Ephesians 6:1-9
Cooperation Works Best

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Our lives are not usually isolated but are lived in contact with many other people. The husband and wife relationship is of major importance because it is for a lifetime. Parents and children are closely connected for around twenty years before the young people start their own families and follow their own interests. Employers and employees are in contact as long as each is fair with the other, or one or the other quits the work. In the Christian life there are fundamental principles of life that we apply to all these areas of life, and if they are maintained in the fear of God, the results are good. It is a fundamental duty of children to obey their parents. This is a reference to children obeying “in the Lord,” not the position of the parents. Even if parents are not Christians they should be obeyed. This is in essence, obeying the Lord on the part of a believing child. Obeying simply means doing what you are told by your parents. This of course does not mean a child is to do wrong if a parent tells them to. There are four simple reasons for obeying parents. First, it is right. Because of parents experience and wisdom gained from living they should know what is the right thing to do in most situations. It is also spiritual. One of the ten commandments addresses this matter. This gives the honor of allegiance to parents that goes beyond our feelings about them, to who they are. The third reason for this attitude and response to parents is that it is in your own best interests. Honor involves respect and love that is real. When that is given there are almost always, and in every case, a recognition of reciprocation of respectful interests. Then the promise is for long life.

Real faith is proved in our homes. Discipline, obedience and integrity are joined when believing parents are obeyed and honored by believing children Even if a child is disobedient and unpleasant, our care and concern for that child as parents will still have a lasting influence. If unbelieving parents are demanding and unfair, still the attitude of a believing child has a positive impact on that person’s conscience. God approves of an obedient attitude and long life is often the result, because those things that damage life and health are deliberately avoided. Disobedience is often a sign of evil that has been left uncorrected. There are changes in life and attitude to be expected in every succeeding generation, but in every generation balance in parenting is not unreasonable. Disciple and correction are always needed. The “admonition ” of the Lord includes warnings about the consequences of sin before it happens; rebuke when it does; and reproof so it won’t happen again.

The whole practice of submission to another’s interests is part of the evidence of genuine spiritual life. Obedience to parents when we are children, and honor for a lifetime is a blessing, not a burden. Even long life itself does not have to be burdensome when we begin by honoring the aged people like is done in some of the Asian cultures. When we give respect to wisdom, we draw on the experiences of those who are older so that we will do the things that worked right for them with positive results. But from their wisdom we will learn not to do what they did wrong and won’t have to experience the same difficulties they went through. By deferring the authority many of the hard things others experienced, we can avoid. Paying attention to the needs of others and the experiences of others can stand us in good stead for a lifetime. Our Lord Jesus was subject to Mary and Joseph even though He was a perfect person. As a result of His nature that was submitted to God and His earthly parents, He grew in “favor with God and man.”

There is a difference between affection and honor. Affection usually comes as a result of benefits of some kind being shown to another. A small child knows parents meet their needs. Love and appreciation are a natural result of feeling good. Honor on the other hand is a choice. One’s feelings and one’s respect are very different. So when parental discipline is applied, the purpose is to promote growth, not to vent anger. Discipline applied in anger will usually discourage a young person and frustrate and provoke rather than “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” Frustration and anger do not go well when we discipline children. Authority demonstrated in a Christ-like way will produce the best results. Fathers have the responsibility of final authority. That authority is given so we can deal properly with the child’s development, guard them from dangers around and educate them in practical ways. We need to be sensitive to the needs of each child, which are quite different, and we must do our duty to them.

We need to be balanced in parenthood and we also need to be balanced in labor and balanced in authority. These are addressed in these few words but the teaching quite precise. Society could not function without laborers. In order for the need of laborers to work right, there needs to be respect and fairness from both the laborer and the authority. A servant is one who does what he or she is told. They are expected to obey instructions, do their work right, and do it as unto Christ. When one is conscientious they will work well, be trustworthy and consistent in their work even when they are working alone. An enthusiastic employee knows who he or she is, and can usually be counted on like a neighbor with whom we share responsibility. Revolt and revolution was not brought about by the Gospel, but the Gospel brought change. That change lifted humanity from the role of slaves to where each person is recognized as an equal before God.

When we contract to work for a person, we commit ourselves to working for his interests and for that reason we serve him. By both the employee and employer each recognizing their obligation to each other, trust and respect will result. Employees are not like machines. They need to be encouraged in their work and spoke kindly to when instructions and corrections are given. They deserve fairness, kindness and honesty when they are doing what is reasonably expected of them. Employers should be grateful for their efforts, and should treat all of his employee equally because we all are equal in God’s sight.

Authority is the right of an employer and each one needs to remember that we are under the authority of our Master. An employer needs to keep in his mind the obligation to seek the welfare of his employees, whether it be safety in the working environment. Don’t play favorites with employees or else there will be conflicts in the work place. Submit to the Lord as your Master. When there is cooperation, life will work best.

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