Summary: This is sermon five in a series of seven on Ephesians 5-6. The Christian life is one of duty, honor and service.
There are a lot of special days and holidays we celebrate. Mother’s day was a couple of weeks ago. Father’s day is the week after next. We just celebrated Memorial Day. We are going to celebrate the 4th of July soon. Next Sunday we will celebrate with those who are graduating from H.S.
Almost all of these special days are about honoring
someone. Why? Because giving honor is important to our well being as individuals, as families, and in our society.
There is some very practical and down to earth stuff given to us by Paul this morning.
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.
Eph 6:2 "Honor your father and mother." This is a very important commandment with a promise:
Eph 6:3 "So that it may go well for you, and that you may have a long life on the earth."
Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not make your children angry, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Eph 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear, with trembling, and along with sincerity, as when you obey Christ.
Eph 6:6 Do not do this only while being watched in order to please them, but be like slaves of Christ who do God’s will from the heart.
Eph 6:7 Serve willingly, as if you were serving the Lord and not merely people.
Eph 6:8 For you know that everyone will receive a reward from the Lord for whatever good he has done, whether he is a slave or free.
Eph 6:9 Masters, treat your slaves the same way. Do not threaten them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Live by Duty
Why? BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO
The key word is obey. It’s not about knowing what to do – it’s doing it! Jesus put it this way: John 13:17 If you understand these things, how blessed you are if you put them into practice! Do what is right is a duty. It doesn’t always feel right!
In fact feelings can be very dangerous!
A couple of years ago we were all surprised to hear the news of John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s plane crash and death. He and his passengers in his new Piper Saratoga plunged at a rate of 4,700 feet per minute, 1,100 feet in just 14 seconds, into the ocean. How could it have happened?
According to the Associated Press, the most likely explanation is pilot error caused by two things: disorientation in the night sky and a lack of experience in a swift new plane. "This wouldn’t be the first time a pilot has lost control of a plane because of spatial disorientation or vertigo," said Larry Gross, an aviation professor at Purdue University.
Pilots can become disoriented because their inner ear tricks them into thinking they are level when in fact they are turning. At night or in cloudy skies, there are few visual landmarks to reorient the brain. If a pilot is not trained to use flight instruments, as Kennedy wasn’t, he can begin a dive-- even a steep one-- without realizing it. "Literally, you lose control of the plane and you can’t determine if you’re climbing or descending, turning or flying level," Gross said. Experts view the inky skies, the dark ocean, the mid-summer haze, and the lack of landmarks as a deadly combination that may have sent Kennedy unknowingly into a descent from which he could not recover.
Duty can be unpleasant
Duty often goes against feelings in the short term but bring great rewards over the longer term. Paul says it this way in Hebrews. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, for those who have been trained by it, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.” - Hebrews 12
We all have our duty in life
It doesn’t matter who you are. Children have a duty to parents; Adults have a duty to aged parents; Father’s and Mother’s have a duty to their children; slaves (employees or those in debt) have a duty to masters; and masters (employers or lenders) have a duty to those in their lives.
Whoever you are you have a duty to someone else. (not for them – to them)
What is the duty? It is best expressed through what we call the “Golden Rule”
“Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus – Matthew
I heard it powerfully illustrated through the gift of a little old lady. In an interview on PBS on May 30, 2002 Father Lindon Harris of St. Pauls Cathedral – that’s the church at what was the foot of the World Trade Center – George Washington worshipped there at one time – told a story of duty.