I. ________ and Parents (v. 1-4)
A. Instructions to ________ (v. 1-3)
1. ____ parents (v. 1)
2. _____ parents (v. 2-3)
B. Instructions to _______ (v. 4)
1. Don’t provoke children to _____ (v. 4a)
2. _______ children in the Lord (v. 4b)
II. Employees and ______ (v. 5-9)
A. Instructions to __________ (v. 5-8)
1. Work ____________ and wholeheartedly (v. 5)
2. Work ____ all the time (v. 6)
3. Work as a ________ servant (v. 7-8)
B. Instructions to ______ (v. 9)
1. Treat workers as you want to be treated (v. 9a)
2. Do not ________ workers (v. 9b)
3. _____ God (v. 9c)
- In what ways has our culture abandoned God’s design for parents and children? Employers and employees?
- Why should children obey their parents according to v. 1? Why is it “right” for children to obey their parents? Is there a time when children should not obey their parents? When?
- Children are instructed to honor parents (from Exodus 20:12). The fifth commandment is cited five times in the NT (Matt. 15:4; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20).
- In what ways can adult children honor their elderly parents?
- Fathers should not provoke their children to anger (v. 4). We can say mothers should also not provoke their children. Andrew T. Lincoln explains that this prohibition forbids “excessively severe discipline, unreasonably harsh demands, abuse of authority, arbitrariness, unfairness, constant nagging and condemnation, subjecting a child to humiliation, and all forms of gross insensitivity to a child’s needs and sensibilities.”(If you have children) Do your find yourself provoking your children to anger? What will you do when you realize it?
- In the second half of v. 4 fathers (and mothers) are urged to “bring up” their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. What are some practical ways you can do this (if you have children)?
- Paul turns to a different relationship in v. 5-9 (slaves and masters). R. Kent Hughes says, “Slaves under Roman law in the first century could generally count on eventually being set free…almost 50 percent of slaves were freed before the age of thirty. What is more, while the slave remained his master’s possession he could own property—including other slaves! —and completely controlled his own property, so that he could invest and save to purchase his own freedom. Slaves regularly were accorded the social status of their owners. Regarding outward appearance, it was usually impossible to distinguish a slave from free persons. Finally, selling oneself into slavery was commonly used as a means of obtaining Roman citizenship and gaining an entrance into society.” How is this different than the picture you have of slavery?R. Kent Hughes concludes: “We have attempted to clarify the status of first-century slaves for two reasons. First, to answer those who criticize Christianity because the New Testament nowhere directly attacks or condemns slavery. The reasons it did not do so are: 1) because of the positive reforms then in effect in regard to Roman slavery; 2) because the institution of slavery was not generally considered evil by slaves or masters; 3) because to attack slavery would have wrongly labeled Christianity as economically subversive (besides, the immediate demise of slavery would have reduced both slaves and masters to poverty); and 4) because the radical brotherhood and equality explicit in the gospel would be a death knell to slavery (cf. Philemon 16, Galatians 3:28, and the entire Book of Ephesians). The other reason we have dispelled some of the false conceptions about first-century slavery is to help us understand that parallels between the relationships of first-century slaves and masters and between twentieth-century employees and employers are closer than one might first think.”
- In what ways will you work respectfully and wholeheartedly this week?
- Are you ever guilty of working only while you are being watched (v. 6)? Read the parable of the lazy servant in Matt. 25:23-26. What lessons can we learn from this parable? How will you apply it this week?
- Why do you think Paul has to instruct slaves to “serve with a good attitude” (v. 7)? R. Kent Hughes: “Evidently some disrespectful Christian slaves had tarnished the gospel’s cause among non-Christian masters.” What would it look like for you to serve with a good attitude at work this week? Ask the Lord to help you do it!
- Faithfulness in our work is rewarded. Read 2 Cor. 5:10.
- How are bosses instructed to treat their workers (beginning of v. 9)? How might this instruction have been shocking to the hearers? What does it show about the equality that exists in Christ?
- Why should bosses not threaten workers (v. 9)? How does this provide accountability for them? If you are a boss or employer, how do you treat your employees?
- Why is it best to follow God’s instructions for relationships? How have you seen this (good or bad) in your own life?