Parents.

We have seen that God's order is loving husbands, submissive wives, and obedient children. This, plus 1 Cor 11:4, gives us God's complete pattern for the family:-

  • GOD the father, the 'Head' of Christ.
  • CHRIST, the 'Head' of the husband; Lord of the family.
  • HUSBAND, the 'Head' of the wife; chief authority over the children.
  • WIFE, the help meet for the husband; second authority over the children.
  • CHILDREN, obedient to their parents
  • The position of parents.
    • The list above makes this clear, and also explains why the Scriptures address 'Fathers' when they are outlining the position of parents. Eph 6:4, Col 3:21, Proverbs - often. Notice that the parents link the child and Christ. In this sense parents are 'mediator's. The influences of God are brought to bear on the children through the parents more than any other way.
  • To their children :-
    • They are to be prophets Deut 6:6-9. not only formally, but in the interchange of family-life they are to relate God's Word to every situation.
    • They are to be priests being patient with the children's ignorance and mistakes Heb 5:2. Col 3:21. bearing them up in prayer. Job 1:1-5. 1 Peter 3:7
    • They are to be kings ruling the children, aware of the authority GOD has given to them in the family circle. (see last week's references and talk).also Gen 18:19, 1 Tim 3:4-5,12. Titus 1:6.
  • The task of parents.
    • This also is clearly defined in God's Word.Proverbs 22:6, Children are to be 'hedged in' and 'narrowed down' into the way that they should go, WHILE THEY ARE STILL CHILDREN.
    • Ephesians 6:4, They are to be built up in a certain manner, until their potential is realised They are to be trained to go God's way by love, teaching and discipline. Luke 2:5l, Care is to be taken to train them spiritually, mentally, physically and socially. 
    • In short :- parents are to train their children NOW, to walk in God's ways in family-life, church life and life in society
  • The discipline of children
    • We must not approach this subject in isolation. All that we have learned so far in this series must be clearly in our minds. For discipline is something which takes place in the total family situation.
    • Discipline springs from the fact that parents are to rule their children - to be 'kings' to them. God's Word has a great deal to say on this subject.
  • What a child is.... Once we know what he is, we will know how he is to be brought up
    • A creature of God whom God has constituted to go through the stages of babyhood; infancy; childhood; adolescence to maturity. The characteristics he manifests as he matures (total dependence; pliability; restlessness; questioning etc.) are part of his divinely-ordained make-up
    • A sinner against God see Rom 5:12-18, Mk 7:18-23, Ps 51:5, Prov 22:15. He is a guilty sinner; he does not become one at some 'age of accountability'. His anger, pride, lying and rebellion are not just `a stage he is passing through'; but are manifestations of his sinful nature.
    • Once a parent recognises that his child is these TWO things:-
    • He will make allowances for what is natural to his child as a creature. This will keep him from over-harshness.
    • He will recognise the child's sins for the wicked things that they are. This will keep him from over-softness
  • What discipline is.
    • Discipline is a means of grace to put a child on the road to true blessedness. True blessedness is living within God's prescribed limits Gen 1 & 2. But a child by nature is against God.
    • Despite this rebellion he must be taught to bow to God-constituted authority: to do what he ought to do, not what he wants to do. Verbal reproof and corporal punishment are GOD'S appointed way of helping him in this direction. Prov 22:6, l5.
    • This is how God deals with us:-
      • It is his will that we should be partakers of His holiness, without which we will not see Him. Heb 12:10,14.
      • He loves us, and takes steps to bring about this holiness by disciplining us. Heb 12:5-10.
      • The means that He uses are verbal reproof and chastening/scourging. Heb 12:5.
      • So it is not a means of vengeance - but a means of grace. Not done out of hate - but done out of true and abiding love. See also Rev 3:19 and Eph 6:4 ( RV).
      • NOT to use these two appointed way of discipline is to sin against the God of the Scriptures; and against your children.
  • What the manner of the discipline is to be.
    • In God's Name. GOD expects us to discipline the self-will in our children. It is not something we may or may not choose to do. The consequences lie with Him. Our part is to obey HIM. This gains respect
    • Lovingly. Discipline is a sign of ownership, and conveys concern. The reverse is also true. Prov l3:24, 29:15. Heb 12:6-8.
    • Firmly.Enough to impress upon the child the wickedness of his offence. Ps 89:31-33. Prov l9:18. Heb 12:11. He must have a healthy fear of God-constituted authority.
    • Reasonably. Taking into account his creaturely development. Ps 103,9-14 Col 3:21. And the seriousness of the offence.
    • Consistently. If a child sins he must know that punishment is certain. Chastening is as extensive as love, and the child must be equally certain of it. Prov 13:24.
    • Prayerfully. No means is automatic. Parents must pray that the God-appointed means of discipline will have the God-intended effect. Prov 22:15, 23:13-14, 29,15.
    • Such discipline is to be the first response, not the last resort. It is God's gift for the welfare of all. Where discipline breaks down in the home, it breaks down in society at large; and the possibility of even a God-fearing society is put further away from us.
  • The spiritual nurture of children.
    • We have seen that the influences of God are brought to bear upon the children through the parents, more than any other way. Parents are. to be prophets (and priests ) to their children. But HOW is this to be done?
    • Important principles.
      • Children are sinners, with a natural aversion to God. ( see last week) Rom 5:12-18. Matt 18:10-14.
      • Children can savingly believe. Matt 18:6. Eph 1:1, 6:1-3. Col 1:1, 3:20
      • Faith is brought about by THE WORD. Rom 10:17.
      • Parents who want their children to believe, therefore, will bring them up and nurture them on THE WORD OF GOD.
      • To nurture a child properly is to teach him the WORD properly.
    • How is this to be done?
      • The atmosphere of the home. It must be a home built on the Biblical pattern outlined in this series. It is to be a home where God's Word is taught at every turn, and related to every situation. Deut 6:6-9, 11:18-21.
      • Every facet of life is to be viewed in the light of the teaching of God's Word. For example:-
      • at the meal table, Grace, Conversation (whatever the topic)
      • decisions about family-life - routine; dress; diet; clothes; holidays etc..
      • when sin has to. be disciplined.
      • trouble - in the family, church, neighbourhood, world.
      • children's difficulties or fears.
      • personal decisions, guidance.
      • leisure, books, programmes, money, friends. etc. etc.
      • ALL to be seen in the light which the Scripture sheds coupled with direct, specific, believing and thankful prayer. This means
      • the family must spend TIME together -often.!
      • no living-out arrangements. ( boarding school, sleeping at neighbour's homes etc.)
      • openness must be regarded as an essential family feature.
  • Formal teaching.
    • Family-worship. This was practised by God's people before Tabernacle, Temple or synagogue arose, and was continued in New Testament days, and through the best days in Church History. Gen 18,19. Deut 4:9-10. We believe it should be daily; worshipful; teaching one main lesson; involving all; and not unduly lengthy.
    • Catechising. This is the teaching of Scripture in a way to be remembered ( with an emphasis on systematic, thoroughly-taught doctrine) Prov 22:6. The early church had formal catechisms. 2 Tim 1:5,13, 3:14-17, Heb. 5:1.,See the history of Revivals!
    • Public worship. Children were present to hear the Word in Old Testament times. Exodus 10:9, Joshua 8:35, Ezra 10:1. Children were present to hear the Word in the New Testament churches. Eph 6:l. Col 3:20. The children of believers and believing children should be present when the Word is preached to the Church today! Preaching is the giving of God's Word to the whole church, not just part of it.
    • It is not Scriptural to deny God-given ordinances to some people just because we consider them 'too young'. ( To listen to preaching is the height of worship. On what grounds do we deny THAT to our youngsters??)
    • Scripture thinks in terms of families being present when the Word is preached. Our talk about other arrangements being 'more suitable' are modernistic. ( We decided it without Biblical warrant). Tthe best training for listening to preaching is - listening to preaching !
    • Preaching is a God-given ordinance to bring about godliness -even in children ! We have evangelistic responsibilities to other children, which make special meetings desirable for them. Our own children should be encouraged to go to these. But NOT at the expense of attending the public worship of God's Church locally

For their own eternal welfare; For the sake of the future; We must spiritually nurture our children

 

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