Summary: "Honour thy father and thy mother". Prominence, position, purpose, punishment, performance.


*This is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached to it - "that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee".

*Widespread breaking of it is a sign of the last days according to 2 Timothy 3 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be...disobedient to parents".

*The fifth commandment is a strong rebuke to homosexuality. Note carefully the wording - "thy father and thy mother". It does not say "thy father and thy father" or "thy mother and thy mother".

*It is also a rebuke to those who support euthanasia.

A shot of potassium chloride is not honouring your parents, it is dishonouring them.

*How do children break this commandment? Let me make a few suggestions. Not going to church with their parents. Going to places parents don’t approve of. Wearing clothes which parents don’t approve of. Keeping late hours. The list goes on.


The fifth commandment occurs twice in the Old Testament and six times in the New Testament - Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Matthew 15:4, 19:19, Mark 7:10, 10:19, Luke 18:20 and Ephesians 6:2.


Why is it at the start of the second group? It comes before commandments that seem to be more important e.g. "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery". Why is this?

Because it applies to us all. Not everyone has a husband or wife but everyone has parents.

We should also remember that the time will come when our parents will die. We will then no longer have the opportunity to honour them.


What is the purpose of the fifth commandment? To teach children to honour their parents. But there is an underlying purpose - respect for authority. The home is a child’s first encounter with authority. They must respect their parents before they will respect schoolteachers, policemen, ministers and ultimately God Himself. Lack of respect for authority is epidemic in society. Whose fault is it? Parents. They have failed to teach their offspring to respect authority.


In scripture, there were very severe consequences for anyone who broke this commandment. Capital punishment.

Leviticus 20:9 "Every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him".

There is still ’death’ today for those who transgress. Spiritual death. Eternal death.


Only one Person in all of history kept the fifth commandment perfectly. Jesus Christ. Luke 2:51 "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them". All of us have broken it at least once, probably many times.

Think in closing about how Christ was obedient to His heavenly Father - Philippians 2:8 "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross".

In peace shall I resign my breath,

And my Salvation see;

My sins deserve eternal death,

But Jesus died for me.

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