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Parents Worthy of Their Calling

MORE THAN we can imagine_

Last November in our study of Ephesians, after considering how Paul established our identity and position in Christ Jesus, we turned to a consideration of “walking worthy of our calling.” We looked at walking worthy in unity and maturity, walking in God's love, walking in the light of Christ, and walking wisely by the Spirit of wisdom.

Walking by the Spirit of wisdom marks a turning point in Ephesians where Paul moves from general instructions about how we should walk as believers, to the specific application of these principles to our relationships and daily living. These general instructions frame a gospel focus that should affect all of our relationships – husbands and wives, children and parents, parents, especially fathers, and children, and vocational relationships.

This past Sunday we considered Paul’s instructions to parents, and specifically fathers. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4 ESV) Walking in a manner worthy of our calling includes our relationship with our children, particularly in light of our relationship to them as brothers and sisters in Christ if they are “in the Lord.” “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph. 6:1 ESV) In one brief verse, Paul lays out a negative command and one positive command, to nourish through discipline and instruction, and all in the Lord. You can listen to the sermon here.

Discussion Questions
  1. Why does Paul begin with a negative command (“do not provoke your children to anger”)?
  2. What is the difference between making your child(ren) angry and provoking your child(ren) to anger?
  3. How many different instructions do you see in Deuteronomy 6 concerning what parents are to teach their children concerning the Lord God?
    1. What practical steps can you take to implement them in your own home?
    2. Which ones are you willing to share with your community group to be accountable to them?
    3. Which ones are you willing to share with your children to ask them to hold you accountable?
  4. What practical application is there for our relationship as parents to our children if we remember that our children in Christ are our brothers and sisters?
  5. If you are not the legal guardian of a child or children, what are some practical and tangible ways that you can apply these principles within the church?
  6. Malachi 4:5-6 prophecies the coming of Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord. In Matthew 11:13-14, Christ tells the crowd that John the Baptist is the Elijah who is to come.
    1. In what ways does John coming with a message of repentance to prepare the way of the Lord apply to parents, especially Fathers?
    2. What connection do you see between Malachi 4:5-6 and Ephesians 6:4?
    3. What are some practical ways that you can model repentance for your children?
  7. Is there an area where your heart is hardened as a parent with respect to dealing with your own sin? Have you repented? Have you sought wise counsel from a brother or sister in Christ? Have you talked with your child concerning your struggle (in an age appropriate manner)?
  8. Points of application from the sermon:
    1. Pray;
    2. Make your own list of practical steps to take;
    3. Examine your heart;
    4. Know your child;
    5. Most importantly know your Lord from the pages of his word;
    6. Study Proverbs;
    7. Study Deuteronomy 6;
    8. Consider how from God’s word you can encourage your children to hope in the triumph of God;
    9. Consider how to make the Bible the most important book in their lives; and
    10. PRAY.