AuthorityOctober 15, 2023| Kyle Bjerga
This sermon discusses the importance of honoring one’s parents and other authority figures as commanded in Exodus 20:12. Western culture has become anti-authority, but honoring parents images God’s authority and leads to better life outcomes. Jesus is presented as the perfect example of honoring his parents, even though they were imperfect. The pastor encourages respecting and listening to parents in different life situations and prioritizing one’s spiritual parents in the church.
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Good morning. Go and grab your Bibles and turn to Exodus chapter 20. We’re going to be in verse 12. It is such a sweet thing to see the kids up here. And I know some of you don’t get to see their faces up here as they come up to sing with us. But to see those little mouths moving and saying, God is so good. It brings joy to my heart. And I hope it does you as well, when you see them up here each and every week, we’re in Exodus 20, verse 12. And so this is honestly time. How many parents read ahead this week, to the verse and kind of nudge their kid, like, we’re going to church this week. Okay, you guys have got to hear this. But this is a passage actually, for everybody here, not just kids. And maybe you got that eyeroll from your child, when they read ahead and saw what the passage was about. But there is much for us to learn to hear from the Lord today. This past week, I watched an animated film with a couple of my boys. And as I usually do, I went on and tried to look at what the story was about, just to get a sense of it. Usually, there’s some good conversations that come out of watching the movie, especially when you know, it’s not coming from a Christian worldview. So we watch this movie, and in this movie, there comes a conflict between, you guessed it, parents, and a child. Go figure. But of course, there is there’s always conflict between parents and children. And as the story goes, there’s usually blame to be had on both sides. Neither side is perfect. There’s usually miscommunication, not understanding the different perspectives involved, but was most telling about this movie was a line that was used by this teenagers friend. At one point in the movie, there’s a conversation about this, this teenagers future, and there’s some conflict between what the Father wants them to do, and, and possibly what they want to do with their life. And so listen to what the friend says, Why should anyone tell you what you can’t do in life? To which many people would stand up and applaud? That’s right, you can’t let people tell you what to do. In this case, it was saying, Who are your parents, to tell you what you can and can’t do in life? Now we’re gonna speak directly to parents and children here throughout this morning, we’re gonna get to them in just a minute. But this quote is representative of a broader cultural issue. And it’s the view of authority. It’s the view on authority in our culture, every couple of years, you’ll see studies that are done and has been done for decades now that show trust and respect for authority in this country is waning. Who do you think number one group is that gets the negative view? Government, right, it’s been going down year after year, it’s been decreasing, the attitude that we have towards people in authority is going down every year. But it’s not just the government. It’s true in the home. It’s true in business. It’s true in the school. And it’s true in churches, every single sphere where there’s authority, has seen a lack of respect and trust in those authority figures for decades, and it’s not getting any better. So our culture keeps screaming, why should you tell me what to do? Who are you, the only person that gets to tell me what to do is me. That’s who gets to tell me that’s who truly has the authority. We live in a culture with individual autonomy, and an anti authority culture. And these are the feelings we just breathe this in. This is the air that we breathe as we walk around. These are the things that we hear in movies and conversations in the papers. And yet, all of us start up every single one of us started off in the most important relationship of a parent and a child, or an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a guardian, someone in your life got you to this point. Some buddy with a thority in your life got you to this point. So is that important? Yes. It’s very important. There are all sorts of authority figures that we will continue to come come into our life. And we need to understand how do we treat them to God has designed it this way. He’s designed it this way, which means it’s good. And there’s much for us to learn in this word that He gives us an exodus 20 Look at verse 12. Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you so the big idea today is this you honor the Lord. You honor the Lord when you honor the god given authority fig yours in your life. And today, like the passage says, We’re gonna spend most of our time talking about parents, and kids. But I’m talking about kids of all ages, adult children too. But hopefully, you’ll be able to make some connections between this relationship and other authority figures in your life because it does work where you can substitute this for government, for teachers, for coaches, for your boss, people who are given authority in our lives. So hopefully, you can make some those connections. I’ll try to do that for us a little bit today. I’m gonna try also not to go off on too many tangents and make this longer than it needs to be. But as a family ministry, Pastor, I begin been given this passage, which means I thought a lot about it. But we’ll see how we do. So let’s dive right in. What does it mean to honor parents? What does it mean? So a couple of things to notice here when it says, Honor your father and mother. First is this is the second week where we have a command that says we are to do something, not You shall not do this, but rather Honor, this is a positive thing, Honor your father and mother. And second, this command moves us from one table of the 10 commandments to the second table of the 10 commandments. So historically, that’s how the commandments have been broken down. So we have two tables, we have the first table over here, which is the first four commandments starting with You shall have no other gods before me. And then you come over here, and you got the last six commandments. And so this one deals with our vertical relationship with God, right between God and us. And over here, these last six they deal with our horizontal relationship, us with our parents, us with their neighbors, their family, with our friends, anybody else that you might meet. But there’s something unique about this fifth commandment. And it’s really more of a transition verse showing us how to love God and love people at the same time. Okay, it’s really straddling both tables, that that’s what the fifth commandment is doing. In fact, Jen Wilkin helpfully shows us this with her breakdown of the 10 commandments. She says, The 10 commandments deal with matters of heavenly submission. Okay, that’s the God and us earthly submission, parent child relationship, authority figures, and then mutual submission, in that order. So you can see that that earthly submission, the only one is the parent child authority, that relationship and helps bridge the gap between these two tables to help us understand, okay, if we honor the Lord, we’re going to honor our parents. And if we honor our parents, we’re going to honor the Lord. Is there any more important relationship for understanding authority than a parent and a child, regardless of age, there’s an authority that God gives to others on Earth to represent his authority. And the first place we see that is with parents, it’s different than our submission to peers. When we get to starting next week, it’s a different kind of submission when we’re with peers than it is to our parents, or to others who are given authority over us. And so you see, the main idea right here, you honor the Lord when you honor the god given authorities in your life. But what does the word honor mean? Because we don’t live in an honor culture. So what the word here means you could translate it heavy, or give weight to somebody who is weighty. In other words, we can translate it give weight to your parents, give weight to your parents. So what they say and what they do. John Dixon, and comments on the fifth commandment says this, it asks children, dependent children and adult children to adopt a stance toward their parents that pays them deep, almost divine respect. So Dixon, reminds us of something important that this commandment is not first for kids. This was a commandment given to the Israelite people, mainly adults, hearing this and hearing all the commandments and saying, Oh, this, this matters to me as an adult, with parents. And we’re going to get to the obedience of children, don’t worry. But the original command here is found is for anyone with parents, because you can honor your parents regardless of age. And so I want to talk for a moment just to parents, again, parents, if you have kids in the home outside of the home, this is for you. You have a God given authority. You image the authority of God to your kids, you are a representative and ambassador, and that is a high calling. And now you’re thinking back in the last maybe couple of hours, thinking like that’s not a good thing. Or you look back in the last week, and like is this really what I signed up for? And it is, it is a God given authority. So how do we do this? Well, that’s our question. How do we image God’s authority to our kids? Well, we look to the perfect father.
We have one. He wants us to know him. He wants to know how he parents us. There is something better than the authoritarian stance of do it because I said, so. Which has a time and a place. Theoretically, let’s imagine my kids are causing issues in the pew. I may look over and say Be quiet. And they say why? And I see because I said, so, like, we can’t have this whole lecture in a PowerPoint to go through why you should be behaving in this moment right now. So there’s a time and a place. But that should not be our only way of parenting. And it can’t be passive parenting of you guys, do whatever you want, whatever makes you happy. Are you going to do that? Sometimes? Sure. You’re gonna take them somewhere, say Just do what you want have a good time. But you can’t always parent like that. So how do we parents? We look at God and we say, how does he parent? Us? Dependent Children, adult children doesn’t matter. What is this honor? How can we parent like God? Three quick things. Number one, we lay out our expectations for our kids. Is that not what God the Father just did to the Israelite people in the 10 commandments. Here’s the expectations. This is what I expect of you, My children, the ones I just took out of Egypt. So as parents, we lay out our expectations. They should not be shocked by those because we lay them out, we talk about them. Second thing, we take delight in our kids. Children are not a burden. Children are not in our way. They’re not a problem. Someone 27 says they are a gift from the Lord. And they always are. Regardless of age of our kids, we know that. But do we believe that? Every frustrating thing your kids have ever done. You have done to God. I have done to God, every reason you’ve gotten angry with them, you have done that to God the Father, and more so and yet he delights in us. He loves us, He saved us. And the third thing is we discipline out of love. Proverbs, and Hebrews tells us that God disciplines those he loves, and we are to do the same. He leaves an example, as the perfect parent, which sometimes looks like rebuke, and correction and justice being done. Sometimes it looks like mercy, and grace. But all of it is for them to learn obedience. That’s what we’re after learning obedience and learning who God is what He has called them to see them grow up in holiness, to be reconciled to God the Father through Jesus Christ. Our desire as parents is to live lives worthy of the God given authority that we have. So that’s parents, kids, teenagers, this next part is for you. Your parents are not perfect. No, amens? Wow. Okay. Your parents are not perfect. They’re not perfect parents, but you are still called to honor them. You’re still called honor them, to give them weight, to respect them for who they are and the call God has given them in your life. So how do you honor your parents now when you’re living in, in your home, under their instruction and discipline? Well, that’s given to you in Ephesians, six Ephesians six, verse one says Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. So if you want to honor God, you honor your parents. First you can worship, honor and obey God by doing this, your parents first. And then teachers and coaches and pastors and anyone else in authority who comes into your life. Another way you give weight to your parents is by trusting that they know more than you. And I mean that they know more about the important things in life than you do. Not what’s on tick tock. Now what’s going on with Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Not what is trending, because you will know more than them in that I’m talking about they know way more in life, the important things and wisdom than you do at this point. And you need to trust them, and listen to them. So let me try and guess what some of the conversations are in your home, when your parents tell you what to do. Three things that I see. Number one, know your parents and parents when you first hear your child say no, it’s a little jarring. What do you mean no, like I don’t know how to handle this right now. But that’s the first one. The second one is a wait till I’m done. Which means it’s not going to happen. And then three why Why? Which isn’t innocent? I’m seeking to understand father. It is why in the world are you disrupting what I’m doing. So you better give me really good reason to give this up to go do what you want me to do. Those are the three options that I see, possibly in my own home. Which means if I don’t give them a good reason, to do something, we’re gonna go back to number one, and they’re gonna say, no. That’s one way you can give weight to your parents trust that they know what is best, and listen to them, and obey them. Another way to give weight to our parents, is to give them more weight than you give to other people give their word more weight than you do to social media give their word more weight than you do to your friends give more weight to their authority than any other authority figure outside of God. That’s how you on your parents give weight to their words. And kids, I just want to say one thing, you do not want cool parents. You don’t want cool parents. Because that’s not what God has called them to. He has given them authority in your life for a reason. They’re there to help you grow in your faith to know who Jesus is. And they’re not going to be cool. And that’s okay. Because they’re not held to that standard by God. So don’t hold them to that either. It’s okay parents to go home and say you’re not cool. That’s fine. If we can’t give weight to our parents, who bring us into the world, who raised us who give us what we need to survive, we cannot submit to their authority. How will we ever do that? With someone else? We can’t do that most important relationship. So the second thing that we need to look at is why should we honor our parents says Honor your father, mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Now there’s all sorts of reasons why you should obey your parents, why we should honor our parents, it’s the right thing to do. But when did the Israelites get these commands, they get them after God has saved them from Egypt brought them before the promised land that that’s what they’re supposed to do next. So I’ve saved you, I brought you out. Here’s my expectations for you. Before you go into the Promised Land, which meant rest, and peace, and God’s rule over God’s people, that’s what was supposed to happen. And the 10 Commandments, God is saying, This is how you should live. And if you live this way, things will go better for you. Things will go well, Brandon mentioned it a few weeks ago when we started this series. If you just took the second table, and we lived that way, how different would life be? Don’t murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t covet. Like, that sounds like a pretty good life. Like everything going on in this world right now. If we lived like that, how different would things be? So this is a good thing. And then you read you’ll live long in the land. Now this is not a promise for a long life in years as if you obey your parents and you live to 96. Live long in the land was meant to say was meant it meant you have an abundant and full life. Now we know this is true, because Jesus only lived until his early 30s. And he was perfectly obedient to his parents. And yet he died younger, perfectly obedient without sin, never disobeying, never an eyeroll of disrespect to his parents. And get this unlike our children, who think they more know more than we do. A lot of times, Jesus actually knew more than his parents. But he respected them. He gave weight to them. Following this command, he did all of that. And the number of his years was shorter than we would expect. But there was no one who lived a more abundant or fuller life than Jesus did. So that’s what it has to be talking about. There is blessing when we follow this command, there was blessing of the Old Covenant, and there’s blessing in the new covenant. That’s what Paul gets out in Ephesians six as we go on children obey your parents for this is right. And then what does he say? He quotes Exodus 20. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment, the promise so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the Earth. So he takes it and expands it and what it means. I tell my boys this all the time. If you listen to mom and dad, at least in our home, things will go better for you. They will. I promise you. I have never disciplined you when you’ve done the right thing.
And I promise that this will happen you will have a better life at least in our home. If you do the right Eat things. And we know this just from studies, when they do studies on risky behaviors that people will participate in in life. Who are the ones more likely to participate in these behaviors? What’s the number one indicator? home life? The relationship with their mom their relationship with their dad, or lack thereof? Because whole matters, family does matter. So what should you do when people in authority, tell you what to do? Do we say why should anyone tell me what I can and can’t do in life? Or instead, look at those people who are in our life who have been given a God given role of authority in our life? And instead ask, why wouldn’t I listen to them? Sit back and ask that question. Why wouldn’t I listen? To my parents? That’s the question we need to ask. That’s the kind of weight we need to give parents in our life. And I know what some of you were thinking, you don’t know my parents. You don’t know what they’re like. And we could point to bad examples of representatives in every area of authority. We all have examples of this. And of course, when our parents tell us to do something that’s contrary to God’s Word, we follow God’s authority first, of course, if it’s going to harm someone else, other other exceptions are there. But what I’m talking about is that posture of honor, first, a posture of honor towards those in authority. Do we respect them and listen to them first? And then think on things and then act? Or do we say who are you? Because we won’t be long before we say that same thing to God, when He tells us to do something we don’t want to do. Who are you. Because when you honor the god given authorities in your life, you will honor God as well. And once again, we look at Jesus as our perfect example of this kind of life. Because he was perfect. And his parents were not. And yet he obeyed and honored them to the very end. In Luke chapter two, we get the only story of Jesus after his kind of birth story and till his adult ministry, we get it when he’s 12 years old, and his parents travel with him to Jerusalem, for the festival. And they would have been a whole caravan of hundreds, if not 1000s of people that would have come and so they spend their time there. And then they’re going home, and they think Jesus is somewhere in the caravan like other kids are, and they quickly realized Jesus is not with them. So they head back as any good parent would to Jerusalem to find out where Jesus is. And as they’re looking for him, Where do they find him, but the temple courts, talking with the religious leaders and baffling the religious leaders, and how much he knew and understood and the questions that he was asking. And when he finds out that his parents were looking for him, what does he say? Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my father’s house. So Jesus knows who his true father is His Heavenly Father, he knew he was where he belonged. And you can almost hear any other 12 year old in the world saying to Joseph and Mary at this time, why should you tell the perfect Son of God what he can and cannot do? And that’s not what Jesus says. That’s not what he does. Look at Luke 251. Then he went down to Nazareth with them, and was obedient to them. Jesus understood that he honored his one true Heavenly Father, when he honored his earthly parents. He knew that he lived that his obedience to his parents would end. But his honor for them would not. His Honor for his parents would continue. Because Jesus was arrested, he was tried, he was mocked, he was beaten then he was put up on a cross. And they’re laboring to brief with the the weight of the sins of the entire world on his shoulders and his back, and the spiritual pain that that would have caused him. All of it is there and who is at the foot of the cross. It says near the Cross of Jesus stood his mother. And surely in that moment, anyone would give Jesus a pass, to think about himself, to worry about himself and what was happening to him be more concerned for himself, but he was more concerned as the eldest son for his mother’s well being. Look at Luke, John 19. When Jesus saw his mother there and the disciple whom he loves, which was John, standing nearby, he said to her, Woman, here’s your son. To the disciple, here is your mother. From that time on, the disciple took her into his home. Jesus honored his mother to the very end, making sure she was cared for Before he gave up his life that’s what we follow. That’s the example that we have. So the last question remains, how do we honor like this? How do we honor our parents? First, we need to remember that when Jesus lived out this command perfectly, he did it for us. Because he knew we could not do it on our own. He went to the cross and forgive us for all of our disobedience against God and our parents. That’s what he did. And he defeated that sin and death and rose from the grave victorious. And now when we believe that it’s true, we get a new heart. And we see this not as a law that’s a burden, but as God’s good grace in our life, saying, This is a good expectation for us to honor our father and mother. He showed us that he cared for his mom, to the very end. So we have parents and other authority figures in our life, therefore our good, that’s how God has designed it. So we eagerly want to follow our father and mother because we eagerly want to follow God. We eagerly listen and give weight to our parents, because we know when we do, we can honor the Lord at the same time. So in the following types of parents, you’ll see this in your notes, I’ve got five, fill in the blanks, we’re gonna go through quickly here. The different types of parents, and you can substitute parents for, again, other authority figures in your life, I’ll let you kind of work that out in your own or in community group this week. And this is for everyone. This is this is for everyone here, even if your parents are not living because you do have parents. And I’ll tell you who they are, like the last one. But first, how do you honor God honoring parents? How do you honor God honoring parents? I’ve already talked to teens and kids. So this is for everyone. Again, if you have parents who love the Lord, are walking with Jesus, and are still living, how do you honor them? The first thing you should do today, because this is a simple one is just say thank you. And not a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day card that you have to give them go out of your way to say thank you to them. Think back in your life. Think of what they have done for you see how they’ve cared for you raise you to know Jesus. Think back in their failures. And then how they ran to Jesus in that moment and ask for your forgiveness. And saw reconciliation a couple of weeks ago, I don’t do this often. Okay. As often as I should. But a couple weeks ago, at the gospel coalition conference, I texted my parents from there. And I just said, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for breaking church attendance when I was a kid a priority. Because I kept hearing these things in these different breakout sessions at this conference about how many kids walked away from the faith because their parents gave it a low priority in their home. Story after story after story, and so I just tell them, it’s just thank you for making that a priority. Did we ever miss church? Sure. But that was a disruption from the normal. We knew where we’re going. We knew what we were doing. And so I just wanted to say thank you, I want to give them that weight and that respect to say I didn’t, it wasn’t I noticed. There wasn’t a notice of I mean, it certainly wasn’t a notice by God. So say thank you. As adults give weight to what they say, parents will always give you their opinion, right? Whether you ask for it or not. They’re gonna give you their opinion. And as a child, you listen and obey. But as an adult, what do you do in that moment? How do you give them weight? You respectfully listen to them. You nod your head, you have a conversation with them, you give them your reasons, they give you yours, theirs, you say thank you, and then guess what? You go do what you want to do. Which may be taking their advice and may not be but you honor them by listening by taking everything in by thinking through it. But you’re not called to obey anymore. So you’re gonna go do your own thing, but you can honor them in getting to that point of not shrugging off their advice as just again, but listening, taking it to heart and then making a decision. Okay, second group of parents. What about the undeserving parents? For some of you this whole morning has been painful. There’s no way around it. For some of you don’t remember a time when your parents were looking out for your best interest. Or your parents caused you pain? Physical, emotional, spiritual, verbal abuse Eden. Can you honor undeserving parents? Yes, because the command is not to honor good parents. The command is not to honor deserving parents.
It is to honor your father and your mother. it’d be so easy to give a whole list of reasons why you shouldn’t honor undeserving parents. And guess what a lot of your friends in life would probably tell you. Yeah, they don’t deserve it. So don’t give it to him. But that’s not what God expects. That isn’t his view. If you read the polls this week, there was an article attached at the bottom, from Jennifer Greenberg. She was the victim of abusive father, who came to know Jesus she did. And she says this, I hope it helps. In the spirit of the law, I honored my father by refusing to come to the damage his sin inflicted. I honor my father by reporting his abuses. I honor my father by breaking the cycle and being a godly parent to my children. And I honor my father daily by not letting him near my daughters. There’s four ways right there that you can honor undeserving parents. How do you give weight to the undeserving? Another way to do this that I heard from someone recently, was you choose what to highlight about your parents. There may be 1000 reasons why they’re undeserving. But there might be that one reason that you highlight, and you honor them for that thing. It’s up to you to choose what that will be. But you can honor them. And another way you can give them weight is by just in humility, love and grace, praying for them. treating them like Jesus treated you. Because you treated him pretty poorly. You were undeserving to third, aging parents. There are many of you here who have aging parents. And you’ve witnessed that shift, just like your schedule used to fill up their calendar, and all of a sudden their schedule is filling up your calendar. Because you got to take them to the emergency room, you got to take them to appointments, you’ve got to take them all these different places, check in on them. And now all of a sudden, your life is a lot different. And our culture, and I want to say this, I want to say this. And then I want to explain why I’m saying it. Because you’d be hard to hear but our culture says put them in a home. That’s what our culture says. Do you know that that’s not a lot of cultures in the world. Because a lot of cultures in the world say take your parents in and care for them. That’s their default position. Now I say that I want to back that up by saying there is a time and a place where that needs to happen. There is care that has to happen. So I’m not saying that this isn’t something that in wisdom and conversation you can decide. We’ve had many of our family members in this one I’m seeing a biblically it’s a foreign concept. Biblically it was you take your family in you care for them. That should be our default position. And then if needed, we go outside of that. Okay. But I don’t want to apologize for that, because this is how God designed it. You took care of your family. First Timothy says that if you don’t take care of your relatives, you are worse than an unbeliever. Now, how do you care for your relatives? Maybe it is getting them that care that they need. That’s your first responsibility. Get them the care that they need. But don’t let that just go past you first. Sit there and think is this something we are called to do in this moment? So start there first, and then move on to other things. Fourth, unbelieving parents. This one’s pretty simple. How do you give weight to your unbelieving parents, you pray for them. You live your life like life, like Jesus before them, and don’t think you’re better than them. Which is a temptation. And then finally, you proclaim the gospel. Just like you do with anybody who doesn’t believe. You pray you live your life, like Jesus, you proclaim the Gospel. And finally, spiritual parents. If you don’t have parents who believe if you don’t have parents who are living any longer, you still have parents there in this church. You have fathers and mothers who care for you, who have wisdom and experience and should carry a certain weight with us. Not to be shrugged off as unimportant, or wisdom that’s outdated and doesn’t apply to today. No, we need to listen to our spiritual parents. There is somebody here that you need to talk to and listen to. Who can help you and disciple you throughout your life? That is how you honor spiritual parents by inviting them in by listening to them. For all of us today, as we leave here, there might need to be a conversation a text Call a visit with your parents, your grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, whoever took care of you to say thank you first. And then to do some of this if it applies in that situation. The question we should be asking from now on instead of Who are you to tell me what to do? Should be who has God placed in my life that represents his authority today? And how can I give weight to what they say? And do if we honor the authority figures in our life that God has given us than we are honoring him? Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for being our perfect father, for saving us by sending your son by changing us through Your Word, by giving us this command, by having Jesus show us what it looks like to honor our parents, no matter what. As we come to this commandment, we come to every one of these commandments. There may need to be some confession right now in our hearts before you. Because our attitude towards those in authority has never been good. We rebel and reject that authority. We shrug it off, we don’t listen to it. We don’t give it any weight in our life. So Lord, we pray that you would forgive us for that. And now, we will trust our Savior Jesus. And the song we are going to sing. It says you have said Your way is best. And we know the path you’ve chosen leads to everlasting rest. A rest provided through your blood on the cross through your victory over death, and the grave. As Lord as we sing this morning, I pray we would honor those in our life that you have given to us with authority and that we would honor You the one with ultimate authority over our life, that we would see your commands as good. Good for us. And when we live them out there for your glory. Jesus, we love you and we pray this in Your name. Amen.