The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
+ A Great Privilege +
Parenting is one of the greatest joys in this life, but it is also one of the greatest duties of Christian parents. As a pastor, it is a joy to see young people with their parents in church worshiping God. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5), placed in our care to be trained for the kingdom of God. The word train, in Proverbs 22:6, refers to the total process of molding and shaping a child's life. To train is to educate, teach, instruct, or to bring up. There must be a heart bond between the parent and child; this is God’s way of passing on a living faith. The hearts of the fathers are to be turned unto the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers according to Luke 1:17. These first words of the New Testament are taken from the last word of the Old Testament.
“Instruction, and advice, and commands will profit little, unless they are backed up by the pattern of your life. Your children will never believe you are in earnest, and really wish them to obey you, so long as your actions contradict your counsel.”
- J. C. Ryle
This article will focus on three important areas of training children. To stress the importance of this subject, remember, your children are the only things you can take to Heaven. You will leave behind careers, houses, boats, SUV’s, shot guns, etc. I know this is shocking to many, but it is true.
Train By Example
The parents’ first duty is to set an example for their children. They need good examples to follow, for they become little mirrors and imitate us in many areas. They will even carry our examples to greater extremes, so we must live what we preach. The saying, “Actions speak louder than words,” is very true. It is unreasonable to expect a child to listen to our advice and at the same time ignore our own examples. In Genesis 5:3, we are told that, “Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image.” Children not only look like their parents, but they tend to act, think, and even talk like them. In other words, they are copycats.
Parents represent God in the lives of their children. In general, the way they view you is going to be the way they view God to some extent. The Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth in I Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” The Apostle Paul asked only that they follow him as he followed Christ. He set a Christ-like example before his followers. The Thessalonian believers also became followers of Paul as he walked in faithfulness to the Lord (I Thessalonians 1:5-7). Please consider the words of the Son of God in John 5:19, “The son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Notice that the son did what he seeth the Father do. Again, we see the importance of setting a Godly example for our children to follow. This is true discipleship, that is, walking along beside them each day as Jesus did for his disciples.
Train By Teaching
According to Deuteronomy 6:1-9, teaching the principles of God’s Word to our children is of utmost importance. In verse 7, we read these words, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” The command is given to fathers in Ephesians 6:4, to bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Then in Psalm 78:4-7, the Word of God and the works of God must be communicated to our children. If not, they will forget the Lord and rebel against Him (verses 8-9). Parents must teach their children the Scriptures, for they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16). They must be taught the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6). We are not told to train up a child in what he should only know, but in the way he should go also.
In the Scriptures, all education is religious in nature. There is no difference between the sphere of religion and ordinary life. In fact, the Scriptures do not even use the word education to describe the process of training children for adulthood. The Bible says in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” All treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ (Colossians 2:3). The point being, education is not viewed apart from God. I hear parents brag on the intellect of their children, but the question is, “Do they love God?” The purpose of life is to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5, Proverbs 4:4). Faithfulness to God determines how well one is educated. Faith is the starting point in the process of education; without faith, the best education will only make your child an instrument of Satan. As one author said, “Knowledge learned before character produces arrogance.” All teaching must be moral training. The heart must be trained in the ways of God and not just stuffing their mind with meaningless facts. Character is to be chosen over calculus if there is a choice to be made. Do your children love God, and are they drawn closer to Him and His will through your teaching?
Train by Discipline
The rod is only a small part of training, but it is essential. There is no substitute for discipline. A child may be too young to read, but not too young to obey. It is quite clear in the Scriptures, that chastisement is a result of love (Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-11, Revelation 3:19).
Please note the following references:
Proverbs 22:15 The rod drives away foolishness
Proverbs 13:24 Proves parental love
Proverbs 19:18 Gives hope to a child
Proverbs 23:13-14 Delivers the soul from hell
Proverbs 29:15 Gives wisdom and prevents shame
Proverbs 29:17 Gives rest
Proverbs 20:30 Is a means of cleansing
The Lord has provided enough rods for every parent; the woods are full of them, a size to fit every child. Remember, without discipline, our example and teaching will fail. A rule is no better than the discipline that backs it up and a law is no better than the court system that enforces it. One writer put training children in these words, “Keep them in the form until they are setup, if you take them out of the form too soon, they will lose their form.”
Job prayed a hedge around his children even after they were grown (Job 1:1-5). We must never stop praying for them and encouraging them to walk with the Lord. There are no perfect children because there are no perfect parents. But, we do have the promise of the Lord in this area if we fulfill our duty. People usually leave a testament when they pass off the scene; may every parent leave a rich inheritance to their children and grandchildren in a Godly life. Amen.
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” II John 4
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523