Because God Says So
The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. "Who is the most obedient?" he asked. "Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?" Five small voices answered in unison. "Okay, dad, you get the toy."
Today is the day that we honor fathers. I think that sounds wonderful since I am a father and I have a wonderful father. In all seriousness, we are to honor our fathers, and our mothers every day not just this day or on Mother’s Day. But we are to honor our fathers, not because it’s a holiday, not because it’s a tradition, not because there are sales on everything that we think dad’s would need or like; but because God said so.
In fact, He said so very specifically. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise — “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
- Notice that it doesn’t say, honor only good moms and dads.
- It don’t say honor them if you like them.
- It doesn’t say, honor only the right ones.
- It says, “honor your father and mother.” And so, today, we when our nation sets apart a day for that – we ought to honor all fathers.
I want to speak directly to the dads but if you’re not a dad, don’t check out, because we all need to hear this. You see, we are involved in a war today, and the battleground is not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The battleground is in our homes. And what’s at stake is not our land, our property, our freedoms. It’s more important that than. What are at stake are our children.
- And believe me—it’s a war, it’s an important war, and in this country, we are losing the battle.
- Children are turning from the faith in record numbers. It’s as if as soon as they leave home and go to college they leave the church. And if you don’t believe me, look here this morning.
- Children in record numbers are turning from God but so have the adults who are the fathers, mothers, grandparents – they don’t have a faith in God.
- This is nothing new because world history shows that when people turn from worshiping and serving God and others things turn for the worst.
I want to tell you a brief Biblical story this morning that’s going to be our guide for this message: It’s found in the book of Judges in the Old Testament. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges it is found on the screen or you can check it out in your own Bibles - Judges 2: 6 -12
- Let me give you a little background here today. The nation of Israel had just marched into the Promised Land, and they were settling into the land. Now, it wasn’t a complete victory, because when they went in, they didn’t always follow what God desired, and instead of conquering all of it, they instead settled into some of it. And just before what we’re going to look at, they were instructed that they didn’t do what God desired, and they repented of it. With that in mind, let’s read this important passage this morning. Judges 2:6-12.
Judges 2:6-12 (NIV)
6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger
- Once Joshua and his generation passed away, the next generation turned their back on God and worshiped the gods of the peoples around them.
- Today, in 2012, they don’t wait for mom and dad to pass on. They turn away immediately, and worship other gods.
- They worship the god of drugs and alcohol
- They worship media, Facebook, twitter, computer, gaming…
- They worship fashion.
- They worship the god of convenience.
- They worship the god of this world. They worship the world. 1 John 2:16 (NLT) “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
- Romans 1:28-32 (NIV) closely parallels what is going on in the world today especially the western culture. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
- We live in a culture that approves of turning its back on God? From court cases to TV to popular movies, its okay to make fun of religion, because it’s not important, it’s not relevant.
- Moms and dads, you are at the front lines of a war for the souls of our children and grandchildren. This is a war, and we are called to be a part. How can we win the war? Three suggestions this morning.
- With Our Words: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV) 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
- We need to talk to our children. Be involved in their lives. Tell them about God, and tell them about the Bible.
- A study was done recently to determine the amount of interaction between fathers and their small children. First, the fathers were asked to estimate the amount of time they spent each day communicating with their child. The average answer was about fifteen to twenty minutes. But that is not true; the study attached microphones to the father so that each interaction could be recorded. The results of this study were shocking: The average amount of time spent by these (middle-class) fathers with their small children was thirty-seven seconds per day. Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting ten to fifteen seconds each!
- 37 seconds per day - Look back at Deuteronomy 6 with me. Can that be accomplished in 37 seconds a day? 37 seconds will not cut it – it will not come close to meeting the job. Communicate with your children; tell them about God and about the Bible.
- Proverbs 1:8 (NIV) 8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
- My brother and I had chores – one of those chores was drying the dishes while my mother washed and preached. She had us where she knew we weren’t going anywhere and she could talk to us. She talked, we listened; she asked questions about our lives and made some strong suggestions on how to handle friends and problems. Doing dishes took forever.
- Don’t let the schools or your kids’ friends be the only thing that instructs your children. Don’t even let our church and Young Life be the only thing that instructs our kids. That’s not an indictment on Young Life or our Youth Group because sometimes that is the only place that they hear about Christ. You got to have Christ in your life to share Christ with someone else.
- So it is crucial for moms and dads to have a relationship and commitment with Christ so they can share that message with their kids. They need to get their act together when it comes to faith in Christ and then take responsibility for raising our kids.
- The bible tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”(Prov. 22:6) that’s not the church’s job, that’s the parent’s job.
- Dad’s, how are you doing with your words?
- With Our Time: How much time do you spend with your kids? The older they get the more involved the kids get. So capture the time with them when they are young. Let’s go back to Deut. 6 starting at verse 7 and following: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
- Dad’s, do you want to know what is important in your life today? Look at your schedule – maybe you have your schedule on your phone or some other electrical device. The question is where do you devote your time? Unfortunately, their time is spent elsewhere: a job, a hobby, their entertainment, their comfort. If you asked them if they loved their children, they would swear to you that they do. But their time doesn’t match up.
- And some of you have bought into the thinking of this world. I’ve got to keep working and working and working so I can provide for them the finer things of this world, and providing for family is important and biblical, but I think that we sometimes go beyond what is necessary.
There’s a story told of a man asking his daughter if she would want quality time with her dad or quantity time with her dad. She replied, “Quality time, Dad, and lots of it!”
I read about a little girl who drew a pretty picture. She went in her dad’s office. Crawled on his lap. And said, "Daddy, come and see my picture." And the dad said, "Not now, honey. Dad’s busy." About 10 minutes later, she came back again. Crawled on his lap. And said, "Daddy, will you come see my picture now?" And the dad got frustrated. And said, "Can’t you see I’m busy? Don’t bother me right now. I’ll come and look at your picture later. When I’m ready."
A couple of hours later, the dad came out. And he said to the daughter, "Can I see the picture now?" And the girl said, "Sure." And it was a picture of her and her brother and her mom standing on the lawn. With the family dog. With big smiles. On a sunny day. But the dad noticed that he wasn’t in the picture. And so the dad said, "That’s a nice picture, sweetheart. But how come I’m not in the picture?"
And the girl said, "Because you’re working in your office, daddy."
- Time is a gift you give that you can never get back. You can give money, and always make more. You can give gifts, because you can always get new things anyway. But once time is given, it never comes back. Time reveals the priorities in your life. And if you want to win the war with for your children, you’ve got to invest time.
Cats in the Cradle
C. With Our Lives. Genesis 18:18-19 (NIV) Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."
1. The way we live our life will be a direct reflection of how our children will grow up. It is scary to think that we have that much influence on our children that they copy us.
a. It’s kind of like this situation—A little boy was caught swearing like a sailor. "Young man, where did you learn to talk that way?" said the boy’s mother. The boy looked at his father and said, "Well, Dad, should I tell her?"
2. 2 Kings 14:3 speaks of a king of Israel named Amaziah. “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash.”
- What kind of example are you setting for your kids? Your words may say some things about you, but your life declares who you really are.
As we wrap up, let me speak to the kids here today. Life isn’t always what we want, and it isn’t always what’s best, and it isn’t always pleasing to God. There are some of you here this morning who have fathers who aren’t all that great, or maybe not even there? How can you honor your father, even when it’s difficult? How can you go through life without a good father?
Let me suggest to you something this morning. God calls the church his family. And here this morning, there are lots of good, godly dads. I would suggest to you that you go and adopt a dad. Not literally (Can you be my dad, and move in with us), but you know, go up to him and say, “I need a dad, someone I can look up to for advice and help, and I think you’d be a good dad.” And dads, if someone comes up to you and asks that, you know how you are to respond.
Well, it was a typical scenario of young boys debating whose father was the best. This discussion highlighted who their fathers knew. The first boy started the debate by claiming his father knew the mayor. He was soon topped by the second boy who said, "That’s nothing. My dad knows the governor." The stakes were getting pretty high, and the eavesdropping father wondered what his young son would say about him. The little boy shot back, "So what! My dad knows God!" Would your son say the same thing? May our children always be able to say, "My dad knows God!"
How are you fighting the battle? Maybe you need to start today, by apologizing to your kids, and starting anew. Let’s pray.
ourselves – which will eventually collapse around us.
Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.