Ephesians Teaching Series

This beautifully constructed letter can best be understood by paying attention to its amazing structure.

22. Eph 6:1-4 How do we Honour Parents with Problems?

  • Tough questions about how to honor your parents, even when they are broken.

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  • Last time we looked at Wives and Husbands
  • Today it is children and parents
  • We are going to look at the first 4 verses of Eph 6.

How do we Honour Parents with Problems?

  1. Bringing up Children
  2. What does “Honour” Mean?
  3. Honoring Parents with Imperfections

1. Bringing up Children

  • Let’s start by looking at the passage:

Ephesians 6:1–4 – Children and Parents

  1. Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν [ἐν κυρίῳ], τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
  2. ✽τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα,✽ ἥτις ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη ἐν ἐπαγγελίᾳ, “Honour your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
  3. ✽ἵνα εὖ σοι γένηται καὶ ἔσῃ μακροχρόνιος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.✽ “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
  4. Καὶ οἱ πατέρες, μὴ παροργίζετε τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
ἀλλὰ ἐκτρέφετε αὐτὰ ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ κυρίου. but bring them up in discipline and instruction from the Lord.

Translation and structure by Andrew Fountain

  • Almost identical verses in Colossians.
  • Does the Bible teach parents should beat their children?
    ‘Spare the rod and you’ll spoil the child” is not in the Bible
  • There are some verses that could be interpreted to mean that, but I don’t think they do.
    • I think the rod is being used as a metaphor for active direction

Proverbs 22:

  1. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
            Psalm 23
  2. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    Better translation:
  3. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of instruction puts it far from him.

2. What does “Honour” Mean?

  • So what about honoring our parents?
  • The O.T. was written originally in Hebrew and the N.T. in Greek
  • The Hebrew word for honour literally means weight
  • The idea of honoring someone is that you give them weight!
    • Treat your father and mother with great value and importance
  • When the O.T. got translated into Greek in the N.T., they used a word which means value
    • Jesus’s teaching supports the connection between honour and financial support:

Mark 7

  1. And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
  2. For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’…
  3. But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—
  4. then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
  5. thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Honour Parents

  • Treat them with importance (weight)
  • Make sure they have their needs met
  • Does it mean that adult children should obey them?

The Example of Jesus – John 2

  1. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
  2. And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
  3. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Matthew 12

  1. While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
  2. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak to you.”
  3. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”
  4. And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
  5. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Gen 27 – obey when wrong?

  1. Now Rebekah was listening…
  2. Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau,…
  3. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you.
  4. Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves.
  5. And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.”
  6. But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother…
  7. His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.”
  • Should he have obeyed his mother?

Honoring Problem Parents

  1. loving but unwise (e.g. investment decisions)
  2. loving but wrong
  3. emotionally immature with poor boundaries
  4. abusive
  • A. and B. are clear—honouring does not mean obeying them
    • It does mean carefully weighing their ideas and giving them proper consideration
  • D. is a problem if we think honouring = thinking highly of them
  • In recent years there has been a very sad case of a megachurch pastor…
  • I want to spend the rest of our time on C. because it is so common

3. Honoring Parents with Imperfections

Emotionally Immature Parents

  • Not good boundaries
    e.g. the parent who keeps calling and may show up uninvited
  • Gives unsolicited advice
    your home, food, career, life choices
  • Puts pressure on you
  • Sends you on guilt trips “if only you had...”
  • Criticizes your choice
  • Does not like/respect your partner
  • The way they treat your kids is not helpful
  • But there is a deeper problem that I want to address

Generational Brokenness

  • All parents have some brokenness
  • Tiny children are very sensitive to how to get their needs met
  • We developed patterns of behaviour which worked best for us
  • We figure out very quickly what we need to do to make our parents happy with us/life to go well

/ is because sometimes it is hiding

  • We take on a role (e.g. people-pleaser, hard worker, perfect child, demander, disappear)

A very critical parent might make us perfectionist who avoids criticism at any cost

Identifying our Old Self

  • As adults, we can still carry the voice of our parents in our heads
  • “You stupid person, why did you do that?”
  • “You must study every moment to get the best grade”
  • We take on a role, developed when very young
  • Make people happy; make them go away; make them respect us, never be criticized
  • Note that Satan will often use this voice to attack us!

Replacing the Old with the New Eph 4

  1. to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life…
  2. and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
  3. and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Which parent does the new self come from?
  • Coming back to honouring our parents —it is essential that we don’t drop back into our old self
  • This might cause some tension for a while

Honouring your parents

  • You are dishonouring your parents if you let them treat you out of their own brokenness/immaturity
  • To honour your parents means to help them come to wholeness in Christ
  • This can be very challenging because our brokenness is connected to theirs
  • However, we are in a unique position to brink God’s healing to them
  • There is an excellent book that I would recommend

Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

  • Not a Christian book, but fits well with the Biblical idea of generational brokenness, passed down
  • Come and talk to me if you are interested in more resources for this journey

Replacing the Old with the New Eph 4

  1. to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life…
  2. and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
  3. and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Last updated on 5 Nov 2023
Published on 5 Nov 2023