The Perfect Father
Text: Rom. 8:38-39
ILLUS. - “You,” said the doctor to his patient, “are in terrible shape, & unless something is quickly done you’re going to die. You’re under too much stress and you’re not eating right. Tell your wife that she must start cooking more nutritious meals. And to help reduce the stress, have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Then make a budget and tell her she has to stick to it. If she’ll do all this, you should recover completely. Otherwise, you’ll be dead in a month.”
Obviously shaken, the patient said, “Doc, would you calling my wife before I get home & give her those instructions?” When he got home, his wife rushed to him. “I just talked to the doctor,” she wailed. “Honey, he said you only have 30 days to live.”
A. “Happy Father’s Day” to all the dads who are here today.
· ILLUS. - One little boy, when asked to explain about Father’s Day, said, “It’s just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”
1. Maybe we’re not quite as sentimental about Father’s Day because, after all, most fathers are not as sensitive to children’s needs or alert to sentiment as mothers are.
· ILLUS. – You have heard of the mother who left her room in the maternity ward to go down to the nursery & found her husband staring at his newborn baby. The mother could tell he was captivated by the baby by how intently he stood there looking down at it.
She was so touched that finally she tiptoed up behind him & slipped her arm through his, & said, “Honey, what are you thinking?” He said, “I just can’t understand how they’re able to make a crib like that for only $89.95.”
B. The Inception of Father’s Day
· ILLUS. - It’s Father’s Day, & the very first national celebration of this day was on June 19, 1924, by proclamation of President Calvin Coolidge. But it all came about because of the efforts of Sonora Smart Dodd.
Sonora was sitting in church in 1909 listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when the idea of Father’s Day first came to mind. Having been raised by her father after her mother’s death, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her for all his parental sacrifices & for being, in her eyes, so courageous, selfless, & loving. Through her efforts Pres. Coolidge designated the 3rd Sunday of June as “Father’s Day.” And our nation has been celebrating it ever since.
1. Father’s Day gives us a chance to honor those who stand at the helm and lead their family through life’s battles.
· ILLUS. - James Dobson, in his book, “Dare To Discipline,” suggests 3 specific things for a father to keep in mind.
1. The earliest years = (time with mom). Years bring change, & father often becomes the example in attitude & action that a child follows. (God, church, spiritual things) “Fathers are followed,” & this is not something that we can just turn over to mother to handle.
2. The 2nd thing he suggests is that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
Paul tells the Ephesian husbands (& us) to love their wives “…just as Christ loved the church & gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
3. Thirdly, a Christian father will arrange to spend time with his children.
James Dobson goes on to say that “Good fathers are made, not born.”
But to be a good father you need a model, an example of a father that you can pattern yourself after. Where do you find such a father? Where do you look? Is there such a thing as a perfect father? Ray’s saying…. “Practice doesn’t make perfect…perfect practice makes perfect.”
Yes, there is, & today, let’s see what we can learn about being a father by looking at God, the perfect Father.
I. GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN
· “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
· “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
A. He Loved Us and Loved Us First
1. He didn’t wait for us to meet His expectations or wait for us to make Him proud.
2. Didn’t wait until we measured up to His standards….He loved us first…complete, constant, unconditionally.
3. It may anger Him when we disobey, sadden Him when we stray, but he never stops loving.
· (Romans 8:38-39) - Paul, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
ILLUST. - Erma Bombeck wrote something that is rather intriguing. She wrote:
“When the Lord was creating fathers he started with a tall frame. An angel standing nearby said, ‘What kind of father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put fathers up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling. He won’t be able to tuck a child into bed without bending. He won’t even be able to kiss a child without stooping.’ God smiled & said, ‘Yes, but if I make him child size, who will the children have to look up to?’
“And when God made the father’s hands, they were large…. The angel shook his head & said, ‘I don’t think you want to make hands like that. Large hands are clumsy. They can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on pony tails, or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats.’
“God smiled again & said, ‘I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of the day – yet small enough to cup a child’s face in his hands.’
“Then God molded long, slim legs & broad shoulders. The angel nearly had a heart attack. ‘Boy, this is the end of the week, all right!’ he said. ‘How’s he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?’
“God smiled & said, ‘A mother needs a lap but a father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, or hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.’
“God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could not be contained any longer. ‘That’s not fair,’ he said. ‘Do you honestly think that those large boats are going to get out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk though a small birthday party without crushing at least 3 of the guests?’
“Again God smiled, & He said, ‘They’ll work. You’ll see. They’ll scare off mice at a summer cabin, or leave footprints that will be a challenge to follow.’
“God worked throughout the night, giving the father few words, but a firm voice & eyes that saw everything. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added tears. Then He turned to the angel & said, ‘Now are you satisfied that he can love as much as a mother?’ And the angel was silent!” (From Bruce Howell on SC)
SUMMARY - Yes, God does love His children - & so should we!
II. GOD ENCOURAGES HIS CHILDREN
A. God Is Quick to Encourage His Children
ILLUST. - A psychologist tells about going to school as a little boy & failing a test in math. So the teacher wrote a note & sent it home with him. It said, “Your son just can’t handle math.”
Well, his dad sat him down & told him, “Son, I guess you just don’t have an aptitude for math.” “So from then on he flunked every test in math,” he said. “I never could do anything in math.”
“Then one day the teacher put a problem on the board & asked the class to solve it. But nobody could figure out the answer. I looked at the problem & suddenly realized that I knew the answer. So I held up my hand & everybody laughed because they knew I couldn’t solve it.”
“But I walked up to the blackboard, worked the problem, & came up with the right answer. Then I realized that it wasn’t my lack of aptitude at all. It was just that everybody had told me I couldn’t do math, & because I believed that I didn’t even try.”
1. God encouraged Moses at the burning bush when He told him to deliver the nation Israel.
2. He encouraged Joshua as Joshua set out to conquer the Promised Land.
a. He encouraged them with His words, His presence, & with His assistance.
1. (Joshua 1:9) - “Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
· God saw the things his children could do & He encouraged them to go out & do them.
· Sadly, many parents are more prone to send msgs. laced with criticism than with encouragement.
It is so important to watch our words. The apostle Paul challenges us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph. 4:29)
III. GOD DISCIPLINES HIS CHILDREN
ILLUS - Recently I heard a story about triplets, 3 young boys who got along well. They saw everything alike. They were loyal to each other. If one into trouble they wouldn’t tattle on each other. A neighbor asked the father, “How in the world do you know which one to punish if there’s trouble?”
He said, “It’s easy. I just send all 3 to bed without their supper. And the next morning I spank the one with the black eye.”
A. God is good. He is a loving father. Yet He disciplines His children.
· He does not discipline in spite of His goodness, He disciplines because of His goodness. He does not discipline in spite of His love, He disciplines because of His love.
1. Deuteronomy 8:5 says, “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.”
2. Proverbs 3:12 says, “The Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
B. The father who disciplines his children wisely is reflecting the character of God.
· (Hebrews 12:10-11) - “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness & peace for those who have been trained by it.”
IV. OUR RESPONSIBILITY
A. It is our responsibility to bring our children up in the training & instruction of the Lord.
1. Our teaching should begin when children are at a young age.
· Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6, & so many Bible passages tell us to teach our children as we sit down & as we stand up, as we walk along & as we lie down, & to pass on from one generation to the next the instructions of God…
2. Now we can do that in a right way, or we can do that in a wrong way. We can create misconceptions about God in the home.
ILLUS. - A parable is told about 3 fathers who each felt the soft hand of his child in his own hand & realized the responsibility of teaching his child about God.
1. One felt the awesome responsibility that was his, so he taught the child about the power & might of God.
As they walked down the pathway of life & came to the tall trees in the forest, he pointed to them & said, "God made them & God can cause them to come crashing down anytime He wants to." As they walked in the hot sun he said, "This is God’s sun. He made it & He can cause it to be so hot & so intense that the plants in the field will wither & die."
Again & again he hammered home the power of God & how the child must be obedient to God. Then one day they came face to face with God, & the child hid behind his father, afraid even to look, refusing to put his hand into the hand of God.
2. The second father also realized his responsibility to teach his child about God. Hurriedly, he tried to teach all the important lessons he knew.
As they looked at the trees they only stopped for a moment to gaze at them. As they looked at the flowers of the field they hurried on by. He told stories, but they were hurried & crammed together. He filled the child full of facts, but he never taught him how to live, or to love God. Finally, one day, at twilight they came face to face with God, but the child only gave God a casual glance & then turned away.
3. The third father felt the touch of a tender hand in his & adjusted his steps to the tiny steps of the child. They walked along, stopping to look at all of God’s beauty & grandeur.
They walked in the fields & picked the flowers. They felt the delicate petals & smelled their fragrance. They watched a bird in flight, & another building her nest & laying her eggs & sitting on them until they hatched. They watched all of the beauties of nature while the father told his child stories about God over & over again. Finally, one day in the twilight they saw the face of God, & without hesitation, the child placed his hand trustingly into the hand of His heavenly Father.
Outline borrowed from Melvin M. Newland, Minister Central Christian, Brownsville, TX