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THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT IS THE LAW OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, May 21, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Honour thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12).


That is the fifth commandment. The Hebrew word for "honour" here is "kawbad." It means "to make things heavy." The English synonyms are "revere," "venerate," "pay respect," "render honor to," "do the will of." All of these words and phrases describe the words of the fifth commandment,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

Now, let me ask you that have been raised in the church a few questions. Do you honor your father and mother by remaining in an unconverted state? Do you "revere" and "venerate" and "pay respect" to your parents by remaining unconcerned about the salvation of your soul? Do you "do the will" of your father and mother by failing to "strive to enter in at the strait gate"? (Luke 13:24). Answer that to yourself, man. Do you revere, venerate, pay respect to, and honor your parents by going on as you are with an unconcerned attitude about the salvation of your soul?

I must be honest with you. I cannot think of a greater shame or a greater dishonor that you could do to your father and mother than to remain as you are, utterly failing to "strive to enter in at the strait gate." It is the greatest possible dishonor to your father and mother for you to reject the appeals and call of the gospel and remain a non-Christian!

Your father and mother don't care about what the world thinks. They don't even care very much what other Christians or other preachers think. But deep down in the heart of your father and mother there is a feeling of betrayal and dishonor. They feel that you have deeply dishonored them by remaining hard and unconcerned about your salvation.

Does that not trouble you? Does that not make you ashamed of yourself? I think it should. I think you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for dishonoring your father and mother in the most cruel and uncivil way possible. What more cruel blow could you give your parents than to remain as you are? What more utterly devastating dishonor could you thrust upon them than to treat your salvation so lightly? What greater dishonor could you bring upon them than to reject salvation? The fifth commandment says,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

But you have dishonored them, deeply and shamefully. Within themselves, deep in their hearts, your father and mother feel greatly grieved, dishonored, and, yes, betrayed by you.

They have come to expect to be dishonored and betrayed by the world. Through long years of labor and work for God, they have learned that the people of the world will dislike them, dishonor them, be cold toward them, and betray them because they love Christ. They expect the world not to listen to them. They expect the world to treat their words about Christ with disrespect. Oh, but to have their own child treat them in the same way is a cruel blow that is very hard to take.

Yes, they have read the words of Christ,

"He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37).

Yes, and they agree with Christ. But yet it causes them great pain. They look at you - hoping to see some ray of light in your face. They look at you - hoping to see some glimmer of hope for your soul. They look at Dr. Cagan's face when he comes out of the inquiry room. "Is there any hope for my child?" their faces seem to ask. No. No word of comfort, no thought of hope can be given to them. They feel helpless and hopeless. They find no rest in their hearts. Why? Because you have broken, and repeatedly broken, the fifth commandment,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

You have broken your parents' hearts by your unconcern for Jesus Christ!

You say within yourself, "I don't need any help. I don't need them to help me." Oh, are you not a fool to think such thoughts? When you were born, your father was the first to look at you. He had such high hopes for you. He thought, "My child might be a great and mighty Christian." Oh, your father hoped and prayed, when he first looked at your face, that you might be a great man of God! "Maybe my boy will do something important for God," he thought. "Maybe he will be a great preacher, or a great missionary. Maybe he will be a great layman, a deacon, in the church. Maybe my boy will do great things for God." But now he sees you with a hard face, and hears you say, "I don't need any help." He wanted to help you. He wanted to give you the encouragement and support that no one gave to him. He wanted you to stand by his side in the battle against Satan and the world. When your father first saw you, more than anything in all the world, he wanted that little pink-faced baby to become a soldier standing beside him in the army of the Lord!

Think how ashamed and weak and helpless he feels when he sees your face - as hardened and obdurate as that of Cain! You have shamed and dishonored your father in the very depths of his heart by being as cold toward God as Cain was! Oh, the pain and heartache a father feels when his son deliberately breaks the fifth commandment,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

And, yes, you have dishonored your mother too. She hugged you and held you, and adored you. She said in her heart, "I have gotten a man from the Lord" (Genesis 4:1). She cuddled you and nursed you at her breast - and dreamed and prayed that you would someday be a man of God. "My boy will be a great man of God," she whispered to herself when she looked down at you sleeping in your crib at night. She prayed for a son like you, and she felt that God had answered her. "I have gotten a man from the Lord," she said in her heart as she looked down on your sleeping face in that crib. What joy and hope filled her heart! You can never imagine the dreams she had for you. "My boy will be a strong man of God. He will quickly become a Christian. He will marry a fine Christian woman. Someday, oh God, I pray that my son might be a great preacher, or a great missionary, or a great loyal and stedfast deacon, or other leader in the church. And, oh God, I pray that my Christian boy will bring me comfort and help when I am old." Yes, man, your mother prayed for you like that every night when you were only a baby, suckling at her breast.

"But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell…a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth" (Genesis 4:5, 12).

The greatest curse, I think, that came to Eve was not the sweat and sorrow of the Fall. Oh, no! The greatest curse her poor, broken heart had to endure was the loss of her son. She had been so happy when he was born. She said, "I have gotten a man from the Lord." But now she sees him, his mind full of anger and bitterness, rejecting God, gone away, a stranger and vagabond in the earth! Oh, the crushing sorrow to a mother's heart when her son refuses to obey the fifth commandment,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

Why do I blame you for breaking this commandment? I blame you because you are to blame. You have broken God's law. You say, "I'm sorry." But what good does that do? How do those words heal the wound in your parents' hearts? How do those words erase the fact that you are not a Christian? How does saying "I'm sorry" make you a Christian? Every man who fails to become a Christian says, "I'm sorry." I have heard those words from hundreds of men, but it did their parents no good.

Mr. Mencia and I stood by the bedside of a dying mother. They brought the boy into the hospital room in chains to see his mother for the last time. Mr. Mencia is a chaplain with the Sheriff's Department. He worked hard to arrange it. They brought the criminal into that hospital room in chains to say goodbye to the mother. She had raised him when his father died. She stayed faithful and did her best - but she was all alone - and the boy went wrong, got mixed up with drugs and went to prison. Now he came to see his mother for the last time. I was there. I saw the whole thing. The boy reached out and touched his dying mother's face. And then he said, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Mother, that I broke your heart." Tears streamed down my face when I heard him say that. But what good did it do? No good at all! It did no good at all to say, "I'm sorry."

The policemen took the boy out of the room. The mother was too far gone from cancer to say a word. Mr. Mencia and I left the hospital room. I looked at Mr. Mencia. His eyes went down. And then Mencia said to me, "His words mean nothing. He won't change." And Mencia was right. The boy did not change. He is the same lost boy tonight that he was back then.

No! No! Saying "I'm sorry" will not erase the heartache and sorrow of a father and mother who have been betrayed. You say, "I'm not as bad as him." True, outwardly you are not. But your rejection of Christ, and hardened heart, bring equal sorrow and equal tears, and equal dishonor to parents who had hoped and prayed that you would be a man of God.

And, then, saying "I'm sorry" does not erase the black stain of your sin on God's record book. No amount of sorrow you could ever feel or express will ever cleanse your guilty record in the sight of God. Someday you will stand before the throne of God, and you will be condemned by Him for ever and ever because you broke the fifth commandment,

"Honour thy father and thy mother."

Why have I preached this sermon to you? It is all full of law - law that you have broken. God said,

"Honour thy father and thy mother,"

and you have broken God's law by dishonoring and disrespecting your parents' religion and faith. Why do I tell you that? Because the gospel never seems like good news until it is seen against the backdrop of the law of God.

Let me give you a simple illustration. If I were to go outside with you at noontime, in the bright sunlight, and light a match, you would hardly notice it. But if we went out at midnight, and clouds covered the moon and stars, if I lit that same match it would shine brightly in the darkness. And so I have preached a message on the blackness of your sin, so that the light of the gospel of Christ may shine before your eyes in a new way. The gospel does not seem like good news until it is heard against the dark backdrop of your sin.

And you cannot get rid of this black sin by saying, "I'm sorry." And you cannot even get rid of this black sin by trying to change your own ways. No. You are too far gone to change. You are too totally depraved and too self-deceived to change.

But Christ can save you. That is where we move from law to gospel. The heathen religions tell you to change. The decisionists tell you to change. But we do no such thing. We offer you the light of the gospel of Christ. The Bible gives the pure gospel, for sinners condemned by the law. It says,

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Christ says to you, a guilty sinner,

"Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live" (Isaiah 55:3).

Amen.


(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

 

THE OUTLINE OF

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT IS THE LAW OF GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Honour thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12).

(Luke 13:24; Matthew 10:37; Genesis 4:1, 5, 12;
Romans 5:8; Isaiah 55:3)