Ephesians 6:1-4 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The Scripture has moved from the first relationship in the home, "be filled with the Spirit", to the second "Husbands love your wives" now to the third, "Children obey your parents." This whole portion of scripture is giving us the model of the Spirit-filled home and should be what we model our own homes after. I find it very encouraging to know that Paul the Apostle, by the Holy Ghost, didn't cast the children aside in his instruction but addresses and encourages them. Children are a heritage of the Lord and when we overlook or cast aside the children in our fellowship we have forsaken the most fertile field we could ever sow the gospel seed in. If God has blessed your fellowship with children, then let us be like Paul and not push them to the side but address their needs as well as the adults. Now there are children of all ages, I may not be a child anymore but I am still my father's child. Although I believe Paul is addressing children of the younger category the truth stands that we never outgrow this command to obey and honor our parents in the Lord. Pay close attention to the instruction given. "Obey your parents in the Lord" and the next instruction is " Honour thy father and mother." These instructions apply to children of every age. I am still to obey my father so long as obedience to him isn't disobedience to my Heavenly Father. That is why this instruction is seasoned with the "In the Lord" because I am not to obey my father if he instructs me in wickedness but so long as his instruction and God's are in line then I should obey. The second instruction is without reservation "Honour thy father and mother." There is no clause at the end of that statement, we are to honor our father and mother, If you have a wicked father and mother that you can't always obey, you can and should always honor them. All through the scripture, God puts a premium on people who practiced obedience to their parents. Paul addressed Timothy as one who had known the holy scriptures from his youth and the same faith that was in his mother and grandmother was also in him. In the story of David, God mentions on several occasions David's service to his father Jesse. That is what God told Samuel, "I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." Long before David was a faithful king he was a faithful son. He was the only one that was still keeping sheep when Samuel showed up to anoint a king. God wasn't looking for the tall son or the strong son or any other son with many other qualities, he was looking for the faithful son. Even after David's anointing, he went right back to keeping his father's sheep, until the day His heavenly father would put him over the flock of Israel. Obedience is a trait that we all need and children who learn how to obey their parents will have an easier time obeying their heavenly father when they leave the house and are no longer under the direct instruction of their earthly father anymore. Obedience and honor also carry with it a promise of long life and prosperity, "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Paul here is quoting Deuteronomy 5:16 "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Now we may can all think of a good obedient child that went to an early grave and may begin to doubt the integrity of this promise. While I cannot tell you why children die, we can rest assured that God knows why. This promise says "That it may" and "thou mayest." I have heard people make the argument that his promise is false but the same way obeying your parents is seasoned with the words "In the Lord", this promise is seasoned with the words "May" and "Mayest." In short, none of us can boast ourselves of tomorrow, none of us knows what a day may bring forth, but obedient children have a far greater chance in this promise than the disobedient. Paul moves from instructing the children to instructing the fathers. Children are to submit to the authority of their parents and parents ought to submit to the needs of their children. If God has blessed you with children it should be your top priority to raise them into adults who Love God and are a benefit to the people they come in contact with and not a burden. Verse 4 is a short verse that covers such a large period and an incredible undertaking. Every word representing a year, give or take. Twenty-one words and roughly twenty-one years to carry out the instruction of this verse. First, how not to do it, "Provoke not your children to wrath." This phrase was translated from one word meaning to "anger alongside." Now there is good anger and trust me children know how to make us angry, but the word used here is wrath. Wrath is uncontrolled anger, there is anger without sin, that we are even instructed to have, "Be ye angry and sin not" but "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." Anger with children can only be profitable if it is controlled and not allowed to be fanned into destructive flames of wrath. Anger is like fire, our life would be very difficult, very cold, very unproductive without it but it must be controlled to maintain its usefulness. The second a cooking fire becomes a house fire it has turned from a profitable, useful fire to a destructive, useless fire. The second your anger gets out of control it ceases to be useful. Controlled anger may lead you to chasten your child in love, wrath will lead you to beat your child in uncontrolled rage. One is profitable and one is destructive. Don't get rid of anger altogether, your children will surely become uncontrolled heathens but control your anger as you control your children. Now to the positive instruction "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." "Bring them up" we are to raise children, Bring them up not bring them down. We are to elevate them from their childhood to their adulthood. Don't stop short of them being brought up. It is a tiring and trying task but work that is surely worth the effort. Train your children, first of all in the things of the Lord "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he shall not depart from it." Spurgeon said, "Be sure you go that way yourself." If you never make the Lord a priority, then don't be surprised when your children don't. If you treat the church as non-essential then don't be surprised if your children forsake it altogether. If you are a hypocrite who instructs but doesn't train by example don't be surprised when your children do what you did instead of what you said. Children are our responsibility, their life is our life's work. We live in Africa and it is very popular to send your children to boarding school as early as age 5. This is a recipe for disaster, it doesn't matter what type of education they get if they don't get any training. It produces educated rebels who have been left to themselves and bring their mothers to shame, the same could be said for the children in the USA that are dropped off at a public school with the atheist professors to train and teach them damnable doctrines of modern science. Your children's education is important but not as important as the training and nurturing they should be receiving at home. Now, I realize there are people in all sorts of unperfect situations and are trying their best to do what they can, but for as many, as are in that situation there are just as many who are not. If God has blessed you with children, then please bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You will be glad you did, they will be glad you did and we will all be glad you did.
According to the Riches of His Grace!