Wanted, Godly Fathers
TEXT: Ephesians 6:4
TOPIC: Wanted: Godly Fathers
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point,
June 18, 2006, Father’s Day 2006
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Of a Father
There are few to shout his praises
And in every song and story,
It is sweethearts, wives and mothers
Who attain the fame and glory,
But how sad that one so worthy,
So deserving of our mention,
Is so seldom given homage
And receives such scant attention.
Faced with problems never ending,
Uncomplaining, never daring
To relax his toil and striving;
Ever giving, always sharing,
His reward lies in the pleasure
That his years of service bring;
And to those who love him dearly,
He is just an uncrowned King.
Dennis Rodman. Many of you, especially our fathers, will recognize the name, Dennis Rodman. For those of you who do not know him, he was at one time the bad boy of the National Basketball Association. He was without question one of the star players for teams such as the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. He won several NBA World Championships with both teams.
Dennis was known for his tenacious defense and rebounding skills. But he was better known for his antics on and off the court. On the court he led the league in technical fouls for poor behavior and bad sportsmanship. He made a habit of ripping off his shirt and casting it into the stands. His body piercing, tattoos, and multi-colored hair were also a trademark of Dennis Rodman. Off the field he posed nude, had a running affair with Madonna, and was an outspoken proponent for homosexuality. That’s the Dennis Rodman many of us remember.
But few of us knew the true story of Dennis Rodman. We’ve never heard the traumatic story of Dennis Rodman’s father who left his mother when Dennis was seven years old. Left to grow up alone in the ghettoes of Houston, Texas, his mother could see him as he ran along side his father’s car begging for his dad not to go.
Dennis is not alone. More children will go to sleep tonight in a fatherless home that at any time in American history. In 1960, 5 percent of the children in the U.S. were living with only their mothers. By 1990, that number had increased to 25 percent. Today that number has climbed to an incredible 52 percent.
What we need to understand is just how these figures are tearing apart the moral fiber of our society. We know of the alarming rise in teen pregnancy, abortion and crime. Educators decry the lack of moral values and discipline in our schools. We’re now living in a day when we have taken down the Ten Commandments and put up metal protectors. It use to be that schools biggest discipline problems were talking in class, chewing gum, and running in the hallway. Now it’s stealing, violence, and sexual assault.
After examining 11,000 crimes, researchers found not correlation between crime and poverty, or crime and race. But a strong link was found between crime and “father-absent households.”
What we need today are godly fathers. The bible gives us clear and certain guidelines as to what a godly father must do.
I. GIVE YOUR CHILDREN YOUR TIME
Our biblical text says, And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Psalm 78:5, For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;
Deuteronomy 6:4-7, 4“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7“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 lie down, and when you rise up.
These verses have something in common. In order to fulfill them we must spend time with our children. (A survey by Cornell University reported that the average American father spends 37.7 seconds a day with his children.)
In many of our families, the role of teaching spiritual truths has been abdicated by the father. Either the mother does it, or it isn’t done at all.
James Dobson says the number one thing women complain about most is the lack of Christian leadership by their husbands in their home.
Fathers, we teach our children about sports, about hunting and fishing. We show them how to drive a nail and drive a car, but don’t fail to teach your children the most important of all truths, the eternal truths found in God’s word.
Sunday School and church attendance are designed to assist the family in teaching spiritual values, but the church, one day a week can never replace the godly father who can influence his children seven days a week.
Illustration: A little boy asked his father, “Dad, is God dead?” “Why no son, God isn’t dead. Why do you ask?” “Because dad, I never hear you talking to Him.”
Listen to me you who are fathers here today. The only thing of eternal value we will take to Heaven with us is the souls of our children and our wives. Don’t miss the opportunity to instill in your children these values.
II. SHOW YOUR CHILDREN THE LANDMARKS
In Proverbs 22:28, Do not remove the ancient landmark Which your fathers have set.
Art Linkletter use to delight millions with a segment of his television how in which he interviewed little children. Sometimes he got more than he asked for. For example, one little boy when asked by Linkletter, “Did you take a bath last night?” “Nope.” “Why not?” “I’m saving the soap for dad. He’s the dirty one in the family.”
Fathers, we need to remember from time to time, that your children are watching you.
The Scriptures tell us to show our children the landmarks. A landmark is a permanent fixture often used to give direction, or keep travelers from losing their way. A father must do the same thing for his children. Set up the spiritual landmarks to mark the way for your children throughout their lives.
What are the landmarks you need to show your children?
1. The Landmark of God’s word.
2. The Landmark of Prayer
3. The Landmark of Church Faithfulness
4. The Landmark of Loving Jesus
5. The Landmark of Lasting Commitment
To God, to the church, to our marriage, to your children
If we were to be graded by our children in each of these landmarks, what grade would you receive?
Gertrude Stein tells the modern parable of an angry man who dragged his father along the ground through the father’s own orchard. “Stop!” the old man groaned. “I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”
The godly example we set or fail to set will have lasting impact and long-term consequences. How a young man learns to be a father is from a father, his own. How a husband treats his wife, is learned from a man, a father.
Fathers, we have an esteemed honor and a solemn responsibility to raise our children in such a way as to teach them to love God, to love others and to love themselves.
God help us to set the example of a godly father to our children.