We just finished watching a video entitled “Losing Our Sons”. It is about the killing of a soldier in front of a recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas by an Islamic terrorist. It has a lot of good information in it and I recommend it to all.
I was angered as it showed our government’s refusal to admit that there even is such a thing as an Islamic terrorist or that we are at war with them. Two administration officials were asked by congressmen if we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism and both of them refused to link radical Islamic terrorism to killings like the one in this video and the Fort Hood incident.
Those who commit these acts call themselves Islamic terrorists. The anti-American Islamic leaders call it Islamic Jihad and terrorism. Why in the world won’t our government officials call it what it is. This, however, is not the purpose of this article. I will cover that in another article.
In the video we see two fathers who lost their sons in this incident. One lost his son to a terrorist’s bullet and the other lost his son to prison as a terrorist. The son who turned Islamic terrorist was raised in a Baptist home.
I want to make sure that no one thinks that anything I say in this article is meant to be any kind of reproach on the parents of this young man. After listening to the father I believe that his parents were good parents and did a good job of raising their son. From what I know about this incident the young man was a son that any father would be proud of until he got mixed up with Islamists.
My question is why are so many children who are raised in Christian homes being lost to the world or to false religions? There must be a reason. I know that most Christian parents take them to church and try to instil in them Christian principles and values. But something is wrong and I would like to try to shed some light on what I think is the problem.
I think a lot of the problem comes from not understanding Ephesians 6:4 which says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Let us start by looking at the word “nurture.” This word has to do with feeding or giving nourishment. Fathers are to nurture (feed the minds of) their children with the Word of God. The Greek word used here is “παιδεια” which means tutorage. This is not a word we use frequently in our modern culture. It means to take charge of the education of someone, especially a child. It is more than instruction, it is feeding their mind with those things that make them grow in knowledge and understanding. Fathers are to feed the minds of their children and make them grow in knowledge and understanding of the precepts of God. It is too important to leave up to others, even the leaders in the church.
The next word we need to understand is “admonition.” This word means gentle reproof, counseling against a fault. It includes the idea of warning of danger if wrong action is taken. The Greek word means to call to one’s attention with the implication of warning.
The third word we must understand is “provoke.” This word means not to cause to be angry. The father is to bring his children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord without causing them to be angry in the process.
The reason there is confusion over the understanding of this verse is that we have different Bible versions saying different things. Here are a few of the differences:
- NIV – bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
- NKJV – but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
- NCV – but raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord.
- NLT – bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
- CEV – Teach them and instruct them about the Lord.
You can teach or train a child to do something without his understanding the reasoning behind what he is doing. You can use discipline to get a child to do something without understanding also.
Only one of these versions uses the word “admonition.” Instruction and teaching do not necessarily include the reproof and the warning expressed in this verse. You can instruct what is right without telling why it is right or what happens when the teaching is ignored.
How is a father to carry out the command of Ephesians 6:4? We find the answer in the Old Testament.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
It starts by the father having the commandments of God in his heart. This is more that just knowing them, it means they are his guiding precepts.
He is then to teach them “diligently” to his children. Diligently means he is to make an express effort to do so with a steady application. It is not a part-time job.
You will notice that it really isn’t something difficult. The things of God should be a natural part of your conversation as a family. When you are sitting in your home or going somewhere as a family what is the subject of your conversation? Do you spend more time talking about sports than the things of God? When you talk about the issues of the day do you talk about them from a biblical perspective or from the perspective that is so popular today of “what’s in it for me?” What do you talk about on the way home from church? Sports or the sermon you just heard?
In addition to talking about the precepts of God, fathers must live them out in their lives. Your children should see them in your actions (bind them upon thine hand). Your children must know that the precepts of God are your guiding precepts (Frontlets between thine eyes). Those who come into your home or pass by should know that you live by these principles (write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates).
You will notice that I often use the word “precept” in stead of “principle.” There is a reason for this. A precept is any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action. A principle is the cause, source or origin of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds. A precept of God carries the authority of God.
We say that we believe the Bible is the Word of God but we don’t follow it either because we don’t know what it says or because we don’t believe there are consequences for not following it. In either case, when we don’t follow the precepts of the Bible, we teach our children that not following its precepts is acceptable practice.
We are losing our children because we put the things of this world before the things of God. If our children don’t see us consecrated to God we can’t expect them to be consecrated to Him. If we don’t teach them that Christianity is superior to all other religions they will be easily drawn to them. If we don’t teach them that the world’s pleasures are only temporary and that they leave you empty and wanting more, while the pleasure of serving God fulfills and satisfies the soul, we will lose them to the world and its glitter.
This is a subject that is dear to my heart and I could keep going. I think it is time to stop before this article gets too long. I ask you to think and pray over these things and take what you find useful to heart and apply it in your lives.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved