20 June 2011

Dad I Really Need You

Psalm 78:1-11

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HISTORY? Answer: A lot! Since this is Father’s Day, I ask the question....WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR DADDY? Did he show you how to throw a good fastball,  a football? Did he show you how you kick a soccer ball or play hockey? Did he show you how to make something out of wood? Did he show you how to treat a lady, a woman or future children? Or did he show or teach you about the love of God and His redemptive plan for lost sinners? Because this is where it stops for me personally!.....Not everyone had that privilege or family life, I grew up in a fairly moralistic household because of my father’s employment as a Police Officer for 25 years. We had standards and rules to follow in the home and outside the home! My Dad showed me many things growingf up. For example.....How to cut the grass, plant a good garden, make things out of wood, how to start and finish a good BBQ, drive a car safely and the one that stands out the most is when he used t explain to me about all airplanes we see at the air show in Trenton or flying overhead in our backyard. All those things are wonderful and love my dad for them. But! I can stand here with confidence and a very heavy heart , that God was never part of our conversation growing up in the Andrews home. Sadly throughout my childhood into adulthood God was a curse word! Not a word used for adoration and reverence. You know what! Sadly from my standpoint now, I see the ripple effect it HAS HAD on my siblings! I have a much younger cousin who drinks alcohol as if it was water.
Both my brothers who I love dearly are divorced due to adultery. My oldest brother has 2 beautiful boys whose idea of God is something you find in a comic book or Sci- Fi -movie. I stop and look back at my life and my family’s life and I see history repeating itself all over in my brother’s lives! GOD is not part of the equation. So this leads me back to my original question! WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM HISTORY? I turn to the Word of God and look at the history of fatherhood found in the patriarchs and what do I see..........history repeating itself! From the book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation we find that there aren’t many good examples of a godly father! You might say to yourself “that’s not fair to judge that way Mike” But let me give you a few examples......

·   Adam the father of us all! Failed to be a responsible husband and leader in his home to his wife and children.
·         Noah was found by his children drunk and naked
·         Abraham lied
·         Lot offered his daughters
·         Isaac followed in his daddy’s footsteps
·         Jacob deceived
·         Elimelech allowed his sons to marry Moabite girls
·         Eli did nothing as his sons desecrated the Priesthood
·         David committed adultery and was a terrible father to his sons
·         Solomon followed in his father’s footsteps.

THE ONLY EXAMPLE OF A GODLY FATHER I FIND IS JOB .....Job 1:4-5 “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.  And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.”  Job stayed faithful even when his children were wayward and disobedient. We as dads have a responsibility as Job did, to train our children and offer our prayers and sacrifice to God for them continually, no matter how old or how far astray they have gone! HOW DO WE DO THAT? By what we learn from history....from what we learn found in the patriarchs of the Bible. WE COME TO THIS SPECIAL PSALM THAT SPEAKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FAMILY UNIT!  And it also speaks about God and His wonderful deliverance of the Jews called “the Exodus” as the nation left Egypt. When I look at this Psalm as a whole (meaning all 72 verses) I see a Infinite God who is slow to anger and full of grace to a generation that still isn’t taking God’s commands seriously, but I want us to focus on the command that God gives to fathers of that family unit! Not some command for that time in history, but a command that carries throughout the ages, so men we are without excuse! I look at the Christian home today and I’m seeing families no different than the children of Israel. All I see is history repeating itself over and over again...because we as fathers have forgotten one important ingredient to the structure of our children and families. SO I WANT TO CHALLENGE EVERY FATHER IN THIS SANCTUARY AND EVERY FUTURE FATHER TO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION!

God, told the patriarchs and the fathers before you and me to tell your sons and daughters and future generations about the love of God for sinners and His redemptive plan...which is where we find the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly I say again, that this is major decline around the globe and more so in the Christian home. As fathers we have a duty....an obligation to our wife and children! What we teach our children about the most, is what they will focus on for the majority of their life unless the Spirit gets a hold of them. See dads the future determines how we handle the message of the Gospel. Not to sound like a broken record, many good intentional Christian homes leave it up the church to raise and train your children......though there is some truth to that (they will get a good foundation of Biblical truth). But! The churches ultimate job is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry whether it gives you the ability to use in the home better or in your day to day life with the Gospel. To many Christian homes leave the teaching to the VBS programs......Sunday School.....Youth Group to train your children about the Awesome God! We serve. Let me be the first one to say “that’s a wrong ideology” God commands the fathers to teach their children about the love of God and His flowing mercy found in Christ. IF YOU DON’T AGREE....LOOK AT THE PSALM CLOSER!

(v1) “give ear”  dads give close attention to what the Lord is saying”
(v3) “we have heard and known that our FATHERS have told us”
(v4) “tell the coming generations”
(v5) “he commanded our FATHERS to teach to their children”

Why? The answer is found in (v6) “that the next generation might know.....” DAD’S THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO RECLAIM AND TAKE BACK WHAT IS OURS! It doesn’t matter how old you are and much you failed at this in your life....If your child is still breathing no matter how old they are it’s never to late to start today! But you say and make excuses "my son or daughter is married and in their 30’s or 40’s!" My answer to that is so!........take this time to apologize for not being the responsible dad that God called you to be according to the Scriptures. It’s time to MAN UP! And do what God has called us to do and that is lead our family’s home to HIM where He is seated on the throne in all His glory! The Bible declares us to train our children not the church or the world! “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov 22:6. God’s goodness and their understanding of His grace should be told by us and lived out by us! We have been blessed to share in the process of God’s providential work for the family and lost souls around the globe! I know you're thinking this isn’t very nice of me to say on Father’s Day! But seriously ask yourself the question “Am I following this command which was laid out for the patriarchs found in the Bible?” Because the consequences are terrible! (v8-v11)...............the outcome for any lost sinner...it could be yours or my children! They will go to Hell with Satan and all his fallen angels one day! It’s our duty to train....warn...care...love them to the Saviour! Not to force or live by some legalistic method..............A genuine love for Christ and His created children.

We as dads must teach our children about what God likes and dislikes......who He is and why did He create us. (v6)This is how God designed the family...he left the important stuff for the parents to share. It’s interesting that the Bible calls all dads not to provoke but train...instruct them about the things of God! “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Eph 6:4. God must come first! Above farming, school, employment, entertainment, social clubs, personal pleasure and hobbies. My children need to know about Him and all His glory found in the redeeming blood of the Lamb.

We as dads must teach them and display this hope found in the Son of God as extremely valuable (v7a) “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God….” 1 Tim 4:10. The greatest joy a father could ever have is to see their children genuinely walking in the same hope you have found in Christ!  Not getting his first homerun or goal inhockey ['m not saying there not wonderful things to acknowledge] God must be their hope, not hockey or personal acheivements! It's the joy John had when the Gospel fell on good ground! I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John v4. The world teaches and propagates us to look within to find joy! It seems to me a lot of people enjoyed destroying things Wednesday night, after the Canucks loss to the Bruins. We are to instruct our children that a person can only find true joy in the redemptive work of Christ. This is our biblical mandate in our lives and in our homes as dads.

We as dads must teach our children never to turn their backs on God! See the Ephraimates which was the largest Northern tribe is a great picture of the Nation as a whole or society at large. They “turned back” and did not keep God’s covenant, but refused to walk according to His law. (v7b) Forgetting and not caring about the plan and longsuffering God has for His created children.“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” Ps 145:8-9. Do you realize may young adults have walked away from the faith or the faith there parents thought they had! Many of the reasons are because they never saw it lived out at home by mom and dad. God was a Sunday thing and if personal things got in the way...well church was bumped. It wasn’t as important as other things that were going on in my life or mom and dad’s! God and church just get in the way of my fun and personal life and I have better things to do then listen to this fairytale. That’s a tragedy and reality for many people! Because I see this in my family’s life back in Ontario and in England. Forgetting God is the most dangerous thing a person could ever do. What’s even worse is watching our loved ones follow in history’s footsteps. Dads we must teach our children never to forget His mercies and grace found in the Bible.

We as dads must teach our children to keep (obey) God's word at the center of their impressionable hearts. Ask yourselk! If we are to expect our kids to obey us as parents. Shouldn't we expect them to obey God above all by what we read in His word (v7c). 3 times Jesus said to His disciples “if you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15-23. In (v21) Jesus said “he who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me.” and (v23) “if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will him,.....” This is not only referring to Jesus’ ethical commands but the entire revelation found in His word. We must teach them a God influence, not the other way around. Our passion and desire is for our children to saturate in His truth.....not saturated with the garbage of this world.

We as dads must train our children not to have stubborn and rebellious hearts, but steadfast and fatihful (v8) See Iwant my child to be on fire for God.....not lukewarm and loving it! I want them to walk by faith in His truth and never to be swayed to and fro with the wisdom of this world when they get older. I want my children to be better equipped and to stand strong to say no when the world says yes......Because Satan is going to throw at them everything he got to get them to turn and walk away from the mercy and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ! The Hebrew writer wroteTake care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."  Heb 3:12-15. The same exact rebellion we see with the fathers here in this Psalm.......and sadly the same rebellion is going on today! All we see history repeating itself over and over again! why? Because we as fathers are not taking this seriously.........It's time to man up and stop being boys and I’m here today to say “it stops today...right now!”

My dear fathers our children need us! We have a great responsibility to them. We are to lead them, march them into His sovereign arms where we cry out “Abba Father” to the greatest Father of all……….where we cry out “daddy I love you and I need your help.” It’s time to MAN UP and start taking God’s commands seriously! As Spurgeon said “Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. “ So who’s with me?

1 comment:

Persis said...

I'm not a dad. But as a single mom, I give a loud AMEN to your post, brother!