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Fathers Day 2009

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Noah: A Successful Father

When you sit down at night and turn on those “family” shows on TV have you ever noticed how fathers seem to be portrayed?  They’re weak, not too bright, they’re slobs, they don’t have a clue as to what’s going on in the family and they are belittled and beaten down by their wives-subservient to them.  This isn’t the way it is supposed to be.  God shows us what a man is supposed to be.  The lives of his People, our forefathers, shows us how these men the really manly men  should behave.  One such example is none other than Noah-the father of all us fathers today.

In Genesis six and seven we read about Noah and his life and those things which he did that show us that he was a great father.  So, what was life like back then?  There were no modern day conveniences.  No cars, no microwaves, no computers, no ipods.  NO INDOOR PLUMBING.  All the things that we take for granted did not exist.  All the little gadgets and gizmos that we have to make our lives easier were non-existent.  So they lacked our advanced technology.  What else?  Noah and his family were living in a time that was much worse than today.  Chapter 6  describes “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”.

Imagine, living in a society where nothing but evil prevails. A society where cruelty and corruptness are the social norm.  Now in the midst of all this evil, there is one who is found to be just and full of integrity.  That man is Noah.  In the middle of all that bad stuff going on here is a good man.  But that man is not alone for he has a family.  That family also bears the image of Noah’s integrity.  In everything that this evil world had to offer Noah and his family, Noah led his family in their integrity, in their faith, and in the end their very lives.

So what made Noah a successful father in such a difficult time?

First, Noah walked with God.  Verses 8 and 9 attest to this “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”    So what does this tell us about Noah?  We learn that the Holy Spirit was working in man’s life, but the only one who was listening was Noah.  From this Noah began to seek God.  We know this because he found what he was looking for—He found grace in the eyes of the LORD.  That means that he was shown how to escape from a sin cursed world, and according to Hebrews 11:7 he was by faith warned of the coming flood.  By faith.  We know that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  With that said Noah’s faith reveals his salvation, because faith comes from Jesus.  If Noah has faith then he has Jesus.  If he has Jesus then he is saved.

As a result of Noah’s salvation we read that he was indeed a just man.  He “…became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”  And he had a wholehearted relationship with God.  This lifestyle led to a consistency in devotional and daily living.  Noah walked with God.

Now we know that Noah walked with God.  Also.  Noah witnessed to others.  In 2 Peter 2:5 Peter describes Noah as “a preacher of righteousness”.  Who did he preach to?  We suspect that as a man of God he preached to everyone that was in ear shot.  He had to preach on the coming judgement of God and the sins which were so prevalent in the society of the day.  He had this big barge on his front lawn.  It was a testimony of God’s coming judgement.  He “prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world”.  Sadly, Noah had no converts with the exception of his family.  It must have been discouraging for Noah not to see one person, one neighbor repent of their evil ways. 

Nevertheless, Noah stayed the course and remained faithful.  He continued to do the work that God had called him to do.  His faithfulness was a wonderful testimony to his family.  So rich was Noah’s testimony that his family followed his faithful walk.

Noah walked with God, Noah witnessed to others, and Noah won his family.  In chapter 7 verses one and seven we read “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”  We know that his family got saved because God let them on the boat.  God saw that righteousness was in them.  They were Noah’s only converts.  Above all else, this father led by example.  He lived the life that he passed down to his children and their wives who in turn passed their faith down to their children.  Generation after generation.

Now fathers, what can we learn from Noah?  We can learn that a father must have a right relationship with God.  Because in the end, we want God to save us from complete destruction.  We want God to tell us that we can go in his ark to be safe from the floods.  In essence the ark today is none other than Jesus Christ.  Only though him can we come to the father.  Only on the ark will we not drown.

What else can we learn from Noah?  Noah was the head of his household.  Not only in title, but in respect and in leadership.  Did you know that in Ephesians 5:23 it says “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Guys, this means that you are the head of the household.  You are the God called leader, responsible for whatever happens in your household.  Remember, there is a difference between a leader and a ruler.  You are not a dictator in your house making other people bend to your every whim, no.  You are a leader.  You guide people and encourage them and help them grow.  But you also set the standard.  Because your standards should be Godly standards not Norman standards or Stanley standards or Tony standards.  Godly standards.  Nor should they be the standards of your wives.  Think about it.  Are you the leader God calls you to be?

How do you lead your family?  You lead them by walking uprightly.  Your faith is the evidence of God working in your life.  Faith produces works and as Colossians 3:17 states “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  What you do, you do to glorify God, not to glorify yourself, your wife, your child or your hobby.  Romans 8:28 says “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Men this is your purpose.

Another way you lead is by your speech.  I think all of us have some type of problem with this.  In Ephesians 4:29 it states “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  I happened to look up the word for corrupt and I found these meanings—poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless, rotten, putrefeyed.  Men this means that not only are we to not swear, but our speech should have a certain purity about it.  So that it’s not suggestive, hurtful or slanderous.  Rather we are to be encouraging one another.  Colossians 4:6 says “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”  Gentlemen, there is a right way and a wrong way to speak.  Take the time to be considerate of other people and be gentle in your answer. 

As a faithful leader you’re efforts mold the people closest to you.  Your example is the template which others will follow.  But you need to do more than just walk the walk.  You need to talk the talk.  Share your knowledge of God, of Christ, of salvation with the people that you meet.  Share them with the people that you know especially your family.  For in Deuteronomy 6 it states: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

While participating in my graduation from Liberty University I got the opportunity to hear Dr. Jerry Thorpe from Odessa, Texas give a sermon.  Yes, he’s another Texan.  I’d like to share a story that he told in that sermon.

       

Many years ago around the time of the depression there was a young man who had just graduated from college as an engineer.  He was assigned to a dam that was being built somewhere in the South.  While there he looked out and saw how well everything was progressing.  He saw that all the trees had been cleared for where the lake would be.  But then he noticed in the middle of that clearing was an old house made of logs.  He also noticed that there was someone still living in there because he could see a plume of smoke coming out of the chimney.  In bewildered amazement he exclaimed to the foreman it.  “There’s a house there!  It’s where the bottom of the lake is”.  The foreman replied “I know, but there’s a stubborn, bullheaded old man living there and he won’t move!  Everyone tried talking to him, but he won’t move!”  The engineer decided a little later on to go down and try and talk to the man.  He talked a lot to his grandparents and got along pretty good with older people maybe he could have some luck.  Well he gets down there and knocks on the door of the log cabin and he can hear the shuffle of feat coming to the door.  Eventually, the door opens and sure enough there’s this little old man-long white beard, long white hair and little glasses on the end of his nose (kind of like Jerry only with more hair).  They talked at the door for a little while and the old man seemed to like the young engineer and invited him in.  They sat by the fire in these two old rocking chairs.  After talking a little while longer the young engineer asked “sir, I’m just out of college, and I don’t know a whole lot, but we both know that this is where the bottom of the lake is going to be.  And you’ve got nice property, but the government will give you brand new property.  And you got a nice house, but the government would build you a brand new house.  I don’t understand sir, Why won’t you move?  The old man sat for a long time and didn’t say anything, but then he noticed that a tear got lost in his beard.  And he said son, do you see that fire? The engineer said “yes sir”.  He said my great granddad built that fire and it’s never gone out.  My great grandfather kept that fire burning every day of his life, and my grandfather kept that fire burning everyday of his life, and my daddy kept that fire burning everyday of his life.  Now I’m an old man, but I’ve kept that fire burning everyday of my life and I will not move and put out that fire”.

Fathers we have a fire to pass down to our children.  How to be a Christian and walk with God, witnessing to others and being a witness and a living testimony for our families through our faithfulness.  Don’t let the fire that old man Noah started for us go out just for something new and more convenient.  Gentlemen, stay your ground and be the men that God has called you to be.

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