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I am currently preaching a sermon series on Sunday mornings at Wildwood Community Church called “Packed” – based out of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians.  During this series, I am using my blog to post study prompts, devotionals, sermon audio/video, and discussion questions to help facilitate personal or group study of this book.  NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I have a set of links to previous resources in this series.

Ephesians 6:1-9 – Study Prompts #1

  1. As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.”
  2. Read Ephesians 6:1-9
  3. Ephesian 6:1 begins with an address to children.  While all people are technically a child of someone (even if they are grown), the context seems to indicate that Paul is referring to “minors” in this passage.  Inside the divinely inspired Word of God, there is a message given directly and specifically to children!  What does this tell you about God’s connection with children, His expectations of them, and their role in the church?
  4. As we saw last week with Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives, the command for children to obey their parents flows out of Ephesians 5:1-21.  In other words, ALL Christians are called to have a transformation in the way they relate to others.  Christians are to imitate the love of God and serve and sacrifice for one another.  As Christians, we are not to see others as people who exist to serve us, but that we exist to serve others.  This general mentality on life is not natural for people, but in Christ, when we are under the Spirit’s control, we seek to submit to and build up one another.  This Spirit-controlled love makes it possible for there to be a totally different ethos that flows out of Christians marriages (5:22-33), families (6:1-4), and workplaces (6:5-9).  Given this context, what does it tell you about a child’s access to a real relationship with God and the importance of that child’s relationship with God on their life?
  5. Children are called to “obey their parents in the Lord.”  The clarification “in the Lord” is very important to applying this passage.  “In the Lord” modifies “obey” not “parents.”  This means that children are to obey the Lord first, then their parents.  This passage does not instruct a child to obey their parents if their parents are forcing them to disobey God.  What are some examples you can think of where a child would be instructed by their parents to DISOBEY God (thus a command the child would not have to follow because it is not “in the Lord”)?
  6. Ephesians 6:1 also says that “it is right” for children to obey their parents.  For a moment, reflect on that statement.  In what way is it “right” for a child to obey their parents?  Beyond just “because the Bible says so” what other reasons can you think of that make it “right” for a child to obey their parents?
  7. In Ephesians 6:2-3, Paul quotes the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12) as further proof of why children should obey their parents.  This command includes a “promise.”  Obviously we can all think of examples of people who died young from tragic accidents or illnesses that were no fault of the one who died.  Given that, what do you think Paul meant when he said that children should obey their parents that they would “live long in the land?”
  8. STUDY NOTE:  The command to honor your father and mother was the fifth commandment that God gave to His people, Israel.  This commandment included the promise that if someone honored his/her parents, they would live long in the promised land God was giving them.  This “promise” was more of a proverb, or general truism, than an exact explanation of all of life.  Generally speaking, a child who obeyed their parents and learned self-discipline and the right way to live early would live longer than someone who lived in a constant state of rebellion.  While there are exceptions to this rule, there is truth in it as well.
  9. In the Romand/Greek culture, it would not have been out of place for a child to be admonished to obey their parents . . . this was expected.  In fact, fathers in particular had an amazing amount of power in their homes.  Ancient writers let us know that fathers could even pronounce the death penalty for those in their home without further repercussions.  Into this world, God speaks and lays out a new pattern for parents relating to their children . . . specifically fathers.  Fathers are to NOT use their authority as a parent as an opportunity to harm their children, but they should see their role as parent as a responsibility to build up their child “in the Lord.”  This sounds reasonable to many today, but was revolutionary in a pre-Christian world.  In what way do parents structure their lives to support and build up their children?
  10. In Ephesians 6:4, the father is called to not “provoke to anger” or exasperate their children.  The opposite of this is to encourage or build up.  It is clear from the rest of 6:4 that the father is not to merely give the child everything they want (i.e. they are to instruct and discipline the child), but they are to do it in such a way that does not exasperate the child.  What are some things that parents do to lead their children in a way that pleases the Lord?  What are some things that parents do to exasperate their children?


For more resources related to this study of Ephesians click on the following links:


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