Doing Family God’s Way, Part 19 — Ephesians 6:4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #43)

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A series of homilies on Ephesians 5 & 6

A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”


I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages on Ephesians 5 & 6 (as well as other passages of Scripture) specifically targeted at reviving families and encouraging and exhorting husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children to do what God has commanded them to do, for if the church is to be revived and the country is to be awakened, the family must be revived first.

Ephesians 6:4:

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

—–

Most fathers are not successful in raising their children because they are not willing to love them enough to deal with the nitty gritty of parenting. It takes a man to stick and stay to raise his children into adulthood.

Leonard Ravenhill said, “When the hammer of logic and the fire of human zeal fail to open the stony heart, unction will succeed.”

—-

Today, we are going to begin looking at four principles regarding God’s command to Christian fathers from Warren Wiersbe’s Bible Exposition Commentary. These commands are especially relevant in a time when fatherlessness is described as an “epidemic.” Many men who have committed to staying with their families simply do not know how to be a good, godly father because they never saw that in their own young life. Thankfully, we can look to God’s Word for guidance. I am sharing the first of four powerful points that Warren Wiersbe brings out of this passage so clearly that it’s not worth the time to try to improve upon it. He states:

“If left to themselves, children will be rebels, so it is necessary for the parents to train their children. Years ago, the then Duke of Windsor said, ‘Everything in the American home is controlled by switches—except the children!’ The Bible records the sad results of parents neglecting their children, either by being bad examples to them or failing to discipline them properly.

“David pampered Absalom and set him a bad example, and the results were tragic. After Absalom ended up being killed in battle at the culmination of his rebellion against his father, the Bible says in 2 Samuel 18:33, ‘And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!’

“Eli failed to discipline his sons and they brought disgrace to his name and defeat to the nation of Israel. First Samuel 2 describes them: ‘Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord…Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord… Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people… [And] they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.’

“In his latter years, even Isaac pampered Esau, while his wife showed favoritism to Jacob; and the result was a divided home. Jacob was showing favoritism to Joseph when God providentially rescued the lad and made a man out of him in Egypt.

“Paul tells us that the father has several responsibilities toward his children.

First, “He must not provoke them. In Paul’s day, the father had supreme authority over the family. When a baby was born into a Roman family, for example, it was brought out and laid before the father. If he picked it up, it meant he was accepting it into the home. But if he did not pick it up, it meant the child was rejected. It could be sold, given away, or even killed by exposure. No doubt a father’s love would overcome such monstrous acts, but these practices were legal in that day. Paul told the parents, ‘Don’t use your authority to abuse the child, but to encourage and build the child.’ To the Colossians he wrote, ‘Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.’ So, the opposite of ‘provoke’ is ‘encourage.’

“I was addressing a group of Christian students on the subject of prayer, and was pointing out that our Father in heaven is always available when we call. To illustrate it, I told them that the receptionist at our church office has a list of names prepared by me, and these people could get to me at any time, no matter what I was doing. Even if I was in a staff meeting, or in a counseling session, if any of these people phoned, she was to call me immediately. At the top of this list was my family. Even if the matter seems to me inconsequential, I want my family to know that I am available. After the service, one of the students said to me, ‘Would you adopt me? I can never get through to my father, and I need his encouragement so much!’

“Fathers provoke their children and discourage them by saying one thing and doing another—by always blaming and never praising, by being inconsistent and unfair in discipline, and by showing favoritism in the home, by making promises and not keeping them, and by making light of problems that, to the children, are very important. Christian parents need the fullness of the Spirit so they can be sensitive to the needs and problems of their children.”

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