Setting Boundaries for Our Children

03 May

Setting Boundaries for Our Children

Text: 1 Samuel 3:13 …because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

Purpose: The writer of 1 Samuel emphasizes the justification for God judging the house of Levi.

Proposition: God wants us to restrain our children from and to a Biblical worldview.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Truth 1: Realize all parents restrain their children, but not all parents restrain them from and to a Biblical worldview:

Illustration: Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and his wives, David and Absalom.

  • Excellence from a selfish motive: Life will be easier for me if I can just get these kids under control.
  • Excellence from a proud motive: I want my kid to be a rich nuclear physicist living the American dream.
  • Morality from a pragmatic motive: If my daughter has a child out of wedlock, the chances of them living in poverty is higher than if they do things right.
  • Frustration: I can’t take this any more.
  • Glory of God: God created my children for His own glory, so they could be living testimonies of the power of the gospel.

Truth 2: Restraint from a Biblical worldview recognizes the fallen nature of all Children:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Psalm 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Proverbs 23:12-19 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.  Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.  My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.   For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Romans 3:10-18  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Romans 8:7-9 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

  • My children sin because they are sinners, and they must be restrained.
  • My children must be taught not to sin.
  • My children’s conscience must be shaped by the word of God.
  • My child’s view of God must be shaped by the word of God.
  • My children are powerless to be sanctified apart from new life in Christ.
  • My child will always need legitimate accountability even where he has freedom.

Truth 3: Restraint from a Biblical worldview recognizes the importance of the Gospel in setting boundaries for children:

  • Success is not found in the American dream

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

  • The gospel is rejected until the conscience is awakened by the law.

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Philippians 3:5-9 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

  • Our position in Christ is the primary motivation for holy living.

Colossians 3:1-3If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;

  • Our position in Christ is the primary motivation for good stewardship.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

  • The Holy Spirit working in a regenerated heart enables us to walk in holiness.

Romans 8:7-9 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Practical examples:


  • Some entertainments should never be allowed in a Christian home: They are sinful.
  • Some entertainment should not be allowed in excess: They are distracting. 
  • Some entertainment should only be allowed with legitimate accountability: They open the door to temptation. 
  • Entertainment should be presented from a Christian worldview: We are able to do this to the glory of God.

Education: (I would encourage parent to consider home education for a number of reasons, but for those who are not convinced as I am on this point, here are some questions you should think through honestly.)

  • Am I putting my children under the instruction of the ungodly?
  • Are my children being forced to compromise truth?
  • Are my children strong enough to handle the peer pressure at this stage in life?
  • Is this schooling arrangement hindering my interaction with my children?
  • Is this schooling arrangement compromising the instruction my children are receiving in the home?


  • Is this relationship shaping my child’s worldview in a worldly way?
  • Is this relationship stirring up rebellion in my children’s heart?
  • Is this relationship presenting unnecessary temptation?
  • Is this relationship causing my children to pull away from me?
  • Is this relationship focused on evangelism?

Future spouse:

  •  Do I have my children’s respect and trust?
  • Am I planting Biblical ideals in my child’s heart regarding marriage?
  • Am I responsibly allowing my children to interact with future marriage prospects?
  • Is their an open line of communication between parents and children as they approach this season of life?
  • Am I providing legitimate accountability for my children as they enter this season of life?
  • Am I willing to trust God to work out what I cannot control?
  • Am I willing to be selfless through this process?

Questions to Consider:

  • What is my primary motivation for restraining my children?
  • Am I restraining them Biblically?
  • Is discipleship unto holiness through the gospel at the heart of my approach to parenting?
  • Am I factoring the fallen nature of my children into my approach to parenting?

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