I think I have told you this story before, but it is worth retelling on Father’s Day. Especially on a day when we are talking about authority in the home. Because there was never any confusion about who had authority in my house as a child. My Father is a big man, lovingly called Big John. He checked in about 250 throughout most of my childhood, and my dad played football at Auburn in the 1970s he was on the Punt Bama punt team. He played Linebacker for Auburn under the legendary coach Shug Jordan.
So growing up I was always wanting to beat my dad in football. I remember one weekend I was 8 years old and I had my football pads home and I wanted to go and do some tackling drills with my dad.
And I think we actually have a picture. So, you can see clearly my dad was intimidated. We would go out to the local high school near my house and I would run the football and he was trying to tackle me and I kept breaking his tackle attempts. And my dad being the ever encourager kept saying, “man son, you are good, you are hard to tackle.” But eventually I got a little frustrated because I felt like my dad wasn’t giving it his all, I mean after all this guy played SEC football and I was just in 8 and under football. How was I running over him?
So at one point I looked at him and said, come on dad, I want you to show me what you got, this is weak, I thought you played SEC football, I want you to give me everything you have got. Well when I said that the look in his eye changed and he kind of got down in his linebacker stance and I started running toward him, and when he hit me I experienced something like I have never experienced before. I think we actually have a video of that hit.
So I am laying there on the field, and I had gotten the breath knocked out of me, and I think I am dying. And my dad stands over me and says… “Welcome to the SEC!”
So there was never a question in my house as to who had authority, or who God had placed in the position of authority in our home
Over the past month we have been meditating on a couple of verses really here at Valleydale asking the question, what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit of God. So if you are a follower of Christ God has given you this amazing gift, the Holy Spirit of God to indwell you and empower you and to lead you in all righteousness. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit there are things that necessarily change in your life.
Lets look at the text.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
So as we have been saying for several weeks now. When you are filled with wine, you act differently, you speak differently, you treat people differently, you make different decisions. So when you are filled with wine there are changes in your life, So don’t be filled with or drunk with wine, because the changes it causes are typically not very good and will lead to sin in your life, but be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Because the changes he causes will actually lead you to life and righteousness. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the secret, is the pathway to joy, and to hope.
And so then Paul lists out some of those results, this is what being filled with the Holy Spirit of God looks like, this is what that means.
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.
So worship is a necessary result or response to the Holy Spirit filling your life.
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
So another result of the Spirit filled is gratitude. You know I was thinking about this this week. Kevin I don’t know if I am supposed to tell you his last name but, Kevin who is one of our missionaries in Iraq, the guy lives in Iraq in the middle of the desert with his family. There are people that could kill him at any time, there are people that hate that he is there. He never gets to see his extended family, he never gets to see his friends. This week, he asked if I would write a letter of recommendation for him to Southeaster Seminary. He wants to continue his education. And I wrote, “Kevin is a man of exemplary character, and integrity, and he is grateful. This is a man who is clearly full of the Holy Spirit.” Now I wasn’t thinking about Ephesians 5 when I wrote this, but this is the pattern. The guy is grateful, he lives in the desert, he is poor, his work is really hard but he is grateful, why because he is a Christian, and he is full of the Holy Spirit and people who are filled with the Spirit of God are grateful. This is evidence of the Spirit filled life.
And the third evidence that Paul is giving is verse 21.
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Christians realize that God is a God of order, and we realize that his order is not only good but it is beautiful, it is a holy rhythm and when you find his rhythms you find godliness, and it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to this order and rhythm.
Now today we are going to be specifically in Ephesians 6 so go ahead and turn there but if you have studied Ephesians it is a beautiful book and Paul is building on his argument and logic throughout the book. And this is what he is doing here. So if you were in a New Testament Exegesis Class outlining this section of Ephesians the heading would be Evidence of the Spirit Filled Life.And as we have said, Roman Numeral 1 would be worship, and that is what Paul talked about in verse 19
Roman numeral 2 would be gratitude and verse 20, and Roman numeral 3 would be Order/ Design/ Authority
And this Roman numeral would have three subheadings.
Order in Marriage verses 22-33 – And so Paul spends several verses talking about marriage and the importance of marriage and the roles that husbands play in marriage and the role that wives play in marriage and the beauty of marriage in terms of its relationship to the Gospel.
Subheading B would be Order in Parenting Ephesians 6:1-4
And subheading C would Order in the Workplace. Ephesians 6:5-9
So we are actually going to skip subheading A but if you are interested in this I would refer you to our Art of Marriage series that I preached last August and September.Next week we are going to be looking at what this order looks like in the workplace.
But today, and it is appropriate in that it is Father’s Day. We are going to be talking about order in the parenting. So go ahead and turn with me to Ephesians 6:1 – 4 Paul writes to the Ephesian Church but by the power of the Holy Spirit this just as true for us as it was for them.
6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
And our outline today is pretty simple. We are going to be looking at 2 things.
The Spirit Filled Child – and this is obviously most applicable if you are a child still living in your parents home but it is still applicable for all of us as all of us are children of someone.
And then secondly
The Spirit Filled Father – And this applies specifically to Fathers but it has application for mothers and it has some application for any Christian. Christianity is a movement of discipleship. So Christians disciple Christians who disciple Christians who disciple Christians. So one of the evidences of something that is living, of a person who is alive in Christ is that they are reproducing. So if you aren’t discipling another Christian I am not saying that you necessarily aren’t a Christian, but that is a big piece of evidence to prove that you are Christian. If there is no pattern in your life of wanting to see people come into the Kingdom of Christ and grow in the Kingdom of Christ, then there is good evidence to show that you aren’t really following Jesus.In other words this is for all of us, because even if you aren’t a physical Father or Mother, if you have been a Christian for any time then you should be someone’s spiritual Father or Mother.
So The Spirit Filled Child
If you are a child and you are a Christian there is one word, that should be true of your life. There is a word that should very clearly describe who you are and that word is Honor. Honor your Father, Honor your Mother.
Are you an honor to your parents or do you bring shame to your parents, or are you just a pain to your parents?Now don’t get me wrong, the secular kid, the worldly kid, well he or she we can expect to just be a pain.But not you, the Spirit filled child is different, if you claim the name of Christ, be filled with the Holy Spirit and be different.The Spirit Filled Child Honors his Father and Honors his mother.
He doesn’t bring shame on his parents, he brings them joy, he brings them good. He pursues what is right and does what is right. And here is the thing, this is true of you even if you don’t like your parents, again this is not natural, this is Spirit filled behavior. So if you think your parents are lame or even if your parents actually are pretty lame it doesn’t matter. If you are calling on the name of the Lord, then you Christian boy, Christian girl you are called to honor them.Even if your parents aren’t believers you are called to honor them. In any non-sinful request you obey them and you respect them.
See here is the problem with church kids in this and I’m a good church kid so I’m not talking at you, I am talking with you. Good church kids can look at the other kids and say, look mom and dad need to lay off, I see kids at my school doing this or that and what I want to do isn’t that bad.
That’s what you say. Compared to Johnny Drug Addict, compared to Katie Sleep Around. I am good kid, I’m not like them and my parents should be really glad that they are my parents and not those parents’ kids. And you know what, you are. Compared to Johnny Drug Addict you’re doing great. But you are comparing yourself to the wrong person. Johnny and Katie are not who God is calling you to imitate. And in eternity, that comparison will bring you nothing, nothing. Let me show you something, remember I said before that Paul is just building one big argument all of the way through the book of Ephesians, well what we are reading here is ultimately built on his presentation of the Gospel in Ephesians 2.
And he says in Ephesians 2
2:1 And you good church kid,
good I think I’m a Christian because I’m better than Johnny kid,
you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, and I love this. following the course of this world,
So, when you were dead, what were you doing, you were just following the course of this world, you were following everyone else around, you were comparing yourself to everyone else, you were following everything else around, and not Jesus, not your parents, and the text goes on to say of you that you were following the prince of the power of the air, in other words if you are saying, well I’m ok because I’m better than Johnny then you are following the prince of the power of the air, in other words you are following Satan, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
But Paul goes on to say
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
So look child, if you aren’t honoring your parents, if you are just saying Idon’t care what my parents say because I am better than Johnny and Katie, then there is great evidence that you are lost, still under the wrath of God.So repent today, follow Jesus and be made alive, find real life.
Because you see if you do call on the name of Jesus you aren’t called to imitate Johnny, you are called to imitate God.
Flip over with me to Ephesians 5. So look at verse 1.So after Paul spends all of this time talking about what God has done and the grace that God has shown. He says, If you have received this Grace, if you are a child of God. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
In other words if you are a child of God, then be like God. Obey the commands of God, do what God would have you to do.
And what does God tell you to do, if you call on the name of the Lord, if you are a spirit filled follower of Jesus, what are you supposed to do?
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Now for the longest time in my life I misinterpreted this verse. This is the 5th commandment and I will read it from Exodus one of the places where we get the 10 commandments.
This is Exodus 20:12
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
So for the longest time I thought this was saying honor your father and mother and you will have a long life and this made a lot of sense as most of what my parents were telling me had to do with safety, don’t run out in the road, don’t jump off the wall, be careful when you ride your bike. But when I got older I realized this verse doesn’t really have anything to do with a long life. It is actually so much bigger than that. It has to do with the favor of God
“Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” When the law was given to the people of Israel they were the chosen people, God had defeated Egypt, the largest army in the world, on their behalf and he was going to give them land, good land. So that is what God had done for them. And then he gave them the law. So it is good to recognize the order here, God saved Israel and then he gave them the law and said if you will, this is how you stay in relationship with me.Children Honor your parents that you may live long in the land, in other words Children Honor your parents that the hand of God will not leave you.
Because in theory these laws, and the stories about God, were passed on from one generation to the next. They didn’t see God part the Red Sea they didn’t get the law. So how were they to believe in what God had done, how were they supposed to do what they were called to do. The parents were going to pass this stuff down and the children were supposed to honor their parents.And if they remembered what their parents had told them about the works of God, and if they did what their parents told them to do, then God would bless them, but if they didn’t remember and if they didn’t do then the blessing of God and the presence of God, and the favor of God would be lifted from them.
And sadly, that’s exactly what happened, just read the Old testament, the children didn’t honor their parents and they lost the favor of God, they went into exile the nation was destroyed, they never really again had control of their land and peace. And just as this was true for them it is true for you. The favor of God is at stake here.
Don’t you want the Blessing of God on your life? You don’t want to lose this. You don’t want to lose this.If you call on the name of Christ there should be one characteristic of who you are as child and that is Honor.Now some of you children today, you need to repent before God and you need to repent before your parents, and if you are a child here today and right now and you are feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and you know you haven’t honored your parents, and because you haven’t honored them you haven’t honored God. I want to encourage you to when you get home go get a piece of paper and sit down in your room and write your parents a letter. Tell them you love them, tell them you are grateful for everything they do for you, for providing for you, and taking care of you, and loving you, and giving up their lives for you. Thank them for all of that and then apologize and tell them look I haven’t honored you and I want to honor you, you should expect this of me, and I know God expects it of me.And then sign your name and slip it under their pillow. If you are a child here today and you are feeling that conviction you do that today. Honor your parents and stay in the favor of God. Stay under the covering of God.
Ok so that is the Spirit Filled Child. Lets look at the Spirit Filled Father or Parent. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit and God has placed you parent in a position of authority over your child, a position he assigned and a position he loves. 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
I’m going to be really honest here, because I really am discouraged. And I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Father’s Day or make anyone feel bad, but I am concerned that parents in large numbers are buying into the rule of the day. We live in a world that is materialistic, we live in a world that is driven by sex, and success, and comfort, and fun.
And I fear parents that our dreams for our children look a lot more like the worlds dreams for our children than Jesus’ dreams for our children. What I mean is: Making sure that our children our children are provided for materially, making sure that our children are comfortable, making sure that our children are successful in school and sports, making sure that our children are pretty or good looking seems to me to be more important, to be more of a priority to this generation of parents than trying to train our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
And so I guess my question to this generation of parents is this.
What does it profit you if your child gains the whole world but loses his own soul?
God has given us the parents this incredible responsibility of passing off our faith to the next generation and we are failing.And look I know it’s hard, I know it is really hard. It is harder to capture the heart of your child for the Lord than it has ever been.From the beginning of time, until like my grandfather was a boy the world was basically the same.My granddad grew up on a farm near Huxford Alabama down near Atmore AL. And his dad was a farmer, and his dad was a farmer, and his dad was a farmer. And growing up on that farm as a kid my granddad would go out into the field and work and only hear the sounds of nature, and see the sights of nature. There was no TV they may have had a radio but I doubt it, there was a local paper. But the point is for thousands of years until the time my grandfather was a boy the world was quiet. But now, today, a kid is bombarded with stimuli. All of us are, some of you it is difficult for you to sit through a whole sermon without checking your email or Facebook once or twice.
Now we all live in a totally different time, a more challenging time, you are parenting the Google Generation and let me just say this, In order to win this war, in order to win the war of truth in your child’s heart you are going to have fight, scratch, and crawl, and grit your teeth through this, because its not going to be easy. But parents please don’t quit.
I can’t tell you how many stories of parents that I hear about and their kids get into high school and they are stubborn and it gets hard and parents just kind of throw up their hands. Please don’t quit, don’t give up. Parents of little children don’t waste these years. Redeem these years. Your child’s soul is at stake, and your child is going to be the one raising your grandchildren, your grandchildren are at stake, your great grandchildren are at stake. We have to fight for this, please fight for this parents, don’t quit on this responsibility that God has given you to transfer the truth, what is right, what will set you free and save you, don’t fail in this.
And Grandparents, I just want to say this, to your generation, to my parent’s generation and the generation just a little bit older, the Boomers and the Builders, and you know I feel like you guys are waving the white flag of surrender. And I say this with all love and respect, because you are the generation that my generation has looked up to our whole lives you taught us everything we know. But so much of what I hear is negativity and talking points from the Fox News Channel and look I don’t hate Fox News but if you are taking in like 6 hours of naysayer talk radio and TV that will effect your worldview and it will effect your attitude. We need you guys, we need you to believe, and to be confident in the Lord.
Don’t you remember what you taught us? Because I sure do, Don’t you remember that we serve a risen savior whose in the world today,
Don’t you remember that we…
I know that He is living, Whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy; I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him. He’s always near.
Don’t you believe that…
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.
He lives within our hearts, and so Christian take heart, Jesus lives in your heart and lets do something.
That old song goes on to say
In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair;
I know that He is leading, Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing Will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, The Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, So good and kind.
Church I am sorry to get so passionate, but look we’re losing this generation, and sometimes I feel like we aren’t even trying, its tough, of course its tough its going to be tough. But you serve a risen Lord who is tough. He promised to be with you and to help you. You serve Jesus who has all authority in Heaven, and on Earth, and under the Earth. All Authority.
So what I want to do now is pray to the God of all authority.
Pray that they are led and empowered by the Spirit of God.
May the God of All Authority lead you to be children who honor your parents in a way that please Christ. May the God of all authority lead you to be the parents that he desires you to be. May you be strong, and willing, and patient, and kind, and full of love in this high task. For the Glory of God and for the sake of the next generation.