Parenting 101: The foundation of parenting

Often, during the spring and summer, many families use their time off to take a vacation. These trips can be a great opportunity for families to spend time together, show each other love, and model grace to the world. But what if we took this same approach during the other fifty-one weeks of the year?

This three-week sermon series discusses both the importance of family relationships, and how parenting is a way for parents to help their children understand God's grace and love.

Typically, family vacations bring fresh opportunities for togetherness through extended time with siblings and parents—like trying a new adventure, building joyful memories, and strengthening relationships. Sometimes, though, this same forced togetherness requires us to extend grace to one another in levels that our regular schedules and separation may allow us to ignore or delay. Parenting is a tough assignment not only for parents but also for kids to.

Week 1: We are going to look at God’s covenant with Abraham to help us in our parenting assignment.

Text: Genesis 18:17-19; Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 12:1–3 (ESV)

1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 18:19 (ESV)

19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

Big Idea of the Message: Just as God used Abraham’s family as a display of His covenantal love, He can use our families to help others come to know Him.

The safety of covenant, that promise of unconditional love, is where grace happens in our relationship with God and our relationships with each other—especially our family. The family bond was created by God to be a covenantal bond that displays His love to the world.

Families of the ancient Near East exhibited six characteristics (Levine, “Biblical Women’s Marital Rights,” 88–89):

1. Endogamous (tending to marry within one’s own tribe)

2. Patrilineal (descent carried through father’s line)

3. Patriarchal (father as head of family)

4. Patrilocal (bride comes into the family of the groom)

5. Extended (not limited to one generation)

6. Polygynous (man can take more than one wife)

1. Wives and children were property of the father and could be sold to pay debts (King, “Hammurabi’s Code,” #117; Levine, “Biblical Women’s Marital Rights,” 89).

2. In this structure, the rights of the individual are subsumed for the good of the whole.

3. Male authority in a family is central. Identity was not focused around an individual, but around the whole. In other words, “[y]ou were who you were because of the family you were born into” (Wenham, “Family in the Pentateuch,” 20).

4. The family of the ancient Near East was also the chief economic unit. Property was passed through familial lines only, with particular favor toward the firstborn son (Sánchez, “Family in Non-narrative Sections,” 37). Marriage included negotiation of a bride price. A bride price could be the equivalent of several years’ wages. It was transferred from the man’s family to the woman’s family for the right to marry her. The central unit of the household, the married couple, began under serious economic negotiations (Wenham, “Family in the Pentateuch,” 23).

The Lexham Bible Dictionary Gospels and Acts

Jesus redefines family in the Gospels.

He challenges allegiance to biological family (Matt 12:46–50; Mark 3:31–35; Luke 8:19–21). Osiek and Balch argue, “[T]he first three Gospels demonstrate that family ties are only as good as their potential to support discipleship” (Osiek and Balch, Families, 218).

Matthew and Mark warn that disciples’ enemies will come from within their households (Matt 10:21, 36; Mark 13:12).

In Luke 14:26, walking away from siblings, parents, and children may be necessary in order to be a disciple of Jesus. Those who leave their families for Jesus are promised rewards (Matt 19:29; Mark 10:29–30). Familial relationships were often tied to gods worshiped by a family. Such verses may reflect how some early believers followed Jesus, while others remained loyal to their household gods.

The familial structure is also underscored in the Father—Son relationship between God and Jesus, a relationship best emphasized in the Gospel of John.

The emphasis seems to imply that “kingdom relationships held a higher priority than family relationships” (Westfall, “Family in the Gospels and Acts,” 146).

Abram lives in a well-established city called Ur (Gen. 11:28, 31) at the height of its splendor. The city was a prosperous center of religion and industry. Strategically situated about halfway between the head of the Persian Gulf and Baghdad, in present-day Iraq. Mesopotamia; an important metropolis of the ancient world situated on the Euphrates River. Strategically situated about halfway between the head of the Persian Gulf and Baghdad, in present-day Iraq, Ur was the capital of Sumer for two centuries until the Elamites captured the city. The city came to be known as “Ur of the Chaldeans” after the Chaldeans entered southern Babylonia after 1000 B.C. References to “Ur of the Chaldeans” in connection with Abraham are thus examples of later editorial updating. Accordingly, the city of Ur was a kind of theocracy centered in the moon deity. Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2 (ESV)

Abram lived in a society much worse than ours today. God calls him to leave this comfortable home and venture out on a life of faith (12:1–9). It is a miracle of God’s providence that Abraham resisted Ur’s polluted atmosphere and set out on a journey of faith to Canaan that would bless all mankind.

Message Title: Parenting 101: The foundation of parenting

1. Our authority comes from God

Genesis 18:19 For I have chosen him, ...

Our authority as parents comes from God not from the state. God is the one who created marriage and family. We cannot be mere accommodation of personal preference and politically correct redefine these institutions. It is a sad reality that in many countries, parents don’t have full authority over their children.

Genesis 1:27–28 (ESV)

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God calls his creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children. You exercise authority as God’s agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children on God’s behalf for their good.

The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority of God.

As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves and serve them.

Jesus set an example for us when he washed the feet of his disciples

John 13:13–16 (ESV) You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

If authority best describes the parent’s relationship to the child, thebest description of the activity of the parent to the child is shepherding. The parent is the child’s guide. This shepherding process helps a child to understand himself and the world in which he lives. The parent shepherds a child to assess himself and his responses. He shepherds the child to understand not just the “what” of the child’s actions, but also the “why.” As the shepherd, you want to help your child understand himself as a creature made by and for God. You cannot show him these things merely by instruction; you must lead him on a path of discovery. You must shepherd his thoughts, helping him to learn discernment and wisdom.

Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise becomes wise.”

As a wise parent your objective is not simply to discuss, but to demonstrate the freshness and vitality of life lived in integrity toward God and your family. Parenting is shepherding the hearts of your children in the ways of God’s wisdom. The only safe guide is the Bible. It is the revelation of a God who has infinite knowledge and can therefore give you absolute truth. God has given you a revelation that is robust and complete. It presents an accurate and comprehensive picture of children, parents, family life, values, training, nurture, and discipline—all you need to be equipped for the task of parenting. God’s ways have not proved inadequate; they are simply untried.

We need to shepherd our children under God’s authority. God’s calling to Abram is a calling to start anew. It is a call to submit under his leadership, under his authority. And this calling extends to us parents of today. Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child's Heart . Shepherd Press. Kindle Edition.

2. We act in God’s behalf

… 19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice,

Parenting, especially the role of the father, holds an important influence in how people perceive and experience God. Even secular circles acknowledge the psychology of people attributing to their perception of God the same characteristics they found in their earthly father figures. “Sociologists say it’s common for people to perceive that God is like the fatherly figures in their lives. If dad is caring, patient and concerned then children will believe God has those same characteristics. And the opposite holds true when a father is harsh, judgmental or absent.”

Genesis 18 calls fathers to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.

Being a parent means working in God’s behalf to provide direction for your children. Directors are in charge. It involves knowing and help them to understand God’s standard for children’s behavior. It means teaching them that they are sinners by nature. It includes pointing them to the mercy and grace of God shown in Christ’s life and death for sinners,” (Tedd Tripp, Shepherding A Child’s Heart, 34).

Parents are chosen to provide leadership to their children reflecting God’s heart, to act in behalf of God.

Genesis 18:19 (The Message)

19 Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.”


Here God adds that Abraham has been chosen to be obedient (“to keep the way of Yahweh”) and to instruct his children in the way of Yahweh. Parents, God has given you the authority to shepherd your children so they will know the way of the Lord and keep it. Parents, what are you teaching your children? Church, what are we teaching our children?

3. The central focus of parenting is the Gospel

so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what was promised him

Genesis 12:2–3 (ESV) God’s promise to Abraham

2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

It is to Abram that God makes the keynote promise that will shape the whole story of God’s people. God declares his covenant plan to bless Abram and his descendants. All other nations will be blessed through this nation and judged by their response to its people. Already God has a plan to bless and reunite the races he has scattered from the tower of Babel (11:1–9).

Here we have a glimpse for the first time the good news that God will one day restore the world and bless its peoples. The Bible Guide God’s Call to Abram

Indeed, such will be the influence of Abram that all the families of the earth shall be blessed in him. The inclusion of all the families of the earth anticipates the spread of the gospel and salvation in Christ to the ends of the earth.

Galatians 3:8–9 (ESV)

8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Our parenting goal must be the proclamation of the Gospel.

The Great commission is central to our parenting goal.

We exercise our authority as parents based on the authority of Christ. The discipling of our children starts with the Gospel. Parents, don’t miss this one.

Many people have children, but do not want to be parents. Our culture has convinced them that they need to quench their personal thirst for fulfillment. In a self-absorbed culture, children are a clear liability. Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child's Heart . Shepherd Press. Kindle Edition.

The success of our parenting will be measured if our children passed on to their children what we passed on to them. Much like the success of our church will be measured on how many were sent out rather than how many occupy a seat every Sunday.

The gospel is powerful and attractive to save the lost.

Romans 1:16 (ESV) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Therefore, I expected that God’s Word would be the power of God to salvation for my children. But that expectation was based on the power of the gospel and its suitability to human need, not on a correct formula for producing children who believe.

The central focus of parenting is the gospel. You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

You need to show them not just the “what” of their sin and failure, but the “why.” Your children desperately need to understand not only the external “what” they did wrong, but also the internal “why” they did it. You must help them see that God works from the inside out.

Therefore, your parenting goal cannot simply be well behaved children. Your children must also understand why they sin and how to recognize internal change.

Closing Challenge:

Just like what happened to Abraham, you can start a new family line, a new tradition of godliness even if you’re the first born again Christian in your family.

John 1:12–13 ESV

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Give a clear invitation for people to enter for the first time into grace-filled covenant with God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

You have a decision to make today!

Joshua 24:14–15 ESV

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”



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