“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
In our last PTM Contender, I discussed the necessity that fathers train their children. There is the overarching admonition not to provoke your children to wrath. This applies to the relationship you have with them. Unfortunately, in Christian homes, there is a tendency to assume obedience and understanding of biblical truth from your children. That is, they go to Sunday school and attend church therefore they understand. And we punish and nag them to obey the word of God in the flesh. We love them and cherish them, and unfortunately, we somehow assume they can obey in the flesh as children. This is impossible for them to obey the word of God in the flesh. We need to teach them and train them in the Word, but we have to understand they are sinners. They are full of wickedness, evil and lies. They must receive the Holy Ghost to have a circumcised heart to follow the commands of the Lord.
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15
Solomon reminds us that foolishness is bound to the heart of a child. It is not merely that they sometimes act foolishly. Their heart is bound to it. It is the rod of correction that drives it far from them. Let’s take this in its proper balance. We do not bring the rod of correction out of anger. When we correct from the standpoint of anger we “provoke our children to wrath.” Nothing good ever comes from correctly your children out of anger. It is important to correct out of love. God corrects us because he loves us, not because he is angry. He destroys those he is angry with but corrects those that he loves. As the Scripture says, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten…” Since foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, we cannot assume they understand anything. They need continual, consistent correction. We cannot correct them merely when we feel like it. We have to do it with consistency. It can be a spanking or a timeout or removing privileges, etc.
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We do not merely correct them using a spanking, but we use the moment to teach them from the Bible. If they have told a lie, we bring a punishment and explain to them from the Bible how the Lord feels about lying. Use your Bible app to search the word liar, liars, lying, lie, lies, etc. Show them with love what the Bible says. The same goes for teaching them about modesty and holiness. We teach them out of the Bible and show them the foundation of the Word of God. This is not merely the duty of your pastor; this is your duty as a father or mother. Do not assume they know what the message is, teach them the message. I would recommend for every parent teaching them the fundamentals of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Ghost. What is the Gospel? What is the baptism of the Holy Ghost? Why do we need to be baptized in water? What name are we baptized in?
In Ephesians 6:4 we see that first there needs to be a relationship of tenderness and love, not merely correction and anger. Take a real and genuine delight in your child, love them, cherish them, have fun with them. We gather this from not provoking our children to wrath. They want your love, your time, your affection and care. So, give it to them. Then the apostle says bring them up. This means to train them. To train them means to teach and instruct them. This responsibility falls upon the father. I’m sorry, but there is no way around this. It is not the Sunday school teachers job. We love Sunday school and Sunday school teachers, this is great, but it is not their duty, and you cannot rely on them for this. The Bible commands fathers to do it.
The training is to come in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The nurture means the education or discipline and admonition speaks of correction. The training is to come with education and chastisement. To chastise means to bring correction.
Since foolishness is bound up in their hearts, they need correction and education. There is an inherent power in the Word of God, and when it is taught and proclaimed to the elect in God’s season, it quickens the seed of God in their soul to life. When a child disobeys their parents, they are disobeying the Lord, and as such, there needs to be a rod of correction that comes. That is that there are consequences for their disobedience to their parents.
For every age, there is a level of understanding the children can understand. Always start out with teaching them about the various Bible stories. The stories of the Bible give the children an impression of God’s nature that will never leave them. Continuously read them these stories and help them understand at their level how they apply to their lives. Teach them how to pray with sincerity as soon as possible and be sure they see you praying consistently. As they get older teach them their need for the Gospel, show them that they are sinners according to the Bible, with tenderness and love show them the sins that they commit, as they happen. They need to know based upon the Ten Commandments that they are sinners and they need salvation. Show them the solution. Emphasize the Gospel with them, show them how Jesus saves them, show them it is only through the blood of Jesus at Calvary that they can be saved. Start having them memorize important Scriptures like John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9, Acts 2:38. As they receive the Gospel and wish to apply it in their lives in the form of water baptism, make sure they understand what they are doing. Teach them something and then ask them. Why do we need to be saved? Why did Jesus die on the cross? Why do you want to be baptized? Be sure they understand that baptism doesn’t save them, but the blood of Jesus does.
As they have been baptized and start to grow start to teach them about Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 17:30, the church ages, etc. We start with the fundamentals and then build upon them so that they can grow properly in the Word.
The steps to child training are these;
- an overarching atmosphere of love in the home
- training in the form of educating (teaching) them the word of God
- training in the form of correction for their disobedience