Summary: The word many of us have for you is that your children will be grown before you realize it. Because of these reasons, it is so very important that we heed the wisdom found in Scripture concerning raising our children.
Ephesians: Our Identity In Christ~Part 24
Wisdom for Children and Parents
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise),
3. SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
4. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(Ephesians 6:1-4 NASB)
Time passes so quickly. Our children grow up right under our noses, and before we know it, they are on their own. Mine are almost there. Many of you have children who have children of their own. Others of you are just beginning a family. The word many of us have for you is that your children will be grown before you realize it.
Because of these reasons, it is so very important that we heed the wisdom found in Scripture concerning raising our children. Our text today addresses this issue. We will look at the advice found in our text, but there is much more that the Scripture says than we will be able to cover in this one message. The book of Proverbs is full of sound advice for both parents and children. We need to be familiar with what God says in an age where values are so muddled, and a “normal” family almost doesn't exist. The wisdom we need is not the wisdom of the so-called experts that has led to a culture that doesn't even know how to define family anymore. The wisdom we need is the wisdom from a God who designed the family in the first place. It is interesting that God presents himself as a father, and treats us, his children, as a father much in the same way we are instructed to raise children here in these passages.
Wisdom for Children
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. (6:1-3)
Most of us have children. That’s the easy part. The problem is, we don't always know what to do with them after we get them. When you buy a computer, at least you get a manual. My children didn't come with a manual, did yours? We all get lots of advice from time to time. Some of it is good, and some is worthless. How do we know what advice to take? Well, as in all advice, we should always check it out to see whether it lines up with Scripture, because that’s the manual. Our text gives us two words of wisdom. The first word is to the children, and the second is to the parents.
God's word of wisdom to children is simple: Children, obey your parents in the Lord. It is a simple and straightforward word. How it is something that is needed! I know this might be a shock to you, but children don't always obey their parents! I heard of a mother who was asked by her three children what she would like for her birthday. She answered, “Three well-behaved children.” One of the children thought about her words for a moment and said, “Great! Then there will be six of us.”
It should be no surprise to those of us who know the Lord that our children come into the world with a natural tendency to sin. All of us do. We do not have to learn how to disobey, we must learn how to obey. Obedience is a learned behavior. It is essential that this behavior be both taught by parents and learned by children if God's order for the home is to be established. If that order is not established, then there will be constant strife. That is why both parents and children must heed this word.
Sometimes our children's disobedience is kind of funny. I heard of a confrontation between a young boy and his mother that went this way. Mother: “Young man, there were two cookies in the pantry this morning! May I ask how it happened that there is only one now?” Boy: “It must have been so dark I didn't see the other one.” While we laugh at that sort of thing, generally disobedience is not a laughing matter. The fact is that disobedience can lead to some serious consequences. The Greek word which is translated “obey” comes from two words, under and to listen. A rigidly literal translation could be to listen under. What is in view here is a conscious and deliberate listening, listening so as to really hear. All too often our children practice what might be called “selective listening.” In truth, they really hear everything, they simply choose to ignore what they don't want to hear. I have proved this by an experiment. You might want to try it. When your child is in another room, speak in a normal voice and ask the child to clean up his or her room. Generally, you will get no answer. The child wants you to think the request was not heard. Then speak in a very soft voice and ask the child what kind of ice cream he or she would like. I have found you will get not only an immediate reply, but their presence as well! Selective listening.