Summary: The first memory verse we taught our children was Ephesians 6:1 - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." On this Fathers’ Day sermon we look at this famous passage, as well as the responsibility of fathers.
Children and parents
Children, I’ve asked you to come down the front because the first half of this sermon is for you. Have any of you learnt Ephesians 6:1? Do you know what it says?
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
So who is this Bible passage addressed to? Children! That’s you! But a question you might have, or maybe some of the bigger ones might have - the teenagers - does it include me too? Okay, we’re going to ask the first question - who are the children? In English, the word “children,” means “children” hey! And we normally think of little children. But what about older children, what about teenagers? Are they children?
Now when we speak English, when we use the word “children,” we might not say that teenagers - high school kids - we might not say that they are children. But we have to remember that the Bible wasn’t written in English first. Did you know that? Do you know what language the Bible was first written in? It was written in a language called “Greek.” Greek is the language that people from Greece speak. Who knows where Greece is? Greece is a long way from Australia. It is in Europe and it’s still there and the people there still speak Greek, although the Greek they speak today is a bit different to the Greek they spoke in Jesus’ day.
But Greek was different in Jesus’day too. You see, in Jesus’ day it wasn’t just the Greeks who spoke Greek. It was everybody. It was the international language, and that’s why the New Testament was written in Greek. So Ephesians 6:1 was written in Greek and what we have in our Bibles is a translation.
And in Greek there were lots of words for “children.” Lots of them. And the one here is the word “tekna.” Can you say, “tekna”? Now tekna didn’t just mean little kiddies – little children. It meant teenagers too. So this bit of the sermon is not just for the smaller children. It’s for the bigger children and for the teenagers too.
So some of you who are older might be asking, “how old does it go?” Does it mean even for grown ups, do we still need to obey our parents? Well, what the word means, what it seems to mean, it is for those children who are still growing up, still depending on their parents. Those who haven’t reached their maturity yet. When does that happen? well I guess it’s different for everyone. It’s different in different cultures too. In Australia it’s normally around when someone is 18. But it can be earlier, it can be later, but in Australia it’s about then.
So this is for all of you under about 18, until you have reached your maturity, until you are fully grown up, then your parents are responsible for you. They buy you food, you live in their house, they send you to school, and it’s their job to bring you up. To bring you up right, and in the second half of this sermon I’ll be talking to them about how to do that.
But now I’m talking to you. Have I still got your attention? So children, teenagers, what does this verse say? Let’s read the 3 verses that are for you.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
We’re going to break these verses down and have a look at what each bit means. Firstly, remember it’s addressed to children, which in Greek includes older children - teenagers, high schoolers, as well as primary schoolers and preschoolers.
Then it tells us to obey our parents. Well what does this mean? It’s pretty simple - it means do what they say. Do you do what your mother and father say? When they tell you to eat your dinner? To do your homework? To brush your teeth? To tidy up your room? Did you know it is very important to obey your parents, to obey your mother and father?
Why is it important? Well it’s important because it’s what God tells us to do. It’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to obey our parents. And here in Ephesians it also quotes one of the 10 commandments. Do you know what the 10 commandments are? They are found in the book of Exodus. Can you tell me what one of them is? Well the fifth one is this: Exodus 20:12: Honour your father and your mother. Now back in Ephesians it tells us something about this commandment. It says it is the first commandment with a promise. Although it’s the fifth commandment, the other four didn’t have promises, but the fifth one does! Do you know what the promise is? It tells us in Eph 6:3: 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Who here wants things to go well for them? Who wants to live a long time? You do? Good. I want things to go well too. I want to a live a long time if that’s what God wants for me. But do you know what you have to do if you want things to go well for you? If you want to live a long time? Well you have to obey your parents.