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Message 21: Honor and Healing at Home
Ephesians 5:21 (CSB)
21 submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
Ephesians 6:1–4 (CSB)
6 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, 3 so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land.,, 4 Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Introduction: Where is the Kingdom of God most often practiced?
- Maybe we think that the most important place to practice the truths of Scripture is at Church or the mission’s field.
- It’s easy for us to separate our lives between what we think is holy and secular.
- Work is secular, church is holy.
- But this is a false dichotomy (a false separation).
- Paul begins his closing of this letter by telling the Ephesian believers that the places where we are to practice the glorious truths of Jesus are at Home and in Community.
- Where do we spend the overwhelming part of our day?
- At work and with family.
- And nobody can test the Jesus in us like our spouse, our kids, or our coworkers.
- The intensity of these relationships are PERFECT places for Kingdom work.
- The sign of Christian maturity is not how we act at Church but how treat our most intimate relationships.
- We walk worthy of our calling when we are loving well those God has put in our life.
- Preface: Today is an example of Preaching as Spiritual Warfare.
- The goal of today’s message isn’t necessarily to give you principals to make your children obey.
- I feel that today’s preaching functions as spiritual warfare.
- Meaning, as we read and declare what Scripture says about the family and relationships, I’m hoping we will see breakthrough, healing, victory, and resolution.
Because I believe the Gospel is life-giving, I’m praying that today’s message brings life to us all today.
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord.
- The family is dependent upon 3 pillars.
- The individual’s relationship with God.
- The relationship of spouses to each other.
- Lastly, the relationship of children to their parents.
- Paul teaches that we all are to practice mutual submission.
- One of the ways families can get off track is through unhealthy and unbiblical relationships between parents and children.
- I’m not talking about illegal or immoral relationships.
- What is in view here are relationships where children are not in submission or obedience to their parents.
- This is especially evident in households where the child is the boss, and the parents are submissive to the children.
- This happens for many reasons, but I want to point us to the blessing that comes when this most important relationship is in right alignment.
- We think we are doing our kids a favor by making them the center, but instead we are robbing them of God’s promises and blessing.
- Children obey your parents in the Lord because this is right.
- Kids and teens: honoring the people raising you is part of your discipleship process.
- Obeying parents “…was to be a part of the young person’s walk with God.”
- How do you learn to follow Jesus?
- Ideally, it’s by following your parents.
- I know this is imperfect.
- Some parents are really bad people.
- Some parents do not do what is right.
- If you are in an abusive relationship, that is not what the Apostle Paul is talking about.
- He is not telling you to take the next beating.
- He is not telling kids to justify abuse.
- What is in view are the simpler things, when your mom, dad, or grandparent raising you, asks you to do something, and you refuse to do it.
- Or bad-mouthing your parent.
- Why should kids and teens obey their parents?
- First, Because it is the right thing to do.
- Practicing what is right when you are young helps you to do what is right when you are an adult.
- Obeying parents is part of God’s design for humanity.
- This is not a flaw.
- Obedience or submission is not a result of sin.
- Jesus, himself was submissive and obedient to His earthly family, demonstrating the importance.
- Second, obey because it is a commandment.
- Engrained in the Law of God is the command, “children honor your father and mother…”
- Just like we are not to murder, or lie, or have idols, we are to honor our parents.
- How often do we expect God to BLESS us even when we are walking in open disobedience and rebellion?
- Third, this commandment has a promised blessing.
- If we honor our parents, our lives are improved and better.
- For the Israelites, the promise was that they would be blessed with a long life in the Promised Land.
- The reverse is also true: If the children refused to honor their parents, their days in the land would be shortened.
- Dishonor brings a curse.
- This applies to every relationship.
- Dishonor your spouse, bring a curse.
- Dishonor your coworkers, curse.
- Dishonor spiritual authority, curse.
- How much of our cultural problems today stem from the fragrant disobedience of this commandment to honor father and mother?
- When small children look at their school teacher and say, “you’re not my boss…” it means they are used to being the boss.
- When a young driver can look at a police officer or judge and have no respect for authority, it means they have no respect at home.
- One commentator writes:
“… the strength of family life, and the training of children to habits of order and obedience, were the means and the marks of the stability of a community or nation. When the bonds of family life break up, when respect for parents fails, the community becomes decadent and will not live long.”
2. Not just for little kids.
- Paul told children to obey, and the commandant says for us to “honor our father and mother.”
- The command to honor parents, as we have seen, covers adult children as well as young children. Younger children were to obey, and older children were to respect and care for their aging parents.
- The commandment to honor our father and mother may be harder when we are adults than when we were kids.
- Honoring aging parents is a hard thing.
- For all of you in this room who cared for aging parents or are presently caring for aging parents, thank you for honoring them so well.
- The Hard Part: One of the greatest challenges for adult Christians is forgiving our parents.
- How can you honor someone who was mean, wrong, or evil.
- I feel as if this is an important step for some of us in this room.
- Growing up, your parents did not do you right.
- The abuse or abandonment you experienced as a child was not your fault.
- You didn’t understand that when you were younger.
- But now, you are recognizing this, but you don’t know what to do with it.
- We will talk about that more in just a minute because of its connection to the next part of this passage.
3. The parents’ role in “honor your father and mother.”
- Look at what Paul says to the father:
4 Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
- In Paul’s world, this was a radical statement.
- Just as men had no requirement to love their wives in the Roman world, fathers had no requirement not to anger their children.
- In fact, fathers had unlimited authority over their households:
Both in the Roman and the Jewish worlds fathers wielded unlimited authority—even life-and-death power—over their children. While Roman social codes centered around that aspect of patriarchal power over children, Paul here reverses the norm and focuses on the obligation of fathers to rule lovingly and to raise up their children rather than beating them down
- What Paul proposes is revolutionary.
- Fathers, love your children.
- Do not promote their anger.
- But instead, teach and instruct them in the Lord.
- The word for “bring them up” is the same word Paul used to tell husbands to “nourish” their wives as their own body.
- In other words, All men have a calling to steward those around them so that others grow and prosper.
- This stems all the way back to God’s instructions to Adam to care for the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15).
- We have an incredible calling to build up other people, but too often we tear them down.
- For many of us, this doesn’t feel natural.
- But that isn’t because of how God created us, but because of what sin did to us.
- Sin placed us in a position where we do not want to be mutually submissive, or loving, or obedient.
- One of the most important ways we build up our families and those around us is through the proximity of relationships.
- Too often, we focus on the stick instead of the carrot.
- Dr. James Dobson said, “Discipline, without relationship, breeds rebellion.”
- Correction, without love, breeds resentment.
- This is why Paul tells fathers to bring up their children in training and instruction.
- The word “instruction” in Greek is negative and refers to the warning side of raising children: It’s the correction side.
- The word for “training” in Greek is the positive side, referring to the process of leading someone to maturity.
- Together, this picture shows a picture of a father caring for his children so that they are well-rounded and mature.
- The biblical goal of parenting is a mutually rewarding relationship.
- Children obey and honor.
- Parents instruct and nurture.
- Then, in adulthood, both can enjoy the relationship.
4. But what if it’s too late?
- Perhaps this sermon is painful or becoming painful.
- Perhaps you are thinking:
- I wasn’t a Christian when I was raising my children. How can I fix this?
- My parent(s) really hurt me. What should I do?
- I didn’t have a good role model and see myself raising my kids like my parents modeled. Help!
- First of all, can we take just a moment and sit with these questions in the presence of Holy Spirit?
- Jesus, you never waste a hurt.
- Bring hope in the midst of our story.
- Lead us to your presence, and to healing.
- I want to share some hope with you from Scripture:
- First, There is hope because, in the last days, God has started a work that is restoring families.
- Malachi 4:5–6a (CSB)
5 Look, I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.
- If your heart is far from your kids, or the hearts of your kids are far from you, we are praying that this prophecy will be fulfilled in your life.
- Second, no matter who raised us, the Heavenly Father is the perfect Father and role-model.
- Matthew 7:11 (CSB)
11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him.
- Our raising has a tremendous influence in our lives.
- How our parents raise us, for good or evil, affect us.
- The way we raise our kids, birth-kids, adopted- kids, foster kids, or spiritual kids, matters.
- Yet, the best parent, role model, and friend you can have for yourself or your kids is Jesus.
- Regardless if your kids are little, teenagers, or full-grown adults…
- Regardless if you think you were a great parent or not, the best thing you can do for your kids is point them to the Heavenly Father.
- If you weren’t saved when you were raising them, show them the change Jesus has made in your life.
- Say, “I love you” and “I’m sorry”, a lot.
- If it’s true that it takes 5 positive comments to offset 1 negative, and you had years or decades of negatives, you will have to say I love you and I’m sorry, a lot.
- Third, we are not meant to pay the price for our parents or kid’s sin.
- During the days of the OT, the sins family members were paid by the family.
- A son was punished for what his father did.
- A father was punished for what his son did.
- This was summarized in a proverb in Ezekiel 18:2
2 “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel:
‘The fathers eat sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
- In many ways, I see that repeated today:
- Many kids are paying for the sins of their parents and vice-versa.
- We end up perpetuating family crises, generational problems and addictions.
- But the Good News is that doesn’t have to be: God said through Ezekiel:
- Ezekiel 18:14 (CSB)
14 “Now suppose he has a son who sees all the sins his father has committed, and though he sees them, he does not do likewise.
Ezekiel 18:17 (CSB)
17 He keeps his hand from harming the poor, not taking interest or profit on a loan. He practices my ordinances and follows my statutes. Such a person will not die for his father’s iniquity. He will certainly live.
Ezekiel 18:20 (CSB)
20 The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.
- Your family’s legacy does not have to be its destiny.
- This morning, I’m believing some family destinies are being altered.
- This morning, I simply invite whosoever will to come to the altar.
- We all struggle with parents, obedience, submission, and love.
- We all get our eyes off of Jesus’ example.
- Specifically, I’m praying that the hearts of every family member is being restored and healed.
- May forgiveness and mercy flow through your relationships.
- May we remember the blood of Jesus that was shed for each one of us.
Ezekiel 18:32 (CSB)
32 For I take no pleasure in anyone’s death.” This is the declaration of the Lord God. “So repent and live!