Father's Day 07
June 17, 2007
- This teaching is applicable for all fathers – natural and spiritual – mothers, supervisors, anyone in authority.
- Eph 6:1-4 – “1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
- These are some great verses.
- In a nut shell they provide fantastic instruction concerning the relationship between children and parents, especially fathers.
- I believe that if they are followed the verse in Duet 5:9 will not be found true for the most part in homes – “You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
- In a house that functions as Eph 6 command you will find no hate for God – but only love.
- Where you have love you have Mal 4:6 – “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
- The world would say something different
- Mark Twain: “When they’re one year old,” he opined, “you put them in a barrel, put the lid on the barrel, and drill a hole in the barrel so you can feed them. Then, when they turn sixteen, you plug up the hole.”
- It reminds me of a story I heard about a preacher, a priest, and a rabbi who were having their usual morning cup of coffee at a local coffee shop. On this particular morning they were discussing the point at which life begins. The priest slapped the tabletop. “Life,” he asserted, “begins at conception.” “No, no!” said the rabbi, waving his hand. “I believe life begins at birth.” The preacher sipped his coffee as he pondered the question. Finally he said, “You’re both wrong. Life begins when the last child has left home and the dog dies.”
- Mark Twain’s cynical counsel and the cynicism expressed by the preacher occur because these verses in Ephesians aren’t followed, especially by the father.
- 1 Jn 4:19 – “We love because He first loved us.”
- We love because God first loved us.
- I believe the same principle will hold for homes – children will love when they are loved.
- That’s not all – I believe that the tone father’s set in their household and their relationships with their children will help shape the children’s relationships with their natural father and with Father God.
- I’ve not only seen it in my life but over my 61 years I’ve seen it in hundreds of other lives.
- Father’s must be the pillar of Christ-likeness in their homes.
- Children are being bombarded everywhere else.
- Peer pressure, television (even news programs tell you how to think), postmodernism (there is no truth), microwave society (we must not expect everything instantaneously, but study it out, do research), schools give only one side of the equation, on and on.
- Fathers must protect children from the world and speak Christian principles into their lives.
- Eph 2:8-10 – “8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.”
- This requires men to have an ongoing prayer life and to read the Bible on a regular basis and to not only read solid Christian books, but to also build a library that they can return to.
- Men have to come to the place where they understand that they are accountable to God for the spirituality of their homes.
- This is not a put down of women, nor does it dismiss mother’s responsibilities.
- Father’s must guard against themselves, their wives, and their children taking on “philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world”.
- Father’s must encourage themselves, their wives, and their children to take on “Christ, for in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” and He is “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
- Father’s can do that because “in Him (Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you (fathers) have been filled in Him”.
- In that atmosphere God will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.
- Since its father’s day we’re going to zero in on vs. 4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
- The world would say that we are to love our children.
- How true, but how is that carried out? The world would take over your child – no God, no discipline, they instruct.
- David Jeremiah, “Home can’t be run by loving words alone. There have to be law and discipline, too. The nature of children demands discipline.”
- There has to be discipline where there is love.
- Heb 12:6 – “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
- If the Lord chastises us and we are called to become like Christ, then doesn’t it make sense that if father’s love their children that they will chastise – discipline – them.
- Besides, we are instructed to chastise our children over and over – one example: Prov 13:24 – “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
- So, it must be right for us to chastise – to discipline our children.
- To discipline shows love; not to discipline wrong.
- And bad fruit comes from lack of discipline.
o David the king pampered Absalom and refused to discipline him or intervene in the prince’s life. And that young man’s ultimate rebellion and death not only turned the kingdom upside down, it sent his father to the grave as a broken man.
o Eli, a leader and priest who failed to discipline his sons and reaped a harvest of both personal and national shame because of it.
o Isaac pampered Esau, and it tore his home in two.
o Jacob allowed favoritism and jealousy in his home to set his sons against one another.
- Again, I want to make it crystal clear that mother’s are to be involved in discipline.
- Heb 11:23 – “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
- The Greek word in this verse for parents is the exact same Greek word that is used for fathers in Eph 6:4.
- In one place the Greek word pater is translated fathers and in the other place it is translated parents.
- There is a close association here.
- Fathers need to take the lead with support and in harmony with their wives where they are present, and single mothers and fathers must perform the task where the father or mother is not present.
- Let’s look at vs 4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” – a bit closer.
- The first thing we see is that fathers are not to provoke your children to anger.
- Discipline is not for the purpose of provoking, but for the purpose of instruction – of teaching.
- Fathers are not to irritate children, nor exasperate them.
- Don’t place unreasonable demands on your children.
- Col 3:21 - “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
- Make sure that love is the basis for the discipline.
- Make sure that love is always shown outside of discipline.
- David Jeremiah, “There are some fathers who are always on their kids’ backs. No matter what their son or daughter does, it’s wrong. Constant fault-finding, criticism, sarcasm, unceasing don’ts, and unreasonable commands will not generate respect in a child’s heart. Within that exercise of parental authority, there is a crucial need for understanding and love, justice and self-control.”
- Yes, kids step out of line. But, fathers – parents – can step even farther out of line by overreacting to the situation.
- Father’s have a big job.
- That’s why they need to “live by the Spirit” and “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:25).
- So the hearts are turned.
- Paul then goes on to say, “Bring them up” – an ongoing activity.
- In every possible way.
- Spiritually, mentally, physically, ethically, morally, psychologically, yada, yada, yada!
- Fathers – parents – are to nourish their own flesh – their children – as Christ does the church (Eph 5:29)
- That is one huge calling – as Christ does the church.
- And it starts with loving Jesus Christ, loving people, and serving your community.
- It starts with walking out the Bible – reading it, praying it, studying it, meditating on it, spending time with the Lord, fasting, following all His commands, recognizing that you are part of a church family, understanding that there is leadership and authority in that church family just like your family, fellowship, reading books and building a library
- That is the only way you can be a good father – a Biblical father – a father that emulates Christ nourishing the church – a Father that brings up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
- It’s the atmosphere where children’s hearts are turned to the father.
- To do this, fathers – mothers – those in authority in the spiritual family, the church must understand some Biblical principles.
- #1 - Principle of diligence
- The same Greek word is used for “nourish” in Eph 5:29 as for “bring them up” in Eph 6:4
- Fathers – parents – are to nourish your children. You are to be the pastors of your household.
- It’s a huge job – not an easy one.
- Requires 24 on and no off.
- You are responsible before God to be on top of all that your child is doing – it gives you the right to know what they are doing.
- Who are they hanging with? What are they doing at so and so’s house? What do you believe about this and that?
- It’s a full time calling and it’s not just about changing diapers.
- And you can only do it properly if you love Jesus, love people, and serve those God has called you to serve.
- By following God’s commandments as laid out in the Bible.
- #2 - Principle of discipline
- First, you don’t want to discipline for mistakes, but for disobedience.
- If a child makes a mistake, correct it, but discipline may not be the answer.
- I like the story I heard about a mother whose little boy had tried to take a carton of milk and put it in the refrigerator. It was a noble effort, but he wasn’t quite big enough or strong enough to pull it off. He got almost to the refrigerator, dropped the carton, and the milk went all over the kitchen floor in a huge puddle. At that moment, the mom came into the room and said, ‘What happened?’ The little boy puckered up, and he said, ‘Mommy…I spilled the milk.’ ‘Well,. she said, .in a few minutes, we’re going to have to clean it up, aren’t we? Then after they cleaned it up she took him out in the backyard. With the same carton, filled with water, she showed him how to carry it so that wouldn’t happen again. When that little guy did it right, she heaped praise on him.
- The child was corrected for the mistake and taught how not to make the same mistake again.
- Second, you should never attack a child’s character, just the act that he or she needs to be disciplined for.
- If a child lies, deal with the lie; don’t make him out to be a liar.
- If a child hits someone, deal with that, don’t exaggerate it into him being a violent person.
- #3 - The principle of direction
- In every interaction a father must be aware of how he is impacting the child’s approach to life.
- Fathers – parents – are the first line instructors – teachers in a child’s life – not school – not church – not anyone or anything else.
- Churches, schools, etc play very important parts, but fathers – mothers – have the main responsibility.
- It doesn’t take a village to raise a child – it takes a father and mother working together “bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”, which does include using those in the church community and beyond.
- How do you walk out the principles of diligence, discipline, and direction?
- By walking out the Bible – reading it, praying it, studying it, meditating on it, spending time with the Lord, fasting, following all His commands, recognizing that you are part of a church family, understanding that there is leadership and authority in that church family just like your family, fellowship, reading books and building a library – by doing everything you can to develop your relationship with the triune God.
- Then the hearts of the children will be turned to the fathers.