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God’s Design for the Family (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2024 4:00 am

God’s Design for the Family (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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May 21, 2024 4:00 am

What does it mean for children to honor their parents? And how can parents foster loving, godly relationships with their children while disciplining them appropriately? Explore the answers when you study along with us on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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This listener-funded program features the clear, relevant Bible teaching of Alistair Begg. Today’s program and nearly 3,000 messages can be streamed and shared for free at tfl.org thanks to the generous giving from monthly donors called Truthpartners. Learn more about this Gospel-sharing team or become one today. Thanks for listening to Truth For Life!





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Music playing If we're going to obey God in relationship to the responsibilities within our home, then we pay heed to our dads and we don't obey God.

We don't despise our moms. If we're going to fulfill this obligation, what is involved? Well, it involves real love. It involves real love. Not slushy stuff, not sentimental stuff, not 364 days of disobedience and then a Mother's Day card. Genuine love.

Genuine affection. It's the kind of expression that you find in Genesis 46 when Joseph links up with his dad after a period of absence. One of the most moving pictures in the book of Genesis.

All dads can identify with this. Genesis 46 verse 28, Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. And when they arrived in the region of Goshen, Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. He got his car ready, as it were, in 20th century terms. He got it cleaned up. He got it shined up. He got it gassed up.

He got it ready because he was going to use that for one express purpose. He was going to see his dad. And when he appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and he wept for a long time. There is no son ever able to do this without that the years of togetherness and the years of separation have built into life that which will make such an embrace possible. Good relationships between dads and boys are forged in the experience of life, in the incidentals of life, in the margins of life, in the apparent trivialities of life. And life goes by awful quick, does it not?

Quickly, I mean. It involves real love. So often, adolescence has a problem with this, doesn't it? I'm not kissing my dad. Heck, I'm not even kissing my mother.

Not if anybody's around, at least. I mean, I'll kiss somebody else's mom, but I'm not kissing my mom. I mean, because after all, I mean, look at my mom. And all the other kids are coming around going, you know, your mom is so cool. I love your mom. Oh, you do? I like your mom.

You want to trade? I mean, is it? When you're in love, get through all of that. You'll get through it if you're in it. It'll come around. Don't go crazy, moms. Don't do all that lovey-dovey stuff on the high street. It really is a big major turnoff. They'll come around.

They'll be there. It involves real love. It involves real obedience. Real obedience, not simply external frameworks, not just keeping true to the guidelines, but an internal attitude. Obedience starts inside. Obedience is not outside.

Genuine obedience conveyed on the outside is simply the expression of hard attitude. Like the wee boy driving the car with his mom. His mom says, sit down, Johnny. He says, no, sit down, no, sit down, no. Finally, she takes him, pulls in, sits him right down and drives off.

And as he drives off, he turns to her and he says, I may be sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside. And genuine obedience is sitting down on the outside and on the inside. And that's what is involved in honoring your father and your mother. It's about a hard attitude. It's not going up to your bedroom and kicking the door and closing the door and saying, fine, I obeyed. But it is hard attitude. Only God can constrain that.

Only the Scriptures can underpin that. It demands total honesty. Total honesty. It demands saying what you were saying, when you were saying and why you were saying it. It demands saying, yes, there was a phone call.

No, there wasn't a phone call. No fudge factor. There are no degrees in honesty. There are no degrees in honesty. It's either honest or it's a lie.

There is no in-between. Were you there? Yes or no?

Don't give me a bunch of junk. Did you leave at eleven? Yes or no? Are you planning to come home, or are you giving me a line? Real obedience in the honoring of father and mother demands total honesty and demands a preparedness to accept the responsibilities of what it will mean to break the rules. Jesus, in his humanity, Luke records for us in chapter 2 and in verse 51, after the encounter in the temple, you remember where his earthly parents lost him and had to go back and find him. And he told them, you know, didn't you know I had to be about my father's business and they didn't understand. Then Luke chapter 2 verse 51, then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.

An interesting little statement. What do we know about Jesus? We know he was obedient to his mom and dad. The incarnate God did what his carpenter father told him.

The boy who could walk on water was in when he was told. It demands real love, it demands real obedience, and it involves continued concern for them. We're talking about what does it mean for children to honor their parents, to really love, to really obey, and to really care, irrespective of how much time has elapsed, irrespective of whether we now are the parents of our own children, to honor our father and mother demands that kind of continued care. Nursing homes and geriatric wards hold many sad stories of loneliness.

Many. It's referred to in Britain in the geriatric wards as granny dumping. Having spent many years visiting people in that context, just recently back in Edinburgh as I drove down the Royal Mile and I thought of Queens Ferry House in my life, my right, I could think of the names and faces of people that I had visited between 75 and 77. Old ladies just all alone in a high cribbed with metal sides day after day. Now in some cases, they had no one to care and those places are lovely and helpful and the people who preside over them by and large are lovely folks.

What I'm talking about is just those who would determine that that was it, you know. Incidentally, parents, the thought occurred to me that we better be careful that we don't reap what we sow. Because if we determine that the way to deal with our children is to continually babysit them so that we pay money to have somebody else look after them so that we can go and have fun, we better watch out in case they learn from that example and say, hey, you did it to me when I was three. So don't feel bad that I'm doing it to you now that you're 76. You see, you taught me this approach, dad. You used to always say, the babysitter will take care of you. Now your mom and I are leaving. Well, here's the deal.

Guess what? The babysitter will take care of you, dad. And now your son and daughter are leaving.

So pull up the sides of the crib. Don't be bad for the people who are looking after you. And don't worry, we'll be back. Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you. It demands real love, demands real obedience, demands realistic concern. Now let me wrap this up by just saying a word to parents because I really wanted to speak to the youngsters.

I hope you're listening. What does it have to say to parents? Hoover, and that is J. Edgar Hoover, who should be quoted sparingly, I believe, on one occasion said there is but one way to eliminate juvenile delinquency, and that is by providing each child with competent parents. Joseph Kennedy, the daddy of them all, as it were, said in a biography that I read, quote, my boys are my business.

No comment. And so when you turn to the corresponding instruction in the New Testament, which takes you into Ephesians chapter 6, where Paul, quoting from the Ten Commandments, underscores the abiding relevance of family living and the principles of it, quotes it directly. He then goes on to explain that if fathers are going to take their lead in this, then they're going to have to make sure that they don't exasperate their children. No dad worth his salt exaspirates his children deliberately. But there is a danger of unwittingly provoking and embittering our children. Unwittingly provoking and embittering our children. How can you do it?

Well, there's tons of ways to do it. First of all, you can do it by failing to allow them to be what they are, namely children. That'll annoy them. Kids are really silly, have you noticed that?

Say really silly things at really unfortunate times and have really silly ideas. Do you hear these parents talking to their children, little kids, laying down the premise and the sub-premise and then the synthesis and then the conclusion and the kids just going, you know, I mean, they just, now little Mary, don't you understand that daddy said the such and such and then when we came to there and the da da da, you know, the kids are going, what? Why would you talk to your children as if they were adults? They're not adults. And then the people that talk to the kids like that, they talk to their dogs like that, but that's another sermon altogether.

So failing to allow them to be what they are, namely children, treating them with harshness and cruelty, either verbal or physical, ridiculing them in front of other people, especially their peers, showing favoritism and making unhelpful comparisons between them and their siblings, failing to express approval for them even when they do little things that are apparently trivial that demand commendation, being arbitrary in the way we exercise discipline so that our children never know where they stand, neglecting them, making them feel like an intrusion, seeking to make them achieve our goals rather than to find their own way and develop their own little lives by overprotecting them, by never protecting them at all. All those things and many more we may by means of them unwittingly provoke and embittered our children and Paul says, be careful that you don't do that. Well, what should we do? Well, he says, you should bring them up, bring them up. We're supposed to bring them up. Every so often you hear about somebody I brought up myself.

You know, you have the picture of the Artful Dodger on Oliver Twist, who along with Fagan really brought himself up. Parents have the responsibility to bring their children up, to cherish them fondly, to rear them tenderly, to sustain them spiritually, to deal with them individually. The more I grow, the more I realize that there is no standard pattern. You can't deal necessarily with one child in the identical way that you deal with another. So there is the bringing up. The bringing up demands training. The word is paideia.

Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Training has to do with what we do. You'll find the word in Hebrews chapter 12. It has to do with rules.

It has to do with regulations, with rewards, and with punishments. The Bible is very clear in relationship to this. The egalitarianism that pervades so much of our educational system certainly does not come from Scripture. The notion that our children will somehow just manage by themselves is really a strange idea.

And yet writing in an earlier generation, E.K. Simpson said, too many parents nowadays foster the latent mischief by a policy of laissez-faire, pampering their pert little urchins like pet monkeys, whose escapades furnish a fund of amusement as irresponsible freaks of no serious import. Such unbridled young scamps, for lack of correction, develop too often into headstrong, peevish, self-seeking characters, menaces to the community where they dwell, and the blame rests with their weak-willed and duty-shirking seniors. So when we think in terms of training, what we're thinking of, again, is what the book of Proverbs has so much to say about. Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 24, he who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs chapter 22 and verse 15, folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

The liberal culture in which we live has labored hard to suggest that any notion of this kind of thing is brutal and is devastating and is denigrating and is demeaning and so on and so on, so that as I listen to the snippets of that thing to which I referred earlier on Monday morning, as I listen to those ladies talk, every one of them without exception was at pains to say, oh, I'd never take my hand to my child. I'd never just go over to the games department and get myself a little ping-pong paddle, you know? No, no. If they will not go and get themselves a ping-pong paddle at that stage when they've got them in the cart, they will not be able to correct it with a baseball bat when they're driving around in the cart. The Bible is really clear.

Do you say you believe in the authority of the Bible and does the authority of the Bible impact the way you rear your children, the way I rear my children? Children are foolish. There are times when the only thing to be able to do is to take action. The danger, of course, is of extremism, to be excessively stern or the other extreme for this kind of thing to be totally absent. Now let me finalize this by pointing out that we don't only train them, but we instruct them. Training has to do with what we do. Instruction has to do with what we say.

What we say. Beware of non-directive nonsense. I'm growing old listening to parents tell me that because they had such and such an upbringing, they don't want to give directions to their children, so they're just going to let them choose. Don't let's do that.

It's really not right. Going to let them choose what movies they go to? Going to allow them to choose what videos they bring home? Going to allow them to choose just whoever they date? If my mother and father had not been so directive in terms of the dating game, there's no way that I would be married to the lovely lady I'm married today. Do you think I'm smart enough to be able to choose someone like my wife?

No, you don't. See, you left. I threw more guys out of my house who had interest in my sisters, threw roses in the bin, told my sisters, I know that fellow. I played rugby with him.

I can tell you what he likes. Get him out of here. The parental responsibility is much the same. Children need that. Children need you to be prepared to take the rap for them. They need you to blame. Because when they go to school and the people say, well, why aren't you coming? They need somebody to blame till they're ready to be brave enough to take the hit themselves. They need to be able to say, my mom and dad won't let me. Until they're smart enough or conviction fooled enough to be able to say, because I don't want to. But until they're able to say, I don't want to, they need somebody to blame it on. And that's your role. But if you're not prepared to take the blame, you will and I will take the results of being unprepared for that kind of conviction-filled parenting.

The evidence is all around us to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let me finish with a quote in a conversation between Thelwell and Coleridge, S.T. Coleridge, that is. Thelwell told Coleridge that he thought it very unfair to give a child's mind a certain bent before it could choose for itself.

We hear this all the time. I don't believe in indoctrinating my children. I don't believe in influencing them in these things. So, Thelwell says to Coleridge the very same thing. Don't try and guide your children in these ways. I showed him my garden, says Coleridge, covered with weeds, describing it as a botanical garden. How so? Thelwell asked.

I replied that it had not yet come to years of discretion. True, the weeds had taken the mean advantage of growing everywhere, but it could not be so unfair as to prejudice the soil in favor of roses and strawberries. All of us, at some point, can make application of this. Those of us who are parents need to teach the values of truth and goodness. We need to defend them, we need to recommend them, we need to enforce them, and then we need to trust our children with them.

We cannot be held ultimately accountable for the response of our children, but we will be held accountable for our instruction of our children and for the guidelines that we set. And we must do it in such a way as to show our children that behind us stands the Lord himself. He is the ultimate instructor. He is the ultimate guide. And when it is all said and done, the privilege and honor and duty which is ours is to seek to be able to bring the heart of our children to the heart of our Savior. You're listening to Truth for Life. That is Alistair Begg with the conclusion of a message he's titled God's Design for the Family.

Alistair will be back in a moment. To go along with our current series, we are excited to be offering you a bundle of three books that you can use with young children to introduce them to God, particularly to the importance of prayer. The books are titled Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer. This set of books teaches children between the ages of four and eight how to pray, what to pray for, when to pray, and why to pray. The bundle includes a storybook that is colorfully illustrated. There's a paired coloring book, and there's an activity-based family devotional.

The lessons in the storybook are reinforced in both the coloring book and the devotional. The entire set will guide you through deeper discussions about prayer and the gospel with young children or with grandchildren. Purchase all three of these books together for our cost of only $8. Again, the title is Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer, and the cost is just $8. Keep in mind your financial support of Truth for Life helps make high-quality Bible teaching materials like Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer available to people at cost. You can give a donation today online at truthforlife.org slash donate, or you can arrange to set up an automatic monthly donation when you visit truthforlife.org slash truthpartner. When you make a donation today, be sure to request your copy of the book Parenting Essentials, Equipping Your Children For Life. The book is our way of saying thanks for your support. Now here's Alistair with a closing prayer.

As we bow in prayer, we make our own response to these things. One father summed it up in this way, My family's all grown, the kids are all gone. But if I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do. I would love my wife more in front of my children. I would laugh with my children more at our mistakes and our joys.

I would listen more even to the youngest child. I would be more honest about my own weaknesses and stop pretending perfection. I would pray differently for my family. Instead of focusing on them, I would focus more on me. I would do more things with my children. I would do more encouraging and bestow more praise.

I would pay more attention to little things, deeds and words of love and kindness. Finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family. I would use every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day to point them to God. Father, affirm within our hearts these convictions where they are present. Instill them where they are absent.

Convince us of the intense practicality of the absolute authority of the 66 books that make up your living Word, the Bible. Make us brave but not bombastic. Make us decisive but not divisive.

Make us clear but not cruel. Make us Christ-like. And may grace and mercy and peace from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit try you in God. Rest upon and remain with our families today and forevermore. Amen.

I'm Bob Lapine. In so many cultures around the world, the perceived significance of fatherhood has been steadily declining. Tomorrow we'll consider the reasons behind this trend. We'll look at the consequences as well. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-21 05:16:34 / 2024-05-21 05:25:27 / 9

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