Be the Child of Your Parent's Dreams

Allow me to share a “wish list” of what parents wants to hear from their kids.[1]

“Who cares if I don’t have a cell phone?”

“You can just forget about my allowance for this week. I will use my savings.”

“No thanks. It’s too expensive.”

“OK lang. I understand.”

“Bored? How could I be bored? I really enjoy chores.”

“I really like homework!”

Parents, you can stop pinching your kids.

Now, we have dreams for our children. There are times when we even end up pressuring them to fulfill our dreams. Proverbs 22:6 goes like this: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
[2] The question is who determines the way our child should go? J. Vernon McGee wrote, “What [Proverbs] is saying is that God has a way He wants him to go, and parents are to find out that way. They are not to bring up a child in the way they think he should go, but in the way God wants him to go.”[3] I think the best dreams for them are the ones God dreams for them. And I pray that our children will pursue those dreams.

As we go through our series on Ephesians, we looked into the Dream Relationships. First, we discussed “Be the Woman of Your Husband’s Dreams.” Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Then we looked into “Be the Man of Your Husband’s Dreams” in verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. This morning, we will talk about “Be the Child of Your Parent’s Dreams” in Ephesians 6:1-3.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—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.’

In the Greek, the word ‘children’ does not refer to a specific age group but “refers to any child still living in the home and under parental guidance.”
[4] But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook once you get married. Yes, the Bible says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife...” (Genesis 2:25a) The way we relate to our parents has changed when we got married. But, the relationship did not end at our wedding. To a certain extent, it still applies to us.

To make it easy for us to remember, I came up with the acronym O-B-E-Y.
First, OBEY your parents. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (v. 1) Note that it is a command. It is not optional. It is not a “take it or leave it” thing. James 4:7 says, “If you don’t do what you know is right, you have sinned.”
[5] What does it mean to obey? “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8) In other words, we are to obey what our parents would tell us to do. The Lord Jesus himself was submissive to Mary and Joseph. “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them.” (Luke 2:51)

And we are commanded not just the act of obeying but also the attitude of obeying. The apostle Paul quoted the fifth of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and mother...” (v. 2) “Honor” means “to prize highly or to show respect for.”
[6] When we obey our parents, we show our respect for them. When we obey our parents, we show that we value them. Charles Swindoll wrote, “Have you ever obeyed on the outside but on the inside called your mom or dad ugly names? Honoring goes deeper than grudgingly obeying; it means doing what you’re told—even if you don’t agree—with respect and love.”[7] Note that Paul did not say respect your parents only when they are respectable. You respect them, period. No ifs, no buts. You hold them in the highest regard possible because “you do the right thing when you obey your parents.”[8]

To honor also means “to care for.” We are to take care of our elders. The Bible says that “if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to serve God by taking care of her, as she once took care of them. This is what God wants them to do.” (1 Timothy 5:4)
[9] In fact, what we do to our elders we do unto God. “People who don’t take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn’t have faith in the Lord.” (v. 8)[10] Brethren, let us take care of our elders.

Now the Bible gives the reason behind the command: “obey your parents in the Lord...” We BLESS the Lord through our parents. The Amplified Bible goes like this: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.” We honor God when we honor our parents. How can we say we respect God Whom we can’t see when we do not respect our parents whom we can see? Notice that a few verses below Paul wrote, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” (v. 5) Let us ask ourselves, “If I obey the Lord the way I obey my parents, would He be happy with my obedience?”

God takes parenting seriously. Paul said to follow your parents “is the first commandment with a promise”. What he meant was that this is a very important commandment or “one of foremost significance.”
[11] In the Old Testament it says, “If someone hits father or mother, the penalty is death.” (Exodus 21:15) In verse 17, it says, “If someone curses father or mother, the penalty is death.” Just imagine if we apply this law today, the church would have to have a morgue. This is also one of the signs of the last days. “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be... disobedient to their parents...” (2 Timothy 3:1-2) Honoring your parents is important to God. It pleases Him when we obey them.

Thus, when we honor our parents, we ENJOY God’s promise. Verse 3 says: “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” This is a rule with a reward. In the Contemporary English Version it says that “you will have a long and happy life.” You will have a quality life when you obey your parents. Dr. John MacArthur, Jr. wrote, “The original promise was to Israel and involved many tangible, physical, earthly blessings. But Paul’s reference to it here shows that it also extends to believers today. Though its blessings may not always be tangible, a family where children and parents live in mutual love and submission will have rich, God-given harmony and satisfaction that other families can never know.”
[12] You will also have quantity life—“the believer who honors his parents can know that his lifetime will be the full measure God intends, rather than cut short”[13] by disobedience. This morning we remember the Lord’s last supper. We are warned in 1 Corinthians 11:28-30, “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” Now if you are disobedient and disrespectful, I encourage you to ask forgiveness from God and from your parents before you join us in the communion, or else, you may bring judgment to yourself. Maybe some of us here are struggling in business or it seems the Lord’s hand is heavy upon us. Probably today is a good time to think through the way we relate to our parents.

So, we must YIELD in everything. In Colossians 3:20, Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Note that it says “in everything.” Of course, there are exceptions. But before we jump into it, do you agree with the rule? We are not entitled to the exceptions if we don’t abide by the rule. We are to obey our parents unless they command us to do something God prohibited or unless they prohibit us from doing something God commanded. Other than that, we are to obey “in everything.” Now, parents, let me remind you that this is not a license to lord it over your children. After telling the children to obey their parents, Paul cautioned the parents: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:4) We will talk more about that on the third Sunday of August.

So, God commanded us to O-B-E-Y. O - OBEY your parents. B - BLESS God through them. E - ENJOY God’s promise and Y - YIELD in everything.

It is my prayer that all of us become the child of our parent’s dreams. Let us pray...

[1]Adapted from the illustration database of the Biblical Studies Foundation (http://www.bible.org/)
[2]All Bible references are from the New International Version, unless otherwise specified.
[3]As quoted by Charles Swindoll in Becoming a People of Grace: An Exposition of Ephesians (Anaheim, California: Insight for Living, 2001), 176.
[4]John MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Colossians and Philemon (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), 170.
[5]Contemporary English Version (CEV).
[6]Based on the NIV Study Bible notes on Exodus 20:12.
[7]Swindoll, 178.
[8]CEV.
[9]Ibid.
[10]Ibid.
[11]Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary—Abridged Edition: New Testament (Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan, 1994), 781.
[12]John MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians (Philippines: Christ for Greater Manila, 1989), 315.
[13]Ibid.

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