“In the Lord”: Children, Obedience, and the Gospel (Ephesians 6:1–3)


“In the Lord”: Children, Obedience, and the Gospel (Ephesians 6:1–3)

In Ephesians Paul calls the church to walk in wisdom by the power of the Spirit. This includes children. And in this week’s sermon, we saw how children in the Lord (believing children) are motivated to obey and honor their parents.

Indeed, in only three verses (Ephesians 6:1–3) there are a lot of things to consider, especially with the way Paul uses Exodus 20:12 to motivate children to obey their parents. Take time to listen to the sermon online, as it considers how the promise of inheritance in Exodus 20:12 is applied to believing children. You can read the sermon notes here. Discussion questions and further resources can be found below. 

Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1–3

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

Discussion Questions

  1. Who is Paul talking to in Ephesians 6:1–3? How do Ephesians 5:32 and 6:4 help focus on children at home? What difference does in the Lord make for our interpretation?
  2. How does learning the story of sonship from Genesis 5 to Exodus to Proverbs help you to understand the background to Ephesians 6?
  3. Read Deuteronomy 21:18–21 and Matthew 11:19. Who do the people think Jesus is? How should we read this and understand what Christ has done for us?
  4. Read Philippians 2:5–11. Who do we learn Jesus truly is? How does his obedience (see Luke 2:51 and John 8:49) help us obey our parents?
  5. What is the promise of the Fifth Commandment in Exodus 20:12? How is that applied to Israel? How does it change after Christ? (N.B. Paul leaves off the words “that the Lord your God is giving you.”)
  6. How does Paul motivate children to obey their parents? What is the difference in motivation between Exodus 20 and Ephesians 6? Why does that matter?
  7. What other ways does this verse apply today? How do broken families, single-parent homes , unbelieving parents impact our application of this passage? (See Tim Challies blogposts for further application).

Additional Resources

On How to Apply the Law 

Paul motivates children in the Lord to obey their parents with a quotation from Exodus 20:12. Yet, how does he apply this commandment of the old covenant to a new covenant people? Here are a few reflections.

On Honoring Father and Mother

Tim Challies has compiled a series of blogposts tackling various issues related to the fifth commandment. If you are wondering how this “forgotten commandment” relates to various life-situations, please read this excellent series.


Soli Deo Gloria, ds



One thought on ““In the Lord”: Children, Obedience, and the Gospel (Ephesians 6:1–3)

  1. Pingback: Red Carpet Christianity: A Summary and Conclusion to the Book of Ephesians | Via Emmaus

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