Welcome to the Still Waters Revival Books video book summary for “A Church in the House: A Sermon Concerning Family Religion” (London, 1704) by Matthew Henry
Family worship is presently one of the most powerful weapons in a Christian parent’s arsenal of truth. Read this Puritan sermon and see why!
In time past, when the churches saw the family as “little churches” within the church, elders saw to it that family worship was practiced daily and that offenders against this Godly order were censured.
Daily family worship is a monumental blessing on the one hand and a serious sin of omission, when not practiced, on the other. Though Kevin Reed was speaking of public worship in the following quotation, the directive can easily be applied to family worship also.
Reed notes, “[h]eads of households ‘you husbands and fathers — it is incumbent on you to lead your family in the narrow path which leads to life. Compromise in worship is a form of apostasy, which teaches children that we love family approval more than obedience to Christ… You have no right to set aside biblical principles of worship'” (“John Knox the Forgotten Reformer”).
Furthermore, Ptacek has written that, “[t]he role of the head of the family was given the highest possible status by Matthew Henry. In a 1704 sermon on family religion, Henry followed Cawdrey in arguing that the head of the family holds all of the offices of Christ with respect to his household: prophet, priest and king. Henry’s design for family religion is based on the exercise of these three offices. As a prophet the head of the family teaches doctrine through the reading of Scripture and catechizing. The head’s priestly office is expressed in praying for his family. His exercise of discipline reflects the office of king, both in encouraging godly behaviour and discouraging sinful practices. Although Matthew Henry was the best known Puritan preacher of his time, he asserted without fear of controversy that his view of the role of the head of the family was one in which ‘all agree'” (“Family Worship,” pp. 52-53). For parents, and especially fathers, this may be one of the most important works you will ever read.
When family worship is practised faithfully (and the responsibility for this rests with the head of the house primarily, and the elders of the church secondarily — through encouragement, help and discipline of the unfaithful), nations and generations to come will be greatly influenced to bow humbly before the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him alone!
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