Hey, you know Time magazine said more children will go to sleep tonight in a fatherless home than ever before in our nation's history. And you know growing up I was one of these children. My mom and my dad separated for a while while I was growing up and even when my dad was home he wasn't really home if you understand what I'm saying.
And I think sadly a lot of you really do understand what I'm saying. Well when I came to Christ at the age of 22 I made up my mind, I swore before the Lord that I was not going to be like my dad. And so I began going through the scripture and I began studying fathers in the scripture, the good fathers and the bad fathers. And I began trying to put together a set of principles from the Word of God for how to be a godly father, a father who would be a blessing to his children instead of a curse.
And over the last 35 years I've tried my very best to live out these principles in my life, in our family. And I've also tried to share them with you and that's what I'm going to do again this Father's Day in a message entitled The Nurture and the Admonition of the Lord. I'm sure you understand that no one can possibly get all the principles of being a father into one message.
And so what we've done is we've uploaded a bunch of my Father's Day messages online on our website and when you put all of them together I pretty much cover all the principles. So I want to urge you just don't walk out of here and say, oh, so that's everything I need to know about being a father. No it isn't.
It's only part of it. I urge you to go listen to these messages and I urge you to get the full story. One more thing before we dig in today. Let me say that my message today is not just for fathers. My message today is also for future fathers, all you young men who one day are going to get thrust into the role of being a dad with less training in most cases than you have to have to get a driver's license. And what I want you young men to do is I want you to do the same kind of study I did to listen today, to listen to these messages, to understand before you get into fatherhood what you're really supposed to be as a father, to put together a plan, if you will, so going in you know what it is God wants you to do and you're not just fumbling around by trial and error for the first ten years. My message today is also to mothers, especially moms who don't have a dad in the home or who have an uninvolved dad in the home and you've got to be father and mother to your children. These principles are for you.
And finally, my message today is for future mothers because as you evaluate potential mates and you ask them about how they're going to raise y'all's children, and by the way ladies, you better evaluate guys and ask them those kind of questions, that at least you'll know what kind of guy it is you're looking for, what principles you want to hear come out of his mouth when he talks about how he's going to plan to raise y'all's children. And so you say, well, Lon, I guess what you're really saying today is the message is for everybody. Well, that's exactly right.
That's exactly what I'm saying. And so with that introduction, are we ready? All right, let's dig in. Here we go. Ephesians chapter 6 verse 4 says, say the first word with me out loud.
Ready? No, say it louder. Fathers, yes, fathers, bring your children up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. And what's really interesting here is that instead of using the Greek word for parents, there is a Greek word for parents, or instead of using the Greek word for mothers, there's a Greek word for mothers. God chose here specifically to use the Greek word for fathers, the word pater. And what this means is that when it comes to raising children, even though God esteems the critical role that mothers play, God explicitly calls fathers to take an active primary personal role in the raising of their children. God calls fathers not to be spectators, but to be players in the raising of their children. And frankly, men, if there were only one principle that I could hammer into our heads about fathering today, it would be this principle that being a good father demands everything we've got. That if we're going to fulfill our duty to God and to our children, we're going to have to be in 100%. Listen, when our children were little, every morning when I woke up, I woke up with the realization that my job that day above everything else was to raise our children. It was not Brenda's job to do it while I stood on the sideline and threw wiffle dust at her.
No, no. It was my job. It was my duty. It was my sacred responsibility before the Lord to see to it that my children were brought up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord and that I as their father, not Brenda, I was going to stand before the living Lord Jesus one day and give the final account about how our children were raised. And so let me say to every man here, if and when God gives you children, it is essential for you to understand that the final accountability regarding how they are brought up belongs to you. You say, all right, Lon, I hear that, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. I mean, you talked about the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, but I'm not 100% sure what that means.
Well, that's great because I'm going to tell you, all right? So what does it mean to bring your child up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord? There are two key words in there, nurture and admonition.
Let's look at them. The word nurture is the Greek word padeia, which literally means instruction, teaching, learning. In other words, the Bible says that a father is to be teaching his children God's truth from the Word of God. Deuteronomy 6, verse 6, addressed to fathers, by the way, says, and these words I command you this day shall be in your heart and you shall, next two words, what are they?
You shall what? Teach them to your children. This means teaching our children who God is, his character, his attributes, his holiness, teaching them who they are in comparison to God, that they are sinners, that they need salvation and helping them come to faith in Christ. It means teaching our children what the Bible says about right and wrong, teaching them how to live in the power of the Holy Spirit every day, teaching them how to repent and confess sin to God and to people and how to ask for forgiveness and own the responsibility for their own actions.
It means teaching them how to pray by doing it with them every single day and teaching them about sexual purity in their thought life, in their body, in their mouth. Hey, as dads, our job is to be leading family devotions. Our job is to be making sure our children get to Kids Quest and that they get to junior high group and that they get to senior high group and they get to Awana and they get on summer camps and they get on winter camps. Our job is to volunteer in these ministries so we have the manpower to do them right. Our job is to do scripture memory with our children and to cry out over our children's soul in prayer every single day. You say, Ah, Lon, whew, that's exhausting.
Yeah, it is. Folks, there is nothing in the world more exhausting than raising our children right. There is nothing more exhausting in the world than raising our children in the nurture of the Lord and this is why I said a minute ago that we've got to be 100% in if we're going to do this right. Listen to me, if you're a young man here, look here, look at me. If you're not prepared to be this kind of dad, if you're not prepared to pay this kind of price to raise your children, then I want to challenge you, don't have them.
Don't have them. And listen to me, young women, if the man that you're gaga over isn't prepared to be this kind of father, then put your gaga away and save it for another man who is prepared to be this kind of father. And if you're already a father here, I want to challenge and exhort all of us to raise our game. I want to exhort and challenge us to get into the Word of God, understand how to nurture our children by teaching them God's truths and then lift our game higher in our investment in our children.
Not your wife's investment in your children, your investment in your children. But there was a second word, remember? It was the nurture and the admonition of the Lord. So let's move on to that second word and the word admonition, the Greek word nuthisaia, literally means reproof, warning or discipline. In other words, here God is telling us that a father not only needs to be teaching his children God's truth but also he needs to be confronting them when they disobey God's truth and if necessary, loving them enough to discipline them when they disobey God's truth, holding his children accountable for their behavior, teaching them that sin has consequences and showing his children the importance, the value and the blessing of obeying God. Hebrews chapter 12 verse 7, the Bible says, for what child is there whom his father does not discipline? Now look here, 2,000 years ago, that was a rhetorical question. Who is it, what child is it that his father doesn't discipline them? Today this is no longer a rhetorical question. Sadly, today we have lots of fathers who are not disciplining their children. They're either too cowardly to discipline their children or they are too lazy to discipline their children.
But friends, either way, a child who grows up with no fatherly admonition and no fatherly discipline, at best will grow up to be an ill-mannered brat and at worst will grow up to be a danger to themselves and everybody around them. Amen? Can I get an amen from somebody here? Amen.
Thank you. And this is why to let a child grow up with no discipline is to curse that child. Listen to what the Bible says. Proverbs 23 verse 13, do not withhold, say the next word, discipline from your child. Proverbs 22, 15, foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child but the rod of, what's the next word? Discipline will drive it far from him or her. Proverbs 13 verse 24, he who spares the rod hates his child but he who what loves his child is, say the next word, diligent to, say the next word, discipline him. You say, well, Lon, look, I got to tell you, I don't believe in spanking. Well, that's okay. God does.
That's all I can tell you. God does. And so you can believe whatever you want but I'm telling you what God says works. And remember that biblical discipline done properly is not an act of meanness.
It is an act of love. Listen to the Bible. For whom the Lord, next word, loves, he what?
Disciplines. Even as a father, the son in whom he delights. Biblical discipline done properly is not an act of meanness. It's an act of love for your child.
You're saving him or her from growing up to be a brat at best or somebody that takes a gun into a school at worst. You with me? All right. Now, I don't believe, let me just say, that a father has to do all the discipline in his home but I do believe that it's his responsibility to set the guidelines for the discipline in his home and then to make sure those guidelines are consistently carried out, whether they're carried out sometimes by his wife or whether they're carried out sometimes by himself, it is his responsibility to see to it those are carried out. And you say, well, Lon, you said earlier a biblical discipline done properly. And you say, Lon, I don't know how to do biblical discipline properly.
Well, guess what? Neither did I. I didn't grow up in a home where they did biblical discipline properly. What did I know? So when I came to Christ, I read a book. It's the best book in the last 40 years on this topic and it's written by James Dobson and it's called Dare to Discipline. And Brenda and I read this book together when we were dating. And Brenda and I talked about this book together when we were dating. And Brenda and I mapped out the philosophy of how to raise our children and discipline them while we were dating and we agreed to that.
And then when we had children, we carried out together what we had already agreed on. Look, if you don't know how to discipline your children biblically and properly, you get this book, you read this book, and I tell you, you follow the principles of this book. And even if you're a father here today already, folks, get this book, read this book, and lift your game to where it needs to be in terms of disciplining your children. Young women, if you're here, you get this book called Dare to Discipline.
You read it yourself. And then when you have a potential mate, you read it together and see whether or not they agree that this is what they're willing to do with their children. If not, you go find another potential mate. You say, well, that's not as easy as it sounds. Sure it is. Yeah, it is. It's really easy.
Hey, look, you know the easiest way to get over an old boyfriend is get a new one. I'm telling you, it's not that hard. And young men, you need to read this book, young men, and let me just say to you, if you're a young man here and you're not courageous enough to be a man who's going to discipline his children, then once again I say to you be courageous enough not to have them. Do not bring a brat or a potential dangerous human being into this world unless you've got the courage to tame that wild animal that comes out the womb and turn them into a functioning adult. And it's going to take discipline to do it. Can I get an amen to that? Thank you.
All right. Now, you know, when my boys were growing up, we used to always sit at the table, at least until Jill was born, and we'd have dinner together. I'm sorry, we didn't have the TV on, we didn't have the games on, we didn't, well, there were no iPads, but had there been on, they wouldn't have been on in our house at that time. We all came to the table, we all sat down, we all ate together, and we tried to teach them manners. We tried to teach them, for example, to eat, you know, with a napkin in your lap. We tried to teach them to hold the fork properly. We tried to teach them not to put your elbows on the table, but one of the things that we really worked hard on is you chew with your mouth what? And we said shut, but it's the same idea.
That's right. And so I would give my sons one warning. If I caught them chewing with their mouth open, I would send them away from the table for one minute, and then they could return to the table and continue dinner. And if I caught them a second time chewing with their mouth open, dinner was over that evening for that child. Now, my middle son, Justin, had a real problem with this, because his mouth was always open. He was always talking. His mouth was never shut. And so for a number of years, this is true, for a number of years, Justin would never made seven nights in a row and finish dinner. In fact, he averaged, I would say, between four and five nights a week that he actually got to the end of the dinner. And I tell you what, though, today, he chews with his mouth shut. Praise the Lord.
Yeah. And you say, of course he does, Lon. You made him obsessive. No, I didn't make him obsessive. I taught him manners, which is what a father is supposed to do. And, you know, he's come back and actually thanked me, because the law firm that he works for, he often does interviews with the people who want to come work for the firm. And he said, the very first thing I notice when I take them out for lunch is whether or not they chew with their mouth shut.
And if they don't, they've already got two strikes against them, because if they don't have that discipline, they probably don't have some other important disciplines. You say, you did make him obsessive. No, I didn't. I made him somebody that's God manners. It was my job. And, by the way, could I say that even after Justin missed three, on average, three meals a week or something close to that, we're still friends today. As a matter of fact, we're good friends today. As a matter of fact, we talk virtually every day on the telephone. See, a lot of us say, well, you know, the problem is I want to be my child's friend. That's great. That's a noble desire.
But, folks, listen to me. Your child has all the friends in the world he needs, but he's only got one father. And you need to be that child's father when that child is in your home. And I promise you, I promise you that if you are their father when they're young, you will be their friend when they grow older and have children of their own and suddenly get this.
Look, folks, the Bible says, fathers, bring your children up in the nurture, boy, that's hard work, and in the admonition of the Lord. I had a guy say to me the other day, you know, ever since I became a father, everything else in my life is like gone away. I don't play golf anymore. I don't ride my bicycle anymore. I don't go to the gym and hang out with the guys anymore. You know, everything I used to do, I don't do anything but go to work and come home and be a father.
Hello. That's the way you're supposed to do it. There will be plenty of time for you to play golf.
You know, there will be plenty of time for you to ride your bicycle later. These children need you as your father. Give that stuff up and do your job as a father. And I've had people say to me, you know, I hate to take this little child and send them to their room or make them miss a meal or spank them or discipline them or whatever. You know, I feel sorry for them. You know, they're so cute. Yeah, well, that behavior won't be cute when they're 13. Trust me.
And you've lost your moment by the time they're 13. And what is this anyway? Well, who are we afraid of? We're grown men.
These people are 25% our height. What are we afraid of? The inmates are running the asylum.
What is wrong here? Except that we either are too lazy or we're just too cowardly to get in there and do our job. Folks, this is not the model of the Bible. And we need to stop trying to be good Americans first. And we've got to start being good Bible-believing followers of Christ first, doing what God tells us to do, not in just raising our children but in every area of life. Remember, Jesus doesn't just want your life.
He wants your lifestyle as a father. Let's pray together. Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for the principles of your Word that tell us how to father. And Lord Jesus, I pray that you would help us here, fathers, future fathers, mothers, future mothers. Oh, God, help us look to the Bible for our direction in child-raising, not to Dr. Spock, not to any human organization, not to what our society says.
No, no. Help us look to the Word of God to get our principles, the Word of God to get our guidance, the Word of God to get our instruction. And then, Lord Jesus, to the best of our ability, help us carry those instructions out lovingly but firmly with our children for their blessing, Lord. It's not about us.
We're already grown. It's about raising blessed children. So, Jesus, give us courage today. Jesus, speak to our hearts today. Jesus, if we need to lift our game today, challenge us to do that, Lord, and give us the strength by your Spirit to carry all of this out. We'll never do it in the energy of the flesh. We need the filling of God's Spirit every day in order to be able to do this. So, Lord, may we depend on your strength, and then to the best of our ability, may we do our job as fathers in our homes. And we pray this in Jesus' name. And what do God's people say? Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 07:10:32 / 2023-03-31 07:19:22 / 9