Instruments of Mercy: Committed to God's Glory in Our Parenting.
Parenting Workshop 2: Session 1
Session 1: A Child’s Identity - Giving our children the whole story.
Ephesians 6:1–4 (ESV) 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
This selection of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is well known to church parents and church children. As well it should it be. It comes in a section of Ephesians, chapters 4-6, that is instructive for the whole of the christians life. Husband and wives, parents and children, employee’s and employers, interpersonal relationships within and without the church. This section is sometimes called the imperative portion of the book. I call it the gospel worked out. While chapters 1-3 are an explanation and declaration of what God has done to save his people. This section of scripture is sometimes described as the indicative portion of the book. Or as I call it the gospel worked in.
Knowing who’s we are must precede and inform what we do in every area of your child’s life.
What should children born into your home expect to receive?
Our Children should expect gospel proclamation.
• The Good News Externalized.
Deuteronomy 6:4–9 (ESV)
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Christian homes can be, and should be saturated in the truth of God’s word. Consequently they will have a particular cultural identity, namely Christian! The words of God should be on our hearts. We should repeatedly impress them upon our children. Talk about them always. Do not forget them. Make God’s commitment the reason and foundation of for our lives.
Most of us do not have a copy of our marriage license or certificate hanging on the wall. If we have anything hanging on our wall it’s usually a picture The wedding photo, which is the pictorial representation of the covenant vows that are made between a man and a woman.
This means that God’s word is both the propositional and functional authority in our home.
Our children should grow up with at minimum an objective christian identity.
I. Parents we are called to disciple our children: “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”
To be a Christian is to be a discipler, to be Christian parent is to be a discipler of our children.
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The Great Commission is a call for followers of Jesus Christ to reach out to our world, to our towns, and to our neighborhoods. But, in the Great Commission there is also a call to make disciples in our own families.
Parenting is a commission to do all we can to raise our children to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
The foundational parenting text is not Ephesians 6:1-4 or Deuteronomy 6:4-9, as important as they are, rather it is Matthew 28:18-20.
• The content of the bible should be taught in the home. (Objective Truth)
• The Gospel
• The Big Story (Biblical Theology)
• The Big Truths (Systematic Theology)
• The Great Commission
• Spiritual Disciplines
• Christian Living
The aroma of Christ should be experienced in the home. (Subjective Truth)
For one thing, we must recognize that a few hours a week of church events cannot successfully compete for the hearts of children and young people if those hearts are not being attended to spiritually in the home. The spiritual futures of children must be placed as a matter of primary importance back into the hands of the people who have the greatest opportunity to influence them for the Kingdom of God—their parents.
Our Children need gospel transformation.
The Good News internalized.
We should work toward, and pray for the personal heart transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our children.
Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love them, think often of their souls.... No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die. The world, with all its glory, shall pass away; the hills shall melt.... But the spirit which dwells in those little creatures, whom you love so well, shall outlive them all.... In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out the mighty question, 'How will this affect their souls?’ - J C Ryle
Bettis, Chap. The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ (p. 17). Diamond Hill Publishing. Kindle Edition.
1. What does gospel proclamation look like in your home?