Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďA FATHERíS DUTY TO PROVIDE, TO PROTECT, AND TO PROCLAIMĒ

 

This message from Godís Word will be practical, practical, practical, and above all practical. It will not be a complex sermon, but an extremely simple and straightforward message, building on truths that are foundational, though they are truths that most these days seem to be unfamiliar with. Along the way, please do not misunderstand directness for lack of love or compassion. I have an abundant supply of both, but find that facts are most helpful to people.

Let me begin by declaring that the Bible is the very Word of God. Authored by God Himself over a period of about 1,400 years with more than forty human instruments on three continents and using three languages, it is a book that has stood the test of time and scrutiny while scientists and archaeologists for centuries have been scrambling to catch up to its unchanged and unchangeable treasure trove of truth. Beginning with the Bible, and because it is Fathers Day, let me say that fathers are important. Not only are fathers important, they are essential, they are crucial, and they are indispensable. The child who is raised without a father, as well as the child who is raised by a neglectful, an incompetent, or perverse father will face some serious challenges in life. That I promise you. How do I know fathers are so important? Is it because of the plethora of recent studies referred to on various Internet sites that recognize the importance of dads as we approach Fathers Day? Not at all. If the Internet is your source for truth you are in serious trouble. I know fathers are important because in the Word of God we find that God identifies Himself to His own as Father and has chosen to refer to the adult male who sired you as your father. See the connection? Every childís dad is supposed to be Godís stand-in in the family unit. That makes fathers important even if most dads have no real appreciation of the role God designed for them to occupy, of their own importance in the lives of their children, and even if mothers foolishly think they donít need any man to help them raise their children. Additionally, when the Apostle Paul explained his crucial ministry to the Thessalonian Christians as being so much like a diligent and successful fatherís involvement in the lives of his kids, reminding them how he and his colleagues holily and justly and unblameably conducted themselves in their efforts to comfort, and exhort, and charge them in their Christian lives as a father does his children (if he has a clue about fatherhood, that is), the importance of a father in a childís life is thereby reinforced. Despite the importance of fathers there are a very large number of men in the world today who seem to be profoundly interested only in activities associated with making babies, all the while paying little or no attention to the gut-wrenching task of actually raising the children they have sired. That so many men get away with that kind of irresponsible behavior may tell us almost as much about the wisdom of many mothers as it tells us about the essential childishness of so many so-called men.

To restate the foundational truths rehearsed so far, remember that the Bible is Godís Word and that fathers are important. So what if so many people doubt the Bible and the importance of fathers? That reflects on them, not the Bible or the importance of fathers. The third foundational truth to rehearse before jumping into my simple Fathers Day message is your dire need of Jesus Christ. The eternal Son of the living God is not only virgin born, crucifixion for your sins dead, resurrection victory over death alive, and ascension to His Fatherís right hand on high exalted and glorified, but He is also life, and light, and truth, and the only Savior of sinful menís souls. Turn from your sins and trust Him or you will perish, suffering the endless wrath of an angry God in the lake that burns with unquenchable fire forever and forever and forever. To draw these three foundational truths together, the Bible is Godís Word and is true, fathers are important and if you are a dad or ever hope to be a dad you are or will be more important than you can possibly understand, but if you get through this life without turning to Jesus Christ you will not only fail as a father, but you will also fail as a human being and will spend eternity suffering the endless torment of the damned.

Those foundational truths established, do I need to go into great detail about the whys and wherefores of good dads, successful fathers, conscientious men loving and raising their children needing to be godly Christian men who are spiritual leaders and prayer warriors in their homes? Good. So, if you are not yet a dad and you expect to someday be a dad, do your kids a great favor and make sure their dad is a Christian dad so that whatever problems in life they face will not be the result of having a loser father whose only guidance is leading your kids to Hell as they loyally follow you to your destiny of damnation. What about if you are already a dad and you are not a Christian? Then, my friend, you are running out of time.

Though my sermon should be helpful for men who already have kids, these points that I raise will be most beneficial for those who are not yet dads, and who perhaps did not have good dads while growing up, so you will understand in greatly condensed fashion, the formula for a Christian man to be a successful dad. Of course, you read your Bible. Of course, you are a man of prayer. Of course, you faithfully attend church. These and other things go without saying. What I aim to give you is the essence in publicly observable activities that are found in the lives of great fathers and wonderful grandfathers:

 

First, IT IS A FATHERíS DUTY, HOLY OBLIGATION, AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE

 

This is not rocket science, but it seems to be increasingly obvious that more and more boys growing up to physical if not emotional adulthood appear to be unaware of this duty of fatherhood. Yet there are passages in Godís Word that show this to be a reality that is as old as humanity. Consider, first, Proverbs 14.23:

 

ďIn all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.Ē

 

This bit of wisdom establishes the universal benefit to one and all of actually working, and contrasts profitable working with the tendency toward poverty of those who do little more than talk. If the universal wisdom of Proverbs 14.23 is not sufficient, consider the Mosaic Law requirement found in the fourth of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20.9:

 

ďSix days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.Ē

 

In other words, it was Godís will for the Jewish people, the men of that nation not being in any way exceptions, to work. And why shouldnít a man, especially a father, work? Is he to wait for his monthly check from the government? What a wonderful example for his children.

Lest you think the mandate to work is a concept limited to the Hebrew scriptures alone, please turn to Second Thessalonians 3.10-14 and the Apostle Paulís instructions to the new believers in that congregation:

 

10    For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

11    For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12    Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

13    But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14    And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

 

Is this not amazing? According to the Apostle Paul, there is a one to one correlation between a man working and a man eating, and if a man does not work he should not eat! In verse 12 he goes so far as to command men to work. Furthermore, notice from verse 14 that if a man is not already shamed by his unproductive lifestyle and unwillingness to work, he is to be avoided by right thinking Christians so he will be ashamed of his despicable lifestyle choice.

One more passage for you along this line; First Timothy 5.8 being a single verse lifted from a passage written by Paul to Timothy about the concept of honoring and providing for your family:

 

ďBut if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.Ē

 

Is it not interesting in this day in which so many men are content to sit idly by while the women of their family work full time to provide for their households while men are content to do almost nothing? They wrongly think spending time with the kids compensates for their unwillingness to work. It does not! The Apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, informs us that a man who does not provide for his own household has not only denied the Christian faith, he is actually worse than an infidel. An infidel is an unbeliever. Yet such a man is actually worse than a Hell-bound unbeliever.

So, what are we to conclude with respect to a fatherís duty, honor, and privilege to provide for his family?

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job.

 

Get a job!

 

Next, IT IS A FATHERíS DUTY, HOLY OBLIGATION, AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT

 

What should a father protect his children from? What should a father protect their mother from?

A father should protect the physical well-being of his family. Here is where the duty of a father to provide and the duty to protect overlap. Part of protecting your loved ones involves providing a relatively safe environment for them to live in, a safe neighborhood, a safe community, and a safe home that has some protections against violence and incursion. Of course, the bum who wonít work cannot provide the level of safety and protection that a diligent and hard working man can and will provide. That said, even the safest of neighborhoods are not so far removed from threats of violence. Therefore, a man needs to exercise wisdom so that his neighbors are helpful in his efforts to keep his family safe, while at the same time bringing them to understand that his is simply not a home someone wants to risk entering without authorization.

A father should next protect the material well-being of his family. I am not so much convinced a man needs to make every toy and gadget available to his kids and wife while he is alive, as I am that a father should make provision for the well-being of his family when he is no longer around. Again, this goes back to being a provider as a means of being a protector. Such activities are intertwined, are they not? Before a man marries he needs to plan and prepare for the protection of his family by preparing himself. Be it education, a marketable skill, diligence in saving, or whatever, my conviction is that it is my responsibility to provide for my wife even after I die, just as it is a dadís responsibility to protect his children from financial catastrophe should he die before they reach adulthood. You may not yet be a father, but what about the future? Are you planning, preparing, saving, and laboring to position yourself to be a protector against catastrophe and ruin should you marry, father a child, and then unexpectedly leave behind a widow with a small child? Their care and well-being still your responsibility after you are dead, you spend your time as a single young man dinking around playing video games and doing nothing important when you should spend your time getting yourself ready for marriage and fatherhood? I think a young man who marries should plan on securing a term life insurance policy each time his wife gets pregnant with a child, providing financial security for her in the event her husband dies before her child reaches adulthood. Something happens to dad when junior is two years old, mom gets enough money to raise junior and get him into adulthood before the money runs out. I am not sure a woman should consider marrying a man who does not love her enough to protect her future and the future of their children.

Then of course there is the spiritual well-being of a fatherís family. How can a man provide spiritual protection for his loved ones if he is not spiritual himself? If he is not a spiritual and godly man he is already a spiritual casualty, suckered by seducing spirits and their demonic doctrines.[1] We are engaged in spiritual conflict. The battle that rages is obvious to everyone who is not a blind and deceived bystander.[2] And the man who would protect his loved ones from that which is most dangerous, their spiritual harm, will do so by first of all being a godly man himself, a prayer warrior, and one who wields the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. What an utter disappointment to a Christian father is a child who rejects the faith of his father. What malpractice of parenthood it is when a dad is so spiritually nonchalant that he has no concern for moral purity of his children, is unconcerned if his children are virgins when they marry, gives no thought to their eternal destiny, and never wonders what kind of parents his children will be to his beloved grandchildren.

I hear many men these days talking about being sheep dogs instead of mere sheep, protecting their families from wolves. I appreciate that mentality so long as it does not stop short of providing spiritual protection for your family, but focuses only on protecting from physical harm. Men, I propose that we never allow thoughts of our childrenís eternity to be far removed from our minds and hearts.

 

Finally, IT IS A FATHERíS DUTY, HOLY OBLIGATION, AND RESPONSIBILITY TO PROCLAIM

 

I am not suggesting that fathers need to be preachers, as such. I am simply pointing out that this notion that men can satisfactorily lead only by example is the product of naivetť and an ignorance of scripture. At some point, sir, you absolutely have to engage in conversation with your children about the great issues of life. Allow me to establish the truth of what I have just asserted and then a bit of an explanation:

 

Deuteronomy 6.4-9: 4      Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5      And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6      And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7      And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8      And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9      And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

 

Read through the entire Old Testament before you zero in on this passage so you might establish its contextual and cultural setting. Then you will realize the role fathers were expected to play (and did play) in the fulfillment of this divine directive. Thus, fathers were expected to speak to their children and were commanded to speak to their children about spiritual and moral issues.

 

Proverbs 1.8 and 4.1: 1.8   My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.

 

4.1   Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

 

Add to these two verses Proverbs 3.2 (a fatherís correction), Proverbs 6.20 (a fatherís commandments), and Proverbs 13.1 and 15.5 (a fatherís instruction). Then there is Proverbs 23.22, where a child is advised to hearken to his father. To be sure, a fatherís good example is priceless. However, a good example is not sufficient, unless by good example you include a fatherís willingness to open his mouth to speak to his sons and daughters about important moral and spiritual matters.

Now turn to what is known by many of you to be my favorite passage in scripture related to this subject of fatherhood, First Thessalonians 2.10-12, where the Apostle Paul likens his apostolic ministry in Thessalonica to a good dadís relationship with his children:

 

10    Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

11    As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

12    That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

 

May I point out only two things in this passage for you dads and dads to be to consider about fatherhood? First, we see in verse 10 how crucial it is that you be a certain kind of father. Kids observe what kind of man you are, dad. Make sure that though no child ever had a perfect dad you will by Godís grace be a dad who is holy with respect to God, just with respect to others, and unblamable with respect to your child. No kid deserves less and no kid can hope for more. Next, notice verse 11, the words exhorted and comforted and charged as describing Paulís fatherly ministry. To exhort and comfort and charge are words that describe how a person opens his mouth and talks. Therefore, to be a dad you absolutely have to talk to your child. To exhort means to speak about something that is happening. To comfort is to speak about something that has already happened. To charge is to speak about something that has not yet occurred but is certain to take place. Fathers and grandfathers must talk to children.

These passages I have brought to your attention do not suggest that you need to be an orator to be a good father or grandfather, or that you need to engage in extended and intricate conversations with your children. That may not be who you are. However, regardless of who you are you must speak, because silence when words need to be spoken is grisly torture. That is why Solomon wrote in Proverbs 27.5, ďOpen rebuke is better than secret love.Ē

Each father has his own personal style of communicating. Thatís fine. However, whatever your personality happens to be, if you bear the responsibility of being an adult male head of household and are thereby the de facto father of children living in the house, you have a duty to speak, to proclaim, to say words and phrases that need to be said to boys and girls, not only as they are growing up but also after they reach adulthood.

 

Have I freaked you out? Have I filled you with horror? Have I forever removed from you any desire to be a father, much less a good father? Never fear. Each of us is a work in progress. That said, if you are a Christian man, and I mean a truly Christian man, you will find these central features of fatherhood to be more like mole hills than tall mountains to scale. A real key, of course, is your involvement in church and hanging around other men who are themselves committed to providing, protecting, and proclaiming. Sadly, guys who have no intention of providing, protecting, and proclaiming in ways that please God donít much hang around the church house and the men who are by Godís grace good men, good husbands, and great dads. They seem to come up with one excuse or another to justify rejecting us and what we believe. Sadly, that is not only their loss, but it proves to be of great loss to their children.

What is good and glorious about God and the gospel of Godís grace is that even in the life of some fellow who came from a terrible home and had no acceptable father image to benefit from growing up can become a great and godly dad. Understand, it is not a simple formula, like baking a cake. It involves seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. However, bit by bit, a little here and a little there, we take note over time of what God does in a ladís life, in a young manís life, and even in an older guyís life to transform him into a truly effective and beloved father.

Simple and practical. That is what todayís message has been. Provide, protect, and proclaim. If you want to get into specifics about such things, and perhaps formulate a careful plan so that when you become a father someday you will have a good shot at being a good one, then perhaps we should talk so I can make a couple of suggestions for you to consider.

Before we wrap it up, let me relate to you our wonderful time yesterday morning when some of our fine men and lads, along with Eugene Kozachenko and his son Nikita, met for breakfast and the rehearsal of our memories about dads, grandfathers and uncles providing, protecting, and proclaiming in influential ways that shaped our lives. It was remarkable to me the number of us (me included) who had things to say about our grandfathers and how they influenced our lives. I mention that to remind you men that though your own children are raised, you are not finished influencing young lives. I just trust that you are the kind of man whose influence of the young is a godly influence and beneficial to your grandchildren for eternity.

May God give us men after His own heart who love Him and serve Him, while they provide for their families, while they protect their families, and while they proclaim to their families things that are best said by them.



[1] Ephesians 6.10-18; 1 Timothy 4.1

[2] 2 Corinthians 4.3-4


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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org