Regimentation and Regeneration

by Dennis Michelson
(Novelty, Ohio)

Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:1-4

Introduction: Someone said "just as the twig is bent, so the tree is inclined." Raising and training children is like growing a garden. The gardener can do everything possible by way of preparation but ultimately the success of the "crop" depends upon the Lord. Parents must give their children knowledge but wisdom comes from the Lord. This is an enduring theme throughout the book of Proverbs. Regimentation does not equal regeneration. In gardens, and child training, one must do the following:

1. You Must Prepare the Soil

The home molds the heart in the early years. The first three years are of particular importance. Note from I Samuel the case of Samuel and the two sons of Eli. They were exposed to the same kind of environmental influences except for the three years (approximately) Samuel had with his godly mother Hannah.

2. You Must Plant Good Seed

Too often we hear parents say "I want them to have more than I had" rather than "I want them to be more than I was." The seed must be conformed to the Word and not the World. The best seed is the incorruptible Word of God.

3. You Must Provide Proper Nutrients (Nurture)

a. Love must be unconditional
b. Time must be special
c. Attention must be focused
d. Parenting must be educational

Remember - some of the best lessons are caught, not taught.

4. You Must Pick Out the Weeds (Admonition)

a.You need requirements - fences
b.You need restraint - force
c.You may need removal - farewell

5. You Must Pray Until the Harvest is Home

The mother and father who attempt to play God will not depend upon God. You can teach respect but not regeneration. You can teach washing the hands but God must wash their heart. You must teach them knowledge so they have the foundation to attain wisdom.

6. You Will Profit from Your Labor in the Lord

Parents will answer to God for the training of their children (knowledge)
Children will answer to God for obedience (wisdom)

Conclusion: Why did the Prodigal (Luke 15) leave the pig pen? He remembered his father and his father's house. Is your house the first place a repenting child wants to come, or the last place they want to be? The only Perfect Parent had some rebellious children - "For the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." (Isaiah 1:2)

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