16 July 2002

There is the story of the little boy who asked his father what a Christian was. After the father had given his explanation his little boy looked up into his face and asked, "Father, have I ever seen a Christian?" The question pierced the father's heart as we would imagine, but the illustration is good and serves as an exercise of our own conscience as fathers. And though Father's Day is past, these words are an excerpt from our sermon last Sunday and we felt them to be important enough to share with every father today. To be a father is a high calling of God which carries with it many responsibilities. According to scripture, the greatest of these callings is to teach our children about the Lord Jesus Christ and to nurture a genuine faith in Him and a love for His principles, to hand these principles down from father do son to the future generations: The psalmist has written, "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my moth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark saying of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done"-Psalm 78:1-4. The psalmist has hit the nail on the head. The high calling of the father is to teach their own children about the Lord. It is to be handed down from father to son, from father to son. In their day, the conquests of their people, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna in the wilderness, the mighty works of God. Many truths had become dark sayings because of broken links in the chain. The heart of the father can be easily sidetracked concerning this calling. He can become more interested in teaching the child sports and human knowledge than about Christ. It seems that this kind of man, the spiritual father, is all but forgotten in our culture today. Yet, some of the strongest men in history were lovers and worshipers of God. Joshua, whose sword drove out the Canaanites said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Here is a real man that we would all desire to live up to. He was not a puppet to lust or pleasure, he was strong in the Lord. I believe in the heart of every child is the desire to have a Godly father. Though the feeling may be hidden beneath layers of the world, in this the child finds confidence and stability. By a father's actions, the child is taught. Every father should come to this sober judgement of self: he should be a living example of what he wants his child to be. He must call evil, evil and good, good. I find this to be a daily struggle in every category. If the father lives apart from God, he must expect his child to do so. We realize there are great instances of grace as with Abraham who was called away from the idolaters in his family, or Gideon who was raised up to tear down his family idols. We also know that some of the best parental efforts have been thwarted by the devil. Yet, that does not take away from responsibility. One day, the crop will mature. Let us not say "I did it my way." Let us say, "I did it God's way." Some might think by our preaching that we look at ourselves as the perfect father. Yet, many lessons are learned by mistakes and experience. I wish I had set my heart to this truth years ago. A poor man can only give what he has today, not what he did not have yesterday and it is to the benefit of others that we give, both father and child. Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church. Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00.By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor