Duties of the Christian Life (Part 4)
Eph. 6: 1-4
Back to our lesson on Christian living. We have talked about the duties of husbands and wives and now we will be discussing about domestic duties within the family particularly between parents and children. Fathers and mothers, especially young people I want you to listen very well because this is very important. I have put here two illustrations about children and about parents in this short message. I hope you would learn from it also.
I. Duties of children (Eph. 6:1-3)
A. Children should do the following:
1. Obey their parents. (Pr. 6:20; Eph. 6:1)
2. Honor their parents. (Ex 20:12; Heb. 12:9)
3. Fear their parents. (Lev. 19:3)
4. Attend to parental teaching. (Pr. 1:8-9)
5. Obey God. (Deut. 30:2)
6. Fear God. (Pr. 24:21)
7. Remember God. (Eccl. 12:1)
8. Honor the aged. (Lev. 19:32; 1 Pet. 5:5)
9. Not imitate bad parents. (Ezek. 20:18)
B. Parents are to be respected and valued by their children. This commandment is the
first law concerning human relationship that relates to the family. Strong families
make strong societies.
C. To “honor” our parents means much more than simply to obey them. It means to
show them respect and love, to care for them and to seek to bring honor to them by
the way we live.
D. The promise
1. Stable life (it would be well) and continued existence to the place where the
Lord had given you to dwell.
2. When children obey their parents in the Lord, they will escape a lot of sin and
danger that would threaten or shorten their life.
E. So, the child must learn early to obey father and mother, not only because they are
his parents, but also because God has commanded it to be so.
F. Disobedience to parents is rebellion against God. The sad situation in homes today
is the result of rejecting God’s Word (Rom. 1:28-30; 2 Tim. 3:1-5). By nature, a child
is selfish, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, a child can learn to obey his parents
and glorify God.
Illustration 1: Early-Age Salvation the Best
Suppose that Paul had been converted at seventy, instead of twenty-five. There would have been no Paul in history. There was a Matthew Henry because he was converted at eleven and not at seventy; a Dr. Watts because he was converted at nine and not at sixty; a Jonathan Edwards because he was converted at six and not a sixty.
How much more a soul is worth that has a lifetime of opportunity before it than the soul which has nothing! Lambs are of more worth than sheep in the realm of souls as well as in the marketplace.
—J. O. Wilson (Encyclopaedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.)
Illustration 2: Some Youthful Conversions
Matthew Henry was converted when 11 years old; Polycarp, 9; Spurgeon began to awaken spiritually at 12. Count Zinzendorf, leader of the Moravians, when 4, signed his name to this covenant: “Dear Saviour, do thou be mine and I will be Thine!”
Encyclopaedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
II. Duty of Fathers (Eph. 6:4)
A. The father is the parent responsible for setting the pattern for the child’s obedience
in the family. Any discipling the mother does is an extension of the father’s authority
in the home.
B. The husband and father must take leadership in this area of the family, and the wife
and mother must be in submission. The father’s responsibility is set forth in two
1. First, what the father is not to do—” provoke not your children to wrath.” He is
not to over-discipline them or reign in terror, with the result that the child can
only react in a blind outbreak or rage.
2. Second, what the father is to do—” but bring them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord.” To “bring them up” involves three ideas:
a. It is a continuous job. As long as the child is a dependent, the father is to be
responsible for providing for the child so that he becomes what God wants
him to be.
b. It is a loving job. To “bring up” means literally to nourish tenderly; children
should be objects of tender, loving care.
c. It is a twofold job involving nurture (lit., child- training)—all that a child
needs for his development physically, mentally, and spiritually, and
admonition (lit., corrective discipline) of the Lord.
C. The father is God’s constituted home authority who is to discipline the child when
he does not obey as God intends. The father who does not discipline his children is a
father who is undisciplined himself and disobedient to God’s will. A child’s
disobedience is not to be tolerated.
Illustration 1: Parenting
How to provoke: favouritism, comparison, unrealistic standards, over-indulging, discouragement, lack of rewards, unfulfilled promises, treating them like boarders rather than children, not admitting mistakes, ridiculing, neglect, abusive words, sarcasm, physical abuse. How to nurture: positive teaching which is enforced. Admonition: warning of the dire consequences if the path is not changed. Source: unknown
Illustration 2: Fathers
The presence of a Father in the home makes a tremendous difference in a child’s future. Did you know that children from a fatherless home are?
5 times more likely to commit suicide;
32 times more likely to run away;
20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders;
14 times more likely to commit rape;
9 times more likely to drop out of high school;
10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances;
and 9 times more likely to end up in state-operated institutions?
— Being a Good Dad When You Didn’t Have One, p. 19 Fresh Illustrations.
Children must obey their parents as commanded by the Lord. Parents must not provoke
their children to wrath “but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
It’s a big responsibility but with the Lord’s help we can all do it. Will you obey God’s
commandment? Remember the promised blessings that follows if you obey