Raising Overcomers by Pastor Abidan Shah

RAISING OVERCOMERS by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson 

Raising Overcomers

Introduction: When it comes to raising children, there are photographers and then there are instructors. There’s a big difference between those two. Once a student pilot was waiting for his lesson when suddenly a man jumped in the cockpit and said, “Let’s head towards those mountains to the south and then fly as low as you can over the lake.” The student took off and the man started taking pictures. After a while the student asked, “Do you always take pictures when you give flight lessons?” “Flight lessons? I’m just the photographer for the newspaper.” The student replied, “If you’re not the flight instructor, then you probably can’t tell me why these red lights are flashing, can you?” Today’s message is on raising children who overcome in life. Just like the opening anecdote, some parents are just photographers. They only capture what they encounter in the journey of life. Other parents are instructors. They teach their children how to navigate through the trials in life. Today’s message is titled “RAISING OVERCOMERS.”

Genesis 37   23 So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24 Then they took him and cast him into a pit…28 Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and…sold him…And they took Joseph to Egypt. Genesis 50:19-20 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Question: It’s no secret that life is full of trials. Job, the oldest book in the Bible, reminds us in 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Even Jesus says in John 16:33 “…In the world you will have tribulation…” The point of this sermon is this – It’s not enough to acknowledge that life will bring trials and tough times. As parents and adults, God has entrusted us to teach our kids to become overcomers. Are you teaching the kids and the young people in your life to become overcomers? Are you an overcomer? By the way, please don’t confuse overcoming with enduring. There’s a big difference between them: Enduring is “I’ve been there and I have a T-shirt to prove it.” Overcoming is “I’ve been there and I have a godly character to prove it.” Meaning: I’m more like Christ having been through trials. Are you saved? Are your kids saved? Before they can be overcomers, they have to be overcome by the gospel. In this message we will see how Jacob the overcomer taught his son Joseph to overcome.

Context: As you know, we’re in our series on the family, looking at the family of Abraham and Sarah through Genesis, looking at their good and bad decisions and the impact their decisions had over the later generations. Now we come to a very prominent figure in this family: Joseph. He was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. His brothers hated him and sold him into slavery. He was dragged off to Egypt where his master Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of trying to rape her. He was unjustly thrown into prison where he helped fellow inmates, but one of them forgot to return the favor. These are just some of the struggles that the Bible tells us. Who knows what else happened to him. All this could have destroyed him. Instead, Joseph overcame all of these trials and in God’s sovereign plan became second in command to Pharaoh. How did he do that? 4 reasons:

  1. He was taught the value of being trustworthy.

Genesis 37:2 “Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.”

At first glance, Joseph sounds like a tattletale. No one likes a tattletale, a snitch. As a teacher, you know how it is when kids run to you and tell on someone. We tell them to mind their business. The difference between a tattletale and a trustworthy person is this: A tattletale wants to make himself look good but a trustworthy person wants to make his superior look good. Jacob knew the difference and he valued the trustworthiness of his son. This is going to be very important one day for Joseph when he would have to work for Potiphar and then for Pharaoh. They knew they could trust Joseph. They could see integrity in his eyes. Teach your kids the value of being trustworthy.

  1. He was loved and affirmed by his father.

Genesis 37:3 “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.”

Again, at first glance, this sounds like favoritism but it’s not. If this were favoritism, the Bible would have condemned Jacob but it doesn’t. Neither does it mean that Joseph was the baby of the family and hence Jacob loved him. If that were true, then Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother, should be the one to get Jacob’s special attention. I believe that “son of his old age” implies a son who brought comfort and joy to his father. Jacob also affirmed Joseph’s character by giving him a special coat. By the way, it was not a “coat of many colors” but in Hebrew it is a “coat that extended to the palms and the feet.” It was a ceremonial coat that implied authority and power. Jacob was affirming that God had great things in store for Joseph. Can you imagine where Joseph would’ve been if all he felt was the hatred of his brothers? An important warning: What I’ve often seen is that parents favor the child who gets into trouble or who fails to do well in life. Nothing is wrong with that. God does that with us when he leaves the 99 and goes after the one lost sheep or throws a party for the prodigal son and not the faithful elder brother. But, it’s just as important to show your love and affirmation to the good child.

  1. He was taught to face rejection in the face of truth.

Genesis 37   4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. What was the dream? They are in the field binding sheaves and his sheaf stood tall and the others bowed down to his. What was their reaction? 8 And his brothers said to him, “Shall you indeed reign over us?…So they hated him even more for his dreams…

Again, at first glance, it sounds like either Joseph knew how to aggravate his brothers or that he was completely clueless. Why would you share things with your brothers and have them hate you more each time? Unless…this dream was meant to be shared. Unless…God had instructed Joseph to share this dream with his brothers.

Genesis 37   9 Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers…” This time it was about the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowing before him. Even Jacob was aggravated with him at first but then listen to verse 11 And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

I believe that when it says that Jacob “kept the matter in mind” that he prayed for his son – “God, if you are the source of these dreams then let my son stand his ground and never give up.” This would be very important when he had to interpret the dreams of the Chief Butler and the Chief Baker. One dream was good and the other bad. The Bible doesn’t tell us but I feel that Joseph probably did that for others as well and gained the reputation of an uncompromising dream interpreter. If he had been scared to share the truth with his brothers, he would’ve never been brought before someone as powerful as Pharaoh. Teach your children to be willing to face rejection when telling God’s truth.

  1. He was pushed out of the shelter of his home.

Genesis 37   12 Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.”

When we read that passage, we almost want to shout at Jacob – “Are you crazy! Don’t you know your sons! They’ll kill him!” And even if its not your sons, how about the bad people around Shechem! They still remember what your boys did to the entire city. Joseph gets to Shechem but his brothers are not there and he was just wandering in the field. Genesis 37:17 And the man said, “They have departed from here, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’ ” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

From the Valley of Hebron where Jacob and his family lived to Shechem was 50 miles. Dothan was another 14 miles to the north! Dothan was in a valley that connected the coastal plain to the Valley of Jezreel where Megiddo was. This area was the route leading to the International Highway headed towards Egypt. It’s no surprise that few verses later we read about the Midianite/Ishmaelite caravan passing by. Did Jacob not think about where he was sending his son! Did he not know that there were bad people in the world! Of course he did. About 30 years earlier, Jacob was also living under the shelter of his mother and had to be pushed out. Somehow he knew that Joseph had to grow up. Parents – be careful how much you shelter your children. You might be crippling them. Learn to lovingly but firmly push your children out of the shelter of the home.

I can go on and on but the true test of whether or not Joseph became an overcomer is not how he responded when he was sold into slavery or how he responded when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him or how he responded when the Chief Butler forgot him in prison. The true test is how he responded when he saw his brothers again.

Genesis 45   3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. 4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life….7 And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Repeatedly, he tells them that it’s not them but God. That’s the mark of a true overcomer. You are more concerned about glorifying God than proving yourself or destroying your enemies.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. I John 5   4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Are you a photographer or an instructor? Before you can teach your children to be an overcomer, you have to overcome. Through Christ you can.

Parents Behaving Badly by Pastor Abidan Shah

PARENTS BEHAVING BADLY by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Parents Behaving Badly

Introduction: I don’t know how your kids are but our kids love to hear stories about Nicole and I growing up. They love hearing about how mommy loved climbing trees and walking on top of the swing set instead of swinging on it. They love hearing stories of how dad tried joining the circus at five and ended up with a broken collarbone. Last week they were up laughing until midnight as we told them those stories from our childhood. I guess the thought of their parents acting crazy or getting in trouble brings comfort and joy to them! But what if those stories were still happening? What if Nicole was still walking on top of swings and I was still breaking collarbones trying to join the circus? That would not be funny anymore but embarrassing and painful, especially for the kids. Today’s message on the family is what to do about “PARENTS BEHAVING BADLY.”

Genesis 38   12   Now in the process of time…Judah’s wife, died…and (he) went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah…13 And it was told Tamar, saying, “Look, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil…and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah…15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a harlot, because she had covered her face. 16 Then he turned to her by the way…

Question: God has appointed parents to lead their children, to be a model for them. He has designed them to be emotionally more mature than their kids. He has called them to be the standard of morality and integrity for them. He has entrusted parents to be the spiritual guides for their children. Unfortunately, some parents are emotionally unstable, morally objectionable, and spiritually incapable. Sometimes they make decisions and do things that are embarrassing and distressing for the children. It reverses God’s hierarchy and design for the family. How are your parents? Do you look up to them or do you shake your head at them? Do you admire them or are you ashamed of them? Some of you may not need this message but others know very well what I am talking about and it is very painful for you. Do your parents know Christ as their Savior? Do you? This message will help you relate with parents behaving badly.

Context of the Message: In our series on the family of Abraham and Sarah from the Book of Genesis, we now come to the fourth generation, to Judah, one of the sons of Jacob. He did something unthinkable. He had sexual relations with his own daughter-in-law who tricked him by dressing up as a prostitute. What in the world is going on! First, why would a daughter-in-law trick her father-in-law in such a horrible way? Second, why would a grown man, coming from a family that loves God, go to a prostitute? To understand this, we have to back up to the opening verses of Genesis 38:1 “It came to pass at that time that Judah departed from his brothers…” If you’ve been keeping up with this series, we skipped over chapter 37 that gives us the account of Joseph and his brothers, how Joseph had his dreams and his brothers hated him for that and one day when they had the opportunity, they sold him into slavery. Who was the brother who suggested this? It was Judah. He probably did that to save his brother’s life. The other brothers were bent on killing Joseph. Selling him into slavery seemed to be a much better alternative. At least, Joseph would still be alive. But, can you imagine the guilt and the shame Judah had to live with? He could still hear the shrieks and the cries of Joseph as he was being dragged away by the Midianite traders. The first thought when he woke up and the last thought when he lay down to sleep was “I wonder if he’s still alive…” Every day he had to see the tear-stained face of his father Jacob and every time he was tempted to just confess to him, one of the brothers would shake his head at Judah – “You better not…” Judah was probably angry, depressed, and miserable. He did not want to see their faces anymore and instead of confessing, he packed up and moved away.

Principle: Judah moved away because he thought that a change in location was going to change everything. Out of sight, out of mind. People do that all the time and they fail to realize that they are still the common ingredients in all their problems. Unconfessed sin always brings only unending sorrow. Listen to David’s prayer of confession in Psalm 32   3 “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.” Secret guilt will only lead to ceaseless grief, regardless of your location. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Now, it happens with some that, though they are conscious of sin, they do not confess it; and what is the result? Why, it increases their misery. It is impossible that you should find peace while sin continues to gather in your soul. It is a festering wound…So long as a man continues silent before God, and does not own his sin, if the Lord really has begun to deal with him, he will have to suffer more and more from the pangs of conscience.”

Judah married a Canaanite girl in this new place. There is no love mentioned in this relationship. He met her, married her, had sexual relationship with her, and they had 3 children – Er, Onan, and Shelah. Just like his marriage, nothing is mentioned about his relationship with his children. In verse 6 he arranged a marriage for Er, his oldest one, with a girl named Tamar. Bottom line: Judah was living a ho-hum life…until his actions from his previous life began to catch up with his present life. Listen to verse 7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD killed him.” The Bible doesn’t say what he did but it must have been serious enough for God to kill him, something he hasn’t done since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Nothing is said about how Judah felt about this. All it says is that he ordered his second son Onan to marry Tamar and have a child with her according to levirate marriage, where the brother-in-law marries the widow of his brother to keep the family name going (Levir in Latin means “brother-in-law). Onan married Tamar but secretly deceived her and refused to have a child with her. Listen to verse 10 “And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.” Wow! Why that serious? More than likely Onan didn’t want to give his brother any children. If he did, then he would lose his default inheritance. What he didn’t realize is that he was interfering with God’s plan of using the family of Abraham and Sarah to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. He was interfering with the gospel. I seriously doubt that in his guilt and shame Judah ever took the time to explain to his children the promise God had made to their family.

Question: How often do you talk to your children about the things of God? How often do you explain to them that the reason for your success is God’s hand upon you? How often do you challenge and encourage them to keep God first in their lives? Something else here – God was teaching Judah, “You took someone’s child. Now you’ll know what it means to lose a child.” Only sad part is that Tamar, the innocent bystander, was also suffering because of Judah’s sin from his previous life. Are your decisions bringing pain to some innocent person in your life?

Unfortunately, Judah did not learn his lesson. He continued his life of deception. He refused to let his third son Shelah marry Tamar for fear that he too might die. So he lied to Tamar and told her that once Shelah was older, he would marry her. Until then, she should go back to her parent’s house. He was thinking that with time she would forget or remarry someone back home and it’ll all be over. In the meantime, Judah’s wife also died. After grieving for her, he decided to go to Timnah at the sheep-shearing time. Tamar heard about it and embarked on a cruel scheme. We read this passage. She disguised herself as a prostitute, covered her face with a veil, and sat seductively at Enaim (lit. at the “opening of the eyes,” which could be the crossroads). Apparently, she knew her father-in-law very well. Sure enough he came by, saw her but didn’t recognize her. He made a proposition to her and she agreed for a young goat. As guarantee, he left his seal, cord, and staff with her. Here’s my question: What business did Judah have to go to a prostitute? He probably felt entitled to some good time. You can hear him say, “People don’t understand what I’ve been through. I just don’t care anymore. I’m not hurting anyone…”

Question: Do you use the same lines to indulge in sin? Do you feel entitled to sin because of all that you’ve been through? No matter what you’ve been through or what anyone has done to you, you are never entitled to sin.

Anyways, things are about to get complicated. Judah sent the young goat as he had promised but there was no prostitute. Judah didn’t care. “Let her keep it,” he said. But 3 months later, word got back to Judah that Tamar, his daughter-in-law, was pregnant. The cause was prostitution. Listen to his response: “Bring her out and let her be burned!”

Principle: Show me a person who is very legalistic and harsh about some sin and I’ll show you a person who is hiding a bigger similar dirty secret. The penalty for adultery later, according to the Mosaic Law, was death by stoning not burning. Reminds you of David when he stole Uriah’s wife and had him killed, doesn’t it? Don’t misunderstand, Moses, Jesus, and Paul were all hard against sin but it was always with a broken heart.

You know what happened next: Tamar sent word to her father-in-law that the man was the owner of the signet, the cord, and the staff. Judah immediately knew his guilt. He confessed. Long story short – Tamar had twins and the oldest one (Perez) became part of the genealogy of Christ. Matthew included this fact in his gospel to let people know that Mary was not the first one looked down upon in the birth of the Messiah. In other words, God worked all things together for good once again in his people’s life.

It is truly a sad sight when adults, especially parents behave badly. Here are some suggestions on what to do in those situations:

  • Know that they are just fallen human beings like yourself
  • Don’t put them on a pedestal nor fail to show them grace
  • Obey their godly teachings without following their ungodly examples
  • Remember that you are not to be blamed for your parents’ choices
  • Pray for them, especially if they do not know Christ

I Corinthians 6   9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

  • Trust that God will work all things together for good

Most importantly, be Christ-like and Christ-filled.

ENCOUNTERS 3 (CLEARVIEW FOLLOWUP)

ENCOUNTERS  (Clearview Followup) by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Here are some key points to remember from the message

  1. A Historical Fact to Learn: The nobleman went from Capernaum to Cana, which is about 16 miles, a day’s journey. It was uphill because Capernaum was about 700 feet below sea level. Maybe, he walked or maybe he rode his horse. Why? Because his boy was dying with some kind of fever. He may have been a bad person working for a bad man but he was a good father who loved his son and would do anything for him.
  2. A Theological Truth to Believe: You cannot come to Jesus with unbelief in your heart and expect Him to listen to you. Listen to Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
  3. A Biblical Principle to Apply: Crisis is the perfect opportunity to bring people to Christ, to turn their doubts into faith. Do you know someone like that? Pray for them. Are you that someone who is struggling with doubts? Bring your struggles to Him and try Him.

When God is Your Father by Pastor Abidan Shah

 

WHEN GOD IS YOUR FATHER by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whengodisyourfatherIntroduction: This morning we are in our series through the Lord’s Prayer called “Talking to the Father” and today’s message is titled – “When God is Your Father.”

Matthew 6   9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Overall Background: Along with Psalm 23, John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, Jeremiah 29:11 and a few others, the passage we just read is one of the most well known passages of the Bible. It is the Lord’s Prayer or the Pater Noster or sometimes even known as the Disciple’s Prayer. It is found twice in the Gospels – one here in Matthew 6 and a shorter version in Luke 11. It could be that Jesus taught the same prayer several times or it could be that Luke placed it at a different point in his gospel, as he often does. What is interesting about Luke’s version of the prayer is that he gives us the context in which Jesus gave this model prayer. Listen to Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” What is very interesting to me is that the disciples did not ask Jesus – “teach us to preach or teach us to evangelize or teach us to do a miracle” but “teach us to pray.” Why? Because they witnessed how important prayer was to Jesus.

Question: If you were one of the disciples, what would you have asked Jesus? How important is prayer to your daily life? Many of you shared with me this past week, how much you are looking forward to this series. Many of you have shared with me that you have begun to pray as never before. That’s wonderful! How about the rest of you? Here’s another question – Are you saved? Do you know Christ as your Savior?

This morning we will be looking at just the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer, just the designation that Jesus uses for God – “Our Father.” I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes so you can see what that title represents. Also, if you don’t know God as your father that today you will believe in Christ as your Savior.

I. COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS:

  1. Jesus was the first to call God – “Our Father.”

Not true. This is a popular misunderstanding that was proposed by a German scholar by the name of Joachim Jeremias. Later on this same scholar revised his view but no one listened to him. It preached too good! Here are some examples of previous usage:

  • Moses said to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 32:6 Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?
  • In Isaiah 63:16 it says, “Doubtless You are our Father…You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.”
  • In Malachi 1:6 where God says to His people “A son honors his father, And a servant his If then I am the Father, Where is My honor?…”

The point is this – Jesus did bring us a special intimacy with God. Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has desired to have a close relationship with us as a father to a child.

  1. “Abba Father” represents a little child’s name for father.

Once again the same scholar was responsible for this misunderstanding and once again he tried to correct it but to no avail. When you study the literature from that time, the word “abba” is not just a little child’s word for father but also a grown child’s word for father. Just like a 4 year old and a 40 year old can use the word “daddy,” a little child and a grown child can use the word “abba.”

The point is this – We’ve tried to insert our modern psychology into the first century world. Yes – there is something special in how a little boy or girl looks up to his/her father but this is not all that Jesus had in mind when He said “Our Abba.”

Some of y’all are wondering – what are you trying to get at? When we understand the real reason why Jesus said “Our Father,” it will change the way we think about God and pray to Him. It will revolutionize our prayer life! So what is the correct understanding?

II. CORRECT INTERPRETATION:

  1. Abba Father means God is our Creator.

Listen again to Deuteronomy 32:6 – “Do you thus deal with the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?”

Here “Abba Father” has the idea of God being our Creator. When we say “Our Father,” what we’re really saying is “God, You are the source of our existence. We were created by you and we exist because of you. You’re not depended on us but we are depended on you.” Paul said the same thing in Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’” Offspring means we are God’s children who depend upon Him. Paul goes on in verse 29 to say, “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.” Meaning: As God’s offspring, He gives shape and sustenance to us and not the other way around. He doesn’t depend on us but we depend on Him.

This is increasingly hard in our culture to understand where fathers have become dispensable. Fathers are nothing more than “sperm donors.” Mothers, on the other hand, have to carry the child for nine months, go through the pain of childbirth, and then provide nourishment and nurture for the child. Ladies – no disrespect to you but this is part of the reason why our society is so messed up today. We have pretty much told fathers – “We don’t need you. We can do without you. Just do your thing and get out of sight. We have the government, the school, and the church to raise the child. ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’” Growing up, my dad was everything to me. I know this is a tough message for some of you but this is not meant to hurt you or pull back the scab. This is not to blame you for some deadbeat dad. But we have to return to the standard.

Listen carefully – When we pray “Our Father in heaven,” we are telling God that we need Him and that we are depended on Him. He is our source and our sustenance. Without Him, we would not exist and without Him, we cannot survive.

Application: What do you think when you say “Our Father in Heaven?” Are you acknowledging that God is your creator? Are you admitting to Him that you are His creation? Are you reminding Him and your self how much you are depended on Him?

2. Abba Father means God is our Superior.

Malachi 1:6      “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts.”

Here Abba Father has the idea of God being our Superior. When we say “Our Father,” what we’re really saying is “God, You are above us. You deserve all honor and respect. You are not subject to us. We are subject to You. You don’t obey us. We obey You.” We find this echoed several times. Ephesians 4 (There is) 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 1 Corinthians 8:6 “yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him.” By the way, the one person who lived this perfectly was Jesus Christ. He always honored and obeyed His Father. Hebrews 5:8 “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”

Once again, this is also increasingly hard in our culture to understand where fathers have lost all respect and authority. For several reasons – they are just as guilty or clueless or just another male-mom. Let’s look at each one of them briefly:

  • Just as guilty: If you yourself have issues, how can you tell your children to behave? No wonder your kids don’t honor you.
  • Clueless: If you are like the typical TV dad, can’t do anything right and always the last one to get it, is it any wonder your children don’t respect and obey you?
  • Male-mom: Please don’t misunderstand – Yes, 2 Corinthians 1:3 describes God as “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” but we can do that without becoming a second mom. God designed every family to have only one mom, a caregiver and nurturer. Dad should invoke authority and respect. My kids know that I love them and I am gentle with them but they also have a healthy fear of me. So also with God.

Listen carefully – When we pray “Our Father in heaven,” we are telling God that He is the boss. He is in charge and He has authority over us. We will obey and respect Him.

Application: What do you think when you say “Our Father in Heaven?” Are you acknowledging that God is your superior? Are you willing to submit to Him and obey Him? Are you willing to affirm – “Father knows best?”

3. Abba Father means God is our Redeemer.

Isaiah 63:16 “Doubtless You are our Father…You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name.”

Here Abba Father has the idea of God being our Redeemer. When we say “Our Father,” what we’re really saying is “God, You are our Redeemer. We are in a mess and we need you to rescue us and set us free. You are our only hope.” The greatest example of this is found in Exodus 4 when God sent Moses to free His people Israel from slaver in Egypt – 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’” By the way, was God bluffing? No. When Pharaoh refused to let God’s people go, every male firstborn of man and livestock died the night of the Passover.

Once again, this is also increasingly hard in our culture to understand where fathers have checked out. So many children have no fathers to defend and recuse their sons/daughters.

Illustration: Third grade was a rough year for life. Mom got really sick and was in the hospital for months. Dad had to take care of her and preach and travel to make ends meet. It was a dark period in my life. To top it all, my teacher in 3rd grade was not nice. She was mistreating me, playing favoritism. I had lost all self-worth. I say that carefully because I am a teacher/principal and I have a very high regard for teachers. My mom was a teacher. Dad saw my report card and he wasn’t happy. He asked my why I wasn’t paying attention. I told him I was. He asked me if I sat up front? I told him that the teacher did not have a seat for me. She told me to see who is absent and take their seat for the day. He asked a few more questions. Nothing more was said. Next day, I saw him going to the office. I thought I was in big trouble. I wasn’t. In fact, the principal realized what was happening and what this teacher was doing. Things were different from then.

That’s how God our Father is. He killed His own firstborn to rescue us from His own wrath. He is our Redeemer. When you come to Him for help, He doesn’t sit back and judge you. He immediately comes to your rescue.

Invitation: Is God your Father? This prayer is not just about imitation but participation. When we are in Christ, this becomes our prayer. Are you in Christ

DADS WANTED PART 2

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DADS WANTED – 2 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

dadswantedparttwoThis weekend we’re again taking a break from our ongoing series on the Sermon on the Mount and completing part two of our message – “DADS WANTED.” As I mentioned last week, this subject is very dear to my heart – more important than being a pastor, more important than being a bible teacher, and it comes next only to my relationship with my wife. It’s my calling to be a dad to my children.

Proverbs 4 10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.

Overall Background: 10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many. As you know, King Solomon spoke these words to his son Rehoboam. He was teaching him wisdom in the form of proverbs. He was teaching him about long life, hard work, money, honesty, relationships, bad people, and on and on in the form of proverbs. People often ask me – “Aren’t Proverbs more like principles rather than promises? Aren’t they more like general descriptions of life rather than guarantees of blessings?” I often hear that and so I point them to Jeremiah 18:18 which says,“…for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet…” There were 3 ways in which God spoke to His people – Law from the Priest, Counsel from the Wise, and Prophecy from the Prophet. They’re all equally important. Proverbs fall under the category of Counsel. Since the word of God endures forever, proverbs also endure forever. But, you have to study them carefully and contextually. You have to study them like diamonds in the rough. Before you can put them in a glass case, they have to be cleaned, cut, and polished. Then, they are worth in the thousands and even millions. So also with these Proverbs – when you truly understand them and apply them, you can wear them like a diamond ring and a gold necklace and they will bring you infinite value.

Last time we looked at the first 5 letters where Solomon warned his son to avoid the wrong crowd, learn to seek wisdom, be merciful and truthful in order to be successful, appreciate discipline, and have a godly heritage. In the remaining 5 letters, he will be teaching his son the dangers of bad company, how to exercise self-control, and (the last 3 letters) how to have a happy marriage.

I said it before and I’ll repeat it again – America is in a crisis today – the crisis of fatherhood. The reason our young people and even adults are doing the things they’re doing is because there is no male in their lives to instruct them, to correct them, and to be there for them. America desperately needs some Solomons.

Application: Are you being the dad you’re supposed to be for your children? Are you teaching them godly wisdom? Are you modeling a godly lifestyle? Are you saved?

Again, 5 Reasons Dads are wanted:

I. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PATH. 

Proverbs 4 10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings…14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.

Background: The wicked have a path that has been used for centuries. Just like some of our interstates today are sitting on the wagon trails that were actually used by the Indians before them. For centuries people have been walking on those paths and now they have become trails and roads and interstates. So also the paths of the wicked – people have been walking a certain way for centuries and thus the way of evil.

Solomon warns his son – 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.

Application: Dads – do you take the time to teach your children about dangers of the wicked path? Are you walking in the wicked path?

II. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN SELF-CONTROL. 

Background: Now Solomon is telling his son – “Son, you have an enemy and it is YOU!”

First enemy: YOUR HEART – 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, (Keep – mismar. It means a prison or standing guard.) For out of it spring the issues of life. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:19 19For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

Second enemy: YOUR MOUTH – 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 11Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

We shape our words and then our words shape us. If you don’t like where you are headed, change the way you talk. Many of us are speaking our world into existence.

Third enemy: YOUR EYES – 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. Jesus said in Matthew 6:22-23 22“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Avoid looking at the forbidden fruit. That’s when Eve fell.

Fourth enemy: YOUR FEET – 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Bottom line: Children have to be taught self-control and fathers are given that responsibility.

Application: Dads – Are you teaching your children to exercise self-control? Do you have self-control in your life? Remember – it is the fruit of the Spirit.

Now we come to the last 3 letters. They all address the same issue – Adultery. Would you agree that this is a big issue? Last week as I was looking at my newsfeed, I saw the headlines mega-church pastor resigns because of adultery. When I saw the name, my heart just sank. I couldn’t believe it. Not him. But sadly it was true. This subject is so important that Solomon devotes all 3 letters to it! Even though much of what he says overlaps, each letter has a distinct truth that needs to be emphasized.

III. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN THE DANGERS OF ADULTEROUS TALK. 

Proverbs 5 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding, 2 That you may preserve discretion, And your lips may keep knowledge.

Background: Lips represent our words. Solomon is telling his son, “Watch out for your words.” In other words, “Don’t be impulsive and indiscreet in how you talk to the opposite sex.”

Did you know that most adulterous relationships begin not with the eyes but with the words? Something as seemingly harmless as “Boy, you look pretty. I hope your husband appreciates you.” Or for ladies – “If my husband was as nice as you…” Before you know it – there is an affair.

Who better to talk about this than Solomon! He had a way with words. He was a wordsmith. If you don’t believe that, read the Song of Solomon.

But there’s more – 3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; Meaning: Not only watch out for your own words but also watch out for the words of the immoral man or woman. They know how to use seductive words. Just like honey, their words our sticky and they fall one drop at a time (literally). They are relentless. Just like oil, her words are smooth and slippery.

Listen to what James 3:2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Meaning: If we can control your words, we can control our actions.

Application: Dads – what kind of words do you use around your children? How do you talk to your wife, their mother? They’re learning. How you talk to people on the outside?

IV. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN THE DANGERS OF ADULTEROUS THOUGHTS.

Proverbs 6 20 My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother…24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. 25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.

Background: Now Solomon is going a step beyond and talking about lust. It involves thinking and daydreaming about the other person. Now you are in dangerous territory. When you begin to entertain and picture yourself with that person, it’s a matter of time before you fall headfirst into adultery.

What is the antidote? Remember the consequences that will follow if you keep on that path. 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. 27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent. 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

Think about the consequences of adultery – destroy your marriage, destroy your children, destroy your testimony, and destroy the work of the church.

Application: Dads – do you take the time to warn your children about the dangers of delving in lust? Is there lust in your heart? When was the last time you repented before God?

V. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN THE DANGERS OF ADULTEROUS TRAPS.

Proverbs 7 1 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you…6 For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, 7 And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, 8 Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night. 10            And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. 11 She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. 12 At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. 13 So she caught him and kissed him…21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, With her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, 23 Till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, He did not know it would cost his life. 24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: 25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; 26 For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men. 27 Her house is the way to hell, Descending to the chambers of death.

No one wakes up one morning and says, “I’m going to commit adultery.” It’s a word here, a thought there, and a step taken towords sin. If you think it’s not going to happen to you, think again. You will have to decide in your heart where you stand with lust. If the most beautiful and compatible woman were to walk in this room, what will you do? What if you feel that this is the one that you were supposed to be with? What if you feel a connection? What if you feel that you can be yourself around this one? It’s the lie of the devil. You are like an ox going to the slaughter. Wake up!

We need fathers who will not only talk about these things to their children but also live it out before them. We need fathers who are born again Christians. We need fathers who live by the Holy Spirit. We need fathers who are obedient to Jesus Christ and his word. We need fathers who are about the mission that God has given them to seek and to save that which was lost. We need fathers after God’s own heart.

Are you the father? Are you saved?

Dads Wanted

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DADS WANTED – Part 1 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

dadswanted

Introduction: This weekend being Father’s Day we’re going to take a break from our ongoing series on the Sermon on the Mount and talk about something that is very dear to my heart – something more important to me than being a pastor, more important than being a scholar, and it comes next only to my relationship with my wife. It’s my calling to be a dad. Those who know me know that I take it very seriously. Today is part one of the message – “DADS WANTED.”

Prov. 1:8-19 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”— 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;

Overall Background: 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father…” Who is the son and who is the father? To get their identity, you have to go back to the first verse of this chapter – The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: So the father is Solomon the son of King David and he is writing this letter to his son Rehoboam. Do you see the 3 generations – Granddaddy David, daddy Solomon, and son Rehoboam. Before we go further, what kind of a man was granddaddy David? He was the shepherd boy who killed Goliath, the sweet psalmist of Israel who wrote songs like Psalm 23, the great King and leader, and the man after God’s own heart. But what kind of a dad was David? Besides being an adulterer and a murderer, he was a failure as a father.

Application: Many of you grew up with a David as a father. Instead of wasting your time regretting the past or blaming all your problems on him, let God bring healing for your past and you do things differently. If you are that David, do whatever you can to make things right. Listen to 1 Kings 2 1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. (Maybe he was saying – “I wasn’t the man I was supposed to be but you make it right.”) 3 And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn…” Now Solomon is a father and he is doing things differently. He is writing letters to his son Rehoboam teaching him about God, life, wisdom, relationships, decisions, and the difference between right and wrong.

Men in Factories 1800sWhy do these letters matter to us? America is in a crisis today – the Civil War Childrencrisis of fatherhood. It began as early as the 1830s when the Industrial Revolution started and fathers had to go to a factory or an assembly line away from home. Even back in 1830 people saw the dangerous trend and they warned against it. During Civil War, soldiers often wrote home and what they wrote is a good indicator of how the home was run. One soldier wrote to his wife: “I think of you…and I wish I could be there to send Ed to bed on time…should I ever reach home again I feel thankful to think I am spared on Edwin’s account as I know he will grow up a bad boy unless some father guides him.” Sadly, such accounts became rare as we approached the 1900s. Now the mother became the “natural” caretaker of the child and the father became a provider, a supervisor and disciplinarian. He earns, fixes things, mows the lawn, and that’s Civil War Children 2about it. In fact in 1900, someone said that “the suburban husband and father” was just a “Sunday institution.” That was a hundred years ago. We have moved way past that point.

For e.g. Back in 1995 (20 years ago), a book came out called “Fatherless America: Confronting our most urgent social problem.” Listen to what the author, David Blankenhorn, said in his introduction: “Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation’s children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhoods living apart from their fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their Men in factories 1900sfathers. (Its one thing if the father has died.) Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father. . . Consider this prediction. After the year 2000, as people born after 1970 emerge as a large proportion of our working-age adult population, the United States will be a nation divided into two groups, separate and unequal. . . The primary fault line dividing the two groups will not be race, religion, class, education, or gender. It will be patrimony. One group will consist of those adults who grew up with the daily presence and provision of fathers. The other group will consist of those who did not. By the early years of the next century, these two groups will be roughly the same size.” Further down in chapter 12, he writes: “The most urgent domestic challenge facing the United States at the close of the twentieth century is the re-creation of the fatherhood as a vital social role for men. At stake is nothing less than the success of the American experiment.”

Bottom Line: America desperately needs some Solomons – men who will REFUSE to let their past define them, men who will REJECT the negative labels that society has placed on them, and men who will REFLECT God as a standard of fatherhood. Altogether Solomon wrote 10 letters but this morning we will only look at the first five and then next week the remaining five. Again, we’re not looking at every detail in these letters, that would take days, just the highlights. 5 Reasons Dads are wanted:

I. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN TO REJECT BAD COMPANY.

Proverbs 1 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—

Young people – parents (especially dads) have a built-in troublemaker detector. That’s why they say things like – “If all your friends were to jump off a bridge, would you do it too?” That’s not the time to ask – “What if the bridge is on fire?”

15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.

Illustration: My dad told me to stay away from wine, women, and gambling.

Application: Dads – Do you take the time to teach your children the difference between good and bad company? Here’s a better question – what kind of company do you keep?

II. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO FIND WISDOM.

Proverbs 2 1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

Would you agree that our young people desperately needs wisdom? They need wisdom in their relationships, finances, future, and daily decisions.

Where does wisdom come from? 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Application: Dads – do you take the time to teach your children how to find wisdom? Again, do you seek for wisdom? Do you read the word of God on a daily basis?

III. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. 3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.

Mercy = “Hesed” It could be translated “kindness” or “help to the needy.”

For e.g. Do you teach your children not to make fun of people regarding their color, clothes, and looks?

Truth = “Emet” It can refer to “faithfulness” or “being trustworthy” or “living by truth.”

For e.g. Do you teach your children to tell the truth or do you teach them to cheat?

When these two things are in your life, God will look at you with favor and so will people.

Application: dads – do you teach your children the value of mercy and truth? Here’s a better question is there mercy and truth in your life? That’s the secret of success.

IV. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN DISCIPLINE.

Proverbs 3 11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

People swing from Dr. Spock on one end to Dr. Watson on the other. The former advocated permissiveness and the latter strict discipline. The grandson of Spock committed suicide by jumping off the building where his father worked. The son of Watson also committed suicide. The answer is neither. It is the bible that has the truth.

We’re not called to punish but discipline. We’re called to correct and redirect. We have to understand age appropriate discipline. In our society – dads have given up their God-given right to correct their children. Why? Because they are full of problems themselves.

Application: Dads – do you discipline your children? Are there things in your life that need God’s discipline?

V. DADS ARE WANTED TO TEACH CHILDREN A GODLY HERITAGE.

Proverbs 4 1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding…3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me…”

This is very interesting because Solomon remembers David teaching him when he was a child. Now he is passing it down to Rehoboam. Not all tradition is bad.

Application: dads – are you passing down any godly heritage to your children? Do you have any to pass along?

We cannot understand how to be a dad until we understand how God is our heavenly father. He teaches us to turn away from those who walked towards sin. He calls us to find wisdom. Through his Holy Spirit he teaches us the wisdom that is in Christ. He gives us mercy and he gives us truth so we can find favor with God and with people. He disciplines us when we lose our way. That reminds us that we belong to him. He daily reminds us but we belong to the family of God.

Do you know your heavenly father? You cannot come to the father unless you go through the son. Do you know Jesus as your Savior?

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