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God's Text to Children

Tom Pennington • Ephesians 6:1-3

  • 2010-07-11 AM
  • Ephesians
  • Sermons


Several years ago I heard a routine, as he described being on an airplane flight with a four year old boy named Jeffery. Perhaps you've heard it. Jeffery terrorized the entire flight. No one slept during this all night flight as he ran up and down the aisles. As the plane landed after that long ordeal, Jeffery finally went to sleep. It was the first time that he had ever seen grown people delight in poking Jeffrey as they walked by, exiting the plane. I tell that story because Jeffrey's younger brother was on one of my recent flights across the country. He and his mother were seated across the aisle from me – I was seated on the aisle – they were across the aisle and one row back. From the time they got on the plane until the time that we landed, little Jeffrey, or whatever his name was four or five years old in age, terrorized his mother and everyone who was sitting nearby. I knew it wasn't going to be a good flight when he started out beating on the airplane window with his fists and then with a series of harder and harder toys that he'd brought on with him. He screamed, he cried, he refused to be buckled during takeoff or landing even after the appeals of both his mother and the flight attendant. Dozens of times I saw him hit or kick his mother. Several times – between 5 and 10 times – I heard his mother rebuke him for biting her. And one time she said "look what you've done, you've even drawn blood this time." He threw things into other rows and seats. It got so bad – this is the first time I've ever seen this happen – it got so bad that the flight attendant took little Jeffrey or whatever and she got him to hold the other side of the trash bag as they walked up and down the aisles together and what was remarkable about that was the fasten seat belt light was on and we were in turbulence. I began to wonder what exactly the flight attendants intentions were toward little Jeffrey. But as I sat there, you know, after I got over my own frustration not being able to concentrate and do what I'd hoped to do during the flight. My heart went out to this mother. I wanted to help her; I wanted to tell her that God has a different plan, a different design. That God has a plan for children; that they are to obey and honor their parents. That's the message Paul had for the church in Ephesians in Ephesus. And that's where I invite you to turn there with me as we continue our study of this wonderful, wonderful letter.

Ephesians chapter 6 and I do want to call your attention to the fact that we are starting a new chapter today. Some of you who were a little skeptical that that would ever happen, uh, I, uh, actually plan to finish this book before the end of the year so um, we'll move on from there. It's a great journey. Chapter six is no different. It is incredibly rich and it begins with three verses addressed directly to children. Look at them with me. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise so that it may be well with you and that you may live long upon the Earth. Now remember the context here back in verse 21 of chapter 5 Paul introduced us to the whole issue of human authority. To be filled by the spirit to be under the influence of the spirit and the word of God is to have several effects take place in your life. One of the consequences of the spirit's presence in your life is to live in submission to human authority. Human authority is God ordained and we are to live under that authority when we are in fact filled by the spirit.

Beginning in verse 22 of chapter 5, Paul points out three examples of submission to human authority. He begins in verse 22 with wives to their husbands and then of course he gets to the husbands as well. When we come here to chapter 6 verses 1 through 4 he addresses children and their responsibility to their parents and of course verse 4 as we'll look at next week – fathers to their children. Then in chapter 6 verses 5 to 9 he addresses the response of slaves to their masters. In our context probably the closest thing is that of employer, employees to employers. So clearly then this entire section is about submission to human authority. In the passage we just read Paul get to the responsibility that children have to their parents. Notice he begins verse one by addressing the children directly. He says "children". By the way he does the same thing in Colossians, his letter to the church in Colossae. This was Paul's expectations in all the churches he planted. That when his letters were read there would be children present. This is certainly a reminder of the importance of teaching children the word of God. He assumed the entire letter would be read to the children would be instructed as the adults would be. And then he focuses on them in these three verses. It's also a reminder I think that children should attend the corporate worship of the church from the age that they're able to understand. Paul expected them to be there. Now obviously the age the child can do that varies I think with each child. And ultimately it is each parent's decision to make before the Lord. And so I wouldn't assume to intrude on that. I would encourage you however that probably it's younger than you'd think. By the time I was five, I was in church with my parents. For Shelia and me by the time our children were about four or five they were sitting with us in the corporate worship of the church in an hour and a half service out at Grace Community in Los Angeles. It's amazing what kids can pick up even at a young age and even if they're not picking everything up, it's being burned into their consciences that they are being responsible to gather with others and worship God their creator and hopefully their redeemer. We need to ensure that our children from a young age are part of the corporate worship and again parents you have to make that decision but weigh this carefully. Paul assumed that when his letter was read aloud in the church that met in Ephesus, children would be present. And so he addresses three verses directly to them. So kids listen up. Here's what Paul would say to you today if he were here in this place. And even more importantly he's speaking under the inspiration of the spirit of God. That means it's as if these words come to you from Jesus Christ himself. God spoke these words to you just as surely as if you heard his voice this morning. It is in the vernacular God's text message to you. But this text has ramifications that go beyond children as we will see as we work our way through it there are ramifications here that extend to adult children. And even if your parents have passed away as mine have by the time we're done you will see there are implications in this text even for you, in fact, for every Christian. So stay tuned.

If we were to reduce the heart of these three verses to a single statement it would be this: God demands that all children obey and honor their parents. God demands that all children obey and honor their parents. And to encourage them with this, this passage even includes some motivations to provide them with encouragement to do so. Well Paul begins and I want us to work our way through these verses, Paul begins with the two commands to children. The two commands to children, Paul's instruction comes in two parts. The first command comes in verse one: Children, obey your parents. Now we first need to establish who he's talking to here. What age children? Well they're obviously old enough to understand what's being said. So that's the bottom end. And yet in verse four they're still in the process of being brought up so they're in their formative years – old enough to understand the truth but still dependent on their parents – still living in their parents homes – dependent on the for food and shelter and so forth. Back in chapter five you remember in verse 31 Paul had already explained that when men and women leave the home specifically in the context of marriage their relationship to their parents radically changes. They leave father and mother and they are now dependent on and their primary loyalty is to their spouse. But before that happens, as long as a child lives in his parents' home, as long as he or she are under the legal authority of his parents, as long as a child is eating their parents food, sleeping under their roof, that child is responsible to obey.

John Staut who has written many wonderful things that we enjoy, I should give you one warning, I don't, I recommend all of his early works and later years he has embraced annihilationism he denies the eternality of hell, so beware of that. But much of his material is very good. Listen to what he writes: Law are custom in almost every society, recognizes at least a measure of independence for young people. Either when manhood or womanhood is reached or when they attain a certain age or when they leave home or when they marry. Christians should not defy the accepted convention of their own culture in this matter. As long as their regarded in their culture as children or minors they should continue to obey their parents. I think he's exactly right. In other words until you are practically and legally an adult as long as you are a dependent this text is for you. You must obey.

Now the Greek word for obey here is a is a compound word that is two words put together in the Greek text. Literally the word obey means to hear under. It's a lot like our opposite expression "listen up". Hear under. It means to do what you're told. It means to carry out someone's orders. In fact Paul uses this exact same word down in verse five, talking to salves about their response to their masters. Obey. It means to willingly follow the directives of someone who is over you in authority. And by the way, in the original language it's in the present tense. That means it's like Paul is saying "kids keep on obeying consistently, your parents."

Listen, those of you who fall in this category of children, God doesn't take this obedience to your parents lightly. In fact, if you really wanna know how important issue is to God, you have to go back to the Old Testament because when God was king of the nation of Israel there were national laws about obedience to parents. Look back in Exodus with me. Exodus 21. I want you to see how seriously God takes this. Exodus 21, verse 15. He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. Hit your parents God says you ought to die. Look at verse 17: He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. When God was king, he said, you curse your parents, you die.

Turn over to Deuteronomy and this same thing continues. Deuteronomy 21 –Verse 18: if any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother and when they chastise him he will not even listen to them then his father and mother shall seize him, bring him out to the elders at the city gateway of his home town and they shall say to the elders of the city – this son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard that all the men of his city shall stone him to death. So shall you remove the evil from your midst and all Israel will hear of it and fear. In Deuteronomy 27 verse 16 the people of God pronounce a curse on the one who dishonors his father or his mother. Now in case you think all of this is relegated to the Old Testament and to Old Testament Israel turn over to the New Testament and to Romans chapter 1. In Romans chapter 1 of course, Paul is making his case for the depravity of all human beings for the need for the gospel. And he, he gets to a list of sins when humanity, when mankind begins to sink to its lowest here's how it manifests itself, verse 28: and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, they exchanged him you remember for idolatry, God gave them over to a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper. Now what are the things that are not proper? What are the things that a depraved mind does? Notice its filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolate, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil and how did this get thrown in there? Disobedient to parents. It's in a pretty sorted list. That's how seriously God takes it but we're not done. Look down at verse 32. Although they know the ordinance of God they understand these things are wrong but that those practice such things are worthy of death. Stop there. Disobedience to parents in the mind of God deserves death. That's New Testament. They not only do this things, verse 32 says, but they give hearty approval to those practice them. Turn on any kid's television network and watch as kids laugh about being disobedient and dishonoring to their parents. They not only do the same they give hearty approval to those who do them. But understand this, from God's perspective disobedience to parents ranks right up there with murder and it is worthy of death. It is worthy of God's condemnation - His eternal condemnation.

So obeying parents is pretty important to God. And kids don't think that you're obeying simply because you finally consent in your time and in your way to what you're parents have asked you to do. Merely doing what your parents say is not obedience. Beneath, ex, external conformity there must be a willing heart that is the message of the Old Testament prophets, that's the message of Romans 6:17. True obedience comes from the heart. God wasn't happy when the children of Israel just did the external stuff. He says you're not obeying me. Obedience then means doing what you're parents tell you – yes. But it means doing it without delay; without arguing or excuses and with your whole heart. That's obedience. And if any one of those is missing then it's not real obedience. Doing what your parents say without delay, without arguing and excuses and with your whole heart. If you do what your parents tell you but you do what you want to do first – it's not obeying. If you do what your parents tell you but in the process of that you are arguing or making excuse for yourself – but I wanted to or I want to do this or I'm doing this first. Then that's not obeying. If you do what your parents tell you but you do it with a, a grudge, you do it hesitatingly, you do it as you're complaining and griping and on the way to do it, that's not obeying. That's disobedience. You have not willing from the heart submitted your will to your parents. And parents don't accept any less than that as obedience. Your children are only obeying you if they are doing what you tell them without delay, without arguing and excuses and with their whole heart. Anything less is disobedience. It is to God, why isn't it to kids?

Now, what exactly are children to obey? Turn over to Colossians chapter 3 in the parallel passage, Paul gives us very specifically what children are to obey. Colossians chapter 3 verse 20 and here just one verse is addressed to children. He says "children, be obedient to your parents in all things, in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord." In all things, couldn't be more inclusive than that could it? What's left out of in all things? You say well, are there any exceptions? Yeah, there are two exceptions. The same two exceptions granted to everyone who's under someone's authority – whether its parental authority, church authority, governmental authority, employer, it's always the same two. Acts 4, Acts 5. If the authority commands you to do what God forbids or the authority forbids you from doing what God commands. In other words, if your authority – if your parents tell you, kids, to do something that is clearly, patently, chapter and verse, contrary to the scripture then you don't have to do that. Your first allegiance must be to God. Except for that you must obey them in all things. Now, you've heard that all your life. Your parents have taught you that. But what are the real struggles? What are the primary areas in which this is a problem for most kids? Well let me start with those of you who are younger. You haven't reached the teen years yet. For younger kids it, it usually comes in simpler ways – this struggle with obedience to parents. It comes when it's time to come in from playing. Come on in, it's time to do your homework. When it's time to get ready for bed. When it's time to turn off the video game or the television. When it's time to clean your room. When you're told to eat a certain kind of food, your vegetables, your broccoli, whatever it is. And those seem like little things, don't they? I mean none of that seems really important in the scope of life. But when it comes to obedience there are no little issues with God. Disobedience to parents is a big thing regardless of how little the issue may be -- even if it's broccoli. Remember what Paul said in Romans chapter 1? Disobedience to parents is worthy of what? Death. It's not a little thing. It matters to God. When you disobey your parents, kids, one time over any of those issues, Paul said "you are worthy of eternal punishment". That's his point.

What about for older kids? Well for tweens and teens and beyond. Here the primary temptations for disobedience get bigger. Becomes issues like hairstyles, clothing choices including for girls whether it's modest or not. For you girls it becomes make up, eventually becomes the choice of friends, who you hang out with, where you go, the kind of entertainment you participate in such as music and movies. Another big potential problem area for obedience in this age is dating. The whole issue of dating. Do you date? When you d you start dating? With whom? Where do you go? How long will you be gone? When will you get home? Electronics can be another big issue, cell phones and texting. How you use your computer and where. What you do on Facebook. Who you text and what you text.

Listen kids, God expects you to obey your parents in all those things. And can I say he doesn't care whether or not you agree with him. He doesn't care whether or not all of your friends' parents are doing something different. None of that's here in this text. Did you see any of that? He doesn't care. He expects you to obey your parents in all things. And understand this: the measure of your obedience is not when you do what your parents tell you and you want to do it. That's not the measure of your obedience. It's like, ya know, I tell my kids, not that this ever happens but if I were to say to my kids "ok I want all of you to stop doing what you're doing right this moment put it down, go immediately and get in the car because we're gonna go to Krispy Kreme." All of a sudden there's full and complete obedience. Yes, dad! May you live forever! And they run to the van buckle their little seat belts and they're happy and joyful to obey Dad. No, that's not obedience, they not be obeying at all. They're simply doing what they want to do. Obedience kids is when you don't want to do what you're parents want you to do. That's the measure of whether or not you have an obedient heart. Obey your parents.

There's a second part of Paul's command to children. Verse 2, honor your father and mother. Honor your father and mother. You notice it's in all caps in the New American Standard Version. Paul is quoting from the Old Testament; specifically he's quoting from the Greek translation of the Hebrewal Testament that was done just before the time of Christ called the Septuagint. From Exodus chapter 20 verse 12: It's one of the Ten Commandments. It's the fifth of the Ten Commandments. Honor your father and mother. The word honor simply means to count as valuable, to revere to respect to ascribe worth. To honor them implies a love for them it implies that you regard them highly. There's a spirit of respect. Honor. You say well how can I honor my parents? What does this look like in real life? First of all if you're still in their home, you're still one of their dependents you can honor them, verse 1, by obeying them. And you remember the passages we read in the Old Testament? You can honor them by being careful how you speak to them and about them. Don't speak of them. Don't curse them. And when you speak to them make sure your words and tone are respectful. You say how do I know if that's true? Ask yourself if you're speaking any different to your parents than you would speak to the person you respect most.

Don't strike them. Listen to their counsel. The Proverbs are filled with commands. Listen to your parents advice, they know more than you know. They really do know more than you know. When I was growing up we had a plaque on - we had a large family most of you know this there were 5 boys, 5 girls. We had a little tiny house with about 900 square feet. And adjacent to it was an extra building, an out building that was affectionately known as the boy's room. It's kind of a dorm for a lack of a better description. And on the wall, the cinderblock wall of that room there was a little sign, I haven't forgot that says "why can't all of life's problems hit us in youth, when we know everything?" kids I hate to tell you this. You don't know everything. You wanna honor your parents? Shut up and listen. Don't despise their discipline. Hebrews 12 says we had Earthly parents who disciplined us and we respected them. You can honor your parents by respecting them even when they're correcting you and discipline you. And for all of us here who may have living parents, regardless of what your age is you can honor your parents and you must honor your parents by caring for them in old age. Jesus makes that clear in Mark 7 when he gets on to the Pharisees for their work around where they put a system together where people don't have to support their parents and he ---- them for it. And in first Timothy 5 Paul says let children and grandchildren learn to take care of their parents and their mother s in that case and their grandmothers and if someone fails to do this he's worse than an unbelievers. So you can honor your parents by taking care of them in old age.

Ever child then needs to obey and honor his parents. Those are the two commands to children. Secondly, briefly, notice the proper attitude of children. The proper children for children. Look at verse one because there's a phrase that sandwiched there that is foundational to understanding Paul's' main point here. It's the little phrase in the Lord. Now, anywhere in Ephesians the word Lord occurs it refers to Christ. So he's talking about Christ here: In the Lord. Now that prepositional phrase does not modify the word parents. In other words, it doesn't mean that you only have to obey your parents if they are in the Lord, i.e. if they're Christians – that's not what he's saying. That phrase modifies the word obey. In other words you are to ob - obey because of the Lord. That little prepositional phrase, that tiny prepositional phrase has two huge implications. It means first of all that you should obey your parents as if Christ were your parents. This is very similar to the expression Paul uses with wives back in verse 22 of chapter 5: be subject to your own husbands how? As to Christ. As if your husband were Christ. It's also similar to what he tells slaves down in verse 5 of this chapter. Be obedient to your masters as to Christ. That's exactly what he's saying to you, kids. He's saying you are not to obey your parents because they're bigger than you are. You're not to obey them because their older and wiser. You're not obeying them because they have a superior authority over you only, although all those things are true. You're not even supposed to obey them simply because they hold the cash and the car keys that you desperately want. You are to obey your parents as a part of your Christian discipleship as to Christ. You see your relationship toy our parents presents you a very practical way to demonstrate your love and affection and obedience to Jesus Christ.

Let me just ask you pointedly. Do you consistently do what your parents tell you without delay, without arguing and excuses and with your whole heart? If not, you are not obeying your parents and that means according to Paul you are not obeying Jesus Christ. You say www well a minute, wait a minute. Let's not go there yet. My parents are unreasonable. Ok, I know that happens. Parents are sinners. We're imperfect. But how do you think you ended up in that family? God put you in that family. And the same God who put you with your parents is the same God who tells you here to obey them. You say well yeah but wait a minute you don't know my parents, they're unbelievers. And I know that's true in some cases in this church. You say how can you honor a dad who is a drunk? Who is unfaithful to his wife? Who is always angry at us and with mom? Or you say my parents aren't unbelievers they're Christians or at least they claim to be, but they're hypocrites. I see how they act at church; I see how they act at home. They're just not worthy of honor. Listen, the no exception clause is granted here. You have to honor your parents whether they are no deserving of honor or not because they are in the position of authority and God has placed them there. In addition to that I would say this usually every person whatever their sins might be has traits and qualities that can be honored. So stop focusing all of your attention on those dishonoring traits and start focusing on the ones you can honor. But regardless you're to honor. You see, you must obey and honor your parents not because of who they are not, not because of their character but because of your Lord. God can deal with your parents. He's big enough to do that. You must obey them as if they were Christ. Not only there's another little implication to this phrase in the Lord. Not only should you obey them as if they were Christ but also because they are Christ's authorized representatives.

Ya know, Christians have historically divided up the Ten Commandments into two tables. And that's right. They say the first four commandments summarize our duty to man and the last six summarize or excuse me, the first four summarize our duty to God, the last six summarize our duty to man. Jewish scholars have also divided up the Ten Commandments into two tables but Jewish scholars have divided them up into five and five. Now why is that significant? Because it puts the fifth commandment about parents in the first table. That means it connects honoring parents not without duty to man but with our duty to God. Because parents are God's representatives, authority, human authority is Gods' representative on Earth. And therefore obeying them, honoring them is ultimately our response to God.

For many years when our kids were younger, Shelia and I when we need to go out for the evening or have a date or go to a meeting or whatever, we would get a babysitter, as many of you've done. Before we left each evening, when we had a babysitter, it was my joyful and happy duty to give what my kids have affectionately termed "the speech". My kids can probably recite it verbatim to this day. Part of the speech was filled with those things that all parents feel are obligatory to tell their kids and which kids seems to ignore at least until they reach adulthood. Things like ok now while we're gone, be kind to each other. You have to say that. And take a bath and remember to use soap. Make sure you clean up after yourselves. We don't wanna come home to a mess. You take something you put it away before you get the next thing out. And don't forget to take the dog out. Now, I'm not sure that my kids really ever heard that first part of the speech but there was one part of my speech that they listened to consistently. I explained to the kids for the hundredth time that they were to obey the babysitter as if the babysitter was us. Now the reason they usually listen to this part was out of experience. Bad experience because on more than one occasion I had disciplined one or more of them for how they had responded to the babysitter. Why? Because Shelia and I had made that teenage babysitter our representative and the way they treated her was really the way they were treating us. What I want you kids to see if that's it's really no different with God and parents. God has put you in your parents' home under the authority of your parents. Their authority is a divinely delegated authority and they will answer to God how they use that authority. But you are to obey them because they are his representatives in your home to obey or to dishonor them is to obey and dishonor the one they represent – cough. A first step in fact in learning to obey God's authority in your life is learning to obey the authorities he's placed in your home – your mom and your dad. So we examined the first two commands or the two commands to children. We've examined the proper attitude for children.

Paul's final point is the motivations for children. In this same passage Paul gives motivations for obeying and honoring. There's several of them, we've already seen one of them in the first verse. Because of your relationship to the Lord – obey in the Lord. The second motivation is because of what we could call natural law. Notice how he says in verse one for its right. It's just right. Obedience to parents corresponds to God's eternal standard – it's the way he designed the world. It has almost been universally understood and taught in all times of human history and in all places that children should obey their parents. It was true in the first century Greco Roman world. Recognizing and following parental authority is essential for a stable society. So why is this so universally understood to be right? Well we've seen it before in Romans 2, it's because God, Romans 2 says has written the substance of his law on every human heart. Every human heart understands certain things to be true and one of them is kids ought to obey their parents. It's right. There's another reason that's not in this text but we saw in Colossians 3 verse 20; because it pleases God. Remember there he didn't say because its right he says children obey your parents for this is well pleasing to the Lord. It pleases God for you to do this.

A fourth motivation for obeying and honoring your parents is because of God's command. Here in Ephesians chapter 6 verse 2 he quotes a commandment he refers to it as a commandment. This isn't optional. God commands this of you. But the real motivation here isn't any of those things. The real motivation comes to us in verse three. It's because of God's promise. Because of God's promise. Verse 2 says that this fifth commandment is the first of all those chapters of commands in Exodus that came with a promise attached. Verse 3, details the promise. So that it may be well with you. In other words that you may experience God's blessing. And that you may live long on the Earth. Live long, that you'll recognize the two parts of this Greek word: literally it's marco cronos. Marco, time, long time on the Earth, here in the world. Now in the Old Testament context this command was given - it was a promise to Israelites that they would live long in the land of Israel that God was giving to them. But as Paul quotes the fifth commandment he omits the last phrase from Exodus 20, the phrase: the land which the Lord your God gives you. And that's because under inspiration he is lifting this promise out of its specific Israelite application and he's making it applicable to us. It's a promise of long life to us if we honor our parents and by the way the pronouns in verse 3 are all singular. Paul is applying this individually to you, to you, to you and to you. Now this is not an iron clad guarantee that if you honor your parents you're going to live a long time. There are godly people who die young. There are wicked people who live to extreme old age. But it generally true - as Hodge says this is a revelation of the general purpose of God - the usual course of his providence. Why? Well think about it. A child who listens to his parents avoids a lot of potential dangers in life. Proverbs 30 verse 17 says the eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother the ravens of the valley will pick it out and the young eagles will eat it. You know what that Proverb is saying? If you're a rebellious child you're gonna get yourself in a lot of trouble and end up getting yourself killed and the birds will be pickin' on your dead body. That's what he's saying. And by obeying you avoid some of those dangers in life. Often a child who obeys will avoids friends and habits that can ruin their lives and bring them to a quick end. Proverbs 4 verse 10, hear my son and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. If you'll just listen to me. A child who obeys also develops other habits and qualities that promote long life like fearing God. Proverbs 10:27 the fear of the Lord prolongs life but the years of the wicked will be short. William Hendrickson sort of ties it all together when he says: "Obedience or disobedience to parents is not the only factor that determines a person's span of life but it is an important factor. Disobedience to godly parents indicates an undisciplined life. It leads to vice and dissipation which in turn all of the things being equal shortens life." And even if a wicked man lives a long life it's not going to be well with him. So those are the motivations. So kids you are to obey and honor your parents.

Well let me broaden it as we finish our time together, very briefly. There are lessons here for all of us. Two important lessons. First of all this passage shows us what our response to God should be. Earlier in the book of Ephesians, remember back in chapter 1 verse 5 Paul said we were predestined to adoption as what? Sons - Sons and daughters. All of us are sons and daughters of God. In chapter 2 verse 19 we are told we're now part of God's family – Gods' household. God is our father and we are his children. This text tells us how we ought to respond to our heavenly father - our new father. We are to obey and honor Him as the children he loves. Everything this passage teaches our children it teaches us about how we ought to respond to God. We ought to obey Him in everything. We ought to honor him in our thoughts.

But there's second lesson for all of us here. And it's really the deeper and more profound one. There is a profound lesson in this text about human sin and the need for the gospel. For all of us this passage is a reminder of why we need Jesus Christ, why we need the gospel. Let me just ask you: is there anybody here that can raise your hand and say "I perfectly honored and obeyed my parents in my actions and in my thoughts and in my words." Not a single hand can legitimately be raised because we all broke this command. You know you did. I know I did. Oh, largely I conformed because you just didn't disobey in my family outwardly and visibly without getting in trouble, but not in my heart. We have failed and every time back in Romans 1, every time we have been disobedient to parents, every time we've broken just this basic command. Every time we deserve God's eternal wrath so we desperately needed someone to bear the guilt of our disobedience and of our lack of respect for parents. Moreover, we needed somebody to perfectly obey so that his perfect obedience could be credited to us. That's what Jesus did. That's why he didn't just come down for the weekend and die. That's why he lived a life of 33 years. That's why he was born as a child and grew up through adolescence into young manhood so he could do that during his years of childhood and youth Jesus never failed to perfectly obey his parents. Luke 2:51 says after the episode there in Jerusalem at the temple he went down with them, this is at 12 years old. And he came to Nazareth and he continued in subjection to them. Now, think about that for a moment. Ya ever thought about Jesus obeying and honoring his parents? He really was smarter than they were. He really was more spiritual than they were. At 12 years old he was already more knowledgeable than they were. And yet he submitted himself and obeyed his parents, even at the point of his gravest suffering on the cross, he takes care of his mother. He honors his mother by making sure she's cared for. He never ignored his parents counsel. He never tuned out their input. He never displayed a foul attitude. He never spoke a disrespectful word. He never harbored a disrespectful thought. He never did what his parents told him with a sour spirit and a grumbling heart. He never joked about his parents to his friends. He never complained about them. He never ridiculed them for their weaknesses and faults. He did everything just right. He lived the life you should have lived. I should have lived. We not only need Jesus to pay the price for our dishonor and our disrespect and our disobedience but we desperately needed his perfect respect and his perfect obedience to be credited to us. And that's exactly what happened at the cross. Kids, that's why you need Jesus because if you never committed another kind of sins your whole life just the disobedience you've extended to your parents makes you worthy of eternal hell. You need Christ. Teenagers that's why you need a savior. Even if you never did anything else but how you treated and thought about your parents. Every person here this morning is guilty enough to be worthy of eternal death solely based on this one, simple command. So in this passage is a powerful reminder of why we need Jesus Christ and why we need the gospel. Because he suffered in our place and his perfect obedience was credited to us.

Let's pray together. Father, thank you for your word. We always find ourselves sitting at your feet as it were. Listening to your truth. Amazed at your wisdom. Father thank you for this straight forward passage addressed to children. And even for what we can learn from it, all of us. Father I pray that our children would learn just how important this is to you. May they never see a single thought or act of disobedience or dishonor as a little thing. May they realize that just one time is enough to make them worthy of eternal judgment. And Lord may they fall on their faces seeking forgiveness found in Christ. Lord, for those who are in Christ, help them to obey this command to take their parents seriously because they represent Christ in the home. Father, I pray for all of us that you would help us to understand the reality that this is how we ought to respond to you as our Father. And moreover, Lord, I pray that you'd help us to develop a fresh appreciation for the gospel because even as we teach our children to obey and honor we're reminded that we did so so poorly and so ineffectively and are so deserving of your wrath. But we thank you oh God for your mercy in Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.