A newspaper editor decided to print one of the 10 Commandments everyday for 10 successive days in his newspaper. At the completion of his listing a reader wrote, “Cancel my subscription.” When asked why, he said, “Your paper is getting too personal for me.” Today’s message is going to get personal. It’s going to get personal because the message deals with a commandment that we are all guilty of breaking. It is the 5th Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.”
You cannot teach right from wrong apart from the standards revealed in the Word of God. Jerry Vines
I have been listening and reading reports from the media as it relates to the values and morals of this current generation. There’s a real concern, even among those that are secular. And they are asking the schools to teach our children how to have better values and how to have better morals. But my question is, how are you going to do that without the Word of God? We are not allowed to distribute Bibles at school. How can you expect teachers to teach morals and values without the Word of God?
Here is what is really interesting. I can’t find anywhere in Scripture where it says that it is the schools’ responsibility to teach children these things anyway. Here is what I read in the text, “And you, Fathers,” (vv. 3-4) The responsibility of teaching our children the Word of God rests in the home.
A father was climbing a dangerous mountain with his son. The father said, “Son be very careful. We are approaching a very dangerous place.” The son responded, “Don’t worry dad, I’m putting my feet where you put yours.” Moms and dads, this is exactly what your children do. They…
- watch us
- listen to us
- place their feet in the exact same spots as we do
We must teach our children God’s Word (Deut. 6:7-9). So what shall we teach them?
Think with me for a moment about the role of parenting.
The Biological Factor
Our parents cause us to exist. Once upon a time, there were 50 million sperm cells. They lined up for a race. They raced down a long canal to locate an egg cell. Out of 50 million—only one won the race! That one became you! You were literally one in millions! But in no way are you an accident. God knew that you would be the one.
Your eyes saw me when I was formless;
all my days were written in Your book and planned
before a single one of them began. Psalm 139:14-16
When your mother conceived you, God was there! Parenthood is biological. Since parenthood is biological, there is a responsibility attached to it. Parents should…
- Care for their children
- Protect their children
- Meet the needs of their children
The safest place for any child ought to be in the mother’s womb. God says He’s watching what goes on there. I do not understand parents who will not care for their children. When Dr. Gosnell performed all of those late term abortions, God was there. When he allowed those babies to be born before clipping their spinal cord, God was there. This is not just abortion, but infanticide. It is one thing to stand before an earthly judge and get life in prison, but it is a completely other thing to stand before our heavenly judge and get eternal separation.
I heard about a youngster who sent his mother a bill. The bill read…washing the car, $5; taking out the trash, $5; you owe me $10. The mother sent him a bill that read…washing your clothes, $10; taking care of you when you are sick, $5; getting you to school on time, $5: total bill, “I LOVE YOU!” Isn’t it wonderful to know that someone loves you no matter what! Every child deserves to know that mom and dad loves them. They are their biological children. And every child that is a Christian needs to obey mom and dad.
A father instructed his daughter as she left for a date, “Be home at 11 p.m.” Her response was, “Dad, I’m not a child anymore!” The dad then said, “I know. That’s the reason I want you home by 11 p.m.”
The Emotional factor
Suppose you get a job at a Jeweler. After you had worked there for awhile, your employer comes to you and hands you a very exquisite diamond. He then says to you, “Here are the words that I need engraved on this very expensive piece of merchandise.” He then says, “Be careful to get it right, because what you engrave on this diamond will be there for the rest of our lives.” Are you going to be careful with the engraving process? You bet you are!
You and I are products of what has been engraved on our psyches often times by our parents. It is possible that a child can become emotionally unstable due to poor parenting. As a matter of fact, some of you this morning may be an emotional train wreck due to poor parenting skills. Parents ought not make it emotionally difficult for their children to honor them.
The Spiritual Factor
Here is what I have learned in my years of ministry. Parents, you are the skylights through which your children first view God. It is an awesome responsibility. Now, I thank God for Sunday School. I thank God for Sunday school teachers. But, the basic responsibility for training our children spiritually does not belong to the Sunday school teacher.
- It is not the responsibility of the pastor
- It is not the responsibility of children’s minister
- It is not the responsibility of youth pastor
The responsibility is your’s mom and dad. Do you know what I think we need to do? I think we need to return to the old fashioned family altar. We need to…
- read Scripture with our family
- pray with our family
- worship the Lord with our family
I do not think we should complain about the absence of the Word of God at school, until we have done something about the absence of the Word of God in the home.
Listen to how the apostle Paul addresses individuals in his letters,
“Greet also the church that meets in their home.” Romans 16:5
“Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her home.” Colossians 4:15
Parents, have church in your home! Teach your children to obey their parents!
“Obey” is the right thing to do. God is a God of order. Children are to answer to their parents. There is authority in government, there is authority in the church, and there is authority in the home. If we do not teach children to obey at home, they will not obey when they attend school. If they do not follow instructions in the home, they will not be able to follow instructions on the job. Do you always obey your parents? The answer is no. There will come a time when you are no longer required to obey, but there will never be a time when you do not honor your parents. “Honor” is a command. The word “honor” means to give weight to. It means to hold in high esteem. And honor extends beyond adolescence, and continues all the days of our lives.
Our daughter Angie is no longer under our authority. She no longer has to obey mom and dad. She is now her own woman. However, as a Christian, she is still under God, and God says “honor mom and dad.”
But what if my mom and dad are not honorable? God does not say, “only honor them if…” We must learn to honor the position if not the person. There are typically 4 stages in a child’s rearing:
- We idolize our parents.
When I attended Star Elementary, I use to tell my friends (George Ray Ferguson, Jeff Stanley, and Norris Thomas), “My dad can whip your dad.” I idolized my dad.
- We demonize our parents.
It is that stage where we think we are smarter than they are. It is that stage where we think they are so out of fashion. We think they are not cool.
- We utilize our parents.
We say, “Dad, the car keys?” “Mom, I need $20.”
- We humanize our parents.
We understand that mom and dad are neither God nor the devil. We understand that they have their strengths. We understand they have their weaknesses.
Honor your parents. It may be difficult at times, but you understand the importance. You’re 60 years old, and there’s something that you need to forgive mom and dad for. They should have been there for you, but they were not, but now you are willing to say, “They’re not perfect.” There are some of you who are ashamed of your parents. You need to stop being ashamed of them this very moment. There were times I felt ashamed of my parents, but do you know what I had to stop doing? I had to stop looking at them through my magnifying glass. I had to realize my parents were like everyone else’s parents, they were not perfect.
I was preaching on one occasion at Wildwood Baptist in Ashland, KY. My dad attended the services that night. He was by himself. My mother was already in the presence of the Lord. He was never the same after my mother’s death. Her dementia had taken a toll on him. Prior to getting ready for church he had been painting outside. He had paint all over his face. For a moment, I was tempted to be embarrassed. Then I realized, he had worked so hard taking care of my mother it had taken a toll on his own personal health. On top of that, his eye sight was failing him, and he couldn’t see. I then said to dad, “Dad, when you washed your face you missed a couple of spots.” I took him to the restroom and helped him wipe the paint off his face. I was thankful for the opportunity to honor my dad. God bless all those today who have the privilege of caring for aging parents. One day you’ll be glad you did.
Last week was mother’s day. Mom kind of expected you to remember her last week. But what if you chose to remember her this week?
- Send her an unexpected card
- Place an unexpected phone call
- Tell her when she least expects it, “Mom I love you.”
For some, like me, you will have to be content to honor their memory. Remember, we honor them for the rest of our lives.
Sometimes we can be driving along. Everything gets quiet in the car. Tears begin to swell up in Regina’s eyes. I will say, “You’re thinking about your dad aren’t you?” She will nod affirmatively, and sometimes say, “I just wish I could give him a call.”
Notice, “This is an important commandment with a promise.” The promise is for long life. Honor mom and dad in their old age and God will grace you with longevity. Obey your parents, and you will escape so many of the sins that shorten life. You say, “How do I do this? It all seems so hard.” There is a three word key, The Holy Spirit.
By nature a child is selfish, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, a child can obey his/her parents and glorify God. Warren Wiersbe
A certain man took his wife and son to a lake area outside the city for a vacation. While the mother was preparing a meal, the son and father went out on the lake in a boat. Suddenly, there came this storm. Darkness fell over the lake. The mom quickly placed a light in the window, and the father said, “Son, I am going to row. You keep your eyes on the light. Son, go only in the direction of the light.” They were both able to make it home safely. When they arrived home, there was mom to greet them. They said, “mom, we were able to get home safely because we steered in the direction of the light.”
Could it be that one day in glory, when our children reach the shores of heaven, they might say, “Oh, mom and dad, we made it home safely because we steered toward the light you gave us. The Word of God that you gave us was the light that guided us safely home.”