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And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, EPH 6:4.

It is so important to understand how often the key words of our text are misunderstood. I spoke about this very thing with a friend the other day. He is a very spiritual man. We were speaking about the word nurture, i.e., what it means to bring up children in the nurture of the Lord. I asked if he had ever looked up the meaning of that word, and I found that he completely misunderstood its meaning. The meaning seemed so obvious to him. He seemed almost offended to be questioned about its meaning, but the course of our conversation demonstrated that he had no conception of the mind of the Spirit in the word's usage.

Many times, words seem so common that we do not take time to search out their real meanings. As we go through this message I hope, with the help of the Lord, to unveil the blessed significance of the word nurture in the Lord's directive to the fathers in this passage of Scripture.

I want to show you what that word nurture means. The word nurture in our text is taken from the Greek word Paideeia. It means, "Tutorage, i.e., education or training: by disciplinary correction:--chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture. To train up a child, i.e., educate, or discipline by punishment:--chasten, instruct, learn, teach." To bring up your child in the "nurture of the Lord" means to train them by disciplinary correction. It means to educate a child by discipline or punishment. How many people realize that that is what the word nurture means? It is very important we understand this.

The word admonition in our text is taken from the word nouthesia. In the Greek it means, "calling attention to, i.e., mild rebuke or warning:--admonition. It means calling attention to the Word of God." In other words, in the admonition of the Lord means calling attention to the Word of God. We must chasten that child with his eyes on the Word of God.

Properly understanding these words, the father has a great responsibility unto the Lord to discipline the children prayerfully, and in love, calling their attention to the Lord's command to do so. That child should know that the spanking or other disciplinary action is being taken because the Lord commands it.

In PRO 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son." We have to share this with our child. We have to show children that the Word of God says this is done out of love. If I didn't love you, I would spare the rod. That would show that I hate you. The child has to be informed that discipline is carried out in the admonition of the Lord.

It says in PRO 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." The child has to have that laid out for him. I can still remember what my mother used to tell me as a child. She said, "Son, there is foolishness in your heart. The Bible says the rod of correction will drive it far from you." My mother would be weeping while she spanked me. Do you know what? That is what made it effective. It made the chastisement very effective. I understood that it was done in love because my foolishness had to be driven out.

The admonition is to avoid the negative by doing the positive. In other words, do not provoke the children to anger by doing the positive; i.e., by bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Our text says, don't provoke them, "BUT...nurture" them. That negative is avoided by the positive. It is avoided by nurturing them.

EPH 6:4 says, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." We are to bring them up in the discipline that was set forth by the Lord.

To nurture your children includes supplying and providing them with every spiritual, emotional, as well as natural need to bring them to maturity. A father has a tremendous responsibility to each of his children. He is responsible for bringing them up to be mature adults who are ready for the responsibilities of life. They must be brought up with their spiritual, emotional, and natural needs being filled so they may become adults who love and fear the Lord. The father's example will follow them and become a pattern for their actions.

Fathers are responsible to nurture their children. They cannot excuse themselves because the children are in Sunday School or a public school where they are taught humanism instead of the authority of God's Word. A father can't say that he has done his job by putting them in Sunday school and in public school. That training is for the father to give. The Sunday school is just window dressing. It's a real blessing in itself as a luxury added to their father's training. The spirit of the education of that child takes place in the home. We can't leave our children's training to the public schools where they are taught humanism instead of the authority of God. We can't hope that that will prepare them for the realities of life. We have a responsibility to teach our children the authority of the Word of God.

The means ordained of the Lord to nurture a child include the chastening and admonition of the Lord. It is not our choice whether or not we will chasten a child. It is an absolute command.

The first interpretation of the word "nurture" is, "Tutorage, i.e., education or training." We must be responsible for the education or training of that child. We can't turn that over to the humanists. We can't turn that over to the public schools. It is our own responsibility.

Watch what we see here in ACT 7:22. "And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." We have the responsibility to educate our children intellectually, but we have to use discretion as to what point and by what means.

In 2TI 3:16 it says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." There is also the necessity of training children spiritually for correction and instruction in righteousness.

In 2TI 2:25 it says, "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." It is the responsibility of the fathers to teach those children. They must bring them under the means, but also they must give them the instruction at home. The second interpretation of the word "nurture" is, "To train up a child, i.e., educate, or discipline by punishment:--chasten, instruct, learn, teach." HEB 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." HEB 12:5-6 says, "And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." This word chastening in HEB 12:5, 6, 11, and the word nurture in our text both come from the same word in the Greek. Amen.

If I come to Jesus, He will make me glad;
He will give me pleasure when my heart is sad.
If I come to Jesus, He will save my soul,
Seal me by His Spirit, cleanse, and make me whole.
If I come to Jesus, He will take my hand,
He will kindly lead me to the better land.
There with happy children, robed in snowy white,
I shall see my Saviour, in that world so bright.

These on-line devotions are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion. See also our sermon notes. We pray this devotion has been a blessing to those who read it. Thank you.

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