TEXT: Mark 5:18-20; Ephesians 6:1-9
The students will recognize that if they are obedient to God, they will also be obedient to their parents and those in authority. They will further be able to relate why obedience is necessary, and the benefits of being obedient.
Parents and Children (Ephesians 6:1-4) One of the Ten Commandments was that children honor their parents. We are told that it is the first commandment with promise. That promise is “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” God’s promise is still for us today.
Servants and Masters (Ephesians 6:5-9) Half the population of Rome and a large proportion of the population of the Empire were slaves. Many Christians were slaves. They were told here that faithful service to their masters was a prime requisite of their Christian faith. The same consideration was expected from a master toward his servant. They were to keep in mind that God, the Master of all, was no respecter of persons.
Man normally comes under five principal authorities which require obedience: as a child, his parents (Colossians 3:20); in school, his teachers (Proverbs 5:12-13); in industry or business, his employers (1 Peter 2:18); in government, the law (Romans 13:1-2); and last but foremost, God (Genesis 26:5).
The supreme test of faith in God is obedience (1 Samuel 28:18). He who obeys because he loves God, is very wise. Throughout the Bible obedience is linked to faith (Genesis 22:18; Romans 1:5). Christ himself obeyed the Father (Philippians 2:8), giving to us the supreme example of obedience. Christians are called “children of obedience” (1 Peter 1:14).
If we comprehend the fact that all those who are disobedient to God will go to a lost eternity, we will realize how necessary it is for us to obey the Word of the Lord. It is important to be obedient to our parents and to those who have the rule over us. In so doing we are obeying the instructions given in Scripture. See Ephesians 6:1 and Hebrews 13:17.
- Our text states that to honor our father and mother is the first commandment with promise. To which of the Ten Commandments is this referring? What is the promise?
Response: This refers to the fifth commandment. The promise is “that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12). Students should see how necessary this is in order to make their life better here as well as to make Heaven. Ask them to suggest some specific ways they can honor their parents.
- Define obedience.
Response: “Submission to authority, control, or command.” Ask your students why submission to authority is important in their daily lives. Have a volunteer read Hebrews 13:17. Lead your class in a discussion of the importance of submitting to church authorities because they are watching out for their souls.
- Colossians 3:20 says that children should obey their parents. Why is the thought in this verse such an important first step in a child’s life?
Response: As your students express their thoughts it should be brought out that children should obey their parents because this establishes a pattern of obedience and respect for authority. Ask your students to point out some rules (in school, job, government, church, home) that might be laid out for them. Then let them discuss why the rules were made. They should always remember that obedience pleases the Lord, whether they fully understand some things or not.
- Our lesson says that fathers should not provoke their children to wrath. What do you think this means?
Response: Discuss with your students the part discipline plays in helping develop obedience. The point should be made that this does not mean that parents should refrain from disciplining their children because it might make them angry. However, parents should avoid harshness or cruelty, as this will not only hurt their own souls, but it will do their children no good. If anything, it will only harden them and make them desperate in their sins. Ask your students to tell how discipline can be administered with love, and in a way to encourage future obedience.
- Explain the meaning of bringing up children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Response: As your students offer their ideas, the point should be made that children should be taught the importance of God’s Word from infancy. Discuss, from a parent’s point of view, how to teach God’s Word. Especially if you have young parents in your class, you may wish to elaborate on this by mentioning specific occasions for teaching children God’s Word: through family worship, Bible games, Sunday school, church, out-of-town trips, exploring nature, hikes, etc.
- How does Ephesians 6:5-6 apply to us today?
Response: Help the group discuss the relationship of employer to employee. Ask your class the meaning of, “not with eyeservice, as menpleasers.” You may wish to refer to Colossians 3:23 as a supplemental Scripture.
- If we realize that the Lord is watching us while we work, and we are trying to do a job that is pleasing to Him, what are we promised?
Response: The answer is found in verse 8. If we do good, the Lord will do good for us. Once again the key to doing good is obedience. Encourage students to cite specific examples of doing good for the Lord and how the Lord blessed because of it.
- In the part of the lesson text taken from Mark, Jesus had just performed a miracle by healing a man possessed with a devil. As Jesus left the country of the Gadarenes, this man wished to accompany Him. Why do you think Jesus told this man to go back to his home and friends? What was the result of his obedience?
Response: The answer to the first part of this question is not directly given in Scripture. Allow time for your class to suggest possible reasons. Then focus on the fact that by this man’s obedience, many learned about the power of Jesus. Your students should see through this example the importance of obedience and how it has an effect on witnessing. Ask your students how this episode in Mark could relate to them, bringing out the importance of obeying even if they do not fully understand.
- What might the consequences be if there were no obedience . . .
in the home?
in the school?
in the church?
on the job?
in our country?
Response: The point of this question is that with obedience in their daily living they will have a more peaceful life than those who do not obey. If there were no obedience, anarchy would reign.
- In order to obtain the ultimate goal—Heaven—we must obey. What is the key that will help us obey His commandments? See John 14:15.
Response: Love. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Help each student to realize that his spiritual strength comes through his love for Jesus. None of us can be spiritually strong in ourselves.
Bring a recipe, an instruction manual for operating some machine, or assembly instructions for a model airplane or toy. Show how something good results from following instructions but something wrong happens from not following them.
For this project you will need to have a helper, either one of your students or another adult. Tell your helper ahead of time not to follow your instructions. At class time, explain to your group that you and your helper are going to put on a demonstration to illustrate what obedience is. Provide your helper with a blank piece of paper and a pencil, explaining to your class that by obeying your directions, your helper will draw a picture of a house, person, or whatever. Begin giving instructions such as: “Start by drawing a circle near the top of your paper.” Your helper should draw something completely different. Repeat this several times. (During this time you should not be looking at what he is drawing, but let your class see.) Then say, “Now, let’s look at the __________ that my helper has drawn.” Obviously, it will be something completely different than what the instructions were for. Use this to illustrate the need for obedience. Things will not come out right if we do not obey parents and those God has put in authority over us.
Objects to help you illustrate obedience: stop sign, stop and go signal, etc.
Divide class into pairs. Give each pair a set of instructions which involves drawing a diagram. Have one student read the directions, and the other follow his instructions. Then compare the results.
Example: Draw a two-inch square in the upper right corner.