Ephesians 6:1-9 … Dr. James Dobson is a well-known author, teacher and founder of an organization devoted to strengthening families called Focus on the Family. That’s exactly what this next portion of the Letter to the Ephesians will do … focus on the family. First, in its instruction to children … obey your parents, a commandment with a promise (long life) and a purpose. In honoring this verse, children are obeying God and beginning life with strength and integrity, always weighing this thought: what would God think about … (whatever it is a young person is about to do) and what would my parents think about this? These are strong motivations to keep our ways pure and holy during the challenging formative years.
And instruction for parents is here as well, particularly for fathers … to be nurturing during these formative years, displaying patience and persistence, and bringing children instruction and learning about the Lord.
Then we have instruction to slaves (Ephesians 6:5) … how does that fit here and now? Culturally in the first century, most people were slaves, which is to say that all their care, shelter, food and sustenance came from a wealthy master. Today, our culture has changed and because of more recent and ugly history, we rebel at the notion of slavery. But if we’re honest, we have the same relationships in life … we take employment to gain food, shelter and the means for caring for our families. So the application continues … to perform our service in the world, wherever and whatever it is, as servants of Christ … a whole new standard for work and service in the world … as the Scripture here says (v.7) “as to the Lord, and not to men.” And so the passage concludes with admonition for those in work leadership positions to acknowledge that all, employers and employees alike, are children of God and deserving of dignity, respect and mutual care. The standards are high in Christian service, but what a different world we would have if we all lived by these commands from God.
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