Sermon delivered June 19, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

God Give Us Godly Men

A cute little girl was sitting on top of a pile of luggage in a hotel lobby. Her parents were registering for a room. A sympathetic lady asked if they were staying long. "Oh, we are just going to live here until we find a house. My Daddy has a new job and we had to sell our old house and move here." The lady said: "I am sorry you don't have a home any more." The little girl said: "Oh, we have a HOME, we just don't have a house to put it in."

Do you have a home? Tomorrow is fathers day and I want to help strengthen our homes. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. - - - How??

Today we are going to enumerate ten success factors, ten keys that make a Godly Father. The world today is in a crisis. Involved Fathers are almost obsolete. Did you know that if the current trend continues, by the year 2015 one out of every two American babies will be born to a single mother. First Things First, summer 1999, p4.

Tennessee's non-marital birth rate increased 252% between 1962 and 1994. Twenty five million children today are growing up without their biological father in the home. About the only father they see is the one they see on TV which mostly shows a person who is not dedicated, not competent and not moral. - Ibid.

Now, ten principles that will help you grow into a Godly person, a Godly father.

1 - WALK WITH GOD

Notice God's advise to Solomon: I Kings 9:4,5 As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever...

A good father will walk with God. You will go where God goes. A godly person will follow God's leading. You can be sure that your children will follow in your footsteps.

One cold snowy Michigan morning I went from our house down to the barn we had. I heard a small voice behind me.. "I'm coming along too daddy." Looking back I saw my little boy lifting his little feet and planting them carefully in my footsteps. I thought about my example. Our children will follow where we lead. We must take heed how we walk. We must walk with God.

America has gone through Megatrends in my life. But one thread of tradition shows no sign of unraveling: Our sons and daughters still follow in their father s footsteps.

A father attended church with his small boy. He found fault with everything in the service. As he walked home, he criticized the minister, the sermon, the choir and everything in general. The boy who had noticed what his father put in the offering plate said, "Well Dad, what can you expect for two quarters?" Kids watch adults!

So if you want your children to be Godly, you must first be walking with God yourself. A father cannot be all he ought to be unless he knows Jesus Christ as Savior. Only Jesus can make the father a solid human anchor in his own family.

2 - BE TRUSTWORTHY.

John 14:1 says we can trust our heavenly Father. It goes without saying that our kids ought to be able to trust us.

A grocer was down in the cellar of his shop when he noticed his small son standing at the edge of the open trap door. He called up, "Here I am sonny, jump down and I will catch you." But the boy hesitated. "I can't, Daddy; I can't see you." Up came the answer, "No but I can see you; trust me and jump and I will catch you." The lad jumped into the darkness because he trusted his father. He was caught in his fathers arms.

3 - RECOGNIZE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Fatherhood is vitally important. Studies have revealed that fathers significantly influence their children's sexual identity. Children who have a good father image relate well to the opposite sex. Fathers most significantly influence the social behavior of their children. If children do not have good communication with their parents they are more likely to succumb to the use of drugs than those who have a good healthy relationship.

The parents of several unruly youngsters were asked whether or not they would have children if they had it to do over again. "Certainly we would," they said, "but not the same ones! Good kids have good training."

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. You have the responsibility of doing the training, not the TV, not a surrogate father. You train by example. It takes energy to train them up. After the kids leave home, some parents suffer from the empty-nest syndrome. Others change the locks!

Do the training while they are young. It is amazing how little time it takes for the child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night!

It is amazing how some parents put the ball games, camping trips, fishing trips, and the field days above attending worship, and then are literally amazed when their children leave the church. What you men are, thunders so loudly that we can't hear what you say.

4 - EXERT A POSITIVE INFLUENCE

Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the prosperity of your children. - New Revised Standard Version

A father who says he believes the Bible but leaves it to gather dust while he spends hours with the newspaper and magazines and TV, is really saying, "Kids: the Bible is really not all that important." Your influence is vital.

Jeremiah 32:18 You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers' sins into the laps of their children after them. You fathers must overcome sin. A good life will benefit your children but a life with sinful habits will drag your kids down.

5 - SPEAK VIRTUOUSLY

6 - REPUTATION (provide a good legacy.)

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. So often we concentrate on providing a good inheritance of material wealth. Of primary importance should be a good name. Perhaps the finest gift you can give your kids is a honorable legacy. Leave them a heritage of which they can be forever proud of you.

As we enter the 2000's a crying need of this old world is for men of impeccable integrity. We see so much dishonesty. We look to our leaders and are disappointed. We need fathers today who have an inward character... who will not be swayed by the desire for gain or glory. We need men who have heavenly convictions and are not afraid to stand for the right in their daily living.

Matthew 7:9-11 Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

The point is that good fathers will give good gifts to their children. Give them a humble faith. Give them your love. Give them a good example.

7 - SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS.

No one wishes they had spent more time at work as they lie on their deathbed. Slow down. Life is too short to squander on trivial pursuits. You can't make memories if you are never around. Be a specialist at fatherhood. Be there. Spend Quality time with your family.

Luke 9:25 What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and yet loses his own soul? Let's rephrase that-- "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own children?"

A nationwide survey shows that the average father spends about twelve minutes a day with his children. These twelve-minute dads contribute greatly to thirteen year old delinquents. Spend time with your loved ones.

You cannot substitute a popsicle for POP himself. No amount of candy bars, hot rods or fishing rods will substitute for TIME. You can't exchange PRESENTS for your own PRESENCE.

You used to read the Little House on the Prairie to your kids, you watched the Waltons. Did you notice how the father was always there? Have things changed? America is standing at the crossroads. Our very survival as a nation may depend on the presence or absence of the masculine leadership in our homes.

There are many troubled homes out there. In 1998 there were 367 families applying to enroll their troubled sons in Advent Home, a youth home for boys in distress. Most had to be turned away for a lack of space.

Some homes are more like Orphanages. Not because the father is dead, but because he is too busy pursuing his own pipe dreams. With the help of our God, let's stamp out residential orphanages.

Take time to answer their questions. They need your wisdom. A father went to the mall with his little 5 year old. They went down the escalator. He asked, "Daddy, what do they do when the basement gets full of steps?" Kids need correct information. You are the source.

Take time to listen to your kids. "Johnny" came home from school and said, "I don't like school anymore." What he got from his parents was a lecturing session on the value of school. What really happened was that he was having a rough time at school. Some boys threatened to beat him up if he did not bring candy bars for six of them. Later that week, Johnny was roughed up in the bathroom. His parents did not take time to listen. Be willing to spend time being a father.

One mother told of hearing her pre-school son talking to another four-year-old boy on the front steps.

"Where is your daddy?" he said. "I've never seen him."

"Oh, he doesn't live here," came the reply. "He only sleeps here."

Fatherhood takes time. G. Brook Adams kept a diary. One day when he was eight years old he wrote: "Went fishing with my father, the most glorious day of my life!" He never forgot that day. There were repeated references to that great experience over the next forty years in his journal. His father was the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain under Abraham Lincoln. The father also made a notation in his diary about the fishing trip. He wrote simply: "Went fishing with my son a day wasted!"

8 - LOVE YOUR CHILDREN & LOVE THEIR MOTHER

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

It is important to love your children, but even more vital is for you to love their mother. A child who knows that daddy loves mama and is true to her will be far more stable and have greater emotional health than one who is torn by the opposite situation. All the fishing trips and ball games will not bring peace to a child who knows that daddy had been unfaithful to mama. We need men today who love their families by showing loyalty in every way to the women they have chosen as their life companions.

Good wives help their husbands to become better fathers. A man by himself cannot be the best possible father. You women pray for God to help your husband to be the Godly man God wants him to be. You men, listen to the advise of your godly wife.

9 - BE A MAN OF PRAYER

In Romans 10:1,2 Paul said: Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Paul prayed earnestly for the salvation of the Jews. Certainly it is appropriate for us to pray for the salvation of our children.

Let your children hear you in Prayer! How wonderful if some of your specific prayers are answered. What a foundation for your families future faith.

Pray for wisdom to raise them right. Parenthood takes brains. For instance, any kid will run an errand for you if you ask him at bedtime.

10 - GIVE YOUR CHILDREN TO JESUS

There are things that even the best fathers cannot do for their children. John 4:46-54 relates the story of an official whose son was deathly ill. The father came to Jesus in great distress. Notice that Jesus met a need in the life of the son which the father could not supply! Humans have limits. You find this out during a crisis. Jesus will bestow upon your suffering child or your needy teenager what you are unable to give. But notice here that you must come to Jesus and ask Him to help your daughter or son. Hand over your children to Jesus.

Someone wrote: "Last night my little boy confessed to me some childish wrong: and kneeling at my knee he prayed with tears, 'O Lord make me a man like Daddy, wise and strong...' Then while my boy slept, I knelt beside his bed, confessed my sins and prayed with a low-bowed head, O God, make me a child like my child here; Pure, genuine, trusting thee with faith sincere."

PRAYER: Dear Father, help us to so live that through us you will build us children whose wishbones will not be where their backbone should be. Strengthen them to stand up in life's storms. Help each of us to have high goals, clean hearts, and loving homes. Amen

Opening Hymn: 17, Lord of All Being, Throned Afar
Scripture: Psalm 1
Closing Hymn: 304  Faith of our Fathers

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