(Father’s Day) God’s instructions to Fathers
Scripture: Ephesians 6:4 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Prepared and preached by Rev Steve Rhodes for the First Baptist Church of Alliance
Let me once again say Happy Father’s Day to all the father’s out there. I also want to recognize others who serve as paternal influences. A while back, I was listening to a Christian radio program titled: “Unshackled.” This is a Christian radio program about The Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois. This is an older radio program that shares about people who encounter Christ at the Pacific Garden Mission. The show shares about their life prior to Christ and after Christ. It is always interesting to hear these testimonies. In this case I heard about a man who was abused and neglected by an alcoholic father. This father did not only abuse and neglect one child but others as well. Eventually, one of the sons, now an adult, becomes a Christian. He is eager to share the Gospel with others and he wants to become a missionary. But there was a problem. His wife didn’t feel called to be a missionary’s wife. So, he decided he was called to be a missionary to his local area. First and foremost, he would share the gospel with his father. He prayed and discussed the gospel with his father. Guess what, his father gave his life to Christ! The point is, without Christ, we have nothing! We need Christ. This man did the most caring thing for his father. He was the messenger of eternal life. Praise God! How much does Christ mean to you! Boldly share Christ with your family.
As part of Father’s day I wish to talk about the command to care for your parents. But, I also want to talk about one of the Scriptural exhortations to parents.
William Franklin writes, “If he’s wealthy and prominent, and you stand in awe of him, call him ‘Father.’ If he sits in shirt sleeves and suspenders at a ball game and picnic, call him ‘Pop.’ If he wheels the baby carriage and carries bundles meekly, call him ‘Papa; (with the accent on the first syllable). If he belongs to a literary circle and writes cultured papers, call him ‘Papa’ (with the accent on the last syllable). If, however, he makes a pal of you when you’re good, and is too wise to let you pull the wool over his loving eyes when you’re not; if, moreover, you’re quite sure no other fellow you know has quite so fine a father, you may call him ‘Dad.’”
Let me read the Scripture and then share some things with you.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Again: I wish to talk about the command to care for your parents. But I also want to talk about one of the Scriptural exhortations to parents.
- Honor your father… Let’s briefly look at the passage itself.
- One of my sources says: Although this word/commandment requires children to honor their parents in all sorts of ways large and small, there can be little doubt that its most basic insistence from the point of view of establishing a responsibility that might otherwise be shirked is to demand that children take care of their parents in their parents’ old age, when they are no longer able to work for themselves, as well as to honor whatever their parents have prescribed by way of inheritance for their children. Thus the commandment is followed by the promise of living long in the promised land. Just as parents who have lived long in their own personal lives need to be cared for at the end of those long lives, so Israel as a nation (not every individual therein) would be able to enjoy a long life in the land God was giving them.
- So, that is an application to us all, isn’t it? We must never neglect our parents and it is something that I am encouraged by as I see my parents and many of you care for your parents. God has given many caregivers.
- The ESV Study Bible says: The word “honor” means to treat someone with the proper respect due to the person and their role. With regard to parents, this means (1) treating them with deference (cf.21:15, 17); (2) providing for them and looking after them in their old age (for this sense of honor, see 3:9). Both Jesus and Paul underline the importance of this command (Mark 7:1–13; Eph. 6:1–3; 1 Tim. 5:4). This is the only one of the Ten Commandments with a specific promise attached to it: that your days may be long—meaning not just a long life, but one that is filled with God’s presence and favor.
- We are always supposed to honor our parents. Children, hear this now. God has set up an order and we are to honor our parents.
Now, I would like to transition in order to talk about a responsibility that God has given parents. But I would like to also talk about other paternal influences.
- Being a paternal influence even if you are not a biological father.
- Think about the relationships God has used:
- Fishing: what a great way to build up children.
- Golfing: another opportunity.
- Reading: My uncle was a teacher and told the parents to read with their kids for 10 minutes a night, it can even be comic books, just read with them. They will not do it. Reading with children is critical. Let me add, it is critical to let them see you read as well.
- Coaching: how many coaches have been great influences on children.
One of George Barna’s books shares: Research suggests that there are 3 tiers of influence on our children. Tier 1 represents influences that have the greatest impact on our children, while Tier 3 represents influences which affect our children but are less effective.
Publications (books, magazines, and newspapers)
Laws and public figures
Tier 2 Churches
Tier 3 Peers
Colleges and Universities
- Father’s nurture your children spiritually:
- The well-known “Prayer for His Son” by General Douglas MacArthur includes these words: “Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, brave enough to face himself when he is afraid . . . Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenges. Let him learn to stand in the storm; let him learn compassion for those who fall.”
- Research regarding all facets of moral and spiritual development whether related to worldview, beliefs or behaviors – shows that such development starts as early as age two. The process then progresses rather quickly. Social scientists have known for years that the moral foundations of children are generally determined by the time the individual reaches age nine. Research confirms a parallel outcome in the spiritual dimension: By age nine, most children have their spiritual morals in place. The implication of this finding is clear: Anyone who wishes to have significant influence on the development of a person’s moral and spiritual foundations had better exert that influence while the person is still open-minded and impressionable – in other words, while the person is still young. 47 – Barna
- In multiple places in the Old Testament the Bible exhorts to teach your children the spiritual things.
For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
2 Tim 3:15:
15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- Listen, if your children don’t have Christ, they don’t have anything. It doesn’t matter how much money they have or how educated they are.
- Many times, we place more priority in their physical education than their spiritual education.
- I have a great illustration from Mark Driscoll:
From Mark Driscoll:
11 Practical Ways for Men to Lead a Family
As men, we bear a greater burden before God for the well-being of our families and our church. Our wives and children should flourish under our loving leadership.
By the grace of God, you can be who God has called you to be, do what God has called you to do, and love as God has loved you.
As men, we will never in this life experience perfection, but by the grace of God we can experience progress every day until we enter perfection in the life to come. So don’t sulk, don’t sin, and don’t settle, but instead strive.
Here are 11 practical tips for husbands to strive to lead their family well:
- As the family leader, model humility, honesty, repentance, service, study, and worship. Your life preaches at least as loudly as your words, so teach and model humble godliness by the grace of God.
- Make sure everyone in your familyhas a good, age-appropriate Bible that they regularly read. Read the Bible yourself and with them so they are encouraged to read on their own.
- Make sure you have some basic Bible study toolsavailable for your family in either print or digital form and that everyone learns to use them. If you do not know where to begin, ask your pastor or a godly student of Scripture in your church about things like a good Bible commentary, concordance, dictionary, and atlas.
- Buy good Christian books for everyone in your family to read. Include Christian biographies among those books.
- Choose good books that you and your wife can be reading together, including books of the Bible, and discuss what you are learning.
- If there are Bible-based classes offered in your church, attend with your family.
- Redeem your commute by listening to good sermons and classes, many of which you can download for free.
- Have dinner together with your family most nights, and use that time to pray together, keep a journal log of prayer requests for other people, and read a portion of the Bible and talk about it together.
- Pray for each member of your family every day and let them know you are praying for them.
- Place a hand on the head of each of your children every day and pray over them. Then kiss them on the head and make sure they often get a loving hug.
- While either snuggling or holding hands, pray with and for your wife every day and remember to include the reasons you are thankful to God for her that day. If these things have not been common in your home, it is very likely that your family has been aching for them and will be thankful for your loving leadership as the head of your home.
A Father’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven
I am a father on earth
You have given me this gift and responsibility
Grant me the wisdom to carry it out.
Let my fatherhood be one of encouragement and support, not of expectations and control.
Let me protect my children, but not too much; advise them, but just a little.
Let me be honest about my feelings toward them – including my anger, disappointment, hurt,
excitement, joy and love.
Let me be firm without dominating them.
Let me be sensitive to their feelings without trying to change them.
Let me be there for them when they need me and get out of their way when they don’t.
Let me offer them the roots of belonging and the wings of freedom.
Help me, Father in heaven, to be a father on earth.
So, praise God for Fathers. Fathers you have had a challenge and children, so have you.
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 204 quoted from Peter S. Seymour, “A Father’s Love,” Hallmark card.
 (Today in the Word, April 1, 2013)