Children and Parents

Children and Parents

Colossians 3:20-21. Turn there in your Bible.

-I’m Jacob. I’ve been married to Mary for 7 years. Daniel is 3 (and a half), Nora & Emily are 7 months old. I lead our student ministry.
Thank you for your prayers – God is at work in their hearts.
Thank you for your giving – it is being used help students to love Jesus Christ, love others, to discover & develop their gifts & talents, and to send them out at pioneers for God’s kingdom.


– I am just getting started in this parenting thing. I’ a secret admirer of many of you parents and Christian workers. I’m thankful to be a part of a church with so many godly example.
My job today is to preach the Bible, not to give advice. This passage has a special power.

-This passage is going to be very familiar to a lot of us. My prayer is that we won’t make the mistake of passing over this.
-There is a very great danger before us this morning. Satan hates your family. The Bible says he goes around like a roaring lion, seeking to destroy.

-Satan also goes around like a purring kitten, seeking to lull us to sleep when we hear God’s truth.
-There are demons present who would cause you to say to yourself, “I already know this, I’m already doing this” or “this message is for someone else.”

-The truth in this passage today could change your family’s legacy; the entire direction of your family could be affected.
Today could be a day that you point back to your grandkids and say “That was the day God changed our family and started something new and amazing”

With that said, let’s stand and read our passage together, then we’ll pray.

Read Colossians 3:20-21
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children, lest they be discouraged.
This is God’s Word, let’s pray.


Father God, open your word to us, and open us to your word. We pray that you will give us ears ready to hear, hearts ready to receive, and hands and feet ready to apply what you will say to us. Spirit, You are welcome, and may you lift up Jesus as His Word is proclaimed. Amen.

You may be seated.

Recently I was flipping through the channels and came across an amazing white dude with an afro named Bob Ross on PBS.

But I quickly learned that when the brush hits the paper, it’s not quite that easy. I can talk about painting all day, but when it comes to mixing the colors just right and using the proper

brushstrokes, well, my beautiful image gets lost somewhere between my brain and my fingertips.

It’s the same with living the Christian life.

It’s great coming in here on Sundays, reading Colossians. We know all the right answers on Sunday, but when it comes to living out the Monday-Saturday life at home and work, well, something gets lost in translation.

Two truths about parenting and children:
-Nothing makes you feel more desperate for God than being a parent.
-Nothing tempts you to think this whole Jesus thing is a crock than living under an absent parent.

How the Passage is split up:
Children V20 – – – Parents V21
Let’s consider first the instruction to children
1. Children Col 3:20
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20ESV)

Can we just stop for a second and give God a hand. I think I see a mom in the back with tears in her eyes saying, “Thanks You, Jesus for Colossians 3:20!”

If you’re a fan of Colossians 3:20, then you’ll really like it’s sister verse in Ephesians 6:1

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Paul gives to children a command to obey their parents. Let’s talk about young children for a minute, then we will talk about grown children.

A. Young Children:

1. Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

i. “Obey your parents”
This command seems to be aimed at young children still under their parents direct care:

ii. “In the Lord” ~ “Because Jesus says to!”
-It’s like Paul is saying “God gave you those parents – listen to them.”

iii. “For this is right”
-Obey because it’s right. -Obey because it pleases God.

A Warning:
Before we go any further, I just want to extend this invitation to look at this passage like it’s a brand new jewel with many facets. It would be very easy for you to check out and say, “This passage is for people who still drive minivans with carseats in them.

Raise your hand if you are a child of someone. Yeah, that should be all of us. If you see someone not raising their hand they’re a robot, so maybe scoot away or something. I want this passage to hit us fresh

So here is God’s instruction for grown children:

B. Older/Grown Children

Ephesians 6:1-3 gives us a little bit more insight and incentive for honoring & obeying our parents.

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

So, we got that, let’s see what’s next.

A. Honor your father and mother

This second command can be more broadly applied. The term “honor” is different than “obey”.

Honor: to treat someone with dignity and respect and kindness.
No matter how old you are, how far away from home you are, show respect and love for your

God is telling each of us in here today, honor your parents B. Why should I honor my parents?

“First commandment with a promise” – Paul is digging this up from Exodus. Remember the 10 Commandments? I know Alan knows em cause Moses wrote em, and Moses was in his first youth group.

Yeah, so the 10 Commandments:
1. “You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
2.“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, (Exodus 20:4)
3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exodus 20:7)

2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it

may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – 3 “that it

may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
5. What’s #5 guys?
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

“First commandment with a promise”
So Paul is saying: Those first 4 commandments are commands without promises or incentives attached. Paul point out, “Hey, this one’s different than the first 4 – it’s got a promise attached!”

What is the promise:

“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:3

-Do you want it to go well with you? – then honor your parents. -Do you want to enjoy a long life – then honor your parents.

-Typically, those who honor their parents will have them as a constant support, and in the end, life will go better for them.

C. How do I honor my parents?

Ways grown children can honor your parents:
Call them/Stay present in their lives
Visit as much as you can (it’s only for a couple days) Send pictures of your kids
Forgive them of past mistakes and move on


But what if my parents aren’t Christians? -Honor them. God will bless you!
-Treat them with dignity, respect, and kindness.

But what if my parents have failed me big time?
Then they’re human!
Did God not see their failure coming when he let them be your parents? -Let this verse encourage you –

What if they have sinned against me?
-What you have on your hands is a gospel opportunity.

TRANSITION STATEMENT: Are you obedient? Are you honoring your parents? Let’s consider the second part here, for parents.

2. Parents – You guys ready for this?
Colossians 3:20 Fathers, provoke not your children, lest they be discouraged.

A. Do not provoke your children. Paul gives parents this command:

“Do not provoke your children”

Another way of saying it:

• Do not exasperate your kids.

• Do not frustrate your kids.
• Do not discourage your kids. • Do not overburden your kids.

The word “irritate” is in the continuous tense in the original. “Do not keep on irritating your children.”

What it means:
Parents possess authority in their role.
God does not want parents to exercise uncontrolled authority. Let me say it again:
God does not want parents to exercise uncontrolled authority.

What it doesn’t mean:
The parent is never to do anything that might irritate their children.
Discipline often irritates children.
-God put you as parent over them for a reason – you’re smarter, and you know better. -Sometimes, you gotta just tell em – “Hey, you gotta obey me because Jesus said to.”-Show your children their fault while always ministering the gospel.
-Don’t just hit them over the head with the law.
-Remind them that Jesus came to pay for their sins and offer forgiveness & freedom from idols that mess up their lives.

3 ways we provoke/exasperate our children:

1-Selfish unavailability.
-Selfishness – I value my career or my hobbies more than my kids. -Insensitivity to kids problems/needs

Would your friends & coworkers say
“That guy loves his kids?” or

“That guy sure is good at golf.”

“That guy sure loves his job!” God didn’t create you to master hobbies, Dad.

2-Hypocritical commands. -Breaking promises.

-Calling for submission but submitting to none.
-Punish to enforce behavior that secures my own reputation.

-Could you be more honest about your own weakness/failures?
-If you’ve recently sinned against your child, confess the sin to them and ask their forgiveness. Your confession and repentance will teach them more effectively than 1000 lectures.

3-Perfectionistic Standards

-A father who gives criticism without praise.
-Nagging your children about inconsequential things. -Comparing your kid to another kid in or out of the family.

This can be devastating to the child. -Pushing achievement beyond reasonable bounds.

-How would your child answer this question: It makes mom/dad happy when I ________. -Do you need to encourage/praise your child more? (young or grown)

Our children have a right to be upset with us when our parenting actions conflict with our spiritual values.

B. Specifically for Dads

“Father’s do not provoke your children.” Why doesn’t Paul include Mom’s in this?

-1-Mom’s don’t typically need a reminder to show their kids -compassion & attention. – Mom’s generally put their kids first anyway.
-2-Dads tend to be more competitive – push their kids too much without bringing some encouragement

-3-Dads need this reminder. I’ve needed it this week.

i. Wring out your life for your kids

-You’re not that tired!
-This is God’s will for your life!

Fathers – God’s greatest creation!
Fathers – the most bent aspect of creation.

Illustration: MR POTATO HEAD

Young Parents – I get it – I’m here with you. These kids are little “blessings” that turn from sweet to sour in 5 seconds flat. They need you, Dad.
Parents of grown children – Your kids still need you. You don’t get to check out when they turn 18. They need you, Dad.

The godly dad isn’t just a couch potato. He doesn’t just come home and vegetate on the couch. Your kids need you. All of you. They need your presence, not just your body.

Eyes – Kids need your eye contact. They need you to watch their games or whatever new thing they’re into. Put down the phone!
Your kids shouldn’t have to compete with fantasy football, the remote, or your work, or the country club.

Ears – Listen to those fools! Ask how their day was.
Ask about their problems.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training

and instruction of the Lord.

Find out who they really are.
Listen to their music with them.
Listen to their dreams and visions.
Ask how you can pray for them, and listen.
Do you need to listen more, even to your youngest child?

Mouth – Encourage them. Praise them!
1. Tell them you care and you’re for them.
If you don’t praise them, they wont be able to accept your criticism. You’ll drive them away. 2. Smile at them!
3. Laugh with them!
4. Eat good food with them!

Arms – Wrestle your boys. Cuddle your girls.

Tears – Cry with your kids.
Don’t feel the pressure to make everything into a teaching opportunity. You are the only person who can cry with them.
There will be time later to lecture.

Transition Statement
May our church be full of men and women who own this vision of parenting.

What could happen in our community, in our families, and in the families of our children if we prayed for God to make us these kinds of parents and children?

Gospel Turn:

OVERWHELMED – You should! It’s impossible without the Spirit and community!

If you are in Christ, you are fully loved Children of God:
Maybe today you just need to respond by holding out your hands to your loving heavenly Father and just sit quietly in his love.

If you’re not in Christ, this is as good as it gets for you.
Sure, our congregation will help you, but until you surrender your life to Jesus, you are an enemy of God in your rebellion.


Every time we hear God we get a chance to respond – believers and unbelievers. Today’s message is that although we fail, Christ does not fail.
How do you need to respond to this message?

-Ask God to forgive you for not obeying/honoring your parents.

-Ask God for the strength and courage to repent to your parents. -Go home and write a letter/card to mom/dad

Parents of young children:
-Just take a bath in God’s grace – let it wash over you

-Just take a breath – it is tough. But you’re not alone. May this church be a family that helps –
-Maybe you’re vision of the future is tainted by the past – You’re discounting the power of the blood of Jesus and saying God’s love is not enough to heal your family.


-Give up the performance/competition mindset. Lay it down.

-Christian parent who feels like you’ve failed too many times,
-Remember that God is your perfect Father who covers all your and he works even in spite of your failures!
-Ask God to forgive you for your failures as parents.
-Ask God for strength and courage to repent to your kids.
-Ask God for help to be His kind of parent: Protect, Provide Pioneer

Parents of grown children – Secret Weapons – Ask God for help (He’s your Father, too):

-“Help me to repent to my grown kids of ways I’ve failed.”
-“Forgive me for giving up on my rebellious child.”
-“Help me to invest in these young parents so they don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.”
“-Help me to be a parent who protects & provides for this around me.” -“Help me be a pioneer – Who can I encourage? Who can I go after?”

Non-Christian Parent & Spiritual orphans:

You are on your own.
Yeah, we’ll help you out – but we cannot change the heart of your child. And we can’t make you right with God. Only Jesus can do that. So just ask him. Don’t know how to say it? Perfect – Jesus says we must come to him as little children.

-In your seat or up here – Ask God to bring you into his family – He’s the Father you always wanted. He’ll cover your failures with his own blood. He’ll send His Spirit to live in you and comfort you and remind you that you’re his dearly loved child! If that’s you and you do that, let us know on a connect card or come forward in a moment. We’ll celebrate with you and help you grow as God’s child.

CLOSING ILLUSTRATION: When I started out painting, I didn’t just give up because I stunk at it. I got some help. I asked good artists how to start. I read some books. I started somewhere.

It’s gonna be messy. As we leave here today, we’ll fail tomorrow. Don’t give up! Christ is in you, believer! Christ is for you, believer! There is hope!

mistakes and failures


Jesus, thank you that your burden is easy. Thank you that even when we read these hard commands, we’re not left alone, but you are with us. Thank you that there’s always hope for our lost kids. Thank you that even as parents who have failed, you are able to turn things around for the glory to your name! Jesus, change us! We want to be your kind of parents. We desire to be good children. We need your help!