Robert Morris - Blessed Sons and Daughters
I want to talk to you today about Blessed Sons and Daughters, and I specifically named this Sons and Daughters, because we're all sons and daughters of God, even though we are sons and daughters on this earth. But as sons and daughters, we go through three phases, and these phases are actually outlined in the Bible. God designed these three phases and I want to talk about how we relate to sons and daughters in these three phases. The three phases, just so you know, are childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Childhood is birth to 12, adolescence 13 to 19, and these ages I'm getting from the Bible, and adulthood is 20 and above. So, I'll show you these three, and I'm gonna give you a word, so there will be three words today that hopefully you can remember the key word about how to relate to sons and daughters in each of phases, all right?
So, in Ephesians 6, we're gonna start with three verses. I think these three phases of life are actually in these three verses, so I think you'll see them. I think you'll see childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. All right? So, Ephesians 6, look at Verse 1. It says, Children, so we're talking about childhood, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. So, this is the first thing children need to learn during this 0 to 12. They need to learn to obey their parents. I think Verse 2 is actually referring to adolescence. Honor your father and mother I think teenagers need to learn to honor one another and honor other people. I think honor is the biggest thing they need to learn at that time, during that adolescent phase. Which is the first commandment with promise.
And then Verse 3, I think is referring to adulthood. Watch this. That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. In other words, as adults, that things may go well with you and you may live long on the earth. I have thought about this, because a lot of times when you ask people, What's the promise if you honor your mother and father, they seem to all say, Oh, the promise is that you may live long on the earth. Well, the promise is actually that things may go well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. And I don't mean this wrong, but who wants to live long if things aren't going well? So, that's a bigger promise to me, that things may go well with you, all right?
So, we're gonna look at these three phases and how we relate to sons and daughters, all right? So, number one phase, this is the word to try to help you to remember, is training. This refers to childhood, the childhood phase: training. Now, we stopped at Verse 4. We read Verses 1 through 3 of Ephesians 6. Look at Verse 4. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Training — think about this Scripture that all of you know, Proverbs 22:6. Train... Train up a child. You train children. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Now, we're gonna talk about training, and so I'm gonna talk about biblical training, and I don't have time to... I could devote an entire message to each of these three points, okay? So, I'm gonna talk a little about biblical training, and then we're gonna talk a little bit about spanking, because the Bible talks about spanking. Now, I know that there are books against spanking. We had some friends of ours that, years ago the wife said to my wife, to Debbie, you know, she had read some book and she said, We stopped spanking in our home. And just a few weeks later, Debbie talked to her again and she said, We started spanking again. Because this is the best book on raising children.
I remember my son, James, he used to say to me, you know, when I'd say, Son, you disobeyed, and I'd explain it to him, You're going to get a spanking, he'd say, Daddy, can I tell you something first? Can I just tell you one thing before you spank me? And I'd say, Okay, you can tell me one thing. And then you could see him trying to think of something then, see? He was simply trying to, you know, postpone. He said, I love you. I love you, Daddy. And I'd say, Okay, now it's... He said, Well, wait. I love you, and I have $4, and I want to give you... I want to give you my $4. And Daddy, when I grow up, I'm gonna build you and Mommy a big house and let you live in it for free. You know, so he did whatever he could to get out of it, but he never got out of it.
All right, let me read you a Scripture. I'm gonna read it out of The Message, because I just like the way that this translates this. Proverbs 23:13-14, Don't be afraid to correct your young ones. A spanking won't kill them. A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death. A good spanking might save them from something, now watch this, worse than death. What would be worse than death? So, let me show you what it says in the New King James. It says, And deliver his soul from hell.
So see, if I have a choice whether to listen to the experts out there that don't know God or listen to God, and it says that spanking could deliver my child's soul from hell, that's pretty important. Matter of fact, again the Bible is strong on this point, and again, we try to dilute it. And let me just clarify, when I talk about spanking, obviously I'm not talking about abuse, or anger, or anything like that, and there's a whole message that I did years ago on this, so you could listen to that if you want to reference it. But, we think the Bible says spare the rod, spoil the child. The Bible does not say that. It makes it much stronger, and see, because we think, Oh, I wouldn't mind spoiling the child a little bit. It doesn't say if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. Here's what it actually says. Proverbs 13:24, He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
So, let me give you three, just three thoughts about discipline that might help you if you're in this phase of life. One is be clear. Be clear in your communication. I remember one time I walked out in the backyard. James, my son, was throwing rocks in the swimming pool. I said to him, James, do not throw any rocks in the swimming pool. He looked at me, went over and grabbed his brother's bicycle, and threw it in the swimming pool. I didn't say, Don't throw bicycles in the pool. So, I had to be clear — don't throw anything in the pool. If you throw anything in the pool, including other people, I'm going to spank you. I had to be very clear with him, all right?
So, one is be clear. The other thing is be convincing. Daddy is going to spank you. Let me tell you why Daddy is going to spank you — because Daddy loves you. Bad things happen to people who do bad things. That's what I would tell my children. I don't want bad things to happen to you, so I am training you now not to do bad things, because when you get older and you do bad things, you go to prison. Things happen to you, bad things happen to people who do bad things. The only reason I'm doing this is because I love you, and I'd be very convincing. Daddy will spank you if you hit your sister with that plastic bat. You stop swinging the plastic bat in the house, because you could hit your sister accidentally, like you have already done four times. So, Daddy will spank you. You will get a spanking if you do this.
Be convincing. And the last thing is be compassionate. Never spank in anger. If you have to cool down some, cool down. Explain to them. Take them to another room. Never spank in public. Never, ever, ever, because shame is never a part of discipline with God. God never shames us. We shame ourselves, but God doesn't shame us. We humiliate ourselves, but God humbles us. So, I'm just letting you know, don't do it in public. Go somewhere else. Be compassionate. I would have fun with them afterwards. Every time after I would spank them, I would do something fun with them. It takes time for godly discipline, because I wanted them to know it was over.
So, the first phase is training, all right? It refers to childhood. Second phase, here's number two: teaching. This refers to adolescence. From 13 to 19, we move from training to teaching. Ephesians 6:4, let's go back to that verse. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training", we already talked about that, "and admonition of the Lord". Let me tell you why I use the word teaching. That's what this word means. Admonition means instruction or teaching. Bring them up in the teaching of the Lord. Deuteronomy 4:9, Teach them, them refers to statutes. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren. Deuteronomy 6:7, You shall teach them diligently to your children.
So, think about this, all right? Adolescence refers to the transition of a child becoming an adult. We refer to it as teenage years, but it refers to that time. This is a time when we go to teaching. It begins at 12 or 13, somewhere around that age. You see it in Jewish culture as well. There becomes a time of teaching. We even see it in Jesus' life, and there's a really famous story about Jesus that I think we miss something very important. When Jesus was in the temple, remember? And there's a great part of it, and I'm not minimizing this part, but because of this part, I think we miss the other part. But, the teachers and the rabbis in the temple were so impressed with His answers.
Now, that's a great thing, but I want you to notice something that Jesus Himself did as He's making a transition from childhood to adolescence. Luke 2:42, And when He was twelve years old, they went to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. And then, Verse 46, Now so it was that after three days, remember they left and then they came back and found him, they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, watch what Jesus was doing, both listening to them and asking them questions. Listening to them and asking them questions. That's what Jesus was doing, Jesus Himself.
This is a time when teenagers are going to begin to ask questions. You need to understand something. This is the time for you to help them transition from being a child, and think about this. How many times though do we say something like this, or a teenager says something like this to us? You're treating me like a child. You ever hear that? And of course, what's our response? Well, you're acting like a child, and they probably are. But, it's our responsibility to teach them not to act like a child. It's to begin to train them, to teach them.
Let me say it another way. We tell a child what to think, or we train a child what to think. We teach, in adolescence, how to think. Let me say that again. We tell a child what to think. We tell them. This is what you're going to do. We tell a child what to think, but we teach, in adolescence, how to think. So, you begin to move in this transitional time where you begin to ask your teenagers questions. What kind of criteria are you going to use? This is what you would ask a teenager. What kind of criteria are you going to use when you choose your friends? See, they start thinking then, What do they mean? I've never thought before about that. What type of study habits are you trying to develop now that are going to help you later in life?
Here's a question I wish someone had asked me when I was a teenager. Do you think the choices that you make now will affect you as an adult? I never thought that I would deal with some of the things I've had to deal with as an adult because of things I did as a teenager. This is a time to ask questions. When our children were making this transition to adolescence, at the age of 13 we had a covenant ceremony with them. I did it with the guys, Debbie did it with our daughter. We would take them on an overnight trip. We had a ring for them. So, I did both our boys, Debbie did our daughter. We made a covenant with them.
Now, part of the things that we talked about in our covenant — we talked about a lot of things, but let me just use one as an example. We talked about dating. We went through the facts of life with them. We did it when they were 10 and 13. The reason we did it when they were 10 is because they were gonna hear things at school. So, we went through the facts of life, but at 13 was when we made the covenant.
And when we went through that, we said, Now, here are some things you need to understand. You're going to begin to start being attracted to the opposite sex, and when that happens, we want to tell you some things that's going to happen in your body. We're gonna tell you some things that will happen in your emotions, and so we told them. And then we said, We want to make a covenant with you. You have a part and we have a part. And we said, Your part is that you'll talk to us and be open and honest with us when you're attracted to someone, that you'll keep yourself pure, that you won't cross these boundaries that God has set in place for your protection before marriage.
We went through all of the things of this is your part of the covenant. Then I said, This is my part of the covenant. My part of the covenant is that I commit myself to pray with you about your spouse, and we explained to them why. You have to tell teenagers why. We said, Because we know you better than anyone else in the world knows you. We know your personality. We know your giftings. So, we're gonna help you in this process.
But then, I wanted to kind of incentivize my teenagers, you know? And so, I said, And part of my covenant is... you're gonna keep your part, but part of my covenant is that I'm going to pay for any expenses with the wedding, whether you're a boy or a girl, cause there are expenses on both sides. I'm gonna pay. Another thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna pay for your honeymoon. I'm gonna pay for your college. Whatever it is, I'll pay for all of it. You'll have no student debt, no matter what. I'll take on the student debt if I have to. And then I said, And I'm going to help you buy your first house.
Now, I look back on that now... and think, Thank God that people buy my books now, because I wouldn't have been able to keep all of these promises that I made, and I don't know why I did that! But, we've been able to help our children financially. But, I remember with Josh, my oldest son, when he was 13 I wanted to teach him something about God's grace during this time. And so, I went through this and I said, Now, we're making a covenant. You have a part and I have a part. And I said to him, And my part is very big, too. It's a big financial commitment on my part.
I said, But what's going to happen if you don't do your part? And I was expecting him to say, Well, then you won't do your part. Well, my 13 year old son surprised me. He sat there for a moment and he said, You'll probably still do your part. And I remember thinking, You stole my thunder! You stole my teaching moment, you know? And I said, Well, if you don't do your part, why do you think that I'll do my part? And he said, Because you've taught me that even when we do things wrong, God still loves us. And I think you're like God, Daddy, and I think you're gonna love me anyway.
This is what we do. This is a time of life we take our young people through from childhood to adulthood, and it's very important. And then the last, adulthood, I'm using the word trusting. Trusting, so hopefully we can remember these three words: training, teaching, trusting. Let me say it another way. Children are trained. Teenagers are taught. Adults are trusted. Adulthood, again in the Bible, starts at 20 years old. I don't have time to give you all of the Scriptures, but I'll give you just a few references that you can look at later, all right? Exodus 30:14 says at 20, they would begin to give offerings.
Now, I think it's good to teach our children to give offerings, but this was actually referring to a temple tax. They were required to start paying this when they turned 20. God saw them as adults. Numbers 1:3, at 20, they had to go to war. They didn't have to go to war until they were 20 years old. God saw them as adults. Numbers 14:29-32 — at 20, they were held responsible for their sin, at 20. This is how He said it. He said, Your little ones, who have no knowledge of good and evil, will still go into the Promised Land. But everyone 20 years old and up, other than Joshua and Caleb, will die in the wilderness. So, God sets an age at 20.
Now, one of the things that many of us have done is kind of said, and I've even heard people say this: Well, once they're married, they're adults. No, that's not true. They're adults when they turn 20. So, one of the Scriptures that people will use is, Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. In other words, they're under my authority until they get married. No, take the Scripture for what it says. Listen to what it says. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother. It doesn't say a boy. He's already a man.
And think about this. What if they never get married? Some people are not called to marriage. Some are called to celibacy, that Jesus even talked about that Himself. So, what if they never get married? Are they gonna have to, you know, when they're 65, they're gonna have to ask your permission to retire, you know? So, they're grown and they need to be treated as adults. This is the reason that I made this message Blessed Sons and Daughters, not Blessed Children. I am calling them adult sons and daughters, and I don't even like the term adult children. It's an oxymoron.
Think about it. If they're adults, then they're not children. And we have all of these problems because people don't understand, and I really think parents get in the way sometimes when God's trying to do something in an adult's life. They're adults now. Our parenting role is over. Parent, the word parent, can be a noun and it can be a verb. In other words, yes, I am a parent, but I do not parent anymore, because I don't have children anymore, I have adult sons and daughters. Are you all following this? Okay. And I've got to see them as that way.
Let me tell you another thing. You might not have ever thought about this. My sons and daughters, this might blow you away. My sons and daughters are now my brothers and sisters in Christ. In Christ, there is no male nor female. In Christ, they're my — listen, this is why I say sons and daughters. Yes, I have sons and daughters. They all have children of their own. They're parents now. Yes, they're my sons and daughters, but they're mothers and fathers. So, they're not my kids anymore, they're my brothers and sisters in Christ. That means that they can come to me for advice, but what they're actually doing is they're coming to a brother in Christ!
Do you realize that some sons and daughters, some grown sons and daughters, won't go to their parents anymore for advice? There are two reasons why. One is, sometimes parents try to control. It's one is, parents... let me say it this way. Parents think, if they don't take my advice, that's dishonoring me. That's not honoring me. You know, You asked us if you should make this move, and we said no, but you did it anyway, and the Bible says you're to honor your mother and father. Let me just talk to some of you about that right there. Let me tell you what that actually is. That's spiritual abuse. When you quote Scripture to get your way, that's wrong. You don't have any more authority in that person's life. That person's a grown-up. That person's an adult.
So, sometimes grown sons and daughters, adult sons and daughters, won't go to their parents for counsel, but then sometimes it's the other way around, too. Sometimes there is a dishonoring, because you ought to honor them and ask for their counsel. Honor your mother and father It doesn't mean you have to do it. Because you're an adult, you have to hear God. I've known adult sons and daughters that have just announced, made an announcement — we've decided we're moving, or I've decided to quit my job, and they never even asked them. That is dishonoring.
That is dishonoring, and here's the reason that they do it many times, is because they haven't made the transition from adolescence or childhood to adulthood yet, and they don't have the courage to say, you know, Would you pray with us about this, because they fear the parents might say, Well, we would rather you not do this. They don't have the courage then to say, Well, thank you, we'll go back and pray again. But then, they might have to come back and say, Now that we've prayed about it, we appreciate your counsel, but we know for sure this is what God has spoken to us. Are you all following me? This would solve about 99% of family marriage counseling right here, if we would allow adult sons and daughters to just simply grow up and treat them as brothers and sisters.
You know, one of the greatest blessings that I have is to see my three children grown, married, and serving God, but you've probably heard me talk about it before that there was a time when my daughter walked away from the Lord. It was one of the most difficult times of our lives, but God was so faithful in her life, and now she's serving God full-time. I just have a real burden on my heart to pray for you. If you've got a child that's away from God or not serving God with all of his heart or all of her heart, I believe that God can touch that child's heart. I'm talking about a small child, teenager, or even a grown child: a grown son or a grown daughter. God wants to bring that child back and I want to agree with you today that God does a work and that we can see our children loving and serving God, as the Bible says, to a thousand generations. God really does want to bless our families.