Thursday, November 19, 2020

2020.11.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 6:1–3

Read Ephesians 6:1–3

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does Ephesians 6:1 address? What does the apostle say for them to do? In Whom? Why? What commandment does Ephesians 6:2 repeat? What does it point out about this commandment? What promise does Ephesians 6:3 paraphrase, and how does it expand upon it (cf. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16).

Children are counted among the saints. The apostle addressed this letter to “the saints” in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:4). Now in between the wives and husbands on the one side; and the fathers, slaves, and masters on the other; he addresses the children.

Children are expected to be in worship; the worship is for them just as for others. The apostle is assuming that when this letter is read in the church, children will be there; so, he addresses them directly. When the church has a lower expectation of children than it does of others, for their attention and response in the public worship, it communicates that worship is not important, not beneficial, and not for everyone. What a dreadful thing! No wonder that so many children from such churches cannot be found in biblical worship services when they are older.

Children must obey their parents. This is an apostolic command. The verb means something like to hear as someone who is under them. “I didn’t hear you” is not a good excuse but a self-accusation. This is a command to pay good attention when spoken to, so that you can do what you are being told.

Children are expected to care about the Lord. Obey your parents (both of them!) “in the Lord.” The children are children who belong to the Lord. The parents are parents who have been placed by the Lord and belong to the Lord. The parents’ commands are presumed to be (and ought to be!) consistent with the Word of the Lord. And, as we have been learning about Christian living throughout the book, this obedience is something that can only be done by the grace of the Lord in the child’s heart. And all of this is to be done unto the glory of the Lord.

Children are expected to care about what is right. “For this is right” should be an argument that carries sway with children in a Christian home.

Children are expected to obey from the heart. It is not merely a manner of complying but of honoring. Later, when they are out of the home, and especially when marriage has become their primary relationship in life (cf. Ephesians 5:31), honoring will take another form. But as long as you’re a child in the home, honoring means obeying.

Children are expected to prioritize obedience to parents. This is the only commandment of the ten with a promise. The apostle’s calling it “the first” is probably a reference to the fact that the children’s obedience to all the other commandments begins with obeying their Christian parents. Obedience to parents is the nursery in which keeping the other commandments grows.

Children are expected to keep the commandments. It is worth pointing out that Ephesians 6:2 reinforces the Scriptural teaching that the commandments are still obligatory in the Christian life. Christ’s keeping them in our behalf is reckoned to our legal record with God, but this does not take away the requirement to keep them.

Children should expect God to bless them. Notice that the promise is broadened from the promised land to the earth. The old promise has not been taken away; it just has been swallowed up in the promise of a much greater blessing.

What commands of your parents are you having the most difficulty obeying? What are some things, from these verses, of which you could remind yourself in order better to keep these commands?

Suggested songs: ARP119B “How Can the Young Man Cleanse His Way?” or TPH119B “How Shall the Young Direct Their Way?”

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