Ephesians 6:1-4(ESV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Keep in mind that, even though both mother and father work together in raising the children, fathers are the focus of verse 4. Fathers have a leading responsibility for raising children. This is a natural extension of the headship of the wife in Ephesians 5:23-25. Dad should take the initiative to make sure that plans and processes and people are in place to build a vision of God and truth and holiness into the lives of the children. Not trying to provoke anger by hounding and mistreating them, but by discipline and leading them in a Godly fashion. Training and instruction of the Lord means doing it biblically. You cannot expect you children to honor you if you are not leading them in a Godly way. There is discipline and there is mistreatment. God the Father treats us as his children, He gave us the instructions, the Bible, and He also disciplines us.
Hebrews 12:5-11(ESV)5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Household management is of great importance to God that He lists it in the qualifications for church leadership.
1 Timothy 3:1-13(ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer[a] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
When a father gives away his daughter (the Bride), what he is doing is saying. I have been protecting her and keeping watch over her soul, now I am transferring all that responsibility to you the groom. In Genesis chapter 2, God created Adam first, and then Eve. God Himself brought Eve to Adam. God Himself ordained that they would be joined together in holy matrimony. He said that the two of them would become one flesh. This is a picture of marital intimacy—the act of love that is never to involve anyone else. Genesis 2:24(ESV)24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. It is a unique joining of two people into one entity. Now the woman is to “submit to her husband” and the son is now leading his own family. Parents are now “free” for the most part of their responsibility to raising their children. Now they take more of a consultant and guidance role rather than hands on.
Children are a blessing given by God. They are an evidence of His love. They are an evidence of His goodness. They are given by God. Although they belong to Him, they are sent to improve us in our sanctification. They are sent to make our life full and to be raised by us to godliness in order that they, too, might be a witness to the true God and the gospel of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Last week we talked about gardens today we are going to talk about planting.
An old Chinese proverb says, “One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade.” We in this generation are still living in a little bit of shade. Our grandparents, and perhaps even our parents if we’re old enough, planted some trees in the past and we are still enjoying some of the shade.
We must plant some trees to shade the future generation. We must do something or the next generation will be frighteningly worse than this one, and the one after that even worse, and those are horrible things to think about. How can we plant those trees? How can we give shade to our children and their children and their children? The answer is to go back to the standards of God’s Word.
Paul goes Old Testament in the middle and quotes the 5th commandment.
Exodus 20:12(ESV)12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Honor goes beyond obedience in that it involves an attitude:
(1). TO HONOR YOUR PARENTS INVOLVES AN ATTITUDE OF RESPECT AND ESTEEM.
The word “honor” (in Exodus 20:12) is a Hebrew word with a root meaning of “weight” or “heaviness.” It is the same word often translated “glory” in reference to the Lord. To glorify the Lord is to attach the utmost weight or significance to who He is and what He does. It means to assign Him the highest place because He is worthy of it. The opposite of glorifying God is to treat Him lightly, to shrug off Him and His commands as insignificant. Coupled with the idea of weight is that of value, which is the root meaning of the Greek word for honor. Gold and silver are heavy, valuable metals. We say of a valuable man, “He’s worth his weight in gold.”
To honor our parents is to have an attitude of respect for them that stems from the fact that we greatly value them and the contribution they’ve made to our lives. To honor our parents is to assign a high place of value to them. This attitude of respect and esteem will result in loving, courteous behavior towards them.
The opposite of honoring your parents would be to show contempt for them, to despise them in your heart, or to be rude and ungrateful towards them. It’s your heart attitude that matters. If you’re chafing against obeying and honoring your parents, you have a deeper heart problem of rebellion towards God. If you’re grateful to God for His salvation, then you can honor those whom He has placed over you for your blessing and protection.
(2). YOU SHOULD HONOR YOUR PARENTS BECAUSE GOD COMMANDS IT.
God is the sovereign of the universe. His holy law is the final court! You can’t go over His head! He didn’t give us the Ten Suggestions for a Happy Life, or the Ten Habits of Highly Successful People, although keeping His commandments will result in a happy life. To dishonor your parents is to disobey God, who ordained these commandments for our good. We should keep them because we love and fear God.
(3). YOU SHOULD HONOR YOUR PARENTS BECAUSE GOD PROMISES TO BLESS THOSE WHO DO.
Even if there were no blessings promised, we should obey God because of who He is. But here He graciously attaches a promised blessing. But, Paul’s comment, that this is “the first commandment with a promise,” is a bit puzzling. Scholars point out that the second commandment, not to make any idols, promises that God will show lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commands (Exodus 20:4-6(ESV).
First, there is a principle that disobedience to parents will result in the breakdown of the foundation of a society. Disobedience to parents is one mark of those whom God has given over to their depraved rebellion (Romans 1:28-32(ESV)28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.).
It is a mark of the godlessness of the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5(ESV)1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. . When children disobey and dishonor their parents, they do not respect any authority, including the law of the land. So life does not go well with a disrespectful child, because he may end up in prison or dead. But, young people, due to the flesh, often want to be free from parental authority. So they rebel and follow the sinful activities of the unbelieving youths of our land.
Now admittedly, teaching children to obey and honor their parents is not easy and it’s not simple. For the very same reasons that it’s difficult for a wife to submit and it’s difficult for a husband to express loving leadership, the very same reasons apply to the difficulty of children obeying and honoring their parents, the same basic reasons.
Number one, the Total Depravity inside them. They are cursed when they arrive. They are little, selfish, self-centered, rebellious reprobates. Cute, cuddly, but reprobate. That is apparent when they arrive. They scream and they don’t share anybody else’s pain. They scream only for their own. They have no sympathy. They share no interest in anything going on in the family. They are not at all attentive to the conversation. They make no effort to assist in anything. They just are preoccupied with themselves.
They think that no one exists but them, they’re great when they get a little beyond that very infant stage. They’re great at disobedience; it is built-in. You don’t spend the early childhood saying to them, “Yes, why yes, well yes, yes, yes.” You continually say to them, “No, no, no, no.” Because all the bent is toward what is counterproductive and disobedient. They’re good at disobedience; you don’t have to teach them how to disobey. Nobody ever had to teach a child how to disobey.
They have to be taught to obey; they have disobedience down very well. They’re utterly selfish, utterly self-consumed. They want their will whenever they want it. They don’t want to wait for anything. They’re utterly impatient. They have no regard for anything that you’re concerned about. The whole world revolves around them. And that is an initial expression of their depravity which can be simply defined as being self-consumed.
So they have to be taught to obey through very painful lessons. And they rebel against that to varying degrees, don’t they? Some children have to have a myriad of spankings and disciplining while others seem to have a requirement for less. They come with a little bit different personality package, but the training is nonetheless the same. And I suppose David summed it up from the very outset when, in Psalm 51:5(ESV)5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. David said this thinking of the time that he was in the womb, He doesn’t mean that he was an illegitimate child, he simply means that from the very time of his conception he was sinful.
And there’s no training that occurs in the womb. So when the baby is born, it is ready to express its sin. You have that inside curse and that inside curse is apparent as children manifest their early behavior. And you know what terrible depravity manifests itself in an undisciplined child? Then that already sinful bent is exposed and sometimes overexposed, to an evil world.
HOW CAN FATHERS AND MOTHERS PARENT HONORABLY?
1. YOUR CHILD IS YOUR BLESSING
Your child is your blessing. Some of you say, “Not today.” OK, well, you’re working on your blessing and maybe it’ll blossom in the future.
Psalm 127:3(HCSB) Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,children, a reward.” They don’t always feel like a blessing, but they are a blessing. To parent honorably and to cultivate in the children honor in return starts with thinking biblically that children are a blessing. The Father considers you a blessing, OK? God’s a Father; you’re his blessing. Some of you say, “I don’t act like his blessing. I don’t feel like his blessing.” You are his blessing, and if you’ll accept the fact that you are his blessing, you will start to live in a way that blesses him. This is where it doesn’t start with your performance; it starts with his affection.
2. YOUR CHILD IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
Number two, your child is your responsibility. Job 1:5(ESV)“Maybe my kids have sinned. I’ll offer a sacrifice and confess their sins for the Lord.” You say, “Wait a minute, what is he doing?” Taking responsibility for his children. Your children are not the school’s responsibility. Your children are not the church’s responsibility. Your children are not the police’s responsibility. Your children are not the rehab center’s responsibility.
You say, “Well, can I not use any of those things?” You can, but you are primarily responsible for the well-being of your children. Your goal is not to raise a child who is moral but a worshiper, not just a kid who does the right things but a kid who has a new heart, not just a kid who is outwardly compliant but inwardly loves Jesus.
This is incredibly important because, for the sake of their own comfort and convenience, parents tend to just want a moral child to reduce the conflict and chaos so that they can have a better, easier life. That’s not the goal. The children are your responsibility, so you’re the first evangelist—got to tell them about Jesus. You’re the first pastor—you got to raise them in the Lord. You’re the one who is responsible for their overall care and well-being. They will live where you put them. They will eat what you feed them. They will worship where you take them. They will read what you hand them. Your sons are going to grow up and be like you, men, and your daughters are going to marry men like you. And this is all your responsibility. And they have no theology, so you have to teach them. And they’re very vulnerable to sin and predators, so you need to protect them, watch whose house they go to, and make sure they’re not just doing random overnights.
3. YOUR CHILD IS YOUR FOLLOWER
Number three, your child is your follower. You’re the leader. You’re the leader. Your children—part of their honoring of you is the following of you. This is where, in Joshua 24:15, Joshua says, “As for me and my family, we will”—what? “We will serve the Lord.” And you’re like, “Did they all take a vote?” No, Dad voted, and he looked at the household, “We will serve the Lord.” You make a decision and your children need to follow you. They are your followers.
Well, where do we look? As parents, we look to God as Father. We don’t look just to our own mothers and fathers. We look beyond that. We ask, “What kind of Father is God, how does he pursue me, how does he instruct me, how does he correct me, and how does he train me?” And we take our cues from the perfect Father. It keeps us informed and educated as a parent, and it keeps us humble.
We’ve always got something to work on, which means even for you parents, one of the ways you can open the door of honoring from your children is to, after the sermon, speak with them, be they young or old, and say, “Here’s how I’ve sinned against you and failed you. I’m convicted of that. I ask your forgiveness of that. I could have done this better. I should have done this different.” How about those of you who are children? Who do we look to? Children are always looking for peers or somebody just a little older than them to learn from.
Be filled of the Holy Spirit, listen to your parents so that it may go well with you, because God loves you and his commands are good for you, and he wants a future for you. God’s heart is a Father’s heart, amen? If you’re not a Christian, this is where you turn from sin, you trust in Jesus, you realize that God is a Father, you’re a rebellious, horrible kid, and that God should dig a hole, put you in it, and drop a rock on your head. And instead, God came as Jesus Christ, and he lived this perfect life as this obedient child that you have not lived, and he died to pay the death that you should pay so that you could be freed, loved, and forgiven. Jesus rises from death to give you the Holy Spirit, to put his power in you so that you can become more like him. If you’ve not done that, this is where you give yourself to Jesus and you become a son or a daughter of God the Father, and you honor your Heavenly Father first. Some of you need to go apologize to your parents or thank your parents. Some of you need to get with your parents and sort things out with your parents. Some of you just need to forgive your parents.