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The Biblical Role of Parents #2a

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2023 12:00 am

The Biblical Role of Parents #2a

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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You must have it clear in your mind that the singular objective that you pray for, that you work for, that you counsel toward, is that that child would become a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Thanks for joining us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hi, I'm Bill Wright. As Don continues to teach God's people God's Word, today on the Truth Pulpit, we're moving further into our series titled, The Parenting Call, with part three of a message called, The Biblical Role of Parents. So far, Don has detailed the realm of parenting that encompasses every moment of life. He also told us that you have to have your own Christian walk in order before you can lead your children properly. Today, our teacher will move on to another point essential to Christian parenting, the restraint on it, as revealed in scripture.

Let's join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. Look at Ephesians chapter 3 verse 14. Be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. What does that mean to you in the context of your Christian parenting? What does it mean in light of you recognize and sometimes your failures are just right in front of your face?

What does it mean for a dad whose kids are grown and they've moved on and maybe they're not even talking to you now out of whatever kind of resentment of family life that has come? You start here, beloved. You start here and you look up, you look vertically, and you say, I am a Christian because the eternal God has graciously, wondrously, kindly set his love upon me that will echo throughout all of eternity. The very nature of salvation presupposes that you've sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It presupposes that one of those aspects of your failure and the way that you have missed the mark with God is that you have missed the mark in your family life.

You haven't been the spiritual leader that you should have been. And we realize that Christ in love, recognizing us in our miserable condition, recognizing us under the judgment of God for our failures, that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, has come to us in love. In love he offered himself on the cross to pay for our sins. In love he made us part of his family. In love he secures us.

In love he washes us clean. In love he keeps us so that we will be with him throughout all of eternity. We realize that God not only calls us to a high standard in Christ in our Christian families, we recognize that God has already supplied our lack. He has already forgiven and washed us away from our sins and our failures, and we rest in that eternal love which loved us in our sin and saved us despite the way that we fall short. And we're rooted and we're grounded in that, and we realize that everything about our sinful failings before God have been fulfilled for us, have been covered for us in the person and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And we rest in that. And so we approach this idea of Christian parenting. We reflect on our failures from a position of strength, not because of who we are, but that God has loved us in Christ, and that in his love he is going to cover where we've fallen short. We're mindful of what Scripture says, that love covers a multitude of sins.

That's not just a horizontal matter between you and me and our families in dealing with each other. God's love for us as sinners has covered the multitude of sins that you have committed, not simply your failures in your family life. And so we realize, we appreciate, we love, we rest in, we trust, we depend upon the love of God being merciful to us, being gracious to us, being kind to us, extending favor to us, where judgment and discipline would by justice be merited. We rest in a saving redeeming love which has shown kindness to us, despite our lack of deserving that.

We're rooted and grounded in love, and so we approach it from that perspective. And there's another thing that I would say, realizing that this isn't always going to be the case in the experience, but for those of you within Christian families where you love your children and you know that your children love you, remember also that there's loving, forgiving, gracious love coming from your children as well. I realize that's not your experience for all of you, and for those of you who are children and maybe you carry some resentments about your parents, let me remind you that Christ Jesus said that your prayer should be, forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. Maybe your parents are the debtors against you.

Well, you start right there with your parents and say, Father, I want to forgive them for their shortcomings, and you let that spill out over in your love and your affection to your parents as well. And then there's one other aspect to it as well, and that is the promise in Proverbs 22 verse 6 that says, Raise a child in the way in which he should go, and even when he's old he will not depart from it. That's not a promise that every child of Christian parents will become a Christian. It's not a guarantee that there won't be heartbreak in your Christian lives with what happens with your children. That's not the intention of Proverbs.

Rather, it's a general principle that says in the ordinary course of events, this is what is true. This is the expectation that you can have that your Christian parenting is not in vain. And so perspective is everything on these things as we come to what God's Word says. Now, as I've said many times, as I said in the messages from Ruth on a marrying kind of man and a marrying kind of woman, we don't demand perfection. We understand that people are growing as we contemplate these matters, but you've got to see something that says this is going in the right direction.

Stated differently, stated in the negative, you can't say this is going the wrong direction, but I'm going to move ahead anyway. How could we expect God to bless that? How could we presume on God if we were going to live life that way and say, I'll compromise principles for the sake of the relationship that I want? Does that make any sense?

I ask you, does that make any sense? You see, and what happens here is, and I'm just so glad that some of you are hearing this on the front end and you're on the front end of life and you're not even in these, you've got time to think through these things and develop your convictions before it comes. You know, I mean, praise God that you're in that position to be able to do that, and you just think through these things and you say, okay, this is what's important. This is what I'm going to set my life by, and realize that in these family relationships, in these marriage relationships, we find the primary soil where our commitment to Christ is going to be lived out on a day-to-day basis, and we want to do that right.

Why? Not because the preacher said so. I don't care what.

That doesn't matter. The reason we take these serious things seriously, the reasons that we don't step back and compromise and dismiss warning signs, the reason that we do that is because we love Christ, because we love the One who gave Himself up for us, and we know that He loves us and He intends our good, and so we approach it from that perspective as we come to God's Word here today. We rest in the love of God that covers a multitude of our sins, and we say, and from that, and from that, remembering what we said from John 15, what we read in our Scripture passage earlier, Jesus said, if you love Me, you will keep My commandments, that the mark of the love of God is found in your obedience to His Word, from that perspective, not in a legalistic, external sense, but from a hard attitude that says, oh, oh, do I want to honor this One who saved me? Oh, is it crucial to my existence that I would reflect loyalty and obedience to His love and His commandments as the only proper response to saving love like that? Do you get it?

Do you get it? Do you see how all of this is rooted and grounded in love? The objective love of God that saved you from your sins and the objective love that you have for Christ in response?

How could we ever treat that too earnestly? And so, rooted and grounded in love, we come to see what God has to say about Christian parenting in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 4. Fathers, look at it with me again.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Fathers, your primary goal, young people contemplating marriage, your primary goal with your children is always ever to be set in your mind. It's not that they would have a particular set of financial or athletic privileges.

It's not that they would have a comfortable, easy life. Your primary, your singular goal as a parent is to say, I want my children to be living disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether that leads them to prosperity or poverty, whether that brings them to health or sickness, whether that brings them into external blessing or whether it brings them into hardship. Whatever else I want for my children, I want them to be a disciple of Christ because only then is their purpose for existence going to truly be fulfilled. That's what matters. That's what matters.

All of this other stuff is secondary, it's extraneous, it's not important by comparison. And so your goal as a Christian dad, your goal as a Christian mom is to say, is to have it clear in your mind, not educational privileges and priorities, none of this earthly stuff that consumes the world with their parenting. You must have it clear in your mind that the singular objective that you pray for, that you work for, that you counsel toward, is that that child would become a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ and that that is the emphasis of everything that you do. I am grateful beyond measure as I look out and see your faces knowing that this church is filled with parents just like that.

It will be Christian families that establish the fortress around young minds going forward into the degraded culture that is falling apart all around us. And I'm grateful to God to see the commitments of so many young parents being manifested before our very eyes. And as Dane said last week as he closed, our elders, your elders, pray for you to that end consistently. And so we're all in this together. We're all in this together as we serve Christ together.

Now, look at verse 4 with me again. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. The clarity and the brevity of this word should be a great encouragement to you. These are the primary principles that define everything else.

If you embrace these principles, everything else will flow naturally. The things in these two resources flow from these basic principles here in God's Word. Remember what the Bible says about itself, that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. One of the greatest, highest works that God is going to give to you in your Christian life is to be a parent, is to have one or more children in front of you to be able to disciple them over 20 years and to lead them in the ways of Christ. Now, why is that so important, and why do I bring 2 Timothy 3, 16, and 17 into this discussion at this point?

It's for you to realize this. It's for you to realize that Scripture doesn't come and lay Saul's armor upon you with a heavy weight and a heavy sword, and then tells you to go out and fight Goliath with it, and you're clunking and clinging around and under the weight of so much different instruction and applications and checklists and all of that stuff. What God graciously does in His Word is He comes to you as a Christian parent, and He takes all of Saul's armor off of you, all of that heavy weighted stuff that weighs you down in conscience and binds you up with all of the rules and regulations, and comes to you and says, Here's what you need to know as a Christian parent. In the sufficiency and the completeness of God's Word, you find it given to you in about 15 to 20 English words.

I didn't count them before I stepped up. But you see the simplicity of it. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Let's get into this now. Last time we said we considered the realm of parenting from this, and I'm not going to rehearse it here, simply to say that the realm of Christian parenting is a comprehensive scope to life. Parenting is a way of life. It is not a compartment of adulthood where you deal with parenting over here and it's in this little closet and everything else about your life is set forth by the other things that you do, and you don't think about it and you don't integrate it. The whole thing is meant to be an integrated whole.

You live as a Christian and you live as a Christian parent, and the way that you approach employment and church involvement and everything else in your life, your finances, it's an integrated whole. It's of one cloth. And what we said last time. And men, speaking to you as fathers, this simple principle helps frame all of your parenting. It's this.

It's simple. Your first priority is not your kids. Your first priority in life is Christ. If you are walking rightly with Christ, if you have sanctified Christ as Lord in your heart, and you are following Christ as a born-again believer in Him, your parenting will flow naturally out of that prior commitment. If you are indifferent to Christ, if you have pushed Christ off to the side, and you're conscious that you've done that, first of all, I wouldn't encourage you to be real convinced that you're a Christian because that's just not Christian thinking. That's not a regenerate mind that pushes Christ off to the side and says, that'll be an incidental part of what I do as I pursue life the way I want it.

Don't think that way. But if Christ is at the center of your affections, then everything else is going to flow from that. And as you're filled with the Spirit and influenced by the Word of God, the Spirit of God will direct you and help you even without the checklist that so many books and resources want to grind through you.

We're not here to grind you today. God's Word doesn't grind us in that way. It says in 1 John that His commandments are not burdensome. And so if parenting has come to seem to be a burdensome thing because of the rules you're trying to keep, let me remind you His commandments aren't burdensome. You just need to have a complete revolution in the way that you think about parenting because His commandments are not burdensome. We've got 15 or 20 words that Paul thought sufficient to instruct Christian parents in his letter to the Ephesians. And so we cast off the armor and we kind of limber up and we say, okay God, what do you have for us here?

How can we approach this? This is true not only of parenting but all of life. And so the defining point without which nothing else matters in Christian parenting is that you're born again and that Christ is sanctified as Lord in your heart. That's the realm of your parenting and you follow it all from there. And so you must be a man, fathers, you must be a man who is after God's Word yourself. Your Bible should be open and your nose in it yourself. Don't think that you can lead your kids in the Bible if you yourself are not being led by Scripture.

Right? This is not complicated. And we just don't want to make excuses for ourselves. We rest in the free forgiveness that we find in Christ and yet we don't presume upon it and ignore the implications, the ethical implications that flow from that. If you want to be a Christian dad, your Christian Bible should be open as a part of your ongoing life. Your approach to prayer, your approach to being faithful in the church, all those things. It starts in that realm.

It starts with you being a Christian man to begin with. Okay, let's get into new material for today. Point number two. Point number one was the realm of parenting. That's what we covered last week and reviewed just now.

Let's look at point number two here. The restraint on parenting. The restraint on parenting found in the first part of Ephesians 6 verse 4.

Look at it with me again. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Notice that Paul tells us what not to do, and he tells us what to do.

This hinges on the word but, B-U-T. There's a contrast here. You need to be mindful of the negative side and the positive side of parenting and have that clear in your mind as you go into, as you approach your task, your opportunity, the joyful privilege that God has given you to raise children in a Christian home. And so what we're going to look at here in point number two is the restraint on parenting. And oh, did I need to hear this when I started out as a parent. I would venture to say that many of you that are within the general range of my age and older, perhaps you were raised in a family by a father that emphasized his authority and his discipline, and he wielded things with an iron hand. Kind of how they knew how to do things back then, wasn't it?

That's okay. You know, we're not here to criticize our parents because we love them and forgive them for any shortcomings that they may have had. Here's the point, I'm trying to make a personal matter here, is that my dad raised us that way. He raised us with, I don't want to be unkind, but he raised us with an iron fist. He raised us with, his word was law and anything that he said was what went and there would be no discussion about it. And so that was kind of how I was raised. I was converted after I left home, and you know, and our family started a few years after that, but I was still, probably like some of you, I was still a pretty young Christian as I entered into being a parent, being a father, and my mind hadn't yet been washed clean like it should have been through, you know, what God said in his word to fathers like we're talking about here today. Well, how did I approach parenting? Well, I borrowed from what I knew in the past growing up.

I borrowed from, in the early days, I borrowed from that iron hand that I had learned at the knees of my father. You know what I found? I found this is a miserable failure.

This is not working at all. No one is responding to this, and it made me have to step back and say, you know what, what's going on here? You know what, I'm just doing what my dad did. Why would I do that when my dad was unregenerate? And so I had to kind of go through a process of rethinking everything in light of Scripture in terms of what is found for us here in Scripture.

I had to learn a whole new way to think about parenting, and sometimes I'm still in the process of learning even after 25 years of it. What we need to understand, men, as we think about parenting, as we realize that God's called us to be a leader and authority in our home, to be a spiritual guide, a spiritual force for Christ in the lives of those young people, you need to be mindful of the fact that while you have authority as a dad, it's not unrestrained. It's not unlimited. You're not a sovereign king in your home. You're under the authority of Christ. You're under the authority of God, and you must be mindful. Not, oh, watch this.

Those of you listening at home, watch this. You need to be mindful, not of your father's example. You don't start there and say, well, this is the way my dad did me.

That can't possibly be the right starting point. You say, what does God's Word say to it? And the first thing that Paul says to fathers is negative, in which he puts a restraint on fathers, a restraint on their parenting. Paul had just commanded children to honor their parents in verses 1 through 3, and now, with the submission of children to their parents clearly established in God's Word, now he pivots over and talks to the fathers who were the ultimate authority in a Roman home.

In that culture, his position was unchallenged. And what does Paul say to him? His start, his first point is to restrain that sense of authority. It is to guard family life from imbalance or abuse. When he says there in verse 4, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger. This is a principle that applies to all of Christian life. We need to not only know what to do, we also need to know what not to do.

It would seem obvious that one should not exasperate or dishearten one's children, but that's often easier said than done, given our sinfulness. Thankfully, scripture can guide us, and Pastor Don Green will more fully explore what it has to say next time here on The Truth Pulpit. Join us for more of our series, The Parenting Call.

Right now, though, Don's back in studio with news of a great resource. Well, my friend, as we bring today's broadcast to a close, I want to offer you a very special gift, a special resource as a gift from our ministry. It's my series called, Trusting God in Trying Times.

And this series over the years has proven to be the most popular set of messages that I've ever done. It helps you know how to trust God as you're going through the deep sorrows that sometimes come to us in life. It comes from the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament, and it comes from some very deep sorrows of my own that were present early in my Christian life. It's very personal. It's very helpful. It's very biblical.

And I would love to see you have it in your hands. It's available in CD album or by download. Transcripts are available if you prefer that. My friend, Bill, is going to give you information on how to find it. Just visit our website at to get the resource Don just mentioned. Again, that's I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don Green teaches God's people God's word in The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-17 04:47:08 / 2023-05-17 04:56:49 / 10

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