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Welcome to the third part of our False Parents series. If this is your first time with us, I welcome you, but I’m going to have to kick you out.
That’s right, jumping into this series right here at the end will potentially cause more confusion than it will provide any help. It will be extremely necessary for us to be on the same page as it relates to defining and identifying False Parents. Only then will the biblical cure for False Parenting be understood.
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Now, let’s break free from our False Parenting, shall we?
By way of review, False Parenting occurs when we lie to our children about what God says.
This happens when we intentionally misrepresent God. But it also happens when we accidentally misrepresent God.
And . . . it happens when we’re not claiming to represent God at all.
For example, young children (and spiritually mature children) generally trust their parents. They tend to assume that their parents have their best interest in mind and are leading them accordingly. That means that if the parents lead them the wrong way, those parents are misrepresenting the right way to live.
Any and every time we lead our children in a direction that God would not have us lead them, we’re being False Parents.
So, last time we learned to identity False Parenting in ours, our spouses, and our friends’ lives.
If someone clearly contradicts the Bible, they’re a False Parent. If they say the wrong or the right thing, but they say it for the wrong reasons, they’re a False Parent. If they allow others to be their parenting authority or if they are their own ultimate parenting authority, they’re engaging in False Parenting. If their parenting avoids discussing sin, its consequences, and its roots, they’re False Parents. If there are consistent areas of unrepentant sin in their lives, that parent is a False Parent. And if the individual is experiencing any of the consequences of False Parenting, obviously, they are a False Parent.
So, is there any hope for a False Prophet, False Teacher, or False Parent?
I believe there is! I’m going to work through 9 biblical principles and commands, and I have no idea how much time this is going to take.
So, here goes . . .
1. Truly Understand the Nature and Consequences of False Parenting.
Why does the Bible have so much to say about False Prophets? Answer: God wants us know all about False Prophets so we can not only avoid them, but also not become them.
This is why Jude, II Peter 2, Jeremiah 23, the many passages I’ve already cited, and the plethora of passages I didn’t even mention were written.
And that’s also why we created this series. I pray that — if nothing else — the previous episodes helped you to see your own False Parenting with open eyes.
It’s the human condition to be blind to our sin, but — by the grace of God and the faithful wounds of our friends — we can see ourselves the way God sees us. It’s never pretty, but it’s so necessary. And that’s where true change is going to start.
If you’re still uncertain about what a False Parent is and how False Parenting functions, please study the show notes, and never hesitate to reach out to the TLP Counselors. We’d love to help you see yourself the way God sees you.
Now, I’m assuming that you are probably a lot like me. Over the past few episodes you’ve seen yourself reflected in the descriptions of the False Parent. Sure, you’re probably not a False Parent all of the time, but you recognize that you’re prone to False Parenting just like the rest of us are.
And that’s a good thing, because that’s likely very accurate. In fact, it’s probably safe to assume there’s more False Parenting in our lives than we think.
That means that the next step will require you to . . .
2. Confess, Apologize, and Repent of Your False Parenting.
In I Timothy 1, Paul waxes eloquent concerning False Teachers, but then he shares one of the most encouraging thoughts. I’ll start reading in verse “12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
Praise God that He takes people incapable of being anything other than False Parents, and He turns them into Biblical Parents though His mercy and grace!
And that’s all it takes.
We need to confess our sin, ask forgiveness from those against whom we’ve sinned, and repent.
Confession is the act of saying the same thing about our sin that God does. It’s not defensiveness. It’s not blame-shifting. It’s taking full responsibility for the atrocity of our rebellion against God.
And this really is so important. Listen carefully to the words of Revelation 2:20-23. In this passage Jesus Himself is talking to the church at Thyatira, and after commending the love and service and perseverance of some, He says, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent.” Here we see God’s abundant mercy and grace, but He continues, “and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
My friends, if we do not repent of our False Parenting, there will be consequences. I’m not saying we are going to experience pestilence and the death of our children, but we might. The consequences of sin are vast and weighty and petrifying, and I don’t want that for any of you.
Then, once you’ve been grieved by your sin to repentance, you need to . . .
3. Recommit to Biblical Parenting.
In II Timothy 4:3-5 we read, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
How do we avoid becoming a False Teacher? We need to fulfill the ministry to which we’ve been called.
And, of course, this is a huge topic. Our over 450 episodes have been dedicated to detailing exactly what Biblical Parenting entails. So, we don’t have time today to get too specific.
But I do want to make four short points.
A. When it comes to parenting, God is the only authority.
When it comes to parenting, I only have authority when I speak God’s words. I don’t have the right to decide that I know how this needs to be done, and I don’t need any help. I also don’t get to decide that some other “expert” who contradicts God’s Word gets to be the authority either.
We must submit wholly to God.
But, remember, external obedience isn’t obedience at all. I Samuel 15:22-23 warns, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.”
Since true obedience requires doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons . . .
B. Don’t forget the importance of motivation.
It’s not enough to obey God simply because we like obeying God. That kind of obedience is about us.
It’s not enough to grudgingly obey God.
We have to truly want to obey God because He deserves it. He’s awesome and glorious and wonderful, and that’s why we obey Him.
It’s not because of what we receive from obedience. It’s not about how we look to others. It’s about Him and Him alone.
And that will easily remind us that recommitting to Biblical Parenting is going to involve submitting to God’s expectations for our parenting.
So . . .
C. Remember that Biblical Parenting is perfectly summed up in Deuteronomy 6 and Ephesians 6.
If you do your best by the grace of God to understand and apply those passages to your parenting, you’ll be going in the right direction.
Of course, this is very broad, but I’ll end with one specific application we discussed earlier.
D. Biblical Parenting makes a big deal about God and, therefore, makes a big deal about sin.
In Lamentations 2:14 we read, “Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions;
And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity.”
This is why Ephesians 5:11-13 commands, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”
False Parents don’t biblically deal with sin. They define sin and its consequences as they see fit. But we must use the light of God’s Word to expose sin — not to condemn and reject people — but to help people gain freedom from their slavery.
Again, there’s so much more that could be said about Biblical Parenting, and — if you’re new to Truth.Love.Parent., I hope you’ll subscribe to the show and check out all of the other Biblical Parenting resources we have available at TruthLoveParent.com.
So, after we understand the nature and consequences of False Parenting, and we repent of it by recommitting to God’s expectations, we need to . . .
4. Diligently Study to Know God’s Word.
I really love the rhetorical expressions in Isaiah 8:19-22. “When they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony!”
When we or someone else has a parenting question or struggle, may we cry “To the law and to the testimony!” Let’s consult our God!
Do you remember II Timothy 2:15? Within his broader discussion of False Prophets, Paul writes, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
We must recommit to being life-long students of God and His Word. We’ll never be able to read it enough, we’ll never know enough, we’ll never exhaust Its treasure trove of wisdom.
I recommend starting with Psalm 119. That chapter beautifully illustrates what it’s like to diligently study to know God’s Word.
But knowing God’s Word isn’t enough. We need to . . .
5. Diligently Study to Understand God’s Word.
A lot of people are familiar with various verses in the Bible, but the vast, overwhelming majority don’t really understand the truth in those verses.
Have you ever heard someone facing a difficult task make the claim that they “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” them? The problem with such a usage is that it’s patently false. Does that verse apply to winning a high school football game? Is God promising that He will strengthen you to get that promotion?
And when we step back to look at the whole of Scripture we find that God never makes such promises to His church. Paul made that claim within the context of a discussion on contentment. Does God promise that we can always obey Him? Yes. Does He promise the strength to be content and at peace and joyful and all the other spiritual expectations He has for us? Yes. But to arbitrarily use that verse to motivate myself to benchpress 200 pounds is taking the verse out of context and showing that I don’t really understand what it means.
This is why God commands us to be diligent students of the Word.
But someone listening today may argue that there are “biblical scholars” who will study the same passage and come away with two very different understandings. And, yes, that happens. But it happens for just a couple reason:
Here’s the thing, God’s Word is never going to contradict itself, and God’s Word will only ever mean what it means. There aren’t multiple meanings beyond what it means.
Here’s what I mean.
Hermeneutics is the study of biblical interpretation, now I don’t want to oversimplify this, but we don’t have time for a longer discussion.
Typically there are about 5 different ways that professing Christians approach the Bible
The Allegorical approach sees the Bible as a spiritual book full of allegories and spiritual meaning.
The Rationalistic approach believes that the Bible can only be understood by human reason and the scientific method.
There’s a “Traditional” approach that emphasizes how the Roman Catholic church has interpreted it.
Then there’s the Subjective approach that focuses on what the Bible means to the person reading it.
And finally there’s the Historical-grammatical approach that views the Bible as normal literature taking into account figures of speech, history and various genres.
But please note that one of these things is not like the others. The Allegorical, Rationalistic, Traditional, and Subjective approaches all place the final decision for what the biblical text means squarely in the reader’s lap.
Only the Historical-Grammatical approach, often called the Literal or Natural approach, allows the text to mean what it claims to mean.
And it’s a man-centered approach to Bible interpretation and understanding that has caused so much trouble in the world.
It’s this kind of bad understanding of the Scriptures that’s been used by some to justify to Crusades, slavery, homosexuality, and even abortion.
But I Corinthians 14:33 tells us that, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
In addition, we see form the Scriptures that Jesus took the Natural approach. Jesus often quoted Old Testament laws and applied them in the most literal sense possible.
The disciples also took Jesus’ teachings and commands literally.
And when it comes to deliberate allegory and grammatical figures of speech, we see the individuals in Scriptures as well as the biblical authors interacting with the passages exactly as a normal person would approach allegory and figurative language.
I’m not certain that Soren Kierkegaard and I would agree on everything, but I love it when he said, “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
If God’s Word is exactly what it claims to be and means exactly what it claims to mean, then Biblical Parents must understand the Scriptures as God intended them to be understood. And we can only do that we as we approach the Bible from a natural, normal interpretation of the text as it was written by real people under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
But what good is it if we stop with only knowing and understanding the Bible?
6. Biblical Parents Diligently Speak God’s Word.
If you haven’t heard about “The Communication House” yet, I encourage you to listen to that episode. It will give you more direction on Christ-honoring family talk.
But the point is that if I know and understand God’s Word, I will obviously speak it. That means that my parenting is going to be filled with truth, holiness, love, grace, justice, mercy, contentment, encouragement, gratitude, peace, joy, reproof, edification, admonishment, and so much more.
How can I claim that our parenting will be defined by all of that? Simple, God commands that all Christians’ speech by identified by that content.
I also want to direct you to our Parent’s 5 Jobs Series. Not only does this series do a great job of outlining our main parenting responsibilities, our next series is going to build on each of those responsibilities by carefully working through the Scripture to discover how we should be communicating in our parenting.
It’s going to be a very robust and important series. Just make sure you listen to the original Parent’s 5 Jobs Series first.
So, yes, most of our parenting is speaking, but speaking isn’t good enough. We must . . .
7. Diligently Live God’s Word.
Do you remember Matthew 7? “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits . . . A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.”
Our fruit does not consist of simply what we speak. It invades everything in our lives.
Consider I Thessalonians 5:13-21. Paul requests that we “Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.”
For the Christian, studying God’s Word should always produce submission to God’s Word.
It’s never going to please the Lord to tell our kids “Do as I say not as I do.” That is wickedness parading itself as wisdom.
Instead, we should be able to tell our kids to investigate every facet of our lives, and — with Paul — invite our children to “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” This is the most glorious part of Biblical Parenting — we get to follow Jesus step by step, and then we get to walk side by side with our children as we all follow Christ.
That is the Christian life. That is discipleship. That is corporate worship that glorifies God.
Still, as amazing as that sounds, it’s not as always appealing to us as you may think.
I’m sure you would imagine that someone who has confessed their False Parenting and recommitted to Biblical Parenting and who’s studying God’s Word to know and understand it so they can speak it in their parenting and live it in their whole life . . . you would imagine that kind of a person would be intoxicated with God’s holy Word.
But as we saw in the innocence of the Garden of Eden, Satan is desperately trying to make his way more appealing than God’s way. Despite the fact that Adam and Eve had absolutely everything they could possibly desire in near perfection, they so readily believed the empty lie of that unknown serpent and cast aside the loving and faithful word of their Creator.
That’s why Biblical Parents need to . . .
8. Be Content with God’s Word.
There will always be a new truckload of Failure Philosophies and pop-culture worldviews and “new research” and the like that will contradict and contend with the Bible.
And if our eye is always looking for the next new thing, we will be tempted and drawn away by the seemingly shining facade of the world’s godless thinking.
This is why I Timothy 6:3-8 says, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.”
There will always be this ongoing temptation from Satan, the World, and the Flesh to want something new and more.
My friend, Scott Aniol has an amazing podcast called “By the Waters of Babylon.” In one of his recent episodes he quotes from an article he wrote called “Why do we think new is better?” I’ve linked that article in the description and highly suggest you read it.
But allow me to quote an extended portion as it relates to this discussion about being content with God’s Word.
Scott writes, “Anyone would admit that when it comes to machines, new is in fact always better. Machines break down, they rust, they wear; advancements in technology do always lead to better machines. Who wants to buy the old iPhone when you can get the new one? [And I am not] claiming that technological advancement is necessarily a bad thing. We all enjoy the benefits of medical breakthroughs, and I am a huge techie with the best of them.
“But what we must be careful to note is what this constant advancement does to our perception of what is best in terms of truth, goodness, and beauty. These are transcendent, universal, absolute principles rooted in the nature and character of God. And they are very old, they are permanent, they are eternal.
“Scripturally, permanence, stability, and tradition are almost always praised as superior to new, creative, and unique. The only ‘new’ that is praised as good is that which transforms a sinner and gives him ‘newness of life.’ But even there, that sinner is being redeemed to very old, permanent realities.
“The fact of the matter is that the Christian faith is very old, and that is what the Church has been called to preserve and transmit to future generations. Let us not get caught up in the cultural frenzy of ‘newness’ in our Christian [life].”
And this point leads us very naturally to our final point for today . . .
9. Test Everything by God’s Word.
Since the tawdry “new” will never cease to press itself upon us until we enter eternity, we must be reminded of Paul’s powerful claim in Galatians 1:8-9, “If we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
And don’t forget Romans 16:17-18, “I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”
And I Thessalonians 5:21-22 commands us to, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.”
And I John 4:1-6 reads, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
And lastly, Revelation 2:2 says, “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false.”
Biblical Parents are not allowed to swallow the world’s lies, but how will we know they’re a lie if we don’t compare it to the truth? Once we’ve done our due diligence, we can easily reject what doesn’t conform to God’s Word.
Hillary Morgan Ferrer from Mama Bear Apologetics had this special stamp made. As a book reviewer, she — like I — reads a lot of good stuff, but she also reads a lot of garbage. When she encounters that garbage, she doesn’t accept it into her thinking, she takes out her stamp and marks it for what it is — heresy.
This makes our job so easy. We can easily reject all parenting methods, styles, and advice that doesn’t align with the Scriptures.
Now, I knew we would — once again — go long today, and I appreciate your patience. But here’s what I want to do. I want to quickly review these 9 points, and then I want to give you a practical, biblical example of what it looks like to be a Biblical Parent.
But first, how is a False Parent to become a Biblical Parent?
As always, all of today’s points and Scriptures will be available in our free episode notes at TakingBackTheFamily.com.
Now, let’s finish by looking at . . .
10. A Practical Example of Biblical Parenting
I want to synthesize three passages for us as we close here today.
We’ve already looked at what these passages have to say about False Teachers, but I didn’t really read how any of them ended.
Allow me to start with I Timothy 1. Paul started his letter by telling Timothy why he was left in Ephesus. Paul wanted him to “instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.” Timothy was there to refute False Teachers, and — in so doing — be a Biblical Teacher.
Starting in verse 12 we read, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
That is a glorious and hope-injecting description of what God wants to do for all False Parents. God redeemed the False Teacher named Paul and turned him into one of the greatest Biblical Teachers.
And this is how Paul instructs Timothy to be a Biblical Teacher, “18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience.”
A. Biblical Parents fight to stay true to God.
It’s not a casual stroll. It’s not an amusement park ride. Biblical Parenting is strenuous. It requires blood, sweat, and tears. Biblical Parenting is part of our spiritual warfare.
And we will have to daily strive to keep “faith and a good conscience.”
The word translated “faith” refers the assurance we have in the completed work of Christ, it’s the goal toward which we run, it’s the sum total of our entire belief system. And the word translated “conscience” refers to our practiced ability to distinguish between right and wrong — truth and lies.
This is a call not merely to blindly follow, it’s a call to fight to maintain our trajectory and hone our sensitivities so that if we stray from our calling, our conscience will sound an alarm.
This encompasses understanding the nature and consequences of False Parenting as well as repenting of it and recommitting to God’s plan for our parenting.
And we don’t have to wonder what we’re fighting for. We don’t have to make it up. God’s plan for our parenting is clearly outlined in the Bible. That’s why . . .
B. Biblical Parents are consumed with the Word of God.
But Paul expands on his instruction to Timothy in II Timothy 3.
After listening out in verses 1-5 the lifestyle of False Teachers and admonishing Timothy to avoid such people, starting in verse 14 Paul tells Timothy to “continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Paul told Timothy to continue in the truth that he had already learned, and then revealed the glorious life-changing power of the Bible. It teaches, it reproves, it corrects, and it trains so that we and our children can be equipped for every good work.
That is the only way we can hope to be successful in our parenting.
As you can tell, this point encapsulated diligently studying to know and understand the Scriptures as well as being contented in them and testing everything by them.
And finally, as they fight to stay true to God and fill themselves with His Word . . .
C. Biblical Parents pour God’s truth into their children.
In Colossians 3, Paul describes what it looks like to be conformed to the image of Christ. And starting in verse 16 he practically illustrates the natural outcome of being filled with Scriptures.
“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.”
Our parenting cannot help but be affected by God’s Word. Being diligent to know and understand God will always result in our being diligent to speak and live in a way that pleases Him.
I really hope this short series has helped you better understand the nature and consequences of False Parenting. I hope too that it’s equipped you to turn from it and pursue Biblical Parenting.
And I pray that Truth.Love.Parent. and I will have more and more opportunities to equip you to better know, understand, and confidently live God’s Word in your parenting.
So make sure you subscribe to this show and listen to the Parent’s 5 Jobs Series which will prepare you for our next series.
And, as always, the TLP Counselors would love to hear from you. You can reach us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com and (828) 423-0894.
So, I hope you’ll join us next time as we once again open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be answering the question, “How Does the Bible Want Me to Teach My Child?”
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