This morning, we're continuing our examination of the requirements of elders. We have come to the third item on the list...
Paul reminded Timothy of this requirement for elders as well:
1Tim. 3:4-5 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
In that same chapter, it is given as a requirement which is necessary for deacons as well:
1Tim. 3:12 Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
Now in Titus, there are three things specifically listed in regards to a man's children: they must be believing, must not be open to the accusation of dissipation, nor accused of rebellion.
How can we guarantee that our children will be believers? We can't. But we can greatly increase the odds by raising them the way the Scriptures tell us to.
Prov. 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
This tells us that the way we raise our kids is going to be instrumental in the way they will turn out. In other words, if we want our children to be Christians, then we need to train them to be Christians, to teach them the way in which they should go.
This training is two-fold, using both God's Word and our example.
There are starving children in many Christian homes today, because there is a famine of the Word of God. How can we train our children in the way they should go unless we give them the Word which spells it out?
This is what Timothy's mother and grandmother did (2Tim. 1:5). Paul wrote to Timothy, telling him to...
2Tim. 3:14-15 ...continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings...
Notice the progression: Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood. Since he knew them, he learned them. And since he learned them, he came to a point where he was convinced of them. This is key: do your kids know the Scriptures? Only then will they have the opportunity to learn them and become convinced of them.
We also need to be living what the Bible teaches. If we merely say that it is important, but then don't live it, we demonstrate hypocrisy. Remember, when Peter and some of his companions were acting like hypocrites, it had...
Gal. 2:13 ...the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
Never underestimate the power of hypocrisy to carry your children away from the truth. Live what you say you believe.
Not only do we want our children to be believers, but we want them to avoid dissipation. What is dissipation? It means, "to live squanderously, wastefully, dangerously."
There are many biblical examples of this kind of living. Paul said...
Eph. 5:18 ...do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation...
Squandering our brain cells, wasting the day, and despising self-control. This is why getting drunk is dissipation.
Peter gave even more example of dissipation, writing that...
1Pet. 4:3-4 ...the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation...
Dissipation is these things: partying and frittering your life away, living like there's no tomorrow.
Now, actions don't have to be so extreme to be dissipation. The simple act of living in sensuality - looking to stimulate our senses through things like excitement of action, adrenaline rushes, and loud music - is dissipation. When we glorify dangerous stunts and extreme sports, we're teaching our kids that dissipation is good. When we allow our kids to waste their days, squandering hours on the video games, TV, and internet, we're training them to live lives of dissipation.
If a man allows his children to live like this, he is to be disqualified from consideration for appointment as church leadership.
The third thing is that our kids should not be in rebellion. They should respect their parents' authority and be obedient. Of course, this gets harder every day, because...
2Tim. 3:1-2 ...in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy
How can we keep our children from rebellion in these last days? The Scripture tells us how over and over again: it is discipline that will prevent rebellion.
Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
As a nation, we are being programmed to believe that spanking your child is abusive and terrible. That loving parents don't spank their children. But the Bible says exactly the opposite.
Prov. 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Contrary to the world's opinion, it is those who don't discipline their children who don't love them. That's why the Word says,
Prov. 19:18 Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.
Without discipline, you're telling your child that you don't care how he turns out, or what happens to his life.
We have been instructed to give our kids both positive and negative reinforcement. Use God's Word and your example to say, "This is the way you should go." Use discipline to say, "This is the way you shouldn't go." If we are faithful to do these things, our children will have the best possible chance of growing up godly.