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The Journal

Confidence about what is right and wrong.

Dear Friends,
The world we live in is morally confused and has lost confidence about what is right and wrong. This moral vacuum and confusion is a difficult environment not only for adults to navigate but also for our children. Today we look at Ephesians 6:1-9 and we see that God is concerned for every area of our life and has practical wisdom to help us in this task of parenting. In 6:1-3 Paul mentions children and in effect is addressing them within the life of the church. Children were considered a vital part of the church community. This teaching of Paul reflects what Jesus said - Let the little children come to me for to such as these belongs the kingdom of God. Paul is instructing children and helping parents to see that it is right and proper for children to obey and honour their parents. His first reason is that “for this is right”. By this he means that it is part of the natural order and expectation of society. We see in most societies that children are taught to respect and obey their parents. But notice that the obedience required is qualified by “in the Lord.” God doesn’t expect obedience from children which contradicts God’s Word. Paul also gives instructions to fathers in v4. We remember that in the Roman world fathers had absolute power in the family and could be a law unto themselves. Paul is warning fathers and by implication also mothers to not exasperate their children. To exasperate a child was to unfairly frustrate or cause anger with unnecessary or unreasonable instructions. That is why Paul teaches that training which is effectively discipline must be kept in balance with instruction which carries the idea of counsel and support. Our human nature has a tendency to go to extremes and so we can over discipline or under discipline or even over counsel or under counsel. Paul keeps these 2 directions in balance. The goal is to bring children up in the Lord. What is going to help your children most is to know the Lord and to be both corrected and encouraged in His teaching. One practical application is that a good place to do this is at the family meal table where families eat and then at the end of the meal the Bible is read and discussed and then family members pray together. May the Lord not only bless our marriages but also strengthen our parents ! At the evening service we are beginning a new series on people Jesus met. The first person we look at is Levi in Luke 5:27-32. Jesus called Levi who was a tax collector to follow Him and we read that he left everything. He must have been observing Jesus and made a decision that what Jesus offered was more attractive than his old life. It is still the same today. The truth is that what Jesus offers is more attractive than what others or the world offer ! This is the deal you have to take ! God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara