Summary: A father’s day srmon on how fathers and mothers team up to build Christian character into their children
Producing Good Sons and Daughters
“A good man’s father has good reason to be happy. You can take pride in a wise son. Let your mother and father be proud of you; give your mother that happiness.” (Prov. 23:24-25)
“Didn’t God make you one body and spirit with her (wives)? What was his purpose in this. It was that you should have children who are truly God’s people”
Put these two passages together and you have parents rejoicing and God rejoicing when the Christian home produces good and godly sons and daughters. A young boy was leaving for Iraq and on his last night at home he went out with his friends. Arriving home about 11:30 he made his regular stop at the refrigerator. The mother and father were in bed upstairs, and as always did not feel right until they heard him come in. The mother said to the father, why don’t you go down and talk to him about spiritual matters. We have always had him in church and he has been a good boy, but I want to be sure he is right with the Lord before he goes. The father went down and in only a few minutes came back to bed. Did you talk to him, the mother asked. The father said; I didn’t have to. When I got to the foot of the stairs I heard him praying at the kitchen table, “Dear God, thank you for my wonderful parents, who taught me right from wrong, and taught me to live for you and trust you. I pray Lord that if I don’t come back from this war that you will give them the peace of knowing that I am with you, and I died doing what I believe is right.” The father said, “I didn’t need to ask him a thing. He is everything we want him to be.”
Where do good human beings come from? Where is character, compassion and courage built? When God was speaking through Malachi about the damage of divorce in Judah, God said one reason he gave us marriage is that husband and wife, mother and father, could work together with him, creating good human beings. He is still doing that today. Christianity is always only one generation away from extinction. Where do the Christians of the future come from? They come primarily from Christian homes. They come primarily from Christian fathers and mothers working together.
A. We are not Perfect
Speaking to fathers today, I include the mothers, and the first word I want to use is perfection. The greatest Christian in the history of the church; the Apostle Paul said, “I do not claim that I have already become perfect. I keep striving.” (Phil. 3:12). There never has been and never will be a parent who can truthfully say, “I did the best I could”. It would be nice if kids came with instructions, like grills, but they don’t. We all make many parenting mistakes. Bill Cosby says the reason we are so good to our grandchildren is because we are trying to get to heaven after all the mistakes we made with our kids. A sociology professor wrote a book, “Ten Iron Clad Rules for Raising Children”. He and his wife had twins and he revised the book, “Ten Principles in Raising Children”. After another child he revised it again, “Ten Suggestions for Parents”.
Failure isn’t all that bad. It reveals our humanity, and the way we deal with our mistakes and sins, helps our children deal with theirs. When we honestly apologize to a child, and ask for his forgiveness, that might be the best lesson we have taught them in months.
B. We Are Partners
When Paul teaches about the Christian home in Eph. 6, the first term he uses is “parents” (mothers and fathers). When he first mentions “fathers”; it is a warning, a correction, a red flag. He says, “Fathers, do not exasperate (frustrate / aggravate) your children, but bring them up in the discipline and teachings of the Lord.” The OT was written in a male oriented society and almost all instructions about parenting are directed towards the husband and father. In a Christian society like ours where men and women are equal, I believe God would use the word “parent” or “mom and dad” where He uses father. Mother and father are co-workers with God in the production of good human beings. I have always had a problem preaching parenting sermons on mother’s day and then another on father’s day. The truth is, every Bible principle given to fathers is also given to mothers.
C. We are Primary
No people influence our children more than we do. No institution comes close to have the impact on character than the home. It is not school, not peers, or even church; it is the home. This is true because of the power of early years. Roman Catholics have always said, give us a child for the first five years and you can have him the rest of his life. Modern psychology has reduced this to three years. The book, “How the Twig is Bent” says the basic framework of character and attitudes towards life are there by age three and the rest of live is formation within those boundaries.