Summary: God has given us some incredibly insightful guidance for blessing our children.
"Teach Your Children Well"
We hear so much about parents and their children today on the television and in newspaper articles. The tragedy is that most of the news we hear is not encouraging at all. This is not a new phenomenon either. For years now we’ve heard the sordid tales of moms and dads who failed to understand the high calling of being a parent. It seems that day-after-day we hear new stories about a young child being abused by a parent, a little girl turning her mother in to the police for abuse or drug use, and little children left home, alone, to practically raise themselves.
This morning I want to leave the bad news, sordid tales, and predictions of "hold-on-because-the-worst-is-yet-to-come" to the purveyors of hopelessness. I’ve come today to proclaim the hope of Heaven. Our families do not merely have to cling to a vacuous hope or vacillating philosophies of "how-to’s" on raising children, being a mother or father, discipline, nurturing our kids, etc. We can seek godly counsel from the Word of God - tried, tested, and true. God’s Word continuously holds up before us the plumb line so as to give us a rule of thumb, a measuring rod, by which we can gauge how we are measuring up to God’s calling upon our life to be Christ-like parents. Without God’s Word we are like a sailor navigating the open seas on a cloud-covered night with no compass, no lighthouse, no North Star, no map, no direction, and therefore no hope of landing in the harbor.
Many parents are confused today and rightly so. As I mentioned earlier, there are as many varieties of child-raising techniques as there are diapers. We’ve got everything from the Dr. Spock 60’s "hands-off-permissive" parenting techniques to the heavy-handed, put-on-your-fatigues-commando parenting approach. Dr. Tony Campolo has written about the confusion many parents feel today in his wonderful book, Growing Up In America. Tony writes,
Today’s parents are bewildered and not quite sure how to do the job. Confused about their role, they look to the experts, hoping for some clear definitions. No such luck. The ’experts’ are as confused as the parents. Social scientists offer a conflicting variety of options for parents to follow. Opinions about even the most basic aspects of parenting change dramatically from one year to the next.
There are some parents who are confused, but really wanting to raise their children well. We hear that discipline is out and being your child’s friend is in. We hear that we should do "this" or "that." We are told that kids are more mature today than they were a generation ago and therefore they are able to make their own decisions at an earlier age.
There are other parents who do not have a clue what it means to be a parent because they never saw an example of a godly mom or dad while they were growing up. Still there are other parents who are ensnared, entrapped, and enslaved by drugs, alcohol, anger, making a buck, or something else that has gnarled their heart for their kids.
Any teacher knows that you cannot teach a child unless you show up for class. A teacher has to be present for the children. A teacher has to be prepared to give the lessons which are important for the students to learn, by first knowing the lesson him or herself. A teacher also has to have credibility in the eyes of the students or they will never listen to the valuable instruction. A teacher has to have order and discipline in the classroom or the lesson will not be able to be heard over the roar of chaos. Last of all, a teacher must have a deep, genuine love for the students or everything else is irrelevant.
I hope we can learn this morning that we, as parents, are teachers. The qualities that we would all agree upon that make a good classroom teacher, also make a good parent. Let’s take a look at our instructions from God’s Word. Take a look at Ephesians 6:1-4 with me.
1Children, obey your parents as the Lord wants, because this is the right thing to do. 2The command says, "Honor your father and mother." This is the first command that has a promise with it-3"Then everything will be well with you, and you will have a long life on the earth." 4Fathers, do not make your children angry, but raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4 NIV)
This week, in honor of all of the mothers who are with us this morning, we are going to focus on the very last verse of the Scripture Paul has written to the Ephesians. By studying this one verse we will learn how we can lay the foundation for our children and give them an idea of the kind of parents they are being called to obey.