Godly Families (3) – Parents and Children
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Godly Families (3) – Parents and Children
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: Ephesians 6:1-3
Sunday, October 27, 2019 am
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (35)
As we continue our study concerning our influence, we have been focusing briefly on the family this month. We have briefly addressed the foundation of the family as God would have it, and we have addressed the relationship between a husband and wife. Today we want to address the parent/child relationship and how it impacts our influence in society.
God’s word about parenting
- Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”
- Among the intended purposes of the marriage relationship is to bring children into the world. It was God’s intent from the beginning. Genesis 1:27-28, as man (and woman) was created in God’s image, they were instructed to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.”
As God created this world, it was with the intention that as children were brought into the world, they need a father and a mother. This is the ideal, and IF we can control circumstances that ought to be our goal.
Therefore, SHOULD a married couple decide to bring children into this world, they are taking upon themselves an AWESOME responsibility.
- As we have noted in this study about the home, our society is adversely affected by the breakdown of the traditional home. In the parent/child relationship, we see so many problems – single parents who have no desire to have a spouse, same-sex couples that confuse children as to what their role ought to be, abusive and neglectful parents, the pursuit and tolerance of materialism and worldliness in the home, failures to be there for the children, a failure to instill respect for parents and authority figures, a breakdown in discipline and accountability (it is not uncommon now, when a child misbehaves – it is always someone else’s fault), etc.
And understand that with MOST of these issues, we KNOW they are not good for children or society, BUT there is an outright REFUSAL to accept God’s pattern because of what it implies – namely we have to repent!
- As parents, we have an opportunity to have the greatest impact on the direction that our children will take. Will they seek God and His kingdom first? Will they respect God’s boundaries and commands concerning the home?
Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. We know this is the rule for child rearing. And while there might be exceptions, they are just that – exceptions. And they can apply both positively AND negatively.
However, how often when we dig deep do we actually find failures to do what we ought to do.
The qualifications of leaders in the Lord’s church involve the proper rearing of children.
Of elders, 1 Timothy 3:4-5 speaks of the man who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence. And then the reason is given in vs. 5, (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); Similarly, Titus 1:6 speaks of the need for faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
Even deacons are to be fathers who rule their children and house well (1 Timothy 3:12).
- This is important to God and ought to be important to us as well. Why? Because it reflects on the church, society, government and community. Why? Because, as the home goes, so goes society.
The Role of the father
- Again, we are only briefly addressing these qualities in this lesson. Much more time could be devoted to each of these responsibilities.
- FIRST, he is the head of the house. Just as he is the head of the marriage relationship, he has headship over the ENTIRE family. That includes the children. While he should delegate and work with his wife, he CANNOT abdicate this responsibility. Again note above with leaders, He “rules his house” with his children in subjection (1 Timothy 3:4-5, 12, Titus 1:6). We have noted on numerous occasions, that most of the qualifications of elders (and deacons) ought to be present in EVERY Christian man’s life. It is just that in leaders, these qualities are established.
- He is to provide for his family. God has always intended for the man to provide for his family. You see this in instructions for him to work. You also see it implied as you consider the wife’s role to mange the house (note: We are not here addressing whether or not women should work).
1 Timothy 5:8 is clear about this.
- He is to be head when it comes to instruction – Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21. In both these passages, we find instructions about how to and how NOT to bring up children.
The father has the primary responsibility to see that children are going to be taught (yes, the mother will do much of the teaching, but the man MUST take a lead in this).
He is to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” This means instructing them, teaching them. Helping to mold them. How does a father do this?
- By word of mouth – he has to teach. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives an example of this. God’s word needs to be taught and children need to learn about God and Jesus, etc. at home.
- By example – as is ALWAYS the case. We are to let our lights shine in this area as well. 2 Timothy 1:5 – while speaking of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, the point is the faith was in them first. The same ought to be true of fathers.
- Through application – they need to not only SEE things being done, they need to be given tasks to do it. It us through activity that one learns how to conduct themselves.
Let them LEARN to apply how to discern between good and evil, how to avoid the ungodly, etc.
- Through repetition – Again Deuteronomy 6:6-9 speaks of this repetition. You talk about God continually. It ought to be something they do not question, because it is repeated so much. E.g. We NEED to go and worship God now. Not a “have to” attitude, but shown it as worthwhile by repeating it over and over again.
2 Peter 1:12-15, Peter was not negligent to remind them…
- Do not discourage them – or frustrate them. They should not be provoked to anger – which means treating them in such a way that they are confused, frustrated, neglected, treated harshly, or even hypocritical behavior, etc. These are the types of things that provoke one to anger or discouragement.
There’s a balance to be learned as we raise our children. Discipline factors into this. I am convinced that that father has the PRIMARY responsibility in this area. It must be tempered with wisdom, but it must be consistently and firmly administered. Hebrews 12:7ff, speaks of the chastening of God, following the example of fathers.
Fathers MUST do what they can to turn their children in the right direction. Sometimes it requires sacrifice, patience, hard effort, etc. But it must be done.
- He is to love his family – this is borne out in the example of chastening – which is done out of love.
When we see the prodigal son return, we see a father’s love (Luke 15:20-21)
- In summary – contrary to what our society implies, every child needs a father. Will we step up and courageously accept our responsibilities in this?
The Role of the mother –
- Like the father, she has an important role and is needed. Her role is seen throughout scripture as mothers raised their children.
In Old Testament times, there was a blessing associated with being able to bear children. Even Moses’ mother, Jochebed, helped to raise him, in the house of Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-2, 8-10). In the NT we are again reminded of the upbringing of Timothy, though the faith of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). Other examples could be cited.
- In the one income home, with the father working, she will likely have more interaction with the children and has authority of them. This gives her opportunity to have a major role in the physical and spiritual upbringing of the children. So what are some of her responsibilities?
- She is to love her children –this seems like a natural thing. Consider 1 Thessalonians 2:7 where a nursing mother cherishes her children.
But Titus 2:4 finds it as part of the instructions of older women to younger women. They are to love their husbands and love their children. Why would this need to be stated?
First, not ALL mothers love their children – there are abusive, selfish mothers and mothers (cf. 2 Timothy 3:3 speaks of the unloving – without natural affection; Romans 1:31 also.
Second, a maternal love can result in being overly permissive, failure to discipline, etc.
According to Titus 2:4, this is something that is learned. I see in this a leadership role that she has over the children.
- She is to manage the house – 1 Timothy 5:14, Titus 2:5 – homemakers. That means she is involved in the daily affairs of a home, including taking care of the children, while the father is working.
1 Timothy 2:15, while dealing with the submissive role of the woman states, Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control. I am convinced this is not a requirement that women have children (if so, many would be disqualified from being saved), but IF THEY DO, they are to help rear those children in a godly way, fulfilling their family role.
- She is to help in the teaching – this is implied as noted above with Lois and Eunice. Proverbs also teaches this – Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of your father, and the law of your mother.
Proverbs 29:15, which speaks of discipline, notes that a child kept to himself is a shame to his mother.
- Together, with the father – they seek to raise children who will faithfully serve God, even after they leave home. That ought to mean more to them than anything else. We need to consider that if parents decide to bring a child into the world, they are bringing a soul that will spend eternity somewhere. This is not a task that is to be taken lightly.
God’s word about children in the home
- Again, much more could be said about this. And in our society, there is a great need for children to learn how to PROPERLY treat their parents. It is something that is lacking in many places. We see all around us, disrespect and dishonor of parents. Many children are ungrateful for all that they have been given and demand more. The Bible summarizes it with two words.
- Ephesians 6:1, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Children must learn to obey their parents or face the consequences of appropriate discipline.
This is also taught in Colossians 3:20 – obey them in all things (provided it is not sinful).
2 Timothy 3:1-2 – speaks of selfishness and includes those who are disobedient to parents.
Luke 2:51 – even Jesus was subjected to His parents.
- Children are to honor their parents– Ephesians 6:2-3. The idea of honor to show due respect. You do what they tell you to, not simply because they say it, but because you LOVE them and respect them. This considers an appreciation for what they have done for you, much of what you will NOT fully comprehend until you have your own children.
How do you honor your parents?
1) By obeying them.
2) By listening to them. They know more than what you think.
3) By behaving and respecting them – don’t talk back or be rebellious, 4) You honor them by realizing how your conduct is a reflection upon them. Even when they are not around, you consider how your conduct impacts them. It’s not just about the punishment if you disobey, it’s the disappointment because you rebelled.
- Final though, much of this rest on the parents. Typically children respond based upon the way they are raised.
Obviously, these things have a reflection on our influence (our light). The world DESPERATELY needs to see parents putting God first as they bring forth the next generation for the church, AS WELL AS society, government, etc. And they need to see children who will be godly examples, even when it not the popular thing to do. Are you fulfilling your roles in the home? Think about these things.