Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:1-4, esv
Paul’s parental instruction was revolutionary in its context. Father’s in-particular, did not view their children as gifts from God, to Whom they were accountable. Instead it was common for fathers to relate to their children under the law of patria potestas, which gave them the power of life and death not only of their slaves, but their entire household.
Obey - Honor
VS1: “Children” – more accurate to translate “offspring.” More than 3-18 year-olds, but descendants of a parent in general. The instruction applies to me (Mike) as a 57 year-old offspring, as much as it does to a 16 year-old offspring, although there is some difference because of age and stage of life.
VS1: “Obey” – I have no obligation to Obey my parents:
· I am of full adult age.
· I no longer live under their roof.
· God no longer holds them accountable for my life.
· The exact opposite is true for the 16 year old.
VS2: “Honor” – I never outgrow the responsibility to honor my father and mother and neither will the 16 year old..
Let’s consider the “WHY” behind it all:
OBEY: Why must children (minors) obey their parents?
The answer comes back; …this is right.
Three words that speak to a universal truth about authority and submission…
· Parents, bare the responsibility and thus authority over their minor children.
· Children bare the duty to abide by their parents guidance.
One can travel the earth, visiting every culture and people group and discover that this is universally understood. It may not be universally practiced, but it is understood as the way things are to be.
We call this Natural Law.
HONOR: Why must children (offspring) honor their parents? The answer comes back, because God commanded it. It’s called Divine Law.
Exodus 20 records The Law, 10 Commandments, He gave His people through Moses.The 5th Commandment serves as a bridge between one’s relationship to God and to their fellow man. Paul reminds us that it is the 1st of the commandments that comes with a promise.
In short, the promise is that those who “honor” father and mother, life will go much better for them and they will see the full number of days God set for them, as opposed to a shortening of those days out of judgement.
1 Samuel 2:13-36 is a good example of this, giving us a look into the life of Eli (father) and his sons Hophni & Phinehas.
Whether by “Natural Law” which God set in motion, or by “Divine Law” which He personally expressed, the reason “offspring” are to Obey & Honor their parents is because God (The Creator) said so.
It is part of the Order He has created
What does it mean to OBEY?
The word used means “under” & “to listen”. The idea being that children are to listen to the instruction of their parents, with the intent of understanding and doing it. Colossians 3:20
· This of course does not include obedience to that which is illegal and/or immoral. The words “in the Lord” make that clear.
· The words “in the Lord” also speak attitude: It’s not enough to comply on the outside while seething with rebellion on the inside.
· For Example: If God instructs me on a matter, obedience is more than just doing what is instructed, it includes submitting to it
internally, choosing to yield my will to His will because His ways are perfect. Psalm 19:7-9
Truth Point: Obedience is about the action on the outside, as well as the attitude of the heart on the inside.
This is where the word HONOR comes in. To honor is all about attitude, one of respect, esteem, love and gratitude
Parents are not always honorable. But “worthiness” here is no more an issue than it is in your salvation.
Truth Point: It is because of GRACE that a Christ-follower can look to their parents, in all of their imperfections and give them honor, because at the end of the day it’s not about their worthiness, but God’s worthiness.
My obedience and honor to Father and Mother are unto Christ, My Savior, Master, God, and King.
Summary: as an offspring, I am to take the position of obedience and honor. It is a position of submission first to God and then to those whom He placed in my life as Parents.
Provoke No More – discipline & instruct
Do not provoke your children to anger – what does it mean to provoke to anger? = exasperate… to drive another to the point of irritation and resentment.
How might a Father/Parent exasperate their children? 4 examples:
1. Unreasonableness: Sometimes parents demand of their children that which is beyond their age and stage of life… beyond the abilities God invested in them. Prolonged unreasonable expectations lead to one place, frustration and then anger.
2. Fault-Finding: continual criticism over trivial things.
3. Neglect: See the account of King David and his son Absalom. 2 Samuel 13-15
4. Inconsistency: the boundaries are not clear nor firmly established so that the child does not know from one day to the next what is expected or when they are out of bounds.
What is the better alternative?
The words “…bring them up…” puts us on the right track. It is translated from word that means to nourish or feed.
First: nourish them with discipline = training – we tend to think of “discipline” as a negative, but God doesn’t. Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 22:6
Second: nourish them with instruction: it means to “place before the mind.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
SUBMISSION plays a crucial role in the relationship between child and parent.
· A child is to submit to the love, instruction, discipline, training, molding, example of the parent, as unto the Lord.
· A parent is to submit to their role of bringing up their children in a way in which they can know and grow in a personal relationship with Christ, as unto the Lord.
Both parent and child live under the expectation of God to teach and train, to obey and honor. To ensure we can do it, Christ-Followers have the indwelling presence and power of The Holy Spirit to help them live out these things.
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