A Sermon on Ephesians 6:1-4
Children and Parents
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3so that it may turn out well for you, and that you may live long on the earth …
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to …
How should parents discipline their children? It can be a difficult topic since past abuses often provoke a parent to not discipline at all. In reaction to this, many Christians can react wrongly too. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:1–4 titled “Balanced Discipline,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds Christians the need for balance, especially when it comes to disciplining children. They cannot be reactionaries and revert to the old tyrannical methods, nor can they deny where Scripture says discipline is necessary for children. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides parents and those in authority over children with several principles to guide them in not provoking a child to anger. Importantly, there is a call towards self-examination by parents. Dr. Lloyd-Jones sets Ephesians 5:18 as the paradigm to commence this self-examination. Being filled by the Holy Spirit will give parents power that is not uncontrolled, capricious, unreasonable, selfish, severe, or thoughtless. In other words, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in parents’ lives. When this is the case, loving discipline is never domineering or possessive and guards against exasperating a child by changing rules and methods. Listen closely as Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides practical advice for parents that is biblically based.
- Discipline is essential and must be enforced but it must be done properly. The Bible teaches balance.
- There has been a reaction against Victorian era strictness but the modern view of no discipline is unbiblical. We must not swing to extremes.
- How to exercise discipline properly: Be filled with the Spirit which produces self-control and controlled power.
- Parents must exercise self-control and control their temper. Lack of self-control causes excess and harm.
- Parents must not be capricious, changing discipline based on mood. This irritates children and makes discipline impossible. Consistency in reactions and conduct is key.
- Parents must not be unreasonable, refusing to listen to explanations. This provokes children to wrath.
- Parents must not be selfish, crushing the child's personality. Children are given by God, not possessions. Domineering parents ruin lives.
- Punishment must not be mechanical, for its own sake. It must be reasonable, fitting the "crime." Humiliating or overly severe punishment does harm.
- Discipline must recognize the child's growth and development. The same strict rules for a young child will provoke an adolescent to wrath.
- Parents must not force their views on children. They must be patient, recognizing only God can regenerate hearts. Make concessions and show the reasonableness of beliefs.
- Discipline must be exercised in love, seeking the child's good. Look at children as souls given by God to raise, not possessions. Done right, children will respect parents.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.