3:1 Since you professed a resurrected life in Jesus Christ, you should seek the things of heaven.
Here is another appeal to the baptism argument of 2:12, which he also appealed to well in 2:20.
If by baptism we died to the world with Christ, we should reject the world’s errors (2:20-22).
True disciples are buried and resurrected in baptism, or immersion (I Cor 15:29; I Peter 3:21).
All these arguments lose their plain force and meaning, if a person thinks sprinkling is baptism.
Baptism is active identification with Jesus Christ, where we put Him on by faith (Gal 3:26-27).
Our burial and resurrection in water show our identification with His burial and resurrection.
How are we risen with Christ? We must understand this perfectly to fully grasp the argument.
The perfect tense indicates an action completed in the past and continuing into the present.
We are dead to this world and risen to eternal life by faith in Jesus, Who died and rose for us.
This is our practical resurrection by our faith, not our eternal, legal, vital, or final resurrection.
There is no doubt we are connected eternally, legally, vitally, and finally to His resurrection (Eph 2:6); but we take the practical application here by virtue of the context (2:12,20; 3:3-7).
Our answer of a good conscience in baptism is to live a resurrected life (I Pet 3:21; Rom 6:4).
When we commit ourselves to Christ, we profess to be a new creature in Him (II Cor 5:17).
If this resurrected life in Christ by faith is the case, then we should seek the things where He is.
And He is sitting at the right hand of God, so we should be seeking the things of heaven itself.
The next verse, our immediate context, indicates this is precisely what the apostle intends (3:2).
What things are above? The Lamb, praise, holiness, love, worship, righteousness, peace, unity, truth, glory, spiritual mindedness, joy, Christ, God, the general assembly, Christ’s blood, etc.
Jesus is at God’s right hand, as King-Priest, forever, for us (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33-34; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Heb 1:3,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; I Pet 3:22).
We must seek His kingdom and righteousness more than anything else (Mat 6:33; Rom 14:17).
We must reject the belly-worshipping addiction to earthly things (Phil 3:18-19; II Tim 3:1-5).
The story of the unjust steward is to press us to prepare for a future in heaven (Luke 16:1-16).
3:2 Seeking heavenly things well depends on affection for them, which is your choice and duty.
The first command is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30).
Paul does not suggest “falling in love” with things above, but rather setting your love there.
True love is a choice. It is not a function of fate, chemistry, or circumstances. It is a choice!
What things do you value? Where are your treasures? Your heart will follow (Matt 6:19-21).
What do you feed? Where do you invest? Your heart will follow (Ps 27:14; Pr 4:18; 5:19).
A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). So get single minded (Jas 4:8)!
3:3 Heavenly ambitions are based on death to self and this world and our hidden life in Christ.
How are we dead? We are dead to self and this world by faith and baptism (Gal 2:20; 6:14).
Paul is still appealing to the argument, a basic argument of his, that we have died with Christ.
Belly worshippers, pagans, or whatever you call them, have their lives consumed by this world.
We have our lives wrapped up in Jesus Christ and the unseen things of heaven yet to come.
How is our life in Christ hidden? Eternity is invisible and missed by the world (Luke 17:21).
How is our life in Christ hidden? It is an invisible spiritual union with Christ and God (Ep 2:6).
3:4 There is a substantial reward for neglecting this life for the pursuit of Christ and heaven.
The great day of His appearing will bring with it the wonderful reward for dying to this world.
Our “hidden life” is all wrapped up in Jesus Christ, and He will bring eternal life with Him.
The world can neither see it nor understand it; and we perceive and live it by faith alone.
We will visibly see the Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing, and we will be visible in heaven.
When … we see Jesus … it will be worth it all! Asaph figured this out eventually in Psalm 73.
And if we do not figure it out or remember it, we are of all men most miserable (I Cor 15:19).
How is Jesus our life? He bought our life, gave us life, keeps our life, strengthens our life, guarantees our life, is the object of our life, and will be the object of our life.
3:5 Since we are dead with Christ, we ought to put to death all the earthly members of our lives.
What does mortify mean? It means to put something to death, or to kill it. It means to so rule and deny yourself that the desires thereof – of lust and sin – are rendered weak and helpless.
The word mortify comes from mortal (subject to death), mortality (dying), mortician (one who works with dead bodies), and mortuary (a place where dead bodies are displayed).
We mortify lusts and sins by bringing our bodies into subjection by self-denial and temperance.
Called “members” here, they are called “things” (3:2,6) and “deeds” (3:9) in the context.
They are members, or parts of our natural body here on earth, for sinful lusts still reside in us.
Paul knew there was a difference between his renewed mind and sinful body (Rom 7:22-25).
Your body is not fit for heaven; it lives on earth; and it will be greatly changed before heaven.
Members are your heart, mouth, hands, feet, genitals, and any part of your body capable of sin.
We take our bodily parts, appetites, and abilities and change their use (Rom 6:13; 7:5; Jas 4:1).
Covetousness is idolatry by virtue of making you discontent with God Himself (Heb 13:5-6).
Of course, covetousness is hardly discussed anymore, but it is idolatry to God (Ephesians 5:5).
See the sermon outline “Forgotten Sins” for further details of these and other neglected sins.
Fornication is sexual intimacy between unmarried parties, very popular and promoted today.
Uncleanness is a broad class of sexual sins not necessarily involving fornication or adultery i.e. pornography, transvestism, sinful masturbation, dishonorable acts in marriage, etc., etc.
Inordinate affection is sodomy, bestiality, necromania, pedophilia, and other unnatural sexual excesses or extremes (Rom 1:26). It may also include sexual addiction within marriage or relational dependence outside that ordained and approved by God.
Evil concupiscence is unrestrained sexual passion and desire not limited to honorable marriage.
This word is related to Cupid, the personification of sexual desire and love. See I Thess 4:3-7.
The Holy Spirit and apostle Paul know exactly what area of our lives to attack with repetition.
This verse and the next two are opened more fully in the epistle to the Ephesians (Eph 5:3-12).
3:6 Sexual sins and covetousness are reasons God will judge the disobedient men of this world.
These things might not seem so bad to our perverse society, but judgment is coming anyway!
God is holy. God has given His law. The souls that sin against His law will be judged severely.
He drowned the earth with the Flood for disobedience that could not have exceeded America’s.
God is angry. No one wants to talk about the wrath of God, but it is fundamental to His nature.
When Jesus comes, He will come with the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Rev 19:15).
Sexual sinners shall not enter into heaven by any means, unless Jesus died for them (Rev 21:8).
3:7 Such sins may once have been part of our lives, but we are now dead to the former lifestyle.
By nature, we were children of wrath walking according to the course of this world (Ep 2:1-3).
Truth teaches that sin in the past should suffice us, by excellent cross-reference (I Pet 4:1-5).
We were alive to sins and walked in them; we are dead to sins and should not walk in them.
3:8 True holiness moves even further into our bodily members to find those less offensive to men.
Our new resurrected life in Christ Jesus also involves the putting off of these additional sins.
If the self-righteous gloat that they are innocent of 3:5, then surely they can find guilt here!
Anger is the active feeling provoked against a person; passion, rage; wrath, ire, hot displeasure.
Wrath is vehement or violent anger; intense exasperation or resentment; deep indignation.
Malice is desire to injure another person; active ill-will or hatred; evil intent aggravating sins.
Blasphemy is profane speaking of God or sacred things; impious irreverence. Casual religion?
Filthy communication is morally corrupt, obscene, lewd, base, disgusting, immodest talking.
For filthy communication, see Eph 4:29; 5:3-5; Ezek 24:13; James 1:21; II Peter 2:7; Rev 17:4.
3:9 Lying is a sinful act of our little member, which is not part of the resurrected life in Christ.
We should particularly avoid any lying one to another, as members of the same body in Christ.
The old man is the old way we lived, when we obeyed the lusts of our sinful bodies and minds.
The old man is a liar, just like his father (John 8:44). With God as our Father, we love truth!
Lying includes all forms of exaggeration, embellishment, misrepresentation, and implication.
Our Father is a God of truth; and our Saviour is Truth, and the True and Faithful Witness!
3:10 We are to put on our new man, which knows the perfect will of God as it is in Jesus Christ.
We put on the new man, when we profess in our baptism to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4).
We have a whole new way of thinking after regeneration, when a new nature is created within.
Paul describes this new man as being created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph 4:24).
The new birth is more than just a dry theological detail: it gave us a new nature for holiness.
Here is the life of the believer – the true disciple of Christ. He is a new creature (II Cor 5:17)!
We put on the new man each day, which knows God and holiness we did not know before.
Jesus Christ created our new man in regeneration, and our new man is the image of Him.
We have the mind of Christ (I Cor 2:16), and we partake of His divine nature (II Pet 1:1-4).
3:11 Our new creation eliminates all the distinctions made by men in the flesh to promote Christ.
The family difference made by God in the Old Testament is gone in Christ (Eph 4:10-22).
The religious difference made by God in the Old Testament is gone in Christ (Galatians 6:15).
The national and cultural differences made by God in providence are gone in Christ (Gal 3:8).
The class differences made by God in economic Providence are gone in Christ (I Cor 7:20-24).
The sexual difference made by God in his providence of roles is gone in Christ (Gal 3:28).
Our entire lives are wrapped up in Jesus Christ, with no differences to hinder or distract at all.
All spiritual blessings are found in the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3; I Cor 1:30), who is in us.
We have no excuses to justify any sin in our lives. We have professed Christ, and He is all!
Ye are complete in Him (2:10)! Know and adore His Person! Know and value His salvation!
Your position in Christ is so glorious, that living and walking in Him should be an easy choice!
This fact is the mystery Paul taught by dispensation (1:25-27): Christ in you, the hope of glory!
3:12 There are godly virtues we are to put on as much as there are sinful deeds we are to put off.
“Therefore” connects this verse to those going before – our relationships with other church members are based on our mutual regeneration and unity without distinction in Christ Jesus.
If Christ is in us, and we in Him, then we are new creatures, with a whole set of new things.
This very different conduct is contrasted with the anger, wrath, malice, and lying of 3:8-9.
Relationships indicate far more about a person’s character than any other measure (Tit 3:2-3).
We have two men – a sinful nature and a holy nature – which we put off and on, respectively.
Paul has identified some of the deeds of the old man: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication, and lying (3:8-9), which we are to stop doing by treating him as dead.
Now he lists the deeds of the new man that we should put on, which is to exercise those graces we have and know to be pleasing to God. We work out what He worked in (Phil 2:12-13).
We have the knowledge and ability for these deeds by the image of Christ in our new man.
We are the elect of God, in that only the elect are chosen for creation of the new man in them.
We are holy and beloved in five senses – eternal, legal, vital, practical, and final. See them all.
Our relationships should reflect our election, and they should confirm election (II Pet 1:5-11)!
Bowels of mercies are more than mere mercy: they are compassionate feelings of sympathy and wanting to show mercy to others (I Kgs 3:26; Rom 12:15; I Cor 12:26; Gal 6:2; Eph 4:32).
It is opposite of selfishness, stinginess, coolness, aloofness, and reluctance (I John 3:16-19).
Kindness is that benevolent, gentle treatment of others by which we extend goodwill and favor, which we see in the fruit of the Spirit under the terms “gentleness, goodness” (Gal 5:22).
It is opposite of harshness and hardness, which are marks of wicked men; and it is defined further in Scripture as brotherly kindness (II Pet 1:7; Rom 12:10; I Pet 3:8-9).
Humbleness of mind is an attitude coming from within of modesty and service that affects our total lives, not merely the outward show of humility for the observation of others.
It is the opposite of pride and vainglory, for we are to esteem others and their things more important than ourselves and our things (Phil 2:3-4; Rom 12:10).
Meekness is “Gentle, courteous, kind. Of a superior: Merciful, compassionate, indulgent. Freedom from haughtiness and self-will; piously humble and submissive; patient and unresentful under injury and reproach” (OED).
It is the opposite of arrogance, defensiveness, revenge, self-promotion, or self-protection (Gal 6:1; I Cor 4:21; II Tim 2:25; Titus 3:2; I Pet 3:15).
It is not weakness, for our great Prince has it perfectly with other virtues (Ps 45:4; II Cor 10:1).
Longsuffering is putting up with differences, irritations, and offences of others without resentment or revenge. Consider its component words – suffering and long. There are the keys!
Rather than precisely define each of these terms to create unique definitions and meanings, let us see the overlap and thereby the emphasis Paul places on our interpersonal relationships.
By far the most difficult part of personal relationships is overlooking the irritations of others.
How much does the Lord put up with from us? He is our standard, and anything less fails!
The fear of division and need for effort to maintain unity were constant messages from Paul.
3:13 The standard for forgiveness and mercy toward others is that which Christ had toward us.
Continuing to list relational virtues from the previous verse, Paul lists forbearing and forgiving.
Forbearing in this context is to bear, endure, submit to, have patience with, put up with, tolerate. To abstain from injuring, punishing, or giving way to resentment against (a person or thing); to spare, show mercy or indulgence to.
Notice the very repetitive emphasis on our personal and individual relations by the references to “one another,” “any man,” and “against any.” These focus our attention on each relationship.
Forgiving in this context is to overlook, pass over, and ignore personal offences (Pr 19:11) and quickly grant forgiveness when any other seeks it from us (Matt 18:21-22).
Jesus taught the standard of His forgiveness to Peter, which crushed his idea (Matt 18:23-35).
The Lord forgave us 10,000 talents; the worst our brother can owe us is one hundred pence! Here is a factor of millions to one! The perversely malicious spirit of this parable is our own!
This is the religion of the kingdom of heaven – here are the marks and identity of Christians.
If we do not forgive mercifully, our heavenly Father will not forgive us (Matt 7:1-2; Jas 2:13).
You, “any man,” must look through the whole church in case you have a quarrel “against any.”
Here is the key to being the greatest church possible – absolutely no relational problems at all.
How did Christ forgive you? He forgave you an infinite debt, fully and freely, deserving eternal punishment, contrary to His perfectly holy nature, that you did not deserve at all, while you were still spitefully hating him as your enemy, without conditions of future performance, with nothing desirable in you at all, and the only benefit He would receive was His own glory!
The Holy Spirit, Who lists love first and bears it in our lives, must be unquenched in this grace!
3:14 The crowning and defining grace of our relationships is charity – the bond of perfectness.
Above all these things is charity – the most important grace of all in a Christian’s life.
How is it above all these things? It is the most comprehensive, including all other relational graces; and it is the positive force of the character of Christ we are all to have (John 13:35).
And it must be the heart-based motive and influence behind these other graces (I Cor 13:1-3).
All the commandments are properly fulfilled by Christian love (Rom 13:8-9; Galatians 5:14).
Paul’s point is one of emphasis, just as we might add a strong postscript to a letter of details.
Charity is the comprehensive grace defined in I Corinthians 13:4-7, which all should know.
There is a more excellent way of serving Christ than any ministerial gift (I Corinthians 12:31).
Faith and hope are great graces of a Christian life, but charity excels them both (I Cor 13:13).
It would be better to be ignorant of some Bible doctrine than be deficient in Christian charity.
But Christian charity is not merely the sentimental sap of emotionally weak people who can cry and hug, for the kisses of an enemy and his fair words are merely hiding hatred in the heart.
The New Testament descriptions of charity do not emphasize tears, hugs, or sappy words at all.
It is the bond of perfectness: when men are bound together by charity, they are bound perfect.
Our Lord called us to believe on Him and love one another (John 15:12; I John 3:23; 4:21).
After believing on the Lord Jesus, closely connected is our love of the brethren (I John 5:1).
The body of Christ is to be knit together – bound – for the increase of God (Col 1:4; 2:2,19).
3:15 Godly peace is the Christian goal for every heart, for every church body, with thanksgiving.
Godly peace means purity must come first (James 3:17-18). This is not the peace of the world.
This is not the sentimental idea of most, who value peace above doctrinal integrity and truth.
God brought peace to wicked sinners, and He has given peace in our souls, which we should allow to guide all our passions, decision, and conduct toward others, to which we are called.
We have been placed in body by the will of God and power of the Holy Spirit. Be at peace!
There should be no schism in the church of God at all, but mutual care (I Cor 12:12-26).
Squabbles in the church of God are of the devil (James 3:14-16; 4:1,5-6; I John 3:10).
Squabbles in the church of God are marks of carnality and immaturity (I Cor 1:10-11; 3:1-4).
Lack of peace is one of the most debilitating evils for a church and pastor (I Thess 5:11-15).
Our dear Lord called us to be peacemakers and to endeavor at the project (Mat 5:9; Eph 4:2-3).
Is thankfulness tacked on here as a disconnected afterthought? Or is it profoundly related?
Thankfulness is contagiously conducive to peace and harmony; griping and whining is not!
3:16 The gospel of grace in Christ Jesus and the grace of that gospel should fuel church singing.
In Ephesians 5:19, the twin to this text, we are to be filled with the Spirit, rather than wine.
What is the word of Christ? It is the gospel, from the Bible, about Christ and His salvation.
We are to let this word of Christ dwell in us richly, which means not to hinder or restrict it.
Paul already taught the importance of the riches of the full assurance of understanding (2:2).
We do not want to merely know it or memorize it; we want it to be in us with practical riches.
Our rich possession of Christ’s gospel must be with wisdom, as opposed to form or ignorance.
Timothy could sing in a way that was pleasing to God and men more than many (II Tim 3:15).
Parts, vibrato, and other noise parts of singing are very unimportant compared to heart melody.
What a diaphragm, throat, and lips do is far inferior to what the heart feels and mind believes!
Singing together is a very unique thing, if you stop and consider it. Forget any religious habit.
See the outline on Musical Instruments, condemning instrumental music in N.T. assemblies.
Psalms are those short pieces of Hebrew poetry in the book of Psalms (Acts 1:20; James 5:13).
Hymns are songs of praise to God adapted to be sung in religious services, directed to the Lord.
Spiritual songs are any other spiritual song about our religion not fitting the above definitions.
Our hearts should be full of grace when we assemble with one another as the basis for singing.
All singing is to be done to the Lord. We don’t sing “Happy Birthday” or other profane songs.
And we don’t sing rounds, ditties, and other convoluted arrangements that appeal to the flesh.
Singing is an intellectual exercise of mutual instruction flowing from a heart filled with grace.
We ought not to enjoy singing for the sake of singing or music, but for the riches of Christ!
3:17 All aspects of our life should be governed by the Lordship of Jesus Christ with thanksgiving.
Consider the preceding verse and its mandate for us to do absolutely everything by the Lord Jesus.
Ask yourself how many of the relationships include you, and think soberly about pleasing Christ.
No one else wants to teach the truth on such things, so we are in a very small remnant today.
I don’t care how old fashioned I sound: these are the words of the living God for this generation.
Nothing else works, as the anarchy, dysfunction, and disaster on every side so clearly declares.
Here is 95% of our lives: marriage, family, and employment. This is where we put on Christ most.
How we function in these basic roles is the primary means by which we present Christ to the world.
Authority, both its privileges and its limitations, are set clearly by the blessed Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is utopia defined. The only hindrance is the proud, rebellious, stubborn heart of man.
Warming a pew and singing about how much you love Jesus proves nothing. This proves everything.
Christianity is not a 1 hour per week religion (Catholic Mass); and it is not a 4 hour religion (here).
Everyone in this assembly has at least one of these relationships, with more to come in the future.
The posterity and prosperity promised in Psalm 144 are obtained by obedience to these commands.
A people prepared for the Lord and prospered by the Lord have their relationships right before God.
Paul continued to develop his epistle exhortation, from the very doctrinal to the domestic practical.
“Whatsoever ye do in word or deed” includes all activities of speech and conduct as saints.
Thoughts are not mentioned here, though they are included by the source of words and deeds.
Every activity is to be done in the name, by the authority of and to the glory of, Jesus our Lord.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord we are to give thanks to God and the Father for all things.
Holy brethren, this ought to be the governing principle we use to rule all our activities always!
3:18 Christian wives must soberly obey Jesus Christ’s requirement for them to be submissive.
Let us also consider Gen 2:18; 3:16; I Cor 11:1-16; Eph 5:22-24; Titus 2:4-5; I Peter 3:1-6.
There are two stages to her role – she was made second and failed miserably (I Tim 2:12-13).
The greatest temptation for women, and thus Christian women, is to resist marital submission.
He does not teach for wives to love husbands, for submission is more fundamentally necessary.
The nature of the marital relationship from her standpoint depends on the woman’s submission.
A marriage can exist and function adequately without love, but it cannot without submission.
When Paul took one sentence for Christian women, he used it to remind them of submission.
Submission is compliance and obedience to needs and requests you dislike and disagree with.
Submit. To place oneself under the control of a person in authority or power; to become subject, surrender oneself, or yield to a person or his rule, etc. [OED]
From Creation, before sin, Eve was made to help Adam (Gen 2:17; I Cor 11:9; I Tim 2:13).
Her foolish deception by Satan aggravated her role further (Gen 3:16; I Tim 2:14; I Pet 3:7).
Our society constantly batters women by doctrine, ridicule, and peer pressure to be rebellious.
Total submission to your husband is the mark of true Christianity for women (Eph 5:22-24).
Submission is not limited to that which is fit in the Lord, but submission itself is fit in the Lord.
Submission is surrendering and yielding to his desires and letting him rule your life (Gen 3:16).
This verse covers marital duty; other verses cover assemblies (I Cor 14:34-35; I Tim 2:11-12).
Each day of a woman’s life should begin by remembering her role and this God-ordained duty.
Submission is not a temperamental or personality trait of weak women; it is a heart choice.
Sex is plainly when he wants it, how he wants it, where he wants it, and so forth (I Cor 7:3-5).
Anything less than that is defrauding, which is a very serious sexual sin for which you will pay.
A wife that pleases the Lord, Who made her for her husband, will not have to be asked or told.
Godly young men must see and feel this gentle trait strongly, or you will rightly be a spinster.
Sarah called Abram lord in her own private speech within herself (Gen 18:12). Consider it!
The contentious and odious woman of Proverbs is worse than death (Prov 21:9,19; 30:21-23).
Women present the gospel of Christ by cheerful submission as wives (I Timothy 5:14; Tit 2:5).
Christian submission is not merely servile obedience, for it includes active reverence and love.
Even in religious vows, our Creator has given the father and husband great power (Num 30).
A woman’s role is similar to a servant’s, as indicated by “likewise,” “subjection,” “fear,” and other words (I Pet 2:18 –3:6). The value of this comparison is answering again (Tit 2:9-10).
Christian woman, confess your faults to the Lord, then to your husband, then fulfill your role.
3:19 Christian husbands must soberly obey Christ’s requirement to love wives without bitterness.
Let us also consider Ex 21:10-11; Prov 5:19; Malachi 2:10-16; Ephesians 5:24-33; I Peter 3:7.
So the Lord Jesus Christ corrects all three errors in one simple text that grabs all men.
In marriage the man can become a bully, become bored, or become bitter toward his wife.
Here are two commandments for husbands – one positive and one negative, for them to do.
The positive command is to love his wife; the negative prohibition is against marital bitterness.
As we learned or remembered in 3:2, love is not a fateful accident, but rather a sober choice.
Bitterness results from having excessive expectations, which they will not meet perfectly.
Bitterness results from not dwelling with your wife in knowledge and mercy (I Peter 3:7).
A marriage fundamentally needs the wife to submit, then it needs the husband to love.
A marriage without her submission is anarchy; a marriage without his love is cruel tyranny.
The definition of love in I Corinthians 13:4-7 certainly would enhance most marriages today.
There would only be very tender marriages, if husbands treated their wives by that standard.
Since the woman was made for the man, his love includes selfish objectives (Eph 5:25-28).
Solomon taught his son to be ravished by his wife’s love and her body (Proverbs 5:19).
Love includes the romantic element of tender regard and praise for his wife (Solomon’s Song).
Sex, as all of marriage, is primarily for the man; but she has as much right to sex (I Cor 7:3-5).
3:20 Christian children must soberly obey Christ’s commandment for them to obey their parents.
There is no age limitation in this verse or any other; if you have parents, then you are a child.
There is no age limitation on this commandment, if a father wants to correct his married son!
Abraham picked Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, for him, when he was forty (Genesis 24:1-67; 25:20).
Jonadab’s descendants kept his extra-Scriptural commandment for generations (Jer 35:18-19).
When God takes one sentence to address children, the emphasis is on obedience to parents; it is not getting good grades, graduating from high school, going to college, having lots of fun, making lots of friends, playing sports, picking the perfect career, or loving brother and sister.
It doesn’t say, “Children, connect with your parents,” or “Children, be cool with your parents.”
Obey means to submit to the authority of another and to comply and perform their requests. Children, it means to do what your parents tell you to do, even if you don’t want to do it!
The first authority relationship we meet with in life is our parents, and we better learn to obey, for it will affect every other relationship you will have for the rest of your life.
The parent-child relationship first needs submission, then it needs a father’s love and training.
It does not matter what this permissive, rebellious, effeminate society thinks about the matter.
Benjamin Spock was a dysfunctional humanist, with family drugs, divorce, and suicide.
Your parents were chosen by the infinite wisdom and total sovereignty of the Creator God: He did not ask you or them about the relationship – He simply gave you to each other (Is 45:9-10).
The extent of this obedience is plainly stated – all things: the only exceptions to it must be sin.
Children must obey regarding wall sockets, knives, eating, friends, school, music, television, Internet, driving, dating, working, saving money, debt repayment, marriage, child training, etc.
The reason for this obedience is also plainly stated – it is well pleasing unto the Lord. Glory!
Here is an opportunity for a child to do something that wins the pleasure of the most high God.
Now we should read the twin passage, where Paul expands this commandment (Eph 6:1-3).
In this place is added “in the Lord,” which is a prepositional phrase modifying obedience, not parents. This is not a limitation to obey only Christian parents; this is obedience as to the Lord.
Paul then resurrects the commandment to honor parents, which is the first with great rewards!
A promise is attached – long and good life, which is more healthful than Prevention and GNC.
After simple submission and obedience, then there is honor you owe them for their position.
Honoring parents is much broader than obeying them, and it further obligates us toward them.
Honoring parents is one of the exalted Ten Commandments (Ex 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16).
Honoring parents includes the same language by which we are to honor God – fear (Lev 19:3).
If we are to rise up before the hoary head, how much more when worn by a parent (Lev 19:32).
It is impossible to obey your parents and yet not honor them, but it would be very difficult to honor them and yet disobey them. Obedience is a subset of honoring them. Grasp all of this!
How important is it? There is a God in heaven, Who hates rebellious and disobedient children.
When God writes the laws, disobedient children are put to death (Exodus 21:15,17; Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; 27:16; Proverbs 20:20; 30:17; Ezekiel 22:7; Matthew 15:4).
Honoring parents is an article of our faith and something infidels even know to do; and it is to be charged upon the Lord’s people so that they might be blameless (I Timothy 5:4,8).
Child, your parents lived your life before you! At the time of your birth, they had twice the wisdom you have now. And they kept learning, while you were having your diapers changed!
God is always on the side of parents, and you will be judged for disobedience (Num 32:23).
No parent is perfect, and it does not matter. God demands respect (II Pet 2:10-12; Jude 1:8-10).
If you give your father (or mother) difficulty, may the angel of the Lord chase you (Ps 35:5-6).
What wisdom! If children obeyed as here, and fathers obeyed what is next, utopia is possible!
Is there anything your parents want you to do, but they have practically given up requesting it?
Frustration and pain you cause your parents will return on your head with interest (Gal 6:7).
Honoring parents includes in-laws and stepparents by the relationship and Moses (Ex 18:1-27).
People prepared for the Lord restore relationships of father and children (Mal 4:6; Luke 1:17).
There is a generation, or kind of character, that does not bless their parents (Proverbs 30:11).
But we live in a generation that is generally known for disobedience to parents (II Tim 3:2).
The reprobate mind with which God judged our nation includes child rebellion (Romans 1:30).
We are to remember this commandment even to the time of senility of our mother (Pr 23:22).
A child robbing parents is companion to a destroyer, a murderer, and will be judged (Pr 28:24).
Wicked Jews of Jesus’ day quit parental support by willing assets to the temple (Matt 15:1-9).
Fathers are mocked and ridiculed in all levels of our culture as ignorant, foolish, and weak.
Malachi and Paul assumed that children are to reverence fathers (Malachi 1:6; Hebrews 12:9).
Let every saint keep the commandment, please the Lord, secure a long life, and set an example.
We can contend with this rebellious generation and commend the gospel of Christ this simply!
3:21 Christian fathers must soberly obey Jesus Christ’s command to treat their children wisely.
Mothers assist, are assigned, and are examples (Pr 1:8; 6:20; II Tim 1:5; 3:15; I Sam 1:19-28).
Fathers! You must restore relationships to prepare for the Lord (Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:16-17).
When God uses one sentence for fathers, He warns about provoking and discouraging children.
It is easy for fathers, the family ruler, to be bullies, oppressors, irritators, and stumblingblocks.
Since the children were commanded to obey both parents in all things, here is the limitation!
What wisdom! If children obeyed as the previous verse, and fathers as here, utopia is possible!
Consider! Good fathers discourage their children from many things, regardless of their anger!
Therefore! Warning against provoking, anger, and discouragement must be of some good path.
In life’s ordinary course, and especially in spiritual matters, let not the father discourage them!
What encouragement of children is Paul trying to protect – the way of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Children may be angered and discouraged by overbearing or neglectful fathers not being wise.
A parent can break a child’s spirit by excessive criticism, nagging, or complaining; especially when done with little commendation or praise. A child will despair of ever pleasing their parent and lose motivation for doing anything right, for all actions are received the same way.
Children should not be able to truthfully say, “I can never do anything right in their opinion.”
This verse is not for children to judge their fathers or justify disobedience. It is for fathers.
How can fathers provoke children to anger? Hypocrisy, poor treatment of their mother, neglect, inconsistency, overbearing tyranny, lack of affection and praise, selfishness, criticism, etc.
Are your children discouraged? Are you too picky, overbearing, selfish, neglectful, busy, etc.?
Choleric-melancholy mothers must be very careful; the husbands of such should warn them.
Fathers should pity their children, for the Lord assumes that they will do so (Psalm 103:13-14).
There is a tender aspect to a godly father, which was alluded to by Solomon (Proverbs 4:1-4).
Fathers, not mothers, are the glory of children; they crave his approval and affection (Pr 17:6).
Delicate treatment is proposed for servants, but how much greater is it with a son (Prov 29:21).
Ephesians 6:4 expanded it by adding training in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as well.
Nurture. Breeding, upbringing, training, and education in the wisdom and knowledge of God.
Admonition. To put (a person) in mind of duties; to counsel against wrong practices; to give authoritative or warning advice; to exhort, to warn.
Mothers are not spiritual trainers (I Cor 14:34-35)! You will deform children (and doctrine!).
Where are fathers like Abraham and Joshua, great spiritual leaders (Gen 18:19; Joshua 24:15)?
Where are fathers like Job (Job 1:4-5)? Here was a righteous man, whom God blessed greatly.
Where are fathers training a godly seed in the earth (De 6:1-9; Ps 78:1-8; Is 38:19; Joel 1:1-3)?
A father’s duties include exhorting, comforting, and charging children wisely (I Thess 2:11).
Chastening should always be done in a spirit of loving care, with profit the goal (Heb 12:5-11).
Great fathers are leaders – serving out front (Gen 18:19; Deut 32:46-47; Josh 24:15; Mat 5:48).
Great fathers are pitiful – showing much mercy (Ps 103:13-14; Prov 28:16; James 2:13; 5:11).
Great fathers are tough – requiring godliness (I Sam 2:29-30; 3:11-14; Pr 19:18; Heb 12:5-11).
Great fathers are gentle – dealing tenderly (Numbers 11:12; Jeremiah 31:20; I Thess 2:7,11).
Great fathers are knowledgeable of their children and for them (Matt 6:8,32; Proverbs 25:2).
Great fathers are kind – wanting to please with good things (Luke 11:11-13; James 1:17).
Great fathers are loving – with tender affection (Gen 45:25-28; Prov 17:9; 18:24; Eccl 4:9-12).
Great fathers are wise – thinking of the future (Proverbs 13:22; 22:3; 27:12; Philippians 4:5).
Great fathers are spiritual – they love Christ (Deut 6:6-9; Ps 73:25-26; Col 3:17; II Tim 3:15).
Great fathers are teachers – they will be training (Ps 34:11; 44:1; 48:13; 71:18; 145:4; Pr 22:6).
Your children will never exceed you without a miracle. Big hypocrites make little hypocrites.
The book of Proverbs is mostly a godly father training his son in wisdom and righteousness.
The office and role of father is almost lost from the earth – we must hold and restore it boldly.
The goal of every father is to train and guide a godly seed to the glory of His name in the earth.
We are given these little sponges with blank slates for minds, and we fill them with His truth.
The most important person in the life of a child ought to be their father, not mother (Pr 17:6).
Yet we have a generation that knows their mothers did the majority of their love and training.
The idea of a mother being the spiritual leader in the home is ludicrous compared to Scripture.
3:22 Christian employees must soberly obey Christ’s command to fervently obey their employers.
The Christian religion is a practical religion, and Jesus Christ is Lord of your conduct at work.
Employment is a very pervasive relationship in life by the much time taken and effect it has.
It is also the most visible of our authority relationships, as the world gets to see us up close.
Every child of God who wants to please Jesus Christ should get excited about this opportunity.
By fervent, godly conduct on the job, we protect and adorn the gospel (I Tim 6:1; Titus 2:10).
The greatest work ethic in the world is right here – not dependent on the boss or limited to him.
Saints will continue to perform fervently regardless of his conduct and past his expectations!
Servant is an appropriate description of workers. It is much more meaningful than employee.
God has made a very great difference among men – only a few have the ability to be masters.
The first verb is important; when the apostle addresses servants, he requires their obedience.
The “all things” is clearly limited from anything sinful; but it clearly includes everything else!
Our masters in the flesh only have authority over our flesh: they cannot bind our spirits/souls; but they can bind our hours, bodies, minds, location, effort, methods, speech, conduct, etc., etc.
Regardless of whether a master is a Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, or pagan, obey him!
We have a Master in heaven, but He has assigned masters to us in the flesh for our vocations.
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers” is not against “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers” is not for hard work whether the boss is present or gone.
While this fact ought to be certainly true of Christians, it is not taught by these words here.
You are to avoid eyeservice, as a manpleaser – you are not working to impress and please men.
The single heart is one for the Lord, not combining the Lord and men. The Lord is to be feared.
Full understanding of this subject requires: Eph 6:5-8; I Tim 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10; I Pet 2:18-20.
Full understanding is enhanced by: Pr 19:10; 30:22; Eccl 10:5-7; Is 3:1-5; Mat 8:9; Lu 17:7-10.
Servants must count masters worthy of all honor, both pagans and surely brothers (I Tim 6:1).
Servants should obey their masters in such a way to please them well in all things (Titus 2:9).
An obnoxious employer is an opportunity for your submission, nothing more (I Pet 2:18-24).
Labor unions are from hell; they are organized rebels; they are rabid dogs (II Peter 2:10-12).
Answering again and purloining are two simple ways in which you can blaspheme (Tit 2:9-10).
3:23 Christian employees should work passionately, as doing the job for the Lord Jesus, not men.
Work ought to be done fervently, passionately, aggressively, cheerfully for the Lord’s sake.
Whether it is work you enjoy or not is totally irrelevant – do it with zeal for the Lord’s sake.
Every employee should pretend each and every day that they are working for the Lord Christ.
Every task can be reduced to the simple proposition that you are doing it for Him and to Him.
As Solomon wrote, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl 9:10).
Shortcuts, pacing yourself, sauntering, and all other related cheating are the sins of losers!
3:24 Christian employees should remember Jesus Christ will reward them with an inheritance.
Regardless of the treatment of your master, the Lord will reward you for your service to Him.
The real payday is yet to come, and you are to keep that payday foremost in your mind here.
Instead of grumbling about your wages or being slothful to punish an employer, think heaven.
Here is true service to the Lord Christ – notice that there is no foreign mission field involved.
The distinction of “full time Christian service” invented by mission boards is not your choice.
A man who is a servant 40 hours a week may also be a husband and father the other 128!
This is how the Lord Jesus Christ wants to be served, and you should do it with a pure heart.
3:25 Christian employees should know that wrongdoing on the job will be judged strictly by God.
Servants have no rights, they have duties (Pr 19:10; 30:22; Ec 10:5-7; Matt 8:9; Luke 17:7-10).
When God wrote labor laws, He allowed slavery and beating servants severely (Ex 21:20-21).
God is always on the side of authority in any arbitration, for it is His image and ordination.
God doesn’t care if you are poor, rich, smart, dumb, fast, slow, or otherwise a holy Joe.
He does not respect any who think they are wise of heart, so give up your attitude (Job 34:19).
The great and dreadful God sees all attitudes, words, efforts, gestures, actions, and lack thereof.
The Lord is particularly the avenger of any who go beyond and defraud brothers (I Thess 4:6).
If you want God’s blessings in life, go out of your way to honor authority, especially masters.
The respect of persons particularly deals with the difference between bond and free (Eph 6:8).
Consider it. If you have any trouble with those under your authority, have you given trouble?
It is confirming and rewarding to see disrespectful employees struggle with their marital relationships, because as the southern expression says, “What goes around, comes around.”
Gehazi and Joab are two servants who thought they could disobey their masters! Ouch!
4:1 Christian masters must soberly obey Christ’s command to be fair, in light of their Master.
We know what just means – fair, right, appropriate. But equal cannot mean equal absolutely!
What does equal mean? It means equitable and impartial, fitting the circumstances rightly.
Ephesians 6:9 adds reciprocal treatment, no threatening, and denies respect of persons to them.
Ephesians 6:9 expects us to apply everything said to servants that masters should do as well!
A master has a wonderful opportunity to show the gospel of Jesus Christ in a sinful world.