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by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, May 19, 2018

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

Our text is one of the Ten Commandments. God gave it to Moses on Mount Sinai. “Honour thy father and thy mother.” Tonight I’m going to preach on part of that text: “Honour...thy mother.” “Honour...thy mother.” The most important way you can honour your mother is to care for her soul. Sure, you talk to your mother. You invite her to church sometimes. But do you really care for her soul? Is it important that she becomes a Christian? Sure, it’d be nice. But is it important to you? Is it important that she goes to Heaven and not Hell when she dies? Do you really care about your mother? Do you honour her enough to care about her? “Honour...thy mother.”

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Mrs. Hymers put on a wonderful banquet event. Twenty-five mothers came. They had a great time. But your mother won’t be saved by the banquet alone. She won’t be saved if you don’t bring her into the church. Isn’t that what the banquet was for? It wasn’t just to be nice to people and let them go. It wasn’t to entertain them and never see them again. It was to show them the love of Christ in the church – so they would find Christ too! Do you care about your mother? Do you really try to get her saved? “Honour...thy mother.”

You invited your mother. You talked to her. You worked out a ride to drive her to church. But what now? You can invite her to come back. We can invite her to come back. But that’s just a routine thing. That’s part of the “machinery” of the church. The regular things our church does – doing evangelism and making phone calls – is the “machinery.” Doing that won’t bring her in. It hasn’t yet, has it?

You may think you don’t have to do anything else for months. You won’t invite her back until Thanksgiving or Christmas. But even if she comes then, she won’t come into the church. She can go on for many years like that. And she won’t be saved. She will die without Christ. That’s not caring for your mother. That’s not honouring your mother. The Bible says, “Honour...thy mother.” But you treat her like dirt and let her go to Hell. “Honour...thy mother.”

Bringing her once in a while is the easy thing to do. You hope that bringing her once or twice will take care of it. That’s the way people are in our culture. They expect instant results. Psychologists call this “instant gratification.” You want to get something right away, without delay. That’s what you see in movies and on television. The bad guy is beaten. The good guy gets the girl. It’s all over in one show. But life isn’t like that. It takes time and work to get anything done. And it will take time and work to win your mother – or your father – to Christ, not just two or three phone calls a year. If you want to bring her in, obey our text,

“Honour...thy mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Did you come into the church because of a phone call two or three times a year? Did you decide to stay for that? Would you like it if all you got was a phone call once in a while? No. Then you have to do more for your mother than that. People in the church cared for you. They took time with you. They showed love for you. That’s what you have to do with your mother. Spend time with her. Be nice to her. Do things for her. Show her that you love her. Jesus said, “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). In modern language, “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” “Treat other people the way you want to be treated.” Do to your mother what you would like people to do to you. Thank her when she does something for you. When she cooks for you, thank her for it. If you live with her, keep your room clean. Help out around the house. Help to keep the house clean and neat. Don’t just take from her without giving back. Treat her the way you would like people to treat you.

To win your mother, you have to think about her. Why would she come? Why should she come? Put yourself in her place. What is she thinking?

She isn’t thinking about becoming a Christian. No lost person is. The Bible says, “There is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11). She doesn’t think much about God. She may not think about God at all. She thinks she’s OK the way she is. She’s not thinking about being converted. She’s not thinking about having her sin forgiven. So you won’t get her by talking about religion. You won’t win her by telling her she’s wrong – even if she is. Arguing with your mother is not honouring her. The Bible says,

“Honour...thy mother” (Exodus 20:12).

Don’t argue with her. Be nice to her. “Honour...thy mother.”

Your mother had a good time at the Mother’s Day banquet. Mrs. Hymers always does a wonderful program. Your mother will have a good time if she comes on other Sundays. We have lunch. We have dinner. We see a comedy film. Everyone talks and makes friends. So did you, when you first came. A person may come to church once or twice just to have a good time.

But I’m not talking about coming once or twice. I’m talking about coming every Sunday. I’m talking about coming into the church. Why doesn’t she come in? What is she thinking? Let me answer that with a question. What were you thinking? You came a few times. But then you thought, “Do I really want to get into this?” You wondered, “Is this too much?” “What will this do to my life?”

Don’t just phone your mother. Care about her. What is your mother thinking? She probably thinks you go to church too many times. She probably told you that – and she certainly thinks it. “Yes, church is good once in a while, on Sunday morning only. It’s a nice place to go. There are nice people there. But I don’t want to put my life into it! That’s too much. It would change my schedule. It would change the way I live.” You thought that. I’m sure she thinks it too.

What changed your mind? For one thing, you looked at the people. You saw they weren’t ruined by coming to church. You saw they were happy. You saw they were good people. You saw they did better in school than if they hadn’t come. You saw they weren’t broken and messed up like so many are today. You saw their lives were happier and better. And you stayed.

Let your mother see the same thing in you. Be nicer to your mother than you were before you came to church. Let her see that you are a better son or daughter than you were. Let her see that your life is clean and “together.” Do well in school. Get a good job. Find a good Christian to date and marry. Show your mother that you didn’t make a mess of your life. Other people did – but you didn’t, because you came into the church. When she sees that, she will stop talking bad about you. She may come into the church herself. “Honour...thy mother.” Honour her by being a good example of what a Christian is. Show her in your life what Christ and the church have done for you. Your life – not your words – will be the best witness you can give. You will honour her that way. “Honour...thy mother.”

You can invite your mother with a phone call or a few words face to face. Someone invited you that way. But that didn’t bring you in! Someone thought about you. Someone cared about you. Someone took time with you. And you stayed. You can invite a person – but that won’t win them. You liked it when people cared about you. Do the same for your mother. “Honour thy mother.”

Have you thought about her? Have you thought about what she is thinking? About what is going on in her life? About what her problems and obstacles are? Have you thought about how you are actually going to win her? Just how are you going to win your mother anyway? Have you talked to the pastor about her? Do you care that much about your mother? Is that honouring her? “Honour...thy mother.”

It takes time and work and thought to win your mother – or your father. It takes much more than just inviting her to church and trying to get her to the next meeting. She is a person, not a telephone. She is lost – she doesn’t want to be a Christian. She has her problems and her sins. It will be a project to bring her into the church. She may not want to come. She may argue with you. She may complain. She’s got her aches and pains. Remember, she’s older than you! But when she comes she will enjoy it. She’ll be glad she came!

That’s the way it was with Dr. Hymers’ mother. One morning Dr. Hymers was inviting her to come to church. She didn’t want to come. She argued. She said, “You’re killing me!” Of course he wasn’t killing her. That’s just something she said. Mrs. Hymers heard her say that. Mrs. Hymers asked, “What are you doing?” Dr. Hymers said, “I’m inviting her to church!” And Dr. Hymers’ mother came to church that day. After she got here, she enjoyed it! And your mother will enjoy it too!

Dr. Hymers brought his mother into the church. She trusted Jesus. She is now in Heaven. But he didn’t bring her in by calling her once in a while. He cared about her. He obeyed our text. He honoured his mother. He took care of her. He was with her through good times and bad. He thought about her. He prayed about her. He struggled with God for her. He struggled with his mother too. He brought her in – and she became a wonderful Christian. It didn’t happen in one week. It took many years. She died at the age of 84. She went to Heaven instead of Hell. Was it worth it? You know it was! “Honour...thy mother.”

Mrs. Cagan – my wife Judy – brought her mother in. She trusted Jesus. It didn’t happen in one week. It didn’t happen with a phone call now and then. Mrs. Cagan cared about her mother. She respected her mother. Mrs. Cagan loved her mother. She honoured her mother. She took care of her mother. She went after her mother. Her mother saw that Judy hadn’t ruined her life. She saw that Judy had a good life and a normal family. She came to church. Then she was coming every Sunday. Now Mrs. Menjivar is a Christian. She is now 89 years old. When she dies she will go to Heaven. Was it worth it? You know it was! “Honour...thy mother.”

Mrs. Olivacce did the same with her mother – and her father. They both came into the church. They trusted Jesus. When they die they will go to Heaven. Was it worth it? You know it was! “Honour...thy mother.”

Don’t be afraid of your mother. You think, “She might say no. She might talk bad.” So what! Don’t you love your mother? Can’t you forgive her and go after her anyway? On the Cross Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him. He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Your mother is lost. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing. Can’t you forgive her? If Jesus forgave you, can’t you forgive her? Can’t you keep trying even if she says no? Don’t let your fear keep you from loving your mother. Keep after her even if she says no. It’s not honouring your mother if you let her go. “Honour...thy mother.”

Don’t let your mother go to Hell because you did nothing! That’s not honouring her, it’s despising her. Don’t let your father go to Hell! There will be crying and sadness – but it will be too late. Do everything you can to bring them in. Do everything you can to win them. It’s a project for you. Think about your mother. Take time with her. Love her. Care for her. Put yourself into her. Take on the project of bringing her in. Struggle to do it. Strive to do it. It will be worth it all when she trusts Jesus. May you bring your mother in! “Honour...thy mother.” Amen.

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Oh, Bring Your Loved Ones” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).