“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”
– Ephesians 6:1-4
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians teaches very similar lessons in his other letters, but this letter to the church in Ephesus is very unique. His overall message is about how the church is to function with one another; not just peer to peer, but also husband to wife, parent to child, and bondservant to master. Paul teaches the church that unity is one of the most important factors for Christianity and without unity, it greatly hinders our witness. He describes unity in a way that is woven into the identity of the Christian life. In chapter four he writes, “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Paul also uses the illustration of the human body with many different parts and calls the church the “Body of Christ”. Though there may be many different parts with different functions, we all need to work together as one entity, or body, for the Kingdom of God.
This passage also explains how a Biblical family should function and how they are to be unified with one another in the Body of Christ. Paul begins by addressing the children in this passage with a command of obeying their parents. He says to not only obey them but to honor them as well. Paul emphasizes that this is the first command with a promise—that they will live long in the land. There is often a misconception where some parents believe their children’s spiritual life solely relies on them, which according to this passage is not the case. This passage shows us that Christian children have a calling and a responsibility to obey and honor their parents who have been given to them by God. Our kids have a part to play when living in unity as a Biblical family.
Then Paul continues to address the parents and says not to provoke your children to anger, but to guide and instruct them in the laws and ways of God. As godly parents, we are to be an example of our Heavenly Father to our children. Often children will associate their relationship with their parents to their relationship with God. Godly parents, who faithfully and diligently bring up their children in the ways of Christ, are one of God’s greatest evangelism tools in the lives of the lost. Be encouraged to know that as a Christ-follower, God wants to use you in a powerful way to reach your children with the gospel and He is with you every step of the way!
The importance of disciplining your children is great because ultimately your child will be disciplined by either godly parents or the world around them. The world around them is against what scripture teaches and is crouching at the door. Whether it is social media, friends at school or the music they listen to, our children are surrounded by a culture that is against God’s Word. This is precisely why Paul teaches parents to diligently raise their children in the instruction and discipline of the Lord so that when they face temptation, persecution or trials they will still trust in the Lord.
This is what a Biblical family model looks like—children obeying their parents and parents faithfully teaching God’s Word and sharing the gospel with them consistently and families living in unity together as the Body of Christ to further the kingdom of God.
First, pray that God helps guide you in the time you spend with your children teaching them His Word. Second, pray He continues to place that burden and desire on your heart for your children’s walk with the Lord. Finally, pray God shows your children the importance of obeying their father and mother and the calling God has placed on their life.
Coweta Campus Kids Associate Pastor
First Baptist Broken Arrow | Community Baptist Coweta