Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 25 (1910 - 1915)


Ms 27, 1911

Sermon/The Responsibility of Parents

Long Beach, California

August 18, 1911

This manuscript is published in entirety in 10MR 101-106.

(Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, Long Beach, California, Friday, August 18, 1911.)

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth.” [Ephesians 6:1-3.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 1

Eternal interests depend upon the course our children take in this life, and parents should be in earnest in giving them correct lessons from their babyhood up. This is a work that has been greatly neglected by many parents, and it is one in which the Lord would have decided reforms made. He desires that our children shall be trained to render obedience to all His requirements. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 2

The apostle Paul continues: “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Servants be obedient to them which are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with Him.” [Verses 4-9.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 3

Great responsibilities rest upon parents, and they should strive earnestly to fulfil their God-appointed mission. When they see the need of bending all the energies of the being to the work of training their children for God, a great deal of the frivolity and unnecessary pretense that is now seen will be put away. They will consider no sacrifice or toil too great that will enable them to prepare to meet the Lord with joy. This is a most precious part of their service as followers of God, and one that they cannot afford to neglect. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 4

The words of the apostle teach that judgment will be brought upon those who do not obey their parents in the Lord, and that both parents and children are to follow on to know the Lord, taking heed to all the commandments of God. The Lord will reveal Himself to those who are obedient. If we are indifferent to the spiritual welfare of the children and youth, and fail to educate them in right principles, we neglect a great responsibility, the consequences of which we shall have to meet in the judgment. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 5

Parents, you are to exemplify Christ in your speech and your actions, and in your duties in the home life. You are to a large degree responsible for the salvation of the children whom you have brought into the world, and your example before them should be of that nature that it will mold their characters in accordance with divine principles. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 6

This burden is upon my mind day and night—the responsibilities that rest upon parents, and which by many are unacknowledged and unfulfilled. God wants us to come into right relation to Him. Shall it be said of any here before me today that Christ has died for your children in vain because you have not worked in harmony with the teachings of God’s Word? Let us make a solemn consecration of ourselves and our children to God. They are not given to us to be treated as playthings, made to please our notions and ideas. They are the property of God, and they are to be trained for His service. Teach them from the Word just what His requirements are concerning them. He demands obedience to all of His commandments. If parents neglect their responsibilities to their children, how will it be with them in the day of final account? 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 7

I have had children come to me and beg me to take them in, saying, that at home they had no opportunity to do the will of God. Yet the parents of these very children professed to be Christians. Some who even ministered in the Word neglect to do their duty to their children. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 8

Message after message has been given me for parents who thus neglect their family responsibilities. We are instructed to teach our children line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little, teaching them to live as in the presence of God, showing them the requirements of God’s Word and explaining to them their duty concerning them. If your children are disobedient, they should be corrected. But do not punish in anger. Before correcting them, go by yourself, and ask the Lord to soften and subdue the hearts of your children and to give you wisdom in dealing with them. Never in a single instance have I know this method to fail. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 9

You cannot make a child understand spiritual things when the heart is stirred with passion. At such times I would say to my children, We will wait until your bed hour, and then we would talk the matter over and see what was best to be done. I would pray with them and would tell them that I could not have my children displeasing the Lord and grow up to disregard His requirements. I do not know of a single instance when this plan failed. They would throw their arms around my neck, asking my forgiveness and promising to do differently. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 10

Do not strike your children a blow until everything else has failed. Many times you will find that if you will reason with them kindly, they will not need to be whipped. And such method of dealing will lead them to have confidence in you. They will make you their confidant. They will come to you and say, I did wrong today at such a time, and I want you to forgive me and to ask God to forgive me. I have gone through scenes like this, and therefore I know. I have adopted children and have tried to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and I had success in this work. I thank the Lord with heart and soul and voice that I can see today some of these children, occupying responsible positions in the work of God. I am thankful that I had courage, when they did wrong, to deal with them firmly, to pray with them, and to keep the standards of God’s Word before them. I am glad that I presented to them the promises made to the overcomer and the rewards offered to those who are faithful. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 11

Parents need to arouse to a sense of their grave responsibility and be interested in the salvation of their children. They have a heaven to win, a hell to shun. It means much to bring up the children in the love and fear of God. It means more than many realize. We should be just as faithful in fulfilling these duties day by day as we expect God to be faithful in imparting to us our daily blessings. God wants us to co-operate with Him. He wants us to come to a right understanding of what our relation to these children should be. It is time that we understood this and determined to follow the will of the Lord for ourselves and for our children. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 12

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord,” the apostle writes, “for this is right. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long upon the earth.” [Verses 1-3.] But who is going to teach these children to honor God, unless the father and mother teach them? Who is going to teach them what that promise means, if not their parents? There is nothing, parents, that will give your children such strength of character as to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let them see that discipline is a part of God’s purpose for them. He wants us to harmonize with His plans, not allowing the children to grow up careless and unrestrained, but to submit to the will and the guidance of His Spirit. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 13

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Verses 10-17.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 14

The sword of the spirit is the Word of God. Give it to your children as their weapon against evil. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 15

Frequently my spirit has been deeply wrought upon as I have stood before the people to see a quarrel going on in the congregation between a mother and her child. Sometimes my soul has been so hurt by this sight that I could hardly go on with the discourse. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 16

My brethren and sisters, where is your strength and efficiency for the doing of this work? The apostle presents it to you in the words, “Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Verse 18.] You must be prepared to listen to counsel from others. Do not feel that it is no business of your brethren or sisters how you treat your children, or how your children conduct themselves. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 17

Parents should not allow visitors to take the time that should be given to their children. If a neighbor comes in to visit you at a time when your children require your attention, tell your visitor pleasantly but firmly that you have not time to spare, that your children demand your first attention. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 18

Let us seek to meet the mind of the Spirit of God in all things. “If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 19

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” [Philippians 2:1-7.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 20

Notwithstanding all that was His by right, He claimed for Himself none of these things. “And being found in fashion as a man He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [Verses 8-11.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 21

Brethren and sisters, let us do our work intelligently, that when the time shall come when all the human family must meet the Judge over His broken law, we shall not stand condemned before Him. “Wherefore my beloved,” the apostle continues, “as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.” [Verses 12-16.] 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 22

O shall we not listen to the words of God? Here are our directions. I present them to you and ask you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to arouse to the work that God is calling you to do. Shall we not arouse from our sleep and do this work intelligently? God bids us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, declaring that God works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Let us seek to honor our Redeemer and to glorify His name. I may not be able to speak to you again on this subject, but let fathers and mothers bear in mind that they have a solemn record to meet in the judgment. Consider your children and the judgment that must one day be passed upon them. Has your example been such that they will have no excuse for their wrong course of action? You are to counsel and reprove in the fear of the Lord; you are to seek the Lord in prayer for a spirit that He can commend. May the Lord’s blessing rest upon this congregation. May the word that has been spoken make a deep impression on your minds, leading you to form correct habits and make a record that you will not be ashamed to meet in the judgment. 25LtMs, Ms 27, 1911, par. 23