The Expository Files



Ephesians 6:4

When President Theodore Roosevelt was making a speech in Maine, he asked if there was a Democrat in the audience. An old whiskered man rose in the back of the room and said, "I am a Democrat." Roosevelt then asked him why he was a Democrat. He answered: "I've always been a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, and my grandfather was a Democrat." Roosevelt then said: "Then if your father had been a horse thief and your grandfather had been a horse thief, you would be a horse thief?" "Oh, no" the old man replied, "in that case I would be a Republican."

The fact remains, that many are what they are religiously because that is what their parents were. Since that is the case so often let us consider a few things.

First of all, is it wrong for parents to teach their children what they believe? Of course not! The children of Israel were reminded on many occasions that they were to in¬struct their children concerning Jehovah God. In Ephesians 6:4, fathers are told to, "...bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." We, as Christians and parents are re¬sponsible for the training of our children in the way of the Lord.

But, doesn't this smack of indoctrination, and brainwashing? Don't our children then become unable to think for themselves and make their own decisions about what they believe? I think not. If we are training them properly, we are teaching them how to think. Often in my preaching I en¬courage people, to examine the scriptures for themselves, that is why I cite the scriptural references. I warn, "Don't believe just because I say it, but believe it because you see it is God's word." We must do the same as we teach our children. God says to man, "Come now, and let us reason to¬gether, says the Lord.., If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken" (Isaiah 1:13-20). God gives us choices and then expects us to use our reason in deciding which choice to make. We need to present the choices to our children so that they too can choose between the alternatives. Hope¬fully they will see that choosing to be obedient to God is in their own best interest.

Ultimately we are all responsible for the things we do and believe. Most parents are sincere. But many parents have been sincerely mistaken. They have believed a lie. All of us must be seekers of the truth. This may put us at odds with our parents on occasion. The Lord realized this and said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (Matthew 10:34-37).

We must teach our children the principle found in this statement. We must teach our children to LOVE GOD more than even us, their parents.

By Karl Hennecke
From Expository Files 17.4; April 2010