Ephesians 6:1–4 (ESV)
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Pastor Chris follows last week’s message on God’s design for the relationship between husband and wife, from Ephesians 5, with this week’s message from chapter 6 on the relationship between parents and children.
God uses Paul’s letter to affirm that, just as the children of God relate to the Heavenly Father, children in the home come under the covering of their parents. Like an umbrella, both protection and blessing come by being under its cover. Importantly, this covering is not simply because of the title mother or father, rather it is only effective when demonstrated by being a godly parent. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center, shares that a new study reveals that in parents raising their kids in a bible-believing family and church environment increases the likelihood of those children remaining in the faith into adulthood. How we parent is influencing the next generation of church leaders!
Chris shared some alarming statistics about teens who are not the product of a two-parent home and specifically the impact of an absent father. Fathers have the biggest impact on a child’s well-being and future than any other person. Studies show that children who grow up without fathers:
· Are at 4X greater risk of experiencing poverty
· Females in fatherless homes are 7X more likely to become pregnant as teens
· They are 279% more likely to deal or use drugs
· 90% of homeless and runaway youth are from fatherless homes
· 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes — 9X the average
· They are twice as likely to struggle with obesity
God’s design for a father is one who shows patience and longsuffering, sacrifice and edifying words. Distraction is the modern-day way to provoke children. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…” (v. 6:4) Provoke” in the Greek is parorgizō (παροργιζω), “to rouse to wrath, to provoke, exasperate, anger.” Remember, dads, that LOVE is spelled TIME!
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14 (ESV)
3 Thoughts on God’s Design for Children
1. God Works Through Authority – “Children, obey your parents…” (v. 1)
2. Parents are in Authority – “…honor your father and your mother…” (v. 2)
3. Parents Nourish to Maturity – “4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger (v. 4)
Parents, speak into the lives of your children in ways that build them up, not tear them down. Speak to daughters differently than sons.
Recommended Reading – For Parents Only – Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid, by Shaunti Feldhahn.
“I most fear…”
· Feeling Inadequate
· Being watched and found wanting
· Feeling powerless
· Appearing weak
· Not being respected
· Not being the best at something
· No one noticing when I achieve something
“I most need to feel…”
· That people are watching and commenting on my success
· That I’m looked up to
Keys: Respect him, regardless. Value dad’s unique role. Use language of honor. Recognize both effort and success. Give your son opportunities to rise to the occasion.
“I most fear/am most insecure about…”
· What people think of me
· How I look
· Being talked about behind my back
· Not being included
· Having people think something negative about me that isn’t true
· Not being known, accepted, or liked
· Not being unique or valuable
· Being invisible
“I most need to feel…”
· Known and liked for who I really am
· Lovely/beautiful inside and out
· That others enjoy being around me/are drawn to me
Keys: Tell her how special she is; don’t assume that she knows it. Value dad’s unique role. When she’s hurting, reassure her…without crowding. Be aware of the serious manifestations of insecurity…and show you care. When she’s most unlovable, address the disrespect but stay connected.
1. Before we dive-in, what was one of your funniest/wildest parenting moments?
2. What does obedience look like in the home?
How is it the same or different than our obedience to God?
3. Why do you suppose the Apostle Paul singled out fathers in v. 4, “…do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them…?”
4. Parent-child relationships are fraught with disappointment and hurt that can carry over into our parenting. What does it take to live out the design of being a godly parent when your parent(s) did not?
1. In your parenting do you feel alone? How does the Holy Spirit’s presence help make you a godly parent?
2. Forgiveness is essential, how will you seek it, or grant it, in the pain you are living as a parent?
3. Commit to some practical ways you can speak into your son and/or daughter’s life in a way that meets their need. Consider using material that Pastor Chris shared from the book, – For Parents Only – Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid, by Shaunti Feldhahn