The family is a wonderful gift from God to this earth! But something tragically is happening to the family today! It’s falling apart because we are not listening to God and His instruction for the family. Just as men and women are not listening to what their roles are when it comes to the marriage and even as parenting. The foundations of our homes are falling apart due to the poverty in our hearts! Let me illustrate what that would look like! "While doing relief work in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there on January 12, 2010, one gentleman observed firsthand the tragedy of building a house with a lot of sand and not enough steel: There was a problem in Haiti. Houses were built with too much sand and not enough steel. Sand is cheap, so because of poverty, when many Haitians built their cement-block homes, they used more sand than they should have in their mortar mix. And because steel is expensive, they didn't use enough steel in the columns and ring beams. So when the ground quaked, homes crumbled; there was too much sand and not enough steel. It was a tragedy of poverty. In our own poverty of spirit, we try to build lives this way: We build reputations on too much pride and not enough humility … and they crumble. We build marriages with too much anger and not enough love … and they crumble. We build families on too much busyness and not enough time … and they crumble." Sadly, the family will continue to crumble if we don’t build our homes on the biblical principles found in Scripture. Last week we looked at the responsibility of the wife and husband and the important role each one plays in the marriage! Today, Paul continues by addressing the children and then the parents! Children, God is talking directly to you right now so I want your full abd undivided attention!
God is saying something that has been in place for centuries...it even goes all the way back to the time when Moses was alone with God on the mountain. This command is so important it was mentioned before murder, adultery, stealing, lying and covetousness! See, it’s the parent’s responsibility to teach their children about God’s commands and to display those proper characters to their children. Why? So that when they're old enough to have their own family they continue in the biblical foundation that has been handed down to them. But, the only way this is possible is for you [children] to listen to God’s plan for your life! And God’s plan for your life is found in (v20)
“children obey your parents in all things” Let’s stop there for a moment! Again this passage is parallel with Paul’s writings to the church at Ephesus! “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), "that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." Eph 6:1-3.......“Children” in this verse is a general term which is not limited to a specific age group! This passage is referring to any child that is still living at home and under parental guidance. “Obey” in this verse could be better translated “be obedient” which gives an understanding of a continuous action. It’s a readiness to “hear and carry out the order”....which is a habitual part of your life. This literally means “to hear under” that is, to listen with attentiveness and to respond with positively to what is heard. Children, you're to put yourself under the words and authority of your parents. This is something that you are to do all the time...... seven days a week! What this means is that children [you] are to listen to the instruction of their [your] parents. As Solomon wrote “Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching,” Prov 1:8. You have a responsibility to listen to your mom and dad....the reason for this is that they’re doing this for your understanding and future development. They’re doing it to help you draw closer to God and His beloved Son Jesus Christ! “Obey your parents in all things” ............not some of the time but at all times. Now again, this same principle applies as it did with the wives! As long as it was not opposing to God’s word. Jesus knew that some children would have to defy their parents to come to faith in Him......[look at many of the stories written by converted Muslim children]. Jesus said.....“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:51-53. He even said ....."If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27
God’s plan for the family is very important to Him! Why do I say that? Because “for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” This is praiseworthy before God....He is always pleased when you are obeying your parents! God is not pleased when you disobey your parents! God takes this very seriously......it says in Prov 30:17 “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.” In the New Testament it mentions the same thing in Matthew 15. It’s imperative that you listen and obey there instruction “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Col 1:10. Why? He takes delight in your obedience. Remember obedience to your parents is a reflection of your obedience to God. If you chose to disobey your parents.....what you’re doing is sinning against the fifth commandment found in the bible. John MacArthur said “children struggle with knowing God’s will for their lives. Obeying their parents is the best place to start.”
As J.H Sammis wrote.....
When we walk with the Lord
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still.
And with all who will trust and obey.
The greatest lesson you can learn children is to obey your parents for this is pleasing to the Lord. After Paul is finished addressing the children, he turns his attention to the fathers! I know the text says “fathers” but this doesn’t diminish or remove the mothers role or influence in the home! It could be better translated “parents” Reason being.....the Greek word for father “pateron” here in this text.....is the same the Greek word used in Heb 11:23 to describe the parents of Moses. So moms and dads there are a special word of caution for you and me! And that is “exasperate” “fathers [parents] do not exasperate your children,...” (v21)
“Exasperate” means to stir up, provoke, irritate, or to exasperate or to be embittered towards them. Basically Paul is telling parents “stop nagging” The late great preacher John Knox’s said this “you parents, must not rouse your children to resentment.”
JOHN MACARTHUR GIVES 10 WAYS PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN.
1. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY OVERPROTECTION..... They have strict rules about everything....no matter what they do; overprotective parents do not trust their children. Parents are to provide rules and guidelines for their children, but those rules should not become a noose that strangles them to death. Communication of trust plays an important part in the developmental stages of a child.
2. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY SHOWING FAVOURITISM...... Comparing siblings with other siblings....making a child feel like the black sheep of the family, parents can create a terrible sense of frustration.
3. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY DEPRECIATING THEIR WORTH..... Many children have been convinced that what they do and feel are not important. Basically this kind of communication tells them that they are not significant......“what’s wrong with you are you stupid?”
4. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY SETTING UNREALISTIC GOALS...... Parents can do that by never rewarding them, or never letting them feel they have succeeded. Such parents are often trying to make their children into something they themselves were not.
5. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY FAILING TO SHOW AFFECTION...... Parents need to communicate love to their children both verbally and physically. John Newton, hymn writer and preacher said “I know that my father loved me...but he did not seem to wish me to see it.”
6. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY NOT PROVIDING FOR THEIR NEEDS..... Children need things like privacy, a place to play, clean cloths, a place to study, a safe environment and so on. By providing those necessities, parents show their respect and concern for their children.
7. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY LACK OF STANDARDS...... This is the flip-side to overprotection. When parents fail to discipline or discipline inconsistently, children are left on their own. They cannot handle that kind of freedom and begin to feel insecure and unloved.
8. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY CRITICISM.....Haim Ginott said “a child learns what he lives. If he lives with criticism he does not learn responsibility. He learns to condemn himself and to find fault with others. He learns to doubt his own judgment, to disparage his own ability, and to distrust the intentions others....” We as parents are to create in the home a positive, constructive environment.
9. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY NEGLECT.... The classic biblical example is Absalom. David was indifferent to him, and the result was rebellion, civil war and Absalom’s death. We as parents need to be involved in our children’s lives.....[no excuses they need you in their lives]
10. PARENTS EXASPERATE THEIR CHILDREN BY EXCESSIVE DISCIPLINE......This is the parent who abuses his child, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. Parents often say things to their children that they would never say to anyone else. They’re not your basement punching bag when you have had a frustrating day at work, in your relationship with your spouse or friend. We are never to discipline our children in anger. Rather parents should loving correct their children, just as their heavenly Father does them.
Why are we not to exasperate our children? Because Paul says they will become “discouraged”
“Discourage” means to lose heart, to be without courage, or spirit.........The result of exasperating our children has devastating results. We as parents can be too demanding and have unrealistic expectations for their ages! We want them to be something that their not! Christians. Parents should create an atmosphere which makes obedience an easy and natural matter...namely the atmosphere of love and confidence. Parents are to train and properly discipline their children in the instruction of the Lord. Don’t ever expect a child to live for Christ and to make selfless decisions when you lifestyle is no different than the unsaved people around you! You are to be their example and guide...not their nemesis and resentment in the home. The home is to be a safe environment....not a hostile one! Our children need to be able to find comfort in trust in their parents above everyone else that comes into contact with them......Whether it is: at school, their friends, an employers and so on. Parents we have one job to do and that is “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph 6:4
As Dorothy Law said in her book “Children Learn What They Live”
If a child lives with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive,
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves,
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
But do not despair ...
If a child lives with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If a child lives with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, they live with justice.
If a child lives with security, they live to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, they learn to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship they learn to find love in the world.
It’s time for the family to reclaim the home back and start listening to God. Wives submitting loving to your husbands......Husbands love your wives and treat them with love and care.....Children love your parents by obeying them for “this is the first commandment with a promise” Fathers [parents] love your children with unfailing love that desires them to see Jesus! The family is a wonderful thing but we all have a role to play! So start playing your role giving thanks to Him for His great love for the family.