Community Group Study Notes
- What is the blessing from God that comes with honoring our parents? What is the difference between honor and obedience?
- What are some practical ways we can honor our parents? How does honoring our parents show that we honor God in our culture?
- What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard in Sunday’s message?
"Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you." (Deuteronomy 5:16)
Well, I wanna say good morning to everyone here at our Cheektowaga Campus, it's great to be with you and I wanna say good morning to those who are at our Cross Point Campus and our Lockport Campus as well. We are really, really ... I can tell you this, everybody here at the Cheektowaga Campus in this second worship gathering, we're really not happy to be here. Kidding, we're thrilled to be here. It's an exciting day and I know that those of you who are at our Cross Point and our Lockport Campuses are also celebrating with us as we open a new facility at our Cheektowaga Campus. Now we're talking about an honor culture, that's what we're talking about in the context of this series and today, I wanna call attention to something that you may or not have seen this past week.
So this past week there was an obituary that went viral. You might have seen it, you may not have. I'm not calling your attention to it because I think it's a great thing. In fact, I think it's a little bit of a ... It's not such a great thing but I wanna remind you of it. So there's this obituary and it went viral and it's called a revenge obituary, which you can probably pick up by the fact of what I'm saying as to what it is. So there was these two adult children in their 50s that decided when their mom died that they were going to share some things about that and it was basically a way of maybe kind of getting back at her. If you didn't see it, here's what it said. Again, I share this because it's been so public everywhere. This woman named Kathleen was born on March 19, 1938 to Joseph and Gertrude Shrunk of Mbosso.
She married Dennis Dimlow at St. Anne's at Mbosso in 1957 and had two children, Gina and Jay, they're the ones who did this obituary. In 1962, she became pregnant by her husband's brother, Lyle Dimlow, and moved to California. She abandoned her children, Gina and Jay, who were then raised by her parents in Clements, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Shrunk. She passed away on May 31st, 2018 in Springfield and will now face judgment. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay and they understand that this world is a better place without her. You see this is what they call a revenge obituary and it was interesting because a bunch of the news folks picked this up and they started kind of carrying this particular story and in so doing they asked the question to Jay, one of the sons who did this obituary, they asked him, "Why did you do it?"
And he said, "It's because he wanted to have the last word on her life." He wanted to have the last word on her life. Now don't misunderstand, I am confident that these kids came from a bad scenario. I mean, right? Mom decided that she was going to leave and she married the uncle, right? And so now she's married to their uncle and she starts a new family with this man and in starting this new family with this man she moves away, leaves her two kids behind to be raised by the grandparents, actually has another family with this man and in so doing doesn't even pay attention anymore to the children that she had. And you can probably understand that they didn't feel so great about all of this transpiring. Now some would even say that maybe they don't even blame them for doing something like this and maybe you're thinking to yourself or maybe some of the community might think to themselves, they're not blaming anybody for doing something like this either.
Mom and dad, it's okay if you bring her outside, it's certainly okay. So I wanna remind you this, if you think about it honor versus dishonor in terms of culture, if you were to guess, how would you think that son and daughter were supposed to respond? Do you think they should respond with this kind of dishonor or would you guess that they would probably suppose to respond with honor? It depend on who you let have the last word. You see, if they have the last word of all of this, then they're gonna respond the way that they respond. But what if, let's just ask this question, what if they gave God the last word? What if they allowed God to have the last word in this context? You see, that's what I'm hoping we'll pay attention to because if God had the last word, I'm guessing that it would be a word, actually, of honor instead of dishonor. Actually, I'm not guessing at all, I know it to be true because that's why I'm teaching this message today.
So I know for a fact that that's going to be the opportunity. Now here's what I wanna do, I wanna call your attention to Ephesians chapter number six if I could. The apostle Paul is writing a letter to the church at Ephesus and in there he gives some very specific things that he's going to say. It began with talking to the church about how the church is supposed to operate but then it takes a turn kind of in chapter five into chapter six and starts talking real practically about how we live out this kind of new culture of the people of God. And there's something very specific in there that I want us to pay close attention to and it's in Ephesians chapter number six beginning in verse number one, it's says this, it says, "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your mother and father, which is the first commandment with a promise so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the Earth."
So what you have is you have a command right from the outset for children to obey parents and then it follows it up by saying honor your mother and father. Now here's the reason that I bring this up because that command for us that the apostle Paul gives by the inspiration of the spirit of God, that command is universal. Here's why it's universal because every one of us are children. Every single person is the child of somebody. Some of you may or may not have known who your parents were but you're still the child of somebody and so this applies to every single one of us because every single one of us is a child. Now what Paul first says is, he first says to obey, he says, "Children obey your parents." He gives two reasons why that's the case. Look at it again in verse number one, "Children obey your parents," what, "in the Lord," for what? "This is right."
So there's two frameworks here of why he says children obey your parents. He says children obey your parents in the Lord. The reason he says that, number one, it's not only talking about parents who are people of Jesus who follow in the way of Jesus but it's also saying to children, children, following in the way of Jesus means obeying your parents. And then he follows that up by saying not only you obey your parents in the Lord 'cause this is a part of the Gospel, this is the way and the will of Jesus but because it's right. In other words, it's almost as if God is saying there has been a law put in place by the revealed will of who God is about the nature of His kingdom and the nature of His kingdom is one of honor such that the way He set up the world is for children to be obedient to their parents, that, that is a picture of an honor culture that ultimately honors God.
And so there's really kind of two reasons there because Paul in another letter when he's writing in Romans actually says when people don't follow after Jesus, when they don't obey this commandment, here's what happens. He says in Romans chapter one verse 30 that they turn out to be gossips and slanderers and God haters and insolent and arrogant and boastful and they invent ways of doing evil. They disobey their parents. Can you imagine? This being locked in to all of these other things 'cause when you think about gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant, boasting, you're thinking about what? And then disobedient to parents. Paul is actually pulling this back into this list of things that people do when they get away from understanding God as God and honoring God as God and he says disobeying parents is one of those things because Paul knew exactly ultimately what was commanded.
But then Paul strengthens his argument after he says, "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." He follows that up by saying something else. Here's what he says in verse two and three, "Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment, with a promise so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the Earth." He says that not only are children to obey their parents but then he says honor your father and mother. What's he doing there? Well, he's quoting, he's quoting from the fifth commandment. You remember when God gave Moses the ten commandments and by the finger of God they were written on the tablets of stone, right? Well, the fifth one is the fifth commandment that Paul quotes here. You can see it in Deuteronomy chapter five verse 16. Honor your father and mother as the Lord your God has commanded you so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land of the Lord your God is giving you.
He's just quoting straight from the fifth commandment. Why is that important? Here's why. Because Paul is suggesting to us, showing to us, that the revealed will of God for humanity as God wrote it with his own finger on tablets of stone that the revealed will of God for humanity has to do with in part honoring parents. That's part of the revealed will of God for human flourishing that it's part and parcel with honoring parents. He also says, by the way, that there's a blessing attached to it. That when you honor your parents, there's blessing. Now for the people of Israel, that blessing had to do with this. It had to do with generation after generation after generation would live in the land of promise in a peaceful and in a beautiful way if they would be faithful to honor this commandment to honor their parents.
So that was a promise that was given to them but here's the interesting thing, Paul pulls that into a New Testament context. It's not just about the people of Israel anymore, it's about the people of God, the church. And he says, "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right." And then says honor your father and mother because this is the first commandment that came with a promise that it may go well with you and you may enjoy long life on the Earth. Now it's interesting, Paul doesn't actually phrase this by saying long life in the land that I have given you, which is what Deuteronomy says. He says long life on the Earth because we're not Israel, right? He's talking to the church at this point instead of Israel and so he says there's a blessing associated with it. Now the interesting thing is that Paul doesn't annunciate what those blessings are but he says there is blessing if you will honor your parents.
Now I'm not gonna go into detail of talking about what Paul is silent on. But I am going to, in a moment, talk about ways in which we can honor our parents and you can probably begin to imagine the ways in which we would be blessed as a people of God. I'll tell you this, I think this is a corporate statement to the church that not just about individuals but when we together as the body of Christ understand and show the world what it means to honor parents that we'll actually be giving people a glimpse of the kingdom among us. We'll be giving them a glimpse of the culture of the kingdom. Now I'm gonna talk to you more about that in just a second. Now the interesting thing about this idea is that what you have in the first few verses is you have Paul saying obey and then you have Paul saying honor, right? And some of you are going, "Hey, is there a difference in those two things? Is there a difference between obey your parents and honor your parents?"
Well, let me see if I could answer it this way. There is a difference and here it is. Obedience is actually a subset of honor. Honor is the big idea here. Honor is the command that was quoted from the fifth commandment. Obedience is a subset of honor. Let me explain. Paul says children obey your parents, do you know children show their parents honor? The primary way in which a child shows their parents honor is to obey them. That is the primary way but here's what we do know. Obedience as children doesn't last forever because we grow up. I'm 48, this October I'll be married for 25 years. I don't still text my mom and dad saying, "I'm gonna be a little after 10," getting home to my own house that I bought with my own money, right? I don't do that. Right. Because obedience, listen to this, obedience has a shelf life. When we're children, when we're in the house, when we're under the parental care, the primary way in which we show honor to our parents is obeying our parents.
But we get older, we grow up, we have families of our own. We've launched out ourselves, we've got our own children at his point, right? At that point, it's no longer, listen to this, obedience has a shelf life, honor is permanent. You see, that's the difference. Obedience ends but honor remains. Why? Because honor is the rhythm of the culture of the kingdom. That's why. Obedience stops. Now, by the way, if you're a kid still living at home, yours hasn't. Just making sure that everyone on every campus knows that. Some of you are going, "Hey, wait a minute. My kid is in King's World right now or in Shine." I want them to hear this message. Well, think about having a family night and playing your buddy Pastor Jerry. Hey kids, I feel like Barney the dinosaur. Hey kids. And you could talk about this idea maybe if you're kids are old enough to understand it.
But the interesting thing is that for our purposes today, I wanna us to actually think about what it looks like to honor parents and I'm really thinking about this maybe even more so when it comes to how we as we get older, not just children in the home. Because children have kind of an immediate responsibility that Paul gave us and that is obey your parents. Why? Because that's how you express honor to them. You obey what they've asked you to do. But how do we as maybe we're older, how do we honor our parents? Let me give you a first thing, it's this. We can speak well of them, that's the first way that we can honor our parents. It's just like in a marriage, for instance, if you're in a marriage and you simply can't honor your spouse if you speak disparagingly of them in public or in private. Ladies, when you go to the salon and it's always, "My husband, bah." You know?
That's not going to be honoring. Guys, when you're hanging out with the boys, watching the football game and you're like, "I wish my wife kept up with her self like that little sideline announcer." Not honoring. Not honoring. You can't have a marriage of honor when you speak disparagingly in public and in private of your spouse and the same thing is true, listen to this, the same thing is true with parents. You see, ultimately, we've got to speak well of them. Why? Because words, listen to this, words give honor and dishonor. They do both and we've gotta be careful that we are people that actually are showing honor. Now I wanna take you to something that Jesus taught and he's actually teaching this to some religious leaders, some Pharisees and some religious leaders. And it's slightly different in application to what I'm telling you right now but I'm gonna get to that in just a minute.
So I'm gonna kind of two piece this story for you to see it, okay? But Jesus is pretty serious, listen to this. He's pretty serious about how we speak of our parents, really serious. So Jesus is gonna talk with some Pharisees who made their way from Jerusalem to come all the way out to the Galilee region to meet with Jesus and here's what it says in Matthew 15, it says, "Some Pharisees and teachers of law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and they asked, 'Jesus, why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat.' Jesus replied, "Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition. For God said honor your father and mother and anyone who curses their father or mother is to put to death.'" Now when we read that word, we kinda say okay, what are we talking about when we talk about curse? Well, the word actually is a compound work in the Greek language that simply means it's like two words that got slammed together and the two words that got slammed together in the Greek language make up this word curse.
And here's what those two words are, bad speaking. That's what they are. So when you read this in the Greek language, here's what you read. Don't bad speak your parents. Now curse is a heavy word, it's a strong word. It's an ugly word, it doesn't mean just that you cussed at them but that you've so dishonored and so disrespected them by the words that you say. And whatever else this passage is teaching and we're gonna see that in just a second, but whatever else this passage is teaching at least you can pick up on this. That your words speaking honor or dishonor about your parents, they matter, they matter. Jesus is saying that when you curse your mother or father that, that is a significantly bad thing and according to Old Testament law, which in the New Testament we're not under, but according to Old Testament law it was so serious that God wanted His people, Israel, to be such a peculiar and distinct people that he said, "We have to deal with this kind of behavior because the way of the kingdom is a way of honor and we want all of these pagan nations who, by the way, some of them sacrifice their children to false gods, we want them to see what a culture of honor is supposed to look like. But there's gonna be accountability among my people."
God was serious about this idea of how we speak. Now the reason that I tell you that is because what Jesus was doing when he was talking to the Pharisees is he was quoting to them out of the law. In fact, he was quoting to them out of the Leviticus chapter 20. He said, "Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death because they have cursed their father or mother their blood will be on their own head." Do you know how serious this was, that Jesus took so seriously and the law took so seriously this idea of cursing mother and father? That the same, listen to this, the same justice was meted out according to God by the people of Israel, the same justice was meted out if you beat your mother and father? Listen to what it says in Exodus chapter 21. "Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death."
This is how serious it is. You beat your mom and dad, you've shown such dishonor that the community of the people of God that is supposed to be a distinct community, showing the world what it's like to live in a kingdom culture, that there's gonna be an accountability for that and by the way, the root cause for what caused you to want to beat your mother and father is what caused you to curse at them in the first place. And God's gonna deal with both of them. This is a really strong reminder for all of us. Do you know even the Proverb writer, if you fast forwarded hundreds of years into the time when the Proverbs were being put together, that they even carried this idea of respect in terms of what we say about our mothers and fathers? That they even recognized it then, hundreds of years after the giving of the law?
Listen to what Proverbs 20, verse 20 says, "If someone curses their father or mother, they're lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness." You see, I hope I'm giving you the idea and I think I am based on the word of God that this is a very, very serious thing. We gotta speak well of our moms and dads. Now some of you I already see the wheels turning in your head. I already see your eyes lighting up at me here and I can see you at Cross Point and at Lockport also. I have that ability by technology. Here's what I see, I see in your mind you're going, "Man, Jerry, that's good and all but you don't really know my parents. You don't understand my dad, my mom. You can no idea what I've been through and so that's that." Listen, you're right, I don't know. And I know that under the sound of my voice there are lots of people who've had really, really bad things done to them by their parents. I know that to be true.
This isn't my first rodeo. I've talked with lots of people, I've been in ministry a very long time. I've heard lots of stories that are blood chilling. I know that to be true but let me tell you something, you're still not off the hook from God's word. I'm loving you now by telling you the truth. You're still not off the hook any more than last week when we talked about honoring authorities, the command that we were given that Peter said. It wasn't honor the Presidents that you voted for, it was just honor the Emperor. And by the way he was talking about Nero. Peter was no big fan. I'm sure he wasn't a fan of Nero's policies. Yet we're to honor the Emperor, right? Until such a time that we have to resist whom God appointed to do what God commanded, right? Same is true with parents. We're still to honor them even if they weren't good parents. Why? Because we're honoring God.
And that's the most important thing that we can grab from this, that we honor God and that we honor the fact that they're parents. Now listen, I'm not asking you to honor their bad decisions. I'm not asking you to honor their abuse. I'm not asking you to honor their broken lifestyles. I'm not asking you to honor any of those things. I'm asking you to obey what God has said and whether they were good parents or not good parents that we still honor them because we love God. And because this is a part of people of the kingdom of God this is what we do. We teach the world something different. You know, I was thinking about an article that I read recently, it was on I think the Family Life Today website and it was a lady who was writing the article and she was talking about every Father's Day.
And she said every Father's Day, her and her husband and when her children were younger they would go to her dad's little church. So they'd drive however long that was and apparently the dad's church was in a rural environment, kind of a small country type of church, you know, 40 or 50 people in it. And she said so they every Father's Day just to kind of be with him and that, we would go to his church. And I think they went to a larger church in town and all that stuff and she said, "Every time we go, they would always open up the mic." 'Cause, again, it was 40 or 50 people, they would open up the mic on Father's Day, the Pastor would and let anyone who wanted to speak a word of honor about their father, do so.
And so the lady said, "We'd been going for years and years and years and the same aged lady, she was an older lady who looked frail and looked like she'd had a really hard life, she would saunter her way up really slowly, make her way to the microphone, thank the Pastor and then she would say this." "My daddy drank a lot. But when he wasn't drinking I loved being around him. I miss my daddy and I love him." And then she'd sit down. And the lady writing the article, she said, "You know, I learned something." She said, "This lady didn't have much to say about her dad 'cause there wasn't much to say. He was obviously a drunk, he obviously had done some bad things. She had experienced a lot of hardship but she wanted to honor God." And so she got up, listen to this, and she spoke well to the extent she could speak about her dad.
We're not off the hook whether good parents or bad because we still have a responsibility to speak well of and honor our parents because in so doing, we're honoring God. But let me give you a second way that we honor our parents. We can care and provide for them. Care and provide for them. Let me explain what I mean there. Jesus, when he was talking to those religious leaders that I referenced just a moment ago in Matthew chapter 15, this is what he was getting at with them. Notice what he says beginning in verse 3. Jesus said to them, "Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said honor your father and mother and anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say, you Pharisees say, that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is actually devoted to God? They're not to honor their father or mother with it?"
Jesus says, "When you do that you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition." Let me explain what this was, this was what is called corbon in kind of the ancient world. Here's what this looked like. So people who were a kind of people who believed the Bible, there's this tradition that kind of came up among them, it wasn't something that was in the scripture but it was something that came among them, that if anything in their home that they decided that they wanted to devote to God or they wanted to devote to the service of God, that if they so named it then nobody could lay claim to it. Okay? It was something along that line. So what these religious leaders were doing is they were demonstrating their selfishness by creating this spiritual work around where they didn't have to obey God's command to honor father and mother. Here's the thing. These religious leaders, they were getting a little bit older and do you know what was happening to their parents? They were getting aged.
Probably needed care, probably needed provision, probably some of those things in their homes of these religious leaders that they might could have sold or leveraged to be able to help their aging family member but instead being selfish they just labeled it corbon, it's devoted to God, I can't help my mom and dad because of that. How awful, by the way, that they even used this kind of spiritual work around to try not to obey the word of God because ultimately what Jesus is saying here is he's saying the command is to honor mom and dad and you're trying not to do that and you're actually doing that in such a way that's kind of goofy and weird and gross because you're making this kind of spiritual move, so to speak, to try and somehow work around this command.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, we've got a responsibility for our parents to honor them and one of the ways we do that is to care for them and provide for them when they can't care and provide for themselves. By the way, that's what they did for you. Generally speaking, that's what they did for you. You were brought into the world, you couldn't care for yourself, you couldn't provide for yourself, they did it for you. And when they get to such a place where they can't care and provide for themselves, we have a responsibility to show them whatever love and honor we can show them at that point. And again, culture to culture, that feels a little bit differently. Here's what I do know, we could learn something from our African neighbors. Because in the continent of Africa, which I've been to, they don't just care about nuclear family. They care about extended family.
And they take seriously, in that culture, caring for cousins and uncles and aunts and all of those things because they feel this obligation to honor them. I think we can learn from that. I think the church can learn from that because I think fundamentally it's what's being said here. Paul actually was saying the same idea when he was talking to Timothy about how the church in Ephesus was supposed to operate. He actually gives the same kind of idea. He was talking about widows but listen to what he says. He says, "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren these should lean, first of all, they should learn to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents for this is pleasing to God. The widow who's really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God's help but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions so no one may be open to blame."
And then listen to what he says, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than unbeliever." Why? Because the culture of God is a culture of a kingdom of honor and this isn't about just saying, "Forget you, I gotta live my life. Stop infringing on my time." Wait a minute. We honor God when we recognize God gave us life through these people, these people. Do you know what the scariest thing for a child is? Listen to this. A small child, you know the scariest thing in their life is? To be alone and uncared for, scariest thing in a child's life. You know the scariest thing in an aged parent's life is? It's the same, to be alone and uncared for. That's why the people of Jesus ought to be people who honor their parents by helping to care and provide for them.
Let me give you a third reason that we can honor our parents or a third way we can honor our parents. We seek their wisdom. We seek their wisdom. Listen to how the Proverbs writer said it in Proverbs 23. "Listen to your father who gave you life and do not despise your mother when she is old." Well, that's pretty straightforward, right? Sometimes the Proverbs writer just cuts to the chase and I like it. Listen to your father who gave you life and don't despise your mother when she's old. In other words, gain their wisdom. Pay attention to what they're doing. Do you know why I think one of the greatest ways that we can demonstrate honor is that when we loop in our moms and dads on big decisions? Now I'm not talking about every little decision, right? I'm not talking about you need to call your mom and dad, if they're still around, that you need to call your mom and dad and be like, "I don't know, blue or red car." They're gonna be like, "Hey, grow up. Move out of the basement. Get a job."
You know they're gonna be telling you all that, right? This is about bringing them into the course of your life and honoring them. Now some of you are going, "Well man, that'd be easy if my parents loved Jesus." Listen, even if they don't, I think you should still do it because you're showing them honor even if you ultimately, listen to this, even if you ultimately, as an adult, have to reject their advice, you've still shown them honor by letting them have a word into your world. You've still done that and I think that we should be a people who seeks wisdom from our parents as an act of honor even if we have to, even if they're giving us counsel in antithesis to the Gospel, we have to at least listen and then we can say, "I gotta do what God's asked us to do." Right? And we still do that but at least we're bringing them in and showing them honor. Let me give you a fourth reason or fourth way we can honor our parents.
Bring them joy. Bring them joy. It's pretty simple. I want you to hear what the writer of Proverbs and John the Apostle said about it. Here's what Proverbs 23 says, "The father of a righteous child has a great joy. A man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him." Go back. "May your father and mother rejoice. May she who gave you birth be joyful." In order words, the idea is this, is that the greatest joy for a parent who loves God is that their children love God. There's no greater joy than any Christian parent has than to know that their child loves God. By the way, there's no greater heartbreak that a Christian parent has than to know that their child doesn't love God. It's both and, right? Listen to what the Apostle John said in third John chapter one. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." John wasn't talking about his biological children. John was talking about his spiritual children at that point.
He had shared the Gospel with so many of these folks, they had come to faith in Jesus Christ and do you know what he said his great joy is? His great joy was when he found out that they were walking in the truth. No greater joy as a spiritual dad than to know that my children are walking in the truth. Let me show a last thing here. How can we honor our parents? You knew I was getting here. Forgive them. Forgive them. Some of you are going, "Man, I've been good til now. This is getting crazy now." Well, here's what I want you to do. You're in Ephesians chapter six, all you have to do is either look back or swipe left, right and go back just a little back into the end of chapter four in the beginning of chapter five and listen to what Paul said to us, "Be kind and compassionate to one another. Forgiving each other just as in Christ, God forgave you. Follow God's example therefore as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Folks, some of us need to understand this and get free. We need to forgive our parents. Listen carefully. Some of your parents are gone and you need to forgive em still because you've lived in a cage of bitterness and I'm not arguing maybe some really bad things are happening to you. I'm not marginalizing that at all. My heart breaks for that. I have a great deal of compassion for you in that regard. But we still have to forgive. Listen, moms and dads don't always get it right. I'm a dad. I need this from my kids. They're gonna have to forgive me at times. You're gonna have to do the same for your parents. You better be willing to afford your parents what you want. 'Cause you wanna be forgiven. Here's the thing. You're saying, "But man, they've done some really bad stuff, you know? They've gotta earn my forgiveness." That is not the Gospel. What they have to earn is your trust not your forgiveness.
Forgiveness is free. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He offered us forgiveness when we were undeserving of forgiveness. This wasn't a matter of we get to deserve forgiveness, no, no, no. But I will tell you this, forgiveness is different than trust. Trust does need to be earned back. If your parents were abusive to you, you don't have to now, as someone who has your own kids, put your kids in their grandparent's house left alone for fear of them being abused, no, no, no. You don't need to do that. Why? Because that's about trust. That's different than forgiveness. You see, forgiveness is something that we have to offer freely. This is what we've been taught, forgive as God in Christ has forgiven us. In other words, this is what the Gospel demands of us, that we show forgiveness, that we offer forgiveness, not because people deserve it but because we didn't deserve it when we were given it by Jesus.
So we in turn show that to the people that are around us. We've gotta forgive. You see, you sometimes get upside down in your thinking, we get upside down in our thinking, thinking this, that if I hold onto my anger for all that my parents have done, if I hold onto my anger, I'll show them, I'll get the last word on their life by being angry. No you won't, you'll just put yourself in a cage and jail of bitterness and throw away the key and they won't think twice about it. You're not doing anything to help yourself. You're not doing anything to honor God but when you forgive, that's when you get free. That's when you get free. Some of you need to forgive parents that have passed because you've been living in bitterness. Some of you need to forgive parents that are still around and you need to offer that forgiveness in your heart, a forgiveness from your heart. It doesn't mean, they may respond by going, "I don't care what you do. I don't care what you ..."
And they may still in their broken patterns and habits. That's not on you. What's on you is honoring God by offering forgiveness. That's what's on you, right? I know I've said a whole lot in this context but let me just remind you of this. The reason that we show forgiveness is because we've been shown forgiveness by God in Jesus Christ. That's why we can do this, right? And I'm reminded that when I think of Jesus I'm reminded that he faithfully fulfilled this idea of honoring parents. You see, this was, Jesus is the perfect example of what humanity is supposed to be and do. He is God with skin on. He is demonstrating to us the life of the kingdom and do you know what he showed us? He showed us that the culture of the kingdom is one of honor and he did so by honoring his parents. Do you remember when he was 12? Jesus was 12 years and they were there for the feast in Jerusalem, right?
They traveled all the way out from the Galilee region and now they're in Jerusalem and Jesus is hanging out with all the Pharisees and teachers of the law and Jesus is talking and he's 12 and he's blowing them away and they're all standing there like, "What? He's 12." Right? I mean, they're freaking out and then his parents leave, not because they're bad parents and they were like, "We've gotta travel all this way, we're gonna journey miles and miles and miles and miles back home." And it's like, you know, we got 20 miles down the road and went, "Where's Jesus?" They weren't walking by themselves, when they traveled to these feasts, they traveled from their whole entire villages in entire family caravans. There could have been 75, 100 of them traveling all together at the same time so maybe they just thought, "Ah, Jesus is just back. He's toward the back of the line playing with Bucky." Right? "And they're making their way." Then they realized, "Where's Jesus?"
And they started asking around, "Have you seen Jesus?" "No." And then they go back to Jerusalem, where did they find him? He's in the temple. They're like, "Why are you here?" He said, "Didn't you know I'd be at my father's house?" And they're like, "Okay. But come with us." And here's what the Bible says, "He submitted to them and came with them." Why? 'Cause he honored them. You remember Jesus' first miracle? Wedding at Canaan in Galilee. He's at a wedding because his mom kind of dragged him into this and now at this wedding they've run out of wine. Not a good social thing in that context. So Jesus' mom comes to him and says, "Jesus, they've run out of wine. Do something about it." Jesus is like, "Oh, it's not really my time. It's not ... Bring me a barrel of water." You know, that's kind of what he did, right? And he turned water into wine, why? In part to honor his mom's request.
And at the cross, Jesus' dad has already died this point, we know this because Jesus on the cross is not thinking about himself. He's looking at his mom and he's looking at John, the disciple that he loves and he says, "Mom, this is your son. Son, this is your mom." Because Jesus says the oldest son is making sure that his mom is cared for even when he's on a cross. Why? He was honoring his mother. You see, Jesus shows us the way of the kingdom. He shows us life in the kingdom and how important this is, maybe I could simply summarize it by saying this, we can show the world the culture of the kingdom when we show honor to our parents. What we're doing when we show honor to our parents is, in part, we're giving them a glimpse of how the kingdom rhythm actually happens, the culture of honor that extends from God to the people of the world.
So how do we do that? You're going, "Man, you know, this is challenging, Jerry. I'm not sure exactly, how do we do that?" Well, you only do that with the life of Jesus in you. That's the only way you do it. You're not gonna do this on your own willpower, particularly if you're coming from a scenario where it's difficult for you to think about honoring your parents based on what they've done. You're gonna only do this with the life of Jesus in you because Jesus did it. And Jesus can do it through you. But let me say a word to parents real quick. Parents, we need to be parents that are worthy of honor from our children. We actually need to live lives that demonstrate the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that our kids don't think, listen to this, that our kids don't think that we're something on Sunday that is vastly different than what we are the rest if the week. We need to be whole, we need to people of integrity. Dads, fathers, we need to be men who walk with God.
'Cause that actually brings blessing to the children behind us. We have in our little foyer area of our house, there's a picture. My wife took it years and years ago. We were at a little kind of a park, a town park, a state park, whatever, and we were walking and I had my little guys, at the time, they were next to me. They are not little anymore. In fact, now in pictures, like family pictures, I'm like, "What am I? A Dwarf? Is something wrong with me?" 'Cause my youngest is as tall as me, my oldest is two inches taller than me and I'm thinking to myself, "I am shriveling up to nothingness at this point." And I'm 6'1". I'm not short and I look at the pictures and I'm like, "Edi, what is wrong with us? We're like the Wizard of Oz. We represent." You know, I'm like, "What's going on?" I'm a eat a lollipop. Thank you. I'll be here all day.
So they've gotten really tall but this was when they were little guys, right? I don't remember how old but we were walking and I was holding both of their hands and we were walking on this path, right? And it kind of split or whatever but Edi was behind us and she took a picture. And it was just a picture of me and I looked really tall at that time because they were just squirts, right? You know, they were down here and I was holding them by the hands and we were walking. And she gave that picture to me, it was a black and white. She gave it in this nice wood frame on a Father's Day and there's the picture of me, my two boys, and we were walking and there's two paths, which was kind of interesting and metaphoric. And underneath it, she's puts Proverbs chapter 20 verse 7, the righteous man walks in his integrity. How blessed are his children after him?
We have a responsibility as men, dads. I'm a dad. We've got a responsibility, men, to be men of integrity so that we leave blessing for our children. See, we've got a choice, gentlemen, we've got a choice and the choice is this. We are either going to because of our brokenness, leave our children a burden or because of our integrity, we're gonna leave them a blessing. Choose well because this is what God has called us to, to be men and women of integrity, to be parents that are worth honor from their children. But it still, still doesn't take any of us off the hook. We still have to honor our parents. Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother for this is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and you may have long life on the Earth. Let's bow our heads together.
As our heads are bowed I really wanna just ask you to, in your heart, to pray about two things. One is this, as a child of a parent, you may have known them, you may not have known them very well. I don't even know what your scenario looks like, they may be living, they may be passed at this point. But you can ask the Lord, Lord, help me to do what you want me to do to honor my parents. And just ask the spirit to give you wisdom, to give you creativity, to think about what that may look like for you. Maybe you're doing a good job of that. Thank God. Maybe you think to yourself, there are some ways that I learned and maybe I heard today. There's some ways that I feel like I could honor God by honoring my parents. And ask the Lord how He wants you to be obedient to what He's called you to because this is really about the culture of the kingdom, a culture of honor. But maybe if you're a parent, you might also ask the spirit, in what ways might you correct me as a loving heavenly father so that my life might be one that is honorable?
So that my kids, my spouse, my family might, when they see me, see someone who honors God? Holy spirit, are there areas in my life where you want to graciously correct me? That you wanna help me, that you wanna strengthen me? Show me those. Be willing to do that. Heavenly father, you're good to us. We know where to turn because you're a good God. You're true, you're right. You speak the truth over our lives. You tell us who we really are. That we are loved and that we are loved because of your character. That we can only love you because you have first have loved us, that you initiated this love as our good father. And that it's a love that's everlasting, it's a love that's hopeful but it's a love that also teaches us and disciplines us and speaks truth to us. And love us so much that you won't allow us to live in the broken patterns and spaces any longer because you wanna see us living the life of the kingdom.
Living the life of the king inside of us. So would you help sort our world and order our hearts? That we might be consistently living in the rhythm of the kingdom, this culture of honor, learning to honor you God. And honor those you've called us to honor to give honor to whom honor is due. Holy spirit, would you apply this text and these texts that we have talked about today? And may your word not return void as you've promised it would not. May it fall on fertile soil and may your people respond in ways that you lead them to so that they may demonstrate honor to you and honor to whom honor is due. We pray this now in Jesus name. Amen.