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Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31
“10 Rules for Faithful Living: #5 Giving Honor”
October 11, 2015
Lidgerwood Presbyterian Church
We come to worship today, O Lord, some of us filled with discontent, some with fear, some with anger, some with hurt feelings. But, dear Lord, we all came here today. Empty our hearts and minds of malice and bitterness right now. Help us instead, to seek Your perfect power and presence, Your righteousness and redemption, Your Law and Your love in front of all other possible priorities, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
A Sunday School teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six-year olds.
After explaining the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?”
Without missing a beat, one boy (the oldest of a family of seven) answered, “Thou shalt not kill.”
We have spent the last four Sundays looking at the first four of the Big Ten Commandments. Can you name those first four?
- No OTHER gods – all those other things that we allow to take first place in our lives are out of order!
- Make no IMAGES – any image of God we make, any statue, any idea, any philosophy, will fall short
- HOLY be Thy name – God’s name assures us of His perfect presence and power, do not misuse that
- Take a Sabbath REST – the Hebrew people had lived under the iron fist of Pharaoh, God says that under His authority we are meant to find peace, rest, in His presence
These Ten Commandments are meant to do three vital things for those who recognize the gift God gives us of His presence, I am who I am, Emmanuel, I am with you to the end of the age:
- To reveal to us how much we need a Savior – even more than how much the Hebrews needed a savior from their oppression under Pharaoh, we need a Savior from our oppression under depravity
- To reel in our selfish desires to kill each other – to restrain whatever evil we are tempted toward
- To remind us what God’s character is – and therefore, as people created in the image of God, who claim to be followers of Jesus, what our character ought to be as we grow more and more into His likeness
When Jesus was asked, by people who perhaps hoped to trip Him up, which of the 10 Commandments was the greatest, most important one. Both Matthew and Mark record this story. What is Jesus’ answer? (Look at your Sermon Notes page…): (Mark 12) “29 ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”’”Jesus is merely quoting from Deuteronomy 6 (our Call to Worship this morning). Love the Lord your God with everything you’ve got, always, never-ending, without fail – have no other gods – no desire for riches, no dreams of popularity, no over-extended hopes for glamour, no worries, no fears – have no other gods! Make no false images! Do not misuse God’s holy name! Rest in God’s presence!These first four Commandments are all about that most important one!
But Jesus’ answer to those who asked Him this question goes a little bit further: In the very next sentence Jesus says, “31 The second is this (in Matthew He says, “the second is just like it:”): ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
That, Church, is His summation (and Leviticus’ summation) of the remaining six Commandments. How do we love our neighbors as ourselves?
Commandment number Five says, in Exodus 20, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Deuteronomy 5’s version is slightly longer: “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
May God bless the reading, hearing, receiving of His Word which never fails.
Two quick and easy things to notice about this Commandment: first, it’s not about God (it’s about human relationships); second, it comes with a promise (that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you).
Why do you think this Commandment comes with a promise/positive consequence?
I think it’s related to how peace in our lives, harmony in our homes, respect in our relationships, results in an ability to establish deeper roots and more hopeful outcomes – loving longevity.
What does the word “Honor” mean in this context?
“Respect” is the usual synonym we choose, and it’s a good one. To hold in high esteem, to love and cherish. The Commandment says that this is what we are to pay our parents! Why does it specify our parents?
I think it’s because our Father and Mother are our first relationships. If we can start well with our first relations, perhaps we can translate that over to our siblings and our neighbors and our government officials and our pastors and our children and our peers.
We were probably all taught that honor and respect must be earned. I want to say how much I agree with that. If I want to be treated with decency and a degree of deference, then I must live with integrity striving to prove that my existence deserves some level of love. That is true as a husband, as a father, as a friend, as a pastor.
But this Commandment says nothing about the parents who are to receive this respect. It says simply that we are to give them honor! How can “honor” be a gift?
Here’s the real beauty of this Commandment. While I should not expect honor unless I earn it; but because God has already honored me with the gift of His name – He gave me, and you, He gave us His name, to be used in powerful ways: to call on Him in prayer, to cry for Him when we are in need, to acknowledge His presence always, and to receive His Son and His Holy Spirit as daily Savior and constant Lord, to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved, while we were still sinners, completely undeserving – (because God has already honored us with the gift of his presence) therefore I am meant to offer this same honor to those around me who obviously don’t deserve it either!
Love the Lord your God with everything you’ve got; and love your neighbor as yourself – give honor until it’s deserved! “But I can’t do that! My mom, husband, neighbor, boss, pastor – drives me crazy! How can I honor him?!
Only by acknowledging that God is with us, and nothing is impossible for God!
We might argue and debate over whether or not these Commandments belong in our Court Houses or classrooms – but there should be no argument that they belong right here, in our hearts and lives and church.
If our Church ever turns our backs on the authority of these Commandments, may God have mercy on our souls. Let us worship the Lord our God, above and before all else, and let us love our neighbor as ourselves, today and forever. Amen. Psalm 119:165 tells us: “Great peace have they who love Your Law: nothing shall offend them.” Amen.
The Law of Liberty; “Unfolding God’s Glorious Law”; Project Restore, Inc; Locust Dale, VA; 2006; Pp. 6.