Remember this. God shaped you for your children. He shaped you for the particular children that He gave to you. You're not a parent of these children by mistake or by accident. God shaped you for that child.
It's not a mistake. Be encouraged. Be confident. Welcome again to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright and we're continuing a series called A Refresher on the Family. Last time Don began a refresher on parenting. He introduced the first couple of points to keep in mind as you raise your children in a Godly manner.
Be calm and be consistent. The same God that assures you of salvation unto eternal life also equips you for every task He lays before you. Even when you feel clueless, God is still very much with you.
Today, Don will further describe the kind of love parents should always show to their kids, a love that exhibits both grace and discipline. So have your Bible at hand as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit. The final blessing of God in your life is certain and therefore you can and must be calm. You trust Him. You trust Him. And you realize that you're going to trust Him most.
Your trust is just tested when things are not going the way that you want them to go. Look, you wouldn't have to be a Christian to trust God if everything was going according to your desires, right? If all of your children were lined up in a row and everything was perfect, you wouldn't need to trust God for that at all. Your test as a Christian parent comes when your children are a little bit off track. You say, oh, okay, am I going to trust God even for this?
Yes, I am. I'm going to honor the principle of Proverbs 3 and I'm going to trust Him with all my heart. I'm not going to lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I'm going to acknowledge Him, being present, directing, accomplishing His will. And God, I'm going to trust you to make my path straight. We're not talking about Christian parenting here.
We're talking about being a Christian. And parenting is just one application of that. Secondly, someone said, what are the principles that have informed your parenting?
Here's a second one that I would say. Be consistent in authority. Be consistent in authority. Scripture calls you to control your children.
Calls you to manage your household well. Now let's go back to Ephesians chapter 6. Ephesians chapter 6. And we're going to look at verses 1 through 4. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well for you and that you may live long on the earth. And young people that are still under the roofs of your parents' authority, see yourself right here in this passage, right? Those of you that are 8, 10, 12 years old, maybe a little bit older, understand that you have a fundamental obligation before God to honor your parents. You need to stop being so sarcastic. You need to stop being so rebellious.
You need to stop the back talk. And to give them the place of honor in your heart that God has established them to be in your home. Honor your father and mother, not just with external compliance, but out of the attitudes of your own heart. That's the only proper way for a child to be. Verse 4, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Parents, here's what you need to see, is that your children should obey you because that is what God requires of them. You don't have the option to cultivate, to allow a child to develop a rebellious, continually disobedient lifestyle, because you're under an obligation to bring them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord. You need to be consistent in your authority, and you cultivate that obedience from the beginning.
You cultivate it from the very start. For you young parents, young moms. Look, Nancy and I know what it's like to have a lot of young kids.
We had four kids under the age of five at one point. We know about the short nights of sleep and children going lots of different direction and throwing up at all kinds of inconvenient times of the night. We've been there.
We know what that's like. And so again, I just want you to know I'm saying these things from sympathy. But the fatigue and the discouragement that comes, you have to find your purpose in your parenting and realizing what God has called you to do. You're bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. You're shaping their lives in accordance with the call of God to do that. And here's one of the things that that means, just in terms of being consistent, bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. As a parent, one of the most important things that you can do is to be consistent in your discipline of them. The disobedience that called for discipline yesterday receives discipline again today and also tomorrow. You just continue on. You're consistent. You don't let something pass and then discipline them for it the next day.
That inconsistency really pollutes the whole environment of your home. Being able to manage your home is a qualification for church leadership even. Look over at 1 Timothy for a moment and then we'll come back to this principle.
But I want you to see this. 1 Timothy 3 verse 4. The mark of someone who's qualified for church leadership, among other things, in 1 Timothy 3 verse 4 is this. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. There's an order.
There's a structure to the Christian home that God calls us to. Parents, let me say this. You can't delegate that. You can't delegate it to a nanny.
Not that I've got anything against nannies. You can't delegate the raising of your children to someone else. You can't delegate it to a youth group. You can't delegate it to a youth pastor. Not that that's an option here at Truth Community Fellowship.
That doesn't even exist here, does it? What I want you to see from Ephesians chapter 6 is that it's the parents who have to establish this in the lives of their children. If you have children, you have to embrace that responsibility.
It's a non-negotiable aspect of your existence as a Christian. God holds the parents responsible for this kind of order and discipline. We've all seen children throw temper tantrums in stores. You're tempted to go over and you want to grab the kid and shake him and say, straighten up.
It's interesting. You see the parents give in to that. Proverbs shows the reality of those kinds of situations. Turn back to Proverbs chapter 29 verse 15.
I want you to see this. Proverbs chapter 29 verse 15. The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
The scripture places the responsibility for that kind of out of control behavior on the mom, on the parent that's involved there. You are meant to keep your children under control. You have to be consistent in authority. You can't let them run wild. You can't let them be crazy disobedient and throw tantrums in the store. How do you cultivate consistent authority?
Start right here. Mom and dad say the same thing. Mom and dad say the same thing when an issue comes up. You support, listen, you support your spouse in front of your children no matter what in order to honor this principle of consistent authority. A spouse should not contradict the other spouse in front of the children. If you have disagreements about it, you need to get off by yourself.
You need to talk about it privately and work that out. You don't play out your disagreement in front of your children. Don't contradict your spouse in front of the children. Don't let the children play you off of one another. Mom said I could do this, now you're telling me you're not. No, we're not going there. Just stop it. Let's just think through this and work out the implications of what we're saying.
I want to be specific in the applications here. Some fathers will come home from work and then overrule the mother's discipline when they get home. She did that? No, no, you don't have to do that. That is a profound mistake.
That's really, really bad. And if you're a father that's been given to do that, you need to repent of that because it teaches your children to disregard their mother, first of all, and it absolutely demoralizes the mom. If she's going to be at home with your children or dealing with the children in one way or another, and you don't support her, it demoralizes her.
And you as the dad can't do that. You need to support your wife, especially if she's a stay-at-home mom. You're the only adult contact she has a lot of the time after dealing with diapers and whiny kids and all of that. If you come home and on top of the challenge of that, you contradict her in front of the kids, she feels like, I might as well throw up my hands and quit. Well, you as the dad have the ability to set a tone in your family where the mom knows, well, even if the kids are a pain right now, I know that when my husband comes home, he's going to be strong, he's going to support me, he's with me. And you can give her the confidence and the courage to continue on.
You have to do that. This is part of loving your wife. And I'll say without fear of contradiction to us men, that your wife is smarter and probably more aware of what those children need than what you give her credit for. We as men just kind of have to humble ourselves there on that point and reinforce the mother to the children. That's part of being consistent in authority. This is part of instructing them. Look, by honoring their mother, you're teaching them by example that that's what they do too.
And it goes the other way. Some moms will criticize dad in front of the children. You can't do that. You just can't do that. You can't undermine the father's authority by being openly critical of him in the home. Because you're teaching your children to dishonor their father.
You don't have the liberty and prerogative to do that. As a Christian parent, you can't by your example and words teach your children to disregard what God commands them to do. Honor your father and mother. You show them by example, hey, I honor your father and that's what I expect from you too. Now, how else can we establish consistent authority in our homes with our children?
Let me say this. One thing that I think I've seen a lot of parents do that isn't helpful is that they've just got a bunch of rules. They just multiply the rules in their house and this is where the shoes go and this is where the socks go. And we've got to be here at this time and there's just rules, rules, rules, rules everywhere.
Most of them not all that important. You need to be clear in your expectations with your children, talking especially of young children. Don't multiply the house rules.
Keep a few important ones if you feel like that's necessary. But don't overregulate the lives of your children. Don't micromanage them so much that they just feel utterly constrained and imposed upon. Remember, especially when your children are young, the hearts and minds of children are slow to learn.
And if you put a stack of rules in front of them, they're going to give up. Keep it simple, keep it important and then don't sweat the details. That's part of how you encourage them is by exercising your authority with wisdom, which leads us into our third point. Thirdly, be consistent in love. Be consistent in love. Authority as a parent and love as a parent are like two wings on either side of an airplane. You need them both for the thing to fly right. Otherwise it just...
This is very important. We start with authority and by the way, let me say one other thing about the authority thing. Some parents it seems are afraid of their authority. They obviously are making it their number one goal to be their children's friend.
We'll cover some of the things that motivate you in this pure point on consistency and love. But God hasn't put you in your children's lives to be their friend, to be their buddy as if you were their peer. God has given you authority. Children need their parents to provide leadership, to provide accountability, to provide direction. You can't be a peer. You can't treat them like you're just their friend and do what you're supposed to do as a parent with authority. You have to lead them. You have to instruct them. You have to discipline them.
And all of that assumes an authority relationship where they are accountable to you and you provide oversight to them. Parents that just want to be friends to their children are doing them a real disservice. And ultimately they lose the respect of their children in the end. Don't be afraid to stand up and be a man, to be a woman, to be a father, to be a mother to your kids. Exercising authority and teaching that child to do what was right and to honor her appropriately. You've got to be more than a buddy to your kids.
You have to. You can't manifest biblical authority in the home by just being a buddy. Now thirdly, be consistent in love. This is very important and it's important to say this right on the heels of the authority issue. God does not give you authority in the home for you to be a tyrant. God has established parental authority in the home so that you can establish blessing to those that live under your roof. This is a principle of leadership that I never get tired of talking about and it applies everywhere. It applies in politics, it applies in the workplace, it applies in the church, it applies in the family. If God has given authority to someone, if you are a Christian and God has given you a realm of authority, He has given it to you so that you can exercise that authority so that it will be a blessing to those that are under your leadership.
And parents have to understand this with special clarity. Ephesians 6 verse 4. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord. Don't provoke them. God puts limits on your authority and He tells you as part of it to properly channel that authority in the right direction.
He says it negatively. Don't provoke them to anger, but positively bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. If your parenting constantly makes your children angry, you might need to step back. It might be that your child is just rebellious and sinful and all of that.
They certainly have plenty of sin in their own heart to go around, right? But if your children are constantly responding to you with anger, something's wrong. You have to step back and look at the big picture and say something's wrong here.
Is there something that I might need to change? Do my children know anything of a soft, tender side to me or do they just see me as a sergeant? Am I just a sergeant in the family? That's a problem. Look at Colossians chapter 3 verse 21 along these lines. What I'm wanting you to see is that there are boundaries to your authority. God directs your authority and it's not just unlimited arbitrary exercise of a tyrant.
Chapter 3 verse 21 of Colossians. Fathers, do not exasperate your children so that they will not lose heart. And so, by way of simple application, don't make your demands so pressing, so immediate, and so difficult that your children are bound to fail and then punish them on top of that. That's not good parenting.
That exaspirates them. Our children will learn obedience more easily if we lead them well and that they see that there's woven through our authority as a thread of gentleness and care and concern that is just as evident as the exercise of authority. Turn beyond Colossians. The next book in the Bible is 1 Thessalonians. I want you to see this in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 7. The apostle Paul used loving parenting to describe his apostolic ministry.
He's using parenting as an illustration of his own life here. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 7. Let's start in verse 5. He said, We never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed God has witnessed, nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though, watch this, watch this, watch how Paul handled authority. He said, Even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority, verse 7, instead of asserting our authority, but we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. I love that picture of spiritual leadership, the tender care that's there. Verse 10.
He says, You are witnesses and so is God. How devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behave toward you believers, just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children. Exhorting them, teaching them, instructing them, encouraging them, manifesting gentleness, loving concern, pleading with them. All of those things illustrating what true Christian parenting looks like.
A nursing mother is tender, gentle as can be with her infant. A Christian dad, building on that, a Christian dad has the good of his children in mind and interacts with them. Not a remote dispenser of orders, but one who's involved relationally with his children.
This is the biblical pattern of Christian parenting. Be gracious to your children. Speak kindly to them. Love them. Treat them with dignity.
They're a gift from God to you. So on the positive side, make time to do what your kids want to do. Talk about what they want to talk about. On the negative side, don't, please don't, discipline your children in front of other people. Make that a matter of privacy.
Go off in a room to the bathroom someplace and deal with that privately. Don't discipline them in front of even their own siblings. Get them off to the side.
Protect their dignity that way. I don't believe that parents should spank teenagers. There just comes a point where spanking is not appropriate. And when a kid is old enough to drive, you probably need to deal with them differently.
You'll alienate them. And so good parenting is more than a one-way exercise of authority. You take your children's desires and skills and limitations and feelings into account.
You have to be consistent in love with your kids. Or you are the one who is in sin. So your authority as a parent doesn't insulate you from your own accountability to God. We're all accountable. And he's shown us in his Word what he wants from us.
Remember this. God shaped you for your children. He shaped you for the particular children that he gave to you. And he shaped your kids for you as well. You're not a parent of these children by mistake or by accident.
And now, today, we can't do anything about the past anyway. But even your failures, even what you did wrong, has informed and shaped the parent that you are today. Trust him. If you're going to trust him for the eternal disposition of your soul, trust him for the smaller temporal things as well about your parenting. God shaped you for that child.
It's not a mistake. Be encouraged, be confident, even in your weakness, that whatever else I say about this, God made me this child's dad. And however much I messed it up in the past, I'm going to step forward to the plate now. That's just bringing forth the fruit of repentance, manifesting the realities of grace. Wherever you're at on the parenting spectrum, grandparenting many of you now, be faithful to the principles of good Christian parenting.
Those of you that are starting with infants, all the hope and promise of parents and new life and the joy that those little ones bring to you, understand that God gave them to you to bless you and for you to be a blessing to them. What we've talked about here today is the means by which He does that. You approach life with a calm serenity in the sovereign goodness of God.
You realize your position of authority and you exercise it in love. And you trust God for His grace when you fall short. With that, we trust Him again. Whatever the outcome is, we trust Him for it. And the one who bears the scars of nails in His hands and in His feet, beloved, is worthy of our trust. And He will accomplish His purposes without fail. Well, we'll pause there for today, but Pastor Don Green will have the third part of A Refresher on Parenting next time here on The Truth Pulpit. You know, there are three more practical applications from Scripture to help you in this most vital task of raising the next generation in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Please do come back.
Right now, Don's back here in studio with some closing comments. Friend, one of the things that I'm always mindful of when I'm here in studio is I'm mindful that there are people out in the audience that are like I used to be, thinking that they were Christians, but not really having the life of God in their soul. You've perhaps read the Bible or gone to church, but you've never really turned your life to Christ in repentance and saving faith.
I was like that. I know what it's like to be self-deceived. I just encourage you, if you've just viewed Christianity as something kind of casual and not all that important, my friend, examine yourself.
See if you're truly born again and let that work of God in your heart lead you to truth, lead you to the Scriptures so that you would enter into the profound life that belongs only to those who are true Christians. Thanks, Don. And friend, we invite you to visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll find information about free CDs of any of Don's teaching and also a link to Don's Facebook page. Again, that's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you to join us again next time as Don Green continues teaching God's people God's Word in the Truth Pulpit.
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