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Jul 10, 2016
Passage: Proverbs 22:6

Train Up A Child

You mothers do not need any admonition to love your children, and you fathers need no exhortation to provide for your families. But as believing parents, you may both need and desire some good, plain instruction about training your children. The Word of God provides the instruction needed.

The wise man wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (PROVERBS 22:6). The simple lesson of the text, I believe, is just this: Good training, as a general rule, has good effects. The text does not promise salvation as the result of good training; but it does promise that, in the general course of things, a well-trained child grows into a responsible adult. The apostle Paul gives a similar exhortation, “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (EPHESIANS 6:4). Paul addresses fathers in particular, because the primary responsibility of family government falls upon the father’s shoulders.

It is clear from the Word of God that it is the responsibility of believers to train their children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let me offer some help to you who desire to train your children well by reminding you of three plain facts.

Fact #1, The Lord our God has placed us in an AWESOME RELATIONSHIP to our children. We have brought into this world immortal souls. Your sons and daughters are endless, rational, and responsible creatures. They will live forever, either in the eternal bliss of heaven or in the eternal torments of hell! And we have infected our children with the deadly plague of human sin. Mister, your child got his original sin, guilt, and spiritual death from you! This fact alone should be argument enough to cause you to bring your children to the great Physician, that He might heal them of their sins.

But our peculiar relationship with our children goes much deeper. As parents, God has placed in your hands the highest form of authority known to men. You fathers are, under God, prophets, priests, and kings in your homes (at least you should be!). And where there is great authority, there is great responsibility. There you are sovereign. It is your responsibility to train your children as such and to have them in subjection to you.

Fact #2, Being parents, we have an AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY before God toward our children. It is your responsibility to instruct, govern, and discipline your children with two goals. One, you must train them to live as responsible people in this world. Morality, honesty, integrity, generosity, and dependability are important and must not be neglected. Two, you must seek to train your children for the everlasting welfare of their immortal souls. You must give yourself to this work consistently, constantly, and carefully.

If you would train your children well, YOU MUST TRAIN THEM IN THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO, NOT IN THE WAY THEY WOULD GO. Your sons and daughters are born with a decided bias toward evil. If you let them choose for themselves, they are sure to choose wrong (PROVERBS 22:15; 29:15). If you would be wise, you must not leave your child to the guidance of his own will. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH LOVE, TENDERNESS AND PATIENCE. I do not mean that you should spoil them, but I do mean that you should show them that you love them. Love is the secret to proper training. Nothing will compensate for the absence of love and tenderness. Anger and harshness will frighten a child, but they will not persuade the child that you are right. If your children see you often out of temper, they will soon cease to respect you. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN TO BE INDUSTRIOUS AND RESPONSIBLE IN LIFE. Life is not all fun and games. Children need to be taught responsibility. TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH LOVING, BUT FIRM, DISCIPLINE. Determine to make your children obey you. It may cost you much trouble and cost them many tears, but it will be best for them. If you love them and seek their happiness, you must discipline them. A loving parent will see to it that his child is obedient to him.

Let me offer you some simple, but important, suggestions about family discipline. If you want your children to obey you, teach them to trust you. If they trust you, they will trust your judgment. Set before them an example of the things you require of them. Let your commands and your conduct be the same thing. Do not be over-indulgent with your children. A loving father will sometimes say, “No,” to his child. Let your children know that they will bear the consequences of their actions. The Word of God requires parents to punish their children when they do wrong. Yes, the scriptures require us to use the rod in discipline (PROVERBS 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17). Do not be wise above God! But in disciplining your children, be sure that you follow the example and instruction of your heavenly Father (HEBREWS 12:5-11). See to it that the purpose of your discipline is for the correction and welfare of your child. Do not threaten. Do not punish rashly or in anger, but be firm and earnest in your discipline. Slight punishment frequently inflicted is a useless thing. Abusive words only create hostility. Use the paddle. Use it sparingly, but use it firmly. A loving but firm use of the rod is essential to the proper training of children.

Again, TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH A PRIMARY CONCERN FOR THEIR SOULS. If you love your children, think often of their souls. In every step you take regarding them, in every plan you make for them, and in every decision you make which concerns them, ask yourself one question; “How will this affect their souls?” Once more, TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN WITH THE FIRM PERSUASION THAT MUCH DEPENDS UPON YOU. You cannot convert your children, you cannot save them, you cannot train them up to be christians, and you cannot change their hearts. But you are the one who molds your child’s character. And you do it, for better or for worse, in his earliest years. A young child’s mind is tender. It receives impressions like moist clay. But once those early years are gone, they are gone forever! So give yourself to this blessed, but awesome, responsibility of training up your children wholeheartedly!

Fact #3, Having said what I have, I must now remind you of an AWESOME REALITY. When you have done the best you can, you cannot save your sons and daughters, nor can you secure their salvation. “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” (ROMANS 9:16) “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” (JOHN 6:63) Men, women, and children are born gain “Not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (JOHN 1:13) Even here we must recognize that “Salvation is of the LORD.” (JONAH 2:9)

Realizing our utter inability either to save our children or to make them, as some folks like to say, “likely candidates for salvation,” I will conclude this brief message with three brief admonitions to you fathers and mothers who desire to honor the LORD in your homes:

FirstCALL UPON THE LORD IN PRAYER FOR YOUR CHILDREN. Cry out to God, as Abraham did, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (GENESIS 17:18). Take your child to God in prayer, like the Syrophoenician woman, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” (MATTHEW 15:22)

SecondlyCOMMIT YOUR CHILDREN INTO THE HANDS OF GOD. Abraham will have Ishmael. Isaac will have his Esau. David will have his Absalom. And you will have your unbelieving rebel. With Eli, we must say, “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.” (1 SAMUEL 3:18) Do not make an idol out of your child. If the Lord sends your son to hell, He is just in doing so. If He is pleased to save your child, rejoice and give Him thanks. But in either case, we must go on worshipping, trusting, and serving Him.

LastlyREST YOUR SOUL, IN SUBMISSIVE FAITH, IN THE PURPOSE AND GRACE OF THE LORD OUR GOD. With David we must say, “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” (2 SAMUEL 23:5)

I offer these thoughts to you who are believing parents with the prayer that they may be of help to you, as you endeavor for the glory of Christ to train up your children in the way they should go.

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