Ephesians 6:4 Parenting By The Spirit, Or By The World?

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Ephesians, New Testament

Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and
admonition of the Lord.
The topic of parenting is something that should interest all segments of humanity.
Regardless of social standing, political persuasion, or religious belief, parents know the very complex
and sometimes difficult task of raising their kids.
There are many opinions about how to raise children.
● Don’t force kids to believe what the parents believe. Kids must be free to make their own decisions.
● Be very strict and careful about letting your kids see or hear anything that might be contrary to what is right.
● Never discipline your children. You will crush their spirits and inhibit them from becoming all that they can be.
● Discipline your children and be firm with them.
● Let your children come to their own conclusions about life and God.
● Teach your children about life and God.
● Send your children to public school and let them learn how to face the world.
● Home school your children and protect them until they are old enough to face the world.
The Christian must always keep in mind that their final authority is the Bible.
There are surely some good ideas that are not strictly biblical.
But there are no good ideas if they are in contradiction to the Bible.
We should not embrace any idea about child discipline that would go against the teachings of the Bible.
For the Christian, the Bible is the first place we should look, and the last place we should look.
Discipline involves not only punishment, but training.
To help people (kids) subdue wrong thinking and actions.
To help them cultivate right thinking and actions.
It may include punishment, but not necessarily.
In a broader sense…
Is discipline needed on any level in the days in which we live?
Is it ever right to punish children or adults?
Some people say that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Shouldn’t we just try to reform people, instead of punishing them?
Others say that stricter laws are needed.
That criminals have it too easy in our prison systems.
What is needed is not rehabilitation, but retribution.
We need to teach people a lesson.

We need to see what the Bible says about mankind…

I. The Nature of Man

A. Some Say That Man Is Essentially Good

1. We are born good and pick up bad behavior throughout life.

a. We are simply products of our environments.
b. If we change the environment, the person will prove that he is essentially good.

2. Since man is essentially good, we need only to draw the good out of them.

a. We need only to encourage and develop people.
b. All they need to be good is encouragement, development, and education.
c. (I am all for encouraging, developing, and educating people.)

3. Some say we should never control, punish, or discipline anyone. That is repressive.

a. (I am not for inappropriate punishment, etc.)

4. Summary- What some people say…

a. Man is good, if you appeal to his reason, he will behave and do good.
b. If you simply speak nicely to people, or reason with them, they will change.
c. If you educate him, he will understand his wrongdoings, and that is all that he needs to change his way of life.
d. Never discipline or punish adults or children, because that will never do them good,
and will only damage them.

B. Biblical View Of Mankind

1. Innately sinful. We are born sinners.

a. Ephesians 2:3
b. Psalm 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

2. We sin by our own free will.
James 1:13-16 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

3. Sin is universal among all people.

a. Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one.
b. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

4. The Biblical view of man is much different than that of the world.

II. Why Do Some People Steer Away From Discipline?

A. Because Of Wrong Parenting

There is no shortage of sad stories concerning unfit parents.

1. Some parents find their children to be a bother.

a. The parents aren’t free to have fun, because they have to raise their kids.
b. They don’t see their children as a blessing, but an inconvenience.
c. Ultimately, they treat their kids as an inconvenience, and don’t love them.

2. Some adults were raised poorly by their parents.

a. “Children should be seen, and not heard”
b. Translate- “What you have to say doesn’t matter.”

3. Many adults were raised terribly by overbearing fathers and mothers.

a. Verbal, emotional, physical, sexual assaults.

4. Some parents demand perfection from their kids.

a. Never letting children enjoy their childhood.
b. Pushing them too hard.
c. Trying to prepare them for adulthood, and to be successful.
d. Strict with their children beyond what is reasonable.
e. Sometimes masked over by saying “I love you.”
f. “I want you to be successful and have a good life”.
g. “I don’t want you to have to work hard like I did, that’s why I push you so hard.”

5. Some parents are overprotective of their kids.

a. They are afraid of what might happen to their children.
b. They end up suffocating their children through highly restrictive house rules.
c. They don’t let their kids enjoy their youth.

B. The Dangerous Response: No Discipline

1. Some parents over-react to the other wrong extreme.

a. Some parents don’t want to hurt their kids the way they were hurt.
b. They overreact, and have too light of discipline, or none at all.

2. Some parents are still damaged and hurt by their childhood.

a. They have sworn that they will not treat their kids the same way that they were treated.
b. The trouble is, they go too far the opposite way, and become ineffective as parents.

3. Some parents rebelled as children, because of harsh discipline from their parents.

a. They are afraid to lose their children, so they give in to them too easily.

4. Some parents pushed too hard as children.

a. They vow not to push their kids but end up letting the kids live undisciplined lives.

III. Seeking The Balance

A. Avoid The Opposite Extreme

1. The opposite of WRONG discipline isn’t NO discipline
2. The opposite of WRONG discipline is RIGHT discipline
3. To go from one extreme to the other extreme is still wrong.
4. The Bible presents a balanced view of raising children.
5. Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
6. Proverbs 23:13, 14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. 14 You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
7. Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
8. Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
9. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; NIV
10. Ephesians 6:4 Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. TLB
11. Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
12. Colossians 3:21 Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying. TLB

B. The Law

Some parents want to just lay down the Law. A list of how things will be.
They think that every situation has an absolute right and wrong about it.
That every violation of the Law has a predetermined punishment with it.
That there are no exceptions, and no discussions.
This is to raise your kids by the Law. Parents, watch out!!

1. The Law might make it easier for you. Why?

a. Because you don’t have to take the time to listen to your kids.
b. You don’t have to take the times to investigate the problem.
c. You don’t have to think about anything.
d. You don’t have to pray.
e. You don’t have to discuss it with your spouse.
f. You don’t even have to walk in the Spirit.
g. Just lay down the Law.

2. You will alienate your children from you.

a. Even criminals have the chance to try to explain themselves.
b. They can defend themselves.
c. And even judges try to make punishments fitting to the crime.
d. There sometimes are circumstances that change the punishment.

C. Grace

1. Some parents never want to discipline their kids. It’s too emotionally painful for them.
2. Too much effort is required to hear and understand the problem.
3. Too hard to decide where the fault is.
4. Too hard to carry through with the punishment.
5. They think that parenting is just being nice and being the child’s best friend.
6. God disciplines His children

a. Hebrews 12:6, 9, 10 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

D. The Bible Presents A Both Sides Of Discipline

1. Ephesians 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

E. How Do Parents Accomplish This?

1. Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
2. It is only the Spirit filled parent who can rightly raise their child.
3. It is the Spirit filled parent who knows when to be firm or lenient.
4. The Spirit filled parent will consider the entire situation.

a. Which child is it?
b. How is that child doing?
c. Are we expecting too much or too little from that child?
d. Am I over-reacting as a parent?
e. Am I trying to avoid repeating the mistakes my parents made?
f. Am I going too far in the opposite direction?

5. A parent cannot consider their parenting successful if their methods are simply a reaction to how they were brought up. That may also be a carnal response.
6. Spirit led, Spirit directed parenting will be just that: Led by the Spirit.

a. Not a reaction to the mistakes that made with us.
b. Not a response to what the common opinion of the day is.
c. Not even what “feels right”.
d. We can’t even raise our kids rightly if we go by our feelings alone.
e. Parents must be “filled with the Spirit”. It can be done.

7. And it is uniquely Christian, for it is empowered by the Spirit of God, and for the glory of God, and His Son Jesus Christ.