|And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, EPH 6:4.
It is so important to
understand how often the key words of our text are misunderstood.
I spoke about this very thing with a friend. He is a very spiritual man. We were
speaking about the word nurture, i.e., what it means to bring up children in the
nurture of the Lord. I asked if he had ever looked up the meaning of that word, and I
found that he completely misunderstood its meaning.
The meaning seemed so obvious to him. He seemed almost offended to be questioned about
its meaning, but the course of our conversation demonstrated that he had no conception of
the mind of the Spirit in the word's usage.
Many times, words seem so common that we do not take time to search out their real
meanings. As we go through this message I hope, with the help of the Lord, to unveil the
blessed significance of the word nurture in the Lord's directive to the fathers in
this passage of Scripture.
We have previously considered the role of wives and their responsibilities to their
husbands. The responsibilities that the Lord gives through His Word to each member of the
family are vitally important to understand.
We have considered the love of the husband to his wife. This includes how the husband
demonstrates his love for his wife. We have also considered what the ministry of a woman
is, and later we will come to the importance of children obeying their parents.
Now let's proceed a step further. Our text directs our attention to the responsibility
of parents, but more particularly to fathers. Let's look at what those responsibilities
are from a Scriptural perspective.
The preceding verses instruct the children to honor and obey their parents. If we look
at EPH 6:1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy
father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with
thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." These verses which teach children to
respect their parents are also a very vital foundation stone of a well-balanced family.
First, we must deal with the issue that lies before us. We can command honor by being
honorable. Fathers and mothers must command honor by their honorable walk before their
children. It is very easy to command a child to honor his father and mother, but it also
says to the father, "Provoke not your children to wrath."
We see throughout the Scriptures all of the areas in which we may not provoke our
children to dishonor us. We provoke dishonor by walking dishonorably. These areas must be
dealt with very tenderly.
Let's take the example of the mother. The mother must train the children to honor the
authority of their parents by her example of submission to her husband. How can a child be
expected to learn reverence and honor for the command and authority of the Word of God if
his mother isn't showing submission to her husband? The children have a good
understanding, and they realize that the Scripture commands that.
If the mother is dishonoring the authority that is ordained of the Lord by not being in
subjection to her husband, then the children will not want to show respect for that same
The mother must train the children by her example. We must understand what it means to
train. There is a great difference between training and teaching. Teaching means to bring
something intellectually into their minds, but training is to continue doing something
until it becomes instinct. They are able to do it without even thinking. That is training.
We must train our children to honor the authority of their parents by the example of
the mother. This is by her submission to her husband and to the authority of the Word of
God. The Word of God commands her to submit, so she must train her child to honor
Look at what we read in TIT 2:2-8, "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate,
sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior
as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober."
How do they do they teach? They do it by being good examples. "That they may teach
the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children."
How must a woman teach the young women to love their husbands? She does this by her
example of submission. "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to
their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed."
How is the Word of God blasphemed? The Word of God is blasphemed if a woman doesn't
show respect for the authority of her husband, because her example teaches the children to
disrespect their parents. They not only disrespect their father, but all authority. Then
what happens? The young children become provoked.
The Scriptures say, "Provoke not your children to wrath." In other words,
don't provoke your children to discouragement. They may be provoked to anger and become
discouraged by the example of their parents.
The father must train the children to honor their parents by the honor he bestows upon
the wife as the weaker vessel. If husband shows disrespect for his wife, can he expect his
children to honor her? No! It is so important for a man to show humility, reverence and
honor to his wife in the presence of his children. This will show his children to honor
and respect their mother.
1PE 3:7 says, "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the
grace of life."
What does this teach? The husband must not exalt himself above his wife. He must not be
superior to his wife, but they must be "heirs together of the grace of life." He
must show before his children that he isn't exalting himself into a position of undue
authority. God gives that position of authority and the husband is also showing that he is
in submission to God.
This is important to understand, because Scripture says, "that your prayers be not
hindered." How can we stand before the Lord in a right spirit, if we don't have that
right spirit before our wife and children? How can we train our children if we are not in
the right spirit?
We have been studying the Sermon on the Mount dealing with the spirit of the law. I
want to touch on a little point here.
It is important to understand that if we ask for a Pharisaical obedience from our
children, we can expect a Pharisaical response. In other words, if we make rules and
regulations to the letter of the law without explaining to them why we have set them, then
we are asking for Pharisaical servitude of our children. Our children must understand why
they are asked to do these things, so that they desire to obey, to accomplish the intent
of our demands.
It is important to understand what our text says. It says, "In the nurture and
admonition of the Lord." That admonition of the Lord is that which flows from the
Lord. We must show our children that when they are restrained, it is because the Lord says
so. They need to understand the motive behind why they are restrained from certain things.
They have to understand the intent. It is because it is flowing from the Lord. It is
according to the Word of God.
FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let's consider the objects of this command, "And, ye
fathers...." The father was the object of this command.
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider the negative essence of the command;
"...provoke not your children to wrath."
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the positive essence of the command,
"...but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
FIRST, let's consider the object of this command, "And, ye
fathers...." To whom is this command addressed? It is given directly and explicitly
to fathers. It is very important that we follow up on this and understand what the Word of
God is teaching us.
The previous verses command the children to obey their parents, but now it is
explicitly teaching the fathers. We have to see that when Scripture says, "Children
obey your parents," it means the fathers and the mothers.
Our text does not say, "ye parents provoke not your children to
wrath," but "ye fathers." We want to understand that the fathers are
the objects of this command.
However, considering the union of the husband and wife, this responsibility does not
exclude mothers. Fathers and mothers are one in purpose, one in spirit of concern to obey
God. However, the woman is in subjection to her husband, therefore the husband must give
The husband has the responsibility because the training and teaching that the woman
does must be in subjection to the husband. He becomes the one responsible.
In the time of the Old Testament, if a woman swore an oath, the husband could disallow
it. She was not bound. The father could disallow an oath that his daughter had bound to
herself. What does this do? It makes the husband responsible for all the training and
teaching of the children.
Even though he subordinates much of it to the woman, it is still under his jurisdiction
and responsibility. The father is singled out because he is the head of the wife, and
therefore the head of the home.
1CO 11:3 says, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is
Christ." This has to be kept in sight. The man is the head of the house, but Christ
is still the head of the man. Therefore, the man is responsible to see that all things are
done according to the Word of God. He is the one who will be held accountable.
The father is responsible for the training of the children, even though the woman may
do a large portion of it. The woman has to be one with her husband in spirit, purpose, and
concern to obey God. The father sets the rules of the house because he is the head of the
How often today fathers drop the baton and lose the race in this matterleaving
the responsibility of training and teaching the children unto the mothers.
The Lord does not allow leaving the responsibility of teaching and training to the
mothers. Our text commands the fathers, "And ye fathers...bring them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord." It is absolutely forbidden by the Lord for the
fathers to get so involved with the things of this world that they neglect their duty to
teach and train their children. In many cases the fathers fail in this matter.
This principle is also taught in COL 3:18-21. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your
own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter
against them. Children obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the
Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
What is the chain of command? It is, "husbands love your wives,"
"children obey your parents," and then "fathers provoke not your
children." The children are duty bound to respect, honor and obey their mothers and
fathers. The father is responsible for the rules of the house and the training. This
admonition is not to parents, but to fathers.
In 1TH 2:11 we read, "As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every
one of you, as a father doth his children." The apostle was showing how he comforted
and charged every one of them.
This is teaching us to train the children one by one. On an individual basis, children
must have their consciences charged and their spirits enlivened; they must be taught and
comforted. It says, "As a father doth his children." It doesn't say, "As a
mother doth her children."
A father is responsible to give individual instruction and attention to each child. How
many fathers today are the administrative heads of their house, administering the
discipline and training to their children? How many times was I too busy when my children
were young? I would come home too late from work to be with my children in the evening
because I was so involved in my daily work. This happens so often.
Next the woman takes on the responsibility, and that isn't Scriptural. The
administering of the discipline and the training to the children is the responsibility of
Fathers, beware of Jesus' commandment in JOH 14:23-24. "If a man love me, he will
keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode
with him." Listen to the next verse. "He that loveth me not keepeth not my
sayings." That is very serious.
The Lord Jesus says that if we are not keeping his commands, we don't love him. If we
say that we love him but we don't keep his commandments, we are liars. "If a man love
me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and
make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings, and the word which
ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."
Does that mean the mothers have no responsibility in training and disciplining the
children? No. The husband and wife are one. The mother's responsibility is to fully
cooperate in the administration of discipline and training, but in subjection to the rules
set forth by the father as the head of the house. It is so important that we understand
I know a man who was doing everything in his power to make a living, and then he was
also trying to get the gospel out to the world. Behind his back, however, his wife was
giving his children money to entertain themselves in areas that he had forbidden. This is
abomination because the father's authority is being undermined. The parents must cooperate
in the administration of discipline.
The mother must abide by the principles that the father has set down. If she doesn't,
she isn't in subjection to the Lord or in subjection to her husband. She is destroying the
children's honor for their parents. She may have thought that she would become popular in
the eyes of the children, but the children will learn to hate her more than they hate him.
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let's consider the negative essence of the command;
"...provoke not your children to wrath." This command is in the first instance a
negative command. "And, ye fathers, provoke NOT your children to wrath."
This would mean fathers must not provoke their children to anger with Pharisaical
restrictions or restrictions inconsistent with their own example. It is so important that
we understand that. If we set down restrictions, those children need to know the reason
and intent of those restrictions, so they can observe them to the intent. Then it's not
Pharisaical. It is in the right spirit and atmosphere.
If all the restrictions are laid down before the children and their father becomes a
hard master, then all they have is a slavish fear. They don't know why they must obey! We
need those children to be trained in the admonition of the Lord. They have to understand
that every principle is based on Scripture and the ordinance of the Word of God. They must
submit to these standards and principles in a way of submission to the will of God.
You cannot just set down a list of do's and don'ts that will provoke the children. The
text says, "Provoke not." It is very provoking if the children "may
not," "may not," and "may not," without any known reason.
One time I heard a man say, "You can't because I said so." That is absolutely
not sufficient. You must teach the child to understand why something is forbidden or
something must be done. Then they understand the intent of it.
If your examples are not consistent with your training, you are provoking your children
to wrath. For example, I may tell my child that he can't smoke while I am holding a
cigarette in my hand. Or I could tell him that I don't want him to drink beer when I drink
beer. This is especially wrong if the father tries to hide his wrongdoing from his
children. When they discover the truth, their respect will diminish. Such provocation will
cause the children to be discouraged and to harbor bitterness against their father's
authority over them.
In COL 3:21 we read, "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be
discouraged." We must realize that each one of those little children is an individual
person. We must encourage them, not discourage them. We must encourage them in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord. We must show them that we, as well as they, are in subjection
to the Word of God. We can't let it happen that they look to us as a cruel master. As they
are, we must be walking in subjection to the authority of God's Word. This must be brought
home to the children.
Why did Paul begin with this exhortation? Because Paul realized that fathers, who are
fallen creatures, are liable to abuse their authority. We can make hard masters of
This negative admonition implies, "Fathers don't abuse your authority," lest
the wives or children become discouraged! It is very easy to ask a woman to be in
subjection, and then make her into a slave. It is easy to ask a child to be in subjection,
and then be a hard master.
We must be of one purpose. We must show the children that we are in humility and in
subjection to the will of God. We must show them that our desire is to do the will of God;
then they know why we must enforce the will of God. We aren't standing as a slave driver.
We're asking, begging, and insisting that the children walk with us in the fear of the
The fathers are the head of the house, but they are to remember Paul's exhortation in
1CO 11:3, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ."
That is what has to come across to the children: "I am the head of the house
because Christ is my head. I am doing what the Word of God demands of me. Christ is the
Word. That is my head. That is my authority. That is what I am subjected to. That is what
I must account to. Therefore, we must obey."
Then the children understand the spirit of the law. They understand that it is a matter
of walking according to the will of God.
We have to see that there are two kinds of anger. Fathers can provoke their children to
immediate anger or delayed anger. Children are provoked to immediate anger by unreasonable
demands. We ask them to do things that are just literally humiliating. We can ask them to
do things that are physically inhumane, or we can ask them to do things contrary to common
sense. We can provoke our children to anger with these and other unreasonable things.
Unreasonable demands, e.g., Pharisaical obedience without love as the motive builds up
resentment. If they don't have any knowledge of why they are asked to do something, they
are only obeying the orders. They are only obeying the letter of the law. They are not in
a position to say that they have a desire to do your will because it is Pharisaical.
When we tell a child to do something, they must understand why they have to do it. Then
they can do it by the intent of the order. Pharisaical obedience without love as the
motive builds up resentment. It becomes a slavish fear and submission.
Children are provoked to immediate anger by harshness in the way their lives are
governed. Scripture repeatedly speaks of the tender love of the father. Children are like
tender plants; they must have a tender ruler. They must see tenderness in their father.
Watch what we see in PSA 103:13-14, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the
LORD pitieth them that fear him." We have to have the relationship with our children
that we want to have with the Lord as His children.
We may provoke our children by ruling with harshness. But like the Lord who "For
he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." So we too, in patience, must
instruct and discipline them with a loving, tender spirit. We will only provoke them to
anger with harshness.
Fathers must command the reverent respect of their children through tender, fatherly
love. How do we command that honor? We do it through a tender fatherly love. There are all
too many fathers who never take time to show their children tender love, but will severely
punish them for wrong.
Many fathers hide behind their own fathers' severity as their excuse for not
disciplining their children. There must be a balance between their correction and love.
I have heard men use the excuse that their fathers were too severe when they were
children. Now they won't discipline their own children. Their father did not love. Their
father would use the whip with such severity that they made a resolution to never spank a
child. That father did not correct them with love, and now these men use their fathers'
severity as their excuse for not disciplining their children. There wasn't a balance
between correction and love.
Discipline must be administered out of love and in love. HEB 12:5-6 says, "And ye
have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise
not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."
One time I was at a school visiting with a teacher about her discipline problem. She
said, "The problem I have is that every time I go to discipline the child, by the
time I get there I'm not mad anymore." Anger was the motive of her discipline. If she
wasn't mad anymore, then the child wasn't disciplined. That is not the motivation or basis
upon which you discipline a child.
You must discipline a child out of love. You correct the wrong rather than avenge
your anger. God the Father says, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth," HEB 12:6.
Discipline is to correct wrong. It must be done calmly, collectively and in a loving
spirit. To chasten a child properly, you must first go on your knees together and pray
that God will forgive their wrong. Then they are disciplined, knowing that it is done in
Children must at every occasion be trained to understand that love is the motive for
discipline. It is to save their souls from hell. Look at PRO 23:13-14. "Withhold not
correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou
shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
Children must understand that the motive for discipline is love and that it is used for
their spiritual good. It is to bring repentance, not to bring revenge. The rod of
correction as referred to in Scripture does not mean a physical instrument used to beat
them, but it is a figure of speech to convey the use of discipline. Discipline must be
measured to fit the child and the wrongdoing.
Fathers provoke their children if they are unreasonable in their demands, or if they
are harsh with their children, but more especially if they are partial with their
Have you ever wondered how many parents are partial with their children? How many times
have you seen one child punished severely for an action when his brother or sister can do
the identical thing and it goes unnoticed? It will provoke hatred and bitterness in the
heart of child and cause problems when a parent shows partiality.
Maybe they show partiality because one child was named after them or for some other
silly reason. The respect is gone. "Who without respect of persons judgeth according
to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." That is so
important. Spanking one child for slight provocation, while another gets by unnoticed for
the same thing, will provoke your children to anger. This will certainly provoke hatred
and bitterness in the hearts of the children.
1PE 1:17 says, "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons
judgeth...." Parents must be so careful not to provoke their children with
partiality. In bringing up my own family, that is one thing I have tried. I have tried to
be impartial and very careful to treat them all the same. Still, when I discussed it with
my children after they were grown some felt that they were not treated as well as the
rest. Even if we try with all of our might to be impartial, there is still that little
The greatest area in which fathers provoke their children to anger is through
inconsistency in their own example.
I could sit and lecture my children about how important it is to tell the truth, but
the next day they might hear me tell my neighbor a white lie. They know when I do because
they listen to the conversations in the home. What does it provoke when they witness that
white lie? This will provoke hatred in the heart of the child.
Some fathers will brag about how they got something by the IRS or how they pulled
something over on someone else, then they turn right around and instruct their children to
tell the truth. Their inconsistency will provoke more hatred in the heart of the child
than any other thing.
Children are very quick to sense hypocrisy, and hypocrisy causes them to dishonor their
parents. Children are good at remembering what they hear and see in the home; they are
quick judges of truth and lies. Often we don't realize how a little child can become a
judge in their heart about whether or not we are telling the truth. If you want your
children to honor you, be honest.
Fathers, don't provoke your children to anger by inconsistency in your rules. If you've
made a mistake, admit it was a mistake. They will respect you for it. Your children need
to know that you are human.
If you have found out that a rule you made was a bad one, admit it. Admit to your
children that you were wrong and ask their forgiveness. They will love and respect you for
that. However, if you make excuses to prove that your wrong was right, then you aren't
commanding their honor. You aren't commanding their respect; you are destroying it.
Fathers all too often provoke their children to anger through neglectnever taking
time for what is important to their children. A little child has just as much personality
as a grown up. If there is something that is vitally important to that child and you don't
ever give him a chance to express it, then you will never command his love or honor.
You have to give that child a chance to express himself. You must take the time to
listen to and understand what is important to that child. They are becoming the future
fathers, mothers, and neighbors. If nobodyincluding their father and motherhas
ever taken time to listen to what is important to them, how can they have a chance to get
their values in the right perspective?
Things that can seem unimportant or trivial to a parent can be vital to the child. If
you take the time to listen to them, then you might be able to help them set their
priorities. There wouldn't be the communication gapwhat is usually called the
generation gap. Why is there a generation gap? Is it because the fathers have been too
busy to listen to the children when they were willing to talk?
Listening involves more than hearing. A father must listen with his heart to hear the
things that are often never spoken. Careful listening will reveal far more about the child
and his needs than the mere recounting of the events of his day.
Fathers provoke their children to delayed anger by failing to restrain them for fear
the child might not love him. There are so many parents that make that horrible mistake.
When the child is young, they will use no restraint and no discipline because they want
the child to love them. What they have done is generated delayed anger. Most of these
children resent their parents in their hearts because they realize they are not ready to
face the responsibilities of life.
What is the result? Many children today take drugs to escape the realities of life.
These children don't see the future as a responsibility. Out of resentment to their
parents and society, they start drugs, crime, and every form of perverted thinking. This
is an expression of the provocation of their fathers by their delayed anger. These
children have been provoked because they are filled with bitterness by a lack of love.
PRO 13:24 says, "He that sprat his rod hateth his son." Do you see? The
parent is expressing his hatred not his love. "But he that loveth him chasteneth him
betimes." These children have been provoked to anger by the neglect and indulgence of
their parents. They can see their parents indulging in so many things themselves. Their
parents have their business and entertainment. In today's world so many people neglect
In the daytime they leave their children at day-care centers while they are at work. In
the evening they leave their children with baby sitters because they want to go out. They
are provoking their children to hate them by their indulgence and neglect. That's a
delayed anger. The children will grow up to disrespect their parents.
One time I saw an example of this very thing. A man pointed out how that when his son
was small and growing up, he was busy. His son would say, "Dad!" "No, I'm
too busy son." "But Dad." "No, I'm too busy son." When his son
grew up, the dad would say, "Son." The response was, "No, I'm too busy,
There became a communication gap because the father was never willing to take the time
to talk about what was important to the child. When the child gets older, he won't tell
the father what is important. The child has learned to grow up without him. There was a
built-in resentment and hatred. That is a delayed anger.
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let's consider the positive aspect of the command,
"...but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
I want to show you what that word nurture means. The word nurture in our
text is taken from the Greek word Paideeia. It means, "Tutorage, i.e.,
education or training: by disciplinary correction; chastening, chastisement, instruction,
nurture. To train up a child, i.e., educate, or discipline by punishment: chasten,
instruct, learn, teach." To bring up your child in the "nurture of the
Lord" means to train them by disciplinary correction. It means to educate a child by
discipline or punishment. How many people realize that that is what the word nurture
means? It is very important we understand this.
The word admonition in our text is taken from the word nouthesia. In the
Greek it means, "calling attention to, i.e., mild rebuke or warning; admonition. It
means calling attention to the Word of God." In other words, "in the
admonition of the Lord" means calling attention to the Word of God.
We must chasten that child with his eyes on the Word of God.
Properly understanding these words, the father has a great responsibility unto the Lord
to discipline the children prayerfully, and in love, calling their attention to the Lord's
command to do so. That child should know that the spanking or other disciplinary action is
being taken because the Lord commands it.
In PRO 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son." We have to share this
with our child. We have to show children that the Word of God says this is done out of
love. If I didn't love you, I would spare the rod. That would show that I hate you. The
child has to be informed that discipline is carried out in the admonition of the Lord.
It says in PRO 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod
of correction shall drive it far from him." The child has to have that laid out for
him. I can still remember what my mother used to tell me as a child. She said, "Son,
there is foolishness in your heart. The Bible says the rod of correction will drive it far
from you." My mother would be weeping while she spanked me. Do you know what? That is
what made it effective. It made the chastisement very effective. I understood that it was
done in love because my foolishness had to be driven out.
The admonition is to avoid the negative by doing the positive. In other words, do not
provoke the children to anger by doing the positive; i.e., by bringing them up in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our text says, don't provoke them,
"BUT...nurture" them. That negative is avoided by the positive. It is avoided by
EPH 6:4 says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We are to bring them up in the
discipline that was set forth by the Lord.
To nurture your children includes supplying and providing them with every spiritual,
emotional, as well as natural need to bring them to maturity. A father has a tremendous
responsibility to each of his children. He is responsible for bringing them up to be
mature adults who are ready for the responsibilities of life. They must be brought up with
their spiritual, emotional, and natural needs being filled so they may become adults who
love and fear the Lord.
The father's example will follow them and become a pattern for their actions.
Fathers are responsible to nurture their children. They cannot excuse themselves
because the children are in Sunday school or a public school where they are taught
humanism instead of the authority of God's Word.
A father can't say that he has done his job by putting them in Sunday school and in
public school. That training is for the father to give. The Sunday school is just window
dressing. It's a real blessing in itself as a luxury added to their father's training.
The spirit of the education of that child takes place in the home. We can't leave our
children's training to the public schools where they are taught humanism instead of the
authority of God. We can't hope that that will prepare them for the realities of life. We
have a responsibility to teach our children the authority of the Word of God.
The means ordained of the Lord to nurture a child include the chastening and admonition
of the Lord. It is not our choice whether or not we will chasten a child. It is an
The first interpretation of the word "nurture" is "Tutorage, i.e.,
education or training." We must be responsible for the education or training of that
child. We can't turn that over to the humanists. We can't turn that over to the public
schools. It is our own responsibility.
Watch what we see here in ACT 7:22. "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." We have the responsibility to
educate our children intellectually, but we have to use discretion as to what point and by
In 2TI 3:16 it says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness." There is also the necessity of training children spiritually for
correction and instruction in righteousness.
In 2TI 2:25 it says, "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." It is the
responsibility of the fathers to teach those children. They must bring them under the
means, but also they must give them the instruction at home. The second interpretation of
the word "nurture" is, "To train up a child, i.e., educate, or discipline
by punishment; chasten, instruct, learn, teach."
HEB 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto
them which are exercised thereby."
HEB 12:5-6 says, "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as
unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou
art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom
he receiveth." This word chastening in HEB 12:5, 6, 11, and the word nurture
in our text both come from the same word in the Greek.
Now watch the principle taught in HEB 12:11. "Now no chastening for the present
seemeth to be joyous, but grievous." It comes against the flesh. It is not a pleasant
thing to do, but the motive is love. "Nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the
peaceable fruit of righteousness." It brings that conformity of life to the Divine
Law: "Unto them which are exercised thereby."
Proper training must be enforced with rewards and punishments. We must understand the
law of the Lord. God set before Adam the reward for obedience that was to live forever in
paradise. He also placed before Adam the punishment for disobedience, which was, disobey
This is the way that we must train our children. There must be a reward for obedience.
They must understand what that reward is. It is for their future good and the love of God.
It is for the purpose of building a solid foundation in them. They must understand the
reward for obedience and the punishment for disobedience.
Fathers need constant prayer for wisdom. We read in JAM 1:5, "If any of you lack
wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it
shall be given him." It is so important that we understand this concept. We need
wisdom from on high. God said, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that
giveth to all men liberally."
Fathers who fail in discipline have failed miserably as a father. They are not worthy
of the name father. There is a solemn reality in this! God's Word compares a child who is
not chastened to one who has no father. Let's ponder this. If you fail in chastening and
disciplining your child, by the Word of God, you are not considered a father. You are not
worthy of the name.
I want to show you something. God compares a child who is not chastened to an
illegitimate child. Do you know what he calls them? He calls them bastards! Isn't that
something? If your children are running around and have never been disciplined, they are
bastards not sons, according to the Word of God.
Look at what is said in HEB 12:7-8, "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you
as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." That is
something to think about, isn't it? All children that are undisciplined are actually
illegitimate because their natural father does not deserve the name of father according to
the Word of God.
Humanism today teaches that children must be raised as bastards. Do you know why? They
say that you can't chasten a child. That is what Satan wants.
PRO 23:13-14 says, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest
him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver
his soul from hell." That is the last thing Satan wants you to do. So what does he
do? He tells the humanists that chastening your children is child abuse. PRO 13:24 says,
"He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him
Love and understanding must motivate chastening, not a fit of temper or emotions. We
may not let our emotions dictate how we discipline. We cannot correct a child in a fit of
temper, but we also can't spare him because of our emotions. PRO 19:18 says, "Chasten
thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying." We may not
let emotions dictate discipline.
Our children inherit the fall of Adam. PRO 22:15 says, "Foolishness is bound in
the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." The
gospel must begin with God's wrath upon sin. Repentance most often begins with chastening.
Isn't it something that it could save his soul from hell? It could work repentance in his
soul. In PRO 23:14, "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul
Can you understand why Satan has instigated the devilish movement to obstruct child
discipline? It is to damn their souls! Stop and think about that! It says to use the rod
and deliver his soul from hell. Satan says, "Don't use the rod." He wants to
damn their souls to hell!
So many families slave to give their children a college education. Yet, they fail
miserably by missing God's source of wisdom. Do you know what God's source of wisdom is?
PRO 29:15-17, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: [Isn't that beautiful? nurture
and admonition, the rod and reproof] but a child left to himself
bringeth his mother to shame. When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth:
but the righteous shall see their fall. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea,
he shall give delight unto thy soul."
Where is the source of the beginning of wisdom for our children? It is to bring them
into subjection to the Word of God. There is such delight for God-fearing parents to see
their children walking with a heart tender in the fear of the Lord. What could be a
greater delight to a God fearing parent than to see the hearts of their children tender to
All chastening must be accompanied with the admonition of the Lord. This word admonition
means, "calling attention to the authority and commission of the Lord to nurture
them." The child must understand why you are chastening. The best way to show them is
to get on your knees together before the Lord. Ask the Lord to forgive the child, and then
administer the correction in obedience to Him.
This admonition is verbal instruction in the form of warning and reproof. It says in
1CO 10:11, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are
written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." We must see
that the Word of God is an admonition to us. We must use the Word of God as an admonition
to our children to walk in the ways of the Lord.
ROM 15:14 says, "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also
are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
Do you see? We must learn to admonish one another as well as our children.
To nurture children they must receive verbal instruction. See how many proverbs begin
with, "My son." The entire book of Proverbs is the admonition of King Solomon to
his son. The Scriptural term "son," is applicable to all children, i.e., sons
and daughters. Solomon warns his son against laziness, evil companions, wicked women,
loaning money to strangers, and all the pitfalls of life. Solomon warned his son in PRO 7
against sexual allurements by prostitutes, warning that her house is the way to hell.
This is the instruction that a father must use on his son. We have to understand how
Solomon included all of the pitfalls of life in the way of admonition to his son. These
are some of the most powerful illustrations that we can use to see what we are responsible
for teaching to our children.
Solomon taught his son in PRO 6:6-11, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her
ways, and be wise." Do you see what that teaches? He instructed his son to understand
that in this short lifetime, we must prepare for the life to come. He not only taught him
the responsibility of being an industrious person, but to lay in store for our eternal
welfare these few years we have. That is where the greatest responsibility is for a
parent. We must keep before our children's eyes what is fixed for eternity. Teach them to
build themselves through the few years of this lifetime for eternity. Amen.
* * * * * * *
If this sermon has been a blessing to you or if you share it with a friend or use it as
a resource, please let us know. Thank you!
Gospel Chapel Ministries
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel
located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a book ministry and
a daily devotion. For a list of
sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog
or our sermon archive.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it.
If it has or if you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.