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Christian family
Bible Passage Ephesians 6: 1-9
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books Ephesians, Galatians, Proverbs.

Christian family

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached December 21, 2023

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

2 “Honor your father and mother…” (This is a very important commandment with a promise.)

3 “…so that it may go well for you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.”

4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up by training and instructing them about the Lord.

5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear, trembling, and sincerity, as when you obey the Messiah.

6 Do not do this only while you’re being watched in order to please them, but be like slaves of the Messiah, who are determined to obey God’s will.

7 Serve willingly, as if you were serving the Lord and not merely people,

8 because you know that everyone will receive a reward from the Lord for whatever good he has done, whether he is a slave or free.

9 Masters, treat your slaves the same way. Do not threaten them, for you know that both of you have the same Master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul considers the case of husbands and wives, in 6:1-4 the case of parents and children, and in 6:5-9 the case of masters and servants. In union with Christ, people within these various categories share the same spiritual status (Gal 3:28). But in the family and society, people have different functions, and they must know how they should act towards each other.

Paul has finished teaching about husbands and wives. He now starts to teach children and parents. The Ten Commandments (the 5th one, Exodus 20:12) support Paul’s teaching that in the Christian family, children have a responsibility to obey and respect their parents. Although this is a duty, it will also bring a reward (6:1-3).

Parents, on their part, must combine wise teaching with understanding discipline if they are to expect the children’s respect and obedience (4).

Parents should not be too hard or cruel to their children. A child is a person and not a thing. ‘Train a child in the way that he should go. Then, when he is old, he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6). Discipline at times may be hard but parents should learn to also praise the child when he or she has done well.

In Bible times many families had slaves. The slaves did all the work in the house. They were the property of their master. They had no rights. Their owner could buy or sell them, or punish his slave if he wanted to. He could whip him or put him in prison. He could even kill him. A slave might escape. If the master caught him, he would whip him, and kill him. Some slaves also killed themselves. They did this because they were so unhappy.

Slavery was so widespread in the world of the first century that the social, political, and economic order of the day could scarcely survive without it. Paul knew that he could not expect slavery to be abolished immediately, but he worked towards its abolition by encouraging new attitudes. In most churches there were Christian slaves and Christian masters, but their attitudes to each other had to change now that they were both ‘in Christ’.

A slave did not always have an unpleasant life. A slave should not have an unpleasant life. It was certainly better for the master if he dealt well with his slave. The slave would then work harder.

The same principles can be applied to employers and employees in any society. Christians must work honestly and well for an earthly master as if they were working for Christ (verses 5-8).

We work for our employers. We should do it as if we are working for God. It was more difficult in those days than it is today. We should be ‘loyal’. We should do it as we would do it ‘to Christ’.

Christian masters must act with similar honesty and concern towards those who work for them. They must remember that, in the eyes of God, masters are servants and God is their master (verse 9).

🔷 Children must respect even their non-believing parents without compromising their Christian standards

🔷 Parents must take full responsibility of the welfare and security of their wards, to nature and prepare them to face the future

🔷 Everything we do is for the Lord who rewards us even when earthly superiors do not acknowledge it

🔷 Cheating and suppressing one’s subordinates only promotes hatred and punishment from God

💥 Pray for your children and parents
💥 Ask God to grant you the spirit of respect for all

The Christian must exhibit his/her beliefs in everything always. Christ must guide us to respect all persons and honour all persons, serving as Jesus is our direct master.

In series Bright Morning Reflections