We never stop worrying about our children.

That includes our adult children!

Our children can bring us the GREATEST JOYS, and also the GREATEST SORROWS. Many Christian parents grieve over….

Unsaved adult children

Children who have walked away from the Lord

Children hooked on drugs or alcohol

Many Christian parents are discovering the pain of strained or severed relationships with adult children. Some of this is due to worldly thinking we carry into our adult life that puts personal needs ahead of familial responsibilities and honoring parents.

The 60’s generation that abandoned respect for authority are now grandparents. One of the inevitable consequences for our society is a generation who live their lives independently, with little commitment to their “out-of-date” parents.

Today’s sermon will affirm that Christians should honor their parents through all of our lives.

There are Two Extremes in Adult Parent/Child Relationships:

The FIRST is an Enmeshed relationship. Paul Tripp uses this term in his book, “Relationships, a Mess Worth Making.”

These are also called co-dependent relationships. In such relationships, parents maintain control over their adult children.

There are certain characteristics of enmeshed relationships between parents and their adult children.

1. Both generations have few friends outside of the family

2. The older generation uses money or guilt to force the younger into spending all their time together.

Biblical examples include Rebekah’s control over Jacob (Gen 27), and the relationship between Jacob and Benjamin. When Joseph’s brothers were told to return home and bring back Benjamin, Judah begged Joseph to take him instead because his father Jacob would never recover from the loss of Benjamin. Jacob favored Joseph (who he thought was dead) and Benjamin because they were the sons of his beloved Rachel. Jacob’s life was enmeshed with Benjamin and Joseph. “Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us, then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life,” (Genesis 44:30, ESV)

The second type of relationship extreme between parents and their adult children is an Isolated relationship.

Here, either the older or younger generation withdraws from interaction.

It is common today for young people to want to have a limited relationship with their parents.

We can find a Biblical example in the relationship of David and Absalom (2 Samuel 13-14). After Absalom murdered his brother Amnon, David could not face Absalom. He avoided contact with him for years, until Absalom finally rebelled and attempted to usurp the Kingdom from his own father. David’s failure to restrain Absalom resulted in a family separation that almost destroyed the Kingdom.

A proper relationship between children and their adults parents avoids both extremes of enmeshed and isolated. The command to honor parents does not end when we become adults.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),(Ephesians 6:2, ESV)


Because FATHERHOOD and MOTHERHOOD are vital themes that point us to the characteristics of God.

He is our creator. Earthly parents provide a basis for understanding God’s love for us.

The idea of “Family” does not end when the new generation marries or leaves home

A new family is formed when a son or daughter marries and the two become “one flesh,” (Genesis 2:24; Matt 19:6).

BUT relationships and responsibilities to your own parents continue

Following are FIVE important passages in which we see that the command to honor our parents is not limited to small children obeying their parent’s commands. As Christians, we can demonstrate the importance of the Characteristics of God in the way that we honor our parents.

The first passage is a command specifically commands us to honor our parents, even when they are old (which implies that the child is old too!) “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” (Proverbs 23:22, ESV)

The second passage tells GRANDCHILDREN about God’s blessings. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”(Exodus 10:1–2, ESV)

Another passage warns GRANDCHILDREN about disobedience. “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed.(Deuteronomy 4:25–26, ESV). In this passage, the idea of the extended family is very strong. God intended his commands to be passed on from one generation, and specified the importance of grandparents in this forumla.

In 2 Kings 17:41, three generations held accountable for the spiritual condition of Israel. “So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.(2 Kings 17:41, ESV)

One central New Testament passage is found in 1 Timothy 5:4, where children & grandchildren are held accountable for the well-being of their aged parents. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.(1 Timothy 5:4)

The most important of these five passages is Mark 7:8-13. You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”(Mark 7:8–13, ESV)

Here, Jesus raises the command of honoring parents and makes it clear that the command applies to adults and not just young children. Because our parents are the ones who passed on physical life to us, and since God honors life, we are to honor our parents.

The SETTING: Pharisees accuse Jesus’ disciples of breaking tradition because they did not ceremonially wash their hands before eating.

JESUS DEMONSTRATES that the Pharisees established traditions that allowed them to violate the clear teaching of God’s Word.

Jesus’ EXAMPLE was the way that the Pharisees allowed children to avoid the financial responsibility of caring for their aging parents by claiming that their money was dedicated to God. The Temple officers would then access the wealth of the children lower, reducing the amount of money that children were required to provide for their parents in their old age. Jesus equates this disregard of responsibility on the part of adult children as a direct violation of the command to honor your father and your mother.

Honoring father and mother does not end when you turn 18, leave home, or get married. It continues throughout your entire life!


1. Honor the new authority structure that is formed when your son/daughtermarry.

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”” (Matthew 19:6, ESV)

Ed Young puts it this way in his book The Ten Commandments of Marriage: “Thou shalt cut the apron strings!” His advice is very helpful!

2. Wait until you are asked before giving advice

3. Entrust your adult children to the Lord.

If they are not saved, or if they have turned away from the Lord, He can change hardened hearts. Trust him to do this, even when your son or daughter shows no signs of spiritual life. When a heart is hardened, pray for God to send someone into their lives to speak wisdom. You are probably not the one who will speak wisdom into their heart. Accept that reality and begin to pray that the Lord would send a messenger to speak Truth to your son or daughter.

4. Honor their parenting decisions.

Grandchildren must understand that the authority they are to obey is their parents

When you discipline or correct grandchildren, explain that you are doing what their mommy and daddy want and that God wants them to honor their mother and father.


1. Show honor.

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7, ESV)

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,” (1 Timothy 5:1, ESV)

2. Do your best to meet the needs of your parents as they grow old. “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.” (1 Timothy 5:4, ESV)

3. Seek the wisdom of your parents.

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1–5)

The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” (Proverbs 13:25, ESV)

Pastor Stephen Freed tells the story about his father’s slow death from an incurable disease. During his dad’s illness, he asked his 15 year old daughter, Elizabeth, what she would do if he end up like Granddaddy someday.

Elizabeth replied,

“I don’t know, Dad but I’m watching you to find out.”

Christian Reader, Vol. 35, no. 2.

CHRISTIAN FAMILIES honor, love and respect life.

C Everett Koop: “The moral question for us is not whether the suffering and dying are persons but whether we are the kind of persons who will care for them without doubting their worth.” http://www.jeremiahproject.com/culture/life3.html

– The child in the womb– The disabled and needy

– The elderly and weak

Christ’s compassion calls us to honor life, and to honor our parents who passed that life to us.