses that he cannot help it. The Holy Spirit helps by giving him the power to overcome his sins. So, when he sins it is because he has chosen not to resist temptation. They were also taught to recognize within themselves that sin is beckoning all around them. Hence, God warns His children in 1 John 2:15 not to love world, because “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” are all so common that we have grown to live and accept it in our lives, without realizing that it will hinder our spiritual growth as godly seed. Students were taught to be conscious about these sins creeping up in different guises at different stages of their lives. The dangers that face children in their teenage and later years were especially pointed out. They must learn to recognize when the attitude of the once innocent children begin to change and pride strengthens its sinful foothold. As a child in one of the classes admitted, this happens because they think they know better as they grow up. Pride can take many forms. It can surface as anger, or the desire for popularity, or to be recognized. Most children began to realise their growing rebelliousness and insubmission was due to pride. They were reminded that they were in reality fighting against God and their parents or church when they refuse to obey what they know is good in the eyes of God. Also, when it comes to the lust of the flesh, even seemingly harmless activities like games and outings can take priority over studying God’s Word and going to church, thus impeding one’s spiritual growth. Day 3) Will I remain godly? In the closing lesson, because God’s seed remains in believers, students were exhorted to be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58). But the purpose of all this is not for outward appearances, but that they would not fail the Lord who had saved them. Ultimately, it must be something that they must desire in their hearts and which must constrain them from within. While service is important, it begins not first with service, but with the genuine desire to know and obey God through His Word. As children grow up and other interests and priorities creep into their lives, some are not as regular at church activities as they used to be. Enthusiasm for the things of God wanes. As this continues, many in the past have even stopped attending church altogether. Students were asked to reflect if they sincerely wanted to continue in the Lord. After recognizing the sins that will cause many to depart from godliness, students were reminded to quickly repent, else the lusts and the pride of the world will slowly but surely creep in and overtake them.
Classes, program, logistics setup, and crafts. Students were divided into 3 classes based on their school years in 2020: 1) From Pre-primary to Year 2, 2) From Year 3 to 5, and 3) From Year 5 to 10. With COVID physical distancing guidelines in place, children sat on the chairs which were set up for worship. This meant that interaction between the children was more difficult, being further apart. The bookmark craft was to remind them that they must grow. The road journey craft was to remind them to stay on the godly path as they grow. And the “perpetual” calendar craft was to remind them to remain faithful to God forever. Break times were also staggered to allow for sufficient seating in the fellowship hall. Children brought their own tea breaks, a practice that went unexpectedly well as children snacked on their favorite foods lovingly packed by their mums each day. Even registrations and signing out the children each day were made more complex as we had to prevent overcrowding in the foyer area. Each day, a crew of young men diligently set up the necessary for each class, and stayed behind to clean up way after everyone had left. We also thank God for the 3 days’ crafts which were painstakingly prepared by those working behind the scenes. It was a joy to see the excited faces of the children putting them together, and we encourage parents to use these as reminders to their children that they must grow up as godly seed every day and at every stage of their lives.
Ultimately, the purpose of growing up as godly seed is not to be a moral citizen of the world, nor just to have good families. The Westminster Catechism of Faith captures the purpose of marriage as being “for the increase of the Church with an holy seed”. Godly seed must be found in a godly church. Will our children remain in the church or will they be drawn to the world? Time will reveal. May parents in BPCWA be faithful in bringing up godly seed, as they have vowed in their infant baptism vows. May children be faithful to their Lord as they understand the truth and grow in grace and knowledge. BPCWA needs successive godly generations that will always do the will of God. May we all take heed to God’s warning:
1 John 2:16-17 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Yours in our Lord’s service,