Children, Do What is Right

Col 3:20-21

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. NKJV

As I was thinking about this message, giving it a title brought some interesting thoughts. “What Heaven Will Be Like” or “Things that Sound Simple.” but in reality there is really a plan for raising children. You will find it in the Bible. Like many other things the experts clamor for our attention. But isn’t interesting that on this not even the experts can agree.

Some suppose that if you just talk to your children they will just melt like putty into any form you want. Others think that solely by positive reinforcement children will just follow all the praise until they make their parents so proud.

Some of the above works under certain circumstances. In a controlled experiment you control all the factors that affect the outcome. But in raising children there is no such thing as a controlled environment for we live in a highly diverse society. Some parents are raising bank presidents and others are raising bank robbers. And they all go to the same school. Children learn more from children than they do any other influence in their lives. And unless you have set some strong boundaries for your children they will follow their piers to disaster. They too soon push the envelope to just see how serious you are about what you say.

Many a parent leave the garden unattended until it is filled with weeds. And some people think it can only grow weeds but I assure the same piece of ground will grow a better crop. Not every plot of ground will produce the same thing, but every plot is capable of more than weeds.

I.         Obedience is a learned trait.

            A.        The team logo for Stark County is so appropriate for they certainly are rebels.

                        1.         Psa 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

                                    a.         If children we as powerful as their parents they would not cry when they did not get what they wanted.

                                    b.         Children come into this world self-centered and weak. If they were not weak they would rule their kingdom.

                                    c.         I think the first word my second child said was mine and I think his older brother taught it to him.

                        2.         Yes Stark County is full of little Rebels that need loving discipline to learn to obey their parents.

            B.        Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV) though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

            C.        Deuteronomy 11:19 (NKJV) You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

II.        Obedience involves the actions of parents.

            A.        Parents will have to exert their presence into the lives of their children.

                        1.         If the home is to be a means of grace it must be a place of rules the alternative to rule is not freedom but the unconstitutional (and often unconscious) tyranny of the most selfish member. C. S. Lewis

            B.        Deuteronomy 32:46 (NKJV) and He said to them: "Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe--all the words of this law.

            C.        Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

III.       Obedience is God’s plan for children.

            A.        “It should be religious; arising out of the conviction that such obedience is the will of the Lord. This makes it a higher service than if rendered from fear or from mere natural affection. It secures its being prompt, cordial and universal.” Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians, Hodge, Charles

                        1.         If children obey out of fear, when there is no one to fear they will no longer obey.

                        2.         If they obey out of love, then where love is absent so will be obedience.

                        3.         But if they obey because God says so, that will never change.

            B.        “The motive for obedience is that it is well-pleasing to the Lord, commendable before God Himself. As He was well-pleased with His own Son (Matt. 3:17), so He deserves to be with other children. Many young people struggle with knowing God’s will for their lives. Obeying their parents is the right place to start.” MacArthur's New Testament Commentary

IV.      Parents are not to provoke their children.

            A.        Fathers are not to “embitter” (erithizo) their children. The sense is that they are not to challenge the resistance of their children by their unreasonable exercise of authority. Firm discipline may be necessary, but it must be administered in the right spirit. Parents should not give in to fault-finding, nor always be nagging their children. Wey translates, “Do not fret and harass your children.” Ph has “don’t over-correct.” Knox says, “And you, parents, must not rouse your children to resentment.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

            B.        John MacArthur gives ten ways parents can provoke their children.

                        1.         First, parents can exasperate their children by overprotection. Overprotective parents never allow their children any liberty. They have strict rules about everything. No matter what their children do, overprotective parents do not trust them. Because nothing they do earns their parents’ trust, children begin to despair and may believe that how they behave is irrelevant. That can lead to rebellion. Parents are to provide rules and guidelines for their children, but those rules should not become a noose that strangles them. Above all, parents must communicate to their children that they trust them.

                        2.         Second, parents exasperate their children by showing favoritism. That is often done unwittingly by comparing a child unfavorably to siblings or classmates. By making a child feel like the black sheep of the family, parents can create a terrible sense of frustration.

                        3.         Third, parents exasperate their children by depreciating their worth. Many children have been convinced that what they do and feel are not important. That is communicating to children that they are not significant. Many parents depreciate their children’s worth by refusing to listen to them. Children who are not listened to may give up trying to communicate and become discouraged, shy, and withdrawn.

                        4.         Fourth, parents exasperate their children by setting unrealistic goals. Parents can do that by never rewarding them, or never letting them feel they have succeeded. Nothing is enough, so the children never get full approval. Such parents are often trying to make their children into something they themselves were not. The results can be tragic. Some children become so frustrated that they commit suicide.

                        5.         Fifth, parents exasperate their children by failing to show affection. Parents need to communicate love to their children both verbally and physically. Failing to do so will discourage and alienate a child.

                        6.         Sixth, some parents exasperate their children by not providing for their needs. Children need things like privacy, a place to play, clean clothes, a place to study, their own possessions, and good meals. By providing those necessities, parents show their respect and concern for their children.

                        7.         Seventh, parents exasperate their children by a lack of standards. This is the flip side of overprotection. When parents fail to discipline, or discipline inconsistently, children are left on their own. They cannot handle that kind of freedom and begin to feel insecure and unloved.

                        8.         Eighth, parents exasperate their children by criticism. Haim Ginott wrote, “A child learns what he lives. If he lives with criticism he does not learn responsibility. He learns to condemn himself and to find fault with others. He learns to doubt his own judgment, to disparage his own ability, and to distrust the intentions of others. And above all, he learns to live with continual expectation of impending doom” (Between Parent and Child [New York: Macmillan, 1965], p. 72). Parents should seek to create in the home a positive, constructive environment.

                        9.         Ninth, parents exasperate their children by neglect. The classic biblical example is Absalom. David was indifferent to him, and the result was rebellion, civil war, and Absalom’s death. Parents need to be involved in their children’s lives.

                        10.       Finally, parents exasperate their children by excessive discipline. This is the parent who abuses his children, either verbally, emotionally, or physically. Parents often say things to their children that they would never say to anyone else. They should never discipline their children in anger. Rather, parents should lovingly correct their children, just as their heavenly Father does them.

            C.        “Paul gives the reason for this counsel; viz., "or they will become discouraged." Parents can be so exacting, so demanding, or so severe that they create within their children the feeling that it is impossible for them to please. The Greek word (athymeo) has in it the idea of "losing heart" and suggests going about in "a listless, moody, sullen frame of mind" (Lightfoot, p. 227). "The twig," writes Eadie, "is to be bent with caution, not broken in the efforts of a rude and hasty zeal" (p. 262). Paul may have had in mind the regimen of "don'ts" that loomed so large in the Colossian heresy.” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

Children are to do what is right. Children are to obey their parents for that is well pleasing to God. Parents are to love their children and to not expect too much of them and to build them up and not tear them down. They are to builders of their children.


Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV) He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

Proverbs 19:18 (NKJV) Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction.

Eph 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: 3 "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." 4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. NKJV

Ex 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. NKJV

Deut 5:16 'Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. NKJV

Gen 28:7-9 8 Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac. 9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had. NKJV

Deut 21:18-21 "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' 21 Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear. NKJV

Prov 30:11-17 11 There is a generation that curses its father, And does not bless its mother. 12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. 13 There is a generation — oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords, And whose fangs are like knives, To devour the poor from off the earth, And the needy from among men. 17 The eye that mocks his father, And scorns obedience to his mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it. NKJV

Luke 2:51-52 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. NKJV

Proverbs 23:14 (NKJV) You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.