1 Peter 3:1-7
As I started to think about Mother's Day, I couldn't help but think about what has happened to the family over the past few decades, and I realized we have lost much of the basics.
And that's what led me to the title, or theme, of today's service, "How and Why Do We Honor Mother?"
The first thing I thought would answer this question was the fifth of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12):
12. "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
And as I pondered this, I thought about how Paul expressed this to the Ephesians (6:1-3), for it amplifies the thought:
1. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),
3. that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
The promise of a better life?
Is that why we should honor Mother?
No, because that's not really honoring mother. That's simply saying that if we are paying attention to her, we will get the reward.
And that's not really honoring her.
Then, how is it supposed to work?
It's simple! For if we truly love our parents and they show that same kind of love towards us, as their children, then our children, whom we love as our parents love us, will in turn love us and their own children.
And as this continues generation after generation, it produces the real blessing.
By comparison, I thought about something that took place in Africa some 25 years ago.
President BoKassa, of the Central African Republic, thought of a way to honor the mothers of his country.
He searched the records of all the men in his prisons; and any of them who had done something against their mother, he ordered executed.
That's not what a mother would want.
There is no honor in murder.
All such an act shows is a hardened heart and an absence of true love.
When the Israelites disobeyed God, many disasters came upon them.
And when Jesus looked out upon Jerusalem, and thought about the many things they were doing, and had done against God, He didn't act like a President BoKassa, seeking the people's death. He acted as a loving mother.
Listen to what he said in Luke 13:34:
34. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
This is a loving mother's true desire for her erring children.
If Jesus can act motherly, then so can all other men, without thinking that it is degrading.
A true man is sure of his masculinity; and thus he can naturally express either a fatherly or a motherly attitude whenever it is needed, just as Jesus did.
Letís look at a different situation.
More than 3,000 years ago, there was a woman of the tribe of Ephraim in Israel, who had this same mothering instinct for the nation of Israel.
Her name was Deborah, she was married to a man named Lappidoth, and she served the Lord by acting as a Judge and prophesying as He directed her.
Why was she doing this?
Because no man would do it, and even when she asked Barak, the son of Abinoam to help her, he only consented if she went with him.
Thus, she retained the honor as their leader, and not Barak.
Deborah acted both as a father and a mother to Israel.
Listen to part of what she expressed in her song (5:6-7):
6. In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of Jael, the highways were deserted,
And travelers went by roundabout ways.
7. "The peasantry ceased, they ceased in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.
In essence, she adopted all the erring children of Israel as her own, that she might lead them back to the Lord God, her Father.
She acted in the same way as Jesus Christ; and in a way, she is a "type" of Christ, a loving mother trying to save her children.
In Proverbs 23:22-23, we are told how we should honor our parents, and how such honoring brings reward:
22. Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.
23. Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Don't listen to the lies of this world.
Don't go along with their ungodly ways, just to be accepted.
Don't sell yourself out.
Buy into the truth, and live it.
And in the process of learning, you will receive the promise of wisdom and understanding.
Listen to how the Lord expresses his loving and forgiving parental nature to His erring children, when they turned away from Him (Isaiah 49:14-16):
14. But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me,
And the Lord has forgotten me."
Little children say, "You don't love me anymore!" when a mother punishes them for something they've done wrong.
These Israelites are doing the same thing.
So, how does the Lord respond?
15. "Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
16. "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of
My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
On the earth, the last love to go is a mother's love for her child; and it is here that the Lord begins to describe His love, that we might love Him enough to listen to Him.
And if we listen to Him, we don't have to go through the things that cause us to feel that He doesn't care for us.
So, how are children to honor their mothers?
By listening to them as they teach us in a Godly manner, and by learning from them.
Now, some women's rights advocates might get upset with some of the things Peter said, but that is only because they get hung up on a word or two and donít see things in context; for in context, they really bring honor to women (1 Peter 3:1-7).
1. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
2. as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.
Once you get past the word "submissive," you begin to understand the full meaning.
And remember that to be submissive does not mean to allow yourself to be abused, it means not to challenge his supposed authority.
Peter is encouraging women to set the proper example for their husbands, even ungodly ones, that they might see the Lord in these women.
And ladies, we all know that you have plenty of ways to encourage your husbands to do something, without using direct confrontation.
And by leading your families to the Lord in this way, you receive not only honor from them, but from the Lord Himself.
And think of the power your have to make this a more peaceful, loving and compassionate world.
God has created in women and mothers a special sensitivity that deserves honor when it is expressed.
And I believe that the modern move toward machoism destroys much of a mothers sensitivity and honor.
Let's go on and you'll see what I mean:
3. And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
4. but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
Think about the women in our society who are really respected.
Are they the so-called bimbos and floozies?
No, they are the women who respect themselves, and who dress and act accordingly.
The woman who is truly and lastingly loved is the woman whose inward godliness is reflected on the outside.
Some men may chase after the flash and glitter, but few marry it.
Peter is also saying the same thing to married women, that they not give even an impression of being ungodly, that they never lose their honor or respect.
5. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.
6. Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
And don't forget the second rate status of women in Peter's day.
If we truly look at what he is saying, he is letting them know of their equal status with men; and if they are also Godly, of their superior spiritual power.
Then after saying this, he reminds husbands of their need to honor and respect their wives as equals.
7. You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
Men, children, if we don't honor our mothers and wives in this manner, such action might hinder the Lord from hearing our own prayers.
So, what is the best way to honor our mothers?
Hopefully, it's because we want to.
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