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The 10 Commandments #5 - Make Family a Priority

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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)   Illustration – 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)   “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” (Curtis Jones).

(3)   Today, we will look at one way that we can strengthen our homes – Honor our parents.


I.                   Why should we honor our parents?

A.   It is commanded by God (Exod. 20:12; Eph. 6:1-3).

1.     Therefore, it is a sin to disobey our parents.

a.      “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:28-32).

b.     “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Tim. 3:2-5).

2.     The only exception would be when obeying your parents would prevent you from obeying God (Eph. 6:1; Acts 5:29).

B.    It would prolong your life (Exod. 20:12; cf. Eph. 6:2 – this is the first commandment with a promise”).

1.     One way this is true is that you were to be put to death for dishonoring your parents.

a.      “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death” (Exod. 21:15).

b.     “Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death” (Exod. 21:17).

c.     “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear” (Deut. 18:18-21).

2.     A second way this true is that obedience help to keep the nation strong.

a.      “There is not promise here of individually long life spans. Rather the promise refers to God’s protection of his covenant people if and as long as they keep his covenant” (NAC).

b.     Note: Disobedience to parents was one of the reasons for the Israelites’ Babylonian Captivity (Ezek. 22:7, 15).

c.     Illustration – Barbara Bush once said: “Success does not depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house.” [“As the home goes, so goes the nation”]

3.     A third way this is true is that your parents have gone through similar circumstances before you and can give you good advice.

II.                How should we honor our parents?

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 teachers and guide (Psa. 78:5-7; Eph. 6:1).

B.    Value Their Advice –

1.     Consider:

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

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

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

2.     Illustration –

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 (Note: Eph. 6:4Do not provoke them to wrath)

B.    Deut. 6:6,7 – Continually talk to them about God (cf. Prov. 22:6)

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

D.   Illustration – 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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