February 5, 2012 am
The Role of Children
I want to begin this lesson by addressing this latter group for a moment. To the young of this congregation: One of the primary reasons I have engaged in this study at great length is for your benefit. I know that we are living in difficult times and we have sought to address some of the issues where society conflicts with God’s word. It is my hope that all we have discussed will be taken to heart. I also know that growing up in this generation is not an easy thing to do. Our young are surrounded by peers and even some adults in leadership roles who show little or no respect for God or their parents. This makes serving God even more challenging. Within the home the challenge of husband/wife and the role of parents can be overwhelming when you consider the responsibilities we have discussed in this study. What I want to tell you, our children, is that you can make the task of parenting easier and your homes happier by fulfilling your responsibilities.
Let’s discuss some of these responsibilities today.
a. There are many passages directed toward children in the scriptures, especially observations from the proverbs. We will notice some of these as we examine our main text, But here are some to consider as we begin.
b. Prov. 27:11, “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me.”
c. Prov. 20:11, “Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.”
d. Prov. 10:1, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.”
e. Prov. 17:25, “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.”
f. Ecclesiastes 12:1, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and the years draw near when you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’”
II. Ephesians 6:1-3
a. Ephesians 6:1-3 – “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
Of all the passages that address the responsibilities of children, this one gives a good summary of what we will discuss. We will use it as our main text.
b. Children obey your parents
i. The idea of obedience is to listen to with the intent to do what is commanded. Obedience is something EVERY Christian needs to comprehend and it applies in every aspect of life (unless one is commanded to break God’s laws). Our hope of salvation is in part based upon our willingness to obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:8)
ii. The need for children to obey their parents is obvious.
Solomon observed in Prov. 30:17 says, “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.”
Rom. 1:30, 2 Tim. 3:2 –
a sign of ungodliness in our generation is being “disobedient to
parents.” One of the great
root problems we face in our society are children who rebel or disregard
the instructions of their parents.
And while they are totally accountable for their actions, much of
their failure is the result of poor parenting.
We addressed this in our last lesson dealing with parents.
But that does not excuse or diminish the command of God to
each of us as children.
In Titus 1:6 we read about the qualification of elders (as discussed previously in dealing with fathers). Note how Paul tells Titus that he has, “faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.” Children who refuse to obey their parents can prevent a father from serving as an elder and deacon or perhaps even in other roles within the congregation.
NOTICE also that this command
does NOT comes with conditions.
It doesn’t say, “If you agree with them” or “If they deserve it”
or “If I get something out of it.”
Colossians 3:20, a parallel passage to our text says, “Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”
v. While reward may come from obedience, it ought NOT to be your motivation for obedience. BTW, usually there is reward in the long run – in the form of good habits, trust from your parents, due praise.
vi. In the Lord – as God has instructed, or in accord with God’s word.
1. Realize that when you obey your parents you are obeying God as well. Paul even said, “For this is right.” It is the right thing to do.
We realize there is an
exception and that is when parents (or anyone) asks you to do something
contrary to God’s will.
PARENTS: Please don’t put your child in a situation where they have to choose between God and you. Examples might include asking them to lie for you (i.e. on the phone), to cheat for your benefit, miss worship opportunities to do something for you. It is truly sad that in our society we have a few parents that are so pathetic they will use them to commit crimes such as stealing.
3. BUT even if you are in a situation where you must choose God over parental instructions that does NOT give consent to rebel or disobey them in other matters.
c. Honor your father and mother
This was the fifth
commandment (Exodus 20:12) and described as “the first commandment with promise”.
That promise is repeated in vs. 3 of our text and is from Exodus
20:12. The Lord God promised
Israel that if children were obedient to their parents (i.e. they
followed righteousness) that He would preserve them in the land.
It is also seen in history, as a nation whose children are
rebellious leads to anarchy and eventual collapse.
Also, in general, if your parents care about you (and they do) their advice will promote a longer and more stable life in many ways (less stress, better handling of circumstances, lifesaving habits, etc.)
ii. How do we honor our parents? How do we honor our parents?
By obeying them
– Everything we just
said about obedience applies here!
This is one of the reasons you obey them – out of honor. Obedience is the FIRST sign of respect. And it doesn’t mean simply when you agree with them.
Prov. 6:20-22 says, “My
Son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your
mother. Bind them
continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck.
When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep
you; And when you awake, they will speak to you.”
ONE point I do want to add to this is that one way you honor them in obedience is by doing your best in fulfilling your task. Just as you ought to give God your best (Col. 3:23) the same should apply to your parents. For example: When asked to clean your room or help with the housework or yard work, how thoroughly do you do that job? When asked to do your homework, how well do you do it?
By listening to them
– every parent has been where you are right now.
They were your age at one time and there is a great chance they
KNOW what they are talking about when they give you instructions.
Solomon was adamant about this in the proverbs.
Prov. 3:1 says, “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”
Prov. 23:22-25, “Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.”
3. By respecting them -
a. As noted in the introduction we live in a society where many parents are not respected.
b. Show respect in your mannerisms and speech – (Prov. 30:11, 17, Lev. 19:3, 32, Deut. 27:16). What are some ways we show respect for our parents?
i. We don’t talk back to or constantly argue with them.
ii. We don’t speak badly about our parents around our friends
iii. We listen to and consider their sound advice
iv. He/she will realize that they DO love you, even when they tell you to do things you don’t want to do, discipline you, etc.
We obey and honor them
even when they are not around.
Do you consider how you conduct will affect your parents? NOTE: One motivation behind obedience ought to be our respect for our parents. The attitude ought not to be, “If I do this, my parents will kill me”, but rather, “If I do this, it will kill (devastate) my parents.”
What about the
unfaithful parent or the abusive parent?
What about the parent that doesn’t deserve respect?
While what they have done was wrong and know that it will be
reconciled one day before God, BUT they are still your parents.
Would God expect any less of you to fulfill your obligations to
them than he would the way we are to treat our enemies? (Matt. 5:44)
The command to “honor father and mother” does NOT come with conditions attached.
4. By being grateful for what you have –
Gratitude is commanded
of every Christian in every circumstance, including parenting - Phil.
1 Tim. 6:6 - speaks of godliness with contentment. Do we express our appreciation for them enough?
Col. 3:15 says “Be thankful.” 1 Thess. 5:18, “In everything give thanks.”
b. Living in our prosperous society has raised a generation of children who are extremely self-centered and vain. Often times, the more a parent gives them the more they want and they mistreat their parents when they don’t’ get their way. Such is an absolute insult to God and a failure to honor your parents.
Honestly, most children
do not realize how much their parents actually provide for them.
All some children see is what they want and don’t have and are
bitter about it. But
consider that your parents provide:
Food, clothing and shelter (usually in abundance and comfort)
They pay the bills, insurance, fight for you at school (sometimes without your knowledge). And it is done out of love not expecting anything in return.
d. In 1974, Melba Montgomery wrote a song entitled, “No Charge”. It is a moving song about a little son who presented her a bill for various chores he had done. The mother turned the paper over and wrote on it some of the things she had done including carrying him for nine months, providing food, toys and various other things, for staying up all night worrying about him and many other things. She totaled up her bill – “No charge” and handed it back to the boy who read it and turned it over and wrote, “Paid in full.” That song drives home the point of gratitude for one’s parents.
e. What will mean more to your parents than anything is an expression of gratitude such as saying “thank you” or “I love you” and doing little things for them (without being asked).
5. By being willing to provide for them later in life if needed –
a. This is something no parent wants to happen, but it is a fact of life. As we grow old and frail, there may come a time when we need a little help in various ways.
b. One of the best ways to show love for your parents in later life is by being willing to provide for them and be there when they need you.
c. The Bible actually deals specifically with this.
i. Jesus dealt directly with this in Matt. 15: 1-6 Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for finding a “loophole” out of these obligations to provide for their parents. In so doing, Jesus said they had nullified the commandment of God.
ii. 1 Tim. 5:4, 8 – the text dealing with a man providing for his family is specifically directed toward needy widows which would certainly include, if not exclusively, his parents.
d. It is truly tragic when parents, in their later years, are carted off to a nursing home to be forgotten about by their children. Maybe the children pay the bills, but they are not there for them. How sad and lonely. Is this what God expects of us?
6. By serving God –
a. To godly parents there is NOTHING that will mean more to them than for you to obey the gospel and become a faithful Christian. I can’t help but think of the grief in a parent’s heart who has a child that has left the Lord. This is one of the great ways to show honor to your parents. And it will prepare you for eternity as well.
b. In this, I am not suggesting you obey the gospel just to please your parents. But if you do love them, you know that such is what they desire and you will pattern your life in such a way that you will be ready to obey the gospel for the right reasons.
c. Again note Prov. 23:24-25 says, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.”