Raising Your Children – Part 1

Biblical Principles of Raising Children

Ephesians 6:1-4

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

Apr 24, 2016 AM



I.        Introduction


A.     We live in a very dangerous time (2 Timothy 3:1-4)


1.       It is a dangerous time to believe the Bible more than we believe and trust Dr. Phil, and Oprah Winfrey

2.       It was deadly dangerous to believe the Bible in the first 300 years of Christianity – Rome slaughtered about 5 million Christians throughout the empire

3.       It was just as deadly to believe it during the 1,000 years of the dark ages – one man estimated about 50 million Bible believing Christians were slaughtered throughout Europe

4.       The last 500 years have been blessed with nations and laws being based on the laws and principles of the Bible instead of the whims of a king or, even the whims of the people, and it created the greatest freedoms ever experienced in history – the Magna Carta, the democratic constitutions of America, and most free nations today!

5.       But today, we are headed back to the intense persecution against anyone who just believes the Bible’s way is the right way! Especially in relation to right and wrong, and how to have a family.


B.      The concept of the ‘home’ is just about demolished


1.       I know. The family unit is changing – but at what cost?


a.       Marriage has been redefined

b.       Divorce is RAMPANT


1)      In 2011, 2.1 million marriages, and 1 million divorces


c.       More ‘partnerships’ than marriages are registered

d.       More children are raised by single parents


1)      40% of all children in Europe are born now to unmarried mothers (in 2000, it was only 27%)

2)      In America, 72% of black children are raised only by their mothers, without a Dad


2.       91 same sex “couples” were ‘married’ here in Ireland from mid-November until the end of 2015 (TheJournal.ie, Apr 15). 91???? And the whole country went to vote so that 91 gays could marry? .007% of the voting population??? Is THAT good law???

3.       We are on our way to honouring incestuous, and multi-partner marriage and families

4.       At least 300 million babies have been murdered world-wide since the early 1970’s

5.       Every evil is on the rise

6.       And no one stops and asks why?

7.       God predicted it 3,000 years ago


a.       Pro 30:11  There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

b.       Pro 30:12  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

c.       Pro 30:13  There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

d.       Pro 30:14  There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.


C.      We need a new understanding of ‘family’ – well, not a new one, but one that is new to this generation – one that returns to the Bible’s ways of having a home!


1.       Raising Children Right – there IS a right way – and the most ardent enemies will be parents too proud to change!

2.       Are we so unwilling to accept the blame

3.       And will any of us here decide to change how we build our families, God’s way?

4.       I hope to convince you to do so!

5.       By God’s grace!


D.     People do NOT want to hear what God says and what God thinks (Isaiah 30:8-10)


1.       So what?

2.       It has always been this way

3.       So I preach anyway

4.       And the proof of your Christianity will be whether you do what God says, or what Dr. Phil, or Dr. Spock, or Dr. Big-Britches says


II.     Background – Initial Truths About a Christian Family


A.     Start with working on yourself


1.       Raising children well, begins with adults in the home acting and reacting like adults

2.       Every generation is a reflection of the worst attitudes and thinking of the previous generation. In other words, What parents do in moderation, the children will do to the excess

3.       So ask God to reveal all the areas HE is working on YOU as His child, and let Him work!

4.       Then, Ask God to TEACH YOU what are the right ways for YOU to grow your family, how love your wife, your husband, how to handle your teenager, how to help your young adult prepare for college and marriage and having children!

5.       Work on yourself first ladies and gentlemen!


B.      Your children are YOUR Responsibility (Genesis 17:5)


1.       God gave you your family and children – they are your responsibility

2.       Not the HSE’s

3.       Not the church’s

4.       Not the schools’

5.       Not your parents – who should be GRAND-parents, not the parents

6.       Not some nanny’s or au pairs

7.       But yours! God expects you to take responsibility for how your children act, how your bills are paid, how you and your spouse get along!


C.     Your Home is supposed to be different (Philippians 2:14,15)

D.     You don’t have to do it all alone


1.       You do need help holding your family together – you need the help and pressures of society, church, your extended family

2.       God gave you all those people to help you - You need all their help – use them!

3.       But, don’t get into the habit of letting OTHERS raise your children, and minister to the needs of your family. THAT is YOUR job!


E.      When we see children, God sees generations (Exodus 20:5)


1.       What we do in our home, affect up to four generations down the line

2.       Think about it


a.       Your constant arguing and fighting

b.       Your rebellion to authorities over you

c.       The sins you allow in your home - The drinking, the drugs, the late night TV


3.       They ALL affect not only your home, but the homes of your great, great, grand children

4.       Ask God to see more than just the struggles of today, and see the bigger picture – of generations


F.      Start training and teaching your children early


1.       They understand things even in the womb – the sound of your voice, stress, rest, joy

2.       They love you from the start

3.       They want to be like you from the earliest memories

4.       They will obey if you expect them to – if you expect them to find their own way, they will hate you and hate life in the end!


G.     Every home, no matter how messed up, is a gift from God, and can be rebuilt by God


1.       God joins men and women together into families by marriage – that’s how God does it

2.       The fact that you want a family is right and good

3.       The fact that many of you ARE married is a miracle!

4.       All children are a miracle, and a blessing from God

5.       And God gives enough grace to enable even the worst of homes to be restored

6.       The same Jesus Who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation.”  ~ Adrian Rogers

7.       All because God loves the home and family – YOUR home and family!


H.     Every home, every family takes a lot of work to hold together. Why?


1.       Because of our sin-nature in every member – we generally are all selfish, self-serving, self-centred, impatient, unkind people, all grouped together in close quarters!

2.       Because all children are different.


a.       Just when you figure out how to work with one child, another one comes along and is totally different

b.       And then, when you think you understand your 8,9, or 10 year old, they change, and become teen-agers!


3.       Because right training takes time


a.       Years and years to teach children how to be respectful, to behave, to pray under pressure, to walk with God, to do right when everyone else is doing wrong

b.       It’s funny that it only takes a few minutes to destroy


1)      A vile TV show – blatant sex in bedrooms

2)      An act of sexual abuse

3)      Bad friends getting the child to violate their conscience

4)      Any of that can undo a lifetime of good, godly, Biblical training, and defile a child (Matt 18:6)


I.        What I am going to be presenting this and next week are all Best Practice Rules of Raising Children, Biblically


1.       These instructions are not complete or exhaustive – there is no way to teach everything a parent will have to know to handle everything thrown at them. So I will present what God says are THE most important things

2.       We need to decide to Do things BY THE BOOK – by the BIBLE


a.       If God said it, then I am going to teach it as right

b.       No one is going to ever be able to do everything perfectly

c.       And even if you did everything right, like God did, you are dealing with the soul of a child that has a nature bent on sin and selfishness

d.       God never intended for anyone to think that if they did all these things, then, their children would turn out perfect

e.       BUT, God said do them because they are right to do, and best for your children and your home

f.        If you want to have a HOME - With a Mommy, a Daddy, and children running around happy and safe

g.       If you want to have PEACE in your home

h.       If you want God to be able to work in your home, and on your family – instead of always allowing SATAN to be in charge

i.        And if you want future strong families, instead of just illegitimate children…

j.        Start doing things by this Book!

k.       You will not have no problems, but you will have less than if you did things YOUR own way, or the way of the world, and your children will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord

l.        By-the-way, we are going to be spending a lot of time in the Book of Proverbs this week and next week, written by king Solomon to his son when he was young


3.       I am going to be speaking about children that still live in your home. Some things God says apply to young children, some to teenagers. Use wisdom to figure out how best to apply what God says to your situations in your home!

4.       I am going to be speaking from my heart as well – not from a position of having perfect children. I just know these words are right, and that they work, even when my own parenting hasn’t!


III.  Message (Ephesians 6:1-3)


A.     God Wrote a Message to Children! (Ephesians 6:1)


1.       God in the Bible writes to everybody


a.       To Husbands, wives, servants (6:5)


2.       Notice how Paul writes directly to children


a.       Children are able to hear and understand!

b.       What a marvellous Book!

c.       God takes time to reason with children, and to instruct them in the way they should live

d.       He did not write, “Parents, make sure your children obey you”

e.       But instead he wrote, “Children, make sure you obey your parents”

f.        Because this is right!


3.       God here is teaching CHILDREN to obey, and honour, and support their parent’s decisions


a.       Not because the parents are so good or so right

b.       Not because it will be easy to obey them

c.       But because it is right to obey and honour your parents


4.       A parent is supposed to convey this to their children


a.       How are they going to know what is right and wrong unless YOU Dad, unless YOU Mom teach it!

b.      Reading the words of Scripture to their children, even from a young age (2Tim 3:15)

c.       Explaining the words and commands of the Bible to their children as they are old enough to understand

d.       Answering the questions of their children that invariably will come up when you read the Bible!

e.       More parents have led their children to Christ simply because they spent the necessary time reading the Bible to their children – they were there when the child would finally admit they needed Jesus!


B.      God Gave a Command for Children (Ephesians 6:1,2)


1.       A child has responsibilities before God (Prov 20:11). God expects things of them, just like He does the parents


a.       Much of the Bible is written to adults

b.       But it was also written to be read by children, and obeyed by children even

c.       Don’t wait until your child is 15 before you start requiring them to read the Bible – most of the time that is way too late!


d.       God expects two things of children:


1)      To OBEY your Christian parents

2)      And to HONOUR your parents


e.       Yes, there are exceptions

f.        But only after the rule has been established in their lives


2.       To OBEY their Christian parents means


a.       Do whatever they say do. Whatever!


1)      Turn off the TV

2)      Change what you are wearing

3)      Clean up your room

4)      Help Dad with hoovering the car

5)      Help Mom with the dinner

6)      Go to bed... now

7)      Do not listen to that radio station – turn it off

8)      Practice your piano… now


b.       Obey your parents


1)      Even when your parents don’t make sense

2)      Even when a parent’s life is not perfect, or hypocritical


c.       Again, these words are directed at children, living in their family home


1)      When you are old enough to move out, well, you don’t have to obey your parents anymore

2)      So you had better had learned all you could from them before you move out


d.       Children: Do what your parents tell you to do

e.       And parents: expect your children to do what you tell them to do


3.       To honour means


a.       To respect them – do not treat them as equals, but as above you – esteem them

b.       To listen to their parents, and give them preference over their own feelings and their friends

c.       To prize them and their opinions, and lift up, praise their parents – think very highly of them

d.       To never murmur, complain, yell at, talk back, mock, argue, or fight

e.       To go ahead and do what the parents say, unless it is against Scripture

f.        To thank their parents – for all the sacrifices they made to give them a better life than they had

g.       Do you realise that when you are old enough to move out, you don’t have to obey your parents anymore, BUT… you never can get out of honouring your parents, no matter how old you are!?


4.       These are the most important things for a child to learn, and so, for you to teach


a.       More important than learning to kick a soccer ball

b.       More important than learn to paint or draw

c.       More important than to learn to sing or play a musical instrument

d.       Is to obey and honour their parents!

e.       These two things are THE most important things you can teach your children


1)      Yes, you need to teach them right and wrong

2)      You need to take time to answer their zillions of questions

3)      But much of what you teach will not make sense to them for years

4)      So, before you can explain right and wrong, good and evil, you need to teach them that God expects them to always obey their Mommy and Daddy

5)      It is a command in both the Old and New Testament (Ex 20:12; Mt 15:4; Eph 6:2)


5.       Learning obedience is good and vital


a.       He who has learned to obey, will one day know best how to command

b.       God expects that the older a child gets, more freedom to think and reason and even disagree

c.       But in childhood, obedience to your parents is king

d.       THIS is where our society is failing

e.       The world’s culture disagrees. Psychologist David Carey, on Newstalk every Wednesday afternoon, spends hours trying to convince parents to raise their children different than God’s way. He said this past week, “Why are we trying to get our children to do what we say? We should be getting them to understand what we want them to do, and so reason with your children, listen to them, and give them time.” (paraphrased). Doesn’t that SOUND so good?

f.        But all David is doing is drawing the line in the sand between the world and Christ – two opposite views. One that is producing some of the worst brats in history, who hate God, hate their parents, and most of all hate themselves. And the other viewpoint that produces children who love God, love people, and love sacrificing themselves for the needs of others!


6.       Learning Obedience is Serious Work


a.       I was out yesterday, door to door soul-winning, and this 8 year old boy was outside his house playing and he saw me when I came up to the house. The Mother was in the car, evidently waiting on the dad to come out. I motioned at the Mother that I just would place the invitation inside the doorway and then be on my way. The young boy grabbed me and asked me to wait for a minute while he went inside the house and got something. I instead just turned and went on to the next house. Well, he came after me quite upset, and he asked why I had not stayed there like he had said. I told him that I did not know him and he did not know ME. Well, all he wanted to do was show me his trophy he had won at school this week. I said Wow! What an amazing award! I hope you earn many many more! And then I walked on to the next house. When he went back to his house his father asked quite sternly, Who was that you were talking to? The boy did not answer. The father asked several more times, and then told him to get into the car, saying “Don’t talk to strangers!” The young boy has no idea how dangerous things are out in the world. That’s why it is dead serious that children be taught to obey their parents – for their protection!

b.       A child needs to know that they must obey – not the reason, because often, they will never understand before it is too late, when someone with evil intentions snatches them away!

c.       I knew a pastor in Florida, who was walking with his family in a shopping mall, when the father saw a gunman leave a shop and raise a gun into the air towards them. The father spoke firmly and clearly, “GET ON THE FLOOR.” All of his family dropped to the ground as the gunman began to shoot in all directions. There was no time to explain. No time to get everybody’s attention. Just said it loud and clear, and only his family obeyed!

d.       THAT is how serious obedience to your parents is!

e.       By-the-way, learning to obey is part of the Gospel (Romans 6:16,17). A habitually disobedient child will find it impossible to follow Jesus Christ, and will die in their sins one day!


1)      Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2)      Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

3)      Col 3:6  For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:


f.        If you do not teach your children to obey you, they will only obey their own lusts, to their destruction (Romans 6:12)

g.       Obedience to parents is the foundation of everything that will be good in a child’s character. Without it, all the other good things will be only paper-thin!

h.       Listen to Jesus’ words in Luke 6:46… Christianity without obedience to Christ is a waste of your time.

i.        Where will your children learn obedience if not from you, parents?


C.     God Makes a Promise for Children (Ephesians 6:3)


1.       The Fruit, Results of Obeying your parents are two-fold:


a.       A good life – blessed by God, protected by the hand of God, prospered by God

b.       And a long life – lived so that they get to see THEIR grandchildren, and their great grandchildren!


2.       Isn’t that what every parent wants for their children?

3.       You believe in the promises of God don’t you?

4.       Well, then train your children to obey you and your spouse, and to honour you and your spouse!


D.     Here is the practical stuff…

E.      How to Get Children to Obey


1.       You give a command, and instruction, and take all the time necessary to make sure they do it

2.       You repeat the giving of the command and the work with the child to make sure they do it until they do what you say without murmuring, or hesitation.

3.       Give it in a firm tone, but not ever loud


a.       Never count

b.       Never yell

c.       Just give the command, and then get up and help them see it through until they do it in obedience


4.       Give clear, simple instructions


a.       Pick up that toy and put it away please

b.       Eat all your broccoli

c.       Do not hit your sister

d.       Turn over and go to sleep


5.       Give only instructions that they can obey – age-based instructions


a.       A 5 year old may not be able to take out the rubbish, so make the commands for the 5 year old equal to his or her age ability

b.       Expect more of older children

c.       Do not pity them for having to do chores – the older they get, the more they should do – or else you are creating lazy, spoiled adults that will abuse the hard work and graces of their spouse one day!


6.       Correct them when they disobey – the Bible calls it both correcting and chastising


a.       Punishing is for older teens, and adults

b.       Correcting is for children

c.       If you constantly punish a child, you discourage them

d.       And if you go too far, you will create a monster of a child, full of wrath – which is the worst thing, and what most of our parents did with us!

e.       So, have clear costs of disobedience – more about that next week on chastening


F.      How to Get Them to Honour You


1.       You visibly and publically honour God first


a.       Make Him Lord of your life – the boss that you obey

b.       You stop your own complaining about where God has you, and how hard things are trying to do right

c.       Praise God in your home


2.       YOU personally honour YOUR authorities – as the example


a.       Your pastor

b.       The Garda

c.       Your husband if you are the Mom

d.       Your employer

e.       Your OWN parents

f.        Do what they tell you to do when it is not against Scripture; praise and respect them!


3.       You then teach your children to honour people like your wife, or your husband, and all authorities because God says so. Just tell them to do it!

4.       And then you command them rise up and honour whom they should honour (Lev 19:32)


a.       Older people

b.       Garda

c.       Church elders

d.       Nurses

e.       Doctors

f.        The bus driver

g.       The janitor

h.       The employer

i.        The neighbours


5.       And then command them to NOT honour those that are not worthy


a.       Sports stars making 30 million a year

b.       Movie and music stars – dope heads


6.       Sounds simple, and it is!


G.     What About Teenagers?


1.       It is a lot harder the longer you wait to get started

2.       So, Take time with them – love them! Take the time you should have taken when they were younger

3.       Reason with them – they are becoming young adults

4.       Listen to them – sometimes they just have one thing stopping them, and if you took the time to listen and help them understand something they are struggling with, they can come back in line

5.       Lead them by example

6.       Humble yourself before them – don’t be only the boss – be real. Yes, you are the head of the home Mom and Dad, but let your teenagers know you are flawed like them

7.       Command them anyway – that is your God-given job

8.       Correct them when they disobey – don’t spare because of their whinging and crying

9.       Pray WITH them. Sit down with them, and hold their hand, and pray with them about their needs, and about their burdens

10.   Develop their walk with God – always talking about spiritual things, and about good things

11.   Pray FOR them


H.     I am going to stop here

I.        Next Week - Help for the Father (Ephesians 6:4)


IV.  Conclusion


A.     The concept of the ‘home’ is just about demolished – just about smashed beyond recognition

B.      We need to return to the Bible’s ways of having a home!


1.       God Wrote a Message to Children! (Ephesians 6:1)


a.       Teaching CHILDREN to obey, and honour, and support their parent’s decisions

b.       How are they going to know what is right and wrong unless YOU Dad, unless YOU Mom teach it!

c.       Reading the words of Scripture to their children, even from a young age (2Tim 3:15)


2.       God Gave Two Commands for Children (Ephesians 6:1,2)


a.       To obey your Christian parents

b.       And to honour your parents

c.       These are the most important things for a child to learn to do

d.       Obedience is serious


3.       I showed you How to Get Children to Obey, and How to Get Them to Honour You


a.       Even your teenagers!

b.       Did you take note of how?


4.       Remember, there is a Promise for Children who do obey their parents


a.       A good life – blessed by God, protected by the hand of God, prospered by God

b.       And a long life – lived so that they get to see THEIR grandchildren, and their great grandchildren!

c.       Isn’t that what every parent wants for their children?

d.       Well, then train your children to obey you and your spouse, and to honour you and your spouse!


5.       Obedience makes it easier for a child to get born again and to follow God! A habitually disobedient child will find it impossible to follow Jesus Christ, and will die in their sins one day!


C.     It is time we all committed ourselves to raising a godly generation, in the midst of a wicked culture


1.        Even though you probably you didn’t learn much obedience in your home (unless it was more than 50 years ago). But you still need to humble yourself and accept that God is right, and you and I are wrong

2.       As stubborn as you may be, it is time for some PARENTS to become like children again, and fear God and start doing things His way

3.       If you want some help, God has plenty – it is called GRACE!