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Fathers, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

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As a teenager growing up in St. Louis, I remember that one of the local radio stations would always ask the same question just before the late news. The question was, "It's 10:00 p.m.: Parents, do you know where your children are?" The question got to be a standing joke among the youth of the city. So much so, that one of the local rock and roll stations – KASHE 109 – countered with a parody, "It's 11:30 p.m.: Children, do you know where your parents are?"

At the time we thought it was funny. As I look back on it, I believe the question to parents and its spoof reveal a growing and serious trend in our society. Parents and children really don't know much about each other these days. I suppose there has always been, and always will be a so-called generation gap between parents and children. It was an ever so popular phrase in the 60's and 70's that explained the different attitudes and values held by adolescents coming of age in a modern society and those of their parents who were raised during the dark days of the Great Depression and World War II.

Today the problem is far more serious than a generation gap. Today's problem is a relationship gap. In a fast-paced and mobile society many fathers do not really know where their children are at. Oh, they may know where their children are at physically, but they have no idea where they are at intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. Many fathers do not know where their children are at because many fathers have virtually no relationship with their children.

Listen to what James Dobson, the foremost Christian authority on the family today, says about fathers: The priceless period of influence in a child's life often occurs at a time when fathers are the least accessible to their kids. They are trying to establish themselves in their occupations, racing and running and huffing and puffing, dragging home a briefcase crammed to the brim with night work, scurrying to the airport to catch the last plane to Chicago, moonlighting to pay those vacation bills, and finally collapsing in bed in a state of utter exhaustion with no real interchange between dad and his little boy or little girl.

It's time we turned back to the Bible and examine what a father's primary duties and responsibilities are.


            1. even the eternal God gloried in his only begotten son
              • Matthew 3:17 “And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."


    • Psalm 127:3-5 “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
            1. children, the Psalmist writes, are like “arrows in the hand of a mighty man."
                1. they give a man pride in his masculinity, a feeling of stability, a sense of accomplishment and a promise of security
            2. these precious gifts have so much to offer in return
                1. they give love and tenderness
                2. they help adults appreciate the wonder of caterpillars and butterflies and tadpoles


            1. your dreams, your values, your attitudes and even your faults and prejudices will all find a place in your child's life
                1. what they become, will in all likelihood, be a reflection of what they see in you
                  • ILLUS. Abraham Lincoln wrote: "A child is a bank where you deposit you most precious treasures – the hard-won wisdom, the dreams for a better world. A child can guard and protect these, and perhaps invest them wisely and in a profit – a profit larger than you have ever dreamed. A child will inherit your world. All your work will be judged by him. Tomorrow he will earn your seat in the congress, own your company, and run your town. The future is his. Perhaps he deserves a little more of your attention now."
            2. father, recognize that your children are a repository of all that you are
            3. the question is, \"What are you depositing into their lives?"\
              • ILLUS. I heard a story once of a little boy who had been sent to bed by his mother for using profane language. When his father came home she told dad about his son's foul language and asked him to go "discuss" the matter with their son. "I'll teach that boy to swear," he roared as he started up the stairs. As the father went bounding up the steps, he tripped on the top step and fell flat on his face. Out came a cascade of curses and expletives. A few moments later when the profane explosion was over the mother called to her husband, "You'd better come down now. He's had enough for his first lesson.”
                1. what are you depositing into their lives?


            1. if all children are from God, and they are, then fathers will be held accountable for how they raised their children
                1. every misuse and abuse will be remembered by God
                2. knowing how Jesus loved the little children, I would not want to have to stand before a righteous God and explain why I had sexually molested, physically abused or even worse—spiritually neglected a child's soul
            2. the most important area of stewardship a father has responsibility for is the stewardship of his child’s soul
                1. any other priority pales by comparison
                2. most fathers will make sure that their children are well-fed, well-clothed, reasonably sheltered, and adequately educated
                3. but how many fathers make sure that their children are spiritually fed?
                  • ILLUS. Daddy had a little boy, His soul was white as snow. He never went to Sunday School Cause Daddy wouldn't go. He never heard the Word of God. That thrills the childish mind, While other children went to class, This child was left behind. As he grew from babe to youth, Dad saw to his dismay, A soul that once was snowy white, Became a dingy grey. Realizing that his son was lost, Dad tried to win him back. But now the soul that once was white, Had turned an ugly black. Dad even started back to church, and Bible study too; He begged the preacher, Isn't there a thing you can do?" The preacher tried, failed, and said "We're just too far behind; I tried to tell you years ago, But you would pay me no mind." And so another soul was lost, That once was white as snow; Sunday School would have helped, But Daddy wouldn't go.
            3. this poem leads me to me second point


            1. the greatest folly a father can commit is to neglect the children he has helped bring into this world
                1. I have little or no patience with men who father children and then take no responsibility for them
                  • ILLUS. Way back in 1992, former Vise-president was roundly criticized for saying it, but he was perfectly correct when he said that the best environment for a child to grow up in was a home where there was both a mother and a father.


            1. too many of today's fathers are over-committed and preoccupied with priorities outside the home
            2. I Kings relates the tragic story of David and his family
                1. as a king, David had no peers, as a father he failed miserably
                  • 1 Kings 1:5-6 /"Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, "I will be king." So he got chariots and horses {Or [charioteers]} ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never interfered with him by asking, "Why do you behave as you do?" He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)"
            3. David made the mistake that many fathers make
                1. FIRST, he was too busy with other things
                  • ILLUS. In the early 1970s, a study was done by a leading child developmentalist who sought to see how much time the average father spent with his newborn child. The researcher's discovery shocked even him. He found that the time spent by the typical dad with his child during the first year of life was an average 37 seconds a day!.
                2. SECONDLY, David took it for granted that somebody else would look after the interests of his sons
                    1. there was mom (that's comforting until you realize that 3/4 of American mothers with school-age children work outside the home
                    2. there was school and his son’s teachers
                    3. there was the Boy Scouts
                    4. there was the church or synagogue
                3. THIRDLY, David refused to discipline
                    1. Adonijah was the kind of kid who probably looked his 1st grade teacher in the eye and said, "You'd better not touch me or my dad will sue you."
                4. FOURTHLY, David permitted his life's example to become clouded by sin
                5. FIFTH, David waited too long to become concerned
                    1. dad's don't make the mistake David did in waiting too long to become concerned


            1. father's, let me wrap up this sermon by giving you the three basic Biblical responsibilities God mandates for you


            1. you can only do that by being an active, Spirit-filled, church-going Christian
              • ILLUS. Remember the old Ring-Around-the-Collar commercials. "Oh, he looks just like you: Same red hair, same blue eyes, same ... ring around the collar."
            2. dads, there may not only be a physical resemblance between you and your children, but there's also going to be a resemblance of character
              • ILLUS. Dads, you are not only influencing your children, but the offspring of your genealogical history for the next 120 years. Sociologists refer to it as the “five-generation rule.” How a parent raises their child influences not only that child, but the four generations to follow. Let me illustrate: In 1940 B.B. Warfield, a historian and scholar at Princeton University, charted the genealogies of two men. Max Jukes was one of those men. Jukes was an atheist who believed in the abolition of all laws and rules. He formed an organization called the “Freedom Movement” that advocated free sex, no laws, no formal education and no responsibilities. He refused to take his children to church, even when they asked to go. He has had 1,026 descendants; 300 of whom were sent to prison for an average term of 13 years; 190 were known public prostitutes; over 500 were admitted alcoholics or drug addicts. Jonathan Edwards was the other man. He was a Puritan minister. He loved the Lord and saw that his children were in church every Sunday, as he served the Lord to the best of his ability. He has had 929 descendants, of these 430 were ministers; 86 became university professors; 13 became university presidents; 75 became prominent authors; 5 were elected to the United States Congress and 2 to the Senate. One was Vice President of our nation.
            3. dads, do you see the power of influencing your child’s character?


            1. if you will not set an example for your children a humanistic society will
                1. ... a sensuous and perverse media will
                2. ... well meaning, but lost friends and family will
                3. ... the devil will
            2. set an example ...
                1. ... of a loving husband
                2. ... of being an involved father
                3. ... of being a hard worker
                4. ... of being a good citizen
                5. ... of being a faithful Christian
            3. a good example is the best sermon you can ever preach to your kids


    • Ephesians 6:4 /“Fathers, . . . bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”\
            1. here is the call of God to every father here this morning
            2. the greatest blessing for any father is witnessing to and winning his own children to faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ
            3. the second greatest blessing is to help them to grow in their faith so that—when they have become young adults—they shall not turn from it
              • ILLUS. I saw some horrifying statistics the other day. The article reported that of children raised in church-going families who attend Evangelical congregations, that by the end of college, 34% of them will are no longer attending church and will never go back.
                1. fathers, do you see how important your job is in nurturing your children’s faith?
                    1. it’s not enough to just win them to faith in Christ
                    2. you must help them to understand their faith so that when it is challenged, they will be able to withstand the storms of doubt

Fathers, Do You Know Where Your Children Are At?

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