Summary: Ephesians 6:1-9 shows us the duties of Spirit-filled children, parents, employees, and employers.
Today we conclude our sermon series in Ephesians 5:21-6:9 that I am calling, “Focus on the Family.”
The governing command for this entire section is Ephesians 5:18, where Paul commanded Christians to “be filled with the Spirit.” Then Paul said being filled with the Spirit would have four consequences, or evidences (that correspond to the four participles in verses 19-21): fellowship (5:19a), worship (5:19b), gratitude (5:20), and submission (5:21).
This final consequence, or evidence, of submission (in Ephesians 5:21) then became for Paul the command for all that follows. Paul’s command of mutual submission is in fact the necessary foundation for the three sets of relationships (of wives and husbands, children and parents, and bondservants and masters) in Ephesians 5:22-6:9.
Previously, we have examined Paul’s direction to Spirit-filled wives and husbands. Today, we will examine the other two sets of relationships, that of children and parents, and bondservants and masters (although I shall be referring to this last set of relationships as employees and employers).
18 …be filled with the Spirit,…21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ….
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.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Ephesians 6:1-9)
One day after Dr. Albert Einstein had moved to his home at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N. J., the telephone rang in the office of the Dean of the Princeton Graduate School. The voice at the other end inquired: “May I speak with Dean Eisenhart, please?”
Advised that the Dean was not in, the voice continued: “Perhaps then you will tell me where Dr. Einstein lives.”
Dean Eisenhart’s secretary replied that she could not do this, since Dr. Einstein wished to have his privacy respected. The voice on the telephone dropped to a near whisper: “Please do not tell anybody, but I am Dr. Einstein. I am on my way home, and have forgotten where my home is!”
We live in a day in which many in our culture have lost their way to their homes. Not literally, of course, but certainly figuratively. There has been a breakdown in society in terms of our homes and, to a lesser extent, even in our workplaces.
The way to remedy this is to return to God’s direction for our homes and workplaces. Paul’s basic instruction is given to Spirit-filled Christians in the church at Ephesus. He is giving them God’s directions for their new relationships in God’s new society, the church. Being filled with the Spirit means that there will be new relationships in our homes and in our workplaces.
Ephesians 6:1-9 shows us the duties of Spirit-filled children, parents, employees, and employers.
Let’s use the following outline:?
1. The Duty of Spirit-Filled Children (6:1-3)
2. The Duty of Spirit-Filled Parents (6:4)
3. The Duty of Spirit-Filled Employees (6:5-8)
4. The Duty of Spirit-Filled Employers (6:9)
I. The Duty of Spirit-Filled Children (6:1-3)
First, let’s look at the duty of Spirit-filled children.
Only children who honor Christ as Savior and Lord can they fulfill their duty as Spirit-filled children. John MacArthur notes that the Minnesota Crime Commission issued a report which demonstrates the validity of this comment. The report said, in part:
Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it: his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toys, his uncle’s watch, or whatever. Deny him these and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He’s dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children, not just certain children but all children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in their self-centered world of infancy, given free rein to their impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, a rapist.