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The Christian Family

ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:39
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V.1
It’s interesting that Paul addressed the children directly.
Typically, the children would not be addressed, the instructions would be given to the father, who would pass them to the children.
The same is true of Paul addressing the wives directly. This was a very uncommon occurence in that time.
However, the Word of God is the great equalizer. It elevated women, children, slaves, and every lower class to the same level.
Each one is now accountable for themselves, and is recognized as capable of independent thought and action.
God has created an order in nature, one that glorifies Him.
The Husband is to love his wife. The wife is to submit to her husband “As unto the Lord”, and the children are to obey their parents.
Notice the difference between the husband-wife relationship, and the parent-child relationship?
The wife is not commanded to obey, only the children.
For a child to obey his parents is not only right, it is just. It is right and just because it is what the Lord has commanded them to do.
The phrase “In the Lord” simply means that they should obey because it is what God wants. it pleases Him.

The Lord desires children to be obedient, it pleases Him

Colossians 3:20
Colossians 3:20 NKJV
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
Further, it makes sense.
The parents brought the child into the world, and they have more wisdom and knowledge than the child.
So, it stands to reason that the child should obey the parents.
Most importantly though, God has commanded it.

Parents have the authority to enforce obedience

Proverbs 13:24
Proverbs 13:24 NKJV
He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 22:15
Proverbs 22:15 NKJV
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
This too, is in stark contrast to the husband wife relationship.
Nowhere in scripture is a man given the authority to enforce his wife’s submission.
But with children, obedience is required, but obedience by itself is not enough.
vv.2-3:
Obedience is one component of honoring parents, but there is more to it.
It also means to respect and love your parents.
To do this brings blessing, for God has attached a promise to the commandment.

Obedience brings blessing

Exodus 20:12
Exodus 20:12 NKJV
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
Although this promise originally applied to the jews upon their entry into Canaan, Paul has applied it to all believers.
We are promised that it will be well with the Christian child who honors his parents, and that they will live long on the earth.
This should be seen as a general principle, rather than an absolute.
For instance, if a person dies young, you can’t assume its because he dishonored his parents. Outside factors can certainly affect a person’s longevity.
But this much is true. A child who honors and obeys his parents will avoid quite a lot of sin and danger.
*Not to mention, his parents won’t be inclined to beat him to death. (*Meant as humor)
“Life is not measured only by quantity of time. It is also measured by quality of experience. God enriches the life of the obedient child no matter how long he may live on the earth. Sin always robs us; obedience always enriches us.1”
1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 53). Victor Books.

The command to honor your parents doesn’t end when you become an adult

1 Timothy 5:4
1 Timothy 5:4 NKJV
But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
Our parents are ours to honor for as long as we live.
As our parents age and need assistance, the children are the first who should provide. It is their responsibility first.
Our parents cared for and provided for us as we grew, and at some point the tables will be turned, and it’ll be our turn.
But the honor doesn’t end at the death of a parent. Even after they pass, we should still honor and respect them.
We should not disrespect them by speaking badly of them even after they’ve left this earth.
So, while we may see this commandment as applying to children, in reality it is a lifelong command.
V.4
For all of the instructions for children to obey, the relationship is not one-sided. Parents (fathers) have responsibilities too.
Just a note, by addressing this to fathers, Paul is underscoring their leadership role in the family. Sadly, it’s a role that many men have abandoned today.
First, Fathers are told not to “Provoke your children to anger”.
This would refer to excessively harsh discipline, abuse of authority, unfairness, condemnation, etc.
Unreasonable demands will only bring discouragement to the child.

Parents must not be too harsh

Colossians 3:21
Colossians 3:21 NKJV
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Once again, the Gospel introduced a revolutionary element into the role of parenting. It insisted that the feelings of the child must be taken into account. This was unheard of back then.
This is followed up by the second part of the command to “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.
Training (bring up) is a good word for this, because training requires instruction followed by discipline or compassion and encouragement, as the situation demands.
This is yet another command which has a promise tied to it.

Another command with promise

Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
At some point, at least, the training will kick in if we do it in the proper way, in the “Discipline and instruction of the Lord”.
Children, if left to themselves, will be rebellious. They require corrective discipline from the parents, to keep them on the right path. This is no different then how God Chastises us.

God disciplines His children

Proverbs 3:11-12
Proverbs 3:11–12 NKJV
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Job 5:17
Job 5:17 NKJV
“Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
A parent who loves their child will chastise (correct) them, and they will be better off for it.
Further, they must be instructed in the Word of God, and this requires discipline on their part. They will need to develope disciplines such as self-control, patience, etc.
The child is obligated to obey, but the parent’s responsibility is arguably more difficult then the child’s.
In the end, the purpose of parental discipline is to help a child to learn, mature, and grow closer to Christ.
Remember, we cannot teach what we do not know. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar, but you do need to know Christ.
Romans 10:9 NKJV
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
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