"HONORING & BEING
TEXT: Ex. 20:12; Luke 2:41-52; Eph. 6:1-4
The 5th commandment started off the second stone tablet. The first tablet
began with our relationship to our heavenly father, the second tablet begins
with our relationship to our earthly father and mother.
Just as success with the first commandment was necessary for a healthy
relationship with God, so is success with the fifth commandment necessary for
a healthy relationship with others in society. Simply put, the way children
relate to their parents will determine their success in how they relate to
other human beings.
Not only will it affect the relationship we have with other human beings,
but it has a dramatic impact on our relationship with our heavenly father as
study once disclosed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72
percent of their children remain faithful in attendance. If only Dad attends
regularly, 55 percent remain faithful. If only Mom attends regularly, 15
percent remain faithful. If neither attend regularly, only 6 percent remain
faithful. -- Warren Mueller, Leadership, Vol. 2, no. 3.
There are two parts to this commandment
(1. it is about children honoring parents
(2. it is about parents being honorable!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that God
has placed a high value on the institution of the home, and that much of what
we become in life is influenced by the early years and how we respond to our
parent's authority. This commandment speaks to both children and parents and
to society as a whole.
I. THE HONORING STAGE Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3; Lk.
A. Respecting Authority Ex. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3
1. The first authority in life we encounter is our parents.
2. There are 3 stages in our life we must navigate successfully in order
to become healthy adults:
a. Early Childhood stage: "enforced obedience"
(1. Enforced obedience with love and good balances will make the willful
obedience stage later more acceptable.
(2. Enforced obedience with love produces respect so that willful
obedience becomes a natural progression.
(3. The simple statement by Paul in Eph. 6:1 "Children, obey your parents
in the Lord, for this is right." reflects this early stage, Paul does not
elaborate on the philosophy of it, just the simple truth of it!
b. Youth stage: "willful obedience"
(1. Paul's point in Eph. 6:2-3 about the 5th commandment and 'honoring'
parents so that blessings may come may indicate this second phase.
(2. Willful obedience in youth helps produce a healthy adult who can
exercise authority and mutually submit to other authority.
(3. Rebelliousness at this stage often makes for a rough transition later
to adulthood and the dynamics of authority.
c. Adult stage: "mutual obedience"
(1. This stage is the result of successful navigation through the first
(2. Most adults that do well with authority have had good experiences
with enforced obedience and willful obedience as they grow.
3. How well we do in each stage will dramatically determine how well we
do in the next stage.
a. This is the point here about children "honoring father and
b. To honor means to "RESPECT" their position and authority.
c. Much of the way children feel about God is modeled on how they feel
about us as parents!
4. When children "respect" or "honor" their parents they learn to respect
and honor God.
a. God is the ultimate authority figure.
b. As parents we represent an authority figure.
When my daughter lost her last baby tooth, I was weary of the Tooth Fairy and
decided it was time to dispel this childhood myth. "Kelli," I said, "You know
how the Easter Bunny is really Mommy, and Santa Claus is, too?" "Yes," she
replied, a bit warily. "Well, there's one more person who is really me. Can
you guess who that is?" Slowly, Kelli's eyes grew big as saucers and her mouth
dropped open. In a small, awe-filled voice, she said, "God?" -- Ellen Yinger,
Columbus, OH. Today's Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."
5. For these reasons it is important that we model God's love and
authority in the right way, this enables our children to honor God as they
a. How do our children view our obedience to God's authority?
b. The way we honor our heavenly father may influence the way our
children honor their earthly father and mother.
B. Responding to Authority Luke 2:41-52
1. This story on Jesus' BAR MITZBAH - the act of being declared a 'man'
in Jewish culture demonstrates the transition of authority in a healthy way.
a. Jesus had gone through the "enforced obedience" stage as a child like
b. Now as a youth he transitioned from "enforced obedience" to his
earthly parents to "willful obedience".
(1. Luke 2:49 was not a response of disrespect, Jesus was expressing His
surprise that his parents had been frustrated when they found Him where they
had taught Him to be as an adult, in His Father's house!
(2. Jesus was simply making reference to the lessons He had been taught
by them as His parents … to make God the father a priority.
(3. Now as an "official man" in Judaism (he was now 12) he was doing what
he had been taught, only now it was not "enforced" it was "willful" on His
2. Notice the obvious transition here from childhood's "enforced
obedience" to the "willful obedience" of youth in Luke 2:51 "Then He went down
to Nazareth with them and WAS OBEDIENT to them…"
a. Following his BAR MITZBAH he willfully submits to their
b. Jesus passed through the 3 stages of healthy authority as all humans
c. No doubt the transition was harder for Joseph and Mary than it was for
Jesus … thus explaining their reactions here!
3. They failed to understand what Jesus was doing at first, how difficult
it is as parents to move through the transitions and see what our children see
Speaker and author Carol Kent was on the fast track to being an absentee
parent--until her young son, Jason, made a simple observation. She recalls:
"We were eating breakfast together, and I had on an old pair of slacks and a
fuzzy old sweater. He flashed his baby blues at me over his cereal bowl and
said, 'Mommy, you look so pretty today.' I didn't even have makeup on! So I
said, 'Honey, why would you say I look pretty today? Normally I'm dressed in a
suit and high heels.' And he said, 'When you look like that, I know you're
going some place; but when you look like this, I know you're mine.' "His words
were like an arrow piercing my heart. I realized I might fail at being a godly
Christian mother because I was saying yes to so many speaking engagements. I
got on my knees with my precious appointment book and offered it to God." --
Jan L. Senn in Today's Christian Woman. Christian Reader, Vol. 33, no.
4. We need to be sensitive to the stages our children are passing through
so we deal appropriately with each one.
II. THE HONORABLE STAGE Eph. 6:4
A. Responsible Authority 6:4a
1. While Paul is quick to point out how important it is for children to
obey their parents he is equally quick to point out how important it is for
parents to be honorable in their dealings with their children!
a. Our use of authority as parents can have a dramatic impact on how our
children navigate the stages of "enforced obedience" and "willful
b. The 5th commandment speaks to both children and parents!
c. Paul asks fathers not to exasperate their children - to not be
unreasonable with their children.
2. As godly parents we are to exercise authority in a responsible way,
not an emotional way.
3. Our authority should be based on principles and not whims or personal
desires, principles guided by God's word.
4. Unreasonable demands in childhood usually mean rebelliosness in youth,
and unreasonable demands in youth mean angry adults that do not respond to
In Ramsey Count, Minnesota, ninth and tenth graders were interviewed recently
about their dads. They were asked this question: "What comes to mind when you
think of the word 'dad'?" Answers came immediately from both ends of the
spectrum. One end of the spectrum said, "I think of the word jerk." Others
thought of the words angry, mad, and absent. On the other hand, some of the
young people said, "I think of wholeness, kindness, security, safety." Dad is
an immensely powerful word. -- Roger Thompson, "Becoming a Man," Preaching
Today, Tape No. 140.
5. God help us to be responsible in the use of authority and reflect God
presence in our lives!
B. Reflecting Authority 6:4b
1. Paul seems to indicate here that if we bring up children in the
training and instruction of the Lord we will not exasperate them.
a. God's ways are good the Psalmist says.
b. We must not however only tell our kids to follow God's ways, we must
show them the way!
Like a father and son mountain climbing team, the son spoke to his father
ahead of him and said, "choose a good path dad, I'm right behind
2. The way we reflect God's authority in our lives can have a dramatic
impact on whether our kids love the Lord themselves!
The only thing that parents can take to heaven is their children. -- Billy
Graham's daughter Gigi, quoted by John Maxwell in "What Children Owe Their
Parents (and Themselves)," Preaching Today, Tape No. 140.
3. We must see in the 5th commandment not only the call for children to
honor their father and mother, but the call for father and mother to be
4. While there can surely be exceptions to the rules, the fact is that
most honorable parents will have children that grow up to honor them, and to
even emulate them!
a. What we do as parents both by talking and by walking can have dramatic
impact on our children's lives.
b. We need to exercise godliness in our own lives to help insure it in
our children's lives.
One elder statesman of a Christian church has devoted himself to a fifty-year
study of Christian and non-Christian families. He says that in American
culture today most young adults following Jesus Christ either come from
non-Christian homes where they were converted to Christ in their teenage years
through a dynamic youth ministry, or they come from homes where they grew up
in love with Jesus because mom and dad were so in love with Jesus that love
permeated their lives. It passed through their pores. Very few believers come
from homes where there was a kind of indifferent, apathetic commitment to
Christ. This is not my idea. This is the result of this study. It is sobering
and thought provoking to suggest that, in American culture, the chances are
better for a child growing up in a non-Christian home to become a Christian
than for a child growing up in a home that has an indifferent, apathetic
commitment to Jesus Christ. See: Deuteronomy 6 suggests that a love for God
must permeate the parent. -- Ron Lee Davis, "Introducing Christ to Your
Child," Preaching Today, Tape No. 92.
5. The 5th commandment is the basis of all healthy human relationships,
and all healthy societies will be based on it.
a. Don't despair mom and dad if you are living honorably and your
children are struggling through the stages of obedience, keep doing the right
b. The fruit of both honoring and being honorable shows up later in our
children as adults, it will at least give them the right path to
CONCLUSION: Just as
the 1st commandment sets the stage for everything spiritually in our
relationship to our heavenly father, this 1st commandment on the 2nd stone
tablet sets the stage for every earthly relationship in our society. If we
fail to honor authority in the position of earthly parents we will fail to be
honorable as earthly parents! The commandment here promises long life to
societies that both honor parents and that have honorable parents. Failure to
submit to authority usually results in the inability to exercise it properly