The Spirit-Filled Family

In a Spirit-filled family, children obey their parents in the Lord and fathers do not provoke their children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Sermon Notes:

  1. Paul’s depiction of a Spirit-filled family follows his description of Spirit-filled husbands and wives (Eph. 5:22-33).
  2. Paul begins with the assumption that our children are “in the Lord” because they are ours.
  3. He gives three reasons why children should listen to and obey their parents: it is right, that is, in accordance with the way things ought to be; it is pleasing to the Lord; it blesses children.
  4. Obedience needs to be immediate and complete, otherwise it is disobedience.
  5. Paul does not limit obedience to one parent or the other. Both are to be obeyed, for husband and wife are one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24).
  6. For a child to play one parent against the other is to break the unity of the Spirit and bond of peace in the home.
  7. Obedience is right, meaning it is properly ordered in accord with God’s Word. Obedience is beautiful; disobedience is ugly.
  8. By obeying our parents, we honour our father and mother and honour God.
  9. Obedience leads to blessing (Eph. 6:3; Prov. 3:1-3).
  10. Anger is infectious; one of the most common ways fathers provoke children to anger is by being angry themselves.
  11. Failing to encourage our children is another way that children are often provoked to anger. A sarcastic response is very discouraging to a child (cf. Col. 3:21).
  12. Children are part of the family and deserve to be treated like it. We need to show our children that we are listening to them when they call, or we are teaching them that listening is a matter of convenience.
  13. Children have a strong sense of justice, and will notice if we are behaving hypocritically. Submit yourself to the same godly standards as you impose on them.
  14. Another reason that Paul’s Instructions to fathers follow right after instructions to husbands is because the two roles go together. You cannot be a good husband and a bad father or a good father and bad husband.
  15. Fathers need to be compassionate with children, remembering their weaknesses and limitations, just as God is mindful of our weaknesses (cf. Ps. 103:14).
  16. Deuteronomy 6 gives instructions for raising children to know and love the Lord. The text assumes that fathers are present with their children in walking, sitting, lying down and rising up (Deut. 6:1-9).
  17. If we hope to cultivate in our children a love of God and His Word, we must first keep it ourselves.
  18. Parents, and fathers in particular, must apply corrective discipline to their children. This is a gift and a means of grace (cf. Prov. 13:24; Heb. 12:6).
  19. Children need discipline (Prov. 22:15) and fathers who love their children will discipline their children (Prov. 13:24).
  20. Right discipline restores the child to fellowship, it doesn’t alienate them.
  21. Parents need to correct their own hearts before disciplining children, as a model of repentance.
  22. Discipline looks different for each child, but two principles can be discerned: (a) it should be for a short time and (b) it should seem painful, not pleasant (cf. Heb. 12:10-11).
  23. We teach children to love God by cultivating a home atmosphere of joy and thanksgiving.
  24. Family meals are vital to a spirit of joy and thanksgiving in the home. Our tables at home are to model the Lord’s Table as a place of mercy and grace.

Application Questions:

  1. Parents: what do your children think of God based on your example?
  2. What is the purpose of discipline?
  3. How can adult children honour their parents?
  4. In what ways might we be guilty of provoking our children to anger?