Summary: This message deals with the relationship and responsibilities of parents and children as a call to walk together under the authority of God's Word.
A LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE FAMILY
A Love Affair – 3
This morning we will be concluding our series title “A Love Affair.” So far we have looked at having a love affair with the Father, with the Faithful and today we will look at having a love affair with the Family. In our last series we took a look at the issue of marriage in the creation of Eve as a wife for Adam and so I want to look at the relationship between parents and children this morning. So today we will be studying what Paul wrote about this subject in Ephesians 6.
This is a very important passage because it seems that there is a great disconnect between the generations. There seems to be a break down in the faith, in the morals and in the values of each succeeding generation. Children seem to have a general lack of respect for their parents. They no longer value their parents’ counsel, values, work ethic and so forth. And the breakdown is not just on the part of children. In fact, the breakdown that we see in the younger generations is probably largely to be attributed to the preceding generations’ failures. We often hear about problem children, but the greater trouble may actually be all the problem parents.
But rather than wasting our time trying to assign blame this morning it would be far more construction for us to simply get into God’s word and discover what our responsibilities are in all of this and to begin to step up to the plate and do our part. Children and parents both need to learn to walk together under the authority of God’s word.
First, let’s look at what Paul has to say to the children.
I. THE COMMANDMENT FOR CHILDREN.
There are two parts to the commandment that Paul gives to children in this passage. The first is…
1) Give Heed To Your Parents.
Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
The word “obey” (hupakouo) means to submit to, to comply with, to heed, to follow directions or guidance. The bottom line is that children have a responsibility before God to do what their parents tell them to do.
a. The Responsibility of Obedience.
Paul adds the qualifying phrase “in the Lord” to describe children’s responsibility to obedience. Children are responsible for following their parents’ instructions so long as the parent is acting in the Lord. Therefore, they do not have the responsibility for being obedient to instructions or commands from parents that go against the instructions and commands of the Lord. In other words, children should obey their parents as long as to do so doesn’t go against the Lord. For example, if a parent is abusing a child, then that child is not obligated to submit to such abuse, but is justified in telling a trusted adult or teacher about the abuse.
In fact, one of the most serve warnings ever issued was given by our Lord to those who engage in the abuse of children. Mark 9:42, “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Jesus spoke those words shortly after he had taken a small child in his arms. While those words may not have been directly pointed towards physical or sexual abuse they are certainly appropriate. One of the things that God will not tolerate is the abuse of children
Another example would be if a parent were to tell a child to lie or to cheat or to steal something, then the child would be justified in disobeying their parent in order to obey God. When a parent is not acting in the Lord, they are not to be obeyed.
However, beyond these kinds of exceptions parent’s are to be obeyed in all things. Even if your parents aren’t Christians and aren’t living for the Lord, as long as their instructions don’t violate God’s word they are to be obeyed.
b. The Reason for Obedience.
Paul says that the reason we are supposed to obey our parents is because “this is right”. I think that it is interesting to note that according to Scripture the reason it is right to obey your parents is not because it pleases your parents, but because it pleases the Lord.
Colossians 3:20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” We don’t obey our parents because this makes them happy, although it certainly does have this effect. Rather our primary motivation to obey our parents should come from our love for the Lord and our desire to please him. Of course we love our parents and we desire to please them and receive their approval. But we must first and foremost desire the approval of God or else we will get so far off track that we will end up pleasing neither. But when we are living for the love of the Lord obedience to our parents will be the natural result.