August 11, 2019
Before We Worship
We hear it said with such a conviction. “Just wait until they become teenagers.” There is an air of unassailable certainty about it. It will happen. Your children for now love you, respect you, obey you. But it will not last. Their love will be replaced by contempt, gratitude with complaint, and the exasperated parents will find sympathetic nods all around from other parents who have lived through it, assuring them “It’s normal.”
Normal? No. The norm (i.e. the standard) is stated in the fifth commandment. And the norm is stated again in the New Testament. See Ephesians 6:1–3 above. That is, we need to be clear about what we define as normal. As Christians what is normal is what the Scripture says is normative. In other words, we should never accept as normal (i.e. acceptable, inevitable, understandable) the strain between parents and children. For God’s people the normal thing should be children honoring their fathers and mothers with love, affection, and obedience. That is our normal, because God’s word is our norm.
Yet the strain between parents and children is normal, in the sense that it is so widespread. Christians are of course not immune from it. Sin always corrupts what is most precious, and Satan always attacks what is most dear. So, then, what is the function of the fifth commandment? Is it simply another reminder of what we are unable to do? Does it exist only to break the hearts of parents who live with the guilt of parental failure?
The fifth commandment indeed does (like all of God’s Law) remind us of the devastating presence and effect of sin in our lives. Sometimes the most godly parents who have done “everything right” live with the ache of children who have turned from them and from God. The fifth commandment thus works to transfer our confidence from our parenting skills to God’s mercy. Parents should probably spend less time reading parenting books and spend more time in Word and prayer.
The fifth commandment also sweetly woos the children with a promise, “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” The original context of this promise was, of course, the Promised Land, the possession and the enjoyment of which depended on Israel’s covenant faithfulness. But interestingly, Paul repeats the promise to the Gentile church in Ephesus living outside the Promised Land. For now, let’s just assume that Paul understood the Bible better than we do, and that he was perfectly justified in not only repeating the fifth commandment to the Gentiles, but also repeating its promises.
This is, of course, the Holy Spirit graciously shepherding us to reject the lies of Satan. Ever since the Garden, the Serpent has been whispering into our ears that it will not go well with us to listen to God. It is a lie. It will go well with us if we obey. God promises his blessing. He is greatly pleased when we obey, and he will honor those who honor him, and dishonor those who dishonor him. Children, know that in the fifth commandment God is showing you a path of blessedness.
Lastly, the fifth commandment calls the parents to live worthy of children’s honor. Perhaps we can spell this out in a few ways. Parents, show compassion to your children. Hate sin, and forgive quickly. Set a model of seriousness nourished with grace. And when they realize the ways you sin against them, they will respond in kind.
Parents, model humility for your children. God has ordained various authorities to which we owe honor and respect. When parents humbly honor the authorities over them, be they familial, political, spiritual, as God’s kind provision for their good, your children will learn likewise to honor your parental authority God has placed over them.
Parents, model quick repentance to your children. Do not put on a facade of never sinning, and always being right. Show your children that you respond humbly to correction from Scripture, from your pastor and elders, from the body of Christ. Show them there is redemption from sin, that there is a way back after stumbling. As you honor your heavenly Father and his parenting over you, your children will learn to honor you and your parenting.
Call to Worship
‡ Revelation 4:1–11 (p. 1030)
‡ Trinity Hymnal #457 “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”
‡ Trinity Hymnal #731 “Doxology”
Prayer of Invocation
The Reading and Exposition of the Law
Exodus 20:12 (p. 61)
The Shorter Catechism Qs. 64–66
Prayer of Confession
The Proclamation of the Gospel
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13–14 ESV)
Trinity Hymnal #88 “With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring”
Presentation of Gifts and Offering
The Proclamation of God’s Word
Exodus 3:1–22 (p. 46)
You Are “I AM”
Rev. Ken Han
The Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We participate in the Lord’s Supper weekly. We welcome to the Lord’s Table all baptized believers who have sincere faith in Jesus Christ, and regularly worship in a Reformed or evangelical church.
The Lord’s Supper is a sign and a seal of the new covenant blessings. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper with faith, it strengthens our bond with our covenant Lord, Jesus Christ. Thus we participate properly when we come to our Savior with faith and repentance as we renew our resolve to forsake sin and live for his glory.
The Lord’s Supper also renews our bonds with God’s covenant community, the body of believers in the local church. As we receive the Lord’s Supper, we renew our pledge to give ourselves away in loving service.
During the distribution of the bread we will sing TH #648 “My Jesus, I Love Thee” stanzas 1–2, and stanzas 3–4 during the distribution of the cup.
Trinity Hymnal #65 “Before Jehovah’s Awesome Throne”
Family Devotion for the Week
Upcoming Events and Notices
Join us for “12 for 19” as we read 12 great books in the year 2019. For August we will read Christina Fox’s “Idols of a Mother’s Heart.”
Please note that the catechism lessons will resume in the fall.
August 11 (Lord’s Day): Please join us for our monthly fellowship meal after the service.
August 25 (Lord’s Day): Please join us as we discuss the book “Idols of a Mother’s Heart” by Christina Fox.
August 11: TBA
August 18: Michelle Kay