Authority in the Family

On Mar 1, 2015, pastor John preached from Eph 6:1-4, Authority in the Family. Paul continues his thought from 5:21, where he encourages those within the church to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  He then shows how submission works itself out in marriage, the home and workplace.  The Christian life then isn’t about some radical experience—it’s about living each day in the context of ordinary life: at home, school, work—by faith in Christ in service to others for God’s glory. It starts in the family: the foundational institution ordained by God and the 1st place where His Word is to be taught, learned and lived out. Main idea of text: Out of reverence for Christ we must submit to and rightly use authority in the family.  2 main points:


1. Children must submit to parental authority. How?

           a. Verse 1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord:” kids are part of covenant community (church), and this is their covenant obligation in Christ.  Dig deeper: As members of the covenant community, surely the sign of the covenant (baptism) is applied to them. This enters them into the covenant community and engages them in covenantal obligations (see Matt 28:18-20.) See brief article:


           b. Verse 2: Honor parents:  Paul quotes the 5th of 10 commandments, which still apply because they are God’s universal, timeless moral standard. See article on threefold use of the law: Children obey and honor parents because:

                      1. God commands it, not merely because parents say so.

                       2. Parents are supposed to represent God to their kids.

                      3. It is out of reverence for Jesus. Children honor Jesus by following His example: He gladly obeyed heavenly Father (John 6:34), and earthly parents (Luk 2:51).


           c. Reward: “it may go well with you…you may live long in the land…” Generally, when children obey parents, things will go well (Prov 3:1-6). Dig deeper: If children receive Christ, the promise of spiritual blessing in Christ always comes: they are spiritually well forever, and live forever in the ultimate promised land of heaven (Heb 11:10, 15-16; Rom 8:38-39).


           d. Dig deeper: How do we honor our parents and follow Jesus’ example?

                       1. Confess the ways you disobeyed to God and your parents.

                       2. Trust in Jesus, ask Him to help you honor your parents.


2. Parents must rightly use their authority. How?

          a. Verse 4: Don’t provoke to anger: not harsh, mean, or abusive.

                       1. Healing for the abused in the gospel. Your earthly father may have verbally or physically abused you, but your Heavenly Father says you are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14-18). He loves you so much that He sent His Son to save you! Dig deeper: give the Lord your pain and trust Him so He can restore you. Ask the Lord to help you forgive your abuser.

                       2. Repentance by the abuser: If you’re verbally/physically abusing your kids: stop now and repent! Ask God to forgive and change you. Confess to your kids/ask their forgiveness. Dig deeper: wives, call police and the church. We will do whatever it takes to protect you and your kids.


           b. Bring them up (nourish) in discipline and instruction of the Lord. Discipline is to shape the will through training, and instruction is to shape the mind through teaching.

                       1. Discipline: show kids how to pray, read bible, etc. Correct them (not in anger) with the goal of shaping them so that their will is inclined to do right. (Heb 12:11)

                       2. Instruction: Parents are most responsible for teaching their kids God’s Word and modeling it in their lives (Deut 6:4-6). Dig deeper: parents are accountable to God to fulfill these obligations regardless of what the world thinks, or what their kids think.


          c. We do this out of reverence for Jesus: God the Father is the example: steadfast love, longsuffering, provides, protects. How can we do this?

                       1. Turn away from ourselves and trust in Christ for everything.

                       2. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).

                                   a) Submit to God’s Word and be transformed by it (Rom 12:1-3).

                                   b) Seek godly people who have experienced things for counsel.



           Ted Tripp puts it so well: “Family living provides the opportunity to learn the excellence of sacrificial love for others …[the] ordinary Christian family is a school for the Gospel, a place for living out the grace of the Gospel.”  May we all, kids and parents, out of reverence for and resting in Christ, submit to and rightly use authority in the family so that our ordinary homes would be schools for the gospel, and overflow with the light and love of Christ.