Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
(540) 473-2325

Inspiring the Next Generation

There are no perfect or sinless fathers, including this pastor. I know this statement may come as a shock to you, but please remain seated while I preach on it.

Eph.6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

How many times have we fathers read this, and said, “I wish I would have done a better job of raising my children.”

Paul speaks in Ephesians chapter five of the times fathers lived in, in his day. Evil was everywhere. Immorality was rampant and infectious. The exhortations to refrain from an evil and immoral life are numerous in Eph.5.

The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh as Paul said in Gal.5:16-17. This truth is echoed over and over in Eph.5:1-11 where the flesh says; fornicate, be unclean, be covetous, be filthy, talk foolishly, [jesting] adding your two cents to foolish words when with others. The flesh goes on to say in v.11, fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but the Spirit says the opposite of all these things. We are instead told to walk in virtue love, v.2; to walk as children of light, v.8, and to walk upright, not as fools in v.15. So there is a clear difference as to how we are to personally live as fathers and how we are to instruct our children as fathers.

Please understand that the Galatians as well as the Ephesian youth came up in a pagan Roman society. The Roman government was strong on patriotism, on expansion of national holdings and growth of wealth. Allegiance to political and military leaders was strongly promoted and at times, enforced. However patriotism and national interests to Rome were not in the business of promoting morality, much less Christian teaching. “Hostility to Christians was not just the work of people who wanted more human bloodshed in the circus/ arena: it had a rational, conservative basis. By 100 a.d. the anti-Christian movement essentially rested on the widespread popular feeling that some corrupting internal force was at work to undermine traditional cultural values.” Christianity, The First Two-Thousand Years, by Peter Partner. p.43

Christians were an affront to national interest and were deemed undesirable. Christians were a force that undermined the heathen godless culture of that day.

Entertainment was not focused on virtues and fidelity, other than allegiance to Rome. Debauchery and vice made the headlines in the theaters then just as it does today. Christians who spoke of sins and judgment day, of answering to God after death, of serving a resurrected Savior, were despised and persecuted by Roman culture. The Romans had their gods and goddesses, and they wanted no one telling them they had to answer to the Christian’s God.

So needless to say, a Christian family, and in particular as we look at Father’s day, the Christian fathers of that day had a lot stacked against them. Their children were strongly advised and influenced by their peers as well as their culture to live the Roman way. They saw the scorn and shame that would come to them if they expressed their Christian upbringing. And so, if they had Christian salvation and Christian teaching they hid it.

They did not observe Prov.1:10 “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Instead their children, as do so many of today’s children, including Christian children, cast in their lot among the sinners and their feet run to evil.

The strong influence from their peers and their culture made it harder on the parents to inspire their own children and unfortunately many gave in to the culture of their children. In the persecutions of AD 249-251 of Emperor Decius, the apostasy of an overwhelming majority in a Christian congregation was not infrequent. Christian values were undermined by the culture of that day so much so that dedication and suffering for Christ seemed useless. However, it would be the dedicated, sometimes martyred parents who would inspire the next godly generation of young people to carry on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christianity has a heritage of great men and women of God who have stuck with the word of God in the midst of tremendous persecution. Some of their children have turned from the word, but some have followed in the faith footsteps of their godly parent or parents.

Thank goodness this has continued for the past two-thousand years and we are still here, and we fathers are still battling the same battle of fathers of the past.

So fathers, the best we can do is follow Eph.6:4 and...

1. provoke not our children to wrath... do not be unreasonable in our demands, outrageous in our punishments, or inconsistent in our examples, our rules, and our controls. Be fair with your children as God is fair with you, and be consistent in your duties as a parent. Do not show favoritism to any of your children.

The word, wrath, parogizmos, means exasperation and embitterment. Do not push your children into an emotional corner of which they cannot come out. Col.3:21 says “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

They may be children, but they are 100% people, and sooner or later they will come out fighting. The Bible says in Heb.10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” You must show them the way they should go by your life, but you cannot make them go as they should go. Encourage them to do right and live right by the Lord, and turn to Him for direction.

2. bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord... Keep the word of God present and visually placed before your children in the home. Deut.6:6-14 says to teach it to your children and write it upon the door post of your house. Reminders of God’s love and direction need to be everywhere in the home. It is good for both parents and children. The Bible is clear that a child left unto himself will bring his mother to shame, Prov.29:15. A child that is corrected shall give rest and delight to their parents’ soul, Prov.29:17.

America , as we spoke earlier, has unfortunately returned to the practices of Roman paganism. As fathers, and grandfathers we have an awesome responsibility to steer our children and grandchildren away from the vile media that spews out its corruption on our families. Fathers, let us stand in the word and lead our families in godly wisdom and in the love of Jesus Christ.

The Pastor
June 2013

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