The Committed Father Joshua 24:14-28 Prayer Colin Farrell has admitted it took until his son was two and half years old before he embraced his responsibilities as a father. The former bad boy‟s ex-girlfriend Kim Bordenave gave birth to their son James over four years ago. But he has revealed it took him a while to stop his wild ways. He said, "Fatherhood doesn't change your life unless you want it to. I fought it for two-and a-half years trying to cling onto my youth, until I decided to let fatherhood change my life." And it has taken his toll on his party lifestyle, "I'm quiet now, boring, and I do incredibly tedious things like hanging out with my son." Let's hope his son doesn't take that the wrong way. (http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/12022008/5/farrell-didn-t-want-daddy-0.html) What is fatherhood supposed to be? Is it a loathing responsibility that comes after the pleasurable and fun act of conception? Is it the price men pay for that short lived act outside or inside the bonds of marriage? Is it God‟s way to punish men for their sinful indiscretions that lasts a lifetime afterwards? Is fatherhood the reminder of why it is necessary to keep abortion legal or is bad fathering the scapegoat of the need for abortion? It is pathetic and sad to even find it necessary to utter such sentences in churches today, but our culture has taken us to a place today that bears a striking resemblance to the Sodom and Gomorrah of the days of Abraham. To understand the very place of fatherhood we must first understand what it means. The Greek word for father comes from the word Pater which means nourisher, protector, upholder and progenitor. It may sound more familiar if I used it within the context of paternal. Sound familiar now? (Vines p. 81) To understand fatherhood we must see the importance God places on the role Throughout the Bible the term father or fathers is used more than 1000 times. A quality God has placed in each of us is the ability to communicate what is most important to us. In other words what we value in our lives will easily. We even go through phases in our lives where something may obsess our mind and we will continually think about and talk to others on it. I have great news for all of us that God goes through no phases, but he places great value and importance on the role of the father in the home. We see God’s passion for being a Father in Exodus 4:22, where he passionately sends a message through Moses to Pharaoh about His son the Israelites. „Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.” (Ex 4:22) Throughout the book of Genesis there is great emphasis placed on the patriarchal relationships such as Abraham and Isaac, Isaac and Jacob, Jacob and Joseph. In fact you all understand why most scholars believe that God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac at the age of twelve? If Isaac would have been a teenager it wouldn‟t have been a sacrifice. The use of the term father is not limited to the immediate parent. When Joshua referred to fathers he meant several generations and not just the immediate one. Some dads or granddads may have come today thinking they are getting a pass on their role as fathers, but you are mistaken! Once you have become a father your influence will never end. Your example is just as important today as it was when your daughter or son was born. How you face adversity, loss, sin, and success will continue until the day you die, and your legacy with live on whether good or bad. No father gets a pass in this area today or any day for that matter. I can recall stories of both of my grandfathers both good and bad that I will always remember and learn from. One grandfather was an alcoholic who was hurtful to my mother until the day he died and I learned many lessons from him about how not to act. My other grandfather was a man who did not accept Christ until a much older age and he taught me to never look at age as an obstacle to someone‟s salvation or an excuse not to share Christ. I share this message with each of you old or young because of God‟s use of all of my family whether my immediate father or my grandfathers. Seriously God shows us through fatherly relationships just how a part of God‟s plan that they are! He established this relationship for a foundational purpose and desires to use it. In fact you see Jesus continually communicating and calling out to the Father in His ministry. “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34) “Our Father who art in Heaven” (Matt 6:9-13) “If you have seen me you have seen my Father.” (John 14:8-11) “Peter, man has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven” (Matt 16:17) A father may have come here today thinking to himself, “if God takes fathering this seriously what can I do?” What are my responsibilities as a father? Although there is no way I can go through each requirement we are going to highlight some important areas today and I would encourage every father to become passionate about their role. I have 4 principles we will choose from the scriptures today on how you can be the father that God wants you to be. I will guarantee you will fail to measure up, but if you do this sincerely God can transform you as a father! 1. Never forget where you came from and the covenant you made before God. (Joshua 24:1-13) We will not read all of these scriptures this morning for time‟s sake, but I want to summarize with a quote from of all people Kierkegaard. “Life is lived forward, but is understood backwards.” The first thing Joshua did was carry the people to a special place called Schechem where they looked back at where they had come from. (v1) They were at the same place where God had made promises to Abraham and where Jacob built an altar. It was a special place of great significance. We will notice that they never actually stayed in Schechem, but it would always be a place where they reflected, lamented, and were challenged to commit themselves. Growing up my mother always told me of my dad‟s first church. She shared with me about the time in 1955 she was riding with my father and dad just pulled the car over into this parking lot outside of Montgomery Alabama. Mother looked at my father and asked what was wrong, and my father told her he was feeling God‟s call on his life to go into ministry. My mom who never wanted to marry a preacher made a covenant with him that day to go wherever God sent them. Ironically the parking lot my dad pulled into was the Brewer Memorial Baptist Church. My dad‟s first pastorate. It was their Schechem. A place she would never stay in, but always remember. A time of commitment and of covenant. Dad‟s maybe the first place you need to go back to is your Schechem. Look back and reflect on your covenant with God and with your children. See if you have come to realize the immensity of your responsibility as the father in your home. Look back on the kind of father you have been up until this day and see if the commitment is where it should be. Maybe you have never made that commitment in your home. Maybe your wife is carrying the weight of the parenting responsibilities. 2. Affirm and if necessary reaffirm your commitment before God (Joshua 24:14-16) The commitment you made before God comes before your wife and children, but here is the really beautiful thing. If we are in a right relationship with God then we are going to put the relationship with our wife and children right there at the top! (Ephesians 5:22-30) Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church. aWives, bbe subject to your own husbands, cas to the Lord. 23 For athe husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the bhead of the church, He Himself cbeing the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 aHusbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and bgave Himself up for her, 26 aso that He might sanctify her, having bcleansed her by the cwashing of water with dthe word, 27 that He might apresent to Himself the church 1in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be bholy and blameless. a Eph 5:22–6:9: Col 3:18–4:1 1 Cor 14:34f; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet 3:1 c Eph 6:5 a 1 Cor 11:3 b Eph 1:22 c 1 Cor 6:13 a Eph 5:28, 33; Col 3:19; 1 Pet 3:7 b Eph 5:2 a Titus 2:14; Heb 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12 b 2 Pet 1:9 c Acts 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:5 d John 15:3; 17:17; Rom 10:8f; Eph 6:17 b 28 So husbands ought also to alove their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are amembers of His bbody. 31 aFor this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to alove his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she 1brespects her husband. 1 Your relationship to your children has absolutely everything to do with the relationship you have with your wife. My wife April and I have been married for fifteen wonderful years. Needless to say not all those years were wonderful in our marriage and through a process of sanctification and time God has taken April and I to a wonderful place in our marriage. It‟s a place where every time my wife enters the room my heart begins to race and I become both overwhelmed and speechless that God would place such a wonderful woman in my life and who would choose to carry the two wonderful children God has blessed us with. This past February 14th I re-proposed to April and we renewed our vows the day after our anniversary on June 5th. We re-affirmed our commitment to one another knowing that our purpose was to be obedient to Christ in our relationship. Fathers, your relationship to your children will be affected in every way by the relationship with your spouse. Are you constantly in conflict or can you not seem to get on the same page? Are you certain that you are modeling a Christ like example to your wife at all times? 3. A Godly father prepares the way by preparing his children. (Joshua 24:17-18) Let me ask the fathers a very simple and direct question. When is the last time you sat or kneeled down and prayed earnestly for one of your children‟s needs? For those with grown children do you still pray for them today? Do you remember the times you prayed for their salvation and deliverance? a 2 Cor 4:14; 11:2; Col 1:22 Lit glorious b Eph 1:4 a Eph 5:25, 33; 1 Pet 3:7 a 1 Cor 6:15; 12:27 b Eph 1:23 a Gen 2:24; Matt 19:5; Mark 10:7f a Eph 5:25, 28; 1 Pet 3:7 1 Lit fear b 1 Pet 3:2, 5f 1 New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Eph 5:22-33 1 As a teenager I was anything but the ideal son to my parents. I can recall being the only preacher‟s kid to date at Florida Street Baptist Greensboro being busted for throwing a party that included the brown bagging of alcoholic beverages into the parsonage. To this date I need only mention “party” in front of Bobby Matthews and he knows exactly what I am talking about. Do you know that my mother would wait for me to go to school each day? She would then kneel next to my bed and pray for God to soften my heart and make me the kind of child of God who could be used. As I went into adulthood and into marriage my dad and mom would regularly retire to the kitchen table and pray for both my brother and eye for hours on some days asking God to be with us and to encourage us. Are you that father who sees prayer as an inconvenient mishap or do you understand that God desires for you to lift up your children and never see them as a lost cause! You may as why you should be the one to pray for them? The genuine love you have for your children, the tenderness you feel for them and your knowledge of their make-up, needs and problems, qualify you to plead with God on their behalf with an urgency and earnestness which can take no refusal. When God wants to convince us of his willingness to hear prayer, he bases his argument on his parental love: (Deut 11:18-20) 18 “aYou shall therefore 1impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as 2frontals 3on your forehead. 19 “aYou shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 “aYou shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 2 Fathers what in your house shows of your desire to teach your children the precepts of Christ? How do you show your love and commitment to your children‟s spiritual well being in your home? Are your knees worn from waxing the boat or the car or are they worn from time spent in earnest prayer for your children? Our last principle today and you ought to be extremely proud of me I started with 55 and narrowed it to 4. 4. Being the father God wants you to be means choosing to serve God with our whole hearts and without apology or concern for earthly consequence. (Joshua 24:19-24) Read the Easy Eddie story as a close a Ex 13:9, 16; Deut 6:8 Lit put 2 Lit frontlet bands 3 Lit between your eyes a Deut 4:9, 10; 6:7; Prov 22:6 a Deut 6:9 2 New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Dt 11:18-20 1 STORY NUMBER ONE Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone‟s lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was... Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son: he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example. One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some resemblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read: "The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still." STORY NUMBER TWO World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 calibers blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the guncamera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2. SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER? Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son. (Pretty cool, eh!) Epilogue Fathers your influence in the lives of your children cannot be understated. From the moment you and your wife conceived that child you made a covenant to see them through as God intended. Maybe you haven‟t been the Father God has desired for you to be and there is no time like now to make that commitment to change your ways. Be like one of those Israelites who stood before Joshua and said, “I can‟t help what my father did, but I can help what I will do.
© Copyright 2018