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7: Covenant Kids

March 3, 2024 • Philip Kulishov • Ephesians 6:1–4

**The children of Christian parents belong to a Covenant Home.**


The idea of "Covenant Theology" is overused and misunderstood by many of those holding to it and by those rejecting it. A lot of the conversations quickly become unfruitful because terms are not only left undefined, but are not understood by the people using them. This is not going to be an argument for or against Covenantalism. But, I do need to define by terms to avoid more overuse and misunderstanding. I'm going to summarize what I don't mean and we can talk details later if you want.


When I say "Covenant Home," I am not referring to the Covenant of Grace. As described by Covenant Theologians, the Covenant of Grace includes all of the elect for salvation, from the beginning of human history to it's end. Much of the time, when people say "Covenant Home," they do have in mind the Covenant of Grace, and they include their children from the get go as legitimate members. But the kids are able to leave the covenant - go apostate - which seems strange to me if they're elect. My "Covenant Home" does not refer to the Covenant of Grace.


I'm also not referring to the New Covenant. It's often used interchangeably with the Covenant of Grace, which actually makes things more confusing. The terms, parties, and promises of the New Covenant are clear and specific in the Bible. The New Covenant does stipulate that it's members will have children, and those children are guaranteed to be believers - that is, members of the New Covenant. It's one of the promises of the New Covenant. And it's also one of the reasons why I don't mean the New Covenant when I say "Covenant Home." It's possible for Christians to have their kids go apostate today. In the fulfillment of the New Covenant, that will not be.


What am I talking about?


Malachi 2:14-15


> But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.


When I say "Covenant Home," I am referring to the marriage covenant that a Christian man made with a Christian woman, with God as their witness. In that union, God gave a portion of the Spirit in order to form a Christian Household and bring up Godly children.


The context of a Christian's marital vows is with God as their witness. Man and wife covenant together in order to form a household in the presence of God. And everything that happens within that household, and everything done by that household, is done with God as witness and with a portion of God's Spirit, in order to have god-honoring fruit. It's like the Spirit of God forms a dome around the Christian family and tells them not just to be fruitful and multiply, but do so in a way and to the end that honors God. Marriage is to be fruitful. And here we see that the primary fruit of a god-honoring marriage covenant is godly children.


“What was God seeking? Godly offspring.”


Christian marriage forms a Christian family, into which children are born, and are to be brought up, within that context, to be Christians themselves. God is seeking godly children. Our marriage covenant speaks to that.


**The children of Christian parents belong to a Covenant Home.**


What does it mean to be a Covenant Kid?


I will be addressing our Covenant Kids. What are your responsibilities before God in your role as a kid of Christian parents?


4 main points:

- The Covenant Kid's Role

- The Covenant Kid's Objective

- The Covenant Kid's Assignment

- The Covenant Kid's Reward


Ephesians 6:1-4.



# The Covenant Kid's Role


Kids are members of their households, and future heirs of it. That is their role. When the husband and wife formed their household, they both became members of it. As kids are born into that household, they are born under that covenant umbrella as members of it.


I specify that kids are future heirs, and not just members, because it's possible to be a member of a household without being an heir. I'm thinking of slaves and servants, in cultures where that makes sense. Paul, writing to the Galatians distinguishes between sons and slaves in the way that the son "is the owner of everything," and when his father says so, will inherit what is his fathers.


So, kids are members of their household and future heirs of it. What are they members and future heirs of? What is a household?


3 C's to define a household:

- Covenant

- Community

- Culture


## Household As Covenant


A household is a covenant. The husband and wife make marriage vows - mutual promises - in the presence of God, through which God's Spirit establishes a Covenant Household. You kids, are the fruit of that covenant union, and therefore, are members of it.


The kids of Christian parents, even before they profess and are baptized, from the day they're conceived, are set apart from the kids of the world by being members of a Christian household.


1 Corinthians 7:14


> For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.



A household is a covenant. Kids are part of the household covenant.


## Household As Community


A household is a community. It is not a group of isolated individuals. A community is a network of relationships, that are interdependent.


Because it's founded on a covenant, a household is an *inseparable* community. When a husband and wife act like individuals, the household starts to unravel. And when kids act like individuals, they are being unfaithful members of their household.


Acting like an individual means that you make your decisions and perform your actions without considering how that reflects on or impacts the other people in your household.


We are always simultaneously representing at least 3 identities. Ourselves (which our first name reminds us of), our family (which our last name reminds us of), and Christ (which our baptism reminds us of).


We never act just as individuals. The Bible says that kids can bring shame to their parents. A foolish and lazy son makes his family look bad. And a wise and hardworking son makes his family look good.


There is a wrong kind of pressure that can come with that. If we're just trying to look the part in order to not embarrass our parents, we're missing the point. The point is that whenever you act, you should consider: What is this going to do for my name? For my family's name? For Christ's name?


A household is a community. Kids are part of the household community.


## Household As Culture


We've set the foundation of the household as a covenant. We've built the walls and roof around the household as a community. We can now fill the household with a culture. A household is a culture.


Ephesians 6:4


> Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.


Paideia. This is culture. A household has a certain type of culture that it takes on as it's own - standards, traditions, acceptable and unacceptable behavior.


When I tell my boys that "Kulishovs don't do that," or "our family doesn't do that," I am appealing to the standard of our household culture. Households have norms and expectations.


But here, this paideia, culture, is that of the Lord. What kind of culture should the household have and the kids be trained in? God's culture. Kids in a Christian family are to be raised, trained, and molded as Christians.


Our kids are held to Christian standards, being raised in a Christian culture, because they are a part of a Christian household.


Our kids are to be born in and molded by a Christian culture that they can't escape. And when they are launched as men and women, ungodly culture should be detestable.


The Christian Household Culture obligates it's members to worship the Lord. This goes back to Paul calling kids of Christians holy. He says there that an unbelieving spouse is "being made holy," being set apart, by the believing spouse. The light of Christ shines on them, because they're married to a believer. But the kids, he says, are holy. They are set apart for God.


All men who live under the Sun are obligated to worship the Lord, and are without excuse if they don't, because they live under the light of the Sun.


But kids in a Christian home, being molded by a Christian culture, are living under a magnifying glass that's burning the witness of the Sun's light onto their hearts. They can't escape it. That's what God intended.


Kids, God tells your dad to train and discipline you according to God's standard. Your dad controls the path you take - either for good or for evil. His role in your life is active. When your dad is setting the ground rules for you and for your house, he is doing so in obedience to God. He's supposed to be active in your training and in your boundaries - to train you in the culture of God.


The household is a culture. As part of the Christian household, kids are part of that Christian culture.


Big takeaway: you kids are not just members of the household. You are it's heirs. When you inherit what belongs to your father, you inherit this Christian culture that he trained you in. The Paideia of God. It belongs to you. Own it. And carry it forward.



# The Covenant Kid's Objective


Ephesians 6:1


> Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.


Objective: To do what is right in the Lord.


Colossians 3:20


> Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.


To please the Lord.


The Covenant Household is founded with God as witness and with a portion of God's Spirit, in order to have god-honoring fruit, namely godly children. The objective for Covenant Kid's is to honor God in all that they do.


Kids are to aim to do what is right and what pleases the Lord. They are to be taught this by their parents, and are to be held to this standard from the get go. "What does God think about what you did?" should be a normal question for kids to be taught to ask themselves, whether or not they're baptized.


Many Christian parents tiptoe around this objective for there kids. They wait for their kids to figure it out on their own. "We want the desire to please the Lord to be sincere and authentic. We don't want to push it onto them." Parents are to set God's pleasure as the standard for their kids.


The pleasure of God is the kids' objective. To do what's right.



# The Covenant Kid's Assignment


Ephesians 6:1-2


>Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),


The way that kids please the Lord in their role as kids is by obeying and honoring their parents.


You're not just recipients of your father's actions towards you. You also are to act a certain way toward your dad and mom. You're accountable before the Lord for how you act toward your parents.



## Obey Your Parents


Disobedience to parents is underrated. It happens so often, that we take for granted - both kids and parents - how seriously God views it.


Romans chapter 1, Paul lists all the debasement of the God-haters:


Romans 1.29


> They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.


God puts "disobedient to parents" alongside murderers, haters of God, and inventors of evil.


2 Timothy 3.2


> For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,


Disobedience to parents is presented alongside the abusive, treacherous, and conceited.


Covenant Kids are to obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right.


## Honor Your Father and Mother


They are also to honor their parents. Honor is more encompassing then obey. Obedience is specific to instruction. Honor is overarching. It entails the overall demeanor and position. Do you hold your parents in contempt, or do you hold them in honor?


When we're talking about the household as Covenant, Community, and Culture, to honor your parents means to submit to and to esteem the Household Covenant, Community, and Culture. Kids are to be happy in their respect and submission to the household standards which their parents have set. It's not just about the behavior. It's about the heart, the demeanor. Honoring your parents means the kids aren't hating and begrudging having to do what their dad is telling them.


Note: "Honor your father and *mother*." Where obedience is directed toward "parents," honor looks different towards the father and the mother. Your dad might allow a stronger conversation without his honor being threatened. But your mom, even though she's your mom, is still a woman. The approach, tone, and demeanor should consider all of that.


The Christian Culture that the parents are raising their kids in ought to be held in honor by the kids.


The kid's Assignment: to obey and honor their parents. That's how they live out their objective to please the Lord within this specific role as members and heirs of the household.


# The Covenant Kid's Reward


Ephesians 6.2


> “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”


The kids receive an explicit promise as a result of fulfilling their assignment towards their objective. God uses positive reenforcement. God promises to bless them as a result of their obedience. Their reward is God's blessing upon them.


Some people do argue that Paul referencing the 5th Commandment means that he's bringing the New Testament Gentiles under the weight of the Mosaic Law. Reading the text does not require that kind of interpretation. Yes, he's referencing the Mosaic Law, and even quoting it here for the Gentile church. But he's doing it because it was that good, that true. "The law also says this, and includes a promise."


The reward of God's blessing for honoring your parents is stability and confident peace in your life. Unstable, anxious adults who can't hold their life together were much of the time not honoring their parents. When you're not busy uprooting what your fathers before you have planted, and fighting against the god-honoring culture that you were brought up in, but instead are furthering that effort by adding your own strength to it, God's blessing follows you as you live long and stable in the land.


The kid's reward for living out their assignment to obey and honor their parents, as they aim towards the objective of doing right in the Lord, within their role as members and heirs of the covenant household is God's blessing.



# Conclusion:


- Role: Member & Heir of the Household Covenant, Community, and Culture

- Objective: To please the Lord and do what's right

- Assignment: Obey and honor your parents

- Reward: God's blessing on your life


R-O-A-R


You kids are growing up to be on the attack. You are a lion cub and a young lion under the discipline of your parents. They are training you in order to one day unleash you. Like a beast on the attack, like a weapon wielded, like arrows sprung from the bow, you will be released from under your parents authority to carry and advance Christ-honoring culture, because that is your inheritance.


Young man, one day you will leave your father and mother, to start your own household with the wife of your youth, to form a covenant with your companion, with God as your witness, in order for you to beget godly children - Covenant Kids - and take further ground.


Young lady, one day you will be given to a man, as you leave your father's household and create a new one under your husband's family name. You will be responsible to nurture a Christian culture in your home in order to bring up godly children - Covenant Kids - and take further ground.


How can you set yourself up to play offense successfully?


1. Be a faithful member of your family covenant - Live in your ROLE

2. Do what is right and pleasing to the Lord - Live in light of your OBJECTIVE

3. Obey and honor your parents - Live out your ASSIGNMENT

4. Receive God's blessing - Live out of your REWARD


Go and Roar, for the pleasure of God.

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