Monday, December 12, 2011

God's Plan for Children & Parents
Ephesians 6:1-4
      Introduction:    Chapter 6:1-9 is a continuation of 5:24-31. God explains the relationship we have with others. Wives and Husbands are instructed in their roles and responsibilities in the family. Likewise God instructs children, employees (slaves) and employers.            God has a plan for our every relationship. Christians are unique in this world and our uniqueness is shown in our involvement and interaction with other people.            Christians have a testimony as being the children of God. Often all the world knows of Christ is what they see in a believer. That makes our relationships within our families and churches vital to our task of presenting Christ, the Gospel to the world. To have a satisfying relationship and testimony, a couple, family and church must have unity within their God given union. They should strive to show the world the wonderful thing it is to be a Christian. That does not mean we will be perfect...but it means we will live striving to always obey the Lord. An unfaithful believer clouds the saving message of redemption in Jesus Christ. It is serious business for a Christian not to be in harmony with God's plan for their life. That plan includes being in harmony with each other, our family, friends, business associates etc. In our individual lives if there is not a consistent outward testimony of righteousness (doing what is right) those around us cannot see Christ. Both we and they are the worser for it.            In our families conflict hinders the peace and joy that God intended for the family to have. It further sets an improper example and model for the children. Most times what a child sees in his or her parents will be how they live their lives. Many times the problems our children have....are the result of strife between the husband and wife.            In a church, it can make a church ineffectual in their community. The unsaved are very perceptive when it comes to detecting a hypocrite.            This verse is addressing children and stating God's plan for them. But the principles stated here are to parents more than to children.            Young children do not have the ability to make decisions based on reasoning things out and acting in their best interests. Children make decisions based on two things.            First they make decisions based on what they feel like they want. Whether it is right or wrong for them does not enter the picture. They act on the motivation of selfishness. Children are selfish. A baby cries till it is satisfied and gets what it wants. That continues throughout their childhood, teen years and even into their adult life unless it is checked.            That brings us to the second motivation for a child making a decision. This motivation is because they have been taught to act in a particular way. This is where teaching and discipline comes in. Discipline teaches a child proper actions. If the child does not do what they are taught there should be unpleasant consequences, which means discipline. With that in mind...lets look at what God teaches in this passage. I. Children obey your parents in the Lord. (Eph.. 6:1-3)
        A. The word "obey" is from the same root word used in Ephesians 5:22 which says wives are to be submissive to their husbands. The verse is saying to children to be submissive to their parents as unto the Lord . It means children are to listen and be attentive to their parents.
          1. Obedience to God is the foundation of living a productive and happy life on this earth. When we obey God we are in tune to the natural laws that God has set in order. We can understand God's physical laws that hold the universe together. We should understand that as importantly God's laws also involve proper behavior. 2. As children learn to obey their parents they are preparing for their future lives. If children do not learn obedience they will not be able to learn in school. The rebellious child that is at odds with their parents will not have respect for others. They will not respect authority and therefore be hindered from learning their lessons and from having a good relationship with their teachers. 3. Children are to "honor" their parents. (Verse 2) Honor is a word that denotes putting a value on something. A child should honor their parents because they gave them birth, love, care for and take care of their physical needs. More importantly to honor someone is to recognize their worth and therefore show respect for them.
        B. Verse 1 says children are to honor their parents in the Lord. It is God who created us who in His infinite wisdom has set the order of our relationships. Therefore God has appointed that children are to be submissive to their parents.
          1. God's desire is that all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. People are saved by faith when they put their trust in God's promises of forgiveness of sins and being given eternal life. 2. Rebels do not believe in God and refuse to be submissive to Him. The unsaved are in rebellion. They reject God as their Creator and refuse to accept they have any responsibility to their Creator. The rebel will not submit to anyone. He is an authority unto himself or herself. They are out of sync with God's order. The atheist is a rebel refusing to believe what he deep down knows is true. This is why organizations such as the ACLU and others are fighting so hard to remove any mention of God from our society. They do not want to be reminded that God is there and they will one day answer to Him. 3. This is why it is so important for parents to teach their children obedience. A child that is not taught obedience will become a rebel and that will effect every aspect of their life in a negative way.
        C. God says children are to obey their parents because it is "right."
          1. Our lost and godless world denies God and rejects absolutes. Being right is an absolute. The word "absolute" means "something that does not depends on anything else and is beyond human control; "no mortal being can influence the absolute" It further means something that is "final, with no possibility for change." 2. God's truth is absolute. It cannot be changed because it is how God set things in order and how they are to operate. 3. Thus God establishes in this statement the importance of children obeying their parents. In other words...children are to obey the Lord because it is right. It is how God made things to work properly.
        D. Verse 3 says that things in life will be well with children who do obey their parents.
          1. This is a quote of the 5th Commandment. "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." (Deuteronomy 5:16) 2. Often the emphases of parents is to give their child a good education, college if possible, so they may make money and live a happy life. Folks, that idea does not come from God. 3. The parents responsibility is to teach the child obedience and discipline in their lives beginning as babies. Success in life will be assured if a child is taught discipline and respect for authority.            To be successful we must work as a team with others. No matter what we endeavor to do it involves others. In a team there is a leader and others with different responsibilities. A rebel who will does not have respect for authority is like a square peg in a round hole. Teams to be productive must have cooperation of its members....and that means obedience to authority. 4. Rebels die young. Rebellion causes dissension and stress. The rebel is never at peace and always involved in bitterness and strife with others. That takes a toll on our bodies. It also put the rebel in danger.
        ILLUS: When I was in high school several students were in serious accidents. In one accident three boys were killed speeding down main street in Macclesfield, NC a small town only two miles from my home in Pinetops. Rebellion was at the core of the problem which caused them to be speeding through town. They knew better but rebellion motivated their actions and resulted in their deaths.            When in the Army I was trained to be part of a rifle squad. A rifle squad is taught to work in unison. Each in doing their job to protect the others and themselves and get the job done. The rebel in a rifle squad would get himself killed and others also. If one of our men messed up he was quickly disciplined for his own good and the good of the squad. Proper discipline bring unity and propose. In a family it brings the family together and teaches the children their responsibilities.
          5. God's promise is that children who honor and obey their parents will live a long life. They will respect others, and that respect will cause them to have a good life which is having a good relationship with others.
        II. The responsibility for teaching the child rests with the father. (Eph.. 6:4)
          A. Clearly first God is addressing the father. The responsibility to teach the child rests with the father. Is the mother involved? Certainly, but it is the father who should set discipline in order and is ultimately responsible for teaching the child.
            1. Sadly I believe most fathers abrogate their responsibility and the task is placed on the mother. God's plan is the father is the authority in the family. He is the head of the household and has the overall leadership role. When a child disobeys their mother, it is the father who should correct that behavior. The father is to be the supreme court in all matters within the home. 2. Mothers are to discipline their children, but there are times when discipline is more effective when the father takes charge of it.
          ILLUS: I deeply recognize my parents who loved me enough not to let me rebel against them. They loved me enough to discipline me when I did things wrong. Often when I disobeyed and got in trouble, but mother wisely would tell me... "Mickey, ( my nickname) when your dad gets home, he is going to have a talk with you." I knew perfectly well what that meant and it was pure torture waiting for the time to past when my dad came home from work. He would take me into my bedroom and ask what had happened. Many times he would say to me, "Mickey, didn't you know that was wrong?" He would then ask why I did it and didn't I know he or mother had told me not to do the thing. He would then make me go out to a Japanese plum tree that grew in the yard and get a switch. Can you imagine having to look up into that tree and pick out one of its slender limbs for my father to switch me with? B. The question is how can a child, who cannot make logical decisions based on what is right or wrong, follow God's instructions? The answer is simple. The child must be taught right from wrong. But he must be taught by discipline done in the right way.            Have you wondered why God does not say here that parents are to discipline their children? The reason is it does not need to be said....we all know that discipline is a part of life. No matter what we are involved with...discipline is a part of teaching.
            1. The first command of God is that father not provoke their children to wrath. God addresses the correct way to discipline. 2. Discipline must be done in love. If the child does not understand the reason for discipline it will not be very effective. In fact it may produce an opposite effect. Disciplining a child in anger tells the child you do not love them, but are punishing them in vengeance. That is what this statement means.            The words "provoke" and "wrath" in this verse are the same Greek word..."par org di zo." Literally the verse is saying, "Ye fathers, anger not your children to anger."            Children will make a parent angry, but a mature father or mother will curb his temper and anger....and keep it in check. If you are angry the best thing to do is curb it and tell the child to go to their room and think about what they have done. You then need to pray and ask God to help you control your feelings so you might be the godly father you child needs. You can later go and discipline the child if that is what is needed. You should go and talk with them asking them to they understand why what the did was wrong.            Parents should explain to the child why discipline is necessary and what their offense was. The danger or problems of the child's actions should be explained and they should the harm their behavior would cause. We often joke about the parent telling the child that "This will hurt me, more than you." But that should be the truth.            If you hollow and scream at you will accomplish nothing. There are times when a stern warning is necessary and it should be made with force in the parents voice, but not anger. But most times a parent best shows love and care when they speak with authority, but not with the tone of malice in their voice. 3. If you warn your child that they are not to do something; if you forbid them and they must follow up on your warning. Example: "If you hit your brother, you will get a spanking." If you promise punishment for disobedience and do not follow through with it....the child will have no respect for you. Your words and authority mean nothing because they know you are only threatening, but will not make good on your threat. You are actually training them to disobey you because you are teaching them that you will not keep your word and they can get away with wrong behavior. They will do what you do and they too will commit the same error.
          C. That begins us to administering proper discipline.
            1. Note what God says to parents: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15) "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." (Proverbs 23:13) "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame." (Proverbs 29:15) "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Proverbs 13:24) 2. Children need to be taught discipline and respect. Left alone...their human nature, which is the nature to do wrong...will rule them. If their carnal nature rules, they will not respond to reasoning and logic. Therefore a spanking gives them the motivation to act properly. It actually forms their conscience. A child that is not taught discipline will have a dysfunctional conscience.            A child will made a decision based on what is best for himself....because he is selfish. Punishment for wrong doing becomes the incentive for proper behavior. In time as they grow older and learn respect and obedience their training will take them though life.
          D. Hebrews 12:6-11 tells us that God also chastens His children or disciplines them. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Hebrews 12:6)
                       The Lord does so to turn us from sin that will destroy and bring us heartache. The parent who truly loves their child will follow God's instructions. They will discipline their children teaching them what is right and wrong. This will turn from their natural way of their carnal nature and help them live a godly and full life succeeding in carrying out God's will for their lives. Dads and Moms....God has a plan for your need to prepare that child to accomplish God's will in their lives. 1. Verse 4 say to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Here God inspired Paul to address the responsibility of every father. It is also a common sin of father who do not teach and discipline them. 2. The word "nurture" means to "tutor, educate, train and give them proper instruction in what is right and wrong." By implication it means to use punishment. 3. The word "admonition" means to warn children when they do wrong and warn them. 4. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
          ILLUS: A Gallup poll found that four out of five adults who were actually spanked when children say it is an effective way of discipline. God said it about 3000 years ago. One problem with the study was that it did not differentiate between proper and abusive disciplining. If that had been taken into account the survey would have been 5 out of 5.            A study done shows that spanking is more effective in preschoolers. This confirms that discipline begins from the crib onward.            Many who oppose spanking have confused abuse with spanking. Research in to psychological studies were done and the results showed that 83% of 132 articles examined, merely presented the psychologists personal opinion....not the results of clinical studies. Faulty human reasoning will produce a faulty conclusion. Follow Dr. Spock...millions of parents ruined their children....all the while thinking they were doing what was right.            Proper disciple is not "beating" a child. You spank them in love not in anger. Humanistic thinking complains that spanking teaches violence. Biblical discipline does not. This is way God warned not to discipline in anger. Biblical disciple teaches love, not vengeance.            Many children today are out of control. They have learned that their parents will not correct their they do what they want. But there is way to teach a child right behavior even when they are out of control. It is difficult, but the effort must be made. Drugging a child is not the right answer. It does not help the situation. The problem remains.            It begins with a baby who really does not need anything but who cries because it wants something. Many times to stop it from crying the parent gives in to the child. Parents it does not hurt a child to cry when they do not have a problem. It is annoying yes...but if you do not give time the child will learn that he or she cannot manipulate you. If you let them cry in time they will learn it does not get them what they want they will stop. They have learned an important lesson. But discipline should start early. But at any age....a child can be taught discipline and respect.            If you punish your a follow up. That means after they get settled down after a spanking you go to them and give them a hug. Explain why you had to discipline them and show them you care for them and that wrong behavior will hurt them. Let them know you love and want the best for them.            In small children.....let them think about it for a while...they go and pick them up, give them a hug. A piece of candy or some small treat shows you care for them.            NEVER....scold or belittle them. Discipline them in private and out of sight of other children. Never, never compare them to another brother or sister. That will NEVER work and belittles the child. It causes resentment between children. You are seeking to teach the child proper behavior....not things to hurt them.           Sometimes parents use the "time out" method as a punishment. This is not a biblical method. A child should obey their parents when they are corrected. It sends the wrong message to give them a time period in which they continue in their disobedience. If what they are doing is wrong they should stop it immediately.            Spanking can break the escalating anger and disobedience of a child if done properly and in love. There is absolutely no evidence that proper spanking hurts a child. The modern teaching that spanking hurts a child mentally is a lie. Of course spanking and discipline should not be excessive or done in anger. Improperly administered discipline does not mean discipline is wrong. God our Creator knows what is best.            God says what? "Spare the rod and ruin the child." Who are you going to believe....some misguided psychologists...or God who created us? ILLUS: A study done in 2002 by Dr. Robert Lazelere, Ph.D. stated,            "Detrimental child outcomes are associated with the frequency of any disciplinary tactic, not just physical punishment. Therefore, it is the excessive misbehavior that is the actual cause of detrimental outcomes in children."            In other words, letting a child continue without discipline is the real reason when children turn out bad. It is not because they were occasionally disciplined. Thus the problem was the lack of consistant discpline.            There are many situations when disciplining a child is necessary for their health and well being. For example:
            - The young child who insists on running from his parent in a busy mall or parking lot. - The toddler who refuses to sit in his car seat. - The young patient who refuses to hold still as a vaccination is administered, or as a laceration is cleaned and disinfected.
                     THIS IS IMPORTANT. DO NOT SPANK YOUR CHILD IN PUBLIC! Our society is brain washed being taught that spanking hurts the child. If they see you doing it many will call social services and turn you in. Then a misguided and falsely trained social worker will show up on your door step and you could be in trouble and charged with child abuse. Be smart. If you discipline them in the home in private....when they go into the public they will most likely behavior properly.
                     I would be amiss if I did not conclude by explaining that moms and dads are to set a proper example before their children. What the parent does will be mimicked by the child. Lazy parents will produce lazy children and lazy adults. If a mother who keeps a dirty will her daughters and sons. If a father is does not take his responsibilities neither will his sons and daughters. Parents who smoke, drink, curse, fuss and fight, and live worldly life styles will teach their children to do the same thing. Children of parents who do these things will have not any respect for their parents.            You cannot force your child to do right...but you can teach them by instruction and by living a godly life before them. You cannot force them to love and revere God...but you can show them how much you love God by your faithfulness to Him. If worldly things and pursuits are the most important thing in your life...then they will also be the most important think in your child's life. If you love and are faithful to the Lord...they will learn from you how important that is.            My final statement is this: "Do you really love your child." If the answer is yes...and I am sure it is....then how does your love effect your relationship with them. Do you love them enough to take the time and effort to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Do you love them enough to that it will effect how you live before them?            A person who truly loves God....will truly love their children. If a parent will not take their God given responsibilities they are deceiving themselves. Their actions show they really do not in truth love their child. This message is God's word on the matter....he does not want parents to be deceived by the worlds vain and faulty teachings. God wants parents to be taught God's word so they can obey God and teach their children to obedience and respect also. 
          children are to win for Christ

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