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Family Members as Allies, not Adversaries (Proverbs 23)

Sermon on 6 Jun 2022 by Sis Hui Ling Introduction

We should learn from the bible; we do not learn from sayings of the world. The world may have sayings that come from the bible, so let us instead go to the source – the bible. Today, let us look at discipline, in Proverbs 23. Proverbs calls for punishment as a form of love. Parents who do not discipline their children are in danger of ruining them.


Proverbs 23

1 While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. 2 If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat; 3 don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you.

4 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. 5 In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. 7 They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. 8 You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.

9 Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.

10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans. 11 For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you.

12 Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.

13 Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. 14 Physical discipline may well save them from death.

15 My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! 16 Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.

17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. 18 You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.

19 My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.

20 Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, 21 for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. 23 Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment.

24 The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. 25 So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.

26 O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.

27 A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well. 28 She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.

29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.

31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.

33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.

35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”

Today’s topic is about family members as allies, not adversaries. What is the definition of ‘allies’? Allies are bound by obligation to come to the aid of their fellow allies. They build one another up.

8 My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.

- Proverbs 1:8-9

Proverbs is a teaching between God and men, parents and children. It is from God via parents to children. The phrases “my child”, “my son”, “listen to your father”, “obey my instructions”, and “follow my ways” are repeated throughout Proverbs.

Why do family members sometimes become adversaries? It is because one of them imposes their self-will on the other members – this can be the self-will of parents or children. Therefore, we need to put to death the self-will and instead refer to God’s word.

Proverbs is a training package for allies. It teaches people wisdom and discipline, to help us understand the insights of the wise. It helps us do what is right, just and fair (Proverbs 1:2-3). Building family members up is intentional, requiring self-control and discipline.

How do we give and receive the Proverbs training package? Listen carefully to instructions (verses 12, 19, 22, 26). We need to listen and obey with their ears, heart and eyes (Mark 12:30). We are Jesus’ disciples, hence we model ourselves after Him. The Holy Spirit will bring to mind what Jesus would do in every circumstance.


Read the bible and pray together as a family. May learning from the word of God help families to be allies, not adversaries. We should be spiritual allies. If we become adversaries, it is of the flesh.

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