I know that for some of you, this sounds like that can't possibly be right. Why would you teach your child to fear God?
I'll tell you why. You teach them that because you love them and because you know Scripture well enough to understand that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Your children aren't going to go anywhere right in life if they don't know to fear God. What does biblical discipline look like for parents? Well, the key to answering that question is contained in the very word biblical.
Hi there, I'm Bill Wright, and this is the Truth Pulpit. Today, Pastor Don Green has the concluding installment of his message, The Biblical Role of Parents, from our current series, The Parenting Call. And Don, why is it so vital that all understanding of proper parenting begin with the Bible?
Well, that's a great question, Bill, and boy, there's just so many things that need to be said about that. Our world is a mess when it comes to parenting, when it comes to families. Families are broken.
People have no idea what the idea of husband and wife raising children together is like. But beyond that, we find the answers to these problems in Scripture. We learn that God created the family, so he knows what brings blessing. He knows how children should be raised. And when we know Christ by faith in Christ, looking to him for salvation from our sin, he has given us all that we need in Scripture and in the spiritual resources that we find in Christ in order to lead our family and to love them and to have the blessing of God upon our lives. The first goal is simply to be a godly Christian.
Regardless of your child's behavior, everything else flows from there. Thanks, Don. And friend, let's join our teacher now as he continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit. 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. There are do's and don'ts in this, and there are things that are wise and things that are unwise, and we need to be mindful of both so that we're balanced as we're going through this. Can you imagine an airplane with one wing? That's not even going to get off the ground, and if it did, it would just crash immediately. No, you need both wings in the airplane to bring balance so that it flies properly. In the same way, dads, your parenting needs this kind of balance in order for you to flourish as a Christian father like I know that you want to do.
I know that you want to. And so what God's Word does is it helps us to see how that works. And so Paul starts with, he starts with, isn't that interesting, he starts with a negative command, do not provoke your children. Now, simple point, dads, future dads, past dads, you may be the dad, you may be the father, but you know what? That does not mean that you get to do whatever you want to do in your family.
That's not true. And those of you that are wired that way, your first step of responding to God's Word today is to repent of that selfish arrogance that says, everybody does what I do no matter what, because you're under the authority of God's Word yourself. And God says, there are things that you as the father cannot do, must not do, as a pattern of your life. What does he say? He says, don't provoke your children. The mere fact that there's a negative command means that God restrains your parenting to focus it in a particular direction.
And what does he do? What does God do? The God who gave you life, the God who gave you salvation, the God who gave you children, the God who gave you His Word, the God who gave you His Spirit, the God who gives you the hope of eternal life. What does that God say to you about your parenting? He says, fathers, God forbids you from a pattern of life that irritates your children, that frustrates them, that that exasperates them and causes them to lose heart. Look at the parallel passage over in Colossians, just a couple of books to your right. Colossians chapter 3 verse 21. He says in Colossians chapter 3 verse 21, fathers, do not exasperate your children so that they will not lose heart.
For many of you, you don't need to hear this. I know you love your kids, but we do need to articulate it for the sake of being faithful to God's Word. Your children are not objects. They are not your property.
They are people. They are individuals created in the image of God that are given to you so that you would express the love of Christ and manifest the grace of Christ in their lives, and you are to respect their personhood and to be mindful of what causes them to flourish and to restrain your parenting so that you don't violate that in their lives. What is it that provokes and exasperates children? Well, you know, let's state it in a negative.
Since the command is negative, let's answer that question in a negative. What provokes and exasperates children? Dads, first of all, do not be harsh and unbending in your rules and discipline.
Don't be harsh and unbending. You're dealing with little hearts. You're dealing with little people.
They're not intended to simply go by your strict military regiment on things as if you were the sergeant and they were the privates in the army of your family. That's not the picture. So don't be harsh. Oh, you can establish your rules and it's going to differ from dad to dad.
We're not talking about that. What we're saying is don't be harsh and unbending in a way that communicates to the children that your rules are more important than they are. Please. Dads, don't criticize your children when they've done their best to please you. Don't point out all of the faults of whatever it is that they've done. Why would you do that? Why would you inflict that kind of criticism on a heart that has expressed in what it's done a desire to please you?
And you would come back knowing that that's what they have done and you would come back and say, in essence, I am displeased. That's inexcusable. Shame on you if you parent that way.
Honestly, shame on you. That's not right at all. Your children deserve better than that. That's not how Christ deals with you. One other thing, dads, that I had to learn the hard way over time. Still learning it, I guess.
Not quite so extreme, but just as lethal. Don't let, maybe later, become your standard response to their request for your time and attention. Maybe later.
Not right now. Find a way to say, condition your heart to say, yes, okay, let's go. Because the time will come when, and I'm on this side of things, with some regret, not a lot of regret, but you're just mindful of the fact that the time will come, dads, those of you with kids that are little, the times will come when you're the one wanting their time and they say, dad, I've got to get to work.
Dad, I've got other plans. And you say, ah, yeah, I get it now. Well, just being mindful of that, you just take advantage of the opportunity. I've said so many times in private conversations, in parenting, the days are slow, but the years are fast. And so you have to be mindful within the day to say, yes, I'll do that, yes, let's go now. As opposed to saying, maybe later, and then you find the years have gone by, and there's no further opportunity to say, yes, when they want you to play, when they want you to throw the ball with them. Don't provoke your children to anger.
You be available to them. You let your career maybe be compromised a touch for the sake of not provoking your children to anger. God doesn't call you to the highest, most successful career. He does call you to be a disciple maker of your children. Now, having said this last time, let's just remember quickly here, you cannot save your children. You cannot guarantee that your children will be converted to Christ. That power is outside of your ability.
God and God alone has the power of salvation. But you can give of yourself. You can have a restraint on your parenting that says, yes, I have authority.
Yes, I'm going to use it. Yes, I'm going to give direction here. But you realize that God is a higher authority over you, and He has placed restraints on the way that you are to parent. Don't use your position selfishly so that you can simply get what you want or that you can be undisturbed in your pursuits. Dads, dads, this is the point of everything that we're saying. Those of you that are wired toward the authority mindset toward parenting and you're over on that end, understand this. God has given you authority as a parent, as a dad, as a mom. God has given you authority so that you would use that authority to secure the blessing for your children, not so that you could insulate yourself from the interruptions that your children will naturally bring. That's why you have authority.
It's so that you could be a vehicle of God's blessing to them in teaching them about what it means to follow and to know Christ. Now, third point. We've looked at the realm of parenting, it's all of life. The restraint on parenting, don't provoke your children to anger. Thirdly, the responsibility of parenting. Paul leaves the negative behind and goes to the positive side of parenting here in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 4.
Look at it with me. He said, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but hinge, switching over to the positive side, bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. You know, my generation, the generation that preceded us, probably missed some of this. Understanding that parenting transcends completely the idea of simply providing for the physical and financial needs of your family. You could be a wealthy parent and an utter failure at Christian parenting if you miss this core instruction. The core instruction is not their financial well-being, it's their spiritual well-being and a particular realm of well-being at that.
Look at it again. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. God charges you to bring up your children in a particular way. Now, you'd never know it from looking at the English translation here, but the word bring up, this word bring them up, it is the same word that is translated nourish in Ephesians 5.29.
Look over at 5.29. Speaking about husbands to wives, no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it just as Christ also does the church. Men, you look at your wife and you say, I'm to nourish her. You look at your children and you say, I am to bring them up, and you realize it's the same Greek word that is being used there. It's translated differently because the relational context is differently, but it has this idea of providing for the totality of their needs in a caring, loving way. God, men, God calls you to seek your child's maturity by training, instructing, and warning them in the ways of Christ. That is at the core of parenting. You seek their maturity by training, instructing, and warning them.
You know what that presupposes? This presupposes that you understand that your children need direction, that they are born into life ignorant at best. More scripturally speaking, they are born into life with a sinful disposition that wires them toward disobedience and sin and selfish desires and disobedient dispositions. Parents, you must understand God calls you to train them not to leave them to their own desires. This is the utter failure of modern parenting outside of the church that says, you know, just let that kid become whatever is in his heart.
That's absolutely foolish. How can you let a kid that is born with an evil disposition who's evidently wired toward disobedience, how can you let that kid go his own way and not seek to train and correct that so that he will become a person like he should be? That means that he needs to be instructed.
He needs to be corrected. He needs to be trained and pointed in the right direction. What does that mean for you as a particularly Christian parent? You must communicate to them the authority of God's Word. You must teach them to fear God so that. Why do you teach them those principles of authority and fear and submission? I know that for some of you this sounds like that can't possibly be right. Why would you teach your child to fear God?
I'll tell you why. You teach them that because you love them and because you know Scripture well enough to understand that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Your children aren't going to go anywhere right in life if they don't know to fear God. And so you teach them to honor you. You make them obey you. You teach them about sin and their need to repent and trust in Christ to be saved from sin and damnation. You teach them those things. You communicate it to them. You have them faithfully when God's people meet together so that they're hearing this from other sources as well.
Not just from a pulpit, but just from their interactions with godly people in your midst. And especially as toddlers... You young kids, I've got bad news for you, man. Especially as toddlers, that requires punishment. Pain on the bottom corrects foolishness in the heart. Someone might say, but won't that make them angry?
Will they still like me? Look, you'll be just fine if you exercise discipline when you yourself are under control. You're being constructive and you're not punishing them simply out of anger and frustration. You control your own disposition as you're exercising discipline and it will have the healthful effect that God intends upon them. I know that some of you fight that battle. I know that you're being faithful to deal with the unpleasantness.
Well, you stay with it. That's the right thing to do because that communicates to them and teaches them to associate disobedience with pain. And you do that not because you want them to be in pain. You want that so that they are trained and disciplined away from it so that they learn to fear God, to fear authority and to respond rightly in life. There's a passage you need to see in this regard. Look at Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12. Hebrews chapter 12 verse 9. This helps.
It's incidental. The writer of Hebrews is actually making a different point. He's talking about God's discipline of children, but he illustrates it with the way fathers discipline their own children. And he helps us understand that discipline is intended to be painful, that it's going to be unpleasant at times, and we don't shy away from the discipline simply because of that momentary discomfort. Verse 9 of Hebrews 12. We had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they, meaning our earthly fathers, they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them. But he disciplines us for our good so that we may share his holiness. Verse 11.
Here you go. All discipline. He's been talking about divine discipline and parental discipline, and he gathers it up under one broad umbrella, and he says all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful. Yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Oh parents, if I could beg you to embrace one principle to help you persevere as you're going through those difficult days of disciplining your young ones, and they're defiant again and again and again, and it's the same issue again and again and again. Don't get lost in, don't get caught up in the day-to-day fight of that. Don't get discouraged in the midst of that. Understand, come to this scripture and let it refresh your heart to say that this is about something that comes later. This isn't about the battle now, this is about later when they've been trained to love righteousness, and they've been trained to be obedient.
That is a great gift to give to your children. Don't back away because the cost is high in the personal effort it takes to persevere in it. You just be consistent, stay the course, and look for that future reward. The Bible says it comes later, but you don't get the good fruit later unless you're willing to plow the seeds today, recognizing that that is sometimes just a pain in the neck. That's okay because we have God's Word to guide us and say this is to be expected.
You just keep your eyes on the prize and not lose sight of it. And so God disciplines us as Christians. We say this brings a long-term good result. Now I as a parent say this will bring a long-term good result to my children. I'm going to be fair, measured, loving in my discipline, but my kids are going to know that the authority in this house is not in them and their selfish desires. You must train them to associate disobedience with pain so that they will not follow their sinful impulses into bigger areas of destruction in life to come, so that when they're teenagers, they're not interested in the defiance and disobedience of their peers. With all of the sin that goes with that time of life, they've learned, I don't want that.
They're not going to have that response unless you teach them earlier on. Now, as we consider these things, we think about our families, our parents, some of them gone to be with the Lord, our own interactions. You look at all of this, you realize the stakes, and you say, man, who is adequate for these things? Who is sufficient to rise to this standard that's laid out in God's Word?
Those of you that are parents, whether your kids are little or yours or older like mine are, what parent does not feel the weight of failure, of having fallen short, which of us don't realize that we've had opportunities that we've just squandered? We feel that. How do we respond in light of that? How do we respond when we see the realm of parenting that it flows from redemption in Christ and now we have responsibility? It's a responsibility that we exercise in all of life, and there's restraints, and there's things that we're supposed to do, and we realize how superficial we are. We know that there have been times where we've been unfair and indifferent to it all.
What do we say? For those of you who feel the weight and the Spirit is rightly convicting you, come back to what it means to be a Christian. Just go to your Lord Jesus Christ and just humbly confess that.
Lord, I have squandered opportunity. I have used my authority to get what I want instead of what was best for my kids. I have disciplined in anger and overreacted when restraint and love would have been a better approach.
I've been lenient when I needed to be disciplined with them. You go to Christ and you just humbly spend time with Him, maybe this afternoon, and you just say, God, I have fallen short. I embrace the principles, but I've fallen short, and God, I ask You to cleanse me from my own sin against You. And You remember as You're confessing that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, that He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and to realize that God's not going to hold that against You in Your walk with Him.
You start there. You know what? Think about it this way. Jesus Christ, those of you that are Christians, Jesus Christ died even for your sinful parenting.
Isn't that sweet? Those of you with children still at your knees, still raising them, set your course by God's Word and not by what your dad did. That's really fundamental. Aspire after God's Word and not simply replicate what your dad did and keep the course when your progress is slow. If your children are a little bit older like mine are, some of them, all of them maybe, for you, know the Lord, they're walking with Christ, you do this.
You call yourself in the presence of God, you say, Father, I am an unworthy servant. Thank you for the mercy that you've shown in my life that I have children that are such a blessing like that. And those of you that have unsaved children despite your best efforts, those of you that are still in the midst of battle with children that aren't receiving you, embracing you, loving you, like your heart would long for, don't stop praying. Don't give up. God has not written the final chapter yet.
This story isn't over. You persevere in trusting God and resting in Him and ask Him for grace and for His power to do what you cannot do on your own. And with those things, we look at the role of biblical parenting, and we say, Oh God, thank you. Bless us. Help us.
Forgive us. Give us grace as we go forward. Well, we've come to the end of Pastor Don Green's message, The Biblical Role of Parents. But our series, The Parenting Call, will continue next time here on The Truth Pulpit, so be sure to join us then. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website, thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library, and you'll find out much more there too. So visit soon, thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright. See you again next time as our teacher teaches God's people God's word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 04:45:09 / 2023-05-18 04:54:47 / 10