First off, I want to give a shout out to all the young people who are in this portion of the service. I am really glad you guys are able to be here of this part of the service. The reason you are here is because I want you to know that what we learn up here in the sermons each week are not just for old people, it is for all people. I want you to know that God has spoken to you in His word, and that is a big deal. I also want you to hear what he has to say to your parents as well.
We are going to be looking at the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 1-4.
now, there are a couple things in the text that are very clear interactions for you to follow, but before we get into that, I want to point out something that is not as clear when you read it in our day and age.
That is this: in the time that this letter was written, most of the people like Paul the apostle who is writing this scripture would have only addressed free male members of society in a letter like this. To the “smart” people of this time, women, slaves, and children were seen as inferior, and not capable of understanding things like this. So, the first thing you need to see in these verses of the Bible is that God not only speaks to you, but he places a high value on you as a person. This may not seem like a big deal, but you need to understand that the God of the universe, the one who spoke this world into existence is addressing, through this book, YOU! He is speaking to you! That may not seem like much, but that is a big deal. That means among other things, that you are important, not only to God, but also to this church! Think about that for a minute. You may think that church is all about the parents, but this verse in the Bible says that you are an important part of God’s church! Not only does he talk to you, but he also talks to your parents, and gives them a very stern warning about how to take care of you.
So what does he say to you. Well, this part is pretty simple:
Obey your parents. Now before We go further, let me point out that that is a hard thing to do, isn’t it? Do you find it difficult to obey your parents sometimes? What If I told you That it is harder, that you are supposed to obey your parents “in the Lord” which means that you are to show them the same type of obedience that you show God. Not because they are God, but because God has placed them in your life to be your guardians, protectors, and stewards. So, in short, God has placed you in their care and given them authority over you, and their authority comes from God, so in a way, if you are disobedient to them, you are disobeying God.
So who thinks that is not fair? Well, let me tell you, it really isn’t fair that God would give you such loving parents. it isn’t fair that he would care for you so much. You really don’t deserve love like that.
Let me tell you something else about this command of God. Do you know where verse two comes from? The Ten Commandments. He even mentions it, and he tells us something about that command. it is the first command with a promise. Did you know that God gave a promise with this command. He said that if you do what He is asking you to do here that things will go well for you, and that you may live long in the land. So, if you think about it, God is telling us a little something about why he gives us parents. Do you know why God gave you parents? Well, He says here that He wants us to live long. Did you know that most of your parent’s job is to keep you alive? Think about that for a minute. If your parents let you do many of the things you have wanted to do in your life, you would not be here right now. Let me ask you a question. Do loving parents let their children do whatever they want to do? DO sometimes you wish you could do what you want to do? Do sometimes you don’t understand why your parents don’t want you to do things you want to do?
Well, let me tell you a story about a little boy, his name was Bryan. Well, Bryan was about two years old, and he loved to play in big open spaces. He loved to run around, and loved the freedom of a big open space. Well, one day he saw a perfect place to go and play, and he wanted to go and run around in it. He wanted so badly to go and run, but his Dad said, “NO!” Bryan Didn’t understand, he knew his Dad loved him and loved to run around with him, but he did not understand why his daddy would not let him go and play in that open space. It looked perfect. Well, he waited until his daddy was not looking, and he started heading for that big open play area. he started out at a fast walk, and then he picked up a little speed, and before you know it he was at a full run. All he could see was that beautiful flat open space where he could run and be free, and play to his hearts delight. What he did not see was the tractor trailer truck that was coming towards him at a speed too fast to stop. He was running towards that road as fast as he could, and it didn’t seem like any mean old parent could stop him now. He was just about there when a hand grabbed his coat collar, and snatched him up, just as the semi truck laid on its horn as it barely missed his little body. he was almost crushed, almost killed. he would have been a goner. Suddenly, he realized, his daddy wasn’t so mean after all, he was a loving Daddy who saw the danger even when Bryan did not. He didn’t have the vocabulary to tell his dad all that was in his heart, but he realized that his daddy’s arms were the place he wanted to be more than anywhere in that moment.
Let me tell you, young people, and you older folks as well, there are dangers all around us, and God gives us parents and His word to help us to stay alive, both physically, and spiritually. And there will be times when either your Physical parent, or your heavenly father will grab you by to collar of your coat, and pull you away from the road where you want to play. You may not understand why, but it is usually for a reason that you do not see at the time. So, kids, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is Right. If you do, it will go well for you.
Now, for the parents. Now kids you need to hear this too, because this is important for you to understand. The next verse has instructions for parents. Now, understand that he does not say you dont have to obey if your parents dont follow these instructions, you are to do your part, and they are to do their part. Period. So, what is the parents part.
Well, first off he says Fathers. That is a reiteration of the above section and teaching of scripture that the Father is the one who is ultimately responsible for his household, and he is to lovingly, and sacrificially lead his family. You fathers, did you know that you are the pastor of your home? It is true.
It says, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
So, the call for fathers, and mothers as well is first off, to not provoke you to anger. Now, I will say, just because you are angry at your parents, it does not mean they have provoked it. many times you will be angry at your parents because you are rebellious, and sinful. Nevertheless, it implies here that to provoke you into anger is sinful.
So, what provokes children to anger? well, I can come up with a list, but It is helpful to look at the contrasting scripture, it says “but” bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” So, the first thing that can provoke your child to anger is not teaching them discipline, and not instructing them in the Lord.
You know the best way you can neglect to do that? Neglect to do anything with them.
Robbing your children of time is a sure way to provoke them to anger. This is very convicting for me. At the conference I attended a session entitled, “pastoring your Wife and kids” in this session, I was reminded that our children know wen they are less important than the church. I was also reminded yet again that my first church is my family. They are the first, and most important church members. They were in my church before any of you were, and if you look at the qualifications for elders in scripture, they start with their families.
There are several other ways to provoke children to anger. Some of them include, but are not limited to:
Neglecting their spiritual lives
being harsh with them
placing too much pressure on them
placing them at the center of the home
finding your identity in them
living vicariously through them
trying to live their lives for them
there are many ways to provoke your children to anger.
So, I want to give us some classwork today.
Break up into family groups if your parents are here. I want you to take a few minutes and ask each other these questions.
Kids: I want you to ask your parents how you are doing at obeying them.
Parents: I want you to ask your kids if there are ways that you have provoked them to anger.
If you are here without a parent, or a child, take some time and pray for those who are discussing.
All of us, Before we break up let me remind us all of this truth. We have all failed at this, there is no one here who has done this perfectly, except Jesus, and he died so that we could be forgiven of our sins of disobedience, and provocation. So, as you confess to one another, make sure you are asking forgiveness, and extending forgiveness to each other.