Sermon delivered June 7, 1997

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Like Father, Like Son

What's the greatest miracle in the Bible? Somebody said it's when Joshua told his son to stand still and he did! But only an hour later the son was as hyperactive as always. Well, how do we get our children to obey? It's not easy. Fathers have a rough time with raising kids. Father's day is coming. I want to uplift every Christian father today. Our fathers need all the help they can get. Fortunately, God guarantees your success if you follow the directions. But where are the directions? Well, they're in the Bible. I want to share with you some of the marvelous directions from the Word of God this morning.

A father decided to take his small son to the zoological gardens. As they went, they ended up at the monkey cage, and they watched the trainer got the monkey to perform many wonderful tricks. Finally the father said: "Son, I wish you would mind as well as those monkeys!" The little boy said; "Well, don't forget dad, those monkeys are TRAINED!"

We need to train our children, don't we? How do you train kids? The Bible is not silent. Look at I THESS. 2:11 (NIV) - "For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,..." A father ought to deal with his own children. How does he deal with his children? Verse 12. Look at these three key words: encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory." Those three words are the outline of our sermon this morning. The King James Version says it this way: "we EXHORTED, COMFORTED, and CHARGED every one of you as a father does his children." This is a fantastic text for modern fathers.

    Look at the great wisdom here.
  1. A good father will EXHORT. - What does that mean? That means; he will teach. He can't teach unless he has some knowledge. So I would submit to you that a good father will be knowledgeable in spiritual things. He will be omniscient in spiritual things almost.
  2. A good father will CHARGE. This is not talking about how you purchase things at the store. I don't know if good father do that or not. What does that mean? He will Rule; he will have Authority in his house. He will not be some emaciated person. He will have authority, he will be omnipotent to his family.
  3. A good father will COMFORT. (I've rearranged the order here.) He will comfort his family; he will Love his family. He will be available to his family. He will be Omnipresent. He will be present. You can';t comfort somebody if you're not there.

So would I submit to you that the three attributes of God: God is OMNISCIENT; God is OMNIPOTENT; and God is OMNIPRESENT. These are the three same attributes that good fathers ought to be to their own children. Successful Fathers pattern their fatherhood after their Heavenly Father. Christian fathers that are like God are the best fathers to their children. Christian fathers try to be All Knowing in spiritual things, All Powerful in Jesus Christ, and Always Present to their family. So many fathers are absent.

Confirmation of these three keys for dynamic Fathers is found in the 5th volume of the Testimonies, p.322(EG White):

.

There's those same three... It's bound to be the key point because it's listed in so many places. A good father will stand in the place of God to his family. I like that! Now that doesn't mean that he will actually be God, but he will represent God to your children.

A boy is the only thing that God can use to make a man of, and He uses fathers in the manufacturing process.

It's said that a boy becomes a man when he stops asking his father for an allowance and starts asking for a loan. Actually, your children mature when they begin to reflect the attributes of Jesus in their characters.

Now, let's examine these three points that we have: to be all knowing; all powerful; and always present.

A good father will do that. Look at Isaiah 38:19 (NIV) "The living, the living--they praise you as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness." They tell their children about the faithfulness of God. You need to instruct your children. Fathers need to do that. To teach the truth Fathers must be Knowledgeable in the truth. You can't tell your children the truth of God if you don't know it in your heart. A good father ought to be a man of the "Book". Good fathers know the Bible. We sing a song that incriminates fathers: "My Mother's" Old Bible is True. What does it say about fathers? Is your father's old Bible true? You men have a Bible, read the Bible, study the Bible and become a man of the Book. Your Bible ought to be true, too. The best Fathers also know Jesus through His word. Let your family see you reading the Bible. Teach them the word.

For every boy with a spark of genius, there are two dozen with ignition trouble. If you ever get so you can't start your car it might be ignition trouble. Your kids might not be Valedictorians in school, but they can be Spiritual Einsteins. Teach them the truth. Live it before them.

Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." You, fathers, are instructors. You are Professors in your home.

You need to set the proper example before your children. More boys would follow in their father's footsteps if they were not afraid of being caught by their mother. Shame on fathers like that. We can do better. You fathers represent God to your children. Your children pray, "Our Father..." You are the only pattern of a father they have, so your sacred responsibility is to bring your offspring up in the admonition of God.

The best way you can help your kids to grow up is to grow up first yourself, to be spiritually mature. It's extremely difficult to train up a child in the way his father does not go. You need to go the way that you want your children to go. They will probably become like you. Do you want them to become like you? One problem today is runaway children. Too many kids run away. It is entirely possible they may running away, looking for their parents. Where are their parents? They need to be at home with the family. What is your example?

(Three parts: Exhort, charge, comfort) We fathers need to have authority in the home. Jesus' Father had authority over His Son: Look at John 12:49. Here, Jesus makes a statement about His own Father. Jesus said: "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me COMMANDED me what to say and how to say it." Now, that's quite a bit of training, isn't it? The heavenly Father commanded Jesus what to say and commanded Him how to say it. That's pretty clear instruction, isn't it? He didn't just say to go water the garden. He showed him how to water the garden. A hands- on-instructor, the Heavenly Father is. And that's the type of fathers our children need.

A good father is one who when he finds his son on the wrong track, provides Switching Facilities. I think of my own parents. They spoke softly and carried a big switch. And I remember how a switch feels. I still remember that. I haven't been switched in years. Do you remember how it feels? It seems in this modern age about everything is operated by a switch EXCEPT our children.

Look at Proverbs 19:18. (KJV) "Chasten thy son while there is hope." About the first twelve years you've got, and after that you're just sort of hanging on. It is time for all hen-pecked-emaciated, non-authoritative men to stand up for what is right, and start ruling the roost. I appreciate the philosophy of the "Promise Keepers". I think we need men who are men in their homes. Men for Christ. Not as a dictator, but as a loving, truly kind gentleman with strong character. America needs fathers with Godly Backbone. The reason for the great restlessness and lawlessness in America is weakness on the home front.

Genesis 18:19 God said of Abraham: "For I have chosen him so that he will DIRECT (Command-KJV) his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what He had promised him." If you have strong men in the home you will have a strong land.

Youngsters rule most homes today. You know, the kids are in charge. Just look at most homes today. That isn't new. Look at Judges 14 in Samson's day. Samson went down to the heathen land to the Philistines and found a woman in Timnath and he came back home and he said to his dad, "you go down there and get that woman for me." And his dad said, "Yes, I guess I will." Of course, Samson was probably taller than his dad. How many of you have found that now that you're the shortest person in your own family? Maybe some of you wives are the shortest person; maybe some of you fathers are the shortest person in your family now. You look up at your children. But I tell you that they ought to look up at you in your character. Samsons weak father turned against God's law of marrying the heathen and went down there and got that woman and obeyed his son's request! Too many of the children are in charge of the home today.

We need to have rules in our home, but we ought to have as few rules as possible, but the rules ought to be followed. I was visiting in a home of a family and noticed a book on the roma table: "How to train your dog". On the flyleaf, it summed everything up: "Reward and praise obedience and punish disobedience every time. NEVER make an exception" What I think, if that's all the instruction we ever had, we would do pretty good. Many parents tie up their dog and let the kids run loose. We just don't understand how to be children.

To keep a small boy out of the cookie jar, you ought to put a padlock on it and hide the key under a bar of soap. He would probably never find it there. Why do they hate soap so much? I'll bet the ambition of every small boy is to wash his mothers ears!

Fathers need authority in their homes. In our home, when our little children were growing up, we put a lock on the TV. We went to Radio Shack and bought a lock and installed it on the side of the TV and locked it up. When we couldn't be there to control it it was controlled. You need to have authority in your home. In the old days a woodshed stood behind the house. And there, a great deal of what passes today as juvenile delinquency was settled out of court. We don't have that today.

(Omniscient: Exhort---teach, Omnipotent: Charge--ruler - authority, and Omnipotent: Comfort--friend- be there)

He ought to be present. He ought to be there. He ought to be there as a friend, as a comforter, to love his children. In John 8:29 Jesus said: "He that sent me is with me, (What a blessing to have a Father that's there.) the Father hath NOT left me alone." God was with his Son. They spent time together. Jesus had a wonderful Father didn't He?

Too many children today are raised without the father there. Now, I don't mean that you should quit your job and stay home with the kids, but when you are home you ought to be with the kids. You ought to be a father, not in absentia. You ought to spend quality time with your children in ample quantities to make a difference. Today's fathers are usually gone. But when you're home, spend time with your kids.

An Adventist minister told me something very sadly one day. He said, "When my son was three I was sitting in my study preparing a sermon. And I'll never forget this day," said the minister to me. He lived in Washington DC. He said, "I can still see my little three-year-old boy's fat cheeks, his blond hair, and his happy smile. And he came in and he said, 'Look, Daddy. I'm wearing your shoes.'" And he said to his son, "Uh hum," And kept on with his sermon preparation. It was Friday! Gotta preach the sermon! The little boy said, "Whatcha doing daddy?" "Nothing you would understand," and the preacher went on with the Lord's work at 70 words a minute. Finally the little lad after quietly standing beside the desk for a few minutes said, "Well, I guess I'll go to bed now." "Okay. I love you, give me a kiss." He shuffled to the door in his dad's shoes. The busy minister never really heard what the little boy was saying. He was saying, "Dad, I want to spend some time with you." That's what he was saying. "I'm here. I'm me. Do you love me? Don't you have time for me? Don't I matter, dad?"

And some day you'll train your child to leave you alone, and then you'll wish that they would come around a little more often and that they would say something. There's no such thing as a non-participating father. You need to spend time with your children. Children grow like weeds and many are about as well cared for. Be present with your family. Jesus made a remarkable statement about His Father in JOHN 11:42. "I Knew that You always hear me..." Do you listen to your children? Listening takes time. God always hears His children. When you pray to God, He always hears. Today if there is a generation gap it could be because we have stopped listening to each other. We need to listen to each other.

Are we really listening to what our children are saying? Numerous example could be given. We need to take time to listen, to communicate, to be available. Jesus and His Father spent so much time together that they became like each other. In fact, Jesus said, "If you've seen Me you've seen the Father." Your children are going to become just like you.

John 10:30-- "I and My Father are One." John 10:17-- "My Father Loves Me." John 5:20-- "The Father loves the Son, and shows him all he does." Now, there's a text for child rearing. Have you taken your child with you to work? Have you shown your child your occupation? Have you show your kids how to cook, how to raise vegetables, how to use tools. Do things together. Can your children say that you love them and spend meaningful time with them and show them all that you do? Do they have a daily demonstration of your love. Every child has the right to be well fed and well led. Be Zealous in your Fatherhood and you will never regret it.

The best thing you can do for your children is to love Jesus with all your heart and let Jesus shine out His love in everything you do.

Notice how God loves us: 1 John 3:1,2 (NIV) "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

I believe God is coming very soon. Jesus is coming soon. It won't be long and He will be here. I want you to know that the Father longs to lavish His love upon you. A good father will lavish his love on his children. I think too many children are raised on thunder and lightning. And you can't raise your garden on a thunderstorm.

Let me just illustrate this. There was a man who lived in a light-house for twenty-eight years. He was the light-house keeper. I'm wearing a light- house tie. I like light-houses. They have the same job description that I do: to point the way and to save lives. This man was light-house keeper for twenty-eight years and every three minutes a loud horn would blow a deep loud fog blast to warn the ships of the danger of these rocks. He got so used to that noise that he never heard it. All night long he'd sleep like a baby. He didn't pay any attention to that noise, and then one night a short circuit came in the wiring and kept the horn from blowing. Immediately he sat up in bed and noticed the silence. Maybe we need to stop blowing at our children and they will start listening.

I see too many parents who are screaming and yelling at their children when really that is not what is needed. What our children need is to see Jesus Christ in us. They need the soft, gentle and yet authoritative leading that can come from a strong father. If you want your children to be like you, then love them like God loves you. Encourage them. Be today what you want them to become tomorrow. Teach your children to choose the right path and when they're older they will remain upon it.

Let's allow the power of the Holy Spirit to daily make our fatherhood and our motherhood more and more into God's divine image.

Let's try to be like God. Let's praise Him for what He is and soon be in His kingdom together.

Opening Hymn: 71 - Come Thou Almighty King.  
Scripture:  Psalm 34:7-102
Closing Hymn: 655 - Happy the home. 



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