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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, May 14, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

I will speak first to young people in our church who do not have Christian parents, because the text applies to those whose parents are not Christians yet. Many of the young people in our church have been converted from non-Christian homes. Often children from Catholic, Buddhist or Muslim families discover that their parents are not happy with them for converting to Christianity. You should try to understand their feelings. They don't know what Baptists believe. It often seems strange to them when their child comes home and says, "I've become a Christian," to their mother and father. 

From long experience counselling young people in that situation, I will give you some advice. First let me tell you what you can do to make your father happy, though he is not a Christian yet. You can make him happy by seeing you live an outstanding life, while other kids are fooling around and not getting anywhere in life. If he sees you acting like a model citizen it will make his heart glad. He will also be happy when you bring very good grades home from school and show him your report card. He wants you to be a good student, and if you are good at your studies, he will be happy. Somewhere down the line, he'll say to himself, "That church helped him to make good grades, and get a good job." When he begins to see a change in your schoolwork he will gradually come to know that the church helped to inspire you to be a very good student, and a success in life. After a while, that will begin to open his heart to consider the gospel. Make your father "glad" by doing the very best you can in school and in your career that follows your education. 

Young ladies in our church can please their non-Christian mothers by being good students. You should also be very kind to your mother. If you have not sent a Mother's Day card to her yet, there is still time. Go to a drug store and buy her a card this afternoon. Write something in that card telling Mother how much you love and appreciate her. Then take her a nice box of See's candy and give it to her along with the card tonight. You could get the card and chocolates this afternoon and give them to her tonight. And when you give her the card and candy late tonight say something sweet and loving to her. Perhaps say, "Mother, I love you. You have done so much for me, and I love you for it. Mother, I love you with all my heart." Words you say like that will thrill your mother's heart. Be nice to her every day. Help her around the house when she asks you to. Let her see a change in you for the better. Make it a practice to say, "Mother, I love you," at least three or four times every week. Say those kind words to your father a couple of times a week also. That is the way to show them that Christ has made a loving son or daughter out of you. It may take a long time to get them to come to church and get saved - but, no matter how long it takes, it will be worth it all some day, when you see your unsaved parents bow their knees to Christ and trust Him as their own personal Saviour. Whatever you do, don't give up! 

But I am directing most of this sermon to young people in our church who already have Christian parents, but you are not converted yet. I will now apply this verse to you, whose parents are already Christians, but you are not. Let's read the text with that thought in mind.

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

Let me now apply this text to unconverted young people whose parents are already Christians.

I. First, how can a wise son or daughter make their father glad?

Notice it says, “a wise son.” I think this also applies to daughters. The Hebrew word for “wise” here means “intelligent,” but it means more than that. It carries the meaning of “wise-hearted.” It carries the meaning “discerning.” It takes a “wise-hearted” and “discerning” son or daughter to make their father “glad.” The word “glad” in Hebrew means “rejoicing,” “joyful,” even “gleeful,” according to Strong’s Concordance.

If you are a son or daughter of Christian parents, what is it you could do that would make your father “rejoice” by being filled with “joy”? What could you do that would make Him smile with delight and glee? You already know the answer if you are a wise-hearted, discerning son or daughter. The most important way to make your father’s heart leap with joy is to come to Christ, and get the matter of your conversion settled with God.

Is that important to you? Would you like to make your father happy, gleeful, and filled with joy? If he is a Christian, the only way you are going to do that is by coming to Christ, and getting the matter of your conversion settled.

I know the men in our church. I know how proud they are of their sons and daughters. I know that they love you very deeply and are extremely proud of all your accomplishments. But if you fail to close with Christ and be converted, your father will never experience the full gladness and joy over you that he wants to feel. He will always feel that he has failed in the most important thing in life if he has a son, or daughter, who remains in an unconverted state. President Reagan, when he was in the White House, told his elder son Michael, “I wish [Ron and Patti] would accept Christ” (Paul Kengor, God and Ronald Reagan, Regan Books, 2004, p. 118). Unfortunately he never saw his younger son or daughter “accept Christ.” They never became Christians. And “It really bothered him” (ibid.).

“A wise son maketh a glad father…” (Proverbs 15:20).

Are you a wise, discerning son or daughter? If you are, you know I am right. Look at the reaction of that archetypical father, in the story of the Prodigal Son. Look at how that father rejoiced in happiness when his son got saved. Listen to what he said,

“Bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” 
      (Luke 15:23-24).

Yes, “a wise son maketh a glad father.” The parable of the Prodigal Son shows that very clearly.

II. Second, how can a son or daughter avoid despising their mother?

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

I am giving you law in this sermon. “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). Are you an unconverted young person here this morning? The fifth commandment speaks plainly to you. It says, “Honor thy…mother” (Exodus 20:12). I say that the deepest way to dishonor your mother is to refuse Christ. And the best way to honor her is to come to Christ. The second line of our text says,

“But a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

The word “despise” is translated from a Hebrew word that means “does not esteem,” “looks down on,” “holds in contempt.” It is a truly foolish young man or woman who looks at his Christian mother that way. The Hebrew word for “foolish” is very strong. It means “a fool.”

I wonder if you haven’t been a “fool” regarding your Christian mother. I wonder if you have even taken thought of how it worries her, and shames her inwardly, that you have gone on so long despising her faith in Christ, holding in contempt her prayers for your salvation, looking down on her for her love for Christ, not fulfilling the deepest desire of her heart - for you to come to Christ in simple faith. Oh! “A foolish man despiseth his mother,” and the Saviour she loves with all her heart.

What, then, should you do? How, then, can you make her happy and fill her with the joy that she deserves? Don’t you agree that your mother deserves to feel joyful, full of happiness, when she thinks of you? Don’t you agree that Mother deserves to know that you are saved? Don’t you owe her that much, that little happiness, amid the toil of life? Shouldn’t your mother be able to lay her head on her pillow and drift off to sleep thinking, “My child is a Christian, thank God!”

Whatever other gifts and cards and flowers you give Mother today, couldn’t you find it in your heart to yield to Christ for her sake, if not for your own? If your heart remains barred to Christ, if you refuse to come to your mother’s Saviour, I fear that our text applies to you,

“a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

If you feel that you have looked down on Mother’s Saviour, and held her faith in Him as unimportant, will you come over to Mother’s side this morning? Will you come over with her to Jesus? Will you come to the Saviour she loves and works so hard for in the local church? Will you make your mother’s Saviour your own this morning? Will you come to Jesus now and fill her heart with joy? Will you say in your heart the message of that old song Mr. Griffith sang a moment ago:


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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Tell Mother I’ll Be There” (by Charles M. Fillmore, 1860-1952).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother” (Proverbs 15:20).

I.   How can a wise son or daughter make their father glad?
Proverbs 15:20a; Luke 15:23-24.

II.  How can a son or daughter avoid despising their mother?
Proverbs 15:20b; Romans 3:20; Exodus 20:12.