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BIBLICAL NECESSITY FOR CHILD DISCIPLINE

Proverbs 22:15 (June 17, 2001)

I shared to you last Sunday the role of Christian fathers. We learned, not only of the honor and respect children are to render their parents, and especially the fathers, according to the fifth commandment and other passages, but more importantly, we saw the great responsibility of the Christian father. We learned that their role as fathers includes the prophetic, priestly and kingly elements. As a prophet in the home, the father was mainly responsible for the spiritual well-being of the family. He instructs his children with the word of God, declaring to them Gods wondrous acts, His judgments. He evangelizes them and commands them to obey God, and trains them up for God. As a priest, the father blesses his children and prays for their spiritual welfare. He is the main intercessor for his children. As king, the father is primarily responsible for managing his family well. He is to love his children, not to provoke them and he is to provide for their needs. We also learned that he is to discipline them. We learned that this responsibility of disciplining mainly rests on the shoulders of the father.

There are several reasons why we need to talk about this:


The topic of discipline is such an important and urgent subject matter. The family is the basic unit of society. What you see in society is often simply a reflection of the kind of discipline and training children get at home. I have been hearing recently of so many bad things among the children in our society that we cannot just take sitting down. Too many graffiti on the walls. The city is so dirty. High school kids being trained by their classmates how to steal. Gang wars composed of 13 to 15 year old kids. Teen-agers holding up passengers in streets and other public transports and places. Pabata ng pabata ang nakikita nating gumagawa ng mga karumaldumal na mga krimen because of drugs, of wrong barkada, because of search for excitement. Remember the video footages of those who committed vandalism and stealing, who attacked the Malacanang Palace from Edsa Shrine. There were so many teenagers. We cannot just blame the failure of government in this area. Again, to do that is to place the responsibility in the wrong direction. We are not also to blame the failure of our educational system. The Lord puts the blame in the parents, and particularly the fathers who fail to discipline their children according to Gods ways. The use of the rod in child discipline is such a misunderstood subject matter. In one of the articles in the Faith Walk Magazine No.3, Tedd Tripp, the author of the article, The Rod of Discipline, said, We live in an era when concepts of human rights and dignity have made the idea of spanking children seem barbaric. We have become sensitive to the potential for child abuse. We dont want

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parents to feel it is their right to beat their children whenever they wish. Today, communications based on integrity and mutual respect is a more popular idea. We now have agencies like the (Bantay-Bata (163). Abused children 0-12 y.o. Many Christians do not know how to discipline their children in a biblical manner. They are directed more by psychology rather than the Bible. We do not deny the contribution of physicians and psychologists. Through them, we can know better how to handle sickness and disease, or understand better the trauma people experience. But they must all be understood in the light of Gods Word. In order for their works to be really useful, they must be made subject to the Word of God. Those are some of the reasons why I felt the need to deal with the subject of child discipline in a more exhaustive manner. While this study is primarily directed to the fathers, please do not think that this is just for them. This study is for prospective parents, young parents, parents with older children, and even grandparents. Everyone who is in any way related to children must learn to discipline them according to the will of God. As Christian parents we need to ask ourselves a number of questions that other parents dont ask. Why do my children need to be disciplined? What is my objective or goal in disciplining them, what am I trying to achieve? What does God say on how I should correct my children? How can I fulfill my responsibility as a parent before the Lord in a way that will see my children brought to the feet of Jesus Christ? Let me begin to answer the question,

WHY DO CHILDREN NEED TO BE DISCIPLINED?


I give credit to Bruce Ray. Much of the material I will share to you today comes from his book, Withhold Not Correction. The Bible teaches that children are Gods gifts and a reward from Him. *(Ps 127:3 Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.) They bear the image of God the same way that adults do and they too have been created for Gods own glory. If children are made in the image of God, then why is it necessary for us to correct them? Why dont they just naturally do whats right as image-bearers? Biblically, there are at least three factors which make the exercise of correction an absolute necessity in the home that would be Christian. First, the nature of the child demands correction Children are not born morally and ethically neutral. The child's problem is not an information deficit. His problem is that he is a sinner. There are things within the heart of the sweetest little baby that, allowed to blossom and grow to fruition, will bring about his eventual destruction.

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Bruce Ray, Withhold Not Correction


Philosophers of this world have been telling us for centuries that children are born innocent; that is, without sin, and without guilt. Perhaps it was the philosopher John Locke who gave us the clearest expression of this idea in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, first published in 1690. Locke said that at birth the mind of every individual is a blank tablet, to be written upon by environment and experience. The child is born neutral: without experience, without morality, without ideas, without concepts. It remains for society to place its imprint upon that blank tablet and thereby create the kind of character that society wants to see in that innocent child. Thus when the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was gunned down in the streets of Dallas, it was not the man who fired from a nearby building who was to blame. It was society. When Martin Luther King was shot while standing on a balcony in Memphis, it was not the sniper who was at fault. Radio, television, and the press all led us into a period of national agony. What kind of society, they wailed, could create an environment where such things can happen? Again, when Robert Kennedy was murdered before live television cameras in Los Angeles and when George Wallace was wounded in Maryland, society was accused, tried, and found guilty these bloody crimes. After all, the gunmen in all of these instances were once little babies bouncing on somebodys knee. They were innocent children born with blank tablets. It was society that shaped them, and it must be society that will hang. The individual cannot be held responsible. We in our day think that if we can only educate our children properly, inscribing the right facts of the right data upon those blank tablets, there will necessarily be an end to all crime, violence, and bloodshed. And so, consistently with this idea, we in the United States have developed the most extensive system of free public education that is to be found anywhere in the world. What has been the result? The result has been that we in America have the most educated criminals of any country in the world! So much for mans wisdom. So much for the philosophies of men without a Word of God. How very foolish they are, and blind to plain reality. But how different, how very different, is the description of our natures that the God who made us gives to us in the Scriptures. We have to turn to the first book of the Bible to discover what happened to the image of God. When God created our first parents, God declared in Gen 1:26-27. Man did not remain in the original righteousness in which he was created. Turning to chapter 3, we find that Adam, the first man and the representative of all men, rebelled against the Lord. When he sinned as our representative, he brought the whole race of men into a state of sin and misery. Theologians call this the Fall. We gain a better understanding of that in Romans 5:12, 18,19 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

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The effect of that fall upon man as image-bearer can be seen in Gen 5:1-3. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. But when fallen Adam became the father of a son, his son was made in his likeness (fallen), according to his image (fallen). Seth, the fallen son of the fallen man, bore an image that was fractured and distorted. This is how the Fall has affected the image of God in man. Mans self-consciousness is twisted into pride, selfishness and prejudice. Reason, instead of being used to receive Gods revelation, is used to plot mischief against others and to get them into trouble. Communication or speech is corrupted: to curse, to lie, and to abuse others with our tongues. Children are noted for their cruelty toward other children. Creativity is turned upside down to become destructiveness. What delight some children take in tearing down, breaking, destroying. It doesnt really matter if a toy is old or new, their or somebody elses. Rule is turned to tyranny. We all know the neighborhood bully. Children soon learn to use their size and weight to promote their own advantage. Morality has become immorality. We dont need to teach our children how to lie or to take things that dont belong to them. They are inclined toward evil and do it naturally. Our time and energy is spent trying to teach them the right things to do. Even such a beautiful thing as imagination is spoiled by the Fall. They use their imagination to escape responsibility for their actions. Who are the children? Theyre made in the image of God. But theyre not innocent. They're fallen sinners. Adults are not the only ones whose hearts are inclined to evil. So are the kids. This is clearly taught in several passages from the Bible. Gen 8:21every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood The root of evil is within. It is not the environment. It is within the heart of man. That tablet is not blank. Its filled with sin, with malice, with wickedness unspeakable. Jesus Himself said in Mt 15:19, For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Ps 58:3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. Perhaps this refers to infants putting forth a false cry. He cries as though he is hurt. When mother inspects, there is nothing binding him, nothing pricking him, his diapers are clean, there is nothing to irritate him, and that cry which sounded like a cry of hurt was actually nothing more than a cry of anger. So the babe from its very birth, as soon as it is capable of any sort of expression, speaks lies. Then too, when he begins to speak words, he begins to speak lies. We do not have to teach our children to lie; they do it naturally. Children who are born and brought up in the context of church, children whose parents watch over them very carefully and seek to preserve them from any environment which would teach them to lie, still lie. Why? Because their natures are corrupt and they do these things naturally. Ps 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. David was shaped just as you and I were: in the womb or in the uterus of our mothers. The point that he is making is that the environment did not affect him, but as he developed within the context of that womb environment, he gained organs capable of fulfilling the sinful intentions of his heart. As his arms and legs were formed, and as his fingers were formed on the ends of his hands, he was shaped in iniquity: fully prepared to come forth from the womb to obey the lusts of the flesh.

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Pr 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Chuck Swindoll First the problem: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child." Take away the words "the heart of a child," place your child's name here; it applies! Now, when the Scripture mentions foolishness, it doesn't mean fun, lightheartedness, and a good sense of humor. In the Old Testament, a fool was one who despised discipline, one who hated wise instruction. A fool mocked God, was quarrelsome, licentious, morally bad, and wicked. Throughout the Proverbs folly or foolishness is used to describe the person who has no fear of God. The fool is the one who will not hear reproof. The fool is the one who will not submit to authority. The fool lacks wisdom (fear of the Lord). This is the natural state of your children. In their natural state, however, your children have hearts of folly. Therefore, they resist correction. They protest against your attempts to lead them. God has ordained the rod of discipline for this condition. The spanking process (undertaken in a biblical manner) drives foolishness from the heart of a child. Secondly, the direction of the child demands correction. Pr 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Literally: Train up a child in his way, and when he is old he will not depart from it.) This passage needs some important clarification. Let us listen to Bruce Ray in his book Withhold No Correction, pp. 32, 33-34. In Proverbs 22:6 we read, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. This verse is usually taken as a promise, and it is almost always abused by persons seeking a false comfort. Some understand it to mean this: If the child is trained properly (that is, biblically) in his youth, he will not depart from that training when he grows older. Now generally speaking, this statement is true. Whether the Lord regenerated him or not, the morality which has been instilled in him as a child will carry him through his adult years. But it is not the teaching of Proverbs 22:6. In its proper context Proverbs 22:6 is not a promise so much as it is a warning to Christian parents. In the Hebrew text of Proverbs 22:6, the phrase, in the way he should go is entirely lacking. Rather the Hebrew says, Train up a child in his way or after his manner according to his ways. Allow a child to have self-expression, allow him to pick and to choose what he will and will not do, and as that habit is formed in his youth he will not change when he is older. If he does not learn disciplines from you as a child he will never learn it as an adult. That is a warning. Or it is a promise, if you like, but it is a promise in the negative sense. If you let your children run over you, if you withhold the rod, if you fail to discipline them, if you fail to diligently and meticulously instruct them in the little things as well as the bid, if you let your children decide what they will and what they will not eat, what they will and what they will not wear, what they will and what they will not do and when they will and will not do it, look into the future and you will see those same children unbridled, undisciplined, and unable to bring their bodies into submission to the commands of God. That is the stern warning.

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Jay Adams comments on this verse in his book Competent to Counsel and says, The verse stands not as a promise but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively) they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and when allowed to follow their own wishes they will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest day. The point is that he cannot get out of the rut which you have established for him. Train up a child in his way and when he is old he will not depart from it. To allow the child to go his own way, to allow him to take things naturally as they come, is to assure the destruction of his soul. The direction of a child, whose natural way leads to hell, demands correction. The responsibility that God has placed upon us as parents demands that we correct our children. Every privilege has a corresponding responsibility. Pr 23:13,14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you beat him with the rod you will save his life from Sheol. Eph 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Bruce Ray Withhold Not Discipline, 35


It is natural for us to seek to withhold discipline from our children. It is much easier to us to do something else or to be some place else, but God requires of Christian parents and especially of Christian fathers that they administer the discipline which He reveals in His Word. For parents , and especially for fathers, to withhold that discipline is to sin against God and it is also to sin against the children that we say we love. To withhold that necessary correction is to rebel against the Lord. We must not avoid our responsibility, but rather we must seek God for grace to fulfill that responsibility which He has placed upon us. It is not a light thing, because the very souls of our children are the issues at hand. But administering discipline God says we will deliver their souls from hell. But if we withhold that discipline, we are responsible for the destruction of the souls of our children. 1Sam 3:12-14--12 On that day I will fulfil against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I tell him that I am about to punish his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. And so there you have it. The rod functions in this context. The nature and direction of the child and the parents responsibility demands it.

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