Parenting is a MASSIVE undertaking. There’s no easy way to do it, but there is a successful way to do it. Join AMBrewster as he teaches Christian moms and dads how God has called us to parent.
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Thank you for joining us today!
I’m very excited, on our next episode on September 19th, we’ll be celebrating our one year anniversary, and I thought it was appropriate to do a more robust study of Truth.Love.Parents.’s theme verse, Ephesians 4:15.
Yes, we have cited that verse on a number of occasions, but there’s so much more for us parents in the surrounding verses. I’m very much looking forward to unpacking that with you today.
But first I’d like to mention a very special group of people.
We have listeners in over 85 countries. Many of those are in the 10/40 window and are closed to the gospel. I praise the Lord for how we’re able to use the internet to spread His Truth to the corners of the globe.
But there’s one very interesting statistic I’d like to share with you today. Of the 89 countries we’ve reached in the past year — according to the statistics from our podcast host, Podomatic — the US makes up the largest consumer of plays and downloads. In regard to downloads, the next few countries are what you’d expect, Canada comes in second, Australia is third, and then comes Japan, the UK, and Korea.
But when it comes to plays — a statistic which refers to the number of people who actually listen to the podcast online at the Podomatic website versus listening on a mobile device — our second and third place countries may surprise you.
I’m very happy to say that second only to the US, Kenya has our second highest number of online plays, and close behind them is Somalia. These two countries beat out Canada, Brazil, Australia, the UK, Germany, and every other country that listens to this podcast.
Now, I know these are just numbers, and statistics aren’t things I focus on too often, and I know that countries with a wealth of technology available to them usually choose to listen to their podcasts on iTunes or another mobile provider, but I’m happy to welcome our Kenyan and Somalian premeditated parents into the TLP Family and pray that God will do a special work in their families as they strive to glorify Him with their parenting.
And speaking of parenting, let’s dive into Ephesians 4:1-16 to see what it takes to be a Truth/Love Parent.
I want to spend the balance of our time really digging into this passage. It unlocks for us so many of the spiritual realities that need to be a part of our daily parenting.
But because we’re looking at an extended passage today, instead of reading the whole thing and then making comments on it, I want to walk through it with you together.
If you’re someplace where you can safely view your Bible, I welcome you to study along with me in Ephesians 4:1-16.
Alright, let’s start with verse one.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”
There are far too many things in this passage for us to truly appreciate in a mere twenty minutes, so I will have to rush through somethings and skip over others, but I hope that you will take the time to genuinely appreciate what is the length and breadth and depth of God’s Word.
So, for now, we see that Paul is urging us to live in a way that is worthy of the calling God has on our lives. And though this specific passage doesn’t name parenting as the main focus, we can read that into the passage.
We must never compartmentalize our lives so that our spirituality and relationship with God is reserved for only certain parts of our day or facets of our life. Our relationship with God should affect 100% of all we do. And since parenting is a massive part of our lives, it’s definitely included in one of the ways we “walk” in this life and is one of the things God has called us to do.
But what does a worthy walk look like as we parent our children? Let’s continue on to verse two:
“2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Wow, we could spend the rest of our time right here. I’m going to avoid the temptation to do so, but we still mustn't skip over any of these words.
God has called all Christian parents to be Ambassador Parents. That’s His ultimate desire for unbelieving parents as well, but — of course — that would start with submitting to Him in faith and salvation.
If you’re uncertain what I mean by “Ambassador Parent,” please listen to episodes twenty-six and twenty-seven. For now, though, stick with us and it should make sense.
Now, as we read on, Paul explains the dynamics of this spiritual unity. He says, “4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
As I mentioned before, the peace we pursue in our homes is not simply a lack of conflict, it’s a bond that has the gospel and God’s will at its center.
Now, I’m going to skip over verses 7-10 because this is a parenthetical thought that’s very important to the understanding of the passage, but not as vital to our focus today.
The basic concept is that Paul explains how within the unity of the church God has give us grace to equip us to fulfill the specific body-life needs the church has.
Again, even though it’s not mentioned here, if your spouse and children are born again, your ministry to them through your parenting should be a significant part of the body-life of your family.
We read in verse eleven that, “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,”
We parents may not be apostles or prophets, but as we discussed in episode 63, we should be evangelists to our children if they’re unsaved. We also should be directly shepherding them if they’re born again and actively involved in their spiritual teaching.
And God’s called us to these tasks because we need to help “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
Now, again, this passage is definitely speaking within the context of the broader body of Christ. As I said at the beginning, this passage is not only speaking to parents within the context of a family. It applies to every Christian of every age to every other Christian they come in contact with.
And that includes born again parents with their born again children. And if your children aren’t born again, that’s clearly the direction you’re moving in anyway.
So, back to verses 12-14.
Let’s take a breath for a second and recap what we’ve seen so far.
Paul is urging us to parent in a way that’s consistent with our calling.
That type of parenting is humble, gentle, patient, loving, and peaceful.
And to that end God’s gifted us to be able to equip our born again families to do the work of the ministry, build up the body of Christ, be unified together in our faith and knowledge of Christ, so that will can be mature like Jesus Himself, and not easily deceived by Failure Philosophies.
That is a MASSIVE responsibility. That is what it means to be an Ambassador Parent.
And now we come to Truth.Love.Parent.’s theme verse. Ephesians 4:15 says, “15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”
How are we to accomplish the monumental task of stewarding the spiritual lives of our children? Paul boils it down to two significant truths.
We must speak Truth. And we must speak it in love.
Instead of those Failure Philosophies born from false doctrine, human cunning, and craftiness in deceitful schemes, we must parent our children with the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth so help us, God.
There is no room for our opinions and feelings if they contradict God’s Word. No tradition is so important we’ll disobey the Lord’s clear teaching on a subject. It doesn’t matter what I think if what I think deny’s God’s revealed Truth.
Truth must be the bedrock of our families. That’s why I included it as the foundation of The Communication House in episode 38.
If God’s Word says it, we must believe it. If His Word commands it, we must obey it. If His Word teaches it, we must pass it on to our children.
But as we speak that Truth, we must avoid the pitfall that has destroyed so many before us. We must speak that Truth in love. Again, this is that special word that describes a conscious decision to do what’s in another’s best interest. This word for love isn’t talking about an emotion or an affection or an inclination.
And, it’s not necessarily describing how we are to speak Truth. What I mean is, it’s not giving us any principles for our tone of voices or vocabulary.
It’s simply demanding that we speak only that which is in our family’s best interest and in such a way that is in their best interest.
Of course, we must always obey God’s Word. Our communicating to our children must never be unkind, impatient, harsh, or wicked. But it needn’t be sirupy sweet all the time either.
If my child is in imminent danger, and I’m too far away to physically save them, I might scream to get their attention. It’s not motivated by fear, or selfishness, or anger, it’s simply the best thing for my child at that time to preserve his life.
Basically, our communication must submit to all the expectations for speech outlined in the Bible, but it also must be motivated by a singular desire to glorify God.
I can speak all “saintly” and calm, and quote verse after verse to you, but if my desire is to manipulate you into living in a way that I want in my home, then I am not parenting in a way that glorifies God, and that kind of parenting will backfire on me.
And because God’s glory is our motivation for speaking the Truth in love, then we will be able to accomplish the goal of us growing up into Christ.
From there, verse sixteen finished the passage by saying of Christ, “16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Isn’t that the type of family you long for — a family that is knit together in Christ, equipped by God, working properly, growing, and building itself up in love? Amen and amen!
That is why this ministry is called Truth.Love.Parent. We cannot do the Parent part without the Truth and Love. If you look at our logo, you’ll notice a fun little thing we did. The vast majority of the time you see the three words, “Truth,” “Love” and “Parent,” the “L” of “Love” is wrapped around part of the word “Truth.”
Those two realities will help us be a successful parent. Nothing else will. Nothing.
Now, if you were unable to follow along in your Bible or take notes, don’t worry, we have free PDF episode notes on our website, TruthLoveParent.com. We also have a transcript of the show there, and — of course — you can come back to this episode and re-listen any time you want.
I’m so happy to have finally be able to work through this passage with you. I waited until now because on September 21st, we’re celebrating our one year anniversary.
Our next episode is all about that celebration, and we’ll spend the time discussing what our one year anniversary means for you. Don’t miss it. In fact, people who tune in on Friday will receive early access to all the things being rolled out on the 21st.
So, thank you for spending this time with me today and investing in TLP. I pray that God will help us stay faithful for His Truth and that we continue to share His glorious Word with you in love so that we can serve your families in the greatest possible way.
Parenting is a MASSIVE undertaking. There’s no easy way to do it, but there is a successful way to do it. And we pray you’ll parent God’s way.
See you next time.
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