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Thursday, November 26, 2020

2020.11.26 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 6:4

Read Ephesians 6:4

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom is Ephesians 6:4 addressed? What are they told not to do? To whom? To what are they in danger of provoking their children? What are they to do to their children instead? By what two means/activities are fathers to bring their children up? Whose training and admonition? 

We are culpable before God for our reactions. Often, I have heard a parent imply having had grown-up temper tantrums by saying, “my children make me so angry!” No they don’t. Your children do what they do, and you respond with that intemperate anger. Even if anger is a righteous response, you have a duty to self-control, a duty to restrain unnecessary severity, etc.

But children aren’t parents. There is understanding that there is a duty of a parent to remember that the child is weaker, less mature, not having had as much training or instruction. Yes, the child is responsible for his response, but the parent is responsible for giving that child every possible advantage for producing the right response. If the child is wrathful, certainly he breaks the commandment “honor your father and mother.” 

And yet, there is much that a parent can do that will make a difference in whether the child becomes wrathful or not. Our children give us many opportunities to see and respond to the sin that comes out of their hearts. We need not invent more of them; indeed, here the Lord positively forbids it!

But if we’re going to give them every possible opportunity to obey the Lord, there is more that we need to do than just being gentle and kind and respectful, and being careful of being illegitimately demanding. They have an enemy to battle against, and that enemy is within them. If they are going to honor and obey us, it has to be done “in the Lord” as Ephesians 6:1 says. 

How can they do that? Training and instruction. But not just any training and instruction. Even an animal can be trained through discipline and instruction. But that animal doesn’t have a sinful nature. Your child is up against infinitely more. 

Thankfully, your child has been blessed with infinitely better help than those animals. It’s the discipline of the Lord! It’s the instruction of the Lord! Job number one in not provoking your children to wrath is the means of grace in the congregation, week by week, and the means of grace in the home, day by day. 

And this includes all-day, every-day application of the Scriptures to everything they see and everything they do. God’s words need to be on your own heart, controlling your own life (Deuteronomy 6:4–6), then they need to be in your mouth and their ears continually (Deuteronomy 6:7), in away that shapes how they do everything (Deuteronomy 6:8a) and how they see everything (verse 6:8b), so that the family name on the mailbox and front door could read, “Scripture-saturated Family” (Deuteronomy 6:9).

Wrath is part of the folly in your child’s heart. But, the reason the rod of Proverbs 22:15 drives it far from him is that it’s the rod of reproof—it’s a rod that comes in the context of a life lived in the means of grace, provided and prospered by a Redeemer of astounding love and abundant grace.

He has laid out the equipment for combatting the source of wrath in the heart of your child. And, He has laid upon you the charge both of using that equipment and of not making yourself the occasion for provoking that wrath, if you can righteously avoid it.

What more/better use could you make of the means of grace for the children of your home and your congregation? What are some situations in which you could be less an occasion of their wrath?

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH548 “Oh, Blest the House”

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