Working for Unity in a Christian Household

Ephesians 6:1-9

Major households in that day would have both children and salves, and the church would be meeting in the house. 

Ephesians 6:1-4 -Treating Anger with Respect 

Verses 1-3 – It is hard to respect our parents when we are adolescents because we think that we know it all.  Children are called on to receive from their parents what they are offering.  

Verse 4 – Do not provoke your children to anger.  See Ephesians 4:26-27, 31 and James 1:19-20.  These verses are not saying that all anger is wrong, but that anger handled incorrectly is wrong.  Anger is a wonderful gift if it will guide us into what is good.  The smallest of babies can communicate their needs through anger.  We need to pay attention when anger reveals a problem exists, whether with children or adults.  Using anger correctly leads to unity and peace.  Listen to the anger, but do not worship it or harbor it.  To ignore it is one extreme, and to always give it full reign is to turn into a domineering person.  God does not “give us hammers to use every day.”  I made a big mistake by not allowing anger to be expressed in our family. 

Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slavery in the Old Testament 

Many people have trouble with these, saying that the Bible allows unjustifiable behaviors, and is therefore obsolete. 

See Exodus 21:1-11, 20-21, 26-27; Exodus 23:12; Leviticus 25:39-46; Deuteronomy 23:15-16 and Deuteronomy 24:17-22.

Even though slavery is allowed in the Old and New Testaments, it is way ahead of its time in terms of how slaves were to be treated.  Hebrew slaves under Hebrew masters only served for life if they chose to do so.  The slave in a good household was often better off than a poor freeman.  Slaves lives had value; all slaves had value.  The Sabbath Day was equally observed by slaves and masters.  Even though non-Hebrew slaves lacked the advantages of the Hebrew slaves, they still had some rights.  Even though escaped slaves were treated very harshly in America, that was not to be the case in Bible times. 

Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slavery in the New Testament 

Parallel Passages: 

   Colossians 3:22-4:1 

   1 Timothy 6:1-2 

   1 Peter 2:18-21 

All these verses basically say the same thing.  Slavery was like having an employer that cared for you.  Mutual respect was to take place between master and slave. 

   Philemon 1:1-25 

   Colossians 3:12 

   Galatians 3:26-29 

   1 Corinthians 12:13

All these verses talk of a lack of societal differences before the Lord.  Slave and free man have the same opportunities, rights and blessings in Christ.  All have a direct connection with God.  It is no wonder that slavery eventually died a natural death among Christians. 

   1 Corinthians 7:21

God works with us as individuals.  What kind of heart am I going to have in whatever situation that I am in? 

   Matthew 22:39 

How many problems would be solved if everyone followed the Biblical teaching regarding love?

—Robert Lee, 4-1-07, p.m.

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