Summary: Parenting can try the best of us. Yet God's Word is full of wisdom which, when used, brings up Christian children.

Family Strong: Children

Ephesians 6:1-4

Children are a blessing, usually….

A group of expectant fathers were in a waiting room, while their wives were in the process of delivering babies. A nurse came in and announced to one man that his wife had just given birth to twins. "That's quite a coincidence" he responded, "I play for the Minnesota Twins!" A few minutes later another nurse came in and announced to another man that he was the father of triplets. "That's amazing," he exclaimed, "I work for the 3M company." At that point, a third man slipped off his chair and laid down on the floor. Somebody asked him if he was feeling ill. "No," he responded, "I happen to work for the 7-up company."

Eph 6:1-4 “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." Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

This passage is very important for the strong family. Let me go back and look at some comparisons and principles from the Old Testament. When people of the Old Testament read or heard the Bible, the New Testament was not a part of it.

When you look at the Old Testament, you see the raw law of restricted behavior. It takes no doctorate degree in philosophy for us to observe that something is desperately wrong with humanity. The Bible tells us that even a child has a sin nature.

Society tells us that children are basically born a blank slate and society is what writes evil in people’s hearts. However, consider the teabag. A tea bag is placed into hot water, like a child is placed into society. The hot water unleashes the taste into the water. The water does not create the taste, but allows it to be experienced. In the same way, society is the hot water that shows the sin which resides in people’s hearts.

The Old Testament approach to address the sin nature was to control the actions or behaviors. Thus, the “Thou shall nots.” Those days of restrictions were important days in establishing the righteousness and nature of God.

But some of the teachings seem hard, unrelenting, and void of grace. We have passages like:

Exod. 21:15; "Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Exod. 21:17; "Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Lev. 20:9; For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him.

Deut. 21:18-21; "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Deut. 27:16; “Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'”

Concerning discipline, we have these…

Prov. 13:24; “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

Prov. 19:18; “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

Prov. 22:15; “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

Prov. 23:13-14; “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.”

Prov. 29:15, 17; “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother... Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”

The picture we get in the Old Testament is that the sin nature is born into a child. But the Jewish children were to know these scriptures, and knowing them, they were to fear them. Fearing them, they would live their lives with cautiousness, but with a reality that they would probably blow it somewhere. They were taught in their prayers to seek God’s help in being obedient, and that seeking was an act of faith, which in turn, gave them grace.

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