|May 23, 2016
Be Encouraged! This is THE DAY the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
I want to take us on a short journey today. Let’s follow up on the challenge of Paul to parents in Ephesians 6:4
NIV Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Parents are to nourish their children. We all see that responsibility for their physical health but Paul applies this to their souls as well. In Ephesians 5:29, this verb phrase “to bring them up” is used to describe a husband’s care for his own body. Feeding is combined with caring. The caring includes the idea of providing warmth. So, we see that, as parents and adults, we are called to be faithful to the physical and spiritual needs of children entrusted to us. Every generation needs nourishment from the truth and love of God.
The method for nourishment is further described as “training and instruction of the Lord.” This is the Lord’s curriculum—not our own. It is eternal truth not societal norms or values. It is truth that will work today, as it has from the moment God revealed it to us. It is guaranteed to work for every future generation.
The noun “training” is a very important one. It is found 26 times in Proverbs and in two important New Testament passages: 2 Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 12:5-11. My lexicon defines it as “the act of providing guidance for responsible living.” Certainly, this is the goal of every God-fearing parent. We train our children by our words and our actions. We are on duty every day, all day!
NIV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
The inspired Word of God is the foundation of our training. This is a truth we should impress on our children. We want our children to see the direct connection of our instructions and the Scriptures. This will give them hope and a solid foundation for the future. My professor, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, gave us his outline of this verse. 1. Teaching is what is right. 2. Rebuking is what is not right. 3. Correcting is how to get right. 4. Training in righteousness is how to stay right. Fill your children with the truth of God’s word! Fill their hearts with songs, books, videos, and movies that teach truth. In this way, you will prepare them to live a responsible life which will be a blessing to them and to others. The next verse shares the purpose of the inspired Word.
NIV 2 Timothy 3:17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
This child training process is also described in Hebrews 12:5-11 where it is translated “discipline.”
NIV Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as his son." 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined-- and everyone undergoes discipline-- then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
In this passage, we see the need for correction that can be perceived as harsh. We are warned to not make light of the Lord’s discipline. Too many times we do not pay attention to His discipline or we give up. Even hardships in life can be fertile ground for our Lord’s loving training. In his Sovereign love, He uses every circumstance to train us. The last verse in this passage sums it all up very well. Another word is translated “have been trained” is used here. It comes from the athletic arenas. Physical training can be very vigorous. It is often many movements repeated over and over. The goal for the athlete is to create “muscle memory” so that the skill can be repeated under the pressure of competition. I would suggest that we all take a moment to meditate on the principle here. We all acknowledge that discipline is painful for many reasons. We do not like to admit we are wrong. Our pride is wounded by the conviction that we may need help. Yet, when we humbly submit to discipline, it produces in us both righteousness and peace. We all want to get things “right” and experience God’s peace! I encourage us to teach this to ourselves and our children.
The second word translated “instruction” is also very important for our application of nourishing our children. It is often translated warning or admonition. This describes the harsher side of parent training. We have a responsibility to warn and forewarn our children. Our children will learn lessons as they see others suffer for bad choices too. So, let us be vigilant in our training. Let us always give the biblical basis for warnings and share them in a spirit of sincere love and concern for their welfare. We all desire to see God’s blessings overflowing in their lives!
I was led the Holy Spirit to share this message even though it is somewhat redundant to Sunday’s sermon. I certainly hope and pray it will be useful to each of you. Thank you so much for your encouragement to me, your Pastor. I just want to be an encouragement to each of you who reads these Encourage-O-Grams.
This Sunday, at FCC, we will host an inspiring family celebration! Seven people are scheduled to be baptized! The children’s sermon will be “How to honor your parents.” Now I know that all parents want their children to hear this one! Also, it will be a blessing to listen in! I hope you will join us as we share life together on this Memorial Day weekend. I look forward to seeing you!
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,