Ephesians Chapter 6 – Part 1

by Jeff Dominguez

Chapter 6:1-9 – God’s Instructions for Children, Fathers, Servants, and Masters

In chapter 5:22-33, Paul talked about submission and reverence in the context of a husband and wife relationship. Now, Paul will discuss the role of parents toward their children and vice versa, as well as the roles of servants and masters toward each other.

I. God’s Instructions for Children and Fathers (vv1-4)

“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.”

After talking to the husbands and wives regarding their roles toward each other, Paul now talks to the children. If the keyword for husbands is love, and for the wives is submit, Paul states that the keyword for children is,

OBEY

If we will notice, Paul quoted Exodus 20:12 (notice that this is also one of God’s Ten Commandments) which states:

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

Now, why did Paul quote this? Well, aside from Paul showing that this command came from God and not him, he is also trying to show that this is an ancient command and not something new. In other words, he is simply reminding them of God’s original design and instruction to children. Children, above all else, must be obedient and respectful to their parents. The book of Proverbs emphasized this command more than any other book in the Bible. For example, its very opening states:

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” – Proverbs 1:8-9

It also states,

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22

These are just some of the many pieces of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs regarding obedience to parents. But the point is, the fact that the Bible has so many commands for children to obey their parents is proof of how God insists on this. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that God considers the elect (the saved individuals) as His adopted children (John 1:12; Eph. 1:5). And because God is our Father (Matt. 6:9), He knows how painful it is to have rebellious and disobedient children (Eph. 2:2; Rom. 1:30).

Another insight on this is that obedience to one’s parents is a preparation for a life of obedience to God. According to this popular diagram, this is the order of authority in a family:

credits to the owner of the picture

This diagram shows that God is the ultimate head of the family, followed by the father, then by the mother, and finally by the children. Therefore, if a child won’t learn to obey his immediate superiors (his parents), then how will he obey God? As a matter of fact, by disobeying his parents, a child is also disobeying God. Again, by learning to obey our parents, we are being trained and prepared to obey God. And lastly, God promised that He blesses and rewards those who will be obedient toward their parents.

Next, Paul also reminded the fathers of their primary responsibility towards their children. According to Paul, fathers shouldn’t provoke their children to anger but should bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (v4). When Paul said that fathers shouldn’t provoke their children to anger, it means they shouldn’t be abusive towards them (in all aspects, whether be it emotionally, verbally, or physically). Just like with their wives, fathers should lead their children in a loving way. And most importantly, they are to raise their children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In other words, they are to raise their children to become godly persons. Again, this instruction has many similar verses in the Book of Proverbs. Perhaps the most famous of all is Proverbs 22:6 which states,

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Again, this is God’s most important command to fathers. And I will be bold in saying this, but if a father fails in this God-given mandate, then he has failed as a father.

II. God’s Instructions for Servants and Masters (vv5-9)

“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”

After discussing the roles within the family, Paul next discussed the relationship between a servant and his master. In today’s context, this applies to our working environment (employee-employer relationship).

Just like with children, Paul is teaching the servants to be obedient and submissive to their masters. And judging from Paul’s words, it appears that this command is unconditional. In other words, the command to obey and submit applies whether their master is good or not (“rendering service with a good will”). Since the majority of people fall into this category, it’s certain that many could relate to this scenario. Many would also disagree to obey an unfair or abusive master. That is why Paul followed it up by saying that when they work, they should do it to please God and not men. Even if their master is abusive, they should still show respect and submission to that person. Because at the end of the day, it will boil down to our attitude. As Jesus taught us:

“And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!” – Luke 6:33 NLT

As Christians, we glorify God when we display a Christlike attitude even in the most tempting situations.

While certain scenarios do allow us to disobey our masters like when they command us to sin, hurt us physically, or would endanger other people, in general, we are to obey and respect them.

On the other side of the table, God is also teaching the masters (employers, bosses, etc.) “to do the same” (v9). God is commanding the masters to “stop threatening” their employees and reminding them that God is above all of them. When they abuse their servants, they will be answerable to Him. Therefore, this gives peace to the servants who are serving abusive masters. God is basically saying to them that He will punish such a master. Therefore, they should do their part to obey and let God be the judge of their master. At the end of the day, everyone should obey God’s command and instructions regarding their roles whether in the family or in the workplace.

Conclusion:

As we close, let us be reminded that God is a God of order, not chaos (1 Cor. 14:33). When He created the universe, the account in Genesis states that God put order into a disorderly universe (Gen. 1:2). He did that because that is His character. He commanded the church to be orderly (1 Cor. 14:26-40). If He did that to the universe and to the church, therefore, it is not surprising that He would also do that to families and to the workplace. Now, the only thing left to do is for us to obey.

God Bless!! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Ephesians Chapter 6 – Part 1

  1. Very good teaching, the hardest part of obeying is the humility often needed to do so! Thats what slowly helps mold us to the image of Christ.
    The umbrella pic captures the truths so well. Thank you brother!

    Liked by 1 person

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