Summary: Godly parenting doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. Part 3 in the series


Part 3-Famous Last Words

Ephesians 6:1-4

Sunday, June 3 & 10, 2007

Pastor Brian Matherlee

*This message was delivered over 2 consecutive Sundays.


• A little girl chattered away about her Sunday school lesson on Adam and Eve. Her father thought he’d test her. “Did you know Adam and Eve sinned?” “Yep.” “What did God do to them as a punishment?” Her answer was immediate and matter-of-fact, without even looking up she said: “He made them have kids.”

• A few years ago, Bill Cosby began his book, "Fatherhood," with these words: "So you’ve decided to have a child. You’ve decided to give up quiet evenings with good books & lazy weekends with good music, intimate meals during which you finish whole sentences, sweet private times when you’ve savored the thought that just the two of you & your love are all you will ever need.

"You’ve decided to turn your sofas into trampolines, & to abandon the joys of leisurely contemplating reproductions of great art for the joys of frantically coping with reproductions of yourselves. Why?"

He goes on, "Poets have said the reason to have children is to give yourself immortality; & I must admit I did ask God to give me a son because I wanted someone to carry on the family name. Well, God did just that & I now confess that there have been times I’ve told my son not to reveal who he is. `You make up a name,’ I’ve said. `Just don’t tell anybody whose son you are.’"

Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—6:3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Key concept: Godly parenting doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark.

1. A caution

a. Don’t exasperate children

i. Pressing them to perform where they are not interested.

ii. Being unreasonable in our expectations.

iii. Trying to make up for our past by living out our dreams through them.

b. The society he was speaking to was male dominant. A father was the absolute authority. Paul says in verse 6:1 that children should obey. It is the only family relationship where Paul uses this word. But in this teaching was the revolutionary idea that parents in general and fathers especially should take into account the child’s viewpoint and not be harsh but loving in their parenting.

2. A command

a. Bring them up is a Greek phrase full of meaning.

i. Bodily nourishment and education

b. Training and instruction

i. Had to do with discipline and then knowledge of righteousness.

ii. Years ago I came across a model of parenting that has really stuck with me. It was very simply a picture of a funnel. When kids are young parents must be more directing in their parenting. They must establish consistent discipline, clear boundaries and loving, positive reinforcement. As a child ages the funnel widens with responsibilities and choices that are appropriate for each age and child. By the time they reach the teen years a model of responsibility and decision making has been established that won’t be perfect but will more often than not breed success when the kid wants to break away (and they all do) they can do so in godly fashion. The problem is most parents start at the wrong end of the funnel. They set no boundaries and establish no consistent discipline. They allow the child to grow with no responsibility that is age appropriate and then marvel during the teen years that destructive patterns and discord in the home is rampant.

iii. We must understand the importance of acting like a parent.

Kevin Huggins writes in his book, “Parenting Adolescents” that King Solomon identifies four aspects of human personality in the book of Proverbs. (pg.28) We’ll use these 4 aspects in looking at how we are to train and instruct our children in the Lord.

1. Think

• In Revolutionary Parenting, George Barna notes that there are three dominant approaches to parenting currently operative in the United States.

Parenting by default is what Barna termed "the path of least resistance." In this approach, parents do whatever comes naturally to the parent, as influenced by cultural norms and traditions. The objective is to keep everyone - parent, child, and others - as happy as possible, without having the process of parenting dominate other important or prioritized aspects of the parent’s life.

Trial-and-error parenting is a common alternative. This approach is based on the notion that every parent is an amateur at raising children, there are no absolute guidelines to follow, and that the best that parents can do is to experiment, observe outcomes, and improve based upon their successes and failures in child rearing. In this incremental approach, the goals of parenting are to continually improve and to perform better than most other parents.

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