Children, Parents, & Fathers; Ephesians 6:1-4

Text: Ephesians 6:1-4                                                      8/10/08 a.m.

Thesis: Our goal is to love God; the outcome is obedience.


Intro: We as parents naturally want children who obey and honor us. The wonderful thing this morning is that God has told us how to raise-up our children so that they are obedient and respectful.

I’m not going to pull any punches. We’ll start this morning with the kids and God’s expectation for them.

Then we’ll talk to the parents and how it is your responsibility to cultivate obedient and respectful hearts in your children by the type of person you are and the way you teach your kids.

Now the thing is, parents do not demand obedience in the same way that husbands do not demand submission and wives do not demand love.

Instead, out of a love for God parents raise up godly children, children obey, husbands love, and wives submit. It’s not because parents, children, husbands, or wives are worthy.

We fulfill God’s calling because:

One, God has showered his love upon us in Jesus Christ. In response to His love for us we love and obey Him.

Second, God has poured out infinite grace upon us in Jesus Christ. We are forgiven of every sin and equipped to obey every command because of Jesus’ sacrifice and righteousness.

We want to raise up generation after generation of children, parents, and fathers who love Christ and joyfully follow God’s will.

Read Ephesians 5:32-6:4


I) How to raise obedient children

a)      Notice something interesting as we get into this

i)        Children were in church with their parents. The Holy Spirit had all ages in mind when He inspired Paul to write, “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:1).

ii)      When this letter was read to the congregation it was read to one congregation. It wasn’t read to the congregation of adults then taken next door to the congregation of the youth and then dumbed way down for the congregation of children.

iii)    Apparently God thinks children can be addressed in the church congregation just like husbands, wives, and parents.

iv)    Children don’t need the word of God watered down they need to be trained up in the word of God and the place to do that is right beside mom and dad.

v)      Here’s what we should do for the children of the church

b)      Teach them God’s good plan of authority

i)        Children, “obey your parents in the Lord” is the equivalent of “wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” in Ephesians 5:22 and “slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ” in Ephesians 5:5.

ii)      Peter O’Brien wrote this and it is very helpful, “Obedience is part of [your child’s] discipleship. [Obedience] is not rendered simply because of the parents’ greater authority or status” (441).

iii)    Obedience is a sign of growing maturity in Christ.

iv)    As husbands learn to love their wives and wives learn to submit to their husbands so also children learn to obey their parents.

v)      If this were not the case fathers would not be told to train up their children. If children knew what to do and how to do it then there would be no need for discipline and instruction.

vi)    Also, we must realize that we are fallen creatures redeemed in Jesus Christ. We are learning all the time and growing every day.

vii)  It is not natural to love to the death, submit to your husbands, or obey your parents.

viii)            It is natural to throw off all authority and responsibility so you can live only for yourself. Sin comes naturally not love and obedience.

ix)    It cannot be assumed that every Christian understands godly authority in marriage, the home, the church, or in government. Husbands are taught how to love.

x)      Wives are taught how to submit. Children are taught how to obey.  Authority is God’s gift and when used correctly it is a great blessing to all.

xi)    So why should a child obey?

c)      First, children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right

i)        For a child to obey his/her parents in the Lord is for the child to realize that God has placed that mom or dad in authority for the good of the child.

ii)      When a child obeys godly authority it is as if that child is obeying Christ. And it is always right to obey Christ.

iii)    The principle here is to always do what honors Christ.

iv)    Obeying your parents godly direction honors Christ.

v)      This does not mean you will never suffer or be defrauded. In all honesty if you follow Christ you can expect persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

vi)    I’ll be honest and tell you that obeying your parent may cause some suffering but suffering doesn’t make it wrong. If it’s sinful that makes it wrong.

vii)  If it is not sinful then obey.

viii)            The reason is because this life is not about your comfort or financial improvement.

ix)    This life is all about living out a flesh and blood illustration of Christ and the church.

x)      Children, you glorify God when you obey your parents. Your obedience pleases God. But you bring dishonor to God when you disobey your parents.

xi)    First, children obey because it is right; it glorifies God.

d)     Second, children obey because it is commanded.

i)        The fifth commandment of the ten commandments says, “honor your father and your mother”.

ii)      Obedience is right; it glorifies God. And honoring your parents is commanded by God. 

iii)    To honor your parents means to value them or to show them respect.

iv)    Let me bring it into the open and say one of the hardest things a man will do is not just lead and provide for his wife but love his wife and die for her.

v)      One of the hardest things a wife will do is not just submitting to her husband but respect him also.

vi)    And one of the hardest things a child will do is honoring his/her parents.

vii)  Our saving grace is this, if you love Christ you will obey his commandments (John 14:15).

viii)            As our love for Christ increases so will our obedience.  Marriages, parents, and children don’t need more tips on communication, discipline, and chores.

ix)    We need to give ourselves to knowing Christ. When we love God rightly it will lead us to love our neighbors rightly.

x)      Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

xi)    I guarantee where there is difficulty in a relationship on this earth it is somewhere the product of difficulty between a husband, wife, parent, or child and God.

xii)  Children, turn in your bibles to Romans chapter 1. Follow along as I read Romans 1:28-32. (read it)

xiii)            A person who disobeys his parents is identified by God as a lost person. And a lost person is someone who is not a Christian.

xiv)            So kids, before you get caught do you ever feel guilty for doing what you know is wrong? That’s a good sign. It’s the conviction of the Spirit.

xv)  Do you feel guilty when you are a part of a group that is involved in disobeying some one’s parents? That’s a good sign. It’s the discipline of God.

xvi)            If you can disobey your parents and are a part of a group that disobeys parents and not feel bad about it that’s probably because you aren’t a Christian.

xvii)          But here’s the good news. Every act of disobedience, every sin, has been paid for by Christ.

xviii)        Christ died on the cross because your sin had to be punished. Jesus took your punishment and Jesus died for you. You are forgiven and made pure in God.

xix)            There’s even more good news. If you are joined to Christ by repentance and faith then your obedience means great reward.

e)      The third reason a child obeys is so that the promise will come true.

i)        Here’s the promise, Ephesians 6:3, “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

ii)      If you’ve been doing the individual readings every day over the past week or so in Jeremiah you’ve heard God the Father say some frightening things to his disobedient children Israel.

iii)    God said in Jeremiah 32:31, “This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger.”

iv)    God then says in Jeremiah 33:5 that he will “strike down men, there will be dead bodies, because of all their evil”

v)      God punishes disobedience. The children of Israel disobeyed their father so they were punished.

vi)    The good news of the gospel says that all those who trust in Christ have had their punishment removed and are now in a place of blessing.

vii)  Christ is our propitiation for sins. He has swallowed up all our punishment. And he showers grace upon us.

viii)            Jesus takes the punishment for every sin of every child who turns to him; no matter that child’s age.

ix)    And in Jesus we are blessed. It will go well with you that you may live long in the land.

x)      Obedience is right and glorifies God, obedience is commanded, and obedience leads to good things.

xi)    Obedience leads to a useful life and keeps us from living wasted lives.

xii)  Obedience keeps us from doing ignorant things that could hurt or even kill us.

xiii)            Children of all ages, God commands obedience for your good. Obey your parents. In this

II) Fathers have a special responsibility

a)      Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger

i)        Dad, if you live the example of following Christ and if you set the standards high there will be plenty that causes your child to get angry.

ii)      Insist that your child keep his/her room clean and you will cause your child to get angry from time to time.

iii)    What we are being told to avoid here are the ridiculous standards, harsh words, sarcastic jokes, and uncaring attitudes that so many dad have today.

iv)    We fathers foster resentment in our children when we make promises that we don’t keep.

v)      We fathers plant the root of bitterness in our children when we don’t love our wives and lead our families.

vi)    Dads, you want to tick your kids off? Then don’t love momma.  Treat your wife like trash or just let her live without love under “your roof” and I guarantee you will provoke your children and God to anger.

vii)  When you seek to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord there will be plenty for them to get worked up about.

viii)            Be sure you’re not fueling the fire by being cold, unrealistic, or by making fun of your kids.

ix)    Let’s get to the positive stuff

b)      Fathers, bring up your children

i)        The Holy Spirit could have used the word parents like He did in verse 1 but knowing how important it is for dads to lead and be involved in their kids’ lives we have the admonition, “Fathers…bring them up.”

ii)      I think about my family this way. My job is like the first 3 quarters of a football game.

iii)    That transition from work to home is like the transition from one end of the field to the other between quarters 3&4 in a football game.

iv)    The 4th quarter is not the time to coast or give up. The 4th quarter is time to turn up the heat.

v)      When you go home, when you’re home for the weekend, it’s not time to hit the showers and take it easy.

vi)    When you go home it’s time to step up your game. It’s time to execute with precision. It’s time to pay attention to the basics because your tired and we all tend to get sloppy when we get tired.

vii)  Dads, God commands that we raise our children. We lead them. We love them. We disciple them. We discipline them.  Here’s what that looks like

c)      Fathers, bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord

i)        When we think of discipline we often think only of punishment for a wrong. Though this corrective nuance is there in the biblical understanding of discipline it is in the minority.

ii)      The majority idea in the biblical understanding of discipline is that of training. It’s the model of discipleship.

iii)    The child’s obedience and the father’s obedience are both qualified by the influence of Christ.

iv)    Children obey in the Lord while fathers utilize the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

v)      Paul used this word, ‘discipline or training’ only one other time in the New Testament.

vi)    In 2 Timothy 3:16&17 Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

vii)  Scripture is inspired by God and a benefit for training in righteousness.

viii)            Fathers, you want to know how to raise your children up to be loving and obedient followers of Christ? Pour scripture into them.

ix)    And it’s not just a matter of reading Scripture to them or setting them straight doctrinally.

x)      What fathers are to do with their children is what Jesus did with the 12 disciples.

xi)    Live with them, enjoy them, use every opportunity to teach them, and most of all model for them what it means to follow God.

xii)  Dads do you want your children to know they are dearly loved and cherished by God?

xiii)            Guess what the best way to teach them is? Love and cherish your wife. Love and cherish their mother.

xiv)            We want our children to say, “I know Jesus loves the church because I know how much my dad loves my mom and my dad is one sorry sinner saved by grace.”

xv)  If daddy’s love is that good than the love of Christ has got to be indescribable.

xvi)            Discipline them in the Lord. Use godly correction and model godliness for them. Pay attention to what you do and pay attention to what you say.

xvii)          That’s the instruction part. We’re talking about the verbal teaching and admonition that go on in a godly household.

xviii)        A godly household is not a household where nothing goes wrong and everyone obeys perfectly.

xix)            That’s heaven.  A godly household is a household where wrongs and disobedience are dealt with biblically.

xx)  That means there is appropriate punishment, loving instruction in what is write, and more grace than any human can imagine.

xxi)            If all you do is discipline: spank them, ground them, and make them hold hands with their sister, then you are not going where God calls you to grow.

xxii)          You must instruct them about what they did wrong. Tell them why God says it’s wrong.

xxiii)        Dad that means, “because I said so” is not an appropriate answer.

xxiv)        “I love you and God has placed me in authority for your good” that’s an appropriate answer.

xxv)          Tell them what is right and help them understand what it was inside of them that led them to disobey.

xxvi)        Hypocrites and Pharisees only address the outward behavior.  Joy filled Christians are people whose hearts have been changed by God’s amazing grace.

xxvii)      Every parent needs to read Shepherding a Child’s Heart and then follow it up with Instructing a Child’s heart.

xxviii)    Follow others who raised their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

III) Let me close with this. What about single parents and believing children who have unbelieving parents?

a)      Psalm 68:4-6 say this

Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! 5Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

i)        Single moms and single dads, God knows where you are. God has not forgotten you and He will not forget you.

ii)      God has promised that He will father your fatherless children.

iii)    The orphan and the widow have a special place in the heart of God.  If you are a single parent and here today please know that God cares deeply for you.

iv)    Your child is not at a disadvantage. God will himself will be Ephesians 6:4 for your children.

v)      What does that look like? It looks like the men in this church being that godly figure for those without fathers.

vi)    It looks like the women in this church being that godly figure for those without mothers.

vii)  When your biological children leave home you’re not done; it’s time to start over and raise up some spiritual children.

viii)            My desire is that Mambrino Baptist Church be a church full of fathers for the fatherless and mothers for the motherless.

ix)    What is needed to raise godly children? We need strong families and we need a strong church.

x)      We need to grow personally in Christ. We need to grow strong as a family. And we need to impact our community with the gospel.

xi)    God is working in us and through us. Let’s follow Him and I know God will do great things.


2 thoughts on “Children, Parents, & Fathers; Ephesians 6:1-4

  1. This was exactly what I needed this morning! 1. Because I’m struggling in this area right now and 2. I needed insight to send out my bi-weekly email, which happens to be on this scripture passage today. God bless you!!!

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