TEXT: Ephesians 6:1-4
Big Idea:“Children are to honor and obey their parents. Parents are to discipline and instruct their children as a reflection of God’s authority and grace.”
I. Children: Obey your parents.
Children are to obey their parents “in the Lord” because parents represent God. Our authority as parents doesn’t come from us – it comes from God. We are His representatives. When children obey their parents, they are obeying the Lord. That also means, as God’s representatives, our parenting should reflect God’s values and His love for the children He has entrusted to us. There are two motivations for this command:
a) ”…for this is right” – Children obeying and honoring their parents, and parents leading and instructing, is the way God intended the family to reflect His order and nature.
b) The Law – Paul quotes the Ten Commandments, which promise a reward for children who honor their parents. God’s ways are always best. Living the way God instructs is the only way to true joy and peace in the home.
When children obey and honor their parents, it is a testimony of the power of the gospel to change hearts.
II. Fathers: Lead by disciplining and instructing your kids.
Dads, we are called to nourish our kids, to feed them and care for them with God’s love, God’s grace, and God’s Word – disciplining and instructing our kids in the Lord. Fathers provoke their children to anger when we do this wrongly, or we don’t do it at all. Sometimes we discipline without instructing. Sometimes we instruct, but we don’t discipline. We need both, and dads are to take the lead.
a) Be proactive, not just reactive. Discipline is not only correction when a child does wrong. Discipline is also training to do what is right. The primary way we do this is teaching our kids God’s Word.
b) Be an example. We don’t just teach it – we live the gospel in front of them. This includes asking for their forgiveness when we fail, showing them we all need God’s grace. When a father is living and leading in a godly way, his family will bear good fruit, and he will affect generations to come.
c) Be consistent with correction. When we spank, we do so without anger, in love, and with the assurance of forgiveness. (Prov. 13:24; Prov. 23:13-14; Prov. 22:15)
We’re not just after changed behavior. We’re after changed hearts – for ourselves and our children. And God’s Word, the gospel, is what brings that change.