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Summary: Obedience typified in children and slaves

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Ephesians 6:1-5

October 3, 2012

The main point of what we’re studying shows that there’s one body and bride of Jesus Christ, and as members of it we’re to treat each other a certain way. What we’re going to see tonight is so closely worded to Colossians 3:18-25 that I’d like to read it first so we can reference it later: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

Now let’s go over to Ephesians:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord:

I think the meaning behind “in the Lord” is found down in verse 5 and 6 when Paul tells the slaves to obey their masters not with eyeservice, but as the servants of Christ. Children are to obey their parents “in the Lord,” that is, obey them as you would if Christ Himself were giving the commands.

for this is right.

The Greek is δίκαιος (dikaios, righteous) is the same word used in Romans 3:10 where he writes, “There is none righteous.” Children obey for this is righteous.

2Honour thy father and mother;

To honor is to reverence. In Greek this word also means to estimate the value of something, and you can see how that’s related to children listening to their parents. Disobedience in children is something God takes very seriously: “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deut. 21:18-21).

Now, last week we saw how wives and husbands typify the relationship between Christ and His church, and I think we see here in these verses that fathers and sons do the same for God and His people. Last Sunday we read about how the Israelites who disbelieved God serve as an example against hardening your heart and not obeying the word of the Lord. A son who does the same is a picture of those wicked people, and his punishment will be the same—he will die.

“And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. 16And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. 17And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” (Ex. 21:15-17). Look at the crimes listed here: if you hit your parents you’ll be put to death. If you curse your parents you’ll be put to death. Really? Cursing your parents is a capital offense? We’d say in our day that this is excessive punishment. But I want you to notice that these two crimes sandwich “if you steal a man you’ll be put to death.” In God’s eyes, dishonoring your parents got filed in the same place as kidnapping. Now, we don’t kill our kids today because the Israelites were under the Law of Moses until the shadow was filled, but we do insist that our children obey and honor their parents.

In Romans Paul describes the wickedness of the Gentiles who have rejected God: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Rom. 1:28-32).

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