Faithlife Sermons

The Father Image

Notes & Transcripts

    07/21/2009 The Father Image Knox 16 PC 691/746/651

Psalm 23 Isaiah 40:9-11 Romans 8:28-33 Matthew 6:5-15

OOPS! Most homes nowadays seem to be on three shifts. Father is on the night shift; mother is on the day shift, and the children shift for themselves. One percent of the child’s time is spent under the influence of the Sunday school; 7 percent under the influence of the public school; 92 percent under the influence of the home.  
  UGH! The absence of fathers, or the lack of a positive father image in our society, has brought about a great deal of problems in our society. The term deadbeat dads has given fathers a bad name. Although many fathers deserve this title, it is not so for every father.
Very often when families break up the father abdicates his role in the life of the children for the most part. Life is not the same when you don't have all the members of the family under one household. It is difficult to spend enough time with your children today when you are together as a family. Imagine how much harder it is when the family is split up. When families are split up there are usually a great many difficulties in discipline with children.  
  Many children are getting into trouble at a much younger age today. Even in households that are together, many fathers abdicate their true role in the life of the children. They do not discipline them. They let him get away with almost anything.
There was a story in the paper this past week concerning three children. They were ages 10, 11, and 13. They ran a demolition derby in the yard of a mechanics shop. When they were finished the damage amounted to $80,000. It appears from the story that it will be the owner of this mechanic's garage will have to foot the bill for this damage done by these children because they can't be charged.  
  When a boy was getting out of control in our neighbourhood where we were at one time. I had to call the father of this boy. His excuse was, 'well boys must be boys'. I gave him a long a lecture on what it meant to be a father and to lookout for his child to make sure that he didn't get into trouble. Before his son finished public school he was arrested and had a parole officer.
“I am concerned about the family lives of all of you. I want you to spend an adequate amount of time with your husbands, wives, and children, and also to involve them as much as possible in our White House life. We are going to be here a long time, and all of you will be more valuable to me and the country with rest and a stable home life. In emergencies we’ll all work full time. Let me have your comments.”  
  AHA! What is the image of a father as described in the scriptures? The Lord is my Shepherd. The image of the Shepherd gives us a description of what a father is like. Little Tommy was facing surgery for the first time, and he was terrified. After a brief visit from his pastor, however, he seemed completely free of anxiety. His doctor was surprised and relieved; so when he met the boy's minister later he asked him what he had said to calm the youngster's many fears.
WHEE! The pastor answered, "I first told him that Jesus would take care of him, and then I asked him if he remembered the 23rd Psalm. He replied that he did. I told him to count off on the fingers of his left hand beginning with the thumb, 'the Lord'; next, the index finger, 'is'; then the two middle fingers,'my Shepherd.' " "Ah, that explains it!" said the doctor. "I wondered why he kept holding the middle fingers of his left hand. He did it all the way to the operating room and right up to the time he went under the anesthetic."  
  But who is the Lord? What is His character? Does He have adequate credentials to be my Shepherd - my manager - my owner? And if He does - how do I come under His control? In what way do I become the object of His concern and diligent care?
David stated explicitly, "The Lord is my Shepherd." To whom did he refer? He referred to Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel. His statement was confirmed by Jesus the Christ.  
  Jesus Christ was directly responsible for the creation of all things both natural and supernatural (see Colossians 1: 15-20). If we pause to reflect on the person of Christ - on His power and upon His achievements - suddenly like David we will be glad to state proudly, "The Lord He is my Shepherd!"
Now the beautiful relationships given to us repeatedly in Scripture between God and man are those of a father to his children and a shepherd to his sheep. These concepts were first conceived in the mind of God our Father. They were made possible and practical through the work of Christ. They are confirmed and made real in me through the agency of the gracious Holy Spirit.  
  David, in this Psalm, is speaking not as the shepherd, though he was one, but as a sheep; one of the flock. He spoke with a strong sense of pride and devotion and admiration. It was as though he literally boasted aloud, "Look at who my shepherd is - my owner - my manager!" The Lord is!
After all, he knew from firsthand experience that the lot in life of any particular sheep depended on the type of man who owned it.  
Some men were gentle, kind, intelligent, brave and selfless in their devotion to their stock. Under one man sheep would struggle, starve and suffer endless hardship. In another's care they would flourish and thrive contentedly.  
  A father loves his children. There is an example of this given in the reading we have from Isaiah 40:11. "He tends his flock like a Shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."
He gathers his lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. One of the most wonderful pictures of Jesus Christ as the good Shepherd is that of him holding a lamb up over his head and resting on the back of his neck with a great smile of joy.  
  A father will love his children no matter what. But, when a father doesn't discipline his children he is shirking his duties as a father. It says in the letter to the Hebrews you will know that your God loves you by the fact that he disciplines you. Love is both and. It means accepting without reserve. But it also means disciplining to keep that child in line.
The staff that is mentioned in verse 4 is reflective of the fact that the staff was used to keep the sheep from going astray and into danger.  
  What do we do when we discipline our children. There are two main concerns. You discipline them if they are in a life threatening or morals threatening situation. We have come to a point in history when we put more emphasis on justice and not enough on morality.
In the day in which many of us grew up, we were over disciplined with respect to morality. Today we have come in the other direction and we do not have enough discipline with respect to the morality of our lives and in particular the lives of our children. Inasmuch as God, our creator, is both moral and just, we need to strike a balance of justice and morality.  
  A sociologist was writing a book about the difficulties of growing up in a large family, so he interviewed the mother of 13 children. After several basic questions, he asked, "Do you think all children deserve the full, impartial love and attention of a mother?" "Of course," said the mother. "Well, which of your children do you love the most?" he asked, hoping to catch her in a contradiction. She answered, "The one who is sick until he gets well, and the one who is away until he gets home."
The Lord our God provides all that we will ever need. That is why the Lord's prayer is so instructive. Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be your name.  
Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. We can say that prayer with confidence because our father looks after us. That will be the subject for two weeks from now.  
  Our father comforts us. This is the role of what the father should be in society. When a son or daughter is hurting, they need comfort first. And the first person they usually call out to is mother. But, what do you do when mother is away someplace. The role of the father is to comfort and to instil confidence in their children. That is well developed in unconditional love which involves accepting and disciplining.
The son or the daughter will learn mercy as that mercy is expressed through their father. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. The term they use there is either mercy or loving kindness. It says in the Scriptures that your loving-kindness is better than life. In order for children to grow up expressing mercy and forgiveness they need to experience it first hand. And that needs to be from their father.  
  Sheep cannot survive alone in the wild, but must always be in the company of a shepherd. The Middle Eastern shepherd loved his sheep, gave each one a name, and cared for each one tenderly. Many a shepherd interposed himself between wild beasts and his sheep, and at night the shepherd lay down and slept in the single doorway to his sheepfold. Any enemy would have to pass him to attack his flock. The verb is a participle and means “is shepherding me.”
One father is more than a hundred school-masters. George Herbert Train up a child in the way he should go--and walk there yourself once in a while. Josh Billings  
  YEAH! A family was traveling by automobile from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and their journey took them through the mountains at night. The way was unfamiliar and everything was pitch-black except for the lights of the car shining on the road ahead. As one of the little girls peered anxiously through the window, she felt someone place a hand on her shoulder. "Is that you, Daddy?" she said. "Yes, dear," came the reply. Reassured by her father's gentle touch, the youngster leaned back and fell asleep.
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