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A Challenge to Fathers

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2022 2:00 am

A Challenge to Fathers

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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What I wanted to take this occasion on Father's Day on a Sunday night to speak to the fathers about their responsibility before God to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord Christianity is a patriarchal religion that means it is father centered, but I don't need to tell you you're aware that patriarchy is in steep decline. In a recent survey, women outnumbered men to the one in attendance in evangelical churches in the ratio is 41 in the African-American church.

Perhaps you are surprised when I tell you this that women bind most of the books on parenting. One popular contemporary author pitched to his publisher.

The idea of writing a book on fatherhood publisher discourage the idea because his sales department said books on fatherhood. Don't sell. He told him the fact is that 80% of the books on parenting are purchased by mothers they read them and give them to their husbands, but the husband husbands seldom read them.

Bottom line, publisher said it is difficult to market fatherhood to affect to a female audience doesn't speak well of fathers does it we might be surprised.

Perhaps we've been surprised his heavy responsibility and as central live is parenting and raising children is that if there only two verses instructing parents in the New Testament on parenting while one verse and in one passage.

Let me read them to you because a very short, we might say, really, that's, that's it that's all we have.

Yes, listen to Ephesians chapter 6 verses 1 to 4 children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth and you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord and then Colossians chapter 3 verse 21 we have this verse.

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. I find it interesting that the instructions to fathers have a do not, as well as a to do, do not provoke your children to wrath. We might ask the question why why is there so little Scripture that is conspicuously directed to fathers in their God-given assignment in raising their children well. There are numbers of reasons. I suppose we could offer, but my concern tonight is not to go there but to focus on why it is that God singles out the father ultimately the dad is the one who is accountable to God for his family, not the mother now.

These texts do not deny the crucial role of mothers, but they encourage fathers to assure their God-given responsibility.

Parenting is a team endeavor hits very hard to do it alone.

Fathers fully understand that there greatest one of the greatest assets and parenting.

Is there there wife and mother, their children, she is there assistant they are in fact crucial assistance. However, although God holds fathers responsible to teach and train their children. He holds children responsible to honor both parents so that Ephesians chapter 6 Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 16. Honor your father and your mother is the Lord your God commands you, that you days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land.

Solomon speaks the same morning in Proverbs chapter 1 in verse eight.

Here, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching so mothers have a crucial role. Fathers are wise to delegate to them.

Much of the daily grind of practical parenting, especially in the early years and that's not a failure on off on a father. It's wise of a father to take advantage of that resource that God is given the mother of your children, but my focus tonight is in Deuteronomy chapter 6, so let's take a look at this passage Jesus called verse five of chapter 6, the greatest commandment you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength in the Gospels. He called it the greatest commandment. Let's sobering is sobering, challenging and often overwhelming. And if that isn't enough. What follows here. Deuteronomy 6 adds to the weightiness of it because in addition to obeying the greatest commandment. We are commanded to teach it to our children while O how we need God to be at work. We need God to be at work in us. We need God to be at work in our children for their everlasting good so I want to take a bit of a fresh approach to this passage that were no doubt quite familiar with Deuteronomy 6 of her to probably teach taught on and preach from, but I want to set six challenges before us tonight from this Deuteronomy 6 passage that will enable us to fulfill our calling as father says we endeavor by his grace and help to bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Six challenges challenge number one I find it humorous. I talked to a man before the service to set through the parenting class this morning and he said and and and and a man I think is doing an admirable job. From everything I can detect but he says I feel like such a failure. After listening to that he said I told my wife Emily to sell her home go live in a cave somewhere. Sometimes it feels like that doesn't we feel like I've failed so miserably. I have lived up to this high ideal wealth may be for that brother. And for many of us, my first challenge is necessary, and help is it is to relax, relax. What I mean by that. Relax that you do not have to follow someone else's formula. You don't have to look and see okay who is done this well go find out what your secret what did you do write it down and try and duplicate what they've done that.

That's that's not what this passage is going to teach us teaching our children about Jesus should happen as we sit and as we walk and as we lie down and as we rise up, that is, as we go about life notice verse seven you shall teach them, teach them what will he just said were to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength. And then he says you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you live down and when you rise up God's instruction allows a wide variety of times and methods.

That means there is no magic formula.

I think that's one of the reasons why there isn't such detail in the New Testament because if there was a formula would be latched right onto it and we become very legalistic about it with a will to do this and this and this and that is if doing those things guarantees a godly child the best we can do. We can't guarantee a godly child the best we can do is create an atmosphere of godliness in our home in which God can work in the lives of our children.

That's our responsibility so we have great freedom when I say relax. We have great freedom to mold our gospel teaching to fit what works best for our family life now. The key is, no one can do this for us. We dare not neglect it, but we need not be a slave to any particular method in the description here covers the full gamut of life doesn't. You shall teach them diligently to your children you shall talk talk of them when you sit in your house and in what I would just challenging when you're reading a passage like this bring some just some common sense to it and begin to ask okay when winter we enter house and when are we sitting in the house. Well, at least in our home mealtimes is when we insisted everybody is around the kitchen around the. The dining room table.

We insisted on that you not going to carry your plate and sit in front of the television is not going to happen, nobody needs until everybody's at the table that was just standard procedure in our home.

That's where we connected.

That's where we talked when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you make your way through life and it changes as we go through seasons of life when you're our children went elements Christian school so we carpool.

We drove and dropped her children off will drive them to school, bring them back time in the car, time to talk would you learn in school whatever school be ready to to speak into their life. What else does he say when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you lie down, what's that being a reference to well in evening. It's time to go to bed and there's more to that if you're a Christian parent and brush her teeth and make sure you went to the potty and get in bed and don't get back up your drink and whatever else you got. I have not the time for mom and a dad to come alongside Abaddon, and pray with their child and debrief them a bit about what went on during the day if there something specific that happened some major issue becomes a teaching moment time to direct their thoughts toward God. And when you rise up.

When set in the morning so challenge number one.

Relax. You do not have to have a formula to follow.

So don't be so frustrated that it's it's brought and you've got a lot of Lotta years to work at it. Most cases 18 years, sometimes even longer when it's Alana, it seems the time does fly by. There is no question about that, but 18 years is a long time challenge number two I take verse seven you shall teach them diligently, you have to be deliberate. You have to be intentional in this business of child-rearing. What is that communicate you shall teach them diligently. We have to establish good habits. We have to be diligent about it. It takes purposeful action to get started and the keypad.

The times when we sit mealtimes at times when we walk by the way travel times when we lie down bedtimes we rise up in the morning, be diligent, be purposeful, be using resources. We live in a day that there are incredible helpful resources to draw upon.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel and if you're at a loss with what to do, what resources are available. Elders are here. The pastors are here to help you and to guide you in make recommendations to you. You shall teach them diligently. We need to pray for wisdom to steward these opportunities to be diligent in the be delivered in our teaching and our training one of the things I think as I look back, sometimes not as fully aware of the impact that some things you do are having until you are further down the road and you can look back we went to Bible college. When Gabriel was six and Abigail was for they they just were able to have adult conversations with people when our friends would come over and often times they were people prepared for ministry or missionaries on furlough and would be around the table or sitting in the living room would ensure the children away to go to your room and play or go outside and do this or that they were eager to sit and listen in just observe and I think that impacted their life.

It was part of it was almost unintentional on our part but it was something God used in their training and their rearing in their growing up years. They saw who our friends were and what we were committed to and what they were committed to and what was important to us in life and what the trajectory of our life was for and why we believe we were on this earth and just all kinds of things like that that they were hearing and common conversation. It burns me from time to time. When I hear parents have been battles with their children about attending church and I just eat it. Seems so simple to me that this is something that's nonnegotiable when her children were in our home what I can ever remember a discussion whether they were to go to church with us, whether they could stay home with her. They could go somewhere else and wishes it was nonnegotiable. They understood that were going to church and they were getting in the car to go with us.

I just don't understand why parents aren't more intentional about that. Why fight that battle just said no matter early on how children get sick and whatever. I understand that but as a rule is not up for debate. We don't get up in the morning and go geographer going to go to church to that wonderful don't have the children go with this. It's so you say what you have lived in my home and you would understand it better.

Well maybe but it just seems nonsensical to me are certain things that ought to be nonnegotiable now. The principle here is to be delivered and be intentional and you shall teach them diligently, but is were making effort to create those opportunities in the be diligent and establish good habits and being consistent about that God many times breaks into our life in the normal routine of our lives and gives incredible teaching moments things happen. The car breaks down or this or whatever and you're stressing out your wife the stress and how many times does a six-year-old, or an eight-year-old or a 10-year-old or 14-year-old break into the conversation and say something like the one we just pray about it. The wedding we think of that where the where the adults here were the parents here.

We had that experience and you're a bit reviewed pie that out of the mouth of babes. God's reminding you and you bow and you pray and you ask God and you explained the situation and then they see that God does care and God does answer prayer and it's a wonderful teaching moment. I think it's good together. Family together.

One of the things that's a good exercise. When you go away on vacation. Talk about the years that have gone behind the things God has done in and it's so encouraging to everybody around member that time when this happened member that time when that happened in and we did know how that was going to get resolved and God did this, and God did that. We went to church at the Outer Banks number of years ago parked the car. When income out car would start, what was there was nothing got the lid up in here. The cable from the starter had just corroded off and there I was, and it was a man in the church like a Ken Elliott and now he he saw me with the hood up, he says can I help you with something I say well yeah I said it looks like I'm I Anita okay voices I think I've got one of my house carry me over to his house and we got the cable and went back to his house and had a nice visit with the man. Why did not happen some other place who we are come across alligator Alley or somewhere where there's nobody around what it happened in the church parking lot and only talk about the goodness of God and highly makes provision for us in various ways. We will have stories like that sobering stories really remember a dozen years or so ago I went home at lunchtime and walked in on two men who were burglarizing the house and lived to tell about it.

Sheriff's Department came out of the house that night. They said Sir you realize you're very man I said okay. He said when homeowners walk in on burglar syrup, breaking and entering. He says he usually doesn't end well is Eliza because they're in your house and I got a get out. He says what you said was brilliant. I wasn't thinking I was real brilliant. I was just angry when I encountered these two men in the house and the one man come out of the master bedroom with a duffel bag and I said you need to drop what you've got your handy get out of this house and he he characterized that is being brilliant. I said okay. Why was that brilliant. He said you gave way out you you told him to get out of the house and so they get out of the house I thought about that occasion. Many a time, one guy was a two-time felon.

He had a 9 mm revolver on what any shoot me because God decided to preserve my life. Those kinds of experiences you have. It's good to talk about those things and and rehearse God's goodness and kindness and protection challenge number three. Better get moving here not just relax and not just be intentional and deliberate, but number three model gospel motivation our children must learn to obey God, but the obedience of Deuteronomy 6 flows from gratitude and confidence and hope in the Lord.

Notice with me. Verse 20 of this chapter.

Here's the instructions when your son asks you in time to come, saying, what is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you what our children ask about God's law. The passage instructs parents to ground their discussion.

The reason to give heed to God's law in the gospel, salvation that they have no the speak of God's salvation. Let me show it to the salvation focus and explanation has three dimensions to it. What God is already done. Notice verse 12 he says, beware lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Here's a past deliverance, don't forget that. Don't forget what God has done in the past it has a present aspect to it. Verse 24 verse 25 and the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.

There's a present aspect and then there is a future aspect. Notice versus 10 to 11 so it shall be when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build houses full of all good things which you did not fill you not well is what you did not dig vineyards and olive trees which you did not plan when you have eaten and are full, then to those in the things that God had promised to do for them in the future so my point here is what a joy to ground our parenting in the gospel of God's grace to tell our children about the forgiveness that is already ours is parents and our children should hear us talk him in with gratitude about God's forgiving grace in our lives to rehearse God's past dealings to speak of God's fatherly care and our confidence to trust and for present needs. As I've already made a couple illustrations to you and to speak of our future hope of being with him forever and you see how that kind of motivation that gospel motivation is so much better than to say talk about God statutes and God's law would just obey because I said so well you can say that but how much better to ground your appeal to their obedience in the gospel of God's grace or to say well if you don't obey your you going to get punished again. It's an inferior motivation.

No, I think being motivated by the gospel of God's grace and the salvation we have in him is a far better motivation is that why you obey is that why you are careful about God. Statutes you obey because not not turn something, but is in gratitude for what God is done for you. That's what we want to teach our children and do use the few passages that we have about parents, why should they obey so that it will go well with them. That's pretty straightforward right that's not hard for child understand you want things to go well for you just just obey mom and dad just honor us just to do with the Bible says there's not a long list here for you.

Just a couple of things to focus on working to help you with that challenge. Number four parent out of your own experience.

Parent out of your own experience. Notice verse six well verse five he said, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and these words which I command you today shall be in you can't teach something that you haven't lived and experienced yourself you find it impossible to keep on telling your children about Jesus. If your heart is not in it. And conversely, it will be difficult to stop talking about Jesus. If it is if your heart is in it because he is your life. He's the most important thing about life and you will be able to be silent about that.

So to the degree that we are in constant communion and fellowship with the Lord it will, it will motivate our our teaching, our alertness are taking these opportunities that God gives to teach our children and to bring them up and teach in instruct them in the things of the Lord. It is the reservoir of our own heart and communion that we have with the Lord we draw upon. Children see that and I fully understand there would be seasons of life that are dry and and we feel like were running on empty and during those times we just need to keep doing the right thing. Be diligent but God will reward us challenge number five. Be real the real, what I mean by that.

We must be the same person at home that we are a church, not a double standard, not a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because children pick up on that hypocrisy.

All do as I say not as I do.

And if that's going on. It undermines what you're trying to accomplish. To the degree that there is consistency in how were living our lives to that degree. It enhances the gospel that we are endeavoring to set before them and trust God to impact the lives with, but to the degree that there is a disparity there's a distance there's a gap between our purse on a public play in who we are home. It will diminish our influence in undermine our efforts so we have to be real. What I mean by be real. I mean be honest.

Parenting is hard work and it doesn't detract from your effectiveness to go to your children from time to time and say son or daughter. Daddy's here to ask you to forgive him for the way you talk to your mother.

I'm to love your mother and I should be kind in my words and I wasn't somehow people tend to think that if we talk like that it diminishes our effectiveness. No, it shows them that your real and at the same time you say I'm asking you to forgive me have asked God to forgive me and they begin to understand that we have a a community in our home of redemption.

They understand how the grace of God works. We don't have to be perfect because were not boy but how how sad it is to hear of 17 or 18-year-old in anger say I've never heard my dad admit fault. He's always right may not not be said of us must just be honest with her children must be real and then lastly challenge number six simple word simply trust trust. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus, keep our eyes on Jesus, that's only way to accept this Deuteronomy challenge without collapsing under the pressure he say I'm having a hard enough time just with the first great commandment alone have to teach this to my children understand that when we fail and we will fail often. We must rest in the fact that Jesus never fail when we are faithless, he remains faithful so in conclusion, does any of this sound hard say sounds impossible. I get that it's more than hard. Let's be confident that God has ordained these means of grace he gives us years in the home to labor at this prayerfully and dependently and trustingly if you're a follower of Jesus Christ.

God did make the mistake of putting the child in your home. The child is there for you to nurture and entrain influence for Christ in God strengthens weak people. You don't have to be the perfect parent you have to have all the answers, you just have to live a life of dependence upon God and trust him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. That's my message on this Father's Day evening.

May God give us help and grace and encouragement in our pursuit of this very noble and yet challenging responsibility as fathers, shall we pray father, thank you for the word you've given the instructions that we have Lord we we say who is sufficient for these things and yet Lord, you have taught us to look to you and depend upon you and that you would do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We thank you for the grace of salvation that his saved moms and dads and for blessing their homes with children and entrusting those children to them. Lord, we thank you that they are in a community of faith that we are working at this together were teaching were modeling were living the gospel before our children and Lord, we pray that you will in your own time birth them into your kingdom. Give them life, make them followers of the Lord Jesus Christ make them disciples of yours. Thank you for what you have done in our church for the many fine examples. There are, but Lord, keep us from those who have a sense of of success keep us from any means of pride, thinking that there are children are who they are because of what we've done. Lord, it's all of you and for any parent. That's here tonight who's feeling overwhelmed feeling that their efforts are not being successful. Lord, encourage them, help them to not give up, but to keep about the business of bringing their children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord in trusting prayerful dependence upon you. Save our children. Father we pray for their everlasting good and for your own honor and glory, we pray in Jesus name, amen

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