Summary: Eph 5:21 says "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." Paul's second example of this is the realtionship between children and parents.
RELATIONSHIPS – CHILDREN AND PARENTS
Maybe you heard the story about the three young husbands in a hospital waiting room waiting for their wives to give birth. The nurse came in and said to the first father, "Congratulations. Your wife just gave birth to twins!" The father jumped for joy and said, "This is an incredible coincidence - because I work for the Minnesota Twins!" A few minutes later, the nurse came in and told the second father, "Congratulations! Your wife just gave birth to triplets!" The second father jumped for joy and said, "This is an incredible coincidence - because I work for 3M!" When the third father heard this he shouted "Oh no!" and fainted. The nurse tended to him and when he revived, she asked, "What’s wrong?" He replied, "I WORK FOR 7UP!"
Children are a treasure from the Lord. They are also an awesome responsibility. They are not a short-term loan, they are a long-term investment! As parents we have been given the responsibility to raise our children and encourage them in their own relationship with Christ. As one author wrote “Children are not things to be molded but are people to be unfolded.”
Over the years many people have offered suggestions on how to be a good parent. Mark Twain suggested: When a kid turns thirteen, stick him in a barrel, nail the lid on top, and feed him through the knot hole. When he turns sixteen -- plug up the knot hole. I think the Bible provides a far better model for parenting:
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.
1. Instruction for Children - (vs. 1-3) honoring your parents
In 1978, Thomas Hansen of Boulder Colorado, sued his parents for $350,000 on grounds of “malpractice of parenting.” He charged in his suit that his mother and father had botched his upbringing so badly, that he would need years of costly psychiatric treatment.
In researching this message I read so many alarming statistics about the state of the family today. Things have changed dramatically over the last 40 years. I do not want to dwell on the challenges today but rather on what God says about how to have a better relationship with your child.
The word for obey here is the word HUPOAKOUO which comes from HUPO which means BY or and AKOUO which means to HEAR. Together they mean to listen attentively. The picture is of a porter waiting – ready to answer when there is a knock at the door. Is that an accurate picture of your child, waiting to respond to you the moment you speak?
The word honor is the Greek word TIMAO which means to value or set at a high price. It comes from a root word which means “to pay”. Honoring your parents goes beyond just doing what they say which is obedience. It deals not only with outward behavior but also with inward attitude. Honoring means that you hold your parents in high regard.
Children need to understand that their parents are sinful people who make mistakes just like everyone else. In spite of their weaknesses children are told to obey and honor their parents. Holding your parents in high regard involves 2 attitudes:
A. Respect - children usually go through four stages in learning to respect their parents:
i. They Idolize them - They can do anything
ii. They Demonize them - they blame them for all their troubles.
iii. They Utilize them - "Dad, can I have the keys?" "Mom, what’s for dinner?"
iv. They Humanize them – They are not gods or devils. They are human, just like you.
Obedience flows from respect. To honor your parents means that you respect them. It means that you value them as a person. Do you recognize that your parents love you? Take a good look at your parents and think of what their good points are. Recognize also that your parents are human and that they will make mistakes but they are who and what God has given you.
B. Trust - parents are entrusted with protecting their kids from making bad mistakes.
Obedience flows from trust. Do you trust them to make the right decisions for you? Do you believe that your parents have your best interests at heart? Are there times in your life that, if you had followed your parents advice, you would have been saved some heartache?