Sermon Recap: God at the Center (Ephesians 6:1-4)

This is a recap of the latest sermon in our series on parenting: Raising Humans. 


We need a Copernican Revolution in our parenting. For 1500 years in the West, we thought the sun revolved around the earth. Copernicus—and others before and after him—helped flip that thinking on its head. The earth isn't the center of the solar system. The sun is. 

Likewise, we tend to think that the family revolves around the parents or the children. But we are wrong. We need a Copernican Revolution in our parenting. We need, not parents or children, but God at the center of our families.

Christ Is the Sun That the Family Should Orbit

In Ephesians 6:1-4, children are called to obey in the Lord, and parents are to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Christ is the sun that rises and sets on the household.

Subverting Patriarchy

Paul is subverting the conventional wisdom of his day. In the Roman world, the father was the center of the family. He owned the property, his word was law, he even had the power of life and death over his newborn children. But Paul elevates the mother to equal status in the home ("children obey your parents") and curbs the father's authority ("Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger"). Paul subverts patriarchy because the gospel does!

Acknowledging True Authority

This passage likewise subverts the conventional wisdom of our day that is more child-centered than father-centered. Our culture is understandably suspicious of authority—in the wake of two world wars and the systemic oppression of people of color and women, we ought to be. But as followers of Jesus, we can't simply react. We have to submit to His authority, and teach our children to do the same. Which is why Paul calls children to obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-2). When we teach them obedience, they learn to acknowledge Christ's authority.

Obedience in the Lord Brings Joy

But God doesn't demand obedience for its own sake. He gives promises in Ephesians 6:3. Parents who teach their children obedience give them an incredible gift. God promises joy to children who obey.

The Joy of Knowing God

Our children's relationship to us is a scaffold God uses to build their relationship with him. An essential way we teach our kids to know and love God is by showing them that it is good to submit to His authority, by requiring they submit to ours.

The Joy of Being Like Jesus

Jesus is the only child in human history who perfectly obeyed His Father (Philippians 2:8-11). He is proof that obedience brings joy! When we teach our kids obedience, we help them receive the joy of growing to become like Jesus.

Raising Humans Homework #2

If you are a parent, sit down on your own and/or with your spouse and answer the following 3 questions together:

  1. The tendency in our household is to give primary authority to _____________.
  2. The effect of putting authority in the wrong place in my household is__________.
  3. I want to work toward making Christ the center of my household by___________.

Reflection & Application Questions

  1. When in your life have you observed authority being used rightly, for the good of others?
  2. When have you observed authority being abused? Have you suffered abuse at the hands of misused authority?
  3. In what ways is it difficult for you to exercise the authority God has given you in your life? Why?
  4. In what ways are you influenced by the misuse or misunderstanding of authority in our world? How can God's Word counter that influence?
  5. Do you believe the promises of Ephesians 6:2-3? What makes it difficult to believe that obedience brings joy?
  6. How consistent are you at requiring obedience of your children? How have you hurt their ability/desire to obey godly authority? How will you repent of this?
  7. What is one step you can take to grow in submission to God's authority in your life? If you have kids, how can you help them grow in this as well?