[Exodus 20: 12]
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Matthew chapter 22 one lawyer questioned Jesus saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
He was asking Jesus to tell him what the greatest commandment was among so many commandments of God.
Matthew 22:37-40 says, “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  “This is the great and foremost commandment.  “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
God gave us many commandments in the Bible, but if we can just fulfill two things in our heart, to love God and to love our neighbors, we can keep other commandments as well.
If we love God, we will not commit sins that God hates so much, and if we love our neighbors, we will not act evil towards our neighbors.
That’s why Romans 13:10 also says that love is the fulfillment of law. But if we just say, “Love God,” and “Love your neighbors,” we may not understand what we have to do specifically.
That is why there are 66 books of the Bible to explain this, and after all, the Ten Commandments given to Moses is also a little more detailed explanations of the two commandments that tell us to love God and to love our neighbors.
Among them, from the 1st commandment to the 4th commandment is about the foremost commandment that tells us to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and with all our mind.” It is to love God the Creator only, not to make any idols, not to take God’s name in vain, and to keep the Sabbath holy. All these belong to the commandment telling us to love God.
From the 5th commandment to the 10th commandment is about the commandment that tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Here, God tells us to respect our parents and not to do any evil to our neighbor with murder, theft, or adultery. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we wouldn’t want our neighbor to suffer, so we can keep these commandments naturally.
Daniel 9:4 says that our God “keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
I hope you will love God and love your neighbors as yourselves and keep all the commandments of God faithfully.
Therefore, may you dwell in the love of compassionate God, in the name of the Lord I pray!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the 5th commandment of the Ten Commandments is “Honor your father and mother.” Your father and mother are the ones who gave birth to you and raised you.
Even if you didn’t receive a lot from your parents for some reason, you couldn’t exist without your parents. Therefore, even if it is not stated in the Ten Commandments, if you have good conscience, you know that is natural duty of men to honor your parents.
But when God tells us to honor our father and mother, He is not telling us to honor them in a fleshly or physical sense.
Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
It means we have to honor our parents in the Lord, namely in the word of God.
If we disobey God’s word to please our parents, it is not in keeping with God’s commandment and has nothing to do with God. For example, on Sunday, if your parents tell you, “It’s a holiday. Do not go to church, and let us have some time with family together,” then, can you violate the Sabbath to please your parents?
You cannot do it. If you obey your parents telling you this kind of thing, it is not honoring your parents but falling into destruction with your parents.
If you truly love and honor your parents, you will evangelize them and help them first to receive salvation.
No matter how well you serve them physically, if you just leave their souls to fall into eternal hell, how can you be said to love your parents?
Thus, you should do God’s will and also move the hearts of your parents so that they can go to heavenly kingdom, too. This is true service to your parents. In 2 Chronicles 15:16 it says, “He also removed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from the position of queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah, and Asa cut down her horrid image, crushed it and burned it at the brook Kidron.”
If the queen mother, who is like the mother of a nation (or First Lady), worships idols, it is not only to stand against God and follow the way of destruction but also it deceives the people into worshipping idols and leads them to destruction, as well.
So, King Asa did not just agree with his mother but officially he removed her from the position of the queen mother.
Through this, his mother could also turn from her ways, and the people could also be refreshed again seeing this. This is to truly honor one’s parents.
You cannot be said to have honored your parents by serving them very well in just the physical sense. Above all else, you can be said to have truly honored your parents when you guide them to go to the kingdom of heaven.
Along with that, you should serve them in the Lord with your best to please their heart. But the commandment telling us to honor our parents has the same context with the commandment telling us to respect God.
If you truly love God with your heart, you will naturally honor your parents, and those who whole-heartedly honor their parents will serve God with all their heart, too.
But if you have to prioritize between them, first it is to serve God. Let me give you one example.
If the father tells his son to go to the east, the son would obviously try to obey his father. But what if this son’s grandfather tells him to go to the west, not to the east?
The son would tell his father that the grandfather told him to go to the west, and then after telling his father, he would then go to the west.
Here, if this father respects his father, who is the grandfather, he would also follow what the grandfather said.
So, he wouldn’t be upset when his son first follows what the grandfather said, thinking, “My son is ignoring what I said.”
Now, what about the one who created you and me, our fathers and grandfathers, and all ancestors of former generations? It is our God.
God the Creator is the one who created Adam, who is the father of all mankind, and God is also the one who gave mankind life. When a man is conceived, it is done by the union of gametes, the sperm and egg of the parents, but the original seed of life, the sperm and egg were also given by God.
When our parents were conceived, they were conceived by the seeds of life of their parents that were given by God.
Moreover, the body that we see here is only a shell which we need only for the temporary life of this world, and the true master of our ‘self’ is our spirit that is in our body.
No matter how much man tries, he cannot make the seed of life itself.
Also, no matter how much knowledge we accumulate, we cannot make or copy the spirit of a man. Even if we can make the form of a man by cloning cells, unless God gives spirit in that body, we cannot call that form a man.
Spirit cannot be made or given birth by man’s ability. It can only be done by God, and spirit can be born again only through the Holy Spirit, and therefore, the true parent of our spirit is our God.
Thus, we should serve our physical parents well, but we should love and serve God the Father more, who has given us life itself.
Also, if the parents are aware of this fact, they wouldn’t think, “My children are my children, and I can control them as I want.”
Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” As said, a child is a portion and a precious soul whom you have to nurture in the will of God. They are not your belongings that you can handle at your disposal.
Because Abraham had this kind of heart, he could obey without hesitation when God ordered him to give his only son Isaac as a burnt sacrifice.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to honor means ‘to regard or treat with honor or respect, or to confer honor on’.
Now, I want you to check yourself as to whether or not you neglected or were not attentive to your parents saying that you love God.
You have a humble and smiling face before your colleagues or brothers in faith, but when you go home, haven’t you become brusque or impertinent with your parents and family members?
When your elderly parents say something that is not reasonable, didn’t you think they were nonsense and showed words and action of neglecting them?
To love God and to honor our parents are not separate things. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Also, in Matthew 15:4-9, we find Jesus rebuking Pharisees and Sadducees for their hypocrisy.
Jesus rebuked them that, when they took away the things that were supposed to be given to their parents saying that they were giving them to God, they were actually violating the law of God.
It was not because they served God with heart, but with the excuse they were giving it to God, they took for themselves what they had to give to their parents.
If you truly love and respect God from the depth of your heart, you cannot but love your physical parents and honor them from your heart. Even if you didn’t love your parents before, as you realize the love of God more, you will realize the love of your parents, too.
When you come into the truth, cast off sins and evil, and dwell in the word of God completely, true love will come into your heart, and you will realize the love and grace of your parents who gave birth to you and raised you, so that you can serve them with love that is stemming form the depth of your heart.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God gave His promise of blessings to those who love God wholeheartedly and honor their parents.
Today’s passage Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” this does not mean that we will simply have a long life on this earth.
If you honor God and your parents in the truth, it means your soul is prosperous. So, it means as your soul prospers, all things will go well with you, and you will be healthy, and God will protect you in all aspects.
You won’t face any accident or disaster, and you will be blessed in your family, workplace, and business. To say, “Your days may be prolonged in the land,” symbolizes all these blessings together. It was the case with Ruth in the Old Testament. Ruth was in a situation where she had to live a physically very difficult life.
She, as a Gentile, married a Jew, but her husband died at a young age without giving her any children. Her father-in-law had already died, and there was no man to support the family.
In that situation, her mother-in-law, Naomi, said she was going back to Judah, and Ruth said she would follow her mother-in-law. Naomi told her daughter-in-law to stay in her homeland and find new happiness, but Ruth could not listen to what she was saying.
Because she couldn’t just leave her mother-in-law who was alone like that, Ruth, leaving all her relatives, followed her Naomi to serve her until the end.
Can you do the same? Naomi was not even her own mother but mother-in-law, and yet to do the duty of a daughter in law and in love for her mother-in-law, she gave up her personal happiness.
Also, because Ruth heard about God from her mother-in-law, she had faith in God.
In Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth makes a very touching confession. “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.  “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
Hearing this beautiful confession, God let her enjoy great blessings in God though she was a Gentile woman.
God let her meet a rich man among her ex-husband’s relatives as her new husband, and spend the rest of her life with her mother-in-law in God’s blessings.
Furthermore, among her descendants was King David, and God let her name be written in the genealogy of the Savior Jesus.
As God promised, Ruth receive overflowing blessings spiritually and materially by honoring her father and mother from her heart. I thank you that many of you members, as your faith grows up, serve your parents spiritually and physically. You are praised by people around you, and receive blessings of God.
It’s not only about parents but between husband and wife, too.
Many church members testify that, previously they had many conflicts between husband and wife and difficulties in the family, but since they changed themselves with the truth and began to serve their spouses, they came to have peace between the husband and wife, and the gate of blessings in their families were wide open.
Likewise, when your heart is changed into the heart of truth and serve the people around you, God will be delighted with you and pour down blessings on you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, just because you love your physical parents, you should not violate the commandment of God. On the other hand, just because you have zeal for God, you should not neglect your physical parents either.
That is why when Jesus answered the one who asked what the greatest commandment was, He did not just say it was to love God but along with it He mentioned loving our neighbors as ourselves.
If your love for God is true, you will not only serve the brothers in faith but also your parents, your spouses, your relatives or your neighbors, and the proof of loving them truly will be revealed.
Through that deed, many people will be edified, and you will be able to give glory to God.
I hope all you members will shine the light of truth before people with your perfect and good deeds, so that you will give glory to God in your life.
May God, who has received glory through your deeds, reward you with glory and blessings, in the name of the Lord I pray!