Eph 6:1-4 Godly Parenting 10/20/2002

 

  • Children (Eph 6:1)

 

 

#1. Honour Thy Father and Mother (Eph 6:2-3,Ex 20:12,Gen 12:1,Psalm 58:3,Eph 2:3,Rom 3:10)

 

 

  • If Parents Walk in Disobedience (Eph 5:6-11)

 

 

  • The Parent's Responsibilities (II Tim 3:14-16)

 

 

 

#2. And, Ye Fathers (Eph 6:4, II Tim 3:1-5, Rom 3:18)

 

 

  • The Purpose of a Sermon (Eph 4:30-5:2, Mark 8:36, Rom 10:17)

 

 

  • Discipline (Heb 12:5-8, Prov 13:24, 19:18)

 

 

 

#3. The Admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4, Prov 22:15, 23:12-14)

 

 

  • Hear Ye Children (Prov 4:1-7)

 

 

  • Hearken Unto Me (Prov 8:32-36, John 6:44)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 6 (2X). Remember "Go Eat Pop-Corn", which stands for Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 1. This passage begins with: "Children" (2X). You might think that what follows is a sermon specifically to the children. That is not so. The title of this sermon is: "Godly Parenting". It is a sermon primarily to parents. But first I want to address the children. Can I get your attention?

  • Children (Eph 6:1)

Look at these words in Ephesians, chapter 6:1-3,

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents, in the Lord: for this is right.

Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Ephesians 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

God does not say, "Children, obey your parents if they are Godly parents". God does not say, "Children, obey your parents if your parents are always in the Lord". But God says: "Children obey your parents, in the Lord". In other words, God says to children: Obey your parents without asking them for an explanation of everything, and without grumbling. This is part of your lifestyle that is "in the Lord" because this is what God is requiring from you, children. Parents love their children, and parents have a great deal more experience and wisdom than their children. Therefore, when children obey their parents, it is as if the children walk around with the wisdom of their parents in their heads.

God has implanted in the hearts of parents a love for their children. Very seldom do children have parents who lead them into wickedness. Obviously, if children walk "in the Lord", they would not obey their parents in things that ar sinful, such as lying, or cheating, or stealing. But that is not in view here.

"Children, obey your parents, in the Lord: for this is right". Literally the Greek text says: "for this is righteous". To obey your parents is righteous in the sight of God. Why does God attach so much value to obedience in children? You see, it is the first step to being teachable. You cannot become saved unless you are teachable. It is impossible that a child is disobedient to parents, but will be obedient to God. Disobedient children generally become lawbreakers.

Why does God attach so much value to obedience in children? It is because God has appointed certain parents to rule over certain children. God did that. Just like God ordains civil government in the land, and God demands from us that we obey the government, so God demands from children that they obey the government in their home. Parents are an extension of the hand of God to their children. Parents have received the authority from God to rule over their children. And parents may not neglect their God given task of raising their children in a God glorifying way. And children:

#1. Honour Thy Father and Mother (Eph 6:2-3,Ex 20:12,Gen 12:1,Psalm 58:3,Eph 2:3,Rom 3:10)

We read in Eph 6, verses 2 and 3 these words,

Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)

Ephesians 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Now, that is interesting. Why would God say that this is the first commandment with promise? You know that God is referring here to the Ten Commandments. God says in Ex 20:12,

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

We know that this is the first commandment with promise in the Ten Commandments, but it is not the first commandment with promise in the Bible. For example, God said to Abraham in Gen 12:1, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (this is the command) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great," (this is the promise). Here is a plain command and a promise. And there are many more such commandments with promises all the way from the beginning of the Bible. Therefore the statement in Eph 6:2-3 refers only to the 10 Commandments as stated in Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16.

Why is God addressing the children, and even little children? God addresses the children because children are not innocent creatures. Children are born with a spirit that is in rebellion against God and in rebellion against their parents. This is the plain teaching of the Bible. God says in Psalm 58:3 that our cute little children "are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies". And this does not apply to children out there in the world. This applies to all people at the time that they come into the world. God says in Eph 2:3 that "WE ALL were by nature the children of wrath, even as others". This agrees with Rom 3:10, which says, "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE", and various other passages. Since we all were by nature under the wrath of God, all people are in need of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. All people are by nature sinners, on the way to Hell, but not all people are being saved by the Lord Jesus Christ. I will come back to this later.

What is the promise that is mentioned in Eph 6:3? "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth". What has that to do with anything? Is a long life on this earth a reward for obeying our parents? That cannot be! This sin cursed earth is going to the dogs. This sin cursed earth is under the wrath of God and will be destroyed on the Last Day. When will it be well with us? It will only be well with us if we have come to salvation. If God changes our hearts, then we become teachable, and we become obedient to our parents. This is the route God has chosen to save many of His children: He makes them obedient to their parents so that they will be receptive to hear the Gospel of salvation preached by their parents. When God saves us, then shall our life be very long, not on this sin cursed earth, but in the NH & NE that God will create in the life hereafter.

  • But if Parents Walk in Disobedience, What Then? (Eph 5:6-11)

First of all, we know that we parents are not perfectly obeying God's laws. In the process of raising our children, we parents are making many mistakes every day. In fact, God does not call them mistakes. God calls them sins. And so you see: "No parent deserves to have believing children". God does not owe us anything. Even our best works are tainted with sin. But when parents recognize their own sinfulness, and they repent and seek forgiveness, the Lord is merciful "to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". But if parents walk in flagrant disobedience to God, how can they instruct their children in the Lord? They cannot! If parents are deceived by another gospel, how can the children learn anything good from them? They cannot. Please turn one page to your left, to Eph 5:6-7 (2X). There God speaks about parents who are deceived by another gospel. We read:

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

"Let no man deceive you with vain words". Empty words? These "vain words" refer to gross sins that incur the wrath of God, which means Hell forever. What could these "vain words" be that God is talking about? Well, for example, when someone is praying to idols, those are vain words. Those words are empty, because there is no other God than the God of the Bible. When someone is bringing a false gospel, he is bringing a gospel dedicated to an imaginary god. These are the "vain words" that God is talking about. And God says, "Be not ye therefore partakers with them".

If parents walk in disobedience to God, they do not know how to teach their children discernment in what is truth and what is false. There is a great deal of falsehood in this world. Look at verse 8,

Eph 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

The word "sometimes" means "formerly", or "in times past", because in times past "we all were by nature children of wrath, even as others". It is not that we were in darkness, but we were darkness itself. We were a part of the dominion of Satan. Now look at verses 9-11,

Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

If parents are saved, and they have the Spirit of God, then the fruit of the Spirit is that they are able to "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord". They are testing, or examining what is well pleasing unto the Lord. And they will "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the dominion of Satan". Those works in verse 11 are "unfruitful works", like the "vain words" in verse 6 were empty words.

Put a sticker in Eph 6, and please turn about 35 pages to your right, to II Tim 3:14 (2X).

  • Now I want to work on: The Parent's Responsibilities (II Tim 3:14-16)

We are parents, or we have been parents to children whom we have received in loan from God. By the time they are 18 or 20 years old, we have no more influence on them. We have them only in loan. We were assigned by God to raise these children in an ungodly world. "It pleases God to govern our children by our hands". This is an awesome assignment. We can mess things up in such a way that our relationship to our children becomes unreparable. Even worse, our children may be under the wrath of God forever. Can you see that we are committing sin like drinking water? So, let us read,

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of Whom thou hast learned them;

In other words God, through the Apostle Paul, says to Timothy, "Remember the things which you have learned, and continue therein. And remember of Whom you have learned these things. You have not learned them from me, Paul, but from God Himself through His Holy Spirit". What does this mean in our days? For example, if we study Bible commentaries we are instructed by other men about the meaning of the words of the Bible. But men are fallible, no matter how famous they are. We must watch out that we do not become a follower of them, for then we are followers of men. But if we study the Bible on our own, then we are alone with God the Holy Spirit, and He is a much better teacher than all the theologians combined. Then we become followers of Christ instead of followers of men. What has this to do with Godly Parenting? We have to show our children that God is first in our life. We have to show them what it means to be wise unto salvation. Let us read now II Tim 3:15,

2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

What is the sign of salvation? The sign is that you have learned to put God in first place. Our priorities tell us a great deal about our relationship to God. If Bible Study is being replaced by your, or your child's baseball practice, or your child's volleyball game, or soccer game, then God is no longer in first place. Your children will see that, and they will amplify that to the nth degree. Now verse 16,

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

All Scripture means all Scripture. The Pastor selects a sermon text and a topic. Who is going to criticize him for that? He is God's servant. He is accountable to God for that choice. But if parents have the preacher for lunch, or if parents make unkind remarks about the sermon, then the children learn not to take the sermon seriously. Keep in mind that we have responsibilities toward our children.

#2. And, Ye Fathers (Eph 6:4, II Tim 3:1-5, Rom 3:18)

Hold one finger here in II Tim 3, and turn again 35 pages to your left to Eph 6:4 (2X).

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Do you see the contrasts in this verse? The two halves of this verse are coupled by the word "but". The second half of this verse is right and good. To bring up our children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" is the right thing to do, and will teach our children the ways of the Lord. This is the environment where they will be under the hearing of the Gospel, so that they can be saved, if God wills. If this is the meaning of the second half of this verse, what then is the meaning of the first half? "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath". Whose wrath? It is God's wrath! The first half of this verse is speaking about an environment where the children do not learn the ways of the Lord, and they do not come under the hearing of the Gospel. Instead they grow up to be rebels against their parents and rebels against God.

How do we provoke our children to the wrath of God? Let us begin here with the church. It is the parent's responsibility to take their children to church. It is the parent's responsibility to make sure that their children behave reverently in church. It is the parent's responsibility to make sure that the children sit in their seats and listen to the sermon. Kids should not be walking around, and they need to be escorted when they have to go out, but that should be an exception. Everyone should go to the restroom before the service. Unless you have a medical problem, you should not have to go to the restroom during the service. Kids should not be talking during the worship service. When I was young I was taught that speaking during the worship service is a sin; and it is indeed. And if there are visitors, is it not disturbing to those visitors that people in the congregation show disrespect for their pastor, and for all the work that he has put into the sermon by talking during the sermon?

What does God have to say about our conduct in church and outside the church? Please turn again to II Tim 3, this time we start at verse 1. II Tim 3:1,

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (We are in those L.D.)

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

It sounds like reading today's newspaper. How do these men become so wicked? Well, let me tell you. They all start out as cute little babies, and they are so cute and adorable when they walk around as toddlers. But they end up as never having heard the Gospel. They have not heard of the wrath of God, and "there is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom 3:18). Why have they never heard the Gospel? Well, they have never heard the Gospel in a sermon message. That brings me to another pt.

  • What Is The Purpose of a Sermon? (Eph 4:30-5:2, Mark 8:36, Rom 10:17)

Please turn again to Ephesians chapter 4:30 (2X). How else do we provoke our children to the wrath of God? Well, parents can easily withhold their children from hearing the sermon message. For example, are parents teaching in the home what is taught in the sermon? When we walk out of church, what do we do with that sermon? Do we take notes so that we can teach these truths to our children? The insert in your Bulletin contains the sermon outline and lots of empty space for you to take notes. O, you can turn off the preacher and stop listening. But don't you think that your children will see that? They are no dummies. Be sure that you do not despise these teachings in front of your children. That is what I meant with having the preacher for lunch. We read in Eph 4:30,

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

This must be our example to our children. Children learn more from watching their parents than they learn from listening to them. Children can easily see if our words match our actions.

Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (which means: children of God)

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

Christ loved us and gave Himself for us on the cross. Should we then continue to live a life only pleasing ourselves? God forbid! We should proclaim to the world what Christ has done for us. And what then should be the purpose of a sermon? If there would be only one person in the audience who is still unsaved, then the content of the sermon should be such that, if God wills, it might lead to the conversion of that one person. Just one conversion is enough of a payback for the existence of this church for a lifetime. Let me read to you what God says in Mark 8:36,

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

God says: One soul is worth more than the material value of the entire world. It means that if in my entire lifetime I would be instrumental in bringing one person to the Lord Jesus Christ, then I would be instrumental in robbing Satan's treasure chest of more than a million dollars a second during my entire lifetime. Can I challenge anyone to check my calculations?

Therefore, what must be the content of a sermon? It must contain the reason why we need salvation, and why salvation is only available through the Lord Jesus Christ. It must contain Christ crucified, and why that was necessary. And we must show it on every page of the Bible, because to this end was the Bible written for us. There might be someone in church who is not saved, and it does not have to be a visitor. There are always unsaved people in church, in any church, who need to hear the Gospel again and again. God says in Rom 10:17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". This is the environment wherein we should raise our children. "Godly Parenting".

How else do we provoke our children to the wrath of God? Well, may I touch on the subject of:

  • Discipline? (Heb 12:5-8, Prov 13:24, 19:18)

Please turn about 55 pages to your right to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 12:5 (2X). Why do parents seem to be afraid to discipline their children? Are they afraid their kids are not going to like them anymore? What then is missing? Their children do not learn to obey God. We read in Heb 12:5,

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Do not despise the chastening of the Lord. It is God's method of instructing us. Discipline, or chastening is for children as well as for adults. Discipline, or chastening means it is "nurture", and it is "instruction". Moreover, if children are behaving undisciplined, it is most often because the parents also live a life without discipline? Parents, is there a regular structure in your life? Do you have a schedule to live by? I find it amazing that there are so many people who live without a schedule in their life. If you have a schedule, you can check Who or what your priorities in this life are.

Please turn to the Proverbs of Solomon in the middle of your Bible. Right after Psalms you find Proverbs. Please turn to Prov 13:24 (2X). God has a great deal to say about raising up our children in the fear and nurture of the Lord. But people are not reading their Bibles, and these days people cannot believe what they are reading in the Bible. God says in Prov 13:24,

Prov 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

If we love our children, then we chasten them early. That is what "betimes" means. We chasten them when they are young. If you don't spank your child, it means that you hate your child. These are not my words. This is what God says. Do we believe this? This is a serious question.

Please turn 6 pages to your right, to Prov 19:18 (2X).

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

While they are young there is still hope of training them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. When they are 18 it is too late. What does that word "admonition" mean?

#3. The Admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4, Prov 22:15, 23:12-14)

Webster's Dictionary says "admonition" means it is a "gentle or friendly reproof". In other words, God says here in Proverbs that spanking is a gentle and friendly reproof. You do not spank your child in anger, but you make him know that you don't want him to do this again. Let me repeat Eph 6:4,

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

This wrath refers to the wrath of God. How do we provoke our children to the wrath of God? We do that by not spanking them. We have already seen two places where God speaks about spanking, or the rod of correction. Please turn the page to Prov 22:15 (2X).

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

We all come into the world with foolishness in our heart. That is why "Foolishness is bound in the

heart of a child". These days we live in a society that is bound and determined to root out the Word of God from our lives. The government has made up rules that are contrary to God's teachings here in Proverbs. Therefore, do not use a rod for correction; that gets you into trouble with the government. Use a flat board with a handle, and then apply the board of education to the seat of knowledge.

Please turn the page to Prov 23:12 (2X). Verse 12 is not addressing the children, but the parents:

Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

In other words, "Parents, listen to God's instruction, and open your ears so that you can hear the words of knowledge that God conveys to our ears".

Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Teach your child early that he or she has to listen to the authority God has placed over him or her. This is what God says. The Bible is the Word of God. Do we believe this Word? Our actions show if we believe, or if we do not believe the Word of God.

  • Hear Ye Children (Prov 4:1-7)

Please turn to Proverbs chapter 4 (2X). Now we have come full circle again in addressing our children. God is addressing our children through the pen of king Solomon at that point in history.

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

Proverbs 4:3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

Proverbs 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

The first and last words are "Hear and live". Which life is discussed here in Proverbs? Is this a book of recipes for how to live a decent, moral and successful life on this earth? Absolutely not! You find here no recipes for living a successful life as the world understands success. God is talking about eternal life. We already know that eternal life is a gift from God, and it cannot be earned or deserved for being obedient to our parents. But God uses the actions of men to accomplish His purposes. God uses "Godly Parenting" to reach those who are His elect children. God changes the hearts of His children before they become children who are obedient to their parents. And God uses foolish parenting to pass by those children whom He has not chosen to save. It is in this frame of mind that we must understand these words in Proverbs. God continues to say in Prov 4:5-7,

Prov 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

What is this wisdom that God speaks about here in these verses? These words apply to children

as well as parents. This wisdom is the wisdom unto salvation! It is the wisdom of knowing God out of His Word. Paraphrased God says in these three verses: "Study your Bible. Begin to understand it. Do not forget or deviate from these words of My mouth. Do not forsake these Words of My mouth. These are the words of eternal life. This is the only means through which you can be saved for all eternity. Love your Bible, because through this Book is your Bridegroom, Christ, speaking to you. He must be first in your life. Therefore pray for wisdom and pray for understanding of your Bible". This is not only Godly Parenting, but it is also the wisdom of obedient children.

Please turn to Proverbs chapter 8:32 (2X), and we will read the concluding words of this chapter.

  • God says: Hearken Unto Me (Prov 8:32-36, John 6:44)

In this passage the wisdom of knowing God is personalized in the Lord Jesus Christ. He says:

Prov 8:32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Proverbs 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Proverbs 8:34-35 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the LORD.

Proverbs 8:36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

In verse 32 look at the word "hearken", and you will see that it is derived from the word "hear". But "hearken" means: "Listen carefully". The second significant word in verse 32 is "children". We must keep in mind who God considers as His children. They are those whom God planned to save out of this miserable mess of mankind. The third significant word in verse 32 is "blessed". Who are all those whom God calls "blessed"? Only they who have become saved are called "blessed".

Paraphrased Christ says to all of us: "Listen carefully all you children. This is important. They that have been saved shall keep My ways. They have become followers of Me. They have come in a state that is called "blessed". Be wise, listen to instruction from the Bible and refuse it not. The man who has his spiritual ears opened is called "blessed". He is always exercising the Keys of the Kingdom, and he is always watching to keep false teachings away. He is always alert to keep the Gospel of salvation a pure Gospel of grace alone. Whosoever finds Me finds eternal life, because there is only one way to heaven. The grace of the Lord rests upon him. But anyone who sins against Me, anyone who ignores the wisdom of God, does wrong to his own soul. They hate Me without a cause, which means they love the ways of death more than they love the ways of eternal life".

We can read these passages from chapters 4 and 8 as if wisdom unto salvation comes as a result of diligently studying the Word of God. But that is not true. Only those who have been saved will diligently study the Word of God. The Lord Jesus said: "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him". God does not lie. Therefore we are obligated to harmonize all the passages in the Bible. That is what we have to teach our children. That is "Godly Parenting".

Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.