Summary: A life of blessing is available to the one who honors and obeys his parents (#12 in The Christian Victor series)
“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 be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth”
In addressing the ever-growing problem in modern society, of children disrespecting their parents, asserting their own rights and aggressively rejecting their counsel and their authority, D. Martin Lloyd-Jones called it “…one of the most ugly manifestations of the sinfulness and the lawlessness of this present age”. “Life In The Spirit” Baker Books, 1973
He called it ‘ugly’, when a child is disrespectful and disobedient to parents; and a manifestation of the sinfulness and lawlessness of this present age.
The book I got that from was published in 1973, and it is a collection of Lloyd-Jones’ sermons on Ephesians. So I have to think that quite probably, he was writing and preaching these sermons in the 1960s, and that the things he was saying were a reaction to the unrest he was witnessing here in America, and even in England, where he preached them, at Westminster Chapel.
If indeed these were preached prior to the 60s, then I can only say that Dr. Lloyd-Jones must have been especially appalled at the direction things took, in the decade of rebellion against what the young generation labeled ‘the establishment’.
Common sense tells us, of course, that the average family unit did not dwell together in the relative peace and harmony portrayed on “Leave It To Beaver” prior to the coming of the flower child, and the drug culture, and the public protests against virtually every long-held cultural tradition in America.
But the 1960s were certainly a decade of upheaval that killed an age of innocence and taught an entire generation of young people to ‘never trust anyone over thirty’.
Well, time marches on, and those rebellious youth are now in their 50’s and early 60’s, and they have, many of them, raised up another generation with much the same attitudes, and that generation is now having children of their own.
Now I’m not a student of sociology or psychology. I don’t know what the stats are, and I don’t know what percentage of those who came out of the 60s drug culture have now changed their minds about the way they looked at things then.
I know I occasionally run into an aging hippie or two; people who are stuck in the 60s; but they are the minority… I hope… and all live in Telluride or Crested Butte.
No, I cannot intelligently address the sociological issues stemming from that period in our history. But I can point to the general condition of the average family home in America, and the path our nation has taken over the past half a century, and the things we see coming out of our institutions of education, and say that just like every other area of life on this earth, Satan has perverted, and continues to pervert, the child/parent relationship, in order to destroy the significance it has as a type of Christ and the church, and keep the family unit from being what God intends for it to be.
Lloyd-Jones called the rebellion of children ‘ugly’. Maybe so. But in response to that I would have to say that when we see examples of children who are well-behaved and obedient to their parents, treating them and other adults around them with respect, seeking their wisdom and counsel and wanting to order their lives in a pure and Godly way, they paint a very beautiful picture, indeed. And they are a great joy to have around.
So let’s get into our text verses now, Ephesians 6:1-4, and glean some nuggets.
IN THE LORD
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Paul turns from the wives and the husbands to the children, and admonishes them to obey. He does not use the word ’honor’ first, though that comes next; and he does not use words like ’respect’ or ’listen to’. He says obey.
More pointedly, he says to obey them ’in the Lord’. Now I’ve heard this verse treated in this way; that children should obey their parents as long as they are giving Godly instruction, or, ’in the Lord’, but if the parents are ’out of the Lord’, the child is not obligated.
That is bunk.
Not that a child should obey his parent if that parent takes him on a trip to the Grand Canyon and says, ’now jump’.
But to obey your parents in the Lord, is to render obedience to them as you would the Lord. In fact, it is to obey the Lord.
Jesus set the example for us, by coming to earth, to human parents, and obeying them in all things. Luke 2:41-52 Although He knew who He was and where He had come from, as is made clear by His question to them in the Temple, “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”, still, He subjected Himself to their authority and rendered obedience to them.