Children have a responsibility to obey their parents. Dads have a responsibility to their children to be the spiritual leader of their family, the role model for their kids, and the emotional support to help them grow to maturity.
A. Dads are known for their one-liners. Our wit and wisdom has been passed down from generation to generation. You may have heard your dad say a few of these:
Don’t worry; it’s only blood.
A little dirt never hurt anyone; just wipe it off.
Do I look like I am made of money?
As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules.
I’m not sleeping; I’m resting my eyes.
What did I just get finished telling you?
Don’t make me stop this car!
What part of “no” don’t you understand?
B. Dads do more than just one liner advice. We have an obligation placed upon us by God himself. If we are going to take the actions that bring the title “father” upon us, we must also take the responsibility that goes with that title. What responsibility is placed upon us dads by our Heavenly Dad? Today I want to give a list of three things dads do: dads have a responsibility to be an emotional support to help them grow to maturity, the spiritual leader of their family and the role model for their kids.
I. Emotional Support
A. Every child raised going to Sunday school was taught to memorize verses. Kids learn to love God’s word by keeping in their heart and mind, as we read later. But one verse that some children quote is the beginning of verse 4 of our text. Listen again (READ Eph. 6:4a).
B. Dad’s need to be an emotional support to their kids. I want us dad’s to really consider God’s teaching to us. God, through Paul, used praise that places the cause of a child’s anger issue upon how we as dad (and in reality parents) emotio0nally stir them up. The parallel passage in Col. 3:21 says uses a similar word, both often translated “provoke.”
C. The question we need to ask, is are we provoking our children to negative outbursts by our words and actions? That falls upon us to answer. I can have all the best intentions, but if my words and actions provoke my kids to negative emotions like outburst of anger, I am just as guilty as they are. So dad, think about your words and attitude.
D. Kids need positive emotional support. For many in this room it is too late. We have raised our children and now either enjoy the beauty of our relationship the maturity of our kids, or we are suffering in our relationship see the immaturity of our kids.
E. I believe if you read how David raised his children, you see a father who was emotionally absent from his kids. One son behaved so badly that another child murdered his brother and David did little in the process. Emotional support is not just pop-psychology, it is real and your kids need you to help them develop a mature way of dealing with tough issues in life. They need you help them grow, to be proactive in their way of thinking. That’s hands on and heart open fatherhood, of which many Christian men fail. Take the next step to help you with this first thought.
II. Spiritual Leader
A. The Hebrew Shema is a collection of verses taken from Deuteronomy and Numbers. It is said as a prayer by faithful Jews in the morning and evening services. The first section is the most well-known and the part we quote most is taken from Deut. 6:4-9.
B. While this is not addressed specifically and only to fathers, for the Jews, the father was the leader of the family in all areas, including and especially the spiritual life of the family. We know the book of Job for the opening and closing of the book. But let me share with you the opening that you may have overlooked. (READ Job 1:4-5)
C. When Jesus was still at home, his father and mother took him to Jerusalem to worship. We get the account of a time when Jesus was 12. If you remember that account, you remember he stayed behind and for three days.
D. When they found Jesus they were upset. While Jesus, even at age 12, understood who he was, it is the next few verses I want you to hear (READ Luke 2:51-52). Now compare that with our text in Eph. 6:4b.
E. Bringing up your child in the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord is a proactive parent who values their child spiritual life, because that parent knows they entrusted with God’s gift and are accountable for that gift of a child. There is more to teaching your kids about being a Christian than what can be done “in the church.” It takes the home spiritual life to raise up God’s child.
III. Role Model
A. The last point I want to make is how important is for us dad’s, and really for all of us adults whom children see, to be good examples for our children to follow. Throughout the Proverbs the son is to listen to the instruction of the father, but children need to see instruction as much as hear instruction.
B. We jump to passages like Prov. 22:6 about train up a child in the why he should go. But how to train up that child is for them to see you as a spiritual person whose faith is authentic. Being a role model is all throughout the Bible. Paul tells people to follow him as he follows Christ. Paul tells Timothy to set an example to people. Jesus tells us to let our light shine before people. Faith in action teaches more lessons than I could ever do from this pulpit.
A. Story of father who helped pay for circus tickets so that another father would not “look bad” in front of his kids. That son never forgot what his dad did for that man. He saw his dad live out what he was trying to teach him and that example never left him.
B. Live in such a way that your children want their children to be like you. I believe we have some godly dads in this church and I am proud to walk along side of each of you.