Ephesians 6:1-3  "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."

To obey means to submit; rank under; be in obedience.  As children, we are under the authority of our parents.  We are to submit ourselves unto them and obey them in what they command us to do.  Further, it is right for us to do this.  Our parents gave us life.  Without our parents, we would not have life.  Our parents have the responsibility to raise us up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Our parents have a natural love and affection for us because we are their children.  Our parents provide for our needs, protect us from danger, and prepare us for living our lives in the future. 

Honor means to value, to revere, to prize, and to respect.  We give honor to our parents when we obey them and respect them and value them for what they do for us.  Further, we give honor to our parents when we take care of them and their needs in their old age.  In addition, we show our respect to them by talking respectfully to them and not arguing with them or speaking disrespectfully to them or degrading them before others. 

"Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise."  When God gave the ten commandments to the children of Israel on Mount Sinai, the first table was about man's responsibility toward God.  The second table was about man's responsibility toward men.  In Exodus 20:12 God gave the first commandment with promise of good toward man if he kept the commandment: "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."  This commandment was further elaborated in Deu. 5:16 "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."  The promise was that the children of Israel by honoring their fathers and their mothers would prolong their stay upon the land that God gave them and that it would go well with them in that land.  That was quite a promise. 

"That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."  In this New Testament day we have the promise that if we honor our fathers and our mothers things will go well with us and our lives will be prolonged upon the earth.  A special application of that to us in the church is that things will go well with us in the church and we will long enjoy the joys, rest, and comforts of the church.   

Ephesians 6:4   "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." 

This speaks of specific duties and responsibilities that fathers have toward their children.  This combined with other verses gives us a picture of how we as fathers are to bring up our children:

    1.  Prov. 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

     2.  Ps. 127:4 "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

    3.  Col. 3:21 "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged." 

Twice fathers are warned not to provoke their children to wrath or anger.  Children are provoked to wrath or anger when they are discouraged and think they can do nothing right or good.  Sometimes in the father's constant criticism of his child, even though he means it for the child's good, yet he causes his child to be very discouraged and think he can do nothing right.  The child reacts in anger or wrath caused by the father's provocation.  We fathers should not only correct our children, but we should praise them for the things they do right or good.  If we do this, in most cases, there will be a lot more praise than criticism as the children naturally want to please their parents. 

God has set an example for us in giving praise for good and correction for wrong.  Notice the following scriptures:

    1.  Is. 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it."

    2.  Rev. 2:1 "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

In the first example, God promised good for good and chastisement for wrong.  In the second example, God praised the good and rebuked the wrong with both a warning if the wrong was not repented of and a promised blessing if it was repented of. 

Next, we are to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The word nurture comes from the Greek word, paideia, meaning tutoring, education, training, disciplinary correction or chastisement, and instruction.  While there are a lot of things that we may nurture our children with, this verse is speaking of spiritual nurturing.  It is the nurture of the Lord.  Thus, we are to train, instruct, teach, tudor, educate, and disciplinary correct our children in how they are to live and conduct their lives according to thus saith the Lord and to understand the basic teachings of the bible.  Now this may be done by teaching them the basic principles of truth by our actions and by word of mouth, and by having them to be exposed to the teaching and preaching of God-called ministers of the gospel, by encouraging them to read and study the scriptures, and by having family bible studies with them.  In the Old Testament the people was told to speak of  these things: Deu. 6:6 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

The word, admonition, comes from the Greek word, nouthesia, meaning calling attention to or mild rebuke or warning.  We fathers are watchmen over our households.  We are to see the dangers in the world and based on our experience and knowledge provide admonition to our children by calling attention to those dangers and mildly rebuke or warn them about the serious consequences of certain dangers or actions.  Examples of this would be drug use, alcohol abuse, smoking tobacco, sexual sins, walking with the wrong crowd, stealing from others, etc.

Children are compared to arrows.  An arrow is to be pointed in the direction it is to go and given impetus to go where we direct it.  Likewise, we fathers should point our children in the direction we want them to go and then instruct them on how they should go and finally give them impetus in going in that direction.  We give impetus by encouraging them and setting an example for them. 

Next, we are to train up our children in the way they should go.  Training is more than just telling.  Training involves repetition.  Our teaching should be repetitive and our example should be repetitive and our children should be encouraged in the proper way and required to repeat these steps over and over again until it becomes second nature to them.

Ephesians 6:5-8  "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; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free." 

The principle of submission continues throughout the teaching on practical godliness.  This principle was established for us in Eph. 5:21 "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God."  Submission and humility or meekness are great principles of truth for the disciple of the Lord.  These principles of truth were set forth for us in the example of our Lord Jesus Christ:

    1.  John 13:12 "So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

    2.  Lk. 22:25 "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth."

    3.  Phil. 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

We are to follow the example of our Lord and Master and recognize that we are to be a servant and be obedient in all aspects of our life.

Almost all of us have natural masters according to the flesh.  We may not be bond-slaves as others who have lived before us, yet we are most often hired servants to others.  We serve others generally in order to provide for the needs of our family and of ourselves.  We sell our service to them and we are to obey them in those things that they command us to do.  Sometimes we may not particularly like those who are our masters (bosses, supervisors, leaders, employers, etc.) and we may not necessarily agree with the way that do things.  Nevertheless, we are to serve them with fear and trembling.  Our masters can do us much damage or they can be a great blessing unto us.  Our very livelihood naturally is often in the hands of our employer.  Thus, we should show them great respect and honor them with our works.

The word, singleness, is translated from the Greek word, haplotes, and means simplicity, generosity, sincerity, and bountifulness.  We are to serve our masters with simplicity, with generosity, with sincerity and bountifully.  We should serve our masters with the same attitude and purpose for which we would serve Christ.  Thus, our service to our masters is to be patterned after our service to Christ. 

"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart."  Sometimes servants will work hard when the boss is around, but will become lax and lazy when the boss is away.  This is service with eyeservice.  This is being a menpleaser.  We are not to serve in this manner.  Our service should be the same whether the boss is present or whether he is absent.  We are to be diligent in all of our service toward our employer.  We are to serve our masters with the same attitude and dedication that we would serve Christ and remembering that we are the servants of Christ and representing the Kingdom of Christ as we serve our masters.  According to Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."  Therefore, we know that it is the will of God that we be subservient and obedient unto our masters on earth.  We are to do the will of God from the heart.  So our service to our masters should be a heart felt service.

"With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men."  The phrase, good will, is translated from the Greek word, eunoia, meaning kindness.  Our service to our masters is to be done in kindness rather than grudgingly and is to be performed as though we were doing this service for our Lord and not to men. 

"Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."  As hired servants we receive pay for the things that we do based on an afore-agreed upon rate.  Yet, the real reward of our service comes from the Lord.  Knowing that he is pleased with the way we serve is more important than having the approval of man.  Having the Lord say unto our heart, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" should be reward enough for the disciple of Christ.  We do not have to wait for the praise of men to be recognized for the service we have done, but be satisfied with the praise of God. 

Ephesians 6:9  "And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him."

Col. 4:1 "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

Frequently, among the disciples of the Lord are employers, supervisors, bosses, or leaders who have people who work for them.  These masters also have a Master.  God does not respect the natural master any more than he respects the natural servant.  In this, God is no respecter of persons.  In the world, a master is generally held in higher regard and favor than a servant.  It is not so in the Kingdom of God.  God is no respecter of persons. 

A good example of a master who took good care of his servants is set forth in Matt. 8:5-10: "And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.  And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.  The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."  Just as the centurion understood that he had servants who served and obeyed him, he also was the servant of others.  We, as masters, should reckon ourselves as being like the centurion.  We have a greater Master in heaven.  He takes note of how we treat our servants.

As a master, we should not threaten our servants.  In the eyes of God, we are not better than they are.  We should not abuse our authority.  We should treat them as the beloved of the Lord.

Also, as a master, we should give unto our servants that which is just and equal.  We should not shortchange them in their service, but give them what the service is worth.  This is what is just.  Further, we should give to each like wages for like service.  This is what is meant by what is equal.