June 15, 2011



Part Fifteen

Obey Your Parents

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Eternal Life

     We have seen the relationship between Jesus and the church, and how God used the metaphor of marriage teach husbands how to love their wives.  God also has directions for children. 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this right.

Ephesians 6:1

       Obey Your Parents.   Jesus blessed children and used children to illustrate His sermons (Mark 10:13-16, page 1577; Mark 9:36-37, page 1576).  In Ephesians 6:1, page 1833, Jesus commands children to obey (“ὑπακούετε“) their parents.  He qualifies this command with the words “in the Lord.” Jesus means that the children have an absolute duty to obey their parents.  Whenever a parent hears questions about authority from the child, the parent may teach their children that they must obey their parents because God said so.  I have vivid memories of my father helping me to learn what it means to obey my parents.  He taught me through physical punishment the importance of obeying without talking back.  God applies this same standard of obedience to all believers.  Everyone in the family has a role of submission to play, and to do so in loving obedience to their heavenly Father who instituted the specific functions each member of the family carries out.  For the child, the obedience goes to shaping the will of the child to submit that will to the parent’s will.  As children learn that submission of their wills to the parents, they will naturally submit their wills to God so that He leads them their entire lives.

       For This Is Right.  Children always have to be taught right and wrong.  The Lord Jesus leaves no doubt that obedience to parents is “right” (“δίκαιον“).  Paul used this word to speak of righteousness before God, which only comes by faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:26, page 1762).  In essence, Paul taught here that righteousness includes children obeying their parents.  We often do not recognize and appreciate the link between (1) training our children and (2) our spiritual service to God.  Yet, here Paul linked the concept of righteousness before God with the way we teach our children to be obedient to their parents.  Some people may object and say that obedience was purely a cultural phenomena in Corinth, but today we are more enlightened.  Folks who say such things have forgotten the ten commandments.

HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise).

Ephesians 6:1

        Honor Your Father and Mother.  God has always been concerned about the family unit.  He provides specific directions for fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and children.  The ten commandments also applied to children.  The word “honor” (Hebrew (“כַּבֵּד”); Greek (“τίμα“)) means in this context to give them respect.  Jesus put it very strongly: “For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH'” (Matthew 15:4, page 1527).  The point made here means that children must obey their parents, and parents must teach them how.  Raising children will always be a part of being a believer in Christ.


Ephesians 6:2

       Well with You.  Most people do not realize that the commandment to honor your mother and father also results in two blessings.  The first blessing arises from one small word “well” (“εὖ“) with you.  This term means that you will prosper and fare well, or be well off.  I see so many parents doing all they can to help their children prosper academically, or musically, or athletically.  The parents go out of their way to be sure their child prospers in some particular endeavor.  God much prefers that you teach your children to obey you.  He promised that if you will promote obedience, then your children will be blessed by Him for their lifetime.  I see so many parents ignore the disobedience of their children and make excuses for them.  Instead, you will see that learning to disobey your parents, and then your parents letting you get away with it, only leads to missed blessings from God in the childrens’ lives.  So, with that in mind, let us see the second blessing from God for children who obey their parents.

       Live Long.  The second blessing associated with obeying your parents will be that you will live long on the earth.  While every believer has been promised eternal life from Christ, the amount of time your spend on earth relates directly to your obedience to your parents.  You can see that right in this verse.  Your children will have long lives if they live in obedience to their parents.  You have God’s word on it.  Of course, they may cut that promise short by their own sinful behavior, but the promise of God remains for every child.

      So we learn about spiritual parents and children today and their role in daily devotions.

        ●  Being a parent means that you teach your children to obey you every day, as part of both (1) your duty to serve God as a parent, and (2) as part of the child’s duty to serve God.

        ●  Being a child today means that your children will live well and longer upon earth if they practice being obedient to their parents. 

      ●  Being in Christ today means that Christ intends to promote Godliness in the family by establishing specific commandments to be followed by each member of the family.  Jesus promises specific blessings for children, as well as for their parents. 

Application for Today

My wife Beverly explained to me recently that you are the product of a specific choice by God regarding your genetic makeup.  Beverly often studies male sperm for defects, but she also mentioned that the average husband places millions and millions of individual sperm into his wife’s womb each time they seek a child.  Each of those millions of sperm may carry unique genetic material.  Some sperm may have the same genes, but millions of them will differ.  So think about this child God has delivered to you as a parent.  That child’s genetic code was determined by the single sperm from the father that reached one egg from the mother, resulting in one child (except for the rare case of identical twins).  Out of millions of genetic possibilities, God chose your genetic makeup.  Jesus has truly chosen just who you are biologically and genetically, and now He wants you to learn about obedience to your heavenly Father by obeying your Godly parents.  As parents, you will provide training in obedience to your children for a lifetime.  Will you obey your parents today?  Will you obey your heavenly Father today?


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