The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)”
The importance of a father’s role in the family is clearly seen throughout Holy Scriptures. The father is representative of God the Father to his family. His role in the family helps children to understand God. If they see the love of their earthly father, they will see the love of their Heavenly Father. The nature and character of God is illustrated by the title Father. God is constantly referred to as “Our Father” in the Scriptures (Matthew 6:9, Ephesians 3:14, 4:6, 5:20, and Colossians 1:12). This term Father designates the first person of the Holy Trinity. Our Heavenly Father then is to be our model for our children. Our relationship with God is to be seen by our children.
“Home is the seminary of all other institutions.”
-E. H. Chapin
According to Ephesians 6:1-3, fathers are to be honored by their children, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
The Father’s Purpose
In Ephesians 6:4, the father is commanded to bring up his children in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Greek word (paideia) that is translated nurture in our text is translated chastening in Hebrews 12:5, 7, and instruction in II Timothy 3:16. The word nurture actually means to train, chasten, or disciplinary correction. The father is to see that the child walks in obedience to the knowledge he has been taught. If a child ignores the knowledge he has been taught, he is not trained. If a child is rebellious, stubborn, or talks back to his parents, he is not trained. This child has not been broken. In the course of my life I have ridden many a horse. It does not take long to tell if a horse is trained, that is, broken. If an animal trainer claimed his animals were well trained but never responded well to his command, we could assume that the job had not been done. The same is true with a child. If the child is well trained, he will consistently practice what he has been taught. The word admonition means to teach. It literally means, “putting in the mind”, that is, imparting knowledge and giving the child the facts of the Word of God. We see in Psalms 78:1-8 the process of passing on a godly heritage from one generation to another. There are many success stories in the Scriptures concerning the training of children and also many failures. David was a great man and king who succeeded in about everything he did, but floundered as a parent. One example of this is with his son Adonijah in I Kings 1:5-6, where David did not restrain him from sin, verse 6, “Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so? and he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bare him after Absalom.” Another man who failed was Eli, the High Priest. God held him responsible for not restraining his sons from evil. He was weak in the area of his children. Please check I Samuel 2:29, and 3:11-13. A good example of a successful father is seen in a man called Jonadab. His descendents were still obeying his commands 300 years after his death, six generations later (Jeremiah 35).
“Men are generally more careful of their horses and hogs than their children.”
- William Penn
The Father’s Presence
According to Deuteronomy 6:6-9, a Biblical command is given to fathers, “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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” This command immediately follows what Jesus called the greatest commandment, verse 5, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The Israelites were to diligently teach their children the Word of God, every opportunity they had. A father is to disciple his children. He is to walk alongside them as Jesus discipled his apostles. Every father should consider an occupation that is family-friendly so he can be with his family as much as possible. This way, he can train his sons in the same craft. His lifestyle should integrate work, home, and the education of his children. The result of following this Biblical principle is righteousness according to verses 18-25.
In Luke 1:17, John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, came forth “in the spirit and power of Elias” to preach the gospel, “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” The words, “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children” are very interesting. These are the last words of the Old Testament and a part of the first words spoken in the New Testament. In Malachi 4:6, it actually says that “to, turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” The reason there is such a generation gap today is that there is a breakdown in God’s command to fathers. The heart-bond between the father and child is God’s plan of redemption. Families are central to God’s plan in preaching the gospel and advancing God’s kingdom to the next generation. It is the family that will produce godly men and women of faith to carry out the great commission. Our text describes the kind of people that God will use to carry forth His work on earth. The father is to tie heart strings with his child. His love, devotion, and relationship with them will win them. Every father must allow this to be his top priority. As God wants our hearts first (Proverbs 4:23), the father should desire the heart of his children, Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
A Father’s Prayer
The Lord said in I Timothy 2:8, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Men had better learn to get on their faces and pray for their families. In the Old Testament, men of God built altars and knelt before a Holy God with their petitions. As a priest of the family, the father had better learn to intercede for his children, or they will be lost to the world and the devil.
Job never quit praying and sacrificing for his children even after they were grown because he knew the power of the enemy. Job 1:1, 4 & 5, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.” God help us to be praying men. Amen.
“The parent’s life is the child’s copybook.”
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523