R. C. Sproul – The Privilege of Addressing God as „Father”

An older video of a much younger R. C. Sproul:

rc sproul 2Go with a group of Christians, listen to them pray at home, a prayer meeting, or Bible study and invariably, as Christians pray out loud, one after another will address God. How? They’ll start their prayer saying, „Father,” or, „Our heavenly Father.” It’s the most common expression that we as Christians use to address God. And why not? When our Lord taught us to pray, he taught us to say ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name’.

What could be more basic to Christianity than to address God as Father? A German New Testament scholar (can’t quite make out the name through the audio- might be Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694–1768)) has done a study on prayers  of the ancient Israelite people, and it is his conclusion that there’s not a single example anywhere in extant Jewish literature, including the Old Testament, the Talmud, the Targums, and so on, until the 10th century A.D. where a Jewish person addresses God directly- as Father. That simply wasn’t done. People would speak of the fatherhood of God among the Jewish people, but no one would address Him directly: „Father”. He says you don’t find it till 10th century in Italy. Yet, in the New Testament, we have the record of a Jew, a Jewish rabbi , who has many, many prayers recorded for posterity. And, that in every prayer that he prays, save one, he directly addresses God as Father. And that’s Jesus of Nazareth.

And what Reimarus demonstrates is that Jesus’ use of the term ‘Father’ for God was a radical innovation. Completely unheard of in Jewish liturgy! And what He did in His radical departure from convention, He invited His followers to be involved with. Because, what Jesus teaches about the human race is that by nature we are not the children of God. This was the dispute our Lord had with the Pharisees, who thought that just because they were born Jewish, that they were children of Abraham, that they were therefore the children of God. Jesus said, „You are of your father, the devil. God can raise up children of Abraham from these stones.”

..what Jesus does is defines Sonship in terms of obedience to God. And, because we are not by nature obedient to God, we are by nature children of wrath, the New Testament teaches us, and not universally children of the Father. The only way we ever have the right to call God „Father’, to cry Abba (Father) in His presence is because we have been adopted.   And the biblical message of sonship and daughterhood in the body of Christ is rooted and grounded in this concept of adoption. That only Christ is the natural Son of God, and only if you are in Christ do you become a member of the household of God. It is the church in the New Testament that is called the family of God. It is the church in the New Testament that is called the household of God. And that unique concept of redemption  through adoption is completely obscured when we talk about the universal fatherhood of God. Do you see that?

VIDEO by Ligonier Ministries

Happy Father’s Day 2013 – poems, songs, messages honoring FATHERS

via Zondervan

Proverbs 23:24

 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

Malachi 4:6
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers

Proverbs 23:22
Listen to your father, who gave you life,

Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him

photo via imgfave.com

father with baby,father son,fathers day

My Earthly Dad

With these three words,
„Dear Heavenly Father,”
I begin my every prayer,
But the man I see
While on bended knee
Is always my earthly dad.

He is the image
Of the Father divine
Reflecting the nature of God,
For his love and care
And strong faith laid bare
Pointed me to my Father above.

–Mary Fairchild

Dad, I’m watching you

(For all parents, moms too)

Uploaded by  on Dec 21, 2008

Psalm 103:13 
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;(NIV)

Proverbs 23:22 
Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:24
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.

Ephesians 6:4 
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV)

Colossians 3:21 
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)

Hebrews 12:7
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (NIV)

~~~~Things our fathers told us~~~~

via twentytwowords.com

Psalms 78:2-8 ESV

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, (3) things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.

(4) We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

(5) He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, (6) that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, (7) so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; (8) and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.

photo by myorkutglitter.com

There are many ways the Scriptures describe those who love God and obey Him. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17); we are holy priests (1 Peter 2:5); we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17); and we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). But more significant than any title or position is the simple fact that we are God’s children and He is our Heavenly Father.

Published on May 16, 2012 by mariliss1

Fathers who give hope by John Piper

Proverbs 23:24

 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.

You can listen to the audio sermon here at DesiringGod.org.

Colossians 3:21

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Our text is straightforward and simple this morning: „Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” It divides naturally into three parts:

  1. First, there is the address, „Fathers.”
  2. Second, there is the command, „Do not provoke your children.”
  3. Third, there is the purpose of the command, „Lest they become discouraged.”

We will look at these three parts of the text one at a time in reverse order. First, we will direct our attention to the goal of Christian fathers, namely, rearing children who are not discouraged. Second, we will look at the duty of Christian fathers, namely, not to do those things that discourage children. And finally, we will focus on the leader in Christian parenthood, namely, fathers.

But first a word about the fatherhood of God.

The Fatherhood of God

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught his disciples to call God Father: „Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” He taught that God is not everyone’s Father. In John 8:42, 44 he said to those who refused to follow him, „If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God . . . You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

God is the Father only of those who are led by the Spirit of his Son. In Romans 8:9, 14–15 Paul says,

Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him . . . All who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship. When we cry, „Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Not every one can lay claim to the privilege of knowing God as Father. Only those who are born of God (John 1:13), who receive Christ (John 1:12), and who are led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14) have the right to receive the inheritance of the children—promises like Matthew 7:11, „If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” The privilege of prayer and the promise that God will work all things together for your good is part of the inheritance of sonship. That is what it means to have God as your Father.

There are two reasons I begin with this word about the fatherhood of God. One is that I believe all human fatherhood should be patterned on the divine fatherhood. The overarching guide for every father should be to live in such a way that his children can see what God the Father is like. They ought to see in their human father a reflection—albeit imperfect—of the heavenly Father in his strength and tenderness, in his wrath and mercy, in his exaltation and condescension, in his surpassing wisdom and patient guidance. The task of every human father is to be for his children an image the Father in heaven.

The other reason I begin with the fatherhood of God is to give this message relevance for everyone in this room whether you are a father or not; and whether you had a Christian father or not. I want to make clear from the outset that the sadness many may feel at never having had a father like the father I will describe, and the sadness others may feel at never having been a father like the father I will describe—that sadness can be swallowed up and overcome with joy this morning because God offers his fatherhood to anyone who will accept the gift of adoption by trusting Christ and yielding to be led by the Holy Spirit.

There are two ways to listen to this message this morning. One is to take it as a straightforward exhortation from the Word of God to fathers on how to rear their children. The other is to take it as a parable pointing to the way the Father in heaven loves those who believe and follow his Son. Frankly, I hope all of you hear it in both senses.

1. „Lest They Become Discouraged”

Let’s go to the text and begin with the last phrase of Colossians 3:21, „Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

The goal of a good father is to rear children who are not discouraged. The word implies losing heart, being listless, spiritless, disinterested, moody, sullen, with a kind of blank resignation toward life. Don’t be the kind of father who rears that kind of person. Instead develop a style of fatherhood that produces the opposite of discouragement.

The Opposite of Discouragement

Now what is that? I would sum it up in three characteristics.

  1. The opposite of being discouraged is being hopeful.
  2. The opposite of being discouraged is being happy.
  3. The opposite of being discouraged is being confident and courageous.

So I would say that the negative form of verse 21 really implies a positive command as well. It says, „Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” But it means not only avoid one kind of fatherhood; it also means pursue another kind, namely, the kind of fatherhood which gives hope instead of discouragement; and gives happiness instead of discouragement; and gives confidence and courage.

Distinctly Christian Teaching

If we stopped right here, we would not have said anything distinctly Christian. There is not one parent in ten thousand who thinks that the aim of parenthood should be to discourage children. But the apostle Paul would be distressed if all I did were to use his words here simply to express some everyday common sense, or some natural wisdom. He was not inspired by the Holy Spirit to confirm the insights of Dr. Spock. He was inspired to teach parents things that no natural eye has seen and no natural ear has heard (1 Corinthians 2:9–13).

Here is what I mean. Paul’s teaching makes it clear that when he says we should be fathers who give hope instead of discouragement, he means hope in GOD, not hope in money or hope in popularity or hope in education or hope in a spouse or hope in professional success. If you had asked Paul, or Jesus, „What kind of freedom from discouragement do you want our children to have?” he would not have said, „I want your children to be freed from discouragement by being filled with hope that they will become wealthy . . . or well-known, or intellectual, or married, or successful.” We know that is not what he means. He means, be the kind of fathers who do not discourage your children but rather fill them with hope in God.

Happiness That Kills and Happiness in God

And when we consider happiness as the opposite of discouragement, Paul would not be content if a father simply made his child feel good by giving him whatever he wanted. There is a happiness that kills. To some kinds of happiness the Scripture says, „Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection” (James 4:9). There is a happiness that has nothing to do with God, and therefore has no value in the sight of God. It comes from the creation alone and not from the Creator. That isn’t what Paul wants fathers to put in the place of discouragement.

But there is another joy that comes to expression, for example, in Psalm 4:7–8,

Thou hast put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for thou alone, O lord, makest me dwell in safety.

Fathers, don’t discourage your children, but fill them with joy in God! Teach them early on—and show them earlier yet—that through many sufferings they must enter the kingdom (Acts 14:22), but that they can rejoice in sufferings, knowing that „suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”—IN GOD (Romans 5:3–4). Don’t discourage them. Make them happy in God by helping them to hope in God.

Self-Confidence and God-Confidence

And when we consider confidence as the opposite of discouragement, the message of Scripture takes a dramatic turn away from the common sense natural wisdom of the world.

The world says: Don’t discourage a child; build up his self-confidence. The Scripture says: Don’t discourage a child; build up his God-confidence. In fact the Scripture is more precise than that; it teaches: Don’t discourage a child, but do your best to root out his self-confidence and replace it with a confidence in God. And when it teaches us to root out self-confidence, it means root out the desire to be and to appear self-confident.

The Scripture knows that most people don’t succeed in being self-confident. Most people are quite unhappy about their inability to appear self-reliant and self-assured and cool and in control. So when the Scripture teaches us to root out self-confidence, it means go for the root, not the half-withered branches. Go for the DESIRE to be self-confident, not the meager manifestations of it that make their way into peoples’ actions.

Self-Confidence Being Rooted Out of Paul

One vivid illustration of how Paul’s heavenly Father was patiently working to root out Paul’s self-confidence is given in 2 Corinthians 1:8–9. Here is a description of how God the Father was working on Paul twenty years after his conversion, which means this is a very deeply rooted sin in all of us. He writes,

We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely [or: be confident] not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

In other words, the divine purpose of Paul’s affliction was (as it is the purpose of all good fatherly discipline) to root out the remaining self-confidence of Paul’s heart and to cast him on God alone. Why? Because God didn’t want him to be confident? Because he wanted him to be listless, spiritless, moody, sullen, weak, fearful? No! It was God who came to Paul in Corinth and said, „Do NOT be afraid, but speak and do NOT be silent; for I am with you.” So the confidence that we are to build into our children is not self-confidence, but confidence in the grace and power of God. „Do not be afraid . . . I AM WITH YOU.”

The Goal of Biblical Fathers

Andrew Bonar, the 19th century Scottish pastor, said concerning the teaching of children, „We tell them, ‘You are sinners, exposed to God’s wrath and curse, and you cannot save yourselves; but God’s own Son can save you, by Himself bearing that wrath and curse.'” In other words you teach a child to despair of all self-confidence and direct his desire for confidence to the grace of God. The goal of biblical fathers is to have children who say (with Psalm 60:11–12):

O grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the help of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.

A good father will ponder: How can I be like my own heavenly Father? How can I banish self-reliance from the heart of my children and fill them with confidence and courage and zeal and boldness that are rooted in the grace and power of God and not in themselves? How can I be the kind of father whose children do not lose heart or become spiritless or listless or sullen or discouraged, but are filled with hope in God and happiness in God and confidence in God and courage to attempt great things for the glory of God?

That question leads us to turn now to the second part of our text, namely, the duty of Christian parents not to provoke their children.

2. „Do Not Provoke Your Children”

„Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Again we notice that the commandment is negative—something to be avoided. It is a warning against the misuse of legitimate authority. Paul has just said in verse 20, „Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” That gives to parents tremendous authority and responsibility under God. Children are to do what parents say.

Ruining a Child’s Confidence in God

Now in verse 21 he cautions fathers against a misuse of this God-given authority. The misuse he has in mind is that fathers might treat their children in such a way that their spirit is broken and they become hopelessly discouraged. Paul calls this misuse „provoking” them: „Do not provoke your children.”

In Ephesians 6:4 a different word is used that specifically means, „Do not provoke to anger.” But this is a very general word here in Colossians 3:21. It can even be used positively in 2 Corinthians 9:2 where it says that the Christians in Achaia provoked the Christians in Macedonia to be more generous. In other words, they „stirred them up,” or „motivated” them.

In choosing the broad and general word I think Paul would have us teach that parents should avoid everything that ruins a child’s confidence in God and leaves him hopeless and discouraged. This requires tremendous wisdom from fathers, because not all short term discouragements result in long term hopelessness. On the contrary, our heavenly Father clearly brings short term frustrations and discouragements into our lives precisely to put us on a new footing of faith. Great wisdom is needed here.

So let’s ask, then, What do fathers do that provoke children to long-term discouragement and hopelessness? I’ll mention two things.

Failing to Be Happy and Hopeful in God

First, some fathers fail to BE happy and hopeful and confident in God. Fathers, what you ARE in relation to God is far more important than any particular parenting technique you try to employ. Will your children hope in God if you hope in money? Will your children be happy in God if they see that fishing is a happier experience for you than worship? Will your children be confident in God if your whole demeanor communicates the desire to be seen as a self-confident?

The most important work that a father can do for the sake of his children is to be converted. The most important strategy for rearing children is to become a new man in Christ—whose hope and happiness and confidence are in God and not in himself.

We know this is true from Scripture because there we are taught to imitate our heavenly Father. We are told to be holy as he IS holy (1 Peter 1:16). We are told to be merciful as he IS merciful (Luke 6:36). To be a good child is to copy daddy. It honors a father to be imitated, and we are commanded to honor our fathers. And so the most important question a father can ask is not what shall I teach my children, but rather who am I before the living God and before my children?

That is the first thing that fathers can do to provoke their children to long-term discouragement and hopelessness—they can fail to BE hopeful, happy, and confident in God.

Disciplining in an Impulsive, Erratic, and Inconsistent Way

The second thing that fathers do which provokes children to long term discouragement and hopelessness is to discipline them in an impulsive, erratic and inconsistent way.

Unpredictable, impulsive, hostile discipline makes children fearful, bitter, deceitful, and discouraged. They don’t know where or why the explosion will come next. They say to themselves, „What’s the use! How can I hope that being good is any better than being bad?” And so the spirit of moral hope is broken, and in its place comes calculated, deceitful, discouraged maneuvering.

On the other hand, when discipline is controlled and appropriate and consistent and based on clear rules and principles of justice in the home, an atmosphere is created where children flourish in freedom. They know the limits and they feel secure and free to dream and play and plan and work inside those limits of righteousness.

They gain confidence that this is the way God is. He is not a capricious God. He is not impulsive or erratic or inconsistent. There is order. There is justice tempered with mercy. There is hope and encouragement. Why, I might even be able to accomplish something of value or even greatness if I fit into this order and depend on the goodness of the Father who loves me like this.

So fathers, don’t provoke your children by being impulsive, erratic, or inconsistent in your discipline. Be like your Father in heaven, so that your children can know him and become hopeful and happy and confident in him.

Much more could be said about the kinds of things that provoke long-term, discouragement and hopelessness in children. But time is out.

3. „Fathers . . . „

We can only briefly refer to the third part of the text, namely, the address: „Fathers . . . ” Verse 20 said, „Children, obey your parents.” This clearly teaches that mothers as well as fathers are to be obeyed. Mothers and fathers have a shared authority over the children. But in verse 21 fathers are addressed in particular.

Why this is so is the issue we will take up tonight. There is a peculiar role that the Scripture gives to husbands and fathers. Fathers bear a special responsibility for the moral life of the family. So I urge you to take that responsibility, fathers, and that you be the kind of man who gives hope and happiness and confidence to your children because you yourself have found your hope and your happiness and your confidence in God.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

The importance of Fathers by James Buchanan

via http://www.sermoncentral.com from  Judges 2:6-2:12  Romans 1:28-1:32 

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which of them should have the present. „Who is the most obedient?” he asked. „Who never talks back to mother? Who does everything she says?” Five small voices answered in unison. „Okay, dad, you get the toy.”

Today is the day that we honor fathers. That’s me! Honor me! Yea!

In all seriousness, we are to honor our fathers, and our mothers, and this day in June is set aside for us to honor the fathers in this country. But we are to honor our fathers, not because it’s a holiday, not because it’s a tradition, not because there are sales going on all over the country, but because God said so.

In fact, he said so very specifically. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:1-3, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

Notice that it doesn’t say, honor only good moms and dads. It doesn’t say, honor them if you like them. It doesn’t say, honor only the right ones. It says, “honor your father and mother.” And so, today, we ought to honor all fathers.

But I want to speak directly to the dads here today. And if you’re not a dad, don’t check out, because we all need to hear this. You see, we are involved in a war today, and the battleground is not in Iraq or Afghanistan. The battleground is in our homes. And what’s at stake is not our land, our property, our freedoms. It’s more important that than. What’s at stake are our children.

And believe me—it’s a war, it’s an important war, and in this country, we are losing the battle. Children are turning from the faith in record numbers. It’s as if as soon as they leave home and go to college they leave the church. And if you don’t believe me, look here this morning. And lest you think that its only a problem here, it is true all over this country. Children in record numbers are turning from God.

But it’s nothing new. It’s the same as been happening over the course of time. I want to tell you a brief Biblical story this morning that’s going to be our guide for the remaining time we have today—and I’ll be brief. It’s found in the book of Judges in the Old Testament. Genesis, exodus, Leviticus, numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges. In the pew bible it’s found on page _______________. Judges 2: 6 -12

Let me give you a little background here today. The nation of Israel had just marched into the promised land, and they were settling into the land. Now, it wasn’t a complete victory, because when they went in, they didn’t always follow what God desired, and instead of conquering all of it, they instead settled into some of it. And just before what we’re going to look at, they were instructed that they didn’t do what God desired, and they repented of it. With that in mind, let’s read this important passage this morning. Judges 2:6-12.

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. 7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heresa in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them.

Once Joshua and his generation passed away, the next generation turned their back on God and worshiped the gods of the peoples around them. Today, in 2004, they don’t wait for mom and dad to pass on. They turn away immediately, and worship the god of television. They worship the god of fashion. They worship the god of convenience. They worship the god of this world. They worship the world. What is the world, 1 John 2:16 tells us. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. (NLT)

In your notes is a passage from Romans 1:28-32 that closely parallels what is going on today in America. Let’s look at that together.

Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Do you realize we live in a culture that approves of turning its back on God? From court cases to tv to popular movies, it’s okay to make fun of religion, because it’s not important, it’s not relevant. It worked for mom and dad, but it’s not for me.

Well, can I tell you this morning, moms and dads, you are at the front lines. This is a war, and we are called to be a part. This morning, I want to give you your marching orders to tackle this important task of saving the children, and we are going to look briefly at a few steps that will help us to do so.

How can we win the war? Three suggestions this morning.

1. With our words.

Deuteronomy 6: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children.

You need to talk to you children. Be involved in their lives. Tell them about God, and tell them about the Bible. Remember last week we talked about your story. What God has done for you, so that you can share it with others. Are you sharing it with your children, what God has done for you? You need to, you ought to.

A study was done recently to determine the amount of interaction between fathers and their small children. First, the fathers were asked to estimate the amount of time they spent each day communicating with their child. The average answer was about fifteen to twenty minutes. Next, microphones were attached to the father so that each interaction could be recorded. The results of this study were shocking: The average amount of time spent by these middle-class fathers with their small children was thirty-seven seconds per day. Their direct interaction was limited to 2.7 encounters daily, lasting ten to fifteen seconds each!

Look back at Deuteronomy 6 again with me. Can that be accomplished in 37 seconds a day? Do you want to know how much time the culture has with your children? 37 seconds does not come close to meeting the job. Communicate with your children; tell them about God and about the Bible.

Proverbs 1: Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Don’t let the schools be the only thing that instruct the children. Don’t even let this church be the only thing that instructs your children. And that’s not an indictment on the teaching ministry of this church, but mom and dad, we are not responsible for raising your kids. We will help you, but when the bible tells us to Trainu a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it—that’s not to the church, that’s to parents.

Dad’s, how are you doing with your words? Are you fighting?

2. With our time.

Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, once said that he chose to fail so he could succeed. He said, „I chose to fail at golf, because I wanted to succeed as a father.” Though he loved golf immensely, he knew that he could never devote adequate time to his job, his hobby, and his family . . . so he gave up his hobby.

How are you doing with your time? We looked at Deuteronomy 6, but let’s look again at verses 7 and following: Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Dad’s, do you want to know what is important in your life today? Look at your daytimer, your palm pilot, your schedule, and where your time is devoted to, that’s what is important. Unfortunately, many dads say that by their time they love their jobs. They love their hobbies. They love their entertainment, their comfort. If you asked them if they loved their children, they would swear to you that they do. But their time doesn’t match up.

And some of you have bought into the thinking of this world. I’ve got to keep working and working and working so I can provide for them the finer things of this world, and providing for family is important and biblical,

8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. But I think that we sometimes go beyond what is necessary.

There’s a story told of a man asking his daughter if she would want quality time with her dad or quantity time with her dad. She replied, “Quality time, Dad, and lots of it!”

I read about a little girl who drew a pretty picture. She went in her dad’s office. Crawled on his lap. And said, „Daddy, come and see my picture.”

And the dad said, „Not now, honey. Dad’s busy.”

About 10 minutes later, she came back again. Crawled on his lap. And said,”Daddy, will you come see my picture now?”

And the dad got frustrated. And said, „Can’t you see I’m busy? Don’t bother me right now. I’ll come and look at your picture later. When I’m ready.”

A couple of hours later, the dad came out. And he said to the daughter, „Can I see the picture now?” And the girl said, „Sure.” And it was a picture of her and her brother and her mom standing on the lawn. With the family dog. With big smiles. On a sunny day. But the dad noticed that he wasn’t in the picture. And so the dad said, „That’s a nice picture, sweetheart. But how
come I’m not in the picture?”

And the girl said, „Because you’re working in your office, daddy.”

Time is a gift you give that you can never get back. You can give money, and always make more. You can give gifts, because you can always get new things anyway. But once time is given, it never comes back. Time reveals the priorities in your life. And if you want to win the war with for your children, you’ve got to invest time.

3. With your lives.

Genesis 18:18-19 is a revealing passage—we even looked at it last year as our prime text for father’s day. And I want to remind you of what it says to us today. Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just.

The way you live your life will be a direct reflection of how your children will grow up. There’s a song, I even sang it last year, called, “I want to be just like you.” It goes like this—I want to be just like you, cause he wants to be just like me. I want to be a holy example for his innocent eyes to see. Help me be a living Bible, Lord, that my little boy can read. I want to be just like you, cause he wants to be like me.”

I can see that now, in my son. 17 months old, and he desires to be like me. He’ll repeat words I say, he’ll repeat things I do—he loves me, and at this point, he wants to be just like me. I’d better be the right kind of dad, because he will mirror me.

It’s kind of like this situation—A little boy was caught swearing like a sailor. „Young man, where did you learn to talk that way?” said the boy’s mother. The boy looked at his father and said, „Well, Dad, should I tell her?”

2 Kings 14:3 speaks of a king of Israel named Amaziah. “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash.”

What kind of example are you setting for your kids? You words may say some things about you, but your life declares who you really are. Are you fighting the war with your lives?

As we wrap up, let me speak to the kids here today. Life isn’t always what we want, and it isn’t always what’s best, and it isn’t always pleasing to God. There are some of you here this morning who have fathers who aren’t all that great, or maybe not even there?

How can you honor your father, even when it’s difficult? How can you go through life without a good father?

Let me suggest to you something this morning. God calls the church his family. And here this morning, there are lots of good, godly dads. I would suggest to you that you go and adopt a dad. Not literally (Can you be my dad, and move in with us), but you know, go up to him and say, “I need a dad, someone I can look up to for advice and help, and I think you’d be a good dad.” And dads, if someone comes up to you and asks that, you know how you are to respond.

Well, it was a typical scenario of young boys debating whose father was the best. This discussion highlighted who their fathers knew. The first boy started the debate by claiming his father knew the mayor. He was soon topped by the second boy who said, „That’s nothing. My dad knows the governor.” The stakes were getting pretty high, and the eavesdropping father wondered what his young son would say about him. The little boy shot back, „So what! My dad knows God!” Would your son say the same thing? May our children always be able to say, „My dad knows God!”

How are you fighting the battle? Maybe you need to start today, by apologizing to your kids, and starting anew. Let’s pray.

Father’s Day Song – I Am Your Father ~ Brian Doerksen {Song For The Prodigals}

Rembrandt – The Return of the Prodigal

„See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1). This passage begins with the command: „See.” John wants us to observe the manifestations of the Father’s love. He has introduced the subject of God’s love in the preceding chapter (1 John 2:5, 15) briefly discusses it here, and fully explains it in the fourth chapter. John’s purpose is to describe the kind of love the Father gives His children, „what great love.” The Greek word translated „what great” is found only 6 times in the NT and always implies astonishment and admiration.

Interesting to note is that John does not say, „The Father loves us. Instead, he tells us that the Father has „lavished” His love on us, and this portrays an action and the extent of God’s love. John has chosen the word „Father” purposely. That word implies the father-child relationship. However, God did not become Father when He adopted us as children. God’s fatherhood is eternal. He is eternally the Father of Jesus Christ, and through Jesus He is our Father. Through Jesus we receive the Father’s love and are called „children of God.”

What an honor it is that God calls us His children and gives us the assurance that as His children we are heirs and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). In his Gospel, John also tells us that God gives the right to become children of God to all who in faith have received Christ as Lord and Savior (John 1:12). God extends His love to His Son Jesus Christ and, through Him, to all His adopted children.

When John then tells us „that is what we are!” he declares the reality of our status. Right now, at this very moment, we are His children. In other words, this is not a promise which God will fulfill in the future. No, the truth is we are already God’s children. We enjoy all the rights and privileges our adoption entails, because we have come to know God as our Father. As His children we experience His love. As His children we acknowledge Him as our Father, for we have an experiential knowledge of God. We put our trust and faith in Him who loves us, provides for us, and protects us as our earthly fathers should. Also as earthly fathers should, God disciplines His children when they disobey or ignore His commands. He does this for our benefit, so „that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).

There are many ways the Scriptures describe those who love God and obey Him. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17); we are holy priests (1 Peter 2:5); we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17); and we are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). But more significant than any title or position is the simple fact that we are God’s children and He is our Heavenly Father.

Published on May 16, 2012 by mariliss1

Fathers, Bring Them Up in the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord by John Piper

A Tribute to My Father, William Solomon Hottle Piper -from  www.DesiringGod.org

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Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. „Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), „that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

My aim in this message is threefold. First, in obedience to Ephesians 6:1-2, to honor my father. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’” When children are younger and moving toward adulthood, they should honor their father especially by obeying him. I don’t mean to the exclusion of mothers. But the focus today will be on fathers. As children move out of childhood into adulthood the way we honor our fathers is not primarily in the category of obedience, but rather by tribute and care. Today I pay tribute to my father even as the days of increasing care have come.

The promise in verse 3, taken from Deuteronomy 5:16, “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land,” I take to be a general encouragement based on the fact that in the days of Israel when there was humility and respect and obedience to parents God protected the people from their enemies and prospered them. But when they forsook his laws and became arrogant and disrespectful and disobedient he gave them over to their enemies. The point is not that every child who is obedient will live a long life. The point is that God delights in obedience and gives special blessings to families and churches and peoples where that kind of humility and respect and obedience prevails. So the first part of my aim in this message is to honor my father by paying him public tribute.

The second part of my aim is to inspire fathers to be worthy of this kind of tribute—to help you see the glory of your calling to exhibit the fatherhood of God to your children and lead them to faith and Christian maturity. I pray that Christ will take what I say about my own father and will use it to make you better fathers.

Third, my aim is to glorify the Fatherhood of God whose Fatherhood is the source and pattern of all human fatherhood. Human fatherhood exists to display the beauty of God’s Fatherhood. Our highest calling as fathers is to be the image of God’s fatherhood to our children. I think this is implied in the words of verse 4b: “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” What does it mean that our discipline and instruction should be “of the Lord”?

It means, in part, that in our fathering we take our cues from the Lord Jesus. Jesus, in his human nature and in his earthly ministry directed the disciples again and again to the Father in heaven. And in his life and death he modeled for us how to relate to God as our Father. His longest prayer in John 17 begins, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you’ (v. 1). The discipline and instruction of the Lord takes its cues from the Lord Jesus who lived and died to glorify his Father in heaven. No father here should do less. Our calling as fathers is to exhibit the glory of the Fatherhood of God.

So I turn with a sense of deepest gratitude and joy to pay tribute to my father publicly and through this to honor my Father in heaven who adopted me, an undeserving sinner, into his everlasting and supremely happy family on the basis of Christ’s blood and righteousness alone.

My father is 86 years old and lives in home called Shepherd’s Care owned and operated by Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina—the school from which he graduated and which conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. His short term memory is weak, but his memory of Christ and his word is strong. And for that I thank God.

Here is a fragment of the legacy of truth imparted to me by my father. And I hope that you will see before we are done that the word “imparted” is no mere transmission of information, but involves a whole life of demonstration of what he taught. I will mention eleven precious truths imparted to me by my father.

1. There is a great, majestic God in heaven, and we were meant to live for his glory not ours.

Most of these truths that I will mention are rooted in my memory of particular texts that were branded on my mind at home. Few texts were more often on Daddy’s lips in relation to me than 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I am sure that in heaven some day the Lord will make plain the unbreakable chain of influences that led from that verse when I was a boy to the mission statement of this church: “We exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.” This won’t be the only influence you will see of my father on that mission statement.

2. When things don’t go the way they should, God always makes them turn for good.

Even more prominent in my growing up was the presence of Romans 8:28 in our family: “God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”

I have several vivid memories of this truth. One was in 1974 when I rode with my father in the ambulance from Atlanta to Greenville with my mother’s body in the hearse following behind. They had just been flown in from Israel where Mother had been killed in an accident and Daddy was seriously injured. All the way home, for three and a half hours, he would weep and talk and weep and talk. He was 56. They had been married 36 years. And when he talked it was Romans 8:28. I remember the very words: “God must have a reason for me to live. God must have a reason for me to live.” In other words, God governs our accidents and makes no mistakes.

I will never cease to be thankful that I heard and saw the truth of Romans 8:28 in my father’s life, “When things don’t go the way they should, God always makes them turn for good.”

3. God can be trusted.

How many times did I hear the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” And Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I can see us as a family when I was just a child. We were all (Mother, Daddy, my older sister, Beverly) sitting around a card table my parents’ bedroom folding letters and stuffing envelopes which would be sent to pastors asking them to consider having my father come lead their churches in evangelistic meetings. This was Daddy’s life—he was a full time evangelist—and our livelihood. The answers to these letters meant bread on the table and paid bills. Then we prayed over these envelopes and Daddy closed in a spirit of utter confidence: God will answer and meet every need. He can be trusted.

He told me more than once of a financial crisis when I was six years old in which he almost lost everything. And he said that God used Psalm 37:5 to sustain him and bring him through: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will act.”

And so I saw and I learned: God can be trusted.

4. Life is precarious, and life is precious. Don’t presume that you will have it tomorrow and don’t waste it today.

My memory of my Father’s preaching was that he always began with humor but within seconds he was blood earnest and talking about heaven and hell, and sin and Christ and life and death. One text above all others rings in my ears with terrible seriousness. He squinted when he said it and his mouth pursed tightly the way it does after you taste a lemon: “It is appointed unto men once to die, after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27) It made a huge impression on me as a boy.

The motto on Daddy’s college wall was, “The wise man prepares for the inevitable”

The plaque in our kitchen when I was growing up was: “Only one life ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

The stories of wasted lives tumbled from his mouth:

“During a South Carolina [campaign] a lovely high school senior attended every night but refused to accept Christ. Shortly after the crusade while driving her car over a treacherous railroad crossing, she was killed instantly by a freight train she failed to see coming.”

“While in a Pennsylvania campaign, I witnessed a whole town shaken by the sudden deaths of six young men. Driving home from an afternoon football practice, they failed to stop at a major intersection and were struck broadside by a heavy truck. Six were dead within three hours.”

“I’ve seen babies die in their mothers’ arms. I’ve seen little boys and girls struck down before their lives had scarcely begun. I’ve witnessed men die in the prime of life and others at the height of success.” (Menace, pp. 49-50)

He told story of a girl who said she would give her life to God when she was old. A wise old woman sent her a bouquet of dead flowers, and when the girl expressed offense, she said, “Isn’t that the way you are treating God?”

And most memorable of all to my young mind: The old man saved in the eleventh hour of his life weeping in Daddy’s arms: “I’ve wasted it. I’ve wasted it.”

5. A merry heart does good like a medicine and Christ is the great heart-Satisfier.

That’s a quote from Proverbs 17:22. My father has been the happiest man I have ever known. Here is the kind of things he said in a sermon called “A Good Time and How to Have It.”

“Right from the start, let’s get one thing straight; a Christian is not a sour puss. I grant you that some of them look and act that way, but you simply can’t blame God for it.”

“Some folks seem to have been born in the objective case, the contrary gender and the bilious mood.”

“Mama, that mule must have religion too, he looks just like Grandpa.” (Good Time, p. 7).

He preached another sermon called “Saved, Safe and Satisfied.” He said, “He is God. When you fully trust Him you have all that God is and all that God has. You cannot be otherwise than satisfied with the perfect fullness of Christ.” (Good Time, p. 48).

He said worldly Christians are like a cow with her head stuck through fence eating stubby grass on the highway while a beautiful green pasture lies behind her.

A merry heart does good like a medicine and Christ is the great heart-Satisfier. What a legacy of joy my father has left!

6. A Christian is a great doer not a great don’ter.

We Pipers were fundamentalists without the attitude. We had our lists of things not to do. But that wasn’t the main thing. Here’s what my father preached in a sermon called The Greatest Menace to Modern Youth.

Millions insist upon thinking that Christianity is a negative religion. You don’t do this and you can’t do that. You don’t go here and your can’t go there. To the contrary, the Bible constantly sounds the triumphant and positive note. “Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only.” . . . “Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do with all your might.”

God wants us to be doers, not don’ters. A Christian who is only a don’ter is a sour saint who spread gloom wherever he goes. A don’ter is usually a hypocritical Pharisee. Years ago, I heard the late Dr. Bob Jones say. “Do so fast you don’t have time to don’t.” That sums it up.

That left an indelible mark on my life. We had strict standards, but I never chaffed under them. They were not the point. Enjoying Christ, doing good and loving people was the point. The rest was just fencing to protect the good field of faith and purity.

7. The Christian life is supernatural.

I have one precious DVD of my father preaching. It is a message on new the new birth. John 3:7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” Becoming a Christian was not a mere decision. It was a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

And therefore he believed in prayer—crying out to God to do the miracle of the new birth. We prayed together every night as a family, because the great need in life is supernatural, divine power to live with joy—and that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, not a work of our own.

I saw that my father’s work was not a human work. It was divine work. Impossible work. But with God all things are possible.

8. Bible doctrine is important but don’t beat people up with it.

At this point he admitted openly to me with grief that our fundamentalist tradition let him down. There was great truth, but too many of them were not great lovers. I can remember him saying: If they only understood Ephesians 4:15, “Speaking the truth in love.” So from as early as I can remember he showed me the importance of both right doctrine and the way of love. They must never be separated.

9. Respect your mother.

If you wanted to see Daddy angry, let one of his children sass our mother. He not only knew the command of God to honor our mothers; he also knew the extraordinary debt that every child owes a mother. Time and again he would compare true love not to married love but to mother’s love. He knew the price my mother paid for him to be away so much. Therefore, he would tolerate no insolence or disrespect toward her. I trembled at the fierce gaze in his eyes if I said something sarcastic to my mother.

10. Be who God made you to be and not somebody else.

My father was short, a good bit shorter than I am. But he was content and could joke about it. The one I remember is that he said he was part of a football team as boy, and the name of the team was “Little potatoes but hard to peel.” I think God delights to make short men great preachers. (Remember John Wesley!)

For me this contentment with being who God made you to be meant freedom. He never forced me or pressured me to be an evangelist or a pastor or anything else. His counsel was always: seek God and be what he has made you to be. And then what your hand finds to do, do it with all your might for the glory of Christ.

I close with one more truth, the central truth of my father’s life. This was what he preached and what he loved. So I will let him preach it one more time to you as we close:

11. People are lost and need to be saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

My father was an evangelist. His absence from home two thirds of the year (in and out, in and out) meant one main thing. Sin and hell are real and horrible, and Jesus Christ is a great savior. Here’s a direct quote from my Dad:

“In my evangelistic career I have had the thrill of seeing people from all walks of life come to Christ. I have seen many professional people saved. I have knelt with Ph.D.’s and led them to Jesus. College professors, bankers, lawyers, doctors. I have seen them all saved.

Then I have seen many from the other side of life come to the Lord. I have put my arm around drunkards in city missions and prayed with them. I have sat by the bedside of dying alcoholics and led them to Christ. I have seen the poor, the forsaken, the derelicts, the outcasts all come to the Savior. Yes, God takes them, too. Isn’t it wonderful that anyone who wants to can come to Christ.” (Grace for the Guilty, p. 111)

Perhaps you never had a father like that, but right now you hear your heavenly father calling, “Come home, come home!” Father’s Day would be a good time to stop running and come home.

I thank you heavenly father for my earthly father. What a legacy he has left to me and my children and grandchildren—and to this church. O, raise up fathers in this church with great legacies of faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

© Desiring God

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

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