How To Bring Up Children for God

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning and evening, March 18, 2001, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.


By Michael D. O’Neal                  Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                  Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Judges 13:1-8

Text: Judges 13:8

Judges 13:8 Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.

Introduction: The message this morning is called, “How To Bring Up Children For God.” As my title implies, I do believe that it CAN be DONE. If my children depart from the faith, it doesn’t cast a bad reflection upon this message, but rather upon this preacher and his ability to raise children. At present both of my daughters are grown and are serving the Lord. One is the church pianist, and the other is the church organist. Both ladies teach Sunday School classes. Both ladies work on a bus. Both ladies love God and serve Him. Now listen: That did NOT happen by ACCIDENT; it happened on PURPOSE.

Oh, how Americans need this message! Mrs. O’Neal and I were discussing this with another pastor and his wife this week. I made the comment, “Parents today don’t have a CLUE about raising children. They don’t know HOW.”

America is in trouble. It is in MUCH worse moral shape than it was 50 years ago. I know that mankind has been wicked since the fall in the garden of Eden, but children in our country are more wicked today than they were in the 1950s. They are more violent. They are more rebellious. They are more promiscuous and morally corrupt.

This is also true of the children of Christians! Beloved, let’s don’t let our kids go to the devil! Listen to me! I’m here today to tell you that GOD has a way for you to bring your children up for HIM if you will just take the time, responsibility, and diligence to DO it! Manoah prayed, ” O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”

This message is to parents, but it will benefit us all to remind ourselves of what God says about bringing up children.

First, if you want to bring up your children for God:


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

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

It is not the job of the state to raise your children, no matter what they may say.

It doesn’t take a neighborhood to raise your children, in spite of what a wicked politician may say.

A. God gave them to you in trust

  • They belong to HIM.
  • He has placed them in your care.
  • In the midst of all of the violence committed by children in recent years, I would like to see one politician or news commentator who would lay some responsibility on the PARENTS, and not just on the other school kids, the environment, etc.

B. God gave them to you for a time

  • Parents should train children to be good adults, not to be old, immature children.

C. God gave them to you for a task

  • God didn’t give you children JUST so that you could enjoy them.
  • He gave them to you to train for HIM. That brings me to my next point:


Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

A. Train them to submit

  • They must learn to respect authority in infancy.
  • I believe that a child who is taught to obey and respect authority is more likely to trust Christ and be saved at an early age.
  • Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

B. Train them to serve

  • After a child learns to be obedient, he needs to be taught that the most fulfilling position of all is that of a servant.
  • This includes teaching them to work!

C. Train them to stand

  • One of the most important things to train our children is to resist the enticement to do evil.
  • See Proverbs 1.


Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

A. Embrace the example of Abraham

  • Command them as he did

B. Expect obedience

C. Examine the results

  • Bible reading
  • House chores


Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

A. Do it with control

  • If you don’t have your temper under control, put off the spanking.

B. Do it with concern

  • Love your child.
  • According to Prov. 13:24, you hate your child if you don’t whip him when he needs it.

C. Do it with consistency

  • Don’t give in.
  • Don’t put it off and forget.
  • Let him see the “correct” way in the way that YOU live, especially you fathers!

That Little Fellow’s Dad

I may never be as clever as my neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some other men I meet.
I may never have the glory that some other men have had,
But I’ve just got to be successful as that little fellow’s dad.

There are certain dreams I cherish, that I’d like to see come true,
There are things that I’d accomplish before my working time is through.
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as that little fellow’s dad.

O, I may never come to glory and I may never gather gold,
And men may count me as a failure when my business life is told.
But if he who follows after shall be godly, then I’ll be glad,
Because I’ll know I’ve been successful as that little fellow’s dad.

It’s the one job that I dream of, it’s the task I think of most,
For if I fail that little fellow, I have nothing else to boast.
For the wealth and fame I’d gather, all my fortune would be sad,
If I fail to be successful as that little fellow’s dad.

Author Unknown


1 Samuel 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

A. Restrain their actions

  • It doesn’t surprise me what children do. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.
  • What surprises me is what parents ALLOW their children to do.
  • STOP your child’s wrong actions!

B. Restrain their attitudes

C. Restrain their amusements

  • Don’t let them enjoy something that is sinful. Stop them, and punish them.

D. Restrain their associations. Unless their associations are godly, Bible-believing, fundamental, independent Baptists who are serving God …

  • Say NO to them and your neighbors who want them to spend the night!
  • Say NO to them and to your relatives who want them to spend the weekend!
  • Say NO to them and their friends who want them to go to the fair or to the ball game!


Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

A. Choose a godly environment

  • “Veto” the wrong buddies or companions. See Prov. 13:20.
  • Don’t put a TV, telephone, or Internet connection in his room.
  • Get him in the right kind of church, and in the right church!

B. Choose godly entertainment

  • Don’t let him have unrestricted use of the television.
  • My children never attended a movie.
  • They never went to a dance.

C. Choose a godly education

  • Government education is the same thing as letting the devil train your children.

You may have heard this poem, supposedly written by a teenager:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.
Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.
Our hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene.
The law is specific, the law is precise.
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.
For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.
We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks.
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible
To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s “inappropriate” to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such “judgments” do not belong.
We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.
It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot;
My soul please take!



Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

A. Pray for their salvation

  • Start praying before they are born, and keep praying until they are born again!

B. Pray for their strength

  • Ephesians 3:14-16 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
  • Strength to witness boldly
  • Strength to resist temptation

C. Pray for their spiritual understanding

  • Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
  • Pray for their eyes to be enlightened
  • Pray for them to get a grip on the word of God … on truth
  • Pray that they will see the difference between temporal things and eternal things

Children don’t have to ruin your life. They don’t have to cause misery. They don’t have to end up in jail and make you re-mortgage your house to get them out. You can have children that will bring you joy.

A census taker walked up to a woman who was sitting on a porch. After introducing himself, he said, “How many children do you have?”

The woman answered, “Four.”

The census taker asked, “May I have their names, please?”

The woman replied, “Eenie, Meenie, Minie, and George.”

Confused, the census taker said, “May I ask why you named your fourth child ‘George’?”

“Surely, because we didn’t want any Moe.”

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