Summary: 58th message from Ephesians discussing the responsibility of children to obey parents.
“Obedient Respectful Children”
Family struggles have been around from the very first family.All through the Bible we encounter both terrific and terrible examples of family dynamics.
Adam’s kid (Cain) didn’t give his best and got angry when God wasn’t impressed.
His anger then turned to hate and murder.
David’s son (Absalom)
Eli’s Kids stole and cheated people and treated the things of God with disrespect.
Samuel’s Kids caused the people to want a different plan than God.
Manoah’s Kid (Samson) All he could thing about was himself.
Noah’s Kid (Ham) disrespected his father and his whole family line suffered.
Hannah’s kid (Samuel) served God from a child devoted his life to the work of the church
Jacob’s kid (Joseph) refused to hold a grudge when mistreated and saved a nation.
Adam’s kid (Abel) Gave his best to God and is honored to this day.
Eunice and Lois’ influenced Timothy who learned the Bible as a young man and became an effective Servant of God.
Zacharias and Elizabeth (John the Baptist)
Mary and Joseph (Jesus)
Be clear! EVERYONE came from a dysfunctional family. All of us encountered family dynamics that impacted us both positively and negatively. I have encountered some pretty horrendous life stories in my years of ministry. I never get used to how families can disintegrate. Many are closer to people outside the family than in. Some have not spoken to parents or siblings for years. The family unit was also disintegrating at the time of the writing of Paul’s letter.
He addressed the issue head on. One factor contributing to the fall of Rome was the disintegration of the family unit.
In this passage, Paul first addressed children and then fathers. Since Paul directly addresses children in his letter meant to be read to the congregation, it is safe to assume that children were included in the gathering to hear it. We’ll look at his instruction to children first and then Paul’s instruction to fathers. Paul’s instruction would have been counter cultural in his day and unfortunately seems to be so in our day.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:1-3 (ESV)
Let’s peak at the parallel command in Colossians.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20 (ESV)
Paul issues two present tense commands to children indicating the expectation of continued compliance.
1. Obey your parents
This word “obey” means to stop and listen. To hear and do what you are told by your parents.
Paul adds two extra thoughts. “in the Lord” “in everything”
Obedience to your parents is to be a sign of your connection to the Lord. We show our love for God by obeying our parents. Our obedience to parents must be guided by our commitment to Jesus; which means, we should never do anything that directly goes against God’s commandments. Paul also wrote we are to obey our parents because it is “the right thing to do.” Paul told the Colossian children because “it pleases God”.
It is the way God designed things to be. God always has a reason for the way things are to be.
It is always destructive to do things differently than designed. Obeying parents, listening to their teaching and instructions and wisdom and warnings is the right things to do. Delayed obedience is disobedience. As we grow up we become more and more independent and hopefully allowed to make decisions on our own. As long as we are under the roof of our parents and they are not telling us to do things contrary to the Law of God, we are to listen and do as instructed. This is a pattern learned early in childhood.
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him. Proverbs 22:15 (NASB)
Foolishness is the concept that I can do whatever I feel like without consequences to me or others. We have a generation of children who move into adulthood with foolishness still dictating the thinking and behavior.
2. Honor your parents
A second responsibility of children has no time limitation. It is one thing to obey parents; it is another thing to honor them. Children are instructed to honor their parents. This is the pivotal command of the Ten Commandments. It bridges the commands related to God and the commands related to people. To honor means to view something is valuable, treasure, respect. You probably have some toys that you honor or value as important and special.
To honor your parents is to value them as special and important. Even when they don’t always do what is right or what we like, we are to honor them, value them for the role God gave them in your life.