Ephesians 6:1-3 "Promoting the Promise"

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Paul has moved from relationships between husbands and wives into the relationships between parents and children. He is still declaring Apostolic commands in similar fashion as before but the context of relationship has changed.
Look at the command being issued in verse one of our text:

I. The Command (1).

The command is issued directly to children in the church at Ephesus. Children of believers are never considered outside of the visible church.
If they are in the household of at least one believing parent they should be considered as set aside for God and His purposes. There is a sanctifying effect on the child of a believer.
This is a hallmark of covenant theology and it is also the teaching of Scripture from I Corinthians 7:14 “14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”
Children if you are growing up in a Christian home there is a measure of the blessings of grace you are receiving due to the presence of one or both Christian parents in your home.
Children, we have just learned in Ephesians 5 that God established the home with male headship and in the union of marriage the husband is one with his wife. God designed her to be a helper to her husband and He created her with the capacity to carry you in her womb for 9 months.
God created the womb as the place where He knit you together and Scripture tells us that we were not hid from Him in our mother’s womb.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and all human beings are the reflection of the creative design of God as He created all of us in His image. This is your primary identity.
And at God’s appointed time you came forth from the womb being born into a family. And there we find God’s design too. And along with it we find God’s structural order.
You have God instituted parents who He has entrusted with your nurture and instruction. Proverbs 22:6 gives us the timeless principle “6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Mom and Dad have an obligation to nurture and instruct you in the ways of the Lord. But you have an obligation too. You have an obligation to be obedient to their instruction. The term obey literally means to follow instructions (BAGD).
Children when you see, “Obey your parents in the Lord” the phrase in the Lord denotes that it is Christ you are being obedient to because in their role as parents they are extensions of His authority and rule in your lives. And it is right to be obedient to them. Parents do make mistakes and get it wrong in their instruction sometimes but that is why you need the gospel of the grace of God governing your relationship with your parents.
Obedience is right because it is in the order of God’s design in keeping with the authority and roles displayed in the family, but there is a connection to the original 10 commandments that undergirds it in the moral law. Look back to verse 2

II. The Connection (2).

Children, hopefully you have already learned the 10 Commandments from your fathers and in Sunday School. You may remember the fifth commandment being “Honor your Father and Mother”. When the commandment tells us to “Honor” it is talking about a high degree of respect that you should have for your parents.
If you are disobedient to your parents that is not showing a high degree of respect to your parents. The Apostle Paul basis the command to obey upon the moral law of God reflected in commandment number 5 to “honor your father and mother”. Honor and obedience go hand in hand. You can’t honor God without obedience to His revealed will and nor can you honor your parents without being obedient.
Children, don’t ever think you parents are only trying to control you when they instruct you. In the family the purpose is not to establish a battle of the wills between a parent and a child. The parental goal should be to glorify God in the family by instructing their children in the Lord. The family is not an arena for the battle of the wills but it is to be a place for nurture in the Lord. A place for instruction and growth for God’s ultimate glory.
Children God established the authority in the family for your good. He is using the family dynamic when it is done His way to grow you up in Him and to reveal His gospel of grace to your life.
There are profound blessings when family life is done His way. The commandment to “honor your father and mother” actually is the first commandment with a promise attached to it. It is a promise that makes a contribution to your life. Look back at verse 3:

III. The Contribution (3).

This is not mom and dads promise, this is God’s promise of blessing to you in association with honoring your father and mother. The promise was one originally made about covenant blessing in the land that God had promised them. But today in our context it is talking about all our covenant spiritual blessings in Christ and the eternal implications associated with them.
Children we are rebels and rebellion is in our nature. We want things our way and it comes natural to us. We are naturally that way towards God and His authority and the authority that He has established in the family and in government. If this wasn’t true we wouldn’t need discipline in the home and we wouldn’t need police officers and judges in our society.
That rebellion and natural tendency towards disobedience has to be disciplined out of us. Even as Christians it has to be discipline out of us. We call this sanctification and it is all part of learning how to follow God in obedience.
The family is a key context that God uses to discipline us in a way that addresses the disobedience in our nature. God intends His commands and His gospel of grace to govern this discipline that takes place. Dad and mom have an obligation before God to do this in the family so that God would bring about change in our actions. Dad and mom won’t always do it perfectly but remember to not make it hard for them. This would be of no benefit to you.
God wants you to have His blessing over your life so that all the benefits of His grace to you in Christ may abound in your life and into eternity. Your Dad and mom want this for you and they have a responsibility before God to raise you in the ways of the Lord.


Children it all begins with the gospel of His grace. There is not final and eternal security and hope in moralism derived from the law. A family that is gospel focused and grace saturated is the only context where instruction with trial and error can sustain a relationship characterized by love.
You see just like the husband wife relationship is reflective of the gospel so is the relationship between parent and child. Grace establishes the relationship and keeps it because moral law could never do it. Not because of the law being flawed but because we are. God kept it for us to establish a context where He could make us His children and sanctify us in truth in full reliance on His grace to us in Christ.
God designed the family to be reflective of His relational dynamic to us. He is our Father and we are His children as the covenant people of God. He put us in families to be instructive and to promote the promise to us all.
Families can be dysfunctional and that is why the transforming power of the gospel is foundational. Children are sinners because they inherit it from Adam through their fathers. All of us did. We were all in Adam when he fell.
Unbeliever you need the gospel to be transformed. Believe
Believer come to your heavenly Father He holds out to you all the treasures of His grace to you in Christ Jesus. Confess and receive. Let’s pray!
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