A Sermon on Parenthood from 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 …
What is distinctive about Christian parenting? While non-Christians bring their children up with some form of nurture and admonition, Christian mothers and fathers engage in these duties with an entirely different perspective. From a Christian perspective, parenthood makes nurture and admonition of their children with a knowledge of the Lord their highest priority. In this sermon on Ephesians 6:1–4 titled “Godly Upbringing,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones gives Christian parents practical advice in showing how this is the parents’ responsibility. The discipleship of children begins in the home. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges parents to consider what their home life is like from the parents’ general attitude about Christ and the church to the direct teaching and worship within the daily rhythms of their Christian life with children. This challenging message to parents will show important nuances in raising children to follow Christ as Lord and Savior, never forcing them to a decision but leading them with love. The church needs to take its calling to be Christian parents seriously and think soberly about what is the best way to accomplish this tremendous task.
- The scripture being discussed is Ephesians 6:4 - "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
- The sermon focuses on the positive side of the verse - "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
- "Bring them up" means to rear or nourish children to maturity. Parents have a responsibility to raise their children.
- "Nurture" refers to the cultivation of the mind and morals. It includes discipline and acts.
- "Admonition" refers to words - exhortation, encouragement, reproof, blame. It includes what parents say to children.
- Children are to be brought up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" - they should know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is the duty of Christian parents.
- Bringing up children this way is primarily the duty of parents, not schools or others. Parents cannot hand over this responsibility.
- It should not be done mechanically or abstractly like a drill. It needs love and warmth.
- It should not be entirely negative or repressive. It should not make children think religion is miserable.
- It should not make children into little prigs or hypocrites by having them mindlessly repeat pious phrases.
- Parents should not force children into a decision or violate their personality. They should not be too direct or emotional.
- The right way is through example - showing Christ is the head of the house. It is through conversation, answering questions, guiding reading, saying grace, and having family altar.
- The goal is to make Christianity attractive so children desire it. Parents should show their own joy in the faith.
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.