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The Spirit Filled Family

"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 turn out well for you, and that you may live long on the earth.Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." 

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship this glorious Lord's Day
We're glad you're here

When it comes to our families, obedience is an essential element in not only raising our children to become disciples of Jesus, but also in creating a legacy that we can pass on to future generations. In fact, there's an old Chinese proverb which says, "One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade." I can really relate to that proverb. 
If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ today, you’re living in the shade that comes from the spiritual trees that were planted by a previous generation. For many of you, there is a rich spiritual heritage that has been passed down to you from your grandparents, parents and maybe even many generations prior to that. And, as we’ll see today, that is an essential part of God’s design for the family.

I know, however, that some of you have not been the beneficiaries of parents who helped you to grow in your faith. You don’t have that rich spiritual heritage that has been passed down through your family from generation to generation. In fact, some of you are the very first follower of Jesus Christ in your family. And if that is the case, then God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, has provided spiritual parents for you that have planted those trees in your life.

We find in our text today, a very clear and simple command for children to obey and honor their parents, however, that command is just part of a larger plan of God to develop followers of Jesus Christ who will plant trees for generations to come. 

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul described God’s work in our lives. He began by describing the working of God’s grace as God the Father chose us and predestined us to be adopted as His children, God the Son redeemed us from the devastation of sin and God the Holy Spirit sealed us as a guarantee that we will one day receive our full inheritance. He wrote about how Jesus destroyed all the barriers that separate His followers and brought us all together in this one body we call the church.

And then in chapter four, Paul begins to give us some very practical instruction about how we are to live our daily lives given what God has done for us. That whole section, which goes all the way through the end of his letter, is pretty well summarized in chapter five, verse eighteen, where Paul commands his readers to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

And as we saw when we looked at that verse in detail, that is primarily a matter of being controlled by the Holy Spirit as we are saturated with God’s Word. And one of the results of being controlled by the Spirit is that Christ-followers submit to one another in their interpersonal relationships out of their reverence for Jesus.

We’ve already seen how that is to work in the marriage relationship. The husband is to love his wife with a sacrificial love that focuses on the needs of his wife rather than his own, following the example of Jesus’ love for the church. And the wife is to submit to the godly leadership of her husband in the same way that the church submits to Jesus. And now, in our text, Paul is going to apply that same principle of mutual submission to the relationship between parents and children, God’s marvelous design for the family.

Let us bow our heads.

Heavenly Father,

Father, thank You for this Word, for the clear instruction contained in this powerful truth. Thank You for the families You gathered to join us. Set it in our hearts and help us to make application to our lives. Help us to plant trees that will give shade to the precious children of future generations

Strengthen and guide us as parents through Your Word and Holy Spirit, to be the parents You have called us to be, so that we might raise up our children to be faithful, obedient believers in a world that seeks to lure them into the depravity of the culture and lead them away from foundational truth, so that would become the witnesses to future generations. Help us to be faithful and obedient in our self discipline, help to realize that our obedience is the model for which our children will follow. That it is respect and treatment of others, that will illustrate to our children how they are to treat and respect others. May our families bring honor and glory to You.
In Christ's precious name
Today's Message: The Spirit Filled Family

Scripture is very clear, on what the Bible has to say revealing the will of God, in regard to the family.
How many parents today are disciplining their children so that they’re being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? I would venture to guess, very few. 

According to Deuteronomy 6:6-7, which teaches "These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Scripture is very clear: Our part is to each the Word of God to our children. Teach them the Scripture, that's our part.  

God's part was given a little earlier, in chapter 5, verse 29, "If only they had such a heart to fear Me and keep all My commands always, so that they and their children will prosper forever." The point here is clear, you nor I can give them that kind of heart. Only God can, therefore He calls them unto Himself, and it's up to us to teach them.

The Old Testament, in Joshua 24:15, "But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh."
As parents, that is a decision that each of us must make. Whom we will serve, God or Satan? By there way, there isn't a third choice, you are either a child of God or a child of Satan. Jesus Himself taught in Matthew 12:30, "Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters."
I suppose my greatest fear today, is that many of you, for a variety of reasons, have tuned out because you figure this passage doesn’t really apply to you. Perhaps because you no longer live in your parent’s house, you view this as a part of God’s Word that doesn’t really apply to you. Maybe it's because you do not yet have children of your own. What ever the reason, God's Word applies to us all, whether as teachers and mentors or as students. I believe that we can all find principals that we can apply to our lives.

Why? Allow me to explain: 
Children – If you’re still living under your parents’ roof, regardless of whether you’re still in elementary school or you’ve graduated from college or you’re in the work force, then the commands to obey and honor your parents apply very directly to you.

Parents – If you’re a parent, then you have a God-given responsibility to raise your children to be obedient and honoring. We’ll address this aspect in more detail next week, but this passage is really helpful in understanding the kind of children God wants us to raise.

Those with elderly parents – Although the command to obey is probably no longer applicable, the command to honor your parents continues as long as they are on this earth, and even beyond.

All of us – Even if you do not have children of your own and/or your parents are no longer alive, there are principles that all of us can apply here in the process of raising up spiritual children, which is our corporate responsibility as a body of believers.
"Children, obey your parents..."

What is the definition of obedience? To hear under authority and respond positively to what is heard.

The Greek word that Paul uses here, "upakouete," is a compound verb from the words hupo and akouó, that literally means to "hear under." The word originally referred to someone who stood at a door listening intently, even to the extent of eavesdropping. So obedience first requires children to listen to what their parents are saying. How many of you have heard your parents say "You better listen to me," or "You better be paying attention." Now you know, there's a biblical reason for it. You must listen in order to obey. And the way Paul writes this command, he is making it very clear that this is not just something you do occasionally. It needs to be..

In our journey through the marvelous book of Ephesians, I'm sure we all know that Paul indicates a continuing action. So we could very accurately translate the command; Children, keep obeying your parents...

For you younger people, who aren't comprehending this, I'll put it simpler terms, obedience to your parents is to be a lifestyle, not just something that you do when you feel like it or want something in return.

The second half of verse 1, "in the Lord, for this is right." In the Lord, for this is right. Paul isn't just giving out the instruction to obey here, he is also making clear the source of that obedience. The Lord. In other words, Paul is saying that the kind of obedience he is writing about here must flow from our relationship with Jesus Christ. We just cannot do it on our own.

I don't believe that any of us would disagree that the family is under siege in our culture today and I could bore you to death with all kinds of facts and details that would support that the family structure has seriously been eroded in our country. And there is a wide range of thoughts and opinions on how we should address those problems. I will tell you this, the answer doesn't lie in Federal, State or local government. We have plenty of laws, the problem is we have half as many people who obey them.

And of course, we have those, well-meaning Christians who are trying to solve these problems politically. While I’m thankful for those politicians who stand up for what many call "family values," don't get me wrong, however, these are not problems that are going to be solved politically. Others claim that we need to address these problems with education. So a bunch of well-meaning but naïve politicians and bureaucrats have come up with all kinds of mandates for our schools in an attempt to address these issues. These problems are not going to be fixed by education, either.

The moral decline of the family is not education, or political, it is spiritual! Therefore, it can only be addressed through a personal relationship with Jesus. Anyone see a pattern here? Wives are to submit to their husbands "as to the Lord," husbands love your wives "as Christ," and children obey your parents "in the Lord." God’s plan for our families only works when the members of the family are rightly related to God through Jesus. The Lord has delineated in Scripture the plan for the family, it very clear, however, at some point you must decide whether or not you're going to follow it.

The premise here is that obedience is to be "in the Lord," also provides us with one more important principle we need to discuss, the limit of obedience. Don't disobey God. It should be pretty obvious, that the command to obey our parents is not absolute. It is also true that this command for children to obey their parents is not limited to children who have Christian parents. Even if your parents are not followers of Jesus, you still have a responsibility to obey them, except if they ask you to do something that would be contrary to God’s will as revealed in His Word. 

The Lord has delineated in Scripture the plan for the family, The Lord has delineated in Scripture the plan for the family, That principal is clearly illustrated in Acts 5:29, when the Jewish religious leaders commanded Peter and the other apostles not to preach about Jesus. "But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than men."

By the way, this except ion should never be used to disobey your parents, citing "I'm not going to clean my room because doesn't want me too!" This exception is only applicable to the will of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit.

It is right, because that is the way God ordained it to be. The word Paul uses here, "dikaion," is a form of the same word from which we get our word righteous, which describes the character of God. Paul uses that word here as a transition to the next verse where he is going to quote the fifth commandment from the Old Testament as the underlying principle that supports the command for children to obey their parents.

Children are to obey their parents, not because it reduces conflict, not because it makes life more pleasant, not even because its in the best interest of the parents and the children. While it's true these are all benefits, the reason for children to obey their parents is it is right with God.

Because of our inherent sin nature, it is not natural for children to obey their parents. Believe me, you don't have to teach them to disobey, they instinctively know that, we therefore must teach them to be obedient. Every conscientious parent knows how difficult it can be to exercise God given authority over their children. It's not an easy task to teach your children to obey. In fact, some days, it takes every ounce of energy we can muster and then some. It's not easy but it is right!

And to take it a step further, it's rarely easy and seldom convenient. I have seen many frustrated parents who have thrown their hands up and yelled "OK, do whatever you want to do! I don't care anymore." I wanted to go over to those children and say, "Let's just see you disobey that." Parenting your children is not convenient, but it's right!

In verse 2, Paul writes "Honor your father and mother." Once again Paul’s command is in the present tense, which reinforces the idea that honoring one’s parents is to be an ongoing lifestyle. That is particularly important here because, as we will see, the duty to honor our parents doesn’t end when we leave their home. May I dare say, that children are a welcome addition to the family, especially in a time when some people are saying they prefer not to have children, as if it's somehow a negative in their lives. May I also add, perhaps you who are full of negativity and not a child. Children are a blessing!

In fact, Psalm 127:3 teaches "Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward."

The definition of honor is to ascribe worth; to prize; to hold in awe. The word Paul uses here, "tima," means to place a price on something or someone and to prize it as a result of assigning that value.

Paul is commanding his readers to assign a high value to their parents and to appropriately prize them. This certainly goes beyond the idea of just obeying our parents. There are two significant aspects to honoring our parents. Requires a proper attitude

Honor is the attitude behind the act. The act is obedience, and honor is the attitude. Remember that an act without the proper attitude is hypocrisy. If you do what your parents tell you to do but you hate it and you’re unwilling and nasty about it, then you’re a hypocrite. If you do what your parents tell you to do but you’re bitter, fearful, reluctant, and selfish, that’s not the right spirit. God is after the attitude much more than He’s after the act, because if the attitude is right, the act will follow. But a right act with a wrong attitude is nothing but hypocrisy 

Honor is not just limited to our attitude, it requires proper behavior. Honoring our parents requires both the proper attitude as well as behavior that demonstrates that we value and prize our parents. And that responsibility clearly doesn’t end when we move out of our parents’ house. Look at how Jesus rebuked many of the religious leaders for failing to act in a way that honored their parents in Mark chapter 7, verse 9 through 13.

"He also said to them, "You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban’” (that is, a gift committed to the temple), “you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things."

These religious leaders were taking their resources that should have been devoted to honoring their parents by taking care of their needs and claiming that it was a gift devoted to God instead. And Jesus very clearly condemned that kind of behavior that failed to honor their parents.

Although taking care of the needs of aging parents is certainly one way that we can honor them, we also honor our parents when we live our lives in a manner that is consistent with the principles of God that they have helped to develop in our lives. I can think of no better way to honor our parents than to live the kind of godly lives that Paul describes in the last 3 chapters of Ephesians.

"... which is the first commandment with a promise  that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

Out of all of what we refer to as the "Ten Commandments," the fifth command to honor our father and mother is not only the first, but the only one that has a promise directly associated with it. We know that there are actually many more than ten commandments contained in God’s Law, and some of those other commandments do have promises associated with them, but I think there is a reason that this is the only one of the ten that contains such a promise.

As Christians, we generally tend to separate the Ten Commandments into two lists. The first four deal with our relationship with God and the last six that deal with our human relationships. But the Jewish handling of the Ten Commandments is they place the fifth commandment with the first group of commandments that deal with our relationship with God. They tend to look at honoring of parents as an integral part of their relationship with God. They recognize that disobedience to parents is actually spiritual rebellion, which is why under Jewish Law the death penalty was prescribed for the most egregious forms of disobedience.

Perhaps this fifth commandment really functions as a hinge, or transition, between the two groups of commandments. One could make a convincing argument that this is really the heart of all relationships. Children who honor their parents are at the very core of the family; the family is at the core of the church; and the church is at the core of society. When we raise up a generation of children that honor their parents, that seems to transfer directly into a society where people also honor and obey God. 

I’m completely convinced that children who learn to obey and honor their parents grow up into adults who have a much easier time obeying and honoring their heavenly Father. That’s why this fifth commandment comes with the associated promise of a life that is rich both in quality and quantity.

This promise is a general principle that children who obey and honor their parents will have a life that is richer in both quality and quantity than if they choose not to do that. However, because we live in a world that has been corrupted by sin that doesn’t mean that those who obey their parents will automatically live longer or have less problems in this world than those who don’t. The fact is, God enriches the life of the obedient child no matter how long he may live on the earth. Sin always robs us; obedience always enriches us.

To fully understand this promise, we also need to keep in mind that our life here on this earth is not the full extent of our life. We’ve already seen that honoring our parents is an integral part being a follower of Jesus. And for the follower of Jesus Christ, we not only have the benefit of living abundant life on this earth right now, we also have the promise that we’ll reign with Christ here on earth for a thousand years and then live for eternity on the new earth. That is a life that is certainly rich in both quality and quantity.

In verse 3, "so that it may turn out well for you, and that you may live long on the earth." 
We have obviously an abused and an unloved generation of children. We have obviously a generation of abused and an unloved children. Many children are seen as a burden. Fathers have forsaken their love for children. Mother have engaged in self-indulgent abandonment, and the pursuit of a career, with literally millions of latchkey children sitting at home alone, exposed to too much television and social media. Dr. Richard F arson, a humanist behavioral psychologist, advocated that children should be free from physical punishment, be free to vote, have economic freedom and total sexual freedom. Hillary Rodham, now Clinton, also took the position that children are the best judge of their own interests. In an article published in 1973 in the Harvard Education Review entitled "Children Under the Law," She argued that because children have interests independent of their parents, they cannot be represented by anyone other than themselves. She asserts that the competence of children to make their own decisions must be recognized, and that children should be treated as rights-bearing individuals rather than as members of families. 
What kind of lunacy is that? It's obvious that all is well when the family is healthy and when it’s not, there’s no hope for a society. The only hope then to shade the generation to come is to submit ourselves to what the Word of God teaches about family and raising children. It's not rocket science folks! Teach your children to respect and obey you, and respect others, that's the bottom line. Look, as long as your consistently teaching your children to obey, there will be times when they will fight against it, that's when you must become a little tougher, make the consequences of disobedience a little more severe. The battles aren't going to long lasting, but the teaching will. God looks upon this as serious issue, so much so that in Exodus chapter 21, disobedience and disrespect are punishable by death. That is how serious an issue this is. When you tech your children obedience, you teach them self-control. You teach them how to repress their depravity, to control their sinful impulses. You can't have a society that controls itself. Submission, obedience and self-control must be learned to have an ordered society.

In Closing...

I believe this promise is not just a promise that those who honor their parents will live for along time, but also that the followers of Christ who live like that will create a legacy that provide a foundation for future generations. By obeying and honoring our parents and by helping our young people to develop those habits in their lives, we can help raise up a generation of Christ followers who will also obey and honor their heavenly Father.

Let’s be the generation who plants the trees, so that future generations can acquire the shade.

May it be so..

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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