Read Col. 3:21
I. The Negative Command: – Do not exasperate your children
A. Definition – “to excite or inflame the anger of; to cause irritation or annoyance to; syn = irritate” Lightfoot translates it “show no bitterness, behave not harshly.”
B. Ways that we exasperate:
1. neglect through work and/or play (golf, fishing, watching sports on t.v., watching movies)
2. make and break promises (hey we will go to the park this weekend, but never do it)
3. judge too quickly – sibling splats
4. demeaning or cutting down remarks (esp. in front of others)
5. sarcastic remarks
6. try to control to make us feel better or look better
7. valuing things more than them (answering phones while conversing; watching t.v. when you could be conversing with them;
8. giving simplistic solutions before we really understand the situation
Tyndale – “the father must be on his guard lest he discourage the child by unreasonable demands, by the brusqueness of his approach, by humiliating his child before others, or by any other failure to treat the child with understanding. Over-severity can so crush the spirit that the child loses heart in the unequal struggle. Bengel aptly comments that a broken-down spirit is the bane of youth.”
B. Why to Fathers?
1. Because most cultures support an image of masculinity that knows everything and scorns anything that crosses or frustrates them; as men we are given to sarcastic and cynical remarks to try to control our children’s behavior, and put them in their place; and to preserve our place of authority.
2. Because our children instinctively look to us more than to anyone else on the planet as the one person who will support, defend, applaud, commend, and affirm them. They expect us to be their greatest fan. So when we let them down, it is a huge let down.
II. The Reason: So that they will not lose heart
A. Importance of the heart:
1. greatest commandment – Deut. & Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, …..”
2. It is where “life makes up its mind”. The heart is the seat of one’s desires, feelings, affections, and passions. That’s why the writer of the Proverbs commands us to “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
This is why God says so passionately in Deut. 5:29 of His people, “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever.”
B. The fragility of the heart – “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of His heart was only evil continually.” Gen. 6:5 led to the flood
– “Then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Deut. 8:14
– “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” Jer. 17:9
C. The keeping of heart – first priority is to get a heart transplant – the ones we are born with cannot be fixed; they must be replaced.
– “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;..” Ezek. 36:26
John Newton, “I know that my father loved me – but he did not seem to wish me to see it.”
Martin Luther – “It is one of the tragic facts of religious history that Luther’s father was so stern to him that Luther all his days found it difficult to pray: “Our Father.” The word father in his mind stood for nothing but severity.
Luther himself said later of parenting, “Spare the rod and spoil the child. It is true. But beside the rod keep an apple to give him when he does well.”
III. How pull this off?
A. Pursue your walk with Christ – the context of Colossians and Ephesians
B. Pursue your relationship with the body of Christ – the context of Colossians and Ephesians
C. Work on your marriage – the context of Colossians and Ephesians
D. Stop trying to be an expert and critic in all areas of life –
E. Ask God to deliver you from worry and fear; they lead to control and angry outbursts “fret not, it leads only to evil doing.”
F. Speak less; listen more – Jas. 1:19, 20 “But everyone must e quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
G. Determine and keep to times where your children have your full attention no matter what is happening in your work life. (day off)
“Men, if you were to die tomorrow, the company you work for could replace you in a week; but your wife and children would feel the loss for the rest of their lives. Yet, many of us pour ourselves into our jobs instead of our families…. And unwise investment.”
IV. The Context of Col. 3:21 –
– the magnitude of the task and need and yet one sentence?
– No commands to mothers
– Marriage first mentioned
– Ch. 1 – the Supremacy of Christ in the Universe; and the Preimenence of Christ in Paul’s ministry; Ch. 2 – The Sufficiency of Christ for every believer; Ch. 3 – How the life of Christ should manifest in one’s personal life, in the church, in the family, and at one’s work; Ch. 4 – The Mission of the Church
– Often compared and correlated to Ephesians
– Also no command to mothers