Text: Malachi 4:6, 1 Sam 3:1-18, Title: Reverse the Curse, Date/Place: NRBC, , AM
A. Opening illustration: Boy Scouts this week, Article from Stetzer on Gay Marriage/Global snapshot,
B. Background to passage: We live in a world that is under the judgment of God. He is giving our world over to its own desires. A trend that we see that biblically brings about part of this judgment is failure in the realm of fatherhood. If we are to see a revival come to our nation, one of the contributing factor will be a rise in turning of the hearts of the fathers to their children. Many TV sitcoms have fathers who are bumbling, weak, subservient, inept, incompetent, idiots, who are the comic relief in most of the laughable parts of the scenes. Most of us don’t fall into that category, with the exception of bowing to the leadership of others in many parts of our lives where we should lead. There are many who do, and they are creating many boys who are prolonging childhood, and scaring young women in the process. Read two quotes from The Resolution, p. 15-16. But even though most of us aren’t in this group (although statistics say that many of our church goers are involved in some pretty worldly activities) unfortunately, these things have lowered the standards that most of us think that we should get a trophy if we simply go through the motions of religious life for our families or take some leadership position, when what God gives as a standard is much higher—read the resolution
C. Main thought: We must break these patterns of Eli that brought judgment
A. The Sins of the Sons (v. 2:12-17, 22, 3:13)
1. The first time we are introduced to these two boys most of your translations say that they did not know the Lord; except for the NIV and the NLT who capture the meaning rather than the literal translation of the text, which in this case helps us understand what is being said. These two were priests in their late 20s because their dad was a priest because they were in the priestly line, but they “had no regard/respect for” God. They took their portion first, rather than giving God his first. They ate it with the fat on it, which was strictly forbidden. If they were questioned, the took things by force. The overtone is that this caused the givers to look disrespectfully on the offerings, leading the people astray. And in v. 24, Eli says this exact thing. In v. 17 they hated/despised the offering of the Lord. In v. 22 they were picking up prostitutes at the temple gates. And people (including dad) knew about it! In 3:13, it speaks about making themselves vile—a word that means to detract or curse authority, used of cursing father/mother or kings, usually punishment was stoning.
3. Illustration: saw on FB the other day an article about a deadbeat dad who had 22 children by 14 different women, and everyone was busting on him pretty bad,
4. Is there a plague in our nation of fathers who do not have any regard for God. We even have some that come here, or other churches in our town regularly that don’t have any real regard for the things of God. Oh, they come with their family, but that’s about it. And don’t hear me wrong, don’t stop if that is you. I believe there is value in that. I told one about the value in that the other day. Some warnings though for those of you who do know the Lord, but take your relationship with God lightly—1) the commands of God in His word apply to you, and on judgment day, you will be held accountable for things that you knew or didn’t know. 2) Scarier than that is the judgment that would come upon these two men because they led others astray. Your lackadaisical approach to your spiritual life is obvious to your children at home. The way that you force your wife to lead, the way you never pray with them, the way you never do anything of spiritual nature, speaks volumes to your kids. And you will undo everything that is done here or that your wife strives to do. If you don’t believe me as some of the widows of husbands whose relationship with God was casual at best how their kids are doing. You don’t have time for me to give you the stats of kids and their faith and their health and their education and their job and their spiritual life related to the spiritual involvement of their father. And I haven’t even gotten to those obvious Baptist biggies that you hide so well. Pornography rages men! I watched one of the scariest videos I have seen in a long time this week! Addictions, some to drugs illicit and prescription, and some to electronics and video games, and sports and gambling and women and your job.
5. But these are not the sins that most of us deal with. These are the sins that most of us look down our self-righteous, pharisaical noses, and say, thank you, Lord, that I am not like that… Well, here is the scarier part when we think about Father’s Day
The Sins of the Father (v. 23-25, 30, 3:13)
6. For all that we know, Eli was a good priest. He served Israel according to 1 Sam 4:18 for 40 years as the judge. He was the head guy. Other than one other judge, he had served the longest. So there must have been no problems, no controversy, no scandals. One writer that I read said that he was a very pious man. I am not sure where they got that; must have been somewhere in Jewish historical books, because it’s not in the bible. One thing that we do know, he was a poor father. According to 2:23, he heard about all that his sons were doing, and so he told them what he was hearing was bad. DUH! They did not respect God, nor their father, this was not something that happened just that day. God had already decided to kill them, hardening their hearts further for that day, but their rebellion had been brewing for a long time. Discipline from a man who had been active in his faith, leader in his faith, THE leader in his faith, surely practicing holiness, and at least going through all the motions of faith before his family. And yet in the hollowness of his religion, his lost his relationships with his children, failed to discipline them, failed to remove them from office, got them killed, got his whole family line removed from service in the priesthood, got the Ark of the Covenant captured by the Philistines. And the scary part is that he was probably doing what he thought was the best of all the dads in Israel.
8. Illustration: Read the story of the Joneses from Voddie’s book from the chapter One Shepherd’s Story, p. 39,
9. Now, there are no guarantees in parenthood. And I know that my kids are only 2, 7, and 9, and so I am not experienced to know, but there are many here who have done all they know to do, and their children or grandchildren are floundering in the sea of rebellion, unbelief, or waywardness. Part of me wants to have you stand if you feel like you have reared well and they have still strayed just to make the point. But I don’t want to embarrass anyone. And I am not pointing finger at anyone But fathers, know that there are many broken hearts in this room today. And even though I am saying that you have done all that you can, there is a lot of regret in this room today. Let me remind you that there is grace! And let me remind you that there is not one child or grandchild of yours that is beyond the reach of that grace either, so you keep on praying and never give up, never!
B. What do we do?
1. As Fathers: It’s time to step up to the plate and take the lead role in our families in faith. It’s time to shoulder the responsibility of insuring that your children are evangelized and discipled and educated in the faith. It’s time that you relieve your wife of spiritual leadership in the home and love her like Christ does His church laying down your life for her and washing her in the water of the word, discipling her, and being the driving force in your family’s life that keeps them in church and worshipping as a family, praying as a family, reading scripture as a family. It’s time you take the lead role in discipline in your home, not in anger, but with the gospel. It’s time that you organize your time so you can build relationships with your children and sharing life with them.
2. As Families: Often in families with apathetic or complacent fathers, wives, children and mother in laws tend to take up the slack. If you have a man that decides to step, let him lead. Submit, that’s the biblical term. If you are a perfectionist, you may know that you can do it better, but it will take him some time, resist the temptation to instruct and nag like they do on TV. Families, be willing to branch out and do things differently. Be willing to worship together. Not like Sunday morning church…
3. As a Church: We need to think about how we equip our men to lead their homes? We need to think about how we structure our ministries and our use of our time and our small groups at our church and how it affects families. We need to consider ways to get fathers involved more than we do. Once we train fathers on how to disciple and lead their families, we must help hold them accountable to do so; because like all of us, fathers tend to slide back.
A. Closing illustration: The Red Sox traded Babe Ruth in 1918 to the NY Yankees, and thus began an 86 year span where the Red Sox, who had won 5 of the first 15 World Series, would not win another one. The superstition was called the “Curse of the Bambino” because since then the Yankees have been the most successful major league team in baseball winning 26 World Series. In 2004 while we were in Maine the chant, as is was every year was “Reverse the Curse.” All kinds of methods had been tried over the years, but in 2004, they won. And you would have thought that a cure for cancer had been discovered in all of New England. County Commissioner Melissa Chevers responded to the rise in violence in Tifton a few weeks back and she said three things that I thought were right on target. She said: 1) law enforcement is doing what they can, so stop griping about them, 2) churches gotta go to work in the community, and the third thing she said, which I thought was interesting, and most helpful, was that 3) men need to step up!
B. To the fatherless or to those that your fathers have failed you:
C. Grace: Men take responsibility for failure
D. Father’s Day is a time to honor fathers and remember those that have left us. But it is a time to remember the fact that some of us have time left to exert the greatest influence over a generation to hopefully reverse the curse that our generation is earning because of its rebellion, and a generation that is coming on its heals of greater rebellion that we have ever seen, and greater judgment that will be demanded! Come on dads, it’s time to step up! And be family shepherds. That class starts this fall.
● Is Christ Exalted, Magnified, Honored, and Glorified?