Passage: Ephesians 6:1–6:4, Proverbs 26:6, Matthew 28:18–28:20
BIG PICTURE: Our job as Christian parents is to do everything within our power, as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer who has employed us, to woo, encourage, call, and train our children to willingly and joyfully live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. In allowing us to create life and raise another human being, God has gifted us with an awe-inspiring privilege and responsibility. Your beautiful baby is an image bearer of God. He or she is made to glorify god and enjoy an eternity with Jesus Christ. That’s what you have created – not just a baby – but a person who will live forever in heaven or forever in hell. Contemplating eternity torpedoes shallow parenting philosophies.” (Chap Bettis)
- Myth #1: The perfect environment will guarantee that my children follow the Lord.
- Truth #1: You cannot control your children.
- Myth #2: The ultimate goal of my Christian life is to have my children follow the Lord.
- Truth #2: You should not make an idol out of having perfect Christian children.
- Myth #3: It is all up to me!
- Truth #3: You cannot do this alone.
Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Col. 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
The apostle here is ruling out “excessively severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation and all forms of insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensibilities.” (Doug Moo)
Four Bad Substitutes for Discipline
- Excuse them
- Organize them
- Consult them
- Bribe them
Ways to exasperate/embitter/provoke our children
- Goodness instead of holiness
- Hypocrisy instead of authenticity.
- Fear instead of boldness.
- Aloofness instead of involvement.
- Pride instead of humility.
* This sermon has been cobbled together from various sources: in particular, numerous blog posts by Tim Challies related to parenting; “The Disciple Making Parent,” by Chap Bettis ; “Parenting Against The Tide,” by Ann Benton