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January 26, 2021 7:00 am
In response to instruction. Children often pose the age-old question why and well-meaning parents can frequently be heard responding because I said so on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce teaches from the book of Ephesians on the importance of the parent-child relationship.
Join us as we learn together about the real biblical reason why children should obey to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically in a culture obsessed with individual rights and autonomy submission can seem like a dirty word, but in God's design. The family functions best when children honor and obey their parents. Let's turn to Ephesians chapter 6 and listening to the teaching of Dr. Boyce's always been a conviction of mine.
And nobody should tell anybody else how to raise their children until they're married, have children and tried to raise them themselves. The corollary of that conviction is that no wise man will do it. Even then, until his children of all grown up and turned out well.
It's impossible for preacher to avoid the subject. However, at least in the exposition of the book of Ephesians because in the final chapter of that book in the context of speaking of Christian relationships. The apostle Paul does get to the relationship between children and parents and parents and children and is not just possible to deal with this chapter without talking about the subject.
Moreover, any pastor who is concerned with the families in his church will want to deal with it because we live in an age when the family is under attack. When the difficulties we face is parents and I might say. Also, as children are extreme and it requires some plot and a great deal of prayer. No what to do as we try to obey God in this area. Norman Corwin wrote an article for the reader's digests entitled perfect home. The following one child makes a home. Of course in liberal education for both himself and parents to children.
Make it a private school, three or more make it to campus. Many parents today are not sure that there up to being professors in that particular university and they're not at all sure what courses should be taught. So that's why Paul deals with the subject when Paul begins to talk about the relationship of children to parents and parents to children. He begins with children. The reason I pointed out when we were talking about the earlier section dealing with the relationship between wives and husbands and husbands and wives. Verse 21 of the fifth chapter he's given what in contemporary writing would be called a topical sentence. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
And then he gives three examples of what he means wives to husbands, children to parents and slaves or servants to Masters. Let's reason he begins with children here. We want to talk about the special duties of children and parents that I think before we do that, it's worth saying that although Paul is not making a point of this in the paragraph very short paragraph were dealing with what he's talking about here, and what is found elsewhere in the Christian Scriptures where children are concerned is something that was radically new and it's time, William Barclay, who provides very interesting information along these lines points out that women owe an enormous amount to Christianity because the status of women changed markedly as a result of Christianity's impact upon the ancient world, but he says and I think rightly that if there was any group that owed more to Christianity than women. It's children because although women didn't have a high status in antiquity, they nevertheless had some status while children on the other hand had virtually none.
The Romans had a law that was called in Latin pottery protesters. It was the power or authority of the father and it was absolute. Barclay writes a Roman father had absolute power over his family. He could sell them as slaves. She could make them work in his fields even in chains he could take along his own hands because the law was in his hands he could punish as he liked he could even inflict death penalty on his child. Furthermore, the authority of the Roman father over his children extended throughout his entire life, so that was never a time in Roman law where a Roman son came of age. As long as his father was living in addition to that, there was the portable practice of exposing children, which was done this week. Look at it from the vantage point of centuries of Christianity in a most callous system, cruel way, was a custom in a Roman household when the child was born.
The child was brought in and laid at the feet of the father of the father stooped down and picked the child up. He was acknowledging that he was receiving it, and that child would thereafter be raised as his child, though of course under all of the restrictions that I mentioned earlier, the father turned away and went in another direction.
That child was simply discarded his discarded children were quite often left out in a remote place to die in Rome, they were left in the forum by scores and there were people were actually trafficked in such infants.
They picked them up. They raise them and then they either sold them as slaves, or they use them to stop the brothels in Rome is an interesting letter from a Roman father to his wife, she in Rome. He and Alexandria. It's full of all kinds of tender sentiments in the very midst of it.
He says the steward if good luck to you. You have a child. If it is a bully let live was a girl, throw it out didn't seem to be the least inconsistent in his thinking to express the most sentimental words to his wife and got at the same time think that way about children will against a background like that. The advent of Christianity meant for children, the shining forth of a bright ray of sun and what before that had been a most visible storm now as Paul begins to talk about this. He begins with children.
As I said, because he is providing peer examples of submission. When he begins to talk about children expresses two things. The first is obedience says children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right is something terribly remarkable about that. This is what in Christian theology would be called a principal based upon natural law. It's an instinctive conviction in the world's cultures, both ancient and modern, both Christian and non-Christian. The children of obedience to their parents. It is true that this relationship is often abused. Sometimes parents like everyone else. Exercise a domination which is tyrannical and not at all favorable to the child of a lesson, the world's understanding of such things as well, as in Christianity. It is a basic conviction. The children are to obey their parents. Paul says children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right just the right thing. He doesn't have to argue in any further. Everybody knows that this is a word for parents.
However, as well as a word for children because if this text is saying the children all their parents obedience, then it is also saying that parents must exercise discipline in dealing with their children to see that they do obey the reason for that is that the relationship of a child to a parent is analogous to the relationship of an individual to God. So if a child is taught to obey a parents follows that the child will know how to obey God. It might not necessarily do it, but at least will understand what's involved and have the basic disciplines established the other hand, if the child is allowed to simply run its own course and go its own way. Then the parent is doing the child a great service as well is dishonoring God because it's teaching the child they can get away with spiritual as well.
As physical disobedience. John Scott in his exposition of Ephesians has an interesting reflection at this point. He notes that this command to obey parents is based in Christian thinking upon the theft of the 10 Commandments which is a matter of fact, the apostle Paul quotes in verse to honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. He notes that there is a difference between the way Christians have generally divided up the table of the 10 Commandments and the way Jewish people divided up in traditional Christian divisions that fifth of the commandments which comes more or less in the middle is put in the second table of the law first table of the law deals with our relationship to God. The second table of the law deals with our relationship to human beings and Christians of thought naturally that since this involves a relationship between human beings. Children obeying and honoring their parents. That particular command belongs in table 2 points out, that's not the way the Jews divided up Jews divide that table 5 and five. They put obedience to parents in the first table is an aspect of what it means to obey God and the start reflects on this, he says, surely the Jewish division is the right one because if we obey our parents.
We are in a sense obeying God, and we certainly are learning what it means to obey God and if we don't were dishonoring him. This is why incidentally in the rest of Jewish legislation such strong penalties are fixed to blasphemy against parents or that recalcitrant spirit which refuses in a child to yield to parents discipline. The penalties were always very very strong in the Mosaic legislation. So when we talk about the duty of children to parents is matter of obedience is in first place. But now, secondly, it also involves honor, which is why Paul quotes the fifth commandment from Exodus 20 and when he quotes that he is moving a step beyond mere obedience. Obedience is as I said what all cultures would acknowledge his natural law. It's a self-evident children are to obey their parents. What when the apostle Paul speaks of honor is speaking now with some general law buddies. Speaking of a relationship which is based upon special revelation saying Christians in their relationships as children was not merely obey their parents but they must honor them as well. This is the place to raise the difficulties that are sometimes involved in that one is a child to do. For example, if the parents is a dishonorable type of parent say when it says to children that they are to honor their parents. It implies by contrast, the parents must be the kind of parents or children can honor what if a parent is not one of the father is an irresponsible alcoholic or profligate. One of the mother is utterly unconcerned about the well-being of her children. How is a child honor a parent like that. How is a child to obey. Those are difficult questions. Of course there questions that have to be answered in particular cases.
But let me give these guidelines. First of all in the matter of obedience is a basic principle in Scripture that Christians are to give obedience to those who are over them authority in every possible way, even when it seems unreasonable. As long as the requirement is not contrary to the law of God. This respect you see a Christian child of non-Christian parents is in exactly the same position as a Christian wife, married to a non-Christian husband Christian in the state, which is avowedly anti-Christian in its political philosophy. The principle here is the principal. Paul develops in the 13th chapter of Romans. When he's writing to Christians in Rome in the midst of an ungodly state and he says look if taxes are due, gift taxes, the water is due to give honor of respect is due.
Give respect what you see. While that place is a very heavy duty honest and sometimes creates great difficulties because were required to do things we would rather not do. We think unwise. While it creates great difficulties and is sometimes a great burden, it is nevertheless not an absolute authority to which we obey and when a requirement is made. That's contrary to the law of God, then the child, the wife, the citizen has the right and duty before God to this obey me give an example in the case of children in a situation where the parents are not Christian suppose, for example, the parents forbid their child to be baptized. Charles made a profession of faith in Christ and the parents forbid that strikes me that there is a case in which a child can legitimately obey the parent and honor the parents wishes.
It's true that the Lord Jesus Christ told us to be baptized by public profession of faith by baptism but Jesus didn't specify when that had to be God.
It would be possible in a situation like that for a child simply to postpone it in order as much as possible to honor the parents wishes. But suppose on the other hand that the parent would command the child not to honor, worship, or follow the Lord Jesus Christ in his or her heart at something a child obviously couldn't do because not to follow Jesus Christ in one's heart is the equivalent of repudiating Christianity there the child would have to say, well, whether it's right to follow you or obey God. You must judge but as far as I'm concerned in this area. I must serve the Lord about honor. What are you to do in the case of the parents who for one reason or another seems dishonorable.
How do you handle that may suggest that very useful thing for children to do is to seek in the life of the parent, even if the parent has been a great problem in the child's life for those areas in which honor really can be given and which a child can hold the parent in high admiration I went through. Somewhat like this.
And in my own life in regard to my father though my father is not at all the kind of parent I've been describing certainly never discourage my faith as a matter fact he did quite the opposite. He was very encouraging. But the problem in my relationship with my father's. My father was a doctor he was busy was tied up in the hospital all the times we wasn't home much to begin with. And secondly, when he was home is difficult to communicate with my father has difficulty conversing in any meaningful or personal level, and as I think back on my childhood. I can't remember any significant in-depth conversation I ever had with my father. That was a problem. I went through. In my growing up where it occurred to me that I really should seek out in my father's life those things for which you should be honored.
When I did that, except it wasn't at all difficult to find things in which I could particularly honor him for one thing, it was an extremely hard worker. I found that encouraging. As a matter fact that it was one of the reasons why wasn't home. He was working so hard and while that had negative repercussions where I was concerned, have positive repercussions to nothing else. He earned enough money that he could give me a thorough and as I'm sure he believed that exceedingly extended education and when I came to see that that was an important thing to change my attitude and other ways. And secondly, I noticed that he was extremely generous. My father never talked about his giving Christian or charitable causes. Although my family unlike some families talk quite readily about money.
My father never talked about his giving and yet when I began to discover how generous he was with all kinds of Christian causes that opened my understanding in ways that it had not been open before and I found many of my negative adolescents attitudes changing, so I say when the apostle Paul talks to children as he does saying children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right and honor your father and your mother is not just saying something that is impractical as of the work whistling in the dark you speaking specifically the things that children need to do if you're having trouble with this. You need to stop praying and spend some time in ask God to teach you how you can obey honor your parents and do that properly. I think perhaps the apostle Paul recognized that there was a difficulty at this point.
Some children because he actually gives three inducements in just these few verses. First is the fact that this is right.
What I refer to as natural law. For this is right. Second is that it's a Christian duty, he says, obey your parents in the Lord and then he quotes the Old Testament and then thirdly, he holds out a promise he says this is the first commandment with promise, it's that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life in the earth. I don't think this promise means that in every single case, every single child will blaze and honors his or her parents will be richer and live longer than every single child who does not obey and honor his or her parents doesn't mean that but it does mean in a General Way, God blesses the lives of those who meet this basic relationship within the home. So were to be encouraged by that. Now having talked to children. The apostle goes on to talk to parents and it can escape our notice of the focuses specifically on father's father's may embrace mother for several reasons.
For one thing. The very fact that he uses father's doesn't exclude mothers just in the same way. For example, when use of Christian brothers her brother in the New Testament it doesn't exclude women were sensitive to that. Today we try to balance off those terms but ages ago. The one just included the other fathers may well include mothers also immediately before this he said parents chloral at his father and mother, and he does say when he quotes the Old Testament father and mother always thinking along those lines. The good news Bible on that basis actually translates this word father's which in Greek is very clearly father's good news Bible translates it is parents so far off to do that because it certainly involves mothers as well is father's and as I say it can't escape notice that Paul does specifically speak of father's because the chief responsibility for ordering a household and raising the children is theirs.
This doesn't mean you understand that they are necessarily responsible for the way their children turn out. I want to point out that in a moment that children are their own persons place in their own sins, and if a child doesn't turn out well, it's not always the parents fault, but it does mean that the parents, and particularly the father's responsible in the first place were not exasperating their children is what Paul says and secondly for bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord in Colossians the third chapter there is a parallel passage to this and in that book, the apostle says fathers don't embitter your children unless they be discouraged means is that, in the exercise of discipline in the training and the instruction that is to go on in the home.
Fathers are nevertheless to be conscious of doing that in an edifying and encouraging. Why, above all in the fairway and the kind way because the best of instruction. If it's given all of the harsh temperament and disposition can be destructive and discouraging. Benjamin Westcott always said it was a great painter and he always gave credit to the encouragement that his mother gave him for his having become a painter in the stories like this. He was very young.
His mother went off one day and left him in charge of his sister Sally was even younger than he was. While she was gone. He discovered some ink sitting around and so he decided he was going to do his sister's portrait in the ink and he got out Ankeny did the portrait but of courses he did it. He spilled ink all over the place.
He made stains on the furniture in the table at all about and when his mother came back. She didn't say a word about the stains she went over and she picked up the piece of paper in which he been working and she said why it's Sally and then she bent over to stem and Benjamin West always said after that my mother's kiss made me a painter that's an example I think of what Paul is saying when he says don't exasperate your children, but rather exercise responsibility and encouraging way. Secondly he says this is a positive see the first is negative.
Don't exasperate them.
The second positive bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord is in fathers really are to train and instruct their children and how are they to do this unless they themselves are growing in the Lord our mothers to do this unless they themselves are growing in the Lord. Parents are not studying the Scriptures, praying growing well. Then they can hardly exercise this role with their children is hard to overestimate the influence of apparent who is kind and who is what we would today call model of the very things that parents trying to teach the sons and daughters. I said a moment ago that I wanted to say a word about parental responsibility as it concerns a child who doesn't do what the parents would have them do sometimes we think of a situation like that is being entirely the parents fault, of course, it may well be probably in more cases than not it's the parents fault but is not necessarily the parents fault. Let me give you an example. The first example of raising a child in all the Bible turned out this way.
Adam and Eve had a son and his name was Kane and he turned out to be a murderer.
Now we know that Adam and Eve were fallen beings after their disobedience.
Just as we are, but that aside, they were undoubtedly model parents. They were highly intelligent. Our intelligence was declined since those great days.
The early days of creation, and I knew God intimately.
There was a time when they had walked and talked with God in the garden and furthermore there included in Genesis in that godly line of patriarchs that lived up to the time of the flood alignment had and at such names as Methuselah and Noah were godly parents. Yet in spite of this, their first son came turned out to be a murderer, and we asked the question why in the Bible explains because of the evil and jealousy in his own heart was in Adam and Eve's fault. You see, children are able to sit on their own. So let's first example but the second example is this I speak this to children who may not have had godly Christian parents and have been handicapped as a result, it is true that if you like that kind of advantage you are and to some extent at a disadvantage, but that itself shouldn't keep you from living a godly life and I give as an example in that area. Joseph Amanda, who was in the line of the patriarchs, but hardly benefited from an outstanding home. His father Jacob was really deep. Please spiritual man for most of his life. And if you look at the environment in which he was raised in an environment which seemed to have been dominated with his brothers. You find immorality cruelty jealously and all those things must've made the home a very terrible place. Yet, in spite of that, Joseph determined that he was going to walk in God's way, his mother sold him into slavery was taken away to Egypt.
He had not one single external support in another Bible he didn't have a church you never Christian believing friend. Nobody who knew the true God of his fathers and got Joseph determined deliver godly did that for a long long lifetime God sustained him and God will do that with you regardless of the kind of background you have, where parents are concerned.
See if sometimes the case that godly parents raise a child goes astray and it is sometimes the case that ungodly parents will have a child, which is nevertheless a model yet at the same time. Those are the exceptions in the normal pattern as the Bible speaks of it is for the faith to be passed on from generation to generation.
Within the context of a godly Christian home is what Paul is talking about. That's what he's calling us to be a big godly fathers to be godly mothers-to-be, godly children as hard as a child to obey apparent his heart is apparent to know how to instruct raise a child. Regards, on the side of our families and if we seek him and his power. He is able to help us in that area. Just as he helps us and all others. Howard Hendricks has a book with a rather cute title is called heaven help the home that title if you add an S2. It is also a very true statement. Heaven, that is, God helps the home world is on the side of our families world wants autonomy and it's ready to tear down any structure that stands in its way. God works in homes.
He describes the church as a home as a family by his grace we really can establish the kind of homes in which Jesus Christ is honored and children grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord's prayer our father we ask for your blessing on our homes, we confess when we look at our own abilities and inabilities our own successes and our own failures often failures and inabilities outweigh the other and we confess that the same time we understand that is Christian people.
There is a resource available to us that we would not have apart from Jesus Christ and so we cling to that seize upon it. We ask that you will provide forgiveness where we need that cleansing where we need that strength where we need that above all that you will work in such a way that Jesus Christ is honored and that smallest of all church units. The family and that our children in that context may grow to love, honor and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. No obey and follow his life eternal. We pray, Jesus wasn't there. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution.
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