Summary: To stress the necessity of a child’s honoring his/her parents and the necessity of parents living a life worthy of honor.

The 10 Commandments #5:

Make Family a Priority

Text: Exodus 20:12

Thesis: To stress the necessity of a child’s honoring his/her parents and the necessity of

parents living a life worthy of honor.


(1) America’s ambassador to Japan, Douglas MacArthur II, served as Counselor of the State Department under John Foster Dulles. Like Dulles, MacArthur was a hard worker. Once when Dulles telephoned the MacArthur home asking for Douglas, Mrs. MacArthur mistook him for an aide and snapped irately, “MacArthur is where MacArthur always is, weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and nights – in that office!” Within minutes, MacArthur got a telephone order from Dulles: “Go home at once, boy. Your home front is crumbling.”

(2) Curtis Jones said, “There is a crisis in America as crucial as civil rights, dangerous as bureaucracy, insidious as communism, unpredictable as politics, uncontrollable as inflation. It is the erosion of the home.”

(3) “At the pivot point between the obligations of loving God and loving one’s neighbor stands the commandment about family integrity” (R. Shelly, Written in Stone 104).


I. Principles of Honor:

A. An Entitled Right –

1. It is a sin to disrespect our parents (Rom. 1:30; 2 Tim. 3:2).

a. This was the first command with promise (cf. Exod. 6:2-3).

b. That is partly because in Exodus 21:15, 17, those who attacked or cursed their parents were put to death.

2. We are to “show respect for the elderly” (Lev. 19:32).

3. “God wants us to honor parents because they are representatives of him” (R. Atchley, Sinai Summit 104).

B. A Social Matter –

1. “Deuteronomy 21 makes it clear that in Bible times people regarded disrespectful and rebellious children as a problem for the whole society, a problem the whole society must address” (Atchley 106).

2. As the home goes, so goes the nation.

II. Practice of Honor:

- Barbara Bush once said: “Success does not depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house.”

A. Respect Their Role –

1. The “Hebrews felt to honor people is to respect them as people who carry a great deal of weight in your life” (Atchley 106).

2. Parents are appointed by God to be our teaches and guide (Psa. 78:5-7).

B. Value Their Advice –

1. Consider:

a. Prov. 13:1 – A wise son heeds his father’s instruction

b. Col. 3:20 – Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord

c. Eph. 6:1 – Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you” (Living Bible)

2. A teenager once wrote this letter to Ann Landers:

“I am a 15 year old and my biggest problem is my mother. All she does is nag, nag, nag. From morning till night. It is, turn off the TV. Do your homework. Wash behind your neck. Stand up straight. Go clean your room. How can I get her off my case?” (signed) Pick, Pick, Pick.

The response:

“Dear Picky: Turn off the TV. Do your homework. Wash behind your neck. Stand up straight. Go clean up your room.”

C. Meet Their Needs –

1. Prov. 19:26 – “He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace”

2. 1 Tim. 5:4 – Put religion into practice by caring for your own family

D. Affirm Their Efforts

- Prov. 23:22 – “When your mother is old, show her your appreciation” (TEV)

E. Forgive Their Failings

III. A Word to Parents: Be Honorable

A. 1 Thess. 2:11-12 – A father is deal with his children by encouraging, comforting, and urging them to live lives worthy of God

B. Deut. 6:6,7 – Continually talk to them about God

C. “Love, someone said, is best spelled T-I-M-E” (R. Mehl, The Ten(der) Commandments 134).

D. James Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson, often told a story about a day when he was a boy that his dad took him fishing. He always remembered the things he and his dad talked about, all the lessons his dad taught, and the wisdom he passed on. That single day profoundly impacted the rest of his life. Years later, someone found the journal that Boswell’s father kept and thought it would be interesting to look up that very influential day. There was only one sentence in the father’s diary that day, and it said, “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”


- Value Family

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