Introduction: Before we had children of our own I preached a sermon entitled "Ten laws for raising children." After we had children and while they were small I changed that to "Ten SUGGESTIONS for raising children." A few more years have passed and it finally wound up as "Ten HINTS for raising children."
ILLUSTRATION: After a baby dedication of his younger brother at church, a little boy cried all the way home in the back seat of the car. His father asked him three times what was wrong. Finally the boy replied, "That preacher said he wanted us brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys!"
Fortunately, the principles of a healthy family are given to us in scripture and they are valid principles regardless of how well they are implemented...and no one implements them perfectly. What we want to do today is simply honor fathers.
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus prays what is often referred to as the "model prayer" in which He addresses God as "Our Father in heaven." The Fatherhood of God is the pattern for the Fatherhood of Man. This morning I want to use that prayer as an outline for honoring our fathers today.
I. WE HONOR FATHERS FOR GIVING US A NAME -- 9
"Hallowed by Thy name." A family name conveys a sense of belonging and worth. In "How to Win Friends and Influence People" Dale Carnegie wrote "The sweetest sound that any person can hear is the sound of their own name." Don't you like it when someone remembers you and is able to call you by name? That's one of the reasons we like to take a picture of our guests. I want to call you by name when you return.
Our family names say that we belong to others of the same name.
ILLUS: When I was a kid, my father's whistle could be heard two blocks away. At suppertime he'd whistle for my brother and me to come home and we'd come running, usually. If we didn't come running, he'd come looking for us to bring us home. The other boys we played with didn't come running when Dad whistled, and he never came looking for them to take them home. Why? Because they didn't belong to him -- they weren't Joneses.
Christian fathers take this a step further because they can introduce us to the name of God. The name "Christian" literally means "belonging to Christ". When we wear that name then we have an even greater sense of worth and belonging. A Christian father can say to his children "Remember who you are. You're a member of our family AND the family of God. Therefore there are certain things we do, and don't do." That's a powerful influence on a child.
I was reading a book recently where the author suggested abandoning the name Christian because in America the name Christian no longer represents a distinctive, Christ-like lifestyle.
Here is what research in North America tells us about people in North America who call themselves Christians:
- They are no more likely to give assistance to a homeless ...
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