Pastor Rick Hogaboam's address at Gospel-Powered Parenting Conference – "Precept-Driven, Proverb-Driven, Spirit-Filled Parenting in Truth, Goodness, and Beauty"

The following are my notes from my address at the Gospel-Powered Parenting Conference. You can also find the audio here (link).

Ephesians 5:15–6:4 (ESV) — 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

5:15-17 “Precept and Proverb Driven Life” (Truth and Goodness)

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

–          “carefully”, “how you walk” = we must be sober in how we live our life. The Christian life is often described as a walk. In the context of parenting, the way we walk affects where our kids go. They are following us, trusting us to lead them.

  • We hike once in awhile and we are mindful of the kids staying on the path. we must be careful not to stray to the side or you might fall off, or walk into poison ivy. You must stay alert; not a good time to be looking backwards while you are walking.

–          Psalm 119:1–3 (ESV) — 1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! 2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!

–          Psalm 119:9–10 (ESV) — 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

–          Psalm 119:19–20 (ESV) — 19 I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me! 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.

–          Psalm 119:32 (ESV) — 32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

–          Psalm 119:35 (ESV) — 35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.

–          Psalm 119:44–45 (ESV) — 44 I will keep your law continually, forever and ever, 45 and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.

–          Psalm 119:54 (ESV) — 54 Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.

–          Psalm 119:59 (ESV) — 59 When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies;

–          Psalm 119:67 (ESV) — 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.

–          Psalm 119:85 (ESV) — 85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me; they do not live according to your law.

–          Psalm 119:95 (ESV) — 95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies.

–          Psalm 119:101–102 (ESV) — 101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.

–          Psalm 119:105 (ESV) — 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

–          Psalm 119:110 (ESV) — 110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts.

–          Psalm 119:117–118 (ESV) — 117 Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually! 118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.

–          Psalm 119:133 (ESV) — 133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

–          Psalm 119:176 (ESV) — 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

  • Last verse of Psalm is not triumphant, but confessional and a plea. We need grace and mercy on this journey of walking in the Lord, but walk we must. The stakes are high. Pastor Farley points out in his book how important modeling is. Do as I say not as I do doesn’t jive with kids for a reason. They will grow up jaded and bitter. They will honestly resent you when they grow older. They will have little to no respect for a hypocritical parent. They can care less how good you look on Sunday, when they see right through you at home. Your kids are watching you. You might be convinced that they aren’t watching you, but they are. Parents are still the most significant role models for kids.

 –          not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

–          We walk according to the Lord’s precepts not just because it is true, though that alone is enough motivation, but because is “good”.

–          We see the goodness of God in this text as Paul employs “wisdom” literature in brief. The contrast between wise and unwise, foolish and understanding, beckon us to God’s wisdom as being good. We need a Proverbs driven life, seeking obedience to God’s precepts, but also an abiding affirmation of the hearty goodness in God’s ways.

–          We are also told to make “the best use of the time, because the days are evil”. There’s an urgency to acquire wisdom, to walk in the will of the Lord and reject our foolishness and the evil time. We must seek wisdom in Christ or perish. This is summed up quite well in the first chapter of Proverbs:

  • Proverbs 1:20–33 (ESV) — 20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. 32 For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; 33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
    • Wisdom is crying out…sense of urgency. The days are evil and our days are short, the time we have with our child-rearing is even shorter. We raise our kids for 18 years and that is a vapor compared to eternity.  “How long?” x2
    • V.23 promises provision of the Spirit to those who turn.
    • V.24 warns us about the fate of those who shun God and choose their own foolishness.
    • V.33 is a reassuring word of the safety given to those who accept God’s counsel.
    • Safety and security are “good”. God rewards those who follow Him and punishes those who walk in their own folly. I don’t know what is more tangible and practical than eternal reward or punishment. God is “good” to those who heed His good, gracious counsel.
    • Everyone in hell has spurned the love of God, and they eternally shun His love while in hell. We need to make much of our time because so much is at stake. There has been a much needed correction to the emphasis on heaven and hell being the ultimate reasons for turning to Christ, I get that, but I think the Church has steered too hard in the other direction and I see no fear, no sense of urgency in people anymore. I don’t see people weeping in their sanctification, wanting to make much of their time, I don’t see parents weeping for their children’s souls. Proverbs 1 makes emphatically clear the urgency and the stakes of listening to the hearkening voice of God or walking in our foolishness. It also assures us of the infinite goodness of turning to God!!!

Eph 5:18-21 “Spirit-filled Praise Driven Life” (Beauty)

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

John Stott: Paul has already told his readers that they have been ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit, and that they must not ‘grieve’ the Holy Spirit (1:13; 4:30). Now he bids them be filled with the Spirit. There is no greater secret of holiness than the infilling of him whose very nature and name are ‘holy’.

Grammatically speaking, this paragraph consists of two imperatives (the commands not to get drunk but to be Spirit-filled), followed by four present participles (speaking, singing, thanking and submitting). Theologically speaking, it first presents us with our Christian duty (to avoid drunkenness but seek the Spirit’s fullness) and then describes four consequences of this spiritual condition, in terms of our relationships. ‘Being filled with the Spirit’ is a topic much discussed and debated today; it is important for us to study Paul’s teaching carefully.

The apostle begins by drawing a certain comparison between drunkenness and the Holy Spirit’s fullness: Do not get drunk with wine, he says, … but be filled with the Spirit. And indeed there is a superficial similarity between the two conditions. A person who is drunk, we say, is ‘under the influence’ of alcohol; and certainly a Spirit-filled Christian is under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. But there the comparison ends and the contrast begins. Of course in the heathen cult of Dionysus intoxication was regarded as a means to inspiration. But it is a serious mistake to suppose that to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ is a kind of spiritual inebriation in which we lose control of ourselves. On the contrary, ‘self-control’ (enkrateia) is the final quality named as ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ in Galatians 5:22–23. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit we do not lose control; we gain it.[1]

 

–          We’ve discusses the need for a Precept-driven life in our walking; thus walking in God’s truth.

–          We’ve discussed the need for a Proverb-driven life in our attaining wisdom and redeeming the time; thus walking in God’s goodness.

–          We now see the need for a Spirit-filled Praise-driven life, where 3 of the 4 participles or results of the imperative to be Spirit-filled involve declaration with our mouths, the other one being our submission one to another. Here we see the beauty of God wrought in our hearts and community by the Holy Spirit. The Pauline benediction declares the blessing of fellowship that we receive in the Spirit. The Spirit begets beautiful things.

 

19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

–          Addressing one another in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs. Speaking of dynamic in Christian community. I would also encourage all of you to take up family worship as well in the home to live this out. It is really this aspect of our walk that is beautiful, that shines in the home, where kids exhibit joy in vocalized praise. I have rarely seen an enthusiastic youth come from a home that was dull, joyless, and lacking the beauty of God. If we just pound our kids with precepts, then this diet will weigh them down and either create Pharisees or resenting rebels. Wisdom will confirm that God’s truth is good, our kids will see the consequences of our actions and this is much better in leading our kids to God, but this falls short if there is no joy.

–          I have seen enthusiastic sport fans of fathers certainly pass down to their children a devotion to a particular team, where they collectively get fanatic on gameday. You get fanatic about Boise State, your kids will generally be wooed to anything that gets you excited and joyful. They will want to participate. If this dimension is absent in our disposition towards God, is it any wonder why kids grow up thinking God is boring?

  • There’s this outward dimension of “Addressing one another”, but it is qualified by the following description of “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”.
  • Your heart exhibits this melody, this beauty in praise. Kids hear you praise your favorite food, shows, movies, books, colors, teams, restaurants, but do they see and hear your affection for the Lord?

–          20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Are you a grateful person, expressing gratitude and giving thanks? We are natural complainers, all of us. We are quick to share our offense or point out error, but what about giving thanks?
    • This fosters a contentment, humility, and happiness in our Lord.
    • I have seen parents poison their kids with their constant criticism of everything under the sun.
    • A grateful home is a beautiful home!!!
    •  

21     submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

–          A worshipping tongue, a singing and melodious heart, a thankful and humble spirit will inevitable result in the harmonious beautiful fellowship that the Spirit seeks among His people. We submit to each other far more easily when the previous 3 results are evident.

–          Paul is speaking of corporate submission here, but this frames the following context of husbands and wives, parents and children, and masters and slaves.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I know that Bill will deal with this passage later, but I simply wanted to lay the foundational context that precedes this passage in Ephesians.

If the outworking fruit of the Gospel and the ongoing work of the Spirit in the life of the believer, evidenced in “walking”, “wisdom”, and “worship”, aren’t established, then the precepts to the home will not be appreciated.

We must walk in God’s truth.

We must be wise, redeeming the time, and displaying God’s goodness.

We must be a Spirit-filled people who evidence praise, melodious hearts, thanks hearts, and submissive hearts.

Only then can we truly understand what our Christian community should look like, and then frame our understanding of the home as the most intimate institution of the fruit of the Christian life.


[1] Stott, J. R. W. (1979). God’s new society : The message of Ephesians (203–204). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

© 2010, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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