Summary: A sermon on raising children from Ephesians 6:4. Preached on Father’s Day (Outline and material taken from my files. It is not original with me but I don’t know who to give the credit to.)
Sermon for 6/21/2009 Father’s Day
A. Talked the past several weeks about marriage. “Familiarity breeds children.”
B. Bill Cosby remarked that being a parent is the “most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.”
A. Today is Father’s Day.
B. The first 3 verses this morning talk about the children’s responsibility to the parents in the family.
C. One of the 10 commandments is to honor your father and your mother.
D. If we honor our father and our mother we have two promises:
1. Go well with us.
2. May live long on the earth.
E. For some children this is difficult to do. To honor means to value as precious.
F. We need to be parents that our children are proud of. But even in the best of families parenting is a challenge. Children always blame the parents.
G. Let’s talk some about parenting this morning. “Before I got married, I had 6 theories on raising kids. Now I have 6 kids and no theories.” The stakes are high in parenting, and the answers aren’t always easy. James Dobson wrote a book called Parenting Isn’t for Cowards, and he is right.
H. One of the challenges that we have in parenting is that we tend to parent our children the way that we were parented. Can be good and bad depends on how we view our parents. How can I learn how to be a better parent?
I. Vs. 4 mentions fathers. Before we put too much pressure upon the fathers, this word can also be translated parents. We must understand how families operated in the NT world. The man had unlimited rights. The father had the right to determine whether the child should live or not at birth. Fathers could and did sell their children into slavery. They could punish them as harshly as they wanted; they could even put their children to death for disrespecting them.
J. The amazing thing about being a parent is that we get the opportunity to treat our children the same way that God treats his children. In other words, any parenting that we do as Christians is an imitation of God. As parents our role model is God.
K. Now really our kids aren’t really even our kids. Our children in a sense aren’t our children. They’re God’s children. We get to be their father and mother for a time, but we need to remember that their real Father is God.
Thesis: How can we treat our children the same way that God treats us?
1. Grace them.
A. Vs. 4- Fathers, do not exasperate your children.
B. (Col 3:21) Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
C. This is for those parents who push their children pretty hard. It is possible to blame them more than praise them; to set standards too high; to push them in an unreasonable way academically or athletically or musically.
D. Had camp this past week. Frustrated because of memory work.
F. One of the best gifts we can give our kids is to extend the same grace to them that God extends to us. Paul told the parents to think about what would encourage the kids; what would grace them.
G. The best example of this is the father of the prodigal son. He had every right to treat his son harshly, and to reject him. But he didn’t treat his son as he deserved. The father of the prodigal son is a picture of God, and the way that he treats us. (Psa 103:10 NIV) he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
H. Some of us may be too harsh with our children- we make rules without explaining them, we are sometimes unreasonable or inconsistent with boundaries, or ignore our children’s wishes without explanation.
I. Do the opposite and grace them, treat them the same way that God treats us. He extends grace, encouragement, and forgiveness.
J. Dead Poet’s Society- Neil Perry- Student who wants to be an actor although his very strict father insists that he become a doctor. Neil takes on an acting role in a play against his father’s wishes. His father finds out about it and is going to put him in a military boarding school. That night Neil goes into his father’s study, takes out a gun and shoots himself in the head. The father comes in and finds his son dead. We see only a glimpse of that father’s agony. Give them grace.
2. Nourish them.
A. Vs. 4- Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
B. This word bring them up literally means to nourish them. We talked about this last week with the husband’s role to his wife. He is to nourish her physically yes, but in every other way as well.