Walking Worthy of the Gospel: The Family: Children Obey and Honor / Fathers Instruct in the Faith

Ephesians 6:1-4

Walking Worthy of the Gospel: The Family: Children Obey and Honor / Fathers Instruct in the Faith

 

The message from today’s text is for all children (RK and those in the service), children who are grown and still have their parents, students and parents who, as Christians, must have these expectations for your home.

“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 ESV)

To Children: It is Necessary to Obey and Honor Your Parents

“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.’”

This passage is a quote from Exodus 20:12.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 ESV)

There is a slight distinction in the original and the quotation of it in Ephesians 6:2-3. The reason for the distinction is the gospel eyes interpreting the Old Testament text.

Land / Earth / Adamah – All words used to describe where the children would long dwell if they honor their father and mother. For Exodus 20:12 the implication is that they would live long in the Promised Land that was to be for the global advance of the gospel to make the people of Abraham from all nations. Moses is writing from within the first portions of the restoration. For Ephesians 6, the implication is that children would dwell long on the earth, as offspring of Abraham’s faith, because the earth is our inheritance. Paul is simply applying the full scope of the restoration as he is writing in the last days and looking to the restoration of all things.

The point of speaking to the latter half of the passage first is to see the implication for those children who do obey and honor.

What’s at stake, children, is the kingdom of heaven. The promise for those who do obey and honor is that they will be in the eternal kingdom. The implication for those who don’t obey and honor is that they won’t be in the eternal kingdom.

Why? Because the divine order set up in the home is a reflection of the divine order set up in the Trinity. We discovered this last week. To rebel against the authority set up over us as children is to rebel against God. To live in rebellion against God is to not be Christian and to not enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. So, the stakes are high.

  1. Don’t buy the lie that it’s normal to be rebellious at any point in your life
  2. Submission to godly parental authority is an evidence of a transformed heart
  3. Obey your parents

This is simple, yet super difficult when fighting sin, the kingdom of darkness and perhaps being unregenerate.

To obey is to acknowledge God’s authority over you. To disobey is to pull an Adam and Eve at the tree with Satan all over again.

  1. Obey the first time
  2. Obey with a good heart
  3. Matthew 21:28-32

“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today. ’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him”

  1. Obey your parents as long as they live and request good things

There is no command to disobey God by obeying men’s evil requests. Of course we are not talking about rebelling against God by blindly obeying evil requests just because they came from a parent.

Obeying your parents when you are older does not mean putting them ahead of your husband or wife. When you marry leave and cleave. But that does not mean you neglect your parents. We learn to leave and obey while cleaving and having clear boundaries defined by what is good and what is not good.

This requires us to walk by the Spirit and obey the Lord’s clear direction.

  1. Honor your parents

Honor – esteem, reverence, bestow special marks of honor; fix a value to; reason for boasting

When I was coming up it was more en vogue to ridicule one’s parents and reject them through the teen years.

This is an unfortunate byproduct of a fake level of development called adolescence. That is simply a made up stage of life to justify the delay of responsibility and to justify rebellion as normative.[1]

Honor is not something we are used to being aware of in a “right, wrong” culture as opposed to an “honor, shame” culture. This is probably due to blurred lines of right and wrong.

An example of honor would be having your guest sit next to you at a dinner because they are your guest. You display honor by moving your guest close to you.

Something we consider valuable we usually treat differently. So, the same idea applies to our parents. We value them, so we treat them differently.

  1. For us older children honor is due them even if they do dishonorable things

We do not have to receive wrong from our parents, and we don’t have to agree with their decision making, and we don’t have to expose ourselves to their folly, but the way the treat them and speak to them can have an honorable tone.

To Fathers: The Instruction of the Faith is Necessary

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV)

 

This is not a neglect of the mother and her role in the daily execution of taming the household. However, Proverbs 31 says nothing of the mother being the primary instructor on the faith.

Of course mothers have a place in the instruction of the faith, but it’s not as the primary teacher. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is for all of Israel. So, don’t be mistaken in thinking mothers have no role. Their role is to be in agreement with and support and massage deeper the instruction coming from the father.

Fathers, if you are not the primary doctrinal instructor in your home, then you must become that primary doctrinal instructor.

There is a dual command here in our passage. One is in the negative and the second is in the positive.

The Negative: “Do not provoke” is a compound word: “parorgizo”: “para” – unto, implying movement toward: “orgizo” – to irritate or anger: Synonym: “cholao” – bitterness, gall

So the idea is moving your children, through whatever you are doing, to irritation or anger or bitterness as opposed to discipline and instruction in Christ.

What I find interesting here is the contrast of provoking our children to anger or bitterness with discipline and instruction in Christ.

What happens if proper discipline and instruction seems to be making them angry or bitter?

  1. There is a nuance to “provoking to anger” we need to explore.

Could it be that non-biblical discipline and instruction is provocation to anger/bitterness?

In other words, could it be that if we don’t properly instill kingdom disciplines and instruction that we are actually doing the opposite of what we think we are doing? Could it be that the passive action of not instilling the disciplines of walking with Jesus and the instruction of the truths of Scripture is actually an active provocation to unbelieving anger and bitterness?

Example: They don’t like going to church, so rather than make them angry by making them go we are actually feeding the rebellion that will result in more of what is truly producing the anger and rebellion. It’s not “church” making them angry. It’s sin and rebellion, and rather than give in to sin and rebellion we engage in rooting it out.

Illustration: Drill Instructors at Paris Island get boys every day who are angry with them for screaming at them, calling them names, and waking them at 3 am to do PT etc. But it’s really not “anger at the DI”, it’s laziness and a lack of discipline producing the anger because he does not understand the rigors of combat. When that Marine is fully trained, he loves his DI because his DI’s instruction will save his life when they are down range. That Marine will look back fondly on his DI for preparing him for war.

It could be that the temporary war of instilling proper discipline and instruction is better than the anger and bitterness of the rebellion carried on into life.

  1. So, do not move our children to what is actually producing the rebellion

by giving in to the rebellion because of some slight “push back”. Don’t

provoke them to anger by letting the rebellion win. If the rebellion wins then

we have provoked them to anger passively by letting sin win.

Be aware, be prepared and fight the good fight of the faith for our children.

The Positive: “Bring them up”

“Bring up” – to “nourish” and “nurture” and used also as “train” and “educate”.

The positive command is to nourish, nurture, train and educate our children.

What is to be the content of our nourishing, nurturing, education and training? In other words: what are we to nourish them with?

The discipline of the Lord and the instruction of the Lord!

It’s interesting to note that discipline and instruction are called “nourishing”.

The reason we find this interesting is that discipline and instruction are kingdom words of the restoration and the pre-fall perfection. Post-fall and pre-restoration of all things, we view those words as negatives, particularly if we are un-regenerate.

  1. Discipline – to instruct; “It evolved to mean chastening because all effectual instruction for the sinful children of men includes and implies chastening, correction.”[2]

The word, however, means to instruct.

To live out the disciplines of the faith is to train the body/mind to come in line with the new heart given to us in the powerful good news.

  1. Instruction – to admonish, to warn, to exhort. “Nouthesía is any word of encouragement or reproof which leads to correct behavior.”[3]

This is the “if you do this, then…” work. This is the “don’t do this…” work.

This is intensely theocentric. Our instruction is firmly rooted in the metanarrative

of the gospel. Our reasons for doing or not doing lies in the character of God not

merely in the cause and effect.

Example: “If you don’t pray, then you won’t see some kingdom work done.” This statement is a warning that work is not merely putting your hands to a task. In the kingdom, work is done also by asking the Lord of the harvest to work.

We don’t simply instruct that if we don’t do it the work won’t get done.

So, we are to instruct in what is right and we are to warn of the consequences of what is not right.

In other words, our homes are to be a constant training ground on what is right and learning of the consequences of what is wrong so as to produce intelligent and discerning adults who will be able to raise intelligent and discerning adults in the community of the kingdom.

A cross-saturated instruction of the 10 commandments would be a nice tool to use here.

Worship Together

We have RK because we believe that the whole body shares a role in training and equipping our children in the community of the kingdom. It’s also great for us as parents to have the opportunity to learn the material as well. It’s great for being interdependent and growing the fellowship as our children learn to love other moms and dads in the fellowship.

But we provide opportunities for older kids to be in worship and the younger kids to be in worship every so often because they get to hear the preaching of the word and they get to learn from you and the community of the kingdom how to corporately worship.

So, teach them and worship the King.

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting…”

[1] Read “The Myth of Adolescence” by David Black http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Adolescence-Responsible-Irresponsible/dp/1891833510

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Ephesians 5:22-33 Husbands and Wives Imitate Jesus and His Church

Ephesians 5:22-33

Walk worthy of our calling: Husbands and wives imitate Jesus and his church

We are called as “in Christ” to walk worthy of the calling to be unified in Christ as one body with Jesus Christ as our leader.

Chapters 1-3 are all about the doctrine of us being “in Christ”.

  1. We have been predestined to adoption as sons and daughters in Christ.
  1. We have redemption, the forgiveness of our trespasses in Christ.
  1. We have had the wisdom and insight of the gospel lavished on us in Christ. We have wisdom and insight in to the plan to unite all things in Christ in the full coming of the kingdom.
  1. We have obtained an inheritance in Christ.
  1. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit who guarantees our inheritance as sons and daughters.
  1. We have been rescued from our dead and slave to Satan state by grace through faith.
  1. All of us “in Christ”, whether Jew or Gentile, are one body in Christ.
  1. Through us, the church, Father’s multi-faceted wisdom is proclaimed to the spiritual entities in the heavenly places.

Chapters 4-6 are the delightful duty of walking worthy of our being “in Christ” as one body comprised of Jews and Gentiles.

We are to walk worthy of these glorious kingdom realities.

Walking worthy looks like:

  1. Everyone putting his or her Jesus given gifting to work in the church.
  2. We are to put off the old self and put on the new self by putting a sword in the quivering corpse of our fallen flesh.
  3. We seek to glorify the Spirit not grieve him in our actions.
  4. We seek to imitate God.
  5. We seek to be morally distinct from the sons of disobedience by the manner of our life being light not darkness.
  6. We live wisely not in folly.

Today, we will continue to learn how we walk worthy of our gospel calling by looking at verse 22-33 and the truth that the marriage relationship is to mirror Jesus’ relationship to his church.

5:22-6:4 has been titled the “Haustafel”, the “house table” by Martin Luther due to the nature of the instruction being about the home. Our text over the next couple of weeks will address husbands, wives, children and parents/parenting, the home.

A word to young men:

Young women in the church are not there for you to learn on. They are not there for you to kick the tires on and see if you wan to be a buyer. They are not there as objects for your satisfaction. Decide what God wants, get your desires in line by rejecting a cursed view of women and sexuality, and then go find a woman running the race at your speed and invite her to run it with you.

A word to young women:

Young men in the church are never going live up to the female perversion of a Mister “pride and prejudice” who is a physical knight and an emotional woman. They are not cuddle bunnies, in spite of how they act while they are dating you. They are “gremlins” dressed up like furry “mogwai”. As soon as you give in they’ll go “gremlin” on you. They will need to be socialized a bit and taught how to act in public, but they should serve kingdom ends well. They are not there for you to expect to be Jesus without martyrdom.

By the way, we are not advocating dating or courting. Courting is just dating and having your parents go to the movies with you. I don’t care which one you do. Be holy.

What we are going to advocate is that relationships beyond buddies are intended to be engaged in the confines of marriage and that marriage is to be fearfully and joyfully set on imitating Jesus and his church.

 

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” -Hebrews 13:4 ESV

A word to husbands:

We have the higher responsibility here. We are to imitate the King. We are the engine that runs the car. We are to reject passivity. We are to lead courageously. We are to accept responsibility. We are to expect God’s reward not man’s. We are to love as our wives receive love.

A word to wives:

Your submission is not to be submission to folly, but to Spirit-controlled love and self-sacrifice because that is what a Christian husband is to be. You are to respect and honor your husband’s leadership.

A word about the foundation of why husbands and wives are to act in this manner:

Ephesians 5:32 “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”

This mystery Paul refers to is found in verse 31. And that mystery is a man leaving his father and mother and holding fast to his wife and the two becoming one flesh.

Two people from different families commit their lives to each other and spiritually and physically they become one.

The text tells us that this is a profound mystery. It is spiritual. It defies pure physical explanation.

Then we are told that this mysteriously spiritual union refers to Christ and the church.

So, this whole physical institution of marriage was created to refer people back to its source, and that is Christ and his church.

As a result:

  1. Marriage is uniquely God’s, and it must be treated as though it were God’s.

Marriage is a uniquely Christian institution that refers people to the gospel and is a common grace to humanity to restrain the curse of the fall from completely pillaging image bearers.

Governments, courts, and we do not get to decide what marriage is and whom it is for.

  1. Marriage is primarily not about the husband and the wife, but first about Jesus and his church.
  1. If God’s instituted marriage before the fall, and he did, and it refers to Christ and his church, then Father had an eternal plan for Jesus to elect a bride for himself, seek her out, win her and secure her for himself, all before the foundation of the world, thus rendering the church of inestimable value because he secured her with is own incarnation, perfection, death, burial and resurrection.

Thus Jesus speaks to Saul, who will become Paul, in Acts 9:4-5 “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting…”

Saul is persecuting the church, and Jesus, not mistaken but looking out for his bride, refers to himself as the object of the persecution. Mess with the church and you mess with King Jesus.

Jesus loves his church, and you and I should too.

So, how does the bible tell us to walk worthy as husbands and wives?

The Church Submits To its Leader, Jesus, so the wife submits to her husband who is leader v. 22-24, 33

  1. The text teaches there is a God-given order in the marriage relationship.
  2. The husband is the head of the wife just like Jesus is the head of the church
  3. Head equals leader spiritually and physically
  4. Reject passivity
  5. Lead courageously
  6. Accept responsibility
  7. Expect God’s reward not man’s
  1. Because the husband is the head, the wife must submit like the church

submits to Jesus

“Submit” has become a dirty word. It does not mean “oppress”, “subjugate”, or “dominate”.

Submit does mean to yield to the order of things.

The submission of this text is Trinitarian in nature. Father is the head, Son submits to the Father, Spirit submits to the Son, Father exalts the Son, and Spirit, Spirit exalts the Son. Son exalts the Spirit.

Divine order lived out in Trinity is the model of submission.

  1. Men, actively lead spiritually and physically by fighting the inertia

of the curse.

  1. Don’t pass the buck regarding our failures. Repent and accept that

it’s our job and do what is right.

  1. The truths of this text have been abused by sinful people since the Garden.

There are couch potato men who order their wives and children around like they are a head of state.

There are adulterous men who have the sexual ethic of Jabba the Hut and use bible verses to keep their wives faithful.[1]

  1. Verses 22-33 are preceded by verses 18-21 that tell us we are to be filled with the Spirit, and according to verse 21, we will be submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
  2. Being a Spirit-filled man who can submit makes one easier to submit to.
  1. Husbands love like Jesus and wives respect and honor like the church v. 33[2]

Jesus Loves His Church, so the husband must love his wife like that v. 25a

Jesus loves his church because he was given a church from the Father in Trinitarian love.

Jesus’ love for his church also achieves ends in his church: He gave himself up to: sanctify her and to present her to himself.

  1. Jesus gave himself up for his church v. 25b
  1. Husbands are to give themselves up for their wives.
  1. Jesus’ death for his church sanctifies his church v. 26

Jesus loves us that he may clean us up from the curse.

  1. Husbands are to work for the sanctification of their wives.
  1. Jesus death for his church is so that he may present her to himself v. 27

Jesus is going to clean up the church. We are being made holy that we may be presented to Jesus at the restoration of all things as his kingdom of people from all nations who will be his people forever.

We have allowed the marriage to become more about the sexual and emotional bonding experience than about loving, protecting and working for the sanctification of a loved / respected image bearer for their good and God’s glory.

  1. Husbands are to give themselves up for, work for the sanctification

of and then present their wives to Jesus in the end as a part of his

church, and the husband is Jesus’ instrument for her good, his own joy and Jesus’ glory.

Jesus loves his church as himself because his glory is staked on loving us and saving us from the curse, so husbands love your wives like your own salvation depended on it v. 28-30

How in the world can we come from verses 28-30 to that statement?

  1. This whole passage is referring to Christ and his church.
  1. This means that Jesus loves you and me as he loves himself.

I have a hard time believing this due to unbelief still at work in me. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

This is one of the reasons I love these lyrics from Lecrae’s song “Gotta Know”

You know I need you like aqua,

Day without ya got me so nauseous,

If I ain’t cautious, I’m gonna self-inflict my sickness

You know it’s true, you as my witness

At how you witness my inconsistence

Yes, the ovation when I need your assistance

And I just gotta know that even though I’m a misfit

I’m still worth more than calamity’s French kiss

Yes I’m loved, and I’m pursued

And though I can’t feel it, still I know that it’s true

Somebody woke me up, and yeah, I know it was you

And yet I keep tryin’ to steer clear of your view

Cause if you get me, I know that you got me

But I’m so insecure I can’t believe that you want me

But then I heard you went on your way to adopt me

Well you can have my all if you swear you won’t drop me

Cause I gotta know

  1. How can Jesus love me as he loves himself?

John 10:22-30 tells us that the Father has given Jesus a people and no one is able to snatch them from his hand (v. 28).

If Jesus were to loose any of the people the Father has given him, then his glory would be lost as one who could not secure what was given to him.

So, Jesus loves us as his very self and he would in no way loose his glory or rob the Father of glory by failing to be who he is, and that is the eternal Son of God who would come and secure the salvation of his people. Jesus loves his glory and that love of his glory ensures that I would be saved, he loves us like that.

  1. Therefore, Jesus nourishes and cherishes his church because we are his (v. 30).
  1. Jesus nourishes us with the word (it is living and active)
  2. Jesus nourishes us with the Holy Spirit (creator, counselor, guide, Father

and Son come to us; John 14-16)

Husbands, we are to love our wives as though our very salvation depended on it because it does. If we let our wives fall into disrepute and disrepair because we fail to imitate Jesus (Ephesians 5:1), then we have denied the gospel and walked away from the faith.

Therefore, husbands nourish and cherish our wives spiritually and physically because that what Jesus does for his church.

Men, don’t despair because men transformed by the gospel do this. We don’t do it perfectly, but we strive for it and we’ll get better at it as we abide in Christ and grow in maturity in Christ. We put off the old self and put on the new self. We are getting better at this day by day and year-by-year.

What do we carry away from today?

  1. We are greatly loved by Jesus as his church.
  1. Us husbands have a joyous and heavy responsibility to produce, by Jesus’ help, healthy homes and thus a healthy church.
  1. We are to be a worshiping people because we are loved and have the joyous job of loving like Jesus.

Men, this is no downer. This is a challenge, and if you have an ounce of testosterone flowing through your body you want to go after this challenge and glorify Jesus and present your wife to Jesus well.

We don’t run from challenges, we run to them. Jesus didn’t run from saving his church, he laid down his life.

You look at the challenge and you demand that it bring it’s best game because you are bringing yours. Let’s worship.

[1] Kent Hughes

[2] Read “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

An Easter Reflection That May Not Sound So “Easter”

I have always hated that companies produce “student versions” of curriculum. They are always, simply put, less than the “adult” version. The presuppositions are that students are not capable of the full version due to “adolescent” learning ability and that the full version somehow may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

First, adolescence is a debatable stage anyway. See David Black’s The Myth of Adolescence.

Second, after teaching students for nearly 23 years, I’ve noticed that they can learn anything they want to learn. The key is getting a student to want to learn not ability. I teach high school students systematic theology straight out of Grudem. No tricks. No gimmicks. Just straight theology. We have fun. I’m a big kid, but we do real study, and they learn it because they can. I teach 7th grade boys too. We drop serious theological truth on them with nothing held back. Literature, history, bible, theology. They get it. My class is their favorite. Could it be that students can learn anything? Could it be that we need to change our delivery methods and have our presuppositions transformed by the Manual? Could the problem be that we try to teach eternal truth with godless strategies handed to us by a government agency that has no fear of God in their presuppositions and, therefore, their methodologies? Maybe we Christians should not be taking our methods from their play book.

Finally, have you ever noticed that sin and rebellion does not come in “student version”? It just comes in “ruin your life” version.

So, here is my Easter thought: why do we undersell our students in what and how we teach them when the rebellion has no regard for their age and the content that they will bring to our students? Porn is full-blown porn to the 7th grader who looks it up on his phone as it is to the 30-year-old doing the same. No “student versions” available.

Perhaps we have brought Nerf guns to a real war and our students are being slaughtered while we pander the cure to them in cute doses.

Jesus died and rose to break the curse and provide real life not cute “student versions”.