Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered June 10, 2006 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Tender Warrior

(RealAudio Version available)


Did you know hat here in America we just twenty years away from barbarism. Twenty years is all the time we've got to civilize the infants who are born into our midst each year. When that little infant is born, those little savages are selfish. They know nothing of our language, our culture, our values or customs. They are totally ignorant of our banking system, our international relations, or our religious beliefs. They don't know anything. They are little heathens. They don't even love Jesus. The new baby is in the dark about communism, democracy and civil liberties.. That barbarian must be tamed if civilization is to survive. 1 It's got to happen. The tamers of these wild beasts are the mother and the father. I don't know, and I'm not going to go there.

Did you know the word father or its equivalent appears almost fifteen hundred times in the Bible! That's a lot. More than almost any other single word. A good father is a person who nurtures, protects, and is empathetic, responsive, involved and tender. A good father has compassion for his children. Psalm 136 -- over 2 dozen times in just one chapter it states that our Heavenly Father has a love that endures forever. That's the one thing that you think about when you think about God. God is a God of love. God is love. And He is the example of how all fathers ought to be. In no way is the Bible father a dictator.

Every father is a king, a servant-king, like the King of Kings, Who is known by His great love which endures forever. Ideal fathers are not taskmasters. They don't have a whip in their back closet. They are not a ruthless military type sergeants to their offspring. At home they are tender warriors. They come home from work dead tired and want to rest. Yet somehow a good father chooses to miss the ball game on TV so that he can go out in the yard and play ball with his kids even though he is dead tired. When he is worn out after supper and sees his equally tired wife, a good father will wash the dishes. Maybe some men could use a little dish water to get their hands a little cleaner. They work so hard, but they're tired , too. It's sharing. That's what's involved here. I Corinthians 16:13 speaks to men: Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. Be strong.

Your kids expect you to be strong. Your wife depends on you to be strong. The bible says to be strong. The food manufactures expect you to be strong. That is the reason they put the lid on the jelly jar so tight. They expect the strong man in the house to have enough muscles to get the crazy thing off! The man is supposed to be strong.

The man who is like our Heavenly Father is the greatest man of all: Loving, serving, caring, intimate, forgiving, kind, and strong. Fathers, love your children. It's often been said that the greatest thing that you can do for your children is to love their mother. If you demonstrate love in the home, the children will catch it. Love their mother.

Did you know that historians keep track of everything? They keep track of domestic violence. According to what I read this week, in the entire history of domestic violence, there has never been even one instance where a man was killed by his wife while he was washing the dishes.2. That has never happened. Love your family. Love God and you will be successful. The father should be the loving leader, and the mother should be the leading lover. There ought to be love in the home.

Fathers go out and fight dragons every day. They leave the comforts of their home and head off to the dusty amphitheater to face all kinds of dragons. The arena could be called an office or a factory or whatever. And there with calloused skilled hands they take on the challenges of the day. They are knights in shining armor or fathers in gleaming trousers--there's little difference today. Yet fathers are frightened more easily than mothers. While mothers can shed tears, fathers have to stand there and beam on the outside while they are dying on the inside. Fathers grow old faster than mothers. We laugh sometimes when actually we are scared half to death. Fathers are persons who have replaced the money in their billfold with family pictures.

Fathers are forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic. They are worshiped or scorned by their children depending on what day it is and what they have said or didn't say. Eventually a good father gives his daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough, so that they can have grand children that are smarter than anybody's. Fathers do know best if they really know God best.

You fathers, live the Christian life before your children. They'll catch it. That's how you tame the barbarian. You set the example, and you pray for them. You see, kids are like sponges. They are quietly soaking up everything that they see and hear.

A man took his small son out to the golf course. "Would you like to come and play golf with me today, son?" "Why, sure, I would. I'll ride in the golf cart and we'll go out and we'll play golf." On the way home, the dad got the boy a set of play golf clubs. The little boy came home and that evening they were all out in the back yard together and the little boy said, "Would you like to see me play golf?" "Okay, we'll do that." So he took a club, swung it, cursed and then hurled his club at a tree. He had indeed learned to play golf just like he was taught. He had soaked it up. He knew what to do. He played golf just like he was taught.

Heredity is soaked in before they are born before environment even gets a chance. You can't do anything to change heredity. That is fixed. The trouble is that a lot of heredity comes from us. Therefore, the only thing that you can do is to work on environment. You can model cardinal virtues that you want your children to have in their life. They will never have it unless they see it in you, and unless they see it in your home. The power of example is one of the greatest powers that a father can ever do for his children. It's overwhelming, as is the power of a bad example.

One day a father came home with a grin on his face. His fourteen year old son (we will call him Tom) noticed and asked what happened. "I got pinched for speeding, but Jake down at the City Hall got the ticket fixed for me," the father said. At age fifteen Tom was with his mother when she backed the car into a tree. They got out and looked at the car. It was all dented in, and the mother said, "I'll tell you what. We'll just be quiet about this and we'll say someone rammed us when we were parked downtown, then we will collect the insurance for it."

When Tom was sixteen he heard his Uncle John bragging, that in his business he sent no bills and received only cash. No checks. "Why be a sucker and let the IRS get all my hard earned money?" he asked. "There's a way to beat this system." When Tom was eighteen he was ready for college and the family registered him at the local college and they asked, "What is you income?" "Well, what difference does that make?" "If your income is a certain amount you can get some pretty good grants here." "Well our income isn't much. It's very low." And they managed to get paperwork remodeled and got some big grants for Tom. After several months in school Tom was having a rough time academically, so he purchased a set of answers to a calculus examination and he was caught and expelled.

When Tom returned home his mother burst into hysterical weeping. "What have you done to us, son? Here you've been in college and you've been kicked out of college. This has never happened to our family before. What's the matter with you? You have disgraced our family." She obviously did not recognize that the daily practices speak louder than Sabbath platitudes. They had lived a lie and Tom got the message. Your kids are going to be like you are. So be careful how you live your life in front of your kids. As fathers, we need to be a proper example to young eyes that watch us. The young eyes belong to barbarians that are born into our midst, and they're learning what to be like. They see what you do more than you might imagine. So, set a proper example.

Come over here to Ephesians 6:4. This is an interesting verse. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Put them on your knee and read the Bible to them. Bring them up in the instruction of the Lord and don't exasperate your children. Do you know what that means? Don't take them and disappoint them. Make sure that they know you are dependable.

A little boy asked, "Daddy where did God come from?"

Dad (reading the paper), "I don't have any idea."

Boy, "Why is the earth round?"

Dad, "Beats me son. I don't know."

Boy, "Do people live out there on the other planets?"

Dad, :Nobody knows the answer to that."

Finally the boy asked, "Do you mind me asking you all these questions?"

Dad (puts down the paper), "Not at all son, how else are you going to learn?"

By the way if you want to know where God came from look up Habakkuk 3:3 Do people live on other planets? Yes! See Revelation 12:12, Hebrews 1:2 = "Worlds" Hebrews 11:3 and Job 1:6 and 7. People live in those places.

Praise the Lord for questions. Thank God for fathers who have read the Bible enough to know some of the answers. You will never know all of the answers and you can admit some of the answers you don't know. But what an opportunity for a father to put that newspaper down and take his son in his lap and open the well worn Bible and read the answers together! Fathers, let your children see you reading and enjoying your Bible. Read the Word of God yourself and read it to them. What an opportunity! Take that well-worn Bible.

I was up here Thursday and I had Ed Moon's Bible in my hands. I don't know how well you knew Ed Moon, but I will tell you that Ed Mon knew the Bible. That Bible was all marked up. It had prints on each page where he had turned the pages. He was an auto mechanic and had a little bit of that on each corner of the page. A well-used Bible.

Take your well-worn Bible and put your child on your lap and show him the scriptures. Show him the answers. Let your children see you reading the Bible. Let your children see you enjoying the Bible. Read the Word of God yourself. Read it to them.

There were two brothers growing up in the same house. But they were so different. Jim said, "When I get big I'll find me a hideout in the mountains and I'm going to rob the rich guys." Before his shocked father could respond, Jim's brother Bill said: "Not Me!, I'm going to be a medical missionary somewhere in the mission field when I grow up." We would be tempted to wonder how two boys living under the same roof with the same parents and the same rules could have such different values.

Do you know how that happens? They are under the same roof but they're different. They are actually not in the same house. Jim was constantly reading comic books and novels and stories of villains. He loved bandit stories the best. The bad guys were his heroes. Bill, on the other hand, spent his time reading books on Christian service, on missionaries, and living a life dedicated to the Lord. They lived in the same house, yet they were in two different worlds with their books and their thinking. They were miles apart, with different heroes, different ideals, their minds going in opposite directions; becoming two different boys.

I'll tell you that it makes a big difference what children read. One book or just one issue of one magazine can change the outcome of a whole life for good or for bad! So can just one TV program or one movie. They become molds in shaping your children. Turn to Jeremiah 3:4. ...My Father, my friend from my youth... Fathers, you are a guide to your children. A Master Guide! Where are you guiding them?

You need to spend quality time with your children. Do the best you can do under the circumstances that you face. Not because you feel you have to, but because it gives you joy, I gives you pleasure to be with your children. Start now to make positive contributions to your children's good memories. You can create a basis today for being remembered as a great father. Time and love are all that separate a good father from a rotten father.

You can't call two brief minutes quality time with your children. You cannot be a great father and never be there. Our Heavenly Father is omnipresent, always there! Be there for your kids. Want to be there. Commit to being there. Be proud of being there.

Be there with their mother. At times the thought of divorce may seem attractive, but do all you can to save your marriage. If even for the sake of the kids. Did you know that forty percent of those who divorce regret the decision within five yrs? And two thirds of second marriages do not work. Stay with the wife you have right now. Be there as a couple for your children.

Back in 1951 a study of five-year-old's was conducted in which parents were questioned in detail about how their preschoolers were raised; especially looking at the methods of discipline. In 1987 they contacted all the former five year old's who were now forty years old. They found that the kids who had been held, cuddled, and showered with hugs and kisses had grown into mature satisfied, happy adults. Kids who had grown up under strict-discipline authoritarian parents were less successful as adults. Having warm, loving parents in early childhood, was more important than other factors-like being from a well-to-do family. Even more important than having parents who were divorced or alcoholic.3.

Come over to Colossians 3. Now I know many of you have different versions of the Bible. I'm going to read this in two or three of them. Colossians 3:21. (Clear Word) Parents, Don't antagonize your children or they will become bitter and will be discouraged from becoming Christians! Don't provoke them to anger- KJV, irritate-(Moffett), overcorrect-(Phillips).

I pity the children who grow up with legalistic, dictator, Pharisee type parents, like sergeants. They just march to the whip. Try to be like our loving Savior. He does not treat us like we deserve. God is love. God is forgiving, kind, tender. Be like the father of the prodigal son. God is not a bully.

Good fathering begins when someone big and powerful takes someone little and powerless into his arms, smiles, and shows caring love. Never let go of your kids. Keep hoping. Pray. Be willing to give your life to save even one lost sheep.

The greatest want of the world is the want of fathers-- who will not be bought or sold, fathers who in their inmost souls are true and honest, fathers who do not fear to call sin by its right name, fathers whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, fathers who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. Fathers who rightly represent God on this earth. Fathers who love as Jesus loved!4.

One day a father had to spank his little girl for disobedience. She said, "If you spank me I will run away and never come back." Her father did punish her and she deserved every bit of it. After a while he saw her get her dirty clothes from the clothes basket and make them into a small bundle. Quietly she slipped out the back door into the dark night. Her father waited until she reached the front sidewalk and followed her keeping out of sight behind the bushes.

She finally came to a cross street and stood there a long time trying to decide which way to go. Her father was watching from behind a large tree. Suddenly she turned around and with tears she started to run home. He took a short cut and sat down in his chair just as she knocked on the door. "Oh Daddy, if you'll let me come back I'll never run away again!" He took her into his arms and hugged her.

The beautiful part of this story is the fact that there was not a single moment when her daddy was not watching over his little girl. God is the same way. He does not forsake us, even when we rebel. At the farthest point from home the little girl would have received instant help if she had called. Lovingly the father watched over each step. In love he stood by, ready to help. What a privilege to represent God our Heavenly Father! Represent the love of God to your children. Let them see you in the Word of God. Let them be with you in church. Raise your children to be like Jesus by becoming like Jesus yourself.

We need help for that. Be a tender father and be strong. Don't just unscrew the jelly jar lids, but connect your kids with Jesus. .

Sources: LifeWay.com Andy Cook, Straight Talk to Men


1. Sanford observer 10-1973 p.4.

2. Gary Chapman

3. 7391 conference LE newsletter

4. paraphrased from EG White, Education, p. 57.

 Hymn of Praise: #246,  Worthy, Worthy is the Lmab
Scripture:  Psalm 103;8-13
Hymn of Response: #484,  I Need The Precious Jesus

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