God’s Will for Children (Pt. 2)
The family. Ever since Adam and Eve plunged the human race into sin, no institution has suffered more attacks than the family.
The devil incessantly hurls his flaming missiles at the family with the goal of destroying it.
And he loves to use the world’s system and godless ideologies to undermine the family unit.
The LGBT agenda, same sex marriage, state funded abortions- all these are an assault against God’s beautiful design for the family
Yet, what the enemy and world mock and attack, God has called us to reclaim for His glory.
For the family is God’s means for us to savor the most precious relationships on earth.
That is what God wants us to experience to the fullest for His glory. And He shows us how in His Word.
We have already from our study of Eph. 5 given attention to the husband-wife relationship.
The husbands’ high calling is to sacrificially love his wife.
And in response, the wife is to submit to her husbands in what? Everything.
Because it’s tough to submit to a husband who loves himself more than he loves his wife.
Well, from the marriage relationship, last Lord’s day, continuing in chapter 6, we saw how God calls parents and children to relate to one another.
And by the way, in these relationships (wives and husbands, children and parents, slaves and masters) God always begins with the one in the role of submission).
That indicates, though wives and children are in a submissive role, in God’s eyes, they are by no means second rate or less important. No not at all.
Now, let’s review from verse 1, what God tells children is their first responsibility in the home. What is it?
“Children, OBEY your parents.” This tells us, God’s perfect plan for every son and every daughter is total obedience to dad and mom.
And then we looked at the two wonderful motivations that follow.
First, the child’s obedience to parents is to be “in the Lord.” So it is, the goal of obeying is not merely to stay out of trouble or even to be praised by parents.
No, the big reason God calls children to obey is this- it pleases the Lord. That’s Jesus Christ.
The second motivation to obedience, verse1 tells us, “for this is right.”
Children, what makes obedience to your parents ALWAYS the correct response?
What makes choosing to obey them the right choice even when your feelings or friends tell you the opposite? Because God says, “this is right!
Now there is something vital that must go with son’s and daughter’s obedience. So imperative. Not only the right action but the right attitude.
Because obedience with a bad attitude is intolerable to God. Unacceptable.
Like the little rascal who reluctantly complied when his dad kept telling him to sit down.
He muttered, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!”
What’s the problem? Not the outward appearance but what? The inner attitude!
And that is exactly what God sees so often in our hearts. For that reason, He tells us in I Sam. 16:7: “God sees not as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
And that’s why God gives us the accompanying command for what must go with all obedience. Eph. 6:2. Look at those 5 vital words:
A. The Requirement v. 2
“Honor your father and mother.”
While the external action is to be obedience the internal attitude must be honor.
That word “honor” (timao) gives us our English name “Timothy.” And it means to place high value on something, to prize what’s valuable.
Timao is used in the N.T. of honoring God, honoring kings, honoring true widows and even honoring wives for their great worth.
It’s showing by the way you treat another their special value in your eyes.
Sonya and I were at a garage sale here in the area a week ago
At one house, a very old, large leather-covered book caught my eye. When I asked the lady about it, she opened the cover and read the following amazing words written in beautiful yet faint cursive:
“This Bible was the property of Reziak Kirkpatrick the wife of James Kirkpatrick, solider in the 1st Crew Jersey Rifles [who] served under General George Washington 5 years and was in Sullivan’s expedition against the Indians.”
And the tattered opening page that follows is dated from the early 1800s.
I’m thinking, this lady must want a fortune for that Bible! But she tells me how she had heard old Bibles aren’t worth much. And she gives me that Bible…. for nothing!” And I’m stunned!
Well, it may not have been worth anything to her, but for me, to have a Bible owned by the wife of a soldier who fought under the first president of our country- that has special value. And I will treasure that Bible the rest of my life!
In the same way, to honor father and mother means a child must treat them as precious. It’s showing in one’s attitude their great worth.
But children why should you treat your parents as a great treasure?
First, because God tells you to- it’s a command.
And second, because God gave you to them.
It’s right there in the text written to the children, “Honor YOUR father and mother.”
You didn’t choose your parents, but God did! He chose them for you!”
In the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch says, “you can choose your friends but you sure can’t choose your family.”
He’s right. For every dad and mom is God’s chosen instrument to bring their children into this world.
Yes, God designed that each of you would have the parents you do.
And through your father and your mother God gave physical life to you. And He expects you to honor them because they are YOUR parents.
Now, children seldom realize the tremendous sacrifices their parents make for them.
In fact, the greatest sacrifice parents typically make in their entire life is for their children.
Children, do you have any idea what it costs your parents to raise you? Let me tell you, you’re not cheap!
A consumer finance website NerdWallet, estimates the cost of raising a child from birth to 18. A basic, no-frills upbringing for one child costs a walloping $260,000.
But if you throw in vacations, birthday parties, athletics and music lessons, the price reaches a staggering $746,000. That’s just for 1 child up to 18- and it doesn’t include college years where expenses take a quantum leap!
Well, children, you should show honor for all the loving sacrifices your parents make for you.
Not just financial sacrifices but for all the time, energy, prayers and spiritual investment they make in you day after day.
Now children, showing parents proper respect doesn’t mean they are perfect. It doesn’t mean they know everything.
Parents make mistakes, forget things and sin.
Yet young people, that doesn’t change God’s call for you to “honor your father and mother.”
So, remember, the respect you owe your parents is not based on their performance but on their place of God-given authority as your father and mother.
In a courtroom, you are expected to address the judge as, “Your honor.”
While you may not be able to evaluate his character, you show respect for his position.
So too, God has placed parents in the pivotal place of authority over their children. And that requires children to show them honor.
Now let’s work this out- what honoring parents looks like in practice.
First, from the negative viewpoint, showing honor to your father and mother means there is to be-
1. No complaining
Children, to honor your parents means a No Go to complaining.
Paul pleads with the church at Philippi, adults and children, to: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” Phil. 2:14
Now let’s drill down into what God is telling us here. That first word, “grumbling” it’s an expression of selfish dissatisfaction. “I’m not getting what I want!”
In fact, you can hear the awful, complaining sound from the original word, “gogusmo.” Gogusmo, gogusmo, gogusmo.
Sounds terrible- just like our grumbling sounds in God’s ears! So God says, give it up. Give up grumbling and complaining.
And with that goes disputing. That’s dialogismos from which we get “dialogue.”
It’s speaks of pointless and critical questioning:
“Why do we have to help so much around the house- isn’t that what moms are for?” or, “Bobby and Sue’s parents let them do that, why can’t we?”
So children, listen well. To honor your parents means ALL forms of complaining, wining, and talking under your breath in frustration are clearly out. They are sin.
I’m thankful to God my dad was quick to catch and confront a complaining spirit in us as children.
When one or all of us kids would go into the wining mode, he would say, “Stop your moaning and groaning; quit your bellyaching!”
Don’t forget. Complaining was one of the worst sins of the children of Israel. For 40 years of wandering they grumbled against God!
Daily He provided them fresh water and food. He lead them with a pillar of fire at night and cloud by day. God even caused the sandals on their feet and clothes on their backs to not wear out during 4 decades of walking (Deut. 29:5).
Yet, how do they respond? They grumble!
In fact they complain that they had it better when they were slaves in Egypt!
Listen to their caustic complaint: Numbers 11:5 “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.”
Then they go so far as to say, “We wish we would have died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt” Ex. 16:3.
Now what’s at the heart of their and our complaining? You know it. Pride. It’s acting as if we know better than God, what’s best for us!
It’s doubting His goodness.
Believers also complained in the N.T. That’s why Paul in I Corinthians 10:10 warns believers not to “grumble, as some of the Israelites did.”
And then he adds that they “were destroyed by the destroyer.” That’s the angel of the Lord who, remember, killed every 1stborn Egyptian son.
Now friends, here’s what you must grasp. All their complaining was ultimately against God.
Follow as I show you a powerful example of that in Number 16:41.
We read that “all the congregation of the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
Then as that complaining crowd turns to the tent of meeting, a cloud covers it, and the glory of the Lord appears (42).
When Moses and Aaron come to the front of the tent, God tells them, “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly” (45).
Friends, God was this close (distance between a thumb and index finger) from killing all the over 1 million Israelites- for complaining.
Moses and Aaron realize that a deadly plague had begun and fall on their faces before God.
By the time that day had ended, 14,700 of those Jews who had grumbled against God lay dead.
Nearly 15,000. That’s the number of people living in Berkley- imagine that many struck dead just for complaining!
Beloved, whether you are a parent, grandparent, newly married or still a child, mark this on the tablet of your heart. God hates complaining.
For when we as His children complain, we do so against Him as our Father. And that’s a deadly sin.
So children, make up your mind to obey God and honor your parents by giving up all complaining.
That brings us to
2. No Defiance. Psychologists now have a term for children who show hostile and defiant behavior toward parents. It’s ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Yet putting a different name tag on sin and calling it a disorder doesn’t change the fact that it’s still sin. And no therapy and no medication is going to cure that! For it’s a heart issue of rebellion.
It was to defiant children in the O.T. Jewish homes that might dare injure their parents, God gave a sober warning. Ex. 21:15 “He who strikes… or curses…. His father or mother shall surely be put to death.”
Wow, God is saying, “Child, if you hurt your dad and mom physically or curse them, then this is what you deserve- death.
Why? Because harming your parents is a capital offense against God and His authority over you!
With dead serious warning, Moses penned Deut. 21:18-21 “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, 19 then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. 20 “They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
Friends that’ ultimate punishment prescribed by God for defiant disobedience-death.
By the way, no record exists, biblical or secular, of any rebellious Israelite child ever being put to death for violating this law.
The fathers chose to spare disrespectful sons.
Yet there was one Son, who never showed disobedience or disrespect and yet was not spared from death: Jesus, the Son of God.
Because of His perfect life and obedience, Jesus is therefore the One who through death gives life and power to obey.
Now, why is dishonor such a big deal to God?
Because children that don’t honor parents don’t honor God.
And let’s not leave out another item of dishonor.
Disrespectful nonverbals. Yes, rolling your eyes, scowling, pretending you don’t hear, and breathing heavily in protest also dishonors your parents and God. And so does ignoring them and walking away when they speak to you.
Children, let’s be real clear on this. It is always serious sin to defy your parents. For to contradict them saying, “No” is to say “no” to God.
You don’t want to go there. For it’s a terrifying thing to oppose God!
Children, I pray this helps you see how serious God is about you choosing to honor your parents.
Now, parents, what about you in all of this? What’s your part to play in this?
God says, you must require your children to show honor to you and to your spouse.
How? By consistent, loving biblical discipline.
Let the words of Hebrews 12:9 bring this home to your heart: “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them….”
Dads and moms, you must realize that if your precious but sinful sons and daughters don’t learn to respect you, they will not learn to respect God.
Therefore, when your children don’t obey and honor you, see that as an opportunity for the gospel. Show them God’s holy standard, their sinful heart and inability to please Him.
Then from that, help them see their need for Christ who alone can save them from their sin.
You see, the goal of Christian parenting is not behavior modification. It’s not to get them to obey even if they hate it. No, biblical parenting is to shepherd their hearts toward Christ!
Now, how should honoring look from the positive side?
Children, honoring your folks means showing with every attitude and word how you respect them. And if you don’t ask God to change that!
So children, let your parents know you value them as those God has placed in authority over you. Show them that in your behavior.
Though Joseph became virtual prime minister of all Egypt, he bowed down with his face to the ground to honor his father Jacob. (Gen. 48:12).
And Solomon, as newly crowned king, showed respect to his mother Bathsheeba and bowed down before her (I Kings 2:19).
So children, here are some steps God wants you to take to honor your parents.
-> Look with respect at your parents with respect when they talk to you (that means with a smile and not a scowl).
-> Speak graciously, children, to your dad and mom. And be sure your tone of voice honors rather than irritates them!
-> Speak kindly about your parents. It is all too common for unsaved children to dishonor their parents by talking bad about them and putting them down.
But the boy or girl who pleases Christ chooses to speak well of his or her parents. For even if the parents never hear it, God does!
Now the next one’s a tough one. Children, honoring your father and mother also means you must
3. Confess disrespect as a serious sin
Many of you children need to repent before God for bad attitudes toward your parents. God calls you to confess not honoring them as He has commanded you.
And you also need to ask you parents for forgiveness for any ways you have not shown them respect.
Proverbs 28:13 encourages you to make the right choice and confess rather than conceal such sin: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
The next one’s especially for all of us children and parents who still have parents that are living.
You also honor your father and mother when you:
4. Care for their needs in old age.
God looks primarily to the children to provide for their aging parents. It’s not the government’s responsibility. It’s not to be just whatever insurance companies will cover.
And it’s not primarily the job of the church.
God says it’s children who are to honor their parents by caring for them when they can no longer care for themselves.
The law of averages tells us most mothers will outlive fathers. That’s why there are so many more widows then widowers.
So children, and that’s all of us who still have living parents- be prepared to show loving care in the future to your parents especially when only one of them remains.
That’s not only caring for them monetarily but meeting their spiritual, social and emotional needs in their old age.
Here again we see the contrast between obedience and honor.
Obedience in the action, honor is the attitude.
Obedience is temporary. Honor is permanent.
Yes, you and I are to show honor for the entire life of our parents.
Christ affirms this in Mat 15:3-6. He’s confronts a group of Pharisees for not honoring their parents. He asks them, “Why do you yourselves
transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” (Corban) 6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”
The Pharisees made up a selfish way to get out of having to help their elerly parents. They called it “Corban.”
Instead of giving to help them, they would say “Corban” meaning I have already dedicated that money to God.
So Jesus condemns such a hypocrisy of neglecting to honor parents and trying to justify it.
And He affirms how God has placed on adult sons and daughters the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents. For that obeys the 5th commandment and honors them.
The apostle Paul similarly instructs children and grandchildren of widows to show honor by helping them financially.
I Tim. 5:3-4 Honor widows who are widows indeed; 4 but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.
In other words, it pleases God when children honor elderly parents and grandparents by helping them.
Then further in verse 8, still speaking of caring for widows, Paul warns “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Think about it. If your parents gave you 20-25 years of loving care, then it should be your joy to one day honor and help them in their hour of need.
Now there is a time when the condition of an aged parent is beyond what their children can deal with. But children, don’t just plan from the start to take the easy way and stick your parents in some care facility separated from those who love them.
During seminary I preached once-a-month at a rest home. It pained my heart to see so many fathers and mothers abandoned by their families and left to be cared for by paid strangers.
Children, till their last breath, honor your parents!
Our Savior modeled this so beautifully.
Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus didn’t forget his mother. John 19:26 tells us “when Jesus saw His mother [and John] standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
Yes, our Lord honored His mother by being sure she was cared for. Therefore, let’s make up our minds to do the same for our parents.
Now God gives wonderful motivation for children to honor parents. From the requirement of honoring we now are shown the
B. Rewards of honoring v. 2b-3
Look at what follows the command to “Honor your father and mother”: (which is the first commandment with a promise).
Here’s what’s going on. Paul takes those words from the pivotal text of Ex. 20:12 (part of the 10 commandments):
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
God gave these words to Moses when he met with him atop Mt. Sinai. They are part of the final instruction for the Israelites as they stood at the threshold of Canaan, the land of promise.
Specifically, this gives the attitude of honoring that children were to have as they lived with their parents in the new land.
Now there is something wonderful that sets these words apart from the other 9 commandments.
Here in Eph. 6:2 , Paul calls it the “first commandment with a promise.”
What does he mean by that? He’s saying this is the only one of the 10 commandments with a specific promise attached. That showcases it’s great significance!
It’s a principle you can build your life on. The one who honors God can expect to be honored by God.
God tells the young Samuel in I Samuel 2:30, “… for those who honor Me I will honor.”
Children, never forget, whenever you honor your parents, you honor God. And God will honor you!
Look now at Eph. 6:3 to see how God rewards the child who honors his father and mother.
Here are two astounding incentives for children to obey and honor their parents.
First, in verse 3, God says 1. “it will be well with you.”
This promises the child quality of life.
Children, do you want a truly happy life?
Do you want the greatest and fullest life possible on the earth? Of course you do!
Then choose to carefully honor your dad and mom. Obey them with a heart of loving respect.
And God says, if you do that, “it will go well with you.” You will see God open the windows of heaven and pour out on you His greatest blessings.
Yes, God will give you the most joyful and fulfilled life if you do what He asks of you here- honor your father and mother.
Yet if you are disrespectful, you will bring grief on yourself and your family. And you will forfeit God’s promised blessing.
Do you realize that one of the reasons God sent His people into Babylonian captivity was because
they did not honor their parents? That’s right!
Ezekiel 22:7 The prophet say, “They have treated father and mother lightly within you.”
So, children don’t imitate others that dishonor their parents. Don’t be like your peers that show disrespect to their dads and moms.
Honor your parents and God says, “it will be well with you!” That’s the quality of life. But there’s more. What about quantity of life?
Verse 3 continues,
2. “And that you may live long on the earth”
This speaks of length of days. It’s not a hard and fast promise that every child who honors his parents will live to be at least 80 or 90 years old.
And it doesn’t mean that a child who dies young was disrespectful to parents.
But here’s the principle: children who obey and honor their parents tend to live longer.
Here’s how. In God’s providence, kids that obey parents end up avoiding many dangers that could threaten their lives.
Dangers like addiction to alcohol, drugs, an immoral lifestyle, mental breakdowns and suicide.
Respectful children are kept far from a life of recklessness that often ends prematurely. They are spared from many practical dangers.
I was so impacted as a child when I heard the tragic news of a young boy’s failure to obey and what it cost him.
One day, an off-duty policeman, took his son with him to buy something at the store. While inside, a thief entered and held up the cashier.
The dad told his son to stay where he was, hidden behind a counter while he would try to help. As the policeman rushed forward, shots were exchanged, and the criminal was subdued.
Yet one of the stray bullets hit and killed the son- for he had walked from behind the counter to see what was happening. Disobedience cost him his life.
The principle stands. As a rule, children who honor parents are blessed by God with a long and full life.
And God will make good on His promises in this life and in the life to come.
For sons and daughters that are raised to obey and honor their Christian parents will respond to their nurture.
And by God’s grace, they will come to know Christ and enjoy life with Him forever.
-> So, children, will you choose to obey and honor your parents?
-> Will you express your gratefulness to God and your parents? Consider sitting down and writing them a note or sending them a text letting them know how you want to honor them.
-> And dads and moms, will you require your children to obey and honor you and show them how they can through Christ?
-> Church family, will you pray for God’s glory in the life of every child and the life of every parent and grandparent present?
Father, we marvel at your perfect and all-wise plan.
We joyfully confess that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are Your ways than our ways and Your thoughts than our thoughts.
We thank you for how You bless our lives and families when we take you at Your Word & trust You.
Teach us to be Your children that more fully honor You with lives marked by the obedience of true faith.
And God, help the dear children of this church to grow into the image Christ. Save and sanctify them we pray through Your Spirit.
And we thank you Father for Your grace upon grace which makes all this possible. We choose therefore to no longer live for ourselves but for Christ who died and rose again on our behalf.
To Him be the glory now and forevermore, amen.
God’s Will for Children (pt. 2)
I Sam. 16:7
A. Requirement v. 2a
“Honor your father and mother”
1. No complaining
I Cor. 10:10
2. No defiance
I Kings 2:19
3. Confess disrespect
4. Care for your parents’ needs in old age
I Tim. 5:3-4,8
B. Rewards of honoring v. 2b-3
I Sam. 2:30
1. “it will be well with you”
2. “that you may live long on the earth”
How would God have me walk in obedience to His Word and know His blessing on my life for His glory?
Parents, it is your responsibility to model and reinforce these biblical truths in the lives of your children.