The New Testament binds a great responsibility on children when it says in Ephesians 6, verses 1-3, "Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth". The key words are "honor" and "obey". There is no time limit on this. God does not free a child from this responsibility simply because he has now gone to college or is married. A child in the earliest years of adulthood makes a tragic mistake by neglecting his parents.
It is necessary that we say something about the word "obey". Children are to obey their parents "in the Lord". One must never forget that his allegiance to God comes before any man. That includes government, companions and parents. The early apostles expressed it well when they were commanded not to preach in the name of Christ. They responded by saying in Acts 5, verse 29, "We ought to obey God rather than men".
The term "obey your parents" indicates that the parents have laid down some laws or provided some instruction to guide the children. This is what is meant by the wise man when he said in Proverbs 22, verse 6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it". It is understood then that the law is to be obeyed by the child is that which will make him a fine, decent, responsible person. Instructions of parents should be revered by children beyond the parents death. No time limit then on "Children obey your parents in the Lord" Ephesians 6:1. The other word that stands out so predominantly in the children's responsibility to their parents is the word "honor". The Bible says in Ephesians 6, verse 2, "Honor thy father and mother".
This responsibility deals with the child's attitude and respect toward parents. Webster's New World Dictionary says of the word honor, it is "High regard of great respect given". "Something done or given as a token of respect". The home for centuries has provided an environment for one to learn all of the ABC's of Christian living. It is in the home that seeds of character can be sown and given an opportunity to flourish. The great principles of God are to be taught, practiced and cultivated in the home. The child who has learned to honor parents can then effectively show high regard toward his fellow man. He later can easily show respect for a companion and his own children.
It is important that we pause to say that parents have the responsibility to provide the proper atmosphere in the home so that the child can develop an appreciation for law and order given by parents. Such an environment will cause children to rise up and call their parents "blessed". The example of parents set in honoring and loving one another is far-reaching in the heart and life-pattern of the child. When a child cannot see parents love, respect and honor one another, it is extremely difficult for him to rise above this obstacle and honor those that do not honor themselves. Remember, in order to manifest honor towards others, you must respect yourself.
Christ provides us with an example in all things. Having returned from the visit to the city of Jerusalem at the age of 12, the Bible says that Christ, "was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man" Luke 2, verses 51,52. Christ was obedient to his parents. His affection and respect for his mother was manifested from the cross. He was concerned about her care and well-being. He gave this responsibility to the beloved Apostle John (John 19:25-27). You shall always be children in the eyes of your parents and in the eyes of the Lord. Your response to the commandment, "Obey your parents" and "Honor thy father and thy mother", will be a pretty good yardstick measuring how well you will obey your Lord and give Him honor through faithful worship.
The child's responsibility is a lifetime achievement, an achievement that will be richly blessed in all walks of life. In the words of Ephesians Chapter 6, it is the first commandment with promise.