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Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
June 20, 2021 7:00 pm

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Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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June 20, 2021 7:00 pm

Listen as Pastor Doug Agnew preaches a messages called -Dad- from 2 Samuel 13-1-39. For more information about Grace Church, please visit www.graceharrisburg.org.

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I have your Bibles with you. Turn with me, if you would, to 2 Samuel 13, and I'm going to start with verses 1-5.

We'll be going through this whole chapter. Now Absalom, David's son, had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar. After a time Amnon, David's son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin. And it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shemaiah, David's brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me? Amnon said to him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister.

Jonadab said to him, lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, today is Father's Day. We're living in a culture that is being radically feminized. Our colleges are developing courses to destroy masculinity. Our government is trying to force Americans to celebrate the destruction of God's design on gender. We are told now that we can pick and choose what gender we want to be. And if we choose male, it better be the watered down version.

Lord, you didn't design that and you promised not to honor it. Our culture is falling apart as it mocks your physical design of male and female and as it laughs at the authority structure that you set up for the home and for the society. I pray for the husbands and fathers here at Grace. God, please give us the spiritual backbone to stand up to the culture and say no. Help us to act and live like men, not macho filled with bravado rambos, but men who are protectors, defenders, examples to our family.

Men who live holy lives and lead their families by the truth of your principles and by the power of your spirit. Make us tough and make us tender. In other words, make us like Jesus. For it is in the holy and precious name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. Let me share with you a sobering statistic. In 2021, in so-called Bible believing churches in America, only 17% of kids who were actively involved in church through their lives are still actively involved in that church when they reach age 21. Let me tell you, that's a statistic that ought to put the fear of God in every person in this congregation today. By the providence of God on this Father's Day, we come to this particular portion of David's life in 2 Samuel chapter 13 where David is breaking principles of fatherhood.

And in so doing, bringing great destruction upon his children, upon his wives, upon his nation, and upon his own self. For over 200 years, the church in America has been a powerful influence on the culture in America. But over the last two decades, there has been a great turnaround and now it is the culture that is bringing great influence upon the church. Folks, we're living in a time where sin is rampant, where common sense is being thrown out the window, where God is mocked and the Bible is laughed at. We need truth and daddies need biblical guidance.

Today, Christians are not told to be holy any longer. We're told that we need to be woke. Our children are told to forget how God made us and just choose your own gender. Elementary kids are being taught to explore every sexual opportunity and option that comes your way. Our kids and our queens are reading lewd books to our preschoolers. Daddies, it's time to get serious about fatherhood. And it's going to take time, it's going to take effort, it's going to take heart, and it's going to take sacrifice.

But what could be more important? One of the most famous evangelists in American history was a guy named Billy Sunday. He was a professional baseball player, came to know Christ, was converted, and God called him to preach. He preached in baseball stadiums and in churches all over America.

And under his preaching, tens of thousands of people came to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. But because of all the rigors that he had to go through of being an evangelist, he did not have much time for his family. In fact, he greatly neglected his family. His sons all grew up to be hopeless alcoholics, and they died lost. On Billy Sunday's deathbed, he made a statement that struck my heart very hard.

He said this, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own children? His words remind me of an incident in my own life. When I was 29 years old, a young pastor, I went to visit a lady in the hospital, and I got up there and she had another guy that was sitting up there with her, an elderly man. It was her uncle, and he was a retired pastor. We stayed for a few minutes.

I read Scripture to them before I got ready to leave and had prayer. And then the pastor looked over to me and said, can I follow you downstairs? And I said, yeah, come on. He walked downstairs with me. And as we were walking downstairs, he looked over at me and he said, can I give you a word of advice?

And I said, yes, sir, you sure can. He said, don't be one thing to your church and something else to your family. He said, I had two sons. He said, I told them that I loved them and I did love them, but I did not have time for them. He said, both of them are dead now. Both of them were alcoholics and they died in a drunken car accident.

Both of them died and they died lost. He said, Doug, listen carefully to me. He said, mark my words. You'll regret it if you're a success as a pastor and a failure as a dad.

Godly advice from a very godly man and a man who was a broken hearted parent. Today I want us to look at David's relationship with two of his sons. One of them was Amnon. That was his oldest son. The second was Absalom. Absalom was the second oldest son. You remember the great rebellion that Absalom was into with his father. Absalom tried to take the throne away from his dad.

Absalom tried to turn the hearts of the people of Israel away from David and toward him. Absalom was a man that seemed to have everything in the world going for him. He was handsome. He was strong. He was tough. He was wealthy. And he was the son of the king. But the bitterness that he had in his heart toward his dad led him to an early death. And how did he die? He was hanging by his hair from the limbs of an oak tree and they took a spear and they cast it through his belly. I'll tell you one of the saddest stories in the entire Bible is found in 2 Samuel chapter 18 where the courier comes back and shares with David that his son Absalom has been killed. And here's David, the shepherd of Israel, the man after God's own heart, the apple of God's eye, the writer of Psalms, the killer of giants.

And what does he do? He falls down on the floor and he's weeping and he's crying. And he says, Oh Absalom, my son, my son, would to God that I had died in your place. What happened between this father and this son? Four points I want to share with you today.

Point one is the father's neglect. Look with me at verses 3 through 5. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shemaiah, David's brother. Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, Oh son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning?

Will you not tell me? Amnon said to him, I love Tamar, my brother Absalom's sister. Jonadab said to him, lie down on your bed, pretend to be ill. When your sister comes to see you, say to him, Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.

This is the situation. Absalom had an older half-brother whose name was Amnon. Amnon was evidently a young man with a great deal of very deep problems in his life. For he has some very twisted and inordinate desires for his own half-sister, Tamar. He knows this is wrong. In his heart he knows that this is incest and this is terribly wrong before God.

But he knows that she's beautiful and he is absolutely out of control. I want to focus in on David's neglect for just a minute. It is evident that David did not know that his son had these very deep psychological, emotional and spiritual problems. And neither was David very concerned about the people that his son Amnon was making friends with. This man that Amnon was making friends with was a man that had horrible, horrible relationships with him and was bringing horrible things into his life. Proverbs chapter 13 verse 20 says this, the companion of the fool will be destroyed.

And in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 33 the scripture says that evil company corrupts morals. David should have been all over this. He should have known that Amnon had these weaknesses and these proclivities to certain types of sin. He should have known his son was like this.

He should have been screening Amnon's family and his friends. This particular friend was a man named Jonadab. He was not only his friend, he was also his cousin. This was David's brother's son, his brother Shemaiah.

Folks, David wrote the majority of the Psalms. This guy is not a spiritual pygmy. He should have known better. He should have seen right through Jonadab and he should have said to Amnon, this young man is trouble, stay away from him. I don't want you hanging around this guy because he's going to get you in trouble. So stay away from him, he will influence you toward evil. Parents, we have to go further than David.

We have to go further than David did because David didn't have to worry about unseen friends on the internet. How many teenagers today are lured into horrible habits through so-called friends on the internet who are after your child's heart? I'm amazed today at how many parents just freely let their kids go spend the night in the homes of people and they don't even know what these people are about and don't know what's going on in their homes. Listen, for over 42 years, I have counseled with a plethora of men who were hooked on pornography.

And I have counseled with them. Let me tell you where it starts 90% of the time. During the time that they're 10 and 15 years old, they go over to a friend's house. They go to that friend's house and the parents aren't home. So they start looking through some stuff and they find a stash of Playboy magazines that the father owned or a stash of X-rated DVDs.

And they check them out and they start looking at them and those images get burned into their minds in such a way that they never forget them and they are in bondage from that point in time. Parents, don't be naive. I'm not saying to teach your kids to be unfriendly or to teach your kids to be standoffish. I'm telling you to be careful.

If your child is going into the home of unbelievers and they are unsupervised, realize that that family may not have the same standards and probably don't and may not put up the same roadblocks that you have in your home. We are told in 2 Samuel 13 verse 6 that Amnon even uses his dad to get what he wants. And so his dad is being used by Amnon to get Tamar to come into his bedroom and when she does, he violates her. He has his way with her. And in doing so, he destroys her honor, he damages her name and he breaks her heart. And as soon as he gets what he wants from this girl, then his hatred or his lust turns to hatred. And he absolutely hates her and he mocks her and he scorns her and he tells her to get out of his life.

He never wants to see her again. Absalom sees Tamar in this great state of depression. He walks in and she's just absolutely distraught. He looks at her face and tears are rolling down her cheeks.

He looks at her robe, it's called a virgin robe, and it's been ripped. And she is just bawling. Absalom finds out exactly what is happening because she tells him what has taken place with Amnon. And Absalom stands there and his hands are shaking and his voice is trembling.

And his heart is just about to pound out of his chest. And so what did he do? He took it to his daddy. He went to David and he shared with David what Amnon had done and how his sister Tamar was just absolutely devastated. And the Scripture says in verse 21 that David was angry.

He was angry. Now where was David's failure? David failed because he did nothing.

He just let it go. There was no discipline. There was no accountability.

David did nothing to correct the situation. Folks, that's failure as a father. That family was hurting. The brother Amnon had committed an act of incest and sexual molestation. The sister had been physically, emotionally, and mentally just absolutely devastated.

And here was Absalom. He was so mad he was ready to kill his brother. He was that angry. If ever there was a time that a family needed the daddy's wisdom and love and guidance, it was right then and David did nothing. David should have responded. He should have gone very quickly to deal with Amnon. And he should have dealt with him because what he did was a horrible, terrible sin. There should have been very quick discipline.

Over in Ecclesiastes chapter 8 verse 11, the scripture says, When sentence for a crime is not executed speedily, the hearts of men are given to do evil. David should have gone to his daughter, Tamar, and he should have comforted her. He should have put his arm around her. He should have loved her. He should have responded to her with deep grace and deep concern. He should have built up her self-worth. He should have been there to be a strong shoulder for her to lean on. He should have cried with his daughter.

He didn't do that. Let me tell you what makes my blood boil. It's daddies who don't have a lap for their daughter, who aren't affectionate with their own daughter, who won't put their daughter up on their lap when they're little, who won't hug them, who don't have a shoulder for that daughter to cry on, who won't weep with that daughter when she's weeping and give that daughter encouragement when she needs it. He won't help her to feel secure because if she felt secure, then the chances are she wouldn't need to go out and find affection from somebody that she doesn't need to be getting affection from. Why do we see so many daddies not have a lap for their children or their daughters especially anymore? I think the reason is because we've got so many perverts and pedophiles out there that are doing great damage to their daughters. And they're doing that and they're getting away with it. And so what we're being told to do today is since they are hurting those little girls than you that are moral men, you need to not show affection to your daughters either. Just stay away from them. Don't show them this kind of affection. Let me tell you, that is wrong before God. Christian dads, you need to love on your daughter. You need to show them godly affection.

That is so very, very important. David should have gone to Absalom. He should have helped him with his anger problem. He should have gone to Absalom and talked to him about what the Scripture says about forgiveness. Maybe telling the stories about how King Saul had so mistreated him and tried to kill him over and over again and how God gave him the strength that he needed to be able to forgive him and to move on with his life.

He should have told him all of that, but he didn't. David didn't do any of that. The Scripture says that he got mad, he walked away, and he didn't do a thing for a family that was deeply needing his wisdom and his love. Why didn't David do anything?

We don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that I know. I think that David looked at that situation and then he looked back at his own life and he remembered the sexual affair that he had with Bathsheba. And all of a sudden that guilt began to speak to his heart. And that guilt said to David, you can't say anything to your family because you're guilty of sexual sin yourself. Parents, listen to me. Don't let your guilt and your past failures keep you from being a good parent. You can take your past failures and you can use them to teach your children, don't do this, there are consequences to it that you don't want to have to deal with. How important that is and how godly parents can do that, even if your past has not been what it should have been.

Alright, the second thing I want us to see is the Father's cover-up. Verse 23. After two full years Absalom had sheep-shares at Belhazer, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. Let me read you what A.W.

Pink had to say about this. He said, During quite a lengthy interval, Absalom had concealed his bitter hatred against his half-brother under an appearance of indifference, for we read that he spoke unto him neither good nor bad. But now Absalom deemed the time ripe for vengeance. To cover his base design, he invites all the king's sons to his feast, which he had purposed should be the place of execution for his unsuspecting victim.

Only the last great day will reveal how often treacherous designs have been cloaked by apparent kindness. Judas betrayed his master, not with a blow, but with a kiss. Absalom waited for two full years. What was he waiting on? He was waiting for his daddy to be a daddy. He was waiting for his daddy to take the bull by the horns, and he was waiting for his dad to do what he should have done, correct the situation.

David did nothing for two years. He swept it under the rug. He turned his face away, looked in a different direction, and he just went on about his business. He went on about trying to give the image of being a great king. He went on about writing the psalms, going to the tabernacle of David, dancing before the Lord and worshiping God. And the people of Israel looked at him and they said, What a man of God! What a great spiritual giant! And his family said, But daddy, we're dying.

Let me tell you something. I believe that Absalom could have lived with David's initial failure, a failure of not dealing with Amnon, of not loving and spending some time with his daughter, giving her help and affection and helping to restore her, and not dealing with Absalom's anger. I think that if David had gone back any time during those two years and he said to his kids, Look, I apologize to you. I am sorry for what I've done. I have let you down.

Let's deal with this now. And he had done it, I'll guarantee you they would have forgiven him and things would have gone good. But David did not do that. Charles Stanley said that one day he walked into his son Andy's bedroom to talk to him. He said when he walked into the room, he said the curtain was open and the sun was shining brightly into the room and he could hardly see anything and he walked over to shut the curtain and when he did, Andy had a chest set, a jade chest set that was on the floor and he stepped on it and said pieces of that chest set went everywhere. And so he walked over to the window, he closed the curtains up and he walked back and he turned around to Andy and said, You don't need to leave your chest set on the floor like that.

It could get broken. And he walked out. And he said a little bit later, Andy walked into his office and he said, Dad, can we talk just a minute? And he said, Yeah, what is it? He said, Dad, do you realize that you just walked into my room, you kicked my chest set all over my room, you accused me of arranging my room in a bad way when it really wasn't and then you never even said you were sorry. Charles said that he sat there for a minute, he got tickled, started laughing and he said, You know you're exactly right, I did do that and I'm sorry I asked for your forgiveness.

Then Andy said something that Charles said he would never forget as long as he lived. He said, Dad, if I had walked into this room and I confronted you with that and if you had denied it or if you had gotten defensive, he said, I would have really lost respect for you. We as dads need to understand that. Dads, it's not a sin to say I'm sorry.

Sometimes it's the best thing in the world that you can do for your kids. Alright, point three is the father's consequences and there are three of them. A is mistrust. Look with me at verse 27. But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Absalom waited for two years in hopes that his dad would do what he was supposed to do and then he said to himself, Well, a daddy is not going to take care of this situation if he's not going to minister to my sister, if he's not going to deal with Amnon, then I guess it's left up to me and I guess I have to deal with it myself. I'm not trying here to justify Absalom's rebellion.

I'm not saying that he was right, but I am saying that David could have prevented it. Absalom acted out of absolute utter frustration. He just didn't know how to handle the situation.

The trust had leaked out of their relationship. Parents, let me ask you something. Can your kids come to you with a problem? Can your kids come to you and say, I've messed with alcohol, I've messed with drugs, I've got myself into trouble morally, I've gotten in trouble at school. Can they come to you and know that you're going to respond to them in love and grace?

Maybe with discipline, surely with discipline, maybe severe discipline, but with great love and great grace. I had a great daddy and I did not want to disappoint my dad because I loved him and always wanted his approval, but I'll tell you this, I was never afraid to go to my dad if I did something wrong because I know that my dad loved me unconditionally. He loved me unconditionally and I knew that. If I had murdered somebody, it would have broken dad's heart, but he would have never quit loving me.

And man, let me tell you something. I am eternally grateful for dad being that kind of influence on me. In 42 years of pastoral ministry, I can't tell you how many teenagers that I've had come in my office, sit down with me, start telling me about a problem, and I asked them, I said, have you talked to your dad about this?

And they start laughing. I said, no, I can't tell my dad about this. My dad would get mad.

He'd blow his top if he knew about this and our relationship would be more strained than it is right now. Dads, we're supposed to mirror God's image. When I mess up, I know I can go to God and confess it. That's what he tells me to do. And I can confess it because I know that he loves me. He tells me to come confess my sin, forsake my sin, turn from it, and then the Lord does his love and brings about things in my life that only God can do. That is what we're supposed to be doing as dads.

Dads, we've got to start building real trust into the hearts of our kids until then they're not really going to listen. Alright, the second consequence is an example. Look with me at verse 29. So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king's sons arose and each mounted his mule and fled. Absalom watched his dad's life and he noticed how David dealt with failure. When David had failure, what did he do?

He covered it up. Here in this situation, Amnon has done this horrible, terrible thing and what does David do? David just kind of ignores it. He turns his head away from it. He won't look at the situation. He won't deal with it directly.

He wants to just forget it, cover it up, maybe it'll go away and then he won't be hurt politically. We see this over and over and over again in David's life. When David got in trouble with Bathsheba and found out that she was expecting his baby, what did he do?

He tried to cover it up. And he said, we'll get Uriah the Hittite. We'll bring Uriah back down here. He'll get with his wife again. Then he'll think that the baby is his. Uriah came down. He would not get with his wife. And so David says, now we got a big problem.

Now we got to do something else. And what did he do? He conspired to have Uriah the Hittite killed.

And what was the purpose of that? To cover his own sin. So now Absalom's facing a crisis. His heart is broken for his sister. His heart is filled with anger against his brother Amnon.

And he says, I'm between a rock and a hard place. And the only answer that I know is murder. I'm going to have to kill. I'll get him drunk and then I'll have him killed.

That's what I'll do. I will murder in order to alleviate the problem. Like father, like son. When David couldn't handle the shame, he murdered. When Absalom could not handle the anger, he murdered.

The third consequence is destruction. Look at verse 39. And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom because he was comforted about Amnon since he was dead. Absalom had Amnon murdered and then Absalom fled and ran away. And now David was not just losing one son, he was losing two sons. David never did get his communication back with Absalom like they had had before. They did talk together a little bit later on, but it wasn't real communication.

They never had father-son communication ever again. And the scripture tells us that David longed for fellowship with Absalom, but he never got it. I have a pastor friend that lives down in the eastern part of the state that shared this story with me years ago. He had a young 16-year-old girl in his church whose dad was a deacon. And this girl took a pistol, put it to her head, shot herself to death.

He told me the story. He said this girl, this deacon's daughter, went to her mom and dad, sat down with the mom and dad and began to share with them some problems. She said, I'm expecting a baby. She said, I know this hurts you. I did not want this to happen. It hurts me, and I know this disappoints you.

I am so terribly sorry. And the wife told the pastor that her husband, the deacon, went into an absolute tirade, said his face got red as a beet, he picked up things off the table and threw them across the room, and he said to his daughter, who knows about this? And she said, nobody knows except us. He said, then get in the car.

They got in the car. He rode all the way across the state to an abortion clinic, and he forced his daughter to have an abortion against her will, and she had the abortion. Never once did a tear roll down the cheek of this man. Never once did he put his arm around his daughter. Never once did he encourage her.

Never once did he show her any kind of affection or any kind of love whatsoever. All he was concerned about was his reputation in that church and in that community, and that's really all he cared about. She left a suicide note. The suicide note said this, Daddy, I promise you I will never embarrass you again. Parents, we will never know the destruction that we can bring into the life of our kids through hypocrisy. Hypocrisy always creates destruction. My fourth point is the father's option, and that option was honesty.

There's no scripture here because he didn't have but one option. Couldn't do anything else here, but just be honest. People, our kids need to know that we know that we've not arrived as Christians. They need to know that we are well aware that we make mistakes, that we fail, that we falter, that we stumble just like they do. When we tell our kids, do as I say, not as I do, then they just laugh at that.

But when we say, seek what I am seeking, shoot for what I'm shooting for, and let's do it together, then they might listen. Let me close with this little story. A farmer had some puppies for sale. He had a little sign out in front of his farm. Little boys coming home from school saw the sign and went up to the farmer and knocked on the door and said, I see you got some puppies for sale. He said, I want to buy one of those puppies. And the man said, Son, these puppies are very expensive.

They come from good stock. Boy, he reached down in his pocket and he pulled out 39 cents. He handed it to the man and he said, Is this enough to look at the puppies? And the man said, Yeah, come on back. And he went in the backyard and he calls the mama dog and said, Dolly, come on out. Dolly bounded out of the doghouse. Right behind her were four little puppies.

And they came running out, bouncing and jumping and just having a great time. And all of a sudden, a fifth puppy stuck his head out the doghouse. And it was a runt. And he couldn't jump down, so he just kind of fell out of the doghouse. And then he started walking with a limp. The little boy was looking through the fence at the little puppies and he pointed at the runt and he said, Mister, that's the one I want.

I want that one right there. And the man said, Son, you don't want that puppy. He said, That puppy's a runt and he can't run and jump and play like you need a little dog to do. He said, You don't want that puppy. And the little boy said, Sir, you don't understand. And he reached down and he took his pants leg and he lifted his pants leg up.

And when he did, there was a steel brace that was hooked on to his shoe that went all the way up to his knee. He said, I don't run very well either. And he said, That little puppy's going to need somebody who understands him. That man looked at the 39 cents in his hands and he said to the little boy, You know, I'm going to sell that puppy for 39 cents.

You want him? And the little boy said, Yes, sir, I sure do. And they took off home rejoicing. Our kids need to know that we understand them. That we're not perfect ourselves. That we have weaknesses and failures just like they do.

Dads, be honest. Be tough. Be dependent upon Christ.

And you'll be what your kids need as a dad. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, as we look at David today, our hearts hurt for this man. He was the apple of God's eye, the man after God's own heart.

But he was a failure as a dad. The story that we have of Amnon and Absalom is heartbreaking. Amnon lied to his sister. He molested her. He committed incest. He used her for his pleasure.

And then rejected her as if she were yesterday's trash. Absalom felt the need to take up for his sister. His dad, David, should have done it. But David shirked his responsibility. Absalom had his brother murdered. Three of David's children broken, devastated, and hurting because of David's spiritual and parental apathy.

And that apathy drove his kids into misery and heartache. May every dad and granddad in this congregation leave this building today with a deep resolve to be not passive fathers, but active, obedient, godly men. Lord, you've called us to lead.

Please empower us to do it. Put steel in our backbones. Mercy in our hearts. As I prayed before, make us like Jesus. Make us so tough and tender that our children and our grandkids might see Jesus in us. For it's in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-02 01:01:43 / 2023-11-02 01:15:44 / 14

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