Ephesians 6_ 1-4      Children and Parents

Rev. David Holwick  D

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

January 26, 1992

Ephesians 6:1-4


CHILDREN & PARENTS



  I. The status of children and parents in NJ today.  (1/25/92 newspaper)

      A. Front page:

            Mother and 17-year-old son arrested for cocaine trafficking.


      B. Inside:

            Daughter sentenced to two life terms for murdering mother

              and brother.

            Reason - her mom grounded her so she couldn't see her boyfriend,

              and her brother had taunted her about it.


      C. Everyday turmoil is more common.

          1) Area of discipline is always a hot topic.

          2) Parents worry about the values their kids pick up.

          3) Kids become more distant from parents.

          4) Nothing new.   Example from Greek literature:

             Father to son:  Son, where have you been?

             Son to dad:     I have been nowhere, doing nothing, with

                                 nobody.                            #1778


      D. The Bible says relationships within the family are critical.

          1) The family is a more basic unit than government or even church.

          2) The family is not a joke - it must be preserved at all costs.


II. The local congregation as a "church family."


      A. Paul thinks of the local congregation as a church family.

          1) It consists of both sexes.

          2) It consists of all ages.


      B. Since children are addressed, he expects them to be in church.

          1) Not only to praise God, but to listen to his Word.

          2) Inclusion of children shows influence of Jesus.    Mark 10:14


      C. Radical change from cruelty that prevailed in Roman Empire.

          1) Weak, unwanted children abandoned.

              a) "Biblical Archeology Review" notes the discovery of a

                   sewer channel in Italy that was clogged with the tiny

                     bones of discarded infants.

              b) "Roe vs. Wade" and 25 years of destruction.

          2) Healthy children considered a nuisance.

              a) They inhibited sexual promiscuity.

              b) They complicated easy divorce.


III. The duty of children in a Christian family.

      A. Obey parents.              6:1

          1) Stronger than "submit," which is obligation of all Christians.

          2) Authority over kids is stronger than authority over spouse.


      B. Three grounds for obedience of Christian children:

          1) Nature:  obey because "this is right."

              a) Obedience also taught by pagan philosophers of all ages.

              b) Universally seen as indispensable to a stable society.

              c) Lack of obedience sign of last days. Rom 1:28-30; 2 Tim 3:1-2

          2) God's Law:  obey because "it is written."

              a) Fifth commandment:  honor parents.    Exod 20:12, Deut 5:16

                  1> Goes with duty to God (first 4), not duty to man.

                      A> Jews always divided Ten Commandments 5 and 5,

                            not 4 and 6.

                      B> Parents represent God to us.

                      C> They communicate His love and authority to us.

                  2> Reverence for parents goes with reverence for God.

                                                                  Lev 19:1-3

                  3> Severe penalties (death) for disobedience.   Deut 21:18-21


              b) Paul prefers to enforce the promise rather than threat.

                  1> First commandment to have a promise attached.   6:2

                      A> But second commandment promises love to thousands.

                          1: But this seems to describe God's character,

                                instead of a promise.

                          2: If so, fifth is only one with a promise.

                      B> "First" may refer to rank, not order.  Mark 12:28

                  2> Promise is material prosperity and long life.

                      A> In OT, promises were material.

                      B> In NT, they tend to be spiritual.

                          1: Note that Paul adds, "on the earth."

                      C> May be more general - stability in society.


          3) Christ:  obey because it honors Jesus.

              a) God's order in the first creation is not overthrown by

                    Jesus' new society.

                  1> What has changed are the ravages of the Fall.

                  2> Love and peace, rather than ruinous selfishness.

              b) Be anxious to do what pleases your Savior.


IV. Two practical questions:

      A. Is the command to obey unconditional?

          1) Unconverted or harsh parents create problems.

          2) Obedience is norm.

              a) In parallel in Colossians 3:20, they are told to obey

                    "in everything."

              b) Ephesians balances this with "in the Lord."  Eph 6:1

              c) Obey in everything that is compatible with primary

                    loyalty to Jesus.

          3) Parents can forbid church, but not belief in heart.

              a) Jesus warned of families divided over him.   Matt 10:34-36

              b) Jesus must be loved more than parents.       Matt 10:37-39

              c) Yet try to live peaceably with all.     Matt 5:9, Rom 12:18


      B. Who exactly are the "children"?

          1) Infants?  Young children?  Adults?

              a) In Roman society, children never "came of age."

                  1> They were always under control of father.

              b) In other society (such as western ones) it is different.

              c) Go with the culture.

          2) Even when no longer obligated to "obey," we should honor them.

              a) Definitely includes providing for them when they need it.


  V. The duty of parents.

      A. Restraint in using authority is urged.

          1) Roman fathers had absolute authority.

              a) Sell children as slaves.

              b) Pronounce death penalty.


          2) Christian fathers have God as their example.

              a) Care and nurture.

              b) Mothers included in expression "pateres," just as

                    Christian "brothers" included women.


      B. Negative instruction.

          1) 'Paideia - training by discipline/punishment.  Also Heb 12:5-11

              a) OT has clear teaching.   Prov 13:24; 22:15; 23:12-14; 29:15

              b) Two extremes are over-strictness and over-leniency.

                  1> Don't discipline when you are annoyed or hot-tempered.

                     Dr. Lloyd-Jones:

                     "When you are disciplining a child, you should have

                        first controlled yourself ...

                     What right have you to say to your child that he needs

                        discipline when you obviously need it yourself?

                     Self-control, the control of temper, is an essential

                        requirement in the control of others."

          2) Do not provoke children to anger.        6:4

              a) Paul remembering a neglected childhood?

              b) Many children turn bad (run away?) because of home life.

          3) There is a place for discipline...    [[ omit?? ]]

              a) ...But it must never be arbitrary.

                     (children have a built-in sense of justice).

              b) ...And it must never be unkind.


              c) Gunther Gebel-Williams  & training animals for the circus.

                 (Let's face it:  there can be a similarity)

                 Gunther learned that unending patience was the secret

                    of success in training any animal.

                 Never strike a horse.

                 Instead constantly repeat instructions, using rewards

                    for accomplishments and mild rebukes for failure.

                 Gunther also learned the value of consistency - presenting

                    yourself every day to an animal the same way."

                                                                    #1031

          4) Children are people in their own right.


      C. Positive instruction.

          1) Nouthesia - verbal education.

              a) Christian upbringing is mental as well as moral.

              b) "The Lord's."

                  1> Christian upbringing?

                  2> Better, behind the parents stands Jesus himself.

                      A> Goal is not just children's obedience to parents.

                      B> Best for them to know and obey the Lord.

          2) Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of Lord.   6:4

              a) Literally, "feed" or "nurture," used in 5:29 of

                    nourishment we give our own bodies.


VI. Implications.

      A. Christian parents should never surrender their responsibility

            to bring up their children.

          1) No one can replace a parent.    (day-care?)

          2) Beware of push for government to take over.


      B. Parents need to take time and effort with their children.

          1) Dr. Lloyd-Jones:

             "If parents but gave as much thought to the rearing of their

                children as they do to the rearing of animals and flowers,

                  the situation would be very different."


      C. Parents need to see their children as a spiritual opportunity.

          1) Do your kids know Jesus Christ as their Savior?

          2) Don't depend on Sunday School or church.  YOU tell them.

              a) Readers' Digest article:  kids want you to talk to

                    them about God.                                #1277


========================================================


***** JOHN STOTT, "GOD'S NEW SOCIETY"  (EPHESIANS)  ************


  I. Noteworthy that Paul thinks of the local congregation as a

        "church family," consisting of both sexes and all ages.

      A. Since children are addressed, he expects them to be in church.

          1) Not only to praise God, but to listen to his Word.

          2) Inclusion of children shows influence of Jesus.

                                                     Mk 10:14, Mt 18:5


      B. Radical change from cruelty that prevailed in Roman Empire.

          1) Weak, unwanted children abandoned.

          2) Healthy children considered a nuisance.

              a) They inhibited sexual promiscuity.

              b) They complicated easy divorce.


II. The duty of children.

      A. Obey parents.

          1) Stronger than "submit," which is an obligation of all Xns.

          2) Authority over kids is stronger than authority over spouse.


      B. Three grounds for obedience of Christian children:

          1) Nature:  obey because "this is right."

              a) Natural law, not special revelation.    Rom 2:14-15

                  1> Also taught by pagan philosophers.

                  2> Universally seen as indispensable to a stable society.

                  3> Lack of obed. sign of last days. Rom 1:28-30; 2 Tim 3:1-2

          2) Law:  obey because "it is written."

              a) Fifth commandment:  honor parents.

                  1> Conflation of Exod 20:12 and Deut 5:16

                  2> Goes with duty to God (first 4), not duty to man.

                      A> Parents represent God to us.

                      B> They communicate His love and authority to us.

                  3> Reverence for parents goes with reverence for God. Lev 19:1-3

                  4> Severe penalties (death) for disobedience.  Lev 20:9; Deut 21:18-21

              b) Paul prefers to enforce the promise rather than threat.

                  1> First commandment to have a promise attached.

                      A> But second promises love to thousands.

                          1: But this seems to describe God's character, instead of a promise.

                      B> If so, fifth is only commandment with a promise.

                          1: Paul may have all commandments, not just 10, in view.

                      C> "First" may also refer to rank, not order.  Mark 12:28

                  2> Promise is material prosperity and long life.

                      A> In OT, promises were material.

                      B> In NT, they tend to be spiritual.

                          1: Note that Paul adds, "on the earth."

                      C> May be more general - stability in society.

              c) Two practical questions:

                  1> Is the command to obey unconditional?

                      A> Unconverted or harsh parents create problems.

                          1: Obedience is norm.

                              a: In parallel in Colossians, they are told to obey "in everything."  Col 3:20

                              b: Ephesians balances this with "in the Lord."  Eph 6:1

                              c: Obey in everything that is compatible with primary loyalty to Jesus.

                          2: They can forbid church, but not belief in heart.

                              a: Jesus warned of families divided over him.

                              b: Jesus must be loved more than parents.   Matt 10:34-39

                              c: Yet try to live peaceably with all.   Matt 5:9, Rom 12:18

                  2> To whom is it addressed?  Who are the "children"?

                      A> Infants?  Young children?  Adults?

                          1: In Roman society, children never "came of age."

                              a: They were always under control of father.

                          2: In other society (such as western ones) it is different.

                          3: Go with the culture.

                      B> Even when we are no longer obligated to "obey," we should

                            honor them.

                          1: Nursing homes may be necessary, but can also be a way

                                of rejecting parents.

          3) Christ:  obey because it honors Jesus.

              a) God's order in the first creation is not overthrown by Jesus' new creation

                 (new society).

                  1> What has changed are the ravages of the Fall.

                  2> Love and peace, rather than ruinous self-centeredness.

              b) Be anxious to do what pleases your Savior.


III. The duty of parents.

      A. Not the exercise, but the restraint, of parental authority is urged.

          1) Roman fathers had absolute authority.

              a) Sell children as slaves.

              b) Pronounce death penalty.

          2) Christian fathers have God as their example.

              a) Care and nurture.

              b) Mothers included in expression "pateres," just as Christian "brothers"

                 included women.


      B. Negative instruction.

          1) Do not provoke children to anger.        6:4

              a) Paul remembering a neglected childhood?

              b) Many children turn bad (run away?) because of home life.

          2) There is a place for discipline...

              a) But it must never be arbitrary (children have a built-in sense of justice).

              b) And it must never be unkind.

          3) Children are people in their own right.

              a) Sir Frederick Catherwood:

                 "The dominant father of the Victorian novels who used his own authority for

                 his own ends is no more entitled to claim Christian authority than the

                 rebellious son.  One is abusing authority, the other is flouting it.  Both are

                 wrong."


      C. Positive instruction.

          1) Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.   6:4

              a) Literally, "feed" or "nurture," used in 5:29 of nourishment we give our own

                 bodies.

          2) Here is an understanding, centuries before modern psychology

             emphasized the

             vital importance of the earliest years of life, that children are fragile

             creatures needing the tenderness and security of love.

      D. Implications.

          1) Christian parents should never surrender their responsibility to bring up

             their children.

              a) No one can replace a parent.    (day-care?)

          2) Parents need to take time and trouble with their children.

              a) Dr. Lloyd-Jones:  "If parents but gave as much thought to the rearing of their

                children as they do to the rearing of animals and flowers, the situation would

                 be very different."

      E. How to rear children - "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

          1) 'Paideia - training by discipline/punishment.  Also Heb 12:5-11

              a) OT has clear teaching.    Prov 13:24; 22:15; also 23:12-14 and 29:15

              b) Over-strict and over-lenient.

                1> Don't discipline when you are annoyed or hot-tempered.

                2> Dr. Lloyd-Jones:  "When you are disciplining a child, you should have first

                  controlled yourself ... What right have you to say to your child that he needs

                  discipline when you obviously need it yourself?  Self-control, the control of

                  temper, is an essential prerequisite in the control of others."

          2) Nouthesia - verbal education.

              a) Christian upbringing is mental as well as moral.

              b) "Non-directive" instruction is popular but not biblical.

                  1> True education is stimulation and not indoctrination.

                  2> We must teach Christian values of truth and goodness, defend them, and

                      recommend their acceptance, but at the same time abstain from any

                      pressure, still more coercion.

              c) "The Lord's."

                  1> Christian upbringing?

                  2> Better, behind the parents stands Jesus himself.

                      A> Goal is not just children's obedience to parents.

                      B> Best for them to know and obey the Lord.



Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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