The Holy Spirit knows human nature.
He directs us in the way from which we are most inclined to wander.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands. No wife wants that, especially in this age of women’s lib!
Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church. Again, it is much easier to be tyrannical than loving, especially when one is considered the “boss!”
Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath. We would rather carry a big stick and a big threat, than bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
And here we have the same approach. The Holy Spirit in dealing with young people touches them where it hurts, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this right. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth,” Eph. 6:1-3. Quite obviously, children don’t like to hear that any more than wives like to be told to be subject to their husbands, husbands told to love their wives, or parents told to refrain from provoking their children to wrath. It isn’t a question of what we like to hear, rather a willingness to be instructed.
Here the Holy Spirit deals with children and young people.
The fact that the Word of God contradicts human nature indicates that God’s Word is not directed to the whole human race, as if God expects all children of the world to heed His commands. To be sure, the demands of God are directed to everyone who reads the Word of God. Not everyone however, will give heed simply because they read it. To children devoid of the grace of the Holy Spirit, these words are from the ancient past, which the NOW generation refuses to heed.
To you covenant young people there is, however, a difference. This is the Word of God. It is God’s Word directed to you as members of His covenant. It is a Word that deals with your responsibilities to your covenant parents. When the Word says, “Children, obey your parents,” you realize that your parents are very special. They have authority given to them by God to direct your life in a way that is right and pleasing to God. They must make the will of God known to you, expect that you walk in it, and discipline you when you fail to do that. This is for God’s sake.
You are special young people in that God has given you a place in such a home. From childhood to the present, you have been set aside by God as Hischildren. “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations,” Jer. 1:5. That wasn’t true just for Jeremiah; it is true for all God’s children. “For the promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call,” Acts. 2:39. Even though we are conceived and born in sin, as children of God we are redeemed by the blood of Christ and made God’s special people.
This makes us to have a profound respect for His Word.
God says, honor and obey your parents.
HONORING AND OBEYING
What must we do to honor our parents?
Some young people suggest that to honor parents, they must heap all kinds of affection upon them. They confuse love and honor. Love is basic to honor, but not the same. Love provides the proper motivation to honor. Love recognizes the person for what he is. Before God we recognize the person of our parents, and this draws us closer to them, as it draws us closer to God. If we love our parents, we tell them how much they mean to us and how deeply we appreciate all they are doing for us. This children do in both word and deed in the sphere of the home.
Honoring parents is something different. It is a special expression of love. To honor parents is to give recognition to their God-given position over us. Just as honoring our government means that we realize that God has placed them over us to perform His will through them, whether the ruler recognizes this or not, so it applies to our parents. Honor your parents means that we see them as appointed by God to control our lives and that we do not resist this, but respect it. Do you want to honor your father? Understand clearly that he is God’s appointed head of the home and that he is called by God to make God’s demands upon everyone who lives in the home. Your father must exercise his calling and will have to give account to God as to how he does this. Young People honor their fathers, then, by co-operating and making this task easier for him, not harder. We may not resist this and insist that our privacy means that our parents leave us alone. It is not so, that growing up means that we turn our back to anything that others, including our parents, have to say to us. Honoring parents means that we hear them out and recognize that when they speak to us out of the Word of God, God is speaking to us through them. Thus mothers and fathers are united not only in marriage, but also in parenthood. Honoring mother means that we recognize that her position is to assist father in the task of bringing up children. To honor her means that we will not try to drive a wedge between her and father, as young people often like to do. We may not try to play one parent against the other. If we are to honor them, we will recognize their mutual responsibility to control our lives in the way God wants it to be done.
Obedience is the practical result of honoring. If we honor our parents and recognize their position is given them by God to control our lives, it stands to reason that what they demand of us will be performed by us. To obey our parents is a practical demonstration that we honor them. If we disobey them, we cannot say that we honor them.
This touches much of our young lives. Our parents are called by God to guide us in our whole life. From birth on they are concerned about our physical health and safety. Proper diet, cleanliness, grooming, clothing, are all their concern. Parents are to teach us the management of money, to help us learn the will of God for our future place of service. Their responsibility is to supervise our social life, friends, dates, places of entertainment. Parents must guide in spiritual growth, schooling, study for catechism, church attendance, personal prayer life and meditation.
It stands to reason, then, that parents that are trying in the least to be faithful to this calling, are going to have a great deal to talk about with their children, especially teen-aged and growing young people. Here is the most crucial area of honoring and obeying. Parents are going to make many demands of us, are going to explain this to us and try their best to tell us why we must not do certain things and why we should be doing others. This is called communication. If young people are going to honor and obey, they must be sure to listen. The advocates of the new morality are trying to get their wicked notion accepted by stressing the so called generation gap; Young people are told to distrust anyone over twenty years of age, and consequently parents are of a different generation and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The devil would like to have you believe this lie. But you are different and your parents are different. We are not of the world, nor may we be part of the apostate church. We are different because God has made us members of His covenant. We. must honor and obey our parents by listening to them, and recognize that they speak with divine authority, and therefore must be obeyed for God’s sake.
WHY HONOR AND OBEY
Why should we honor and obey our parents?
Let’s be careful that we don’t fall into the trap by producing poor answers, for then we might convince ourselves that it isn’t too serious if we fail to practice this, after all.
It might be suggested that we should obey parents because that is the least we can do for all the things they have done for us. Parents do a great deal for their children; it might be argued that children and especially young people at least show appreciation for this by doing what they require. It might even be added that some young people would be better off if they would obey their parents. Disobedience strains the relationship between parents and children; if they would obey, they would have things going their way. Sometimes we stress the need for family harmony: each member must do their part if we are going to have peace at home. All these are true to a certain extent, but do not afford the deepest reason why children should obey their parents.
And what is that? “For this is right before God.” Thus in a brief and pointed way, Scripture tells young people why. God requires this, and if we love God, we will honor and obey our parents. This is the great test and proof of young people’s love for God. Do you love your parents? Do you show this love for them by honoring them and obeying them?
Another reason, “This is the first commandment with promise.” This also follows from the above; if we are right with God we may expect His blessing. True, this is typical Old Testament language. Added to the fifth commandment it is, “That thy days may be long in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee.” Also in Ps. 55:23, “Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days.” Or in Prov. 10:27, “The fear of the Lord prolongeth days.” The application is obvious. During Old Testament times those who kept God’s law might expect His favor upon them to be demonstrated in a physical and material way. Today the typical factor is done away with, but the spiritual principle is the same; those young people who obey this Word of’ God and honor and obey parents may expect God’s blessing to rest upon them.
How will this be expressed?
Look at it negatively first. Disobeying parents is listed amongst those sins that demonstrate depravity, Rom. 1:24-30. We are warned that it will increase as the end of the world comes upon us and man will make himself worthy of God’s judgment, II Tim. 3:1. The curse of the Lord rests upon those who refuse to honor and obey parents. Just look about you: young rebels causing trouble in the schools, rioting in the street, rebellion in the church, broken families, divorce, open lawlessness in every sphere. This doesn’t just happen. This is God’s judgment upon a generation of young people who break God’s law and do not honor and obey their parents for God’s sake.
Conversely, how beautiful is the life of someone who has learned to keep the fifth commandment in the sphere of the home. Such young people contribute to the joy of the home; it becomes a testimony to the world that only God’s covenant of grace produces such a citadel of strength in a changing world. These kind of children know their place in school. They become good citizens and obey those in authority. The church is to them of great value, for it is the source of their spiritual nourishment that brings them into closer fellowship with God.
This also doesn’t just happen. This is God’s blessing upon covenant young people who by God’s grace honor and obey their parents.
To be sure, this doesn’t come naturally.
The Word of God seems to deny us what we like and what seems the easy way. Remember that the easy way leads to destruction.
Covenant young people are special, made such by God.
He has a secret which He shares with you, “Honor and obey your parents.” It makes all the difference. The praise is God’s alone.