The Christian Family — Part Four
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The Christian Family — Part Four

Colossians 3:20  (ID: 3509)

God created men and women to flourish within the family structure. As those who are in Christ, we are called to live in a way that is pleasing to Him—and part of God’s design for family life, explains Alistair Begg, is parents’ responsibility to instruct their children in the Word of God and to accompany this teaching with discipline motivated by love. When children respond in obedience, the Christian family adorns the Gospel before a watching world.

Series Containing This Sermon

Encore 2022

A Collection of Listener Favorites Selected Scriptures Series ID: 25918

Sermon Transcript: Print

Exodus 20:1:

“And God spoke all these words, saying,

“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“‘You shall have no other gods before me.

“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and … fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“‘Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

“‘You shall not murder.

“‘You shall not commit adultery.

“‘You shall not steal.

“‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

“Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.’ The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.”

Well, we thank God for his Word, and we make it the basis of our study. And I invite you to turn now to Colossians and to chapter 3. We come now to our fourth study in the Christian family, and once again, our text is brief, and it’s clear. Verse 20: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Well, we pray:

Our gracious God, we ask now that you will summon us by the truth of your Word, that you will teach us by the power of your Spirit, that you will bring us to faith and trust in your Son, that we might be enabled to live in obedience to your truth. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

All right, there we have it: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” We really have reversed into this little series and have, I think, fastened on something that emerged from our first Sunday, and it is simply this: that we are recognizing that in a very realistic sense, it takes the church family to make it possible for each of us to be enabled to raise a Christian family. The challenges are immense, the privileges are terrific, the responsibilities are vast, and the help that exists amongst others around us who’ve tried it before, who’ve done it before, who are living it now, and so on, is a massive resource.

The well-being of a person or of a nation begins in the home.

And so we’re trying to understand. And it fits very much with that Church 101 amongst our teenagers: trying to help us to recognize the fact that it is not that our physical family life exists, as it were, as a citadel, and if there’s other things that we want to add into it, then—including church life—all well and good. But no, in actual fact, in Christ, the real family is the church family. And the question is not “How do we fold church life into our physical family life?” but “How do we fold our physical family life into all that God has for us in the church?”

Now, it is in light of that that we’ve looked first of all at wives, and then at husbands, and now we come to children. And the Bible is really clear, not just in the Epistles here, in the New Testament, but throughout the Bible, that parental authority is absolutely vital—it is actually indispensable—for a stable society. And that is why when we read the Bible, we discover that from the very beginning, God established mankind within the structure of family life—a structure in which the roles between husbands and wives were delineated and a structure in which children were to submit to the authority of their parents. And this is, if you like, a natural law. It is in the instinctive dimensions of human existence, and it is also part of the law of God, as we read in the Decalogue earlier.

It is therefore no exaggeration to say, as I now do, that the well-being of a person or of a nation begins, then, in the home. And whenever a culture turns its back on God, whenever a culture turns its back on the moral framework that God has established for the well-being of society, when the destruction and disintegration of family life begins to take place, then it is clear that God’s design has simply been set aside.

And it’s not that God’s design is hard to understand. In fact, it is because it is so clear that it is rejected so forcibly: one man and one woman in a monogamous, heterosexual, lifelong commitment that provides the opportunity to fulfill the privileges of parenthood. And it is surely noteworthy that on two occasions, when Paul, in writing to various places—actually, writing to the church in Rome and writing to Timothy and to Titus—when he addresses a collapsing culture and he describes the constituent elements that would be represented when the culture begins to fall in upon itself, included in both of the two key lists that we have is one simple phrase, “disobedient to parents.”[1] “Disobedient to parents.” In the midst of all the various things that are described—horrendous things, and the moral collapse and so on—there you find it: “disobedient to parents.”

Now, what this then means is a number of things. First of all, it provides the Christian church, and Christian parents in particular, with an opportunity for the gospel—a chance to “adorn” the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Titus puts it;[2] a chance for the Christian family to become a living testimonial to the truth of the Bible, to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. And I’ve labored in these brief studies to set this in this context every time, and I want to do so again this morning.

It’s relatively easy to simply say, “Now, here’s what wives are supposed to do. Here’s what husbands are supposed to do. Here’s what children are supposed to do.” We’re familiar with all of that. Our problem is not that we’re untaught in relationship to these things. Our problem is a far deeper problem. Our problem is a gospel problem. Our problem is a biblical problem. Our problem is an obedience problem. And it starts with an understanding of who Jesus is. So, our first point will be to consider the identity of Jesus; secondly, to consider the responsibility of parents; and thirdly, and only then, to consider the duty of children.

The Identity of Jesus

“Well,” you say, “well, why would you begin with the identity of Jesus?” Well, simply because that is how it is handled here by Paul. Paul was aware, and we’ve become aware of the fact through our study, that there were all kinds of ethical codes that were present in Judaism and in the Greek and Roman world. Those people realized, by way of natural law, that for society to function, there had to be order, there had to be structure, and it had to be there in the family life. So, what was it, then, that Paul was introducing—or what, if you like, does the Bible introduce—that takes it forward from there?

Well, specifically the fact of who Jesus is. The fact of the lordship of Jesus Christ. And so what he’s saying is, the specific responsibilities within the Christian home for the various roles assigned have to do with Jesus as Lord. And that’s why here in verses 18 through to the end of the chapter, you find the phraseology recurring. In verse 18, the wives are submitting to their husbands “in the Lord.” In verse 20, children are to do this because it is pleasing to the Lord. In 22, we obey our earthly masters, “fearing the Lord.” And in verse 24 and in part a, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

So the summary of the responsibilities of various family members is actually the application of their theology. So in other words, we have to understand the Bible. We have to understand who Jesus is. We have to both believe it and we have to live in the light of it, if we’re gonna actually make any sense of practical instructions such as this. And that is why, for example, in chapter 2 and in the middle of chapter 2—verse 6 there of chapter 2—he says to them, “Therefore, as you [have] received Christ Jesus the Lord…” This is the distinguishing feature of these people. “You have received Jesus as Lord. He is your King. He is the Sovereign One. He’s in charge of your finances. He’s in charge of your future. He’s in charge of your family. He’s in charge. You received him. He’s the Lord. Now,” he says, “in light of that—in light of that—the imperative is that you now must walk in him.”[3] Indicative: “You received him.” Imperative: “Walk in him.” You see how the indicative always precedes the imperative.

So you see, if somebody listens to me talk this morning and thinks that what I’m simply doing is seeking to reinforce a Christianized version of an ethical code, then I’ve done a dreadful job. That’s why I’m laboring to make the point at the beginning that what is being entrusted to these believers in Colossae is being entrusted to believers. They have understood God’s grace in all its truth. They realize that they could not earn God’s salvation. They realize that Jesus is the Savior that they require. They have received him as Lord. Now that is indicative of what is true of them. Now, he says, it is the imperative that continues from there. “I want you then,” he says, “to live your lives in this way.” And I won’t continue to read it, but you can read it on there in chapter 2. And what the point is, is straightforward. Because, you see, in 2:9, in Jesus “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” In other words, he is God. He is God. He is God.

He is the one, then, who establishes our values. He is the one who guides our thinking. He is the one who directs our conduct. And in a very realistic way, poor parenting can be traced, actually, not to an absence of information but a failure in application—a failure, first of all to believe what the Bible says, and then to behave in light of who and what Jesus is.

Now, Paul is concerned, in writing to the Colossians here, that they will not be swept away by the thinking of the surrounding culture. And actually, he says—and we’re still in chapter 2, actually, and in verse 4—he says, “I’m saying these things to you—I’m saying these things to you—in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.”[4] Down in verse 8, he says, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and [by] empty deceit” that concerns human traditions, that works “according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Now, Paul has in mind there specific challenges as it relates to the identity, the person of Jesus. False teachers were pressing upon the church, they were teaching doctrine and they were demanding practices of people that did not depend on Christ. And all I am saying in referencing these two exhortations is that while that was an express issue, a peculiar issue that was there in the Colossae valley—and commentators debate the nature of the issue and so on—but the principle remains. It is for the Christian person, living under the lordship of Christ, to see to it that we are not deluded, to see to it that we do not succumb to specious arguments and to philosophies which have no basis at all in reality. And goodness gracious, if there’s not an area in which that is a challenge other than family life at the moment, I don’t know what is. Because, he said earlier, in Jesus all these things “hold together.”[5]

Now, all of that said to reinforce this foundational premise: that obedience of children is the only proper response to the instruction of parents who acknowledge Christ as their Lord. Obedience of children is the only proper response to the instruction of parents who submit to Jesus as Lord.

The Responsibility of Parents

Well then, let’s say a word or two about the responsibility of the parents. You say, “Well, it’s supposed to be about children.” Yes, it is about children. But the children don’t live in a bedroom by themselves. They live in a house, all being well, with parents. Parents are to bring their children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”[6] But how can children be expected to know their boundaries if their parents are clueless? How can they be expected to know what they’re supposed to do or what they’re not supposed to do if their parents are neglectful of their responsibilities—clear responsibilities—as delineated in the Bible?

And whatever decision Christian parents make about the ongoing education of their children—and there are many within our congregation that adopt all kinds of approaches, and we understand and recognize that—but whatever that decision is, one thing is true of every mom and dad in the congregation, and that is that they are responsible for the instruction of their children in the Word of God. It is their responsibility. It is not Church 101’s responsibility. It is not the nursery’s responsibility. All of that may be supplemental, but none of that will be able to take the place of what happens in the routine sitting down, standing up, riding in the car, and so on.

Obedience of children is the only proper response to the instruction of parents who submit to Jesus as Lord.

And the task is to be exercised by the parents in the face of all of the challenges of a world that doesn’t agree—the insinuations of the Evil One that come to us and say, “You know, you shouldn’t listen to all this stuff. It’s old-fashioned. The Bible—if somebody had written the Bible at this point, they would never have included this.” That’s the kind of thing you hear. Or they’ll say, “But you need to be a pragmatic person. You just need to be as realistic as you can. And frankly, this doesn’t work.” Or you have them saying, “You know, what you really need is self-help in this. You don’t need Bible help. You don’t need the Spirit’s help. Psychology will be of far more help to you than theology.”

And at the heart of all of those kind of insinuations, which come ultimately from the Evil One, at the heart of it all is the undermining of the Word of God. Undermining of the Word of God. The design of the Evil One is to get God’s people to live their lives paying scant attention to the truth of the Bible—being prepared to affirm its authority, as we said at the end last time, being prepared to say we believe it entirely, and then to do absolutely nothing with it when it comes to the issues that we’re dealing with now.

Instruction begins at home, whether it’s formal or informal. It has to do with the bedtime questions. It has to do with the travel discussions. It has to do with creating a climate in which our children recognize that we are depending on the Bible and depending on the help of the Holy Spirit to try and do our level best to raise them according to the structures and definitions of the Bible—that we are, on our best days, sinful as well.

And we do so in the awareness of the fact that—for example, let’s take the demythologization of evolutionary theory. And your children come home from school. And I have a vivid recollection. We were living in Tanglewood at the time. And I remember as we gathered around the table, one of the children said, “You know, I learned something funny at school today.” “Oh,” I said, “well, what was that?” He said, “The teacher told me that I came from an ape.” He said, “How funny do you think that is?” I said, “I think it’s really funny too.” And then we had a talk about whether you came from an ape or not or whether God’s Word is true; whether what it says actually describes what happened or whether we’re living with a mythology; whether we’re involved in the greatest religious con trick that the world has ever seen or whether we’re dealing in the realm of reality.

I guarantee you that the child nurtured by a biblical view of the origin of life will enjoy in life a security that can never be experienced by the youngster schooled, for example, in evolutionary theory. How happy the son who can say, “When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart. Keep my commands, and you will live.’”[7] Hmm.

So the responsibility of the parents is essentially twofold. It is, first of all, that: the instruction of their children. And then the disciplining of their children. Here’s where it gets challenging, isn’t it? Disciplining our children according to the Bible is not an option, and doing it, and doing it in the way that God says, is absolutely essential. The social and political climate is one in which the rights of the child have been set out in such a way as to severely limit the potential of parental jurisdiction, the exercise of discipline. Old files from my drawer go way back, actually: 1996, the Supreme Court of Italy declares all punishment by parents of children as unlawful. The judgment states that “the very expression ‘correction of children’ … expresses a view of childrearing that is both culturally anachronistic … historically outdated” and “should in fact be redefined.”

The exercise of discipline is motivated by love.

Now, what’s happening here, you see, is the question is, does the creator of the universe know what he’s talking about when he says, “This is how it works,” or does he not? But as soon as you’ve removed the Creator, then you have no one to whom you have to defer. You know, if God is dead—as Dostoevsky said—if God is dead, then all things are permissible.[8] You know, all the bets are off. So this is not just a sort of cultural challenge to a small group of people who’ve got a weird perspective on the raising of children. This is actually a challenge to God Almighty. And you can go through the whole thing. Supreme Court of Israel declares it unlawful, 2000; South African Constitutional Accord, Christian schools challenge it, Christian schools are told, you know, “Go home, and don’t come back.”

Well, here’s the challenge. What are we going to do? Because if upholding and applying biblical guidelines takes place, then we face the challenge, don’t we, of being hateful or abusive towards our children? That’s what they say: the reason you couldn’t do this is because it is inevitably hateful; it is abusive. But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Surely, there is a way to be abusive and hateful towards our children in any kind of structure, not least of all within the framework of biblical parameters. And we see evidence of that. We read it every so often in the press, where people are just completely off their rocker and they’ve taken these things to extremes that are malevolent and bad and worthy of punishment. Absolutely no question about that.

But you can’t throw the entire thing out on the basis of the fact that people made a complete mess of the guidelines. No! Because the exercise of discipline is motivated by love. It’s motivated by love. It’s a love that seeks to prevent our children from reaching the end of their lives in a sorry state and finding that the reason they end up in that sorry state is because they hated discipline, they spurned correction, they paid no attention to their parents.

And, of course, the Bible is very clear. Solomon is very clear: he who “spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is [careful] to discipline him.”[9] It is only irresponsible parenting that leaves children to fend for themselves. When the writer of Hebrews picks the principle of disciplining of children up, he applies it to the nature of the work of God within our lives. He says, “If you had earthly parents, you know you were disciplined by them for your good. And they do this because this is how God treats you. He disciplines you for your good. All discipline in the moment is painful, but later on, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”[10] But if what you want is peace at any cost now, you can’t expect the peaceable fruit of righteousness then. First comes the pain, and then comes the pleasure.

So, the challenge is huge. I must say, you know, now, as a grandfather, you live this thing at least twice. You live with your own mistakes and disappointments and chaos, and then you watch as your children try their journey, and you have to stand back and go… Bite your tongue. Bite your tongue. Say, “No, that’s not…” Whew! It’s a tough one.

But listen, listen: when parents do not establish this framework out of the gate, the challenge becomes greater with every birthday. I guarantee you. They are not all of a sudden gonna roll over in their bed and go, “You know what? Yeah, I love you, and I’ll do everything you say.” No. The foolishness that is bound up in the heart of a child, which expresses itself in rebellion, will take more than words to dislodge. Now, how do I know that? Because the Bible says that.

The Duty of Children

So, taking the responsibility seriously, it’s tied to the lordship of Christ; and therefore, it falls to the children to also take this seriously. Let’s just say a word or two under this third heading.

Proverbs again: “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she[’s] old.”[11] I take it, actually, that Paul assumes that children were present when this letter was read—certainly when the letter would have been referenced in the context of house gatherings and so on. It’s worth noting in passing that age-based education within the framework of the church is a relatively new phenomenon. It’s not a bad idea, but it is a different idea. And when you read in the Old Testament, you find that families were together under the instruction of God’s Word. For example, in Chronicles, where Jahaziel has the responsibility of delivering the Word, it says, “All Judah stood before the Lord, … their little ones, their wives, … their children.”[12] And classically, when Ezra is invited to bring out the Book and speak from it, he “brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand.”[13]

Now, this is of great importance, because our children are sensible. They’re bright. They’re capable of understanding, and they are capable of understanding the clear instructions of the Bible and whether we as parents are actually embracing them, engaging with them, and being prepared to do what it says. And the instruction along these lines for children is not in the small print. It’s not as if it’s away at the end of something, hidden away. For example, when Moses is addressing the people in Leviticus 19, it says that “the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.’” Full stop. Next sentence: “‘Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.’”[14] That’s the first thing! “Say to Israel, ‘You are to be a different kind of people in the world. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.’”

It’s not an absence of clarity, I say to you again. It is the duty of children—or, as you say, the “doody”—it is the duty of children to honor, respect, and obey their parents, to submit to their correction, to accept their instruction. “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.”[15] “Give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Aye, there’s the rub for some of us. For their eyes observe our ways, and our ways are at cross-purposes to the instruction. I wonder, have you ever had one of your kids say to you, “I don’t think you love me”? And then they said to you, “Because you never discipline me. That’s why I know you don’t love me.” They don’t say, “Because you didn’t give me things.” Uh-uh.

Now, we must draw this to a close, and we need to say a couple of things, importantly.

First of all, we recognize that parents are not infallible. Parents are not infallible. But the Word of God is infallible. So, we are simply standing in between God himself and our children , in the way that I am standing in between God himself and you as this congregation. For I will give an answer to God for all the words that I have spoken to you, formally and informally.[16] That’s what the Bible says. Step up if you’d like this challenge. But it falls to you as a dad. It falls to you as a mom. And it falls to you as a boy or a girl. The Bible is really clear.

When we get letters—and we get hundreds of letters—from prisoners, it is a traceable fact that many of them, when they tell us their story, say that they find themselves incarcerated now as a result of decisions that they made along the journey of their lives which began with contempt of parental authority and discipline. “Children, obey your parents in everything.” “Everything”? Does that mean if they tell you to go steal things from Target, you’re supposed to? Clearly not. Obedience is only in such things that concur with the law of God.

Who is sufficient for these things? My heart goes out to our young families. It does. Those of us who have been around a little while understand this. I mean, this is Friday, August 13, from Scotland, the latest piece from the Scottish government: children as young as four will be allowed to change their name and gender at school without their parents’ consent, under new guidelines issued by the Scottish government. So, you can send your children into an alien environment, and they can do whatever they jolly well please there, and you don’t have to be contacted about it. They will come home and tell you, and their teachers will reinforce it for you. Can it possibly be?

Parents are not infallible. But the Word of God is infallible. So, we are simply standing in between God himself and our children.

Children. What a gift! And they are a gift. Let’s remind ourselves of that. Let’s remind ourselves that our children are only loaned to us for a little while. You say, “Well, I can tell you’re getting old now; you call it ‘a little while.’ Because zero to five seems like eternity.” Yeah. But five to eighteen is a moment in time.

Let’s remind ourselves that they’re cute, but they’re also corrupt; that they’re lovely, but that they’re lost. They’re “estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.”[17] Which is, of course, a problem, isn’t it? Unless, of course, you’re reading the Sunday Review on January 5, 2018: “Is Your Child Lying to You? That’s Good.” “Why do some children start lying at an earlier age than others? What separates them from their more honest peers? The short answer is … they[’re] smarter.”[18]

You see, this comes down to the Bible again, doesn’t it? The Bible says this is a problem. Some crazy psychologist says that’s actually the answer. So they need God’s law to show them where they’re wrong, to show them that they can’t climb up a ladder to God’s acceptance, to show them that they’re in need of God’s grace, to help them understand that when they make a hash of it, when they stumble and fall on their face, there’s more grace in Jesus than there is sin in their little hearts.

And we finish this up acknowledging that we live in a culture that is increasingly corrupt. We live in an environment, big church, that is in many ways in danger of becoming entirely compromised in these things. And that is why our children are confused. For confused they are. That’s why I say to you, if the parents don’t get it, if the parents are clueless, you’re gonna live with confused children. There’s no possibility of it being otherwise. And that’s why we need the clarity of the Bible.

Last week, in the people that I met at the end of the service, there was a fellow from California—big, tall man, a basketball coach apparently—and his twelve-year-old son. So I said to him, I said, “Hey,” I said, “I used to be twelve.” He looked at me like “Oh really?” I said “Yeah. It was fifty-seven years ago.” And the father said, “Is there something that you would say to him, as a twelve-year-old boy?” So, because I’d just been preaching along these lines, “Yeah,” I said to him; I said, “Yeah. Keep your story simple. Keep your story simple. Look entirely to Jesus.” The guy said, “Is that it?” I said, “That’s it.”

It’s fascinating, isn’t it, that from the birth narratives you’ve got this long period of silence, and then Jesus reappears at the age of twelve? He’s in the temple. He’s in discussion with the people. He’s really missing from his family retinue. They search for him. They find him. You remember that encounter. It’s described for us there. And it says then that “he went down” with Mary and Joseph “and was submissive to them,” and he “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and [with] man.”[19]

The lady who wrote “Once in Royal David’s City” captured something of this when, in about verse three of that, having introduced us to Jesus and his birth, she writes,

For he is our [childhood] pattern;
Day by day, like us he grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless;
Tears and smiles like us he knew;
And he feeleth for our sadness,
And he shareth in our gladness.[20]

In short order, young people: Jesus, who is for you as you trust in him “the author and finisher” of your faith,[21] he understands better than you can ever know what it is to be an obedient son.

Well, just a moment of silence.

Father, steer us away from any thoughts of moralism or pulling up our socks. We all know we need to do better, but we all know that all day, every day, we’re entirely dependent on the work of your Spirit. Forgive us for our failures. Forgive us, Lord, for listening to the chatter of a surrounding culture rather than listening to the voice of you who created the children.

Help us, as boys and girls who are present under the sound of my voice right now, to realize what an adventure it is to live in the light of God’s Word, to trust in Jesus as Savior, to submit and live for him, and in so doing to obey our mothers and fathers.

Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for your example of humility and servanthood. And in your name we pray. Amen.

[1] Romans 1:30 (ESV). See also 2 Timothy 3:2; Titus 3:3.

[2] Titus 2:10 (ESV).

[3] Colossians 2:6 (paraphrased).

[4] Colossians 2:4 (paraphrased).

[5] Colossians 1:17 (ESV).

[6] Ephesians 6:4 (KJV).

[7] Proverbs 4:3–4 (paraphrased).

[8] Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov, pt. 4, bk. 11, chap. 4.

[9] Proverbs 13:24 (ESV).

[10] Hebrews 12:9–11 (paraphrased).

[11] Proverbs 23:22 (ESV).

[12] 2 Chronicles 20:13 (ESV).

[13] Nehemiah 8:2 (ESV).

[14] Leviticus 19:1–3 (ESV).

[15] Proverbs 23:26 (ESV).

[16] See Matthew 12:36.

[17] Psalm 58:3 (ESV).

[18] Alex Stone, “Is Your Child Lying to You? That’s Good,” New York Times, January 5, 2018,

[19] Luke 2:51–52 (ESV).

[20] Cecil Frances Alexander, “Once in Royal David’s City” (1848).

[21] Hebrews 12:2 (KJV).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.