Summary: Exposition of Ps 78 about the failures of fathers to be an example, and the need to train our children differently than present

Text: Ps 78:1-8, Title: Hope for Families, Date/Place: NRBC, 6/22/08, AM

Opening illustration: Play the trailer for the bible study • Nine out of ten parents of children under age 13 (85%) believe they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children about religious beliefs and spiritual matters, while 11% said their church is primarily responsible. (2003) • Nearly all parents of children under the age of 13 - 96% - contend that they have the primary responsibility for teaching their children values. (2003) • One out of every five parents of children under 13 (19%) has ever been personally contacted or spoken to by a church leader to discuss the parents’ involvement in the spiritual life and development of their children. (2003)

A. Background to passage: There is no need detail you with shocking statistics about the percentage of teenagers that have tried drugs and alcohol, or experimented sexually. There is no need to remind you of divorce rates within and without the church. No need to tell you that MTV, the public school system, the liberal media, and internet pornography want to destroy our families and our children, or at least turn them against Christ. I probably should remind you what a sorry job that men are doing across the board at loving our wives as Christ and training our families to love Christ above all things. And so among all the assaults against our family, there is still hope. Although let me gently remind you that Jesus placed family second to discipleship on the priority scale of life (and we could preach on that a while, but we won’t today). Family is extremely important to the plan of God for the nations and for His glory. Therefore…

B. Main thought: Point two in our vision statement is that we need to strengthen families.

A. Avoid Past Mistakes (v. 8)

1. This psalm is a teaching psalm to pass on crucial information to generations. And one of the things that it does is list in very clear terms the failures of those responsible. Fathers are commissioned in the word of God with the ultimate responsibility to family. Headship is not about authority, as much as it is about responsibility. And this psalm reminds us that the fathers will be held accountable for their failures to oversee the spiritual growth and faithfulness of their families. The specific things that are mentioned are that fathers: 1) forgot truth about God (v. 7), 2) failed to walk with God (v. 10-11), 3) rebelled against God (v. 17), 4) failed to trust God and believe Him (v. 22, 32), 5) failed to be faithful (v. 36-37), 6) and tempted God, provoked God, and apostasized from the faith (v. 56-57).

2. Heb 5:12,

3. Illustration: “Preach always, and use words when necessary.” Remind them of the statistics of effectively unchurched people in our area by age bracket—conclusion: we have failed to reach the generations. Look at the appearance of our church age wise, every service except for Sunday AM, tell about Tony’s parents calling the other day and talking about Jesus and repentance and salvation, Ronald Reagan’s daughter

4. Fathers in particular and parents in general need to be reminded of their God-ordained responsibilities. For God will hold us accountable for doing what the fathers in this text have failed to do. We are called to be a knowledgeable wellspring of life about God to our children and grandchildren. We are called not to have salvation experience, but to have a daily routine and living relationship with the living Christ. Part of our teaching as parents and grandparents is by example. And our example is much more powerful than our words. We are called to be submissive to God’s will and God’s word. Have in your head a preconceived notion of compliance once meaning has been discerned. Let you children and grandchildren know of this preconception. But beware, they will sniff out hypocrisy. We are called to have a deep abiding trust in Christ. Moms and Dads can be a rock in the storm if they hold fast to Christ. And it is a testimony to your children when He is where you turn. Constantly affirm your trust in him verbally when going through a struggle. We are called to be faithful, not successful, not popular, not wealthy, not pleasing to people. Faithfulness entails a long term pattern of serving the Lord. The whole in church out of church, go today, skip next week thing will not pass on the faith to the next generation. Listen, it is never too late for repentance. And repentance is the key. We must be broken over our failures. Because when we fail in the church, our society reaps the rewards like gay marriage, abortion, divorce, alcoholism, family violence, corruption, hypocrisy, AIDS, etc. In fact, I would suggest that before prayer every left school, it left the homes. Before abortion on demand became law, the sanctity of life left the home. Before gay marriage went to the Supreme Court, marriage’s reverence and permanence left the home. Fathers, you hold the keys to a better society. You hold the eternities of your great grandchildren in your hands.

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