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Children in Admonition of the Lord

aymon de albatrus
slave of Christ

“And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” (1Co 15:33)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro 22:6)


At the 2002 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life reported that an alarming 88 percent of children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18, never to return.  So much for the Arminian views for if the children were truly born again they would not depart from God but would seek Him in earnest.

And no doubt all the other Christian denominations will report similar statistics. This dismal state of the modern church is not totally the parents’ fault (although they have their share) but fundamentally this is due to Evolution concept that has produced anti-God teachers and ungodly curriculums which greatly influence the young minds (and pastors). Moreover the children are further brainwashed by the ungodly programs in TV which take a large portion of the children’s time, indeed children spend much more time watching TV than being in the company of their parents for they are engrossed in their secular careers rather than being proper parents. So what kind of teaching our kids get?: over 8 hours ungodly anti-God school, more than 8 hours ungodly violent TV, maybe a few minutes with parents who have nothing to teach and then to bed; no wonder we have feral kids. Moreover, the modern thinking is that to be a Christian is to be a failure in need of a crutch (God) to go on in life: that is, it is cool to be the captain of your own soul and have no restraints or responsibilities in your life, and of course the kids are strongly influenced to want that kind of life.

It is the responsibility of the Christian parents to provide a godly home that fears God and teaches and practices continually to have a profound respect of God. Sadly, modern parents are deeply involved in their careers neglecting and abandoning their kids to the ungodly TV to babysit them. Besides parents are almost ashamed of having their kids see them praying and praising God aloud. Surely, parents are in competition for the mind of their children with a powerful world which does offer very tantalising ‘sweets’. Nevertheless parents should do their duties as commanded by God. The outcome then is in the hands of God.

Let us then see the responsibly of parents in front of God:

fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord This command is addressed particularly to fathers because they are at the head of the family and its government is especially committed to them (not anymore in this unholy democratic society). It is to show fathers that their commands should be such that they can be easily obeyed, or such as are entirely reasonable and proper. If children are required to obey, it is but reasonable that the commands of the fathers should be such that they can be obeyed, or such that the child shall not be discouraged in his attempt to obey. In like manner it is the duty of children to obey his parents; but it is the duty of a parent to exhibit such a character, and to maintain such a government, that it would be proper for the child to obey; to command nothing that is unreasonable or improper, but to train up his children in Gods ways.

The father is not to provoke his children to wrath. That is, by unreasonable commands by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger. So govern them, and so punish them, if punishment is necessary, that they shall not lose their confidence in you, but shall love you. The apostle here has hit on the very danger to which parents are most exposed in the government of their children. It is that of firing their temper; of making them feel that the parent is under the influence of anger, and that it is right for them to be so too. This is done:

  1. When the commands and discipline of a parent are unreasonable and extremely severe. Then the spirit of a child becomes irritated, and he is "discouraged," Col 3:21,

  2. When the parent is evidently out of himself when he punishes a child. The child then feels that if his father is angry, it is not wrong for him to be angry also. Uncontrolled anger in the parent will naturally kindle anger in the child. There is no principle of parental government more important than that a father should control his own temper when he inflicts punishment. He should punish a child not because he is angry, but because it is right; not because it has become a matter of personal contest, but because God requires that he should do it, and the welfare of the child demands it.

  3. The punishment of a child must be done in righteousness. The child must not feel that the parent punished him simply because he was the strongest, but because it was right! And how often is the mind of a child left with a strong conviction that wrong has been done him by the punishment which he has received, rather than with repentance for the wrong that he has himself done! Naturally an evil child will never accepted that he has done wrong, this is the other side of the matter.

On the other hand the modern laissez-faire approach of our democratic society is even worse for the child is left void of any righteous references knowing not what is right and what is wrong in the Lord, and so the child will go up following the whims of his heart that are always evil as the Lord attests: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5 AV). For this reason we have feral kids involved in all sorts of abomination in unlawful sex to drugs to violence to uncontrollable behaviour: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;” (2Ti 3:1-4)

The pressure of our democratic society stooped in paganism disobedient to God has an overwhelming influence on our kids, especially when the parents are absent, nevertheless even with all the good will of the parents the kids may still follow the dictates of their evil heart and go astray in the world. But the parents are to do the right thing and believe in Gods promises: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro 22:6)  “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Act 2:39)

The parents are to bring the children up in admonition of the Lord and if having done all that they are to do, the kids still go wayward, they should not recriminate themselves if the children go bad, for Scripture says: “as many as the Lord our God shall call”.

So disciplining the children is requested and approved by God: “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Pro 23:14) “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Pro 13:24 “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb 12:9

But it has to be done in wisdom, righteousness and in moderation. Of course the kids in their nature will complain to their fathers that the punishment received is provoking them (even the smallest one). The father is to honestly listen to this lament and check his conscience in front of God if the punishment was indeed excessive, if not then he should not let his rebellious son condition him, for proper discipline is God given and requested as God does with us: “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives.” (Heb 12:6; Pro 3:12) and we are to follow God’s way. If he has exceeded the limit of correction, then he should make amendments in line with Scripture. The father is the closest thing in the flesh that resembles God on earth and he is responsible to discipline his children: “One that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;” (1Ti 3:4). It is true that this ungodly democratic society of ours is doing away with the family and has obliterated the role of the father, but we believers are to follow God and not the world, therefore the Christian father has to rule his own family according to God’s directions as clearly stated in Scripture. 

Fathers are to place their children under such discipline and instruction that they shall become acquainted with the Lord. On the other hand it is not the will of God that parents, in the exercise of kindness, shall spare and corrupt their children.  Let their conduct towards their children be at once mild and considerate, so as to guide them in the fear of the Lord, and correct them also when they go astray.  They are to train up their children in such a manner as the Lord approves; that is, they are to educate them for virtue and religion.

The general tendency is for fathers to be too severe and the mothers too permissive.

Kind and fair treatment has rather a tendency to favour reverence for their parents, and to increase the cheerfulness and activity of their obedience, while a harsh and unkind manner rouses them to obstinacy, and destroys the natural affections. However, parents are to guard against the opposite and frequent evil of excessive indulgence. In a nutshell parents should have a conduct towards their children to be at once mild and considerate, so as to guide them in the fear of the Lord, and correct them also when they go astray. The one and the other is required to bring up proper children.

Yet they should take care not to provoke them to wrath, because this alienates their minds from them, and renders their instructions and corrections useless and puts them upon sinful practices; wrath leads to Satan and consequently leads to sin against God; and indeed it is difficult even in the best of men to be angry and not sin, (Eph 4:26).

But bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; instructing your children in the knowledge of divine things, giving them good examples, taking care to prevent their falling into bad company (1Co 15:33) praying with them, and for them, bringing them into the house of God, under the means of grace, to attend public worship; all which, under a divine blessing, may be very useful to them as the example of Abraham is worthy of imitation, (Gen 18:19; Pro 22:6).

CONCLUSION

The children are a gift of God, they are not ours but God’s.  They have been loaned to us for a little while and our responsibility it to grow them in the knowledge, nurture and admonition of the Lord, remembering that one day we shall render an account of our parenting to the Lord.

We are not to spoil them so that they grow up rebellious feral people abandoning God, nor are we to oppress them so that they grow up rebellious feral people abandoning God.

That famous saying ”the stick and the carrot” exemplifies rather well the principle of disciplining, for the children left to their own devices, like plants, they will grow up all bent with their fruits rotting on the ground.

The children must know that you love them unconditionally but disciplining at times (and only as the last resort) is required for their own good as commanded by the Lord.

The present abominable democratic society may be too much to resist for our kids, and this present fleeing from the church by young people is likely to continue, but us faithful Christian parents must do what is right in front of God and be proper parents in the Lord. Nevertheless there are children that are been born with an evil disposition and no amount of godly disciplining will straighten them. In that case the parents are not to recriminate themselves but are to appeal to God for deliverance. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro 22:6)  The children are best trained at an early age for then they are more receptive to training, if proper training has not been given by the time they reach puberty; then it is too late. Children from the first day are not the innocent people as modern misguided educators teach us but they are “little vipers” as the greatest American Theologian, Jonathan Edwards was fond of quoting. Incidentally he had 11 children that he disciplined properly and every one of them turned out to grow up in righteous citizens. Jonathan was highly blessed for he was in perfect syntony with his wife Sarah who was truly a godly helpmeet.  A wise pastor used to say, "discipline your children whilst they are young, after that it is only maintenance". Incidentally, just look at modern democratic families that trained their kids a-la-Dr. Spock and see who is ruling the family. Children should receive proper discipline from their first day of life if one wants peace in the family, but not so today and we plainly see the results in our decadent society.

Nevertheless we praise God for with Him nothing is impossible: “But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Mat 19:26)



Interesting observation:
Next time you see domesticated elephants do pay attention at the small chain that is tied, at night, to one of their foot to a small stake in the ground. You would say: "Why does not the elephant just yanks off the little chain and runs away"? a thing it could do very easily. Simple Mr. Watson, when the elephant was very small it was tied to the same small chain but very tightly and it was hurting a lot. When the elephant grew up (always tied to the same chain) it would remember that the chain hurts if pulled and so it would not pull. It may appear cruel, but do remember if you do not teach your children the way of the Lord, THEN the world will teach them the way of Satan, it is one or the other, no other choices. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro 22:6)