Protecting Parents from Discouragement

Today is a bit unusual for us because we will have a message to fathers on Father’s Day. That’s uncommon. For our past three years on Mother’s Day we have covered topics such as generosity, the kingdom of heaven, and mortifying sin. Father’s Day the past three years were my installation service (a charge to a pastor), the authority of Scripture, and then last year on demons (hopefully no correlation there).

But today we will study what the Scriptures say to fathers. As I was preparing this message my mind went back to a situation I encountered years ago.

I remember sitting among a group of believers as we were sharing burdens that we could pray for one another in. I was a young seminary student at the time. There was an older couple in our group who was undergoing tremendous suffering in their lives at that time.

They had physical challenges and health issues that resulted in problems at work and then financial pressures from that. But their greatest burden that they requested prayer for was always related to their children who were in the late teen and early adult years. 

And yet as time wore on, although I was barely a dad myself, my perspective on this family situation began to change. See, initially I was shared their disbelief at how terribly their children were behaving. I was entering in to the sorrow of that, and I couldn’t believe the injustice of the hand they were dealt in family life.

As time went on, my perspective didn’t change on the difficulty of the situation, but what changed was my view of their role in the fruit they were reaping in their children. Please don’t make a wrong connection by my statement. A rebellious teenager is not necessarily the result of unfaithfulness in parenting. You would only know that if you could identify parenting failures that would lead to that type of rebellion.

Getting to know this couple, it became apparent that they were regularly expressing how appalled and disgusted they were with their children… both directly to their children, and then to just about anyone else who would listen, whether in front of the kids or not.

They would lose their temper and blow up, make rash threats, and then later fail to enforce the consequences that they had declared. In applying discipline there was to a large degree an unwillingness to follow through on bringing an appropriate level of accountability if it got costly.

Not only that, but in desperation to get a desired response from their kids, they would resort to methods of manipulation, threats and guilt-trips. All delivered from an attitude of self-righteousness.

In the minds of those parents, as clear as day, they had gotten a couple of bad apples. And for the life of them they couldn’t figure out what they had done to be put in such a difficult situation. 

Sadly, for this couple there was an inability to make connections between areas of unfaithfulness in their own application of Scriptures to specific fruit in their home life. 

All of us are sinners who carry about a valuable treasure in earthen vessels. So, moral weaknesses in parents are par for the course. But we need to have God’s insight into how to properly identify and deal with these things.

Friends, I want to encourage you today in this area of family life.

Christian parenting is a high privilege and a glorious calling. If right now you have children at home this message has immediate implications, and if you are past the parenting stage, then your role in the church is to encourage younger families in these things so brush up on these principles, and if you are not a parent, then this gives you theology that God wants you to have.

As Christians, our parenting is to be Christian. Christian parenting is to be unlike any other parenting because it is supernaturally enabled. When God saves people he begins to radically redefine life, including in the home. Just consider how the Gospel changes family life. 

If you remember, roughly 400 years before John the Baptist came on the scene in Israel, God promised through the prophet Malachi that he…

Malachi 4:5–6—5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 

And do you remember the key identifying characteristic of the ministry of John the Baptist?

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

John’s ministry was one of repentance, and leading indicator of genuine repentance is an altered family life. The hearts of fathers to children and children to fathers changed from animosity to love because both come under the mastery of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t been with us, we have been making our way through Colossians 3 in our series, Christ in the Common. We took a break from our exposition in Mark to strengthen our body in how to have a thriving walk with Christ, and then specifically to strengthen our families, we have been taking this chapter piece by piece.

Turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3. We will read the chapter in its entirety today and then focus specifically on v. 21.

Colossians 3:1–21—1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 

(5) Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. 

(12) So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 

(18) Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

As we examine this passage, there are many positive things we could talk about in parenting. But today’s message focuses on reducing the risks. Limiting the liabilities and the potential damage.

When I was in the workforce as a manager I underwent management training and in part the purpose was to reduce liability. As a company grows managers represent liability because they can do things that get the company in trouble. The training alerts you to these hazards to avoid. All of it is pretty straightforward and basic.

In much the same way today, we are going to have some parental liability training, which is basic, but so necessary.

Our outline this morning from v. 21 is a:

4-Part Warning to Prevent a Failure in Christian Parenting

By saying failure, I don’t mean that we are merely outcome based by looking for successful children. But rather that on the part of the Christian parent, you missed the mark in terms of what God called you to and what you aspired to accomplish. Our assessment is based upon faithfulness to Scripture.

We serve a God who powerfully controls all things and awakens dead hearts. That is his job. So, then the failure is in unintentionally impeding what we were setting out to accomplish.

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)
  2. The common pathway to exasperation (selected)
  3. The crushing penalty for exasperation (3:21b)
  4. The chief protection from exasperation (Eph. 6:4b)

So, with that being said, let’s look at the first part of this warning. It is the precaution itself.

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)

(21) Fathers, do not exasperate your children…

As we have had in the instructions to wives to husbands and to children, we have a simple, unadorned instruction here. It is addressed to fathers, (πατέρες).

Sometimes this word means father, like when Mary had to reprimand twelve-year old Jesus in Luke 2:48 and said, “Your father (πατήρ) and I have been anxiously looking for you”

Sometimes πατήρ refers to both parents. For example, Hebrews 11:23 we read that Moses was hidden for three months by his πατέρων. Did Moses have two fathers who hid him? No. His parents. Same word in the plural referring to parents.

So sometimes πατήρ means father sometimes it means parents. Context determines of course the usage, so we look for clues in the text. Here you have Paul instructing children to obey their parents in v. 20. And in v. 20 he uses γονεῦσιν for parents, and then he changes here in v. 21 to πατέρες.

So, how do we understand this. Paul addresses fathers here, but this is instruction in parenting, which is carried out by fathers and by mothers. So, any parent needs to hear this and apply this message, fathers you have a foremost responsibility here, and perhaps even a greater tendency to exasperating your children.

Fathers in the Roman empire at this time possessed a power known as patria potestas, “the power of the father.”  It was a legal right which provided the father with absolute authority over the children to do with them as he pleased. 

There wasn’t DHS or any child protective services or laws.

It is difficult for us to imagine, but a father could legally sell his child as a slave, cast his child out into destitution, or even kill his child without repercussions from the state. A child essentially had the same rights as a slave—a piece property.

Of course, many fathers were kind, but the point is that they possessed absolute authority and control in a society that didn’t protect children. 

And so it is in that context, where you have families who seen the light of the Gospel in contrast with their former lifestyle and have repented and begin living under the mastery of Jesus, they are to view every relationship differently now in light of the cross.

And so, Paul writes a letter to this community of believers in the Lychus River Valley, gathered in Colossae. He is teaching them about how Jesus changes their priorities, their relationship to their sin, their character, and then he begins to specifically apply key truths to family life.

This passage assumes you are a Christian parent attempting to raise your child according to God’s Word. It is written not to society in general, but specifically to the church. And he comes to fathers right on the heels of instructing the children in the congregation to obey and he says simply: don’t exasperate.

Notice all the things Paul doesn’t say: bring your children under control, exercise authority, whip them into shape, make them submit to God’s Word.

Of course, parents are to keep their children under control and teach them to submit to God’s Word. That’s a given. 

But Paul’s concern here is how parents, and especially fathers handle their children. Paul has had a chance to observe families for many years, and he is now nearing 30 years in ministry at this point. That’s veteran status.

And in 30 years he has come to conclude after watching many Christian families, and fathers in particular that they need to be urged not to exasperate their children.

Paul’s instruction is the strongest negation possible. Don’t exasperate your kids. Don’t irritate them, don’t provoke or embitter them. 

Literally the word was used in the sense of, “to cause someone to react in a way that suggests acceptance of a challenge. It carries the concept of pushing someone into a challenge, you arouse them and instigate something that polarizes a situation and makes it adversarial. 

Husbands are to get bitter with their wives, v. 19. And then here, fathers are to make sure that they don’t parent in such a way as to incite their children to bitterness. The corollary passages in Ephesians 6:4 is don’t make them angry. The idea again in that particular word for anger is provoking someone. It is used of God arousing emotion and anger in the hearts of the Jews in Romans 10:19 (the only other occurrence in the GNT).

Parents… are exhorted not to irritate their children by unreasonable severity. This would excite hatred, and would lead them to throw off the yoke altogether… Kind and liberal treatment has rather a tendency to cherish reverence for their parents, and to increase the cheerfulness and activity of their obedience, while a harsh and unkind manner rouses them to obstinacy, and destroys the natural affections.

Children are commanded to obey in v. 20. They are vulnerable, and in v. 21 the primary authority figure in their life is told not to make obedience difficult. This is going to be a tendency of parents who want to honor Jesus Christ.

And it isn’t lost on me that in the New Testament you have just a couple of passages issuing direct commands to parents. Both of them warn Christian parents not to discourage their children. Don’t be a hindrance in their progress. 

This should pop out at us and brings up the immediate question then for every parent in the room, and especially dads is where does my leadership make it difficult for my kids to follow? Where am I frustrating them as I seek to lead them in God’s ways? Paul thought these believers needed to be reminded of this. 

Dads you have a position of authority in the home, and you must yield that authority properly and there is a tendency to misuse it.

And not only that, but to wrongly assume that all the issues in your kid’s lives are their issues, without considering your role in them.

See, I’m convinced that this is unintentional provocation. Christian parents don’t intend to exasperate, but it is collateral damage in the effort to raise children properly. 

No mom or dad who loves Jesus Christ sets out and says, “my ambition is to thwart my children and slow them down in their spiritual life.” No, this is rather a natural proclivity, it is a tendency. 

So, we need to get some help here.

There is no way to be exhaustive in one sermon—we can get you some resources. But before moving on in our verse, let’s take a few minutes to understand this…

But we need to know, “what ways do we provoke”? And that’s the obvious question. Paul doesn’t give us specifics here. He states the principle and expects that as you reflect upon the principle in your own life you will see how it connects to your practice in various areas.

We will take a few minutes to explore this before moving on to the next part of the verse.

4-Part Warning to Prevent a Failure in Christian Parenting

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)
  2. The common pathway to exasperation (selected)

This command to not exasperate has nothing to do with the law of God being challenging. In other words, sometimes the law of God exasperates a child. 

For example, the commandment to love one another fervently from the heart applies in sibling relationships. It isn’t your job to change that or modify it or make it more attainable. So, it isn’t an issue of compromising or lowering the standards.

But if we meditate on this it isn’t terribly difficult to understand. Put yourself in the shoes of your children. It’s surprising how difficult it is to remember is it not? Were you never a child? The irony of how quickly we forget our roots.

So, you consider life from their viewpoint. What is it like to come under your authority? This would mean examining areas such as your tone, the clarity and reasonableness of your expectations, your demonstration of the Christian life and representation of God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ. 

We could create a very long list of exasperating things that a parent can do to a child, things like: embarrassing through public correction, pushing personal preferences, hypocrisy, neglect, withholding affection, not listening or understanding, being unwilling to admit fault, overly critical, selfishness, over-protecting, making them feel like a burden, not respecting them, not being sensitive to their struggles, neglecting to provide for them, showing favoritism, inconsistent standards.

Peter O’Brien notes:

Effectively, the apostle is ruling out ‘excessively severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation, and all forms of gross insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensibilities’. Behind this curbing of a father’s authority is the clear recognition that children, while they are expected to obey their parents in the Lord, are persons in their own right who are not to be manipulated, exploited, or crushed.

Paul doesn’t give us a comprehensive list here on how to exasperate. He states the principle and then expects us to contemplate the pathway in our lives. Your parenting is to be a kind authority that adorns the Gospel. Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding A Child’s Heart, shares that in his many years as an elder in the church and a school superintendent it is rare that a child rebels against a kind and just authority.

You want to influence your children for Christ? How about persuading your children that living for Christ is actually more desirable by your own joy in the Lord and the way it is transforming your life? You want to give your kids something to want to aspire to. Compel your obedience not just with the rod, but by showing them the blessings of obedience.

You lead them in the ways of the Lord, not drive them into it. And so, when they do rebel, it is because they are confronted with truth, and not due to your unreasonableness or neglect. 

And you know what you do when God’s standard is difficult for them? We don’t make the bar easier or lower the standard. 

You be honest that you struggle with God’s standards. And you teach them how to persevere in pursuing Christ in the midst of your weakness. 

And how to stand firm praying at all times in the Spirit. You teach them how to confess their sin, and how to seek help from spiritual mentors. 

Demonstrate for them what it means to be sinner who has been freely forgiven by God through Christ. Parenting isn’t in a silo or a compartment, but takes place in the overflow of your own Christian experience day in and day out.

Paul’s call is surely not to be a spineless or compromising or overly indulgent parent. But rather a parent of unbending convictions who is tender in the nurture and application of bringing a child along into maturity, relating to them as one who understands the struggle.

As a side note, it seems to me in pondering this principle that being personally exasperating means that we are failing to reflect the character of God our Father to our children.

God is your Father if you are saved. He adopted you and made you a little brother or sister to Jesus. You are now a joint-heirs with Him. And think for a moment about how God the Father treats you now that you are his child:

  • Not unfair, but just
  • Not unpredictable, but faithful
  • Not confusing, but clear in his speech and expectations
  • Not ruthless, but full of compassion (pity on weakness)
  • Not quick to anger, but slow to anger
  • Not hypocritical, but always consistent
  • Not harsh, but gentle
  • Not uncaring, but feeds, leads, guides and disciplines (Psalm 23)
  • Not exacting, but relationally gracious (he knows our frame, Psalm 103)
  • Not arbitrary, but his discipline is purposeful (Hebrews 12)
  • Not distant, but near to the broken-hearted and poor in spirit
  • Not resentful, but generously forgives (Psalm 130)
  • Not stingy, but gives grace freely (Ephesians 1)
  • Not selfish, but sacrificial and loving (he gave Jesus, John 3:16)

Sometimes I will reflect on how my children are viewing God, and will recognize that at times there is an imbalance in their view of Him because I think wrongly about God the Father and my relationship to Him, and then I’m poorly representing Him to my children.

Look if you want to stay off the pathway to exasperation, then parent your children in the way your Heavenly Father cares for you.

Well that gives us the precaution and the pathway, the hazard and the habits that lead to exasperation. And now we come to a sobering part of the text…

4-Part Warning to Prevent a Failure in Christian Parenting

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)
  2. The common pathway to exasperation (selected)
  3. The crushing penalty for exasperation (3:21b)

so that they will not lose heart.

Here is the undesirable effect that results from exasperation. Paul uses a purpose clause here—parents in general, and fathers specifically must not exasperate in order that they not reap the unintended and undesirable consequence of children who are discouraged.

The reason why we are referring to this as a crushing penalty is because when you think that you as a Christian parent could be an instrument in pushing your child away from Christ that is a devastating reality. 

Remember Paul has nearly 30 years in full-time pastoral ministry. He has seen an entire generation cycle through to adulthood and is now on his second generation. And Paul had clearly identified a trend that concerned him. He watched families in which mom and dad are saved, and in their attempt to raise kids in the Lord, they actually ended up being a stumbling block.

To lose heart means to become discouraged to the point of giving up. Look, if you exasperate someone here and there, now and again, you can recover from that. But over-the-long-haul, a pattern of frustration eventually convinces someone to give up altogether.

God has placed in the heart of a child, in spite of the sinful desire to a rebel, an implicit willingness to trust mom and dad and a willingness follow them, at least in the early years. Paul doesn’t want to see that trust eroded and neglected so that it is harmed.

This is a big deal to God. Remember the warnings Jesus gives in Mark 9 & 10 about viewing children as second-class citizens and potentially discouraging the faith of someone that is a babe in Christ? It would have been better to experience the terrifying reality of drowning with a giant stone around your neck than to have sinned in this way.

We are to exercise care that we are working in accordance with God’s design in the shepherding of our children.

So, where do we go from here? That’s a heavy note. Well we are going to finish with the antidote. We have been sufficiently warned through receiving this precaution, and identifying the pathway, and contemplating the penalty for exasperation, which brings us to our final point…

4-Part Warning to Prevent a Failure in Christian Parenting

  1. The crisp precaution against exasperation (3:21a)
  2. The common pathway to exasperation (selected)
  3. The crushing penalty for exasperation (3:21b)
  4. The chief protection from exasperation (Eph. 6:4b)

If you were in Colossae, you may have felt like Paul left ya hangin’ have just a bit. I mean you get this warning without much explanation and then that’s it. You’re leaving me hanging bro!

So, we’re gonna cheat and sneak out of Colossae and head over to Ephesus. It’s about 100 miles (here to Sisters). Paul gives the same basic instruction, but he lays out a specific alternative. Look with me at Ephesians 6:4.

Just turn back three or four pages. Written near the same timeframe while in his first imprisonment when he was in house arrest in Rome.

Ephesians 6:4—Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Instead of don’t provoke, Paul tells fathers here not to make their kids angry. Same basic idea. But we get a little more here in the way of positive instruction.

Right after the negative he says, but (an alternative command) rather than provoke, bring up (ἐκτρέφετε), a.k.a. rear. You heard of child-rearing? Here it is. It’s a tender word. Fathers rear your children. 

Bring up here is the same word Paul uses in Ephesians 5:29 to describe how husbands nourish their own flesh, how Jesus nourishes his church, and husbands ought to nourish their wives. It’s a little different focus there, where it means to feed.

Concept of tenderly providing. We find it throughout the New Testament as a shorthand way of describing the totality of the parental role in a child’s life:

  • Jesus was brought up by Papa Joe and Mama Mary in Luke 4:16.
  • Moses was brought up by the Princess of Egypt referred to in Acts 7:21.
  • Widows who are esteemed by God and the church are those who brought up children well in 1 Timothy 5:10.

What are the implications? Boy, every time I hear this truth it re-anchors me and reinvigorates me to my calling as a Christian parent.

Let’s unpack this for a moment. Bringing up obviously requires that you are starting in immaturity and moving to maturity. This is comprehensive—wisdom, skill, character, reasoning—all of needs cultivating. 

You start out as a child and then move up into adulthood. Your expectation then as a parent is that your role is to embrace the lengthy and time-consuming process of bringing up a child into maturity. 

So, your role as a parent is terminal. You of course can have a meaningful and special relationship with adult children, but you rear them until they are reared.

So, it reminds us that this is a lengthy and time-consuming process. God said it is going to require diligence (Deuteronomy 6:7, 11:19). Sustained labor. There isn’t a shortcut in the process.

And certainly, all parents must bring their children up, from potty-training to independence and self-sufficiency and everything in between. But Christian parents are called to something more. This is Christ in the common.

How does Christ connect to our parenting? Well we don’t bring them up according to how we were brought up. We don’t bring them up according to the latest parenting trends. We don’t even bring them up according to what seems to be effective in our own eyes.

Rather, very specifically, we bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

The Lord is referring to Jesus by the title of Master.

Calvin expands on his thought…

But Paul goes on to say, “let them be fondly cherished;” for the… word… which is translated bring up, unquestionably conveys the idea of gentleness and forbearance. To guard them, however, against the opposite and frequent evil of excessive indulgence, he again draws the rein which he had slackened, and adds, in the instruction and reproof of the Lord. It is not the will of God that parents, in the exercise of kindness, shall spare and corrupt their children. Let their conduct towards their children be at once mild and considerate, so as to guide them in the fear of the Lord, and correct them also when they go astray.

Discipline (παιδείᾳ)—providing guidance for responsible living, upbringing, training, instruction, combined with discipline and correction. This is both the manner of training and the goal.

Hebrews 12:11, God disciplines us, 12:5 we accept it, writer of Hebrews admits that earthly fathers give effort, but we fall so desperately short. Loving correction with the goal of character formation that result in personal holiness.

When you bring discipline it isn’t punishment. God doesn’t punish his children. He punishes those who aren’t his children. God disciplines. Huge difference. Discipline is done for our good, modeled by our father in heaven.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, raised seventeen children and had these words to say about raising children: “The parent who studies to subdue [self-will] in his child works together with God in the renewing and saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil’s work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever” (cited in The Journal of John Wesley [Chicago: Moody, n. d.], p. 106).

It isn’t loving to withhold discipline. The Proverbs say that a parent that withholds discipline hates their child’s soul. An indulgent parent loves themselves and sacrifices their child’s ultimate good on the altar of personal comfort and immediate gratification.

Instruction (νουθεσίᾳ)—teaching, instruction, warning, admonition, i.e., bringing truth to bear on the issues of life. 

And the verbal form of this noun means to not merely publish content so it isn’t just the bare instruction but rather “to impart understanding… to lay on the heart… the stress is on influence not merely the intellect but the will and the disposition”

This varies of course by age, but you aren’t merely quoting verses at them. I love family devotions, but instruction is so much more than that.

Powerful instruction in the Lord is not just telling your children about Jesus, but showing them how you relate to Him personally.

That he is the first-place mommy and daddy turn to in a trial. That he is your hope when you are fearful. That he is more desirable to you than your sin. That he is your comfort when you are suffering or hurting, and when you are guilty from your sin.

And that he is the master who rules and governs your life, not you yourself.

Paul says as much right here. The discipline and the instruction are modified by being that which is in the Lord (ἐν … κυρίου).

This centers everything back to Christ. Not discipline and instruction according to mom and dad’s preferences. But all of this is in submission to Christ, in a Christ-like manner, to the end goal of worshipping Him.

His agenda, his power, his methods, his authority, his watchful presence. We can become tunnel vision on an immediate issue at hand and forget that this an eternal soul relating to the living God who is much bigger and greater and glorious than any of us. 

Parents, you are to be a redemptive influence in the lives of your kids to bring them to Jesus. I need to be reminded of this because it brings me back to the center of why we are doing this. It reminds me of the reason to persevere and what’s at stake, and the glorious privilege of it all.

Christian parents, I hope this was an encouragement to you. I love how simple and straightforward God’s instructions are to us. And he doesn’t give us the responsibility of saving our children. He doesn’t put their ultimate response to the Gospel as our testing point.

In fact, most of you came from family situations where you were saved in spite of parents who didn’t bring you up in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. 

I love the accountability messages like this bring. Three weeks aga, wives had to go home and face a family that heard a pointed message on their attitude and actions as it pertains to biblical submission. Husbands went home with everyone in the household hearing what God calls a man to in terms of sacrificial love and setting the example in humility and service. Then children went home and all of us were reminded of how God defines obedience and how much of an emphasis he places on it. 

It’s a little different than listening to a sermon privately and moving on.

There is accountability because we are all hearing the same thing and coming back week after week attempting to live it out in the grace of Christ. In the midst of encouragement that is appropriate on Father’s Day, take some time this week to reflect on these truths… you could ask your kids.

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