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Experiencing the life in Christ"
Three Sermon Series:
Turning the Hearts of Fathers to Their Children
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers;
or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Lesson One: The Role of Fathers in the Family
(Ephesians 6:4, NIV)
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Paul explained to the believers at Ephesus that the primary role of the father in the family is to train their children in the ways of the Lord. He wrote, “Bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4b, NIV). It is the responsibility of every father to use his authority and influence as a father to saturate the lives of his children with “the training and instruction of the Lord.” You may feel inadequate and ill-equipped for this monumental task, but it remains, none-the-less, your responsibility.
A few techniques you can use are—model simple Biblical principles for your children; make regular attendance at a local church that has a strong teaching ministry a priority (don’t allow non-kingdom activities to interfere with Sunday worship at your local church); lead a family devotion every day; and take advantage of those teachable moments that occur daily in the lives of your children by talking about what Jesus would do in a given situation. You don’t have to be a seminary graduate to do these things—but you do have to be a committed father. Being a godly father is hard work!
The role of a father who truly wants to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” is extremely time-consuming. In fact, it must become a lifestyle. That’s how Moses described the father’s role to the ancient nation of Israel. He wrote, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home [during your leisure time] and when you walk along the road, [when you are traveling] when you lie down [at bedtime] and when you get up [first thing in the morning] …Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7…9, NIV).
I am amazed that before telling fathers to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord,” Paul first warned, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children” (Ephesians 6:4a, NIV). The word “exasperate” is translated from a Greek word that means “to irritate, to cause intense anger, to cause resentment.” One of the most common mistakes I see fathers make in their parenting style is exasperating their children—especially their teens.
Sometimes teens are exasperated when fathers try to use a combination of humor and embarrassment to manipulate their behavior. At other times teens are exasperated when fathers give them stern, authoritative verbal discipline in public. Most often, the discipline of a teen should be a private matter between the teen and his father. In either case, when the teen is exasperated, resentments results, communication stops, the parent/child relationship is damaged, and the father’s ability to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” suffers.
II. Avoiding a Curse
In every generation it is critical that men understand that they are the key to avoiding a curse on their particular generation. God described how fathers are the key to avoiding a curse on their generation when He said through the prophet Malachi about the ministry of John the Baptist, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:6, NIV). The hearts of fathers must be turned to their children in order to avoid a curse on our generation!
This generation is already experiencing the curse of materialism, the curse of abortion on demand, the curse of sexually transmitted diseases at epidemic levels, the curse of same-sex marriage, and most recently the curse of economic collapse! It is indeed time to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”
III. Five Biblical Convictions
During the balance of this sermon, I want to offer you five Biblical convictions that will effectively “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children.”
Conviction #1: The Bible is the Word of God and the final authority for my life. Paul wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17, NIV). Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NIV).
Conviction #2: My purpose in life is to love God with my whole heart and to build my goals around His priorities. Matthew wrote, “One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment’” (Matthew 22:35-38, NIV). During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV).
Conviction #3: My body is the temple of God and must not be defiled by the lusts of the flesh. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (I Corinthians 3:16-17, NKJV). Jesus warned, “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28, NIV).
Conviction #4: Marriage is a life-long commitment between one man and one woman established by God. God said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NIV). Jesus said, “They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6, NIV).
Conviction #5: My children and grandchildren belong to God, and it is my responsibility to train them in Biblical principles, Godly character, and basic convictions. King David wrote, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3, NKJV). Moses wrote, “I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me…Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely…Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:5…9, NIV).
In order to lift the curse on this generation, we must develop fathers whose hearts are turned to their children, but we can’t do it in our own strength. We must cry out to God to do a supernatural work in the hearts of the men of this generation—a work that will include establishing and maintaining Biblical convictions in their hearts! Prayer is our last best hope. James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b, NKJV).
Sunday Service Times
Morning Worship: 10:00 a.m.
M*PACT Kidz: 10:00 a.m.
Helping Hands: 6:00 p.m.
ONE WAY Youth: 6:00 p.m.