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?

07 June 2011

Are You A Fool?




Psalm 53:1-11

ARE YOU A FOOL? Before you can answer that question we need to define what it mean to be a fool? Because to be called one doesn't seem to be a compliment or an encouraging word! The definition of a “fool” is simply someone who is S. T.U. P. I .D The word “fool” is used to describe a senseless act or someone who is wicked. The word “fool” is used 569 times throughout the Old and the New Testament. The book of Proverbs where “fool” is used denotes a person who is morally and spiritually deficient (which means lacking). MANY TIMES JESUS, HIMSELF CONTRASTED THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH PERSON! In Matt 7:24-27 Jesus said "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."  Remember what Paul said when he preached about the Cross? That is was “foolishness to those who are perishing” But he goes on to say in the same portion of his letter! “but for the wise (believer) it is the power of God and wisdom of God.” 1 Cor 1:23-24. This is a very powerful word that really hits the core of the human heart! Why? Many good intentional people including my own family are fools according to the Word of God. SO LET ME ASK YOU AGAIN! ARE YOU A FOOL?

THE BIBLE DECLARES A FOOL TO BE:

1. Someone who clings to their S.T.U.P.I.D.I.T.Y “as a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Prov 26:11

2. Makes a light of sin all the time “fools mock sin” Prov 14:9

3. Hates knowledge and instruction “a fool despises his father’s instruction” Prov 15:5

4. They walk in darkness “the wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness” Eccl 2:14

5. They never want to depart from evil “....but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.” Prov 13:19

6. They think they are self sufficient “the ways of a fool is right in his own eyes.” Prov 12:15

7. They are unconcerned or lazy “the fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.” Eccl 4:5

8. They are always angry “...for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” Eccl 7:9

9. They grieve their parents “a foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.” Prov 17:25

10. There mouth destroys them “wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.” Prov 10:14

We come to a Psalm 53 and I think this is were it all begins when a person becomes a fool (v1) “the fool says in his heart there is no God!.” Many people during that time and more so today .......hold to this destructive view of God. This seem to be a growing trend in our postmodern......everything tolerant society! There are more fools then you think. I’m not speaking on an academic level even though those statistics are not looking very promising for future generations! I’m talking about that person that says there is no such thing as God! SOMEONE WHO DENIES THE GOD OF THIS UNIVERSE. Richard Dawkins said “One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all." Albert Einstein said "I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it." A scientist and active evolutionist said “Religion is a virus of the mind, and thinks teaching children about Hell fire is nothing short of psychological child abuse”.  I TYPED THIS QUESTION ON GOGGLE "Why do people deny the existence of God?" There were 1.5 million hits on this very question! One gentleman who's call name Friar Tuck said “Because, based on the evidence, I (for one - can't speak for others) do not think god (or gods or goddesses) exist outside our own minds.” Another one said “Because his/her/its/their existence is not proven, and too many people don’t even have the slightest shred of evidence - in fact in many cases the evidence directly contradicts the notion that there is a God (it certainly contradicts specific teachings made by them).” And Another one "I can only speak for myself but I deny it because I think it's malarkey ... Some people choose logic over faith" But listen to the evidence found in Paul’s writing to the Romans in chapter 1! In Rom 1:18-25 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” This is why David penned these words in the remainder of (v1b) “Corrupt and have done abominable” which means: there whole body is utter waste (flesh) is stained and this is detestable in the eyes of a holy God. But God who is merciful and slow to anger does something amazing (Look at v2) He searches everywhere......He looks for anyone who has their hearts directed towards Him and glory! He looks for people who are worshipping His wonderful name! Sadly we see the answer in the next sentence (Look at v3) What does God find? NO ONE IS SEEKING AFTER GOD!

• We have all fallen short (doesn’t matter if it’s a mile or a millimetre).
• We all have missed the mark.
• We all seek our own lustful desires and passions.
• We are all in pursuit of the American dream.
• We are all in pursuit for what I can get out of life.
• We have all turns away or turned back to what we love the most! SELF.
• We were all FOOLS once!

THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID “for we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Titus 3:3. THE QUESTION AGAIN IS! ARE YOU A FOOL? Why do you keep asking me this question? Because do you know what it means to be gripped by the glory of God? That a holy, perfect, righteous, all powerful God who would take a person who was once a fool that hated or said in his or her heart “there is no God” and bring salvation to that person! So that He could declare that child to a wise righteous son of the living God. That’s what it means to be gripped by God’s love! Too look past our selfishness and S.T.U.P.I.D life and say “today I have declared you to be my child”. To know that the Bible declared me (Mike Andrews) to be foolish and blind to His truth! That God would seek this wretched man that I am and save me from my road of destruction through His precious Son. That’s what the glory of God looks like in my salvation........but not just in my salvation some 10 years ago, but every day He allows me to breathe! He saved me from what I was! Paul Washer says it best in his testimony! “Let me tell you about my Jesus? He has saved me! When I was a wretch you would not have wanted to run me down with your car. But my Jesus, he brought me with His blood. And my Jesus, he came to me and my Jesus took away my sin, and my Jesus took away my shame! All hail the power of Jesus name let angel’s prostrate fall; bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all.......that’s my Jesus.” There is only one Rescuer for foolish people like us! Jesus Christ. There are only two ways that God’s justice can be satisfied with respect to your sin and foolish state. It will either be satisfied in you! Or it will be satisfied in Christ! You can satisfy it by being banished from God’s presence forever as you bare the wrath of God for all eternity for your sin and disbelief! Or You can accept the satisfaction that Jesus Christ has made for sinful. As God had to go to the cross Himself to pay the price for foolish people like you and me...........Leonard Ravenhill said “the greatest sin in the world is I can manage my life without God....that’s the great sin a person could ever commit.” WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GRIPPED BY THE GLORY GOD? To know that He loves this imperfect body and the soul that lives in it! To know that He changed this heart of a fool into a heart that desires Christ and His righteousness. This is the beauty of the Gospel! God didn’t leave us to ourselves because that’s how the fool wants to live today. (Look at v6) there were those in the Old Testament times that looked and hoped, that prayed and waited, for this redemption. Just as God is not finished with the nation of Israel in His providential plan..... He is not finished with our generation of fools as well. God is calling in the streets to the fools of this generation and the generations to come before He returns to come and dine with Him.....through His Son and His Gospel.  But in order to dine with Him you must die to self! As Matthew Henry said in his commentary “He will save all believers from their own iniquities, that they may not be led captive by them, which will be everlasting matter of joy to them. From this work the Redeemer had his name - Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” To be a fool is to be lost and in the end of this life, you will face the full wrath of God for all eternity! (Look at v5) But for those who are being saved its joy, peace, rest and protection for all eternity with Jehovah our great God and protector. As Charles Swindoll so boldly said “God is holy. Exalted. He is the only wise God, the Creator, the Maker, the sovereign Lord. He is the Master. He tells me what to do, and I have no safe option but to do it. He offers no alternative, no multiple choice. We have but one directive, and that is to do His will.” WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GRIPPED BY THE GLORY OF GOD? Be called faithful and true! Not a fool! As Jesus said to the man who built bigger barns. But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you,..' Luke 12:20. THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK YOURSELF IS: Am I a fool or not? Do you truly believe or does your heart say “there is no God” ONLY YOU CAN TRULY ANSWER THAT QUESTION. BUT REMEMBER God will either get glory in your damnation and your denial and disobedience or in your adoration and salvation through Jesus Christ. SO YOU MUST CHOOSE THIS DAY! Who will you serve the god of the fool (which is you) or the Living God of the Bible?

02 June 2011

Our Big Teddy Bear In The Sky


A God Too Small? by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Exodus 19:1--15
So deep, so profound must be this respect for God's holy presence that no one was even to touch the mountain. The people were to wait upon God to speak to Moses and hear the Lord's words through the Lord's servant.
What a needed reminder! This story makes it clear that we live in a day of pitifully shallow concepts of God. Some of today's contemporary Christian music leaves the impression that God is our buddy---a great pal to have in a pinch. A film star once said of God, "He's my great Big Daddy upstairs." One pop song asks, "What if God were just a slob like us?" That is not the biblical view of God. That is a human being's feeble attempt to make God relevant. The Puritans, that rigorous people of old, possessed a solidly biblical concept of God. Do you know why it is so crucial for us to recover such a respectful understanding? Because a shallow view of God leads to a shallow life. Cheapen God and you cheapen life itself. Treat God superficially, and you become superficial. But hold God in profoundest respect, and it is remarkable how deep the roots of your spiritual life grow. God is holy. Exalted. He is the only wise God, the Creator, the Maker, the sovereign Lord. He is the Master. He tells me what to do, and I have no safe option but to do it. He offers no alternative, no multiple choice. We have but one directive, and that is to do His will. We reaffirm that truth in our times with Him. But not today. Today He's our pal, our understanding buddy, our ever-available bellboy. No, He is not! The Lord is our God. He does not bow to our hurried pace, but in silence He waits for us to meet His demands. And once we slow down enough to meet Him, He is pleased to add incredible spiritual depth to our otherwise shallow lives. What has been your concept of the Lord? Who is your God? Be honest, now. Does He look anything like the God of Mount Sinai?