Summary: Obeying our parents is a divine mandate.
Allow me to share a “wish list” of what parents wants to hear from their kids. Parents would love to hear their kids say, “Who cares if I don’t have a cell phone?” Or, “You can just forget about my allowance for this week. I will use my savings.” When there’s a new hi-tech toy in town, how they wish their kids would say, “No thanks. It’s too expensive.” After turning down a teenager’s request, parents would love to hear these words, “It’s okay. I understand.” When they’re home, isn’t it a pleasant surprise when they smile and say, “Bored? How could I be bored? I really enjoy chores.” Or, “I really like homework!”
Parents, you can stop pinching your kids.
Now, we have dreams for our children. There are times when we even end up pressuring them to fulfill our dreams. Proverbs 22:6 goes like this: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” The question is who determines the way our child should go? J. Vernon McGee wrote, “What [Proverbs] is saying is that God has a way He wants him to go, and parents are to find out that way. They are not to bring up a child in the way they think he should go, but in the way God wants him to go.” I think the best dreams for them are the ones God dreams for them. And I pray that our children will pursue those dreams.
This morning, we will talk about “Be the Child of Your Parent’s Dreams” in 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 a promise—‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’"
In the Greek, the word ‘children’ does not refer to a specific age group but “refers to any child still living in the home and under parental guidance.” But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook once you get married. Yes, the Bible says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife...” (Genesis 2:25a) The way we relate to our parents has changed when we got married. But, the relationship did not end at our wedding. To a certain extent, it still applies to us.
To make it easy for us to remember, I came up with the acronym O-B-E-Y.
First, OBEY your parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (v. 1) Note that it is a command. It is not optional. It is not a “take it or leave it” thing. James 4:7 says, “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.” What does it mean to obey? “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8) In other words, we are to obey what our parents would tell us to do. The Lord Jesus himself was submissive to Mary and Joseph. “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” (Luke 2:51)
And we are commanded not just the act of obeying but also the attitude of obeying. The apostle Paul quoted the fifth of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and mother...” (v. 2) “Honor” means “to prize highly or to show respect for.” When we obey our parents, we show our respect for them. When we obey our parents, we show that we value them. Charles Swindoll wrote, “Have you ever obeyed on the outside but on the inside called your mom or dad ugly names? Honoring goes deeper than grudgingly obeying; it means doing what you’re told—even if you don’t agree—with respect and love.” Note that Paul did not say respect your parents only when they are respectable. You respect them, period. No ifs, no buts. You hold them in the highest regard possible because “you do the right thing when you obey your parents.”
To honor also means “to care for.” We are to take care of our elders. The Bible says that “if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to serve God by taking care of her, as she once took care of them. This is what God wants them to do.” (1 Timothy 5:4) In fact, what we do to our elders we do unto God. “People who don’t take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn’t have faith in the Lord.” (v. 8) Brethren, let us take care of our elders.
Now the Bible gives the reason behind the command: “obey your parents in the Lord...” We BLESS the Lord through our parents. The Amplified Bible goes like this: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.” We honor God when we honor our parents. How can we say we respect God Whom we can’t see when we do not respect our parents whom we can see? Notice that a few verses below Paul wrote, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (v. 5) Let us ask ourselves, “If I obey the Lord the way I obey my parents, would He be happy with my obedience?”