Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ephesians 6:1-3 comments: children and parents

1 ¶  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Colossians 3:20  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Our modern culture does not teach children to obey their parents or to honor their father and mother. In fact, if you watch any of a number of television shows over the past thirty years you can see a steady stream of examples of how to dishonor your parents. Parental figures, particularly fathers, are mocked and insulted as being buffoons and clueless over and over again.

Examples of the rule regarding obedience to parents can be found all through the Old Testament both before and during the Law. Let’s review some of them.

Genesis 28:7  And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;

Genesis 37:13  And Israel said unto Joseph, Do not thy brethren feed the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I.

Leviticus 19:3  Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 21:18 ¶  If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19  Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20  And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21  And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

1Samuel 17:20  And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.

Esther 2:20  Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.

Proverbs 1:8  My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

Proverbs 6:20 ¶  My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

Proverbs 23:22  Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Proverbs 30:11  There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

Proverbs 30:17  The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

Jeremiah 35:14  The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.

Most New Testament commands carry a spiritual promise if one obeys. This is one admonition of Paul’s that also carries a physical blessing, almost a guarantee, if you will, as it did under the Law.

Exodus 20:12 ¶  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

You may not be able to be in the presence of your unsaved parents after you have walked with the Lord for a time. You might not be willing to have their godless attitude displayed in front of your children. Even if they are saved but are meddling and intrusive in your marriage or even abusive to your spouse you might just have to stay away but never speak unkindly to them.

You might have to admit that Dad is going back to jail or Mom has fallen off the wagon, again, but you don’t have to speak hatefully of them.  

These verses in Ephesians, while having an application to adult children, are more geared to the young. In the boxing club where I teach I have heard the martial arts instructor admonish children in the “kid’s class” over and over to obey their parents in all things, that a good martial artist is an obedient one to his or her parents. Would it were so that the church taught that.

How many times in your life has some young person called you, “sir,” or “ma’am,” because that is the way they were taught and you “corrected” them saying “you don’t have to call me, sir”? Well, yes, they do. That is obedience to their parents. You are dishonoring their parents. No pastor, no Sunday school teacher, and no member of the congregation should ever teach a child that it is okay under any normal circumstances to disobey their parents. Of course, the exception to this is if the parent is requiring a child to sin or sinning against the child. “Son, bring me the vodka bottle I hid from your father in the toilet tank,” or “I’ll do your homework so you can play in the game and you just sign your name to it and no one will know,” do not fall into the category of obeying parents in the Lord.

Grandparents dishonoring their children in their role as parents using the excuse that overriding their children’s rules for their own children is a grandparents prerogative are acting wickedly. You have no right to dishonor your children as parents. Letting your grandchildren watch trashy television while staying at your house if their parents have expressly forbidden them to do so is grounds for not getting the opportunity to have them over for a long time.

Never criticize a man or a woman openly in front of their children. That is wicked. Respect parents. Do it in private, apart from son or daughter. It is your duty to respect parenting and parents as the basic authority in human civilization.

When you  reach in your pocket and pull out some candy to give to a good child at church how do you know their parents are happy with that? Would not honoring parents mean you ask THEM first?

Children, outside of your daily walk in prayer and Bible reading with the Lord there is no greater thing you can do, not good grades, not being handsome or pretty, than obeying your parents in the Lord. Obedience now is the key to success later. You cannot learn to lead unless you learn to serve. This is one of those proofs of how brilliant the Lord’s standards are.

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