God’s Household Rules: Marriage and Family (10)
1. Last week, as we looked at Ephesians 6:1-3, we said that Christian children, in order to live out the Gospel in the home, in order to live out their embrace of the Lordship of Christ, must obey their parents, because it is right, commanded and rewarded
2. We also saw that Paul gives three reasons or motivation to Christian children for obedience. . .
I. Christian children are to obey their parents because it is the right thing to do (1)
[The obedience of children to parents is rooted in the natural, created order]
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
II. Christian children are to obey their parents because God has commanded it in his word (2)
[The obedience of children is based on the express command of God]
2 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH
III. Christian children are to obey their parents because of God’s gracious promise (3)
[The obedience of children is accompanied by a gracious promise from God]
2 . . . (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH
3. Paul turns to Christian parents and gives them a profound directive regarding the Christian nurture of their children. It begins with a negative and moves to a positive command. Do not . . . but.
Ephesians 6:4 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
I. Christian parents (and especially fathers) are to take care not to provoke their children (4a)
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
Parallel in Col 3:21 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."
Not a directive indicating that we must never make our children angry! Rather, Christian parents must – (Thanks to Wayne Mack, in Strengthening Your Marriage, for these ideas)
1. Not expect more or less of our children than they are capable of doing or giving.
2. Be careful about the way we reprimand and correct.
3. Practice what you preach. Avoid double standards or hypocrisy.
4. Impart the faith via prayer, personal example, precept (in that order)
5. Cultivate good times with our children.
6. Freely communicate love and affection.
7. Allow them to fail and make mistakes–let them know love not conditioned on perfection.
8. Make expectations, rules and regulations know to them, and reasonable.
9. Admit our mistakes, sins and ask forgiveness when we fail them.
10. Make it easy and desirable for them to approach us.
II. Christian parents are to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (4b) 4 Fathers, . . . bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
The Third baptismal vow taken by parents at a covenantal baptism
3. Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God, and promise, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to set before (him) a godly example, that you will pray with and for (him), that you will teach (him) the doctrines of our holy religion, and that you will strive, by all the means of God's appointment, to bring (him) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
"Every autumn I have a spate of letters from fond parents, teachers, guardians, and monitors, appealing to me to follow up on such and such a youngster who is away from home at college for the first time, and who has to be hunted, followed, shadowed, intercepted and driven to Christian meetings. I have scarcely ever known this desperate technique to work. I understand the panic of parents and guardians, but it is too late then to try high pressure tactics. Prayer, example and precept, in that order, are the means of bringing up children and young folk in the faith. Nor will high pressure tactics and brainwashing techniques avail when young folk have gone off on their own. Some young folk, alas, will have their fling and sow their wild oats, and come at last to heel, sadly, like the prodigal son. It is where Christians pathetically put their trust in external techniques and artificial stratagems that young folk go astray. Nothing takes the place of the realism of holy living and secret wrestling before God in prayer for our youngsters. We must commit them to God so utterly that we dare not interfere or tamper with their precious souls."
(William Still, late Pastor of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, Scotland)