Robert Morris — The Principle of Honor
Alright, I want us to continue our series on relationship through God's top 10 list and we've covered the first four Commandments. We're going down the Ten Commandments and we're trying to look at the principle behind the Commandment. What's the principle of relationship behind the Commandment? So, this week we're on the fifth Commandment and I'm calling this the principle of honor, that God wants to bring us to the place where we honor, where we have this principle in life.
Now, when you think about this, why would God put honoring your parents in the top 10. I mean, if you only have 10 things that you can tell someone, why would honoring your parents make the top 10 and since God knew that mankind would fall and that we would grow up in a fallen world and some people would have really bad parents, just to be honest about it. Josh, you didn't, but other people did. Why would God put this in the top 10? What's He trying to do? I think He's trying to put in us the principle of honor as a young person because the consequences for dishonoring of authority get more and more severe the older you get. So, God's doing something for our good. I think that it's foundational and it's imperative to live a happy, fulfilled life to understand the principle of honor.
So, I have three things that I want to share with you that honor produces. And here's number one, honor produces faith. Now, this may shock you and you might not see the connection until I get in it some, but I'm going to show you honor produces faith. If you want to have greater faith in your life to believe God, honor will produce that. So, here's the Commandment, Exodus 20. I didn't tell you to turn anywhere, but if you want to turn, two passages we'll be in later, Mark 6 and Proverbs 30 and so you can go to either one of those, Mark 6 or Proverbs if you want to or both of them. But here's the Commandment, the fifth Commandment in Exodus 20:12, "Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land," this is an important part that we really miss. "Upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you".
So, He's saying honor your father and your mother so that your days may be long in the land that I'm giving you, the promise land. Think about that. They're coming out of bondage, they're going into the promise land, but I don't know if you ever thought about this, the majority of people that came out of Egypt did not enter the promise land. They were in the wilderness 40 years and only those 20 years, everyone 20 years old and up died in the wilderness other than Joshua and Caleb. So, He says, "Honor your mother and your father," get this principle of honor in your life so your days may be long and yet these people didn't even get there. You want to know why? Because they didn't honor the word of the Lord.
See, He was trying to get them to understand, your parents represent Me, but if you won't honor them, you won't honor me. And these people did not enter the promise land. I'm telling you honor produces faith. They didn't enter the promise land because of unbelief. Look, look at this scripture. Hebrews 3:9, so we see they could not enter in because of unbelief. So, I'm going to show you again how honor produces faith and how unbelief is a result of not honoring, alright?
So, Mark 6:1, "Then He," that's Jesus, "went out from there and came to His own country". Very important, to His own country, where He grew up. "And His disciples followed Him and when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue and many hearing Him were astonished". Now, this astonishment is not really in a good way. Saying, "Where did this Man get these things? What wisdom is this which is given Him that such mighty works are performed Him"? Now watch this, isn't this just a carpenter? This guy's just a carpenter, a son of Mary, the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. Are not His sisters here with us?
So, they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, now this is a very famous saying, but we seem to only know the first part of it. The second part is really important. "A prophet it not without honor," in other words, a prophet does have honor, "except in His own country," watch, "among His own relatives and in His own house". "Now He," that's Jesus, "could do no mighty work there". Could not do a mighty work, "except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them," watch, "and marveled because of their unbelief".
Okay, what caused unbelief? Dishonor. They didn't honor Him, so they had unbelief. So that means honor produces faith. Have you ever heard this, and we're talking about family now, parents, honoring parents? You ever heard this, familiarity breeds, what? Right, discontentment, contempt. Familiarity breeds contempt. Familiarity comes from the word family. Familiar, familiar family. See, because we know them. We've heard them burp. We know these people really well. We've seen them get mad. We've seen them get angry. We've seen them get upset. We've heard them say things they shouldn't say. Familiarity. That's what they said with Jesus. We know this guy. He said, "Listen, people don't honor people that they should honor if they're in their own family". It's very important to understand this.
Remember the Roman centurion came and said, "Lord, please heal my servant". Jesus said, "I'll come to your house and heal your servant". He said, "You don't need to come to my house". Listen to what he said, "Because I, too, am a man under authority". So, you just need to say the word. Remember what Jesus said? "I haven't found faith this great, even in Israel". This is a Roman. Why did he understand faith so much? Listen, because he understood authority. What's the principal of honor? To honor those in authority. I'm telling you, the reason that we are probably the most faithless generation since the book of Acts is because we are a very dishonoring generation. Why would God put this in the top 10? Because He's trying to help us understand, honor your mother and your father so that you can honor authority, so you can have faith. Have you ever heard someone say, "Nobody's gonna tell me what to do".? You ever heard that? Isn't it amazing that that guy always ends up in jail or in the army?
Okay. So, honor produces faith. Here's number two. Honor produces blessings. Honor produces blessings. Now, here's the New Testament. This is a Commandment that's also in the New Testament. Ephesians 6:1, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first Commandment with promise that it may be well with you". Now, remember this phrase, "that is may be well with you," because now He's quoting from Deuteronomy 5. The Commandments are in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, "And that you may live long on the earth". Okay, children are told to do two things. Obey and honor. Obey your parents. Honor your mother and father.
Okay. What's the difference? Well, it's real simple what the difference is. You obey when you're in their home. But when you grow up, and you have your own home, you honor. That's the difference. I used to tell my children growing up, "As long as I'm paying the bills, you're doing what I say. If you want to be on your own, have at it. But when you're in this house, you're going to obey". Now, what you're hoping is is that they begin to honor you so that you can give them more freedom. Isn't that right? You have a teenager and the teenager gets more freedom if the teenager understands the principle of honor. But if the teenager doesn't understand the principle of honor, if the teenager's not maturing, you have to keep the person obeying. Are y'all following me?
We have some 40 years olds that still haven't learned the principle of honor. They go from one job to another because, "Nobody's gonna tell me what to do. Nobody's gonna be my boss". Think about this. He says, "Honor your mother and father". Listen, we all say, "What's the promise"? It's the first Commandment with a promise and it is. But what's the promise? And everyone says, "That you may live long". No, that's not just the promise. The promise is that things may go well with you. And that you may live longer. I don't mean to be sarcastic, but who wants to live long if things aren't going well? That things may go well with you. You can't imagine as a pastor how many times I've seen children from the same family, same parents, one of them things go well for them. Are y'all following me?
I'm meddling now. Actually, if you'll listen to me, it could change your life. I've watched children from the same family, grown children. One, things just go well for and the other, things just don't go well for them. And they have the same parents. Made the same mistakes, but one of them speaks and thinks and acts for his parents with honor. Even though they're just humans and one of them doesn't. It's extremely important for us to understand this. There's a promise.
Let me just show you, I almost, I had so much scripture and I thought, I don't know if I can get it all in but let me show you a couple scriptures. Romans 13:1-2, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities". In other words, there's a reason He's telling you to learn to honor because you're going to have to honor other authorities too in your life. But I want you to notice the word subject. This word subject, remember I told you that many Greek words come from a military background. Many come from a sporting background. This comes from a military background. It actually means to submit to, without any question, the troop leader, and those of you who have been in the military, you understand this because your life and other lives could depend on it. It means to be obedient without question to a troop leader in a military regimen.
Okay, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities". And I'll explain this in a moment. I understand sometimes if they tell you not to obey God, you have to obey God. I understand that. "For there's no authority except from God and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God". Now watch, "And those who resist will bring judgment on themselves". Okay, now remember it said, "Let everyone be subject". Okay, let me just show you. Luke 2:52, a very famous verse. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor of God and man". You ever read that verse? "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and with favor with God and man".
Okay, but before He did that, that's verse 52, let me show you what He did in verse 51, "Then He went down with them, his parents, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them". Same word as in Romans 32. Well, let me put it another way. If Jesus was subject to His parents, shouldn't you be? Jesus. Notice that it says, "Those who resist bring judgment on themselves"? Okay, let me give you some scripture on that. Exodus 21:15, "He who strikes his father, or his mother shall surely be put to death". Exodus 21:17, "He who curses his father or mother, shall surely be put to death". Proverbs 20:20, "Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness".
And then in the New Testament, two references that talk about people who are under the judgment of God. It shows, these are people who do this, this, this, and this. And the verses are longer. I'm just going to show you one verse from each of the lists. Romans 1:30, "They're backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents". That makes the list. II Timothy 3:2, "For men will be lovers of themselves, loves of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents". It's in both lists. Those who resist authority bring judgment on themselves.
Now, I'm going to show you a passage from the Old Testament. It's talking about a generation that doesn't honor its mother and father. It could be any generation. I'm not talking about now, the younger generation, past generation, future generation, any generation that does not honor its mother and father. It begins with not honoring mother and father. It ends without not honoring mother and father and in the middle, there are two verses that even commentators don't know why they put them there, why they're there. I know why. Because it happens to people who don't honor mother and father. So, watch, because these two verses don't seem to fit, but they fit perfectly.
Proverbs 30:11, "There is a generation that curses its father and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes". Think even now about our society we live in now. "Yet, it is not washed from its filthiness. There is a generation, oh, how lofty are their eyes and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation whose teeth are like swords". Think about how sharp our words are today. "Whose fangs are like knives, to devour the poor from off the earth and the needy from among men".
Now, watch, these are these verses don't seem to fit. "The leech, the leech, has two daughters. Give and give". In other words, give to me, give more to me, give to me, give to me. "There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, 'Enough!' The grave, the barren womb, the earth that's not satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, 'Enough!'" And then watch verse 17 how it wraps this up. "The eye that mocks his father and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out and the young eagles will eat it".
Okay, it starts with not honoring more and father. It ends with not honoring mother and father and right in the middle it says, let me tell you something else about this generation. Listen, they're a generation of entitlement. They say give and give and they're like leeches that suck the blood out of other people and they can never have enough. Because they didn't grow up with the principle of honor. I'm telling you, the consequences of not honoring people, mother and father, authorities. Everyone. You know, I could have gone through so many lists for this message. You know, you're supposed to honor a lot of people. Here's a good one. Honor one another. That's everybody. Honor your wife, it says, to the husbands. Honor, honor your husbands it says to the wives. Honor.
You know the very first thing Hitler did when he wanted to change a nation to be the most evil nation probably that's ever lived? He went after the kids. And do you know what he taught them to do? If their parents disagreed with Nazism, he taught the children to turn the parents in. Let me say it another way, he taught them to dishonor their mother and their father. Go after that next generation and cause them to violate the fifth Commandment.
So, honor produces faith, it produces blessings. Here's the third thing. It produces destiny. Honor produces destiny. Let me go back now and read it in Deuteronomy 5. So, I read this Commandment in the Old Testament, Exodus 20 and in the New Testament and now I'm going to show it to you in Deuteronomy 5:16, "Honor your father and your mother as the Lord, your God, has commanded you that your days may be long, that it may be well with you," watch, "in the land which the Lord, your God, has given you".
Okay, so he's referring to a promise land for them, but can I tell you something? God has a promised land for you. God has a calling and a destiny on your life that things will not go well with you if you don't honor your mother and your father. Honor your mother and your father that things may go well with you and you may live long in the destiny in the calling that God has on your life. That's what this is saying. So, God has the destiny, he has the promise land for everyone. The promise land, by the way, is not heaven. Some people have said that, the promise land is heaven. No, the promise land is not heaven because the promise land still had enemy's in it and heaven doesn't have any enemies. The promise land is the overcoming Christian life on this earth, when you defeat your enemy and you live in the blessings of God on this earth. That's the promise land.
So, it's all through scripture. This is a long passage, but I'm going to read it, so I can explain it to you and then we'll wrap up. Matthew 15:1 says, "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus saying, "Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders, for they do not wash their hands when they eat bread". That's shocking to me, the fishermen didn't wash their hands. He answered and said, listen how tactful Jesus is, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded saying, 'Honor your father and your mother and he who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'" I read you both those scriptures, Exodus 20 and Exodus 21. "But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, whatever prophet you might have received from me is a gift to God. Then he need not honor his father or mother.'"
In other words, instead of me helping you in your old age, that is set aside as a gift to God. They didn't give it to God though. So, they didn't honor their parents in their old age. "Thus, you've made the Commandment of God of no affect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you saying 'These people draw near to me with their mouth and they honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.'"
So, let me tell you some things about honor. Honor is not what you say, it's what you do and it's what you do in your heart. He said, "These people say with their lips they honor me". So, you can mouth the words that you honor your parents, but how do you really think about them? Do you really honor them? Are you honoring of your parents? Now, what if you had bad parents? Let's talk about it. Some people grew up with heathen parents, completely heathen. Some people grew up with Christian or churched parents who were very bad. As a matter of fact, I think I see more abusive situations that are difficult to get healed from church situations than heathen situations. Because it's tough when your parents are quoting the Bible to you and acting a different way.
So, how do you honor dishonorable people? Well, it's real simple. You choose to. You choose to understand that you were raised by humans and you don't know how they were raised and you don't know what they went through, and they also don't have the truth, most of them don't have the truth that you have now. They didn't know anything about the Holy Spirit, many of them, and if they did, it was a legalistic version which is not the Holy Spirit. They don't know anything about inner healing or deliverance or the baptism in the spirit, they don't know anything about really getting in the word. The churches were form and tradition and ritual. It was a cultural thing instead of a spiritual experience.
I have great parents, but they weren't perfect, but you've never heard me dishonor them. I'm never going to because there's a principle and things have gone well for me in the land God's called me to be in. And I believe it's because of this principle. It's time we stop thinking that God's commandments are old fashioned and started thinking that they are well-fashioned. They are well-fashioned. There's a reason. So, what do you do if you have dishonorable parents? Listen, you forgive them. Because if you don't forgive them, you're the one that's going to bring evil on yourself. You're the one that's gonna suffer. You forgive. You understand they're humans. They're humans. You don't have to honor their actions, you just have to in your heart say, "I forgive them".
Sometimes people ask this question, "Why did God put me in this home"? Well, what we need to understand is many times God doesn't put us in a situation, but He'll take us through that situation and because of us growing up in that situation, you may be able to minister to people that no one else can minister to. There are principles that even if you don't understand them, if you say, "You know what? This is God's word and I'm going to obey this Commandment and I'm going to obey this principle". There's fruit on the other side.
I want you to think about this principle. It's the principle of honor. And God specifically teaches us this principle through our parents. But it's not always easy to do. Some of us had parents that might not have been believers. Some of us might have had parents that were absolutely horrible and did just horrible things. I want to encourage you though that it's in your heart and part of the way that you honor your mother and your father is you realize that they're humans, but you have to forgive them, and you have to release them. If you don't forgive them, you'll stay in bondage.