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BUILDING A HOME OR A HELL
By Pastor Delbert Young

4. The Challenge for Children

Children in Home

We are concluding our BUILDING A HOME OR A HELL series this week. Have you enjoyed it? Has it challenged you and made you think and inventory your own self? Guess it is all according to if you want a HOME OR A HELL.

Let's look quickly at the verse we have used as a foundation verse.

[Hosea 4:6]  my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law [ways] of your God, I also will ignore YOUR CHILDREN

God's people, not the devil's people, are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Knowledge is available, but rejected. We will see this vividly today and also see the consequences upon our children.

We have talked about the major challenge that the woman of the house faces – being contentious and not trusting God to deal with her husband. We have talked about the major challenge that the man of the house faces – maintaining an atmosphere that will provide for a wife and children a place to make him happy. Today, let's talk about the major challenge concerning the children.

[Ephesians 6:1-4]  CHILDREN, OBEY YOUR PARENTS because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. "Honor your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing." And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

How many of us – adults, children, and all in-between – would say a child obeying his or her parents is the major challenge concerning children? It is for the child and it is for the parents. How good would life be for everyone – children and parents – if every child obeyed his or her parents the first time and every time instructed?

The previous verses seem to suggest that the child should want to obey their parents FOR THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. However, I have found that children do not always move by the right thing to do. Nonetheless,the apostle gives several reasons that they should do what is right. Paul said that one reason children should obey their parents is because they …BELONG TO THE LORD. But, how many parents have found that because your child is a Christian does not always help a lot when it comes to their obeying? It should, but does not. Paul said another reason that children should want to obey their parents is because obeying is HONORING YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER. That simply means that the children give the parents a good name. But again, how many parents have found that most children do not even think about bringing a good name to their parents. Paul gives another reason that children should obey their parents. He said that the fifth commandment, which is honor your father and mother, gives a promise which is YOU WILL LIVE A LONG LIFE, FULL OF BLESSING. However again, I have never seen a child obey because of that promise. I do not think that Paul had seen it much either, so he moved to where the responsibility actually falls and how children obeying their parents will actually happen. He said, "And now a word to you FATHERS." Let's look at that verse again.

[Ephesians 6:4]  And now a word to YOU FATHERS. DON'T MAKE YOUR CHILDREN ANGRY by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the DISCIPLINE and INSTRUCTION APPROVED BY THE LORD

Fathers, it is on you to have children that obey. I am aware that there are single moms. In that case, you move into this position and, actually, it can be easier because you will not have to battle with a spouse when it comes to discipline.

Discipline and instruction are on the father's shoulders. However, verse 1 said, Children obey your PARENTS. That means the mother does discipline, too. Usually the mother is with the children much more than the father. She will actually be required to do more of the actual disciplining. The father is to be there to reinforce what mom has already addressed. Sometimes this requires double discipline – get it from mom and get it from dad. Mom, you can't let the children run crazy and then dump all the discipline on dad when he gets home. You are tearing your house down with your own hands.

Let me say that DISCIPLINE is APPROVED BY THE LORD.I find that often one or both parents have trouble with disciplining their children. The results are always children out of control. Add to that the dilemma of stepparents and it becomes complex and more difficult. Parents and stepparents have to be a team on the same page doing the same things if you want children that obey and make you look good and give you a good name.

The first thing that Paul instructed fathers to do was, "Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them."WHAT? You are telling me that I am supposed to be responsible for my children's obedience, but that I am not supposed to make them ANGRY? That is what the Bible says. Allow me to explain. Your child will become angry when properly disciplined, but when parents have correctly established the boundaries of obedience and the parents and the child have discussed those boundaries and discipline, the child HAS NO RIGHT TO become angry with the parents. You establish solid, unmovable, no trespass boundaries. Establish also the discipline for trespassing just as solidly and unmovable. Everyone knows them and THE PARENTS AND THE CHILDREN agree that, if the child does this, then this is the penalty. When the child crosses the boundary, they are bringing the discipline upon themselves. They HAVE NO RIGHT TO become angry with the parent. You are only doing what everyone KNEW THE CONSEQUENCES WOULD BE..

A problem I see today is the parents allow the child to set the boundaries and constantly move them. Or, there is no consistent discipline when boundaries are crossed. One time it is ok to cross, but the next time it is not. Children become confused and angry with the parent because there are no clear, solid, unmovable boundaries and consistent discipline. When done correctly, the child will obey and honor you and not be angry because of the way you treat them.

Then Paul said, "Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord."No decent parent "enjoys" disciplining his or her child and your child knows that. The child will play that card to manipulate the parents and, if possible, play the parents against one another. It is in this arena that I see some serious problems today. Mom and dad must agree upon both boundaries and discipline. If you are not a team and not on the same page, here is what usually happens. Usually, not always, mom and the children will keep things FROM OR conspire against dad. "Now, let's not tell daddy about this. He will not understand. He will get mad. We will just keep this between us. Okay?" Mom, you are totally confusing your children. You are training them to deceive not only their father, but also you. If it's ok to deceive dad, then it must be ok to deceive mom and later, they will deceive their husband or wife. IN REALITY, YOU ARE TRAINING YOUR CHILDREN TO BE DECEITFUL AND MANIPULATIVE PEOPLE.

Fathers, you would be amazed how much this is happening. I will say it this way. This COULD BE happening in most of your homes. Why? It is because the father has not taken responsibility for the obedience of your children APPROVED BY THE LORD. Your wife obviously does not trust you to discipline. Either she is: (1) plainly manipulative; (2) feels dad will not discipline; (3) or feels that when dad does discipline, he goes over the top. "GOING Over the top" usually happens when dad has taken all he can take because the wife restricts consistent discipline or is always moving the boundaries. Mom, I think that is a cop out. Can I say this? We would know if we had abusive dads and we do not. However, we do know that we have some rebellious children and frustrated fathers.

I am not going to talk about discipline techniques today. I will give one scripture in different translations to show you how far some of us are from the ways of god.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Now take inventory. See how that grates and repulses you. See how society has affected you to make you think that is wrong and abusive. It is not a pleasurable verse for any of us and if you said something like, "I'm not going to do that," then you have rejected the Word of God. You have ignored God's Word and forced God to ignore you and your children not because he wants to. You have tied his hands.

NIV - 23:13-14 DO NOT WITHHOLD DISCIPLINE FROM A CHILD; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death. 

I could give you scripture after scripture along these lines, but why? Most are not going to do it. I say that from experience. We did a workshop a few years ago where we went through this extensively.  DID ANYTHING CHANGE IN YOUR HOMES?  I just keep hearing the horror stories about your children. Did you know that some people do not allow their children to come to SHINE or the children's ministries because of the way some of our children behave?

Allow me to say this before I leave this scripture. If you do what the Word of God says concerning "the rod," use wisdom. Do not "PUNISH" (discipline) your child WITH THE ROD in the middle of Wal-Mart. My daughter Bonnie has two "real" boys and does a very good job with discipline. One or both of them became very disobedient while out shopping one day. Bonnie took the boys to the car. Closed the doors and there "PUNISHED THEM WITH THE ROD." Use some wisdom.

The form of discipline changes as the child becomes older.

 [Proverbs 22:6]  Train up a CHILD in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

The Hebrew word for child is na`ar 5288 and means from the age of infancy to adolescence. You will train a toddler differently than you will train a seventeen-year-old. A spanking may be just the right discipline for a dad to give a toddler or a twelve year old, but not a good option for a seventeen-year-old young woman acting like a ten year old. Discipline needs to remain consistent. If a spanking is an adequate discipline for a toddler then an equally adequate discipline must take place for the seventeen-year-old, i.e. driving privileges, going off with friends, telephone, internet, allowance, etc.

Consistency is a must. You may have heard my children talk about "the eye." I have this habit of raising my right eyebrow when I am intense and serious. If my children were misbehaving and I gave them "the eye," they knew they were about to be trained. They already knew what boundary they had crossed and they already knew the consequence. They NEVER REMAINED ANGRY WITH ME NOR DID THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE angry with me WHEN I ENFORCED THE CONSEQUENCE. What they said was something like, "Oh no! I messed up."

Paul said "discipline and instruction approved by the Lord." In our last few minutes, I want to talk about the INSTRUCTION part. I instructed my son how to play baseball, fish, and hunt, drive a car, work on automobiles, fix things, etc. I did that instruction by spending a lot of quality time with him doing those things. My point is INSTRUCTION is not commands and orders. While I was instructing about those things, I was also instructing him about how to be a father, a husband, and an employee – a man.  I ALSO INSTRUCTED HIM AS I DISCIPLINED HIM.  WE WOULD DISCUSS WHY I WAS PUNISHING HIM AND THEN I PUNISHED HIM.  I DID NOT JUST THROW HIM ACROSS THE BED AND PUNISH HIM WITH THE ROD. I did it the way APPROVED BY THE LORD (Bible). Did I ever fumble the ball? Oh yes thousands of times! Sometimes I even ran the wrong direction and crossed the wrong goal line. I do not want to present myself as the perfect father and husband. I have not been, but I did INSTRUCT my children by spending a lot of quality time with them.  Do you know what? I still do and enjoy it. They were the cream then and they continue to be top-notch people now raising their children in the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.

So, father, do you attempt to "give orders" to instruct, or do you instruct by giving quality time? I have noticed that most unruly children have spent little quality time with their fathers or stepfathers. I am not saying it is always that way, but often that way. That will carry over into their spiritual life as well. To them, Father God will not be fun to be around. He will only be a Father of orders and commands.

The primary challenge for a child is to OBEY YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER. If they will, they will be good Christians winning people to Jesus. They will bring honor – good name – to their parents. They will live long and blessed lives. However, all that depends upon fathers teaming with the wife to establish and do discipline and instruction approved by the Lord. Pre-establish boundaries and consequences. Be consistent. Do not move boundaries or allow the child to move the boundaries nor the consequences. Spend quality time to instruct.  NOW THESE THREE REMAIN, TEAMWORK, INSTRUCTION AND CONSISTENCY.  WHAT DO YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?   If you will, you will have children that will obey you, honor you, and live long and blessed lives. You will have a HOME AND NOT A HELL.

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