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Kingdom Ethics at Home and Work (Ephesians 6:1-9)

Ephesians 6:1–9 - 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7 With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. 


What does today’s passage say?

In today’s passage, Paul urges children to honor and obey their parents (vv. 1-3), which pleases God and brings blessing. Fathers should take care not to frustrate their children, but gently discipline them while encouraging spiritual growth (v. 4). For Servants and employees, work wholeheartedly for human masters and bosses as you would for the Lord Himself (vv. 5-8). Avoid only working hard when being watched, because the Lord sees our hearts. Know that God values each person equally, regardless of earthly status, so treat others well (v. 9). Live out kingdom ethics of love and respect in our various household and workplace relationships.


How can I apply Ephesians 6:1-9 to my life?

Today, Paul provides practical instruction for relationships in Christian households and the workplace. Godly homes are incubators for spiritual growth, places where we learn to follow Christ through family relationships. Our conduct within families overflows into neighborhoods and churches, influencing many for good or ill. Though these directives challenge cultural norms, adhering to biblical patterns allows us to shine as lights in an immoral world. By pursuing purely worldly advice for home life, we miss incredible blessings tied to obedience. Through the Spirit’s empowerment, we can develop attitudes and actions reflecting our holy calling. Instructions to children and fathers specifically apply within our homes. Yet the principles regarding workers and masters extend into our broader workplace interactions. In every realm, we must die to selfishness for the glory of God. Our homes become outposts of the kingdom as families serve one another. Our workplaces witness kingdom ethics when employees submit wholeheartedly as unto the Lord. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.     Honor and Obey Your Parents as an Act of Worship (vv. 1-3): Paul instructs children to honor and obey their parents in the Lord saying that this command is given with a promise of blessing. By living in submission to parental authority with respectful attitudes and actions, children worship God by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. Loving obedience flows from reverence for the Lord Jesus Christ and serves as a testimony to God's work in a believer's life. Though challenging at times, honoring parents should be pursued persistently through reliance on divine empowerment. As children yield their wills, the blessings of the fifth commandment will be experientially known, both now and in days to come. Wise children cling to God's directives, trusting His good plans to shape them into His image. May young followers of Jesus model respect in the home for the glory of the Father. This includes things like obeying rules, completing chores, and speaking to parents with kindness. It means putting parents first over friends or activities. Honor continues into adult years through care for aging parents. Surrendering to God's call to honor parents brings great reward (Deuteronomy 5:16, Colossians 3:20, Proverbs 1:8).

Food for thought: How can you honor your mom and dad this week through specific words and actions? What aspect of honoring your parents do you find most difficult? How will you rely on the Spirit's help?

2.     Fathers, Nurture Your Children in the Discipline of the Lord (v. 4): Fathers bear responsibility for nurturing children's spiritual growth. Rather than embittering them through harshness, wise fathers take gentle yet firm action to train in godliness. Bringing correction with patience, grace and unconditional love mimics our Heavenly Father's refinement of His children. As the spiritual head, spur children toward Christ through instruction, modeling righteousness and regular family worship. Ask the Spirit for sensitivity to different personalities when applying discipline. Though children may resist constraints, God promises blessings to parents who steer young ones toward wisdom. Stay consistent while leaving room for lighthearted fun too. As love and godliness permeate a home, the next generation will walk securely in truth. This nurturing includes teaching right living, overseeing friendships, establishing technology boundaries, and requiring completion of tasks. Come alongside in times of failure. Point them to Scripture and pray together. Godly training will reap generational rewards (Proverbs 22:6, Hebrews 12:5-11, Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

Food for thought: In what ways can you lovingly nurture spiritual growth as a father? Are there discipline issues needing a fresh approach bathed in prayer?

3.     Serve Wholeheartedly as if Serving the Lord (vv. 5-9): Our motivation dramatically impacts our work. Rather than laboring begrudgingly to curry favor with human masters, view yourself as a bondservant of Christ. He is the ultimate Master who sees all. Out of reverence for Him, apply maximum effort even in mundane tasks. When treated unfairly, entrust justice to God and forgive. Keep eternity in mind. Earthly positions and possessions quickly fade but heavenly investments will outlast this life. Ask the Spirit for empowerment to uphold Christlike character when facing provocation. Bring complaints to God in prayer before speaking rashly. No matter our earthly status, we share an equal standing as heirs in God's kingdom. Take pride in doing common things uncommonly well, thankful that God considers us worthy to participate in His redemptive work. Look beyond the surface to serve those in need. Offer kindness to disagreeable people. God will reward our faithful service (Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Peter 2:18-20; Philippians 2:14-16).

Food for thought: In what ways can you honor Christ in your weekday work? Do you need to adjust your perspective or efforts?

God cares deeply about our conduct within households and workplaces. Today’s passage may seem counter-cultural, but obeying these principles brings great reward as we participate in God's redemptive plan. Our families and jobs represent mini kingdoms reflecting His righteous rule. As we submit relationships to the lordship of Jesus Christ, unbelievers glimpse the blessings of walking in God's ways. But we cannot succeed by human effort alone. God pours out His supernatural power through the Holy Spirit to transform our attitudes, words and actions. By His strength, we prove faithful in small things now in anticipation of ruling cities in the age to come. May our imperfect homes and jobs demonstrate the love of Christ to the watching world. As we shine like stars in the darkness, many will glorify our Father in heaven.



Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would give me a spirit of humility to obey Your challenging commands regarding my roles at home and work. Empower me to honor those in authority over me, whether parents, bosses, or governors. Guard my heart against bitterness when I face unfair treatment. Remind me to view each task as holy service unto You. Shape my words and actions to demonstrate Christlike submission. Use me to carry Your light into my workplace. Give me wisdom to make family decisions pleasing in Your sight. In all my relationships, may others encounter Your love.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.


Ephesians 6:7 – “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”



With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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