By Pastor Wu
03 Jun. 2012 Sunday
|Sermon: Have to be A Godly Father||video||audio||doc|
|Worship song: Believe||video||audio|
|Worship song: Happy Day||video||audio|
|Worship song: Voice of Hope||video||audio|
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:21-33
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Dear Lord, thank you so much for letting all of us experience your power and your love during last five years, and during the last week. We know that God, you built this church and made it grow by yourself. God, thank you for revealing to us that you lead people to know you, you make people grow, and lead them to become more and more mature. God, thank you so much for your love for each of us, thank you so much for choosing us, and for your willingness to die for each of us. Today we get together to give thanks to you, and we want to praise you and worship you from our deep heart. Lord, I want to lift up all of the brothers and sisters in your hands. We know you are the God of this church, and also of each of us, you are our Heavenly Father. You will be with us, and you will reveal yourself to us, you will take care of us. Lord, we want to pray today all of us can be touched by your words, and experience your presence. I lift up all the people who are serving here in your hands, and also your servant Pastor Wu, and please speak to us through him, and please encourage and teach us through him. I lift up this service in your hands, please be with us, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Well, my lips shout for joy to You the Most High! I think that is the reason we come to church. We come to church and we shout for joy, because He loves us! Our Heavenly Father loves us. Our Lord Jesus loves us so much that He was sacrificed, He was betrayed and He was crucified on the cross for us. So we come to church to open our mouth to shout with our lips for joy to the Most High because He is the only One worthy for us to do that. So I love that. Thank you so much Colleen, also to your helper Rick. I do not agree with you Colleen when you were saying sometime you’re in love with Rick and sometimes you are not. But from what I have experienced, Rick’s always in love with you.
Let us come back to Ephesians 6:4:“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” And brothers and sisters, today is the third day of June, two days before, there was a very important festival, which has taken place on the first day of June, the day for the Children, the Children’s Day. And today is also two weeks before Father’s Day. So Father’s Day comes in two weeks, so brothers and sisters today I like to focus my understanding on some of the teachings. In Ephesians, I like to focus on how to be a good father, a godly father, a father that our Lord Jesus Christ wants our brothers to be.
Yesterday on Saturday, my wife and I together with thirty students from Yanjing Seminary went to Olympic Forest Park. Students wanted to have some time to pray to praise the Lord with their teacher before summer holiday starts, so I was invited as well as my wife and all of us went to the Olympic Forest Park. We sat on the grass under the tree and enjoyed the weather and the time there. We prayed and sang a few songs; we played some games, and we had a wonderful time.
While I was there, I saw a lot of parents playing games with their children. A lot of fathers were playing frisbees with their children, or fathers were riding bicycles alongside their children, and the husbands were playing badminton with their wives. That really touched my heart because when I was seeing what was happening there, I questioned myself and meanwhile I also questioned fathers there who were playing with their children and wives: Do they come to spend some time with their wives and children just on holidays? Have they spent enough time with their children and wives as Jesus as the Bible has taught us to do?
And I also questioned myself: have I been a good husband to my wife, a good father to my daughter? Looking back to my own life, I was very regretful as a father. You know I have not spent much time with my daughter before she left home for college. Some of my hairs had turned grey before I spent enough time to be with my wife; before my wife blamed me. I asked myself: have I been a good husband to my wife? Have I been a good father to my daughter?
I also asked the same question to those who were playing games with their children, and riding bicycles in the park alongside their children: Have they been spending enough time with their families and with their household as Jesus has taught us to be? Then the question comes to how to be a good husband, a good father by Jesus' standard? And what kind of husband you should be? To meet the standard set up before us by the teaching from the Bible and also by Jesus.
Let me read Ephesians 5:22-24 and I warn our brothers and husbands here: when I am reading this part of Bible, do not feel complacent in your heart, do not feel so proud in your heart. The Bible tells us:
Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the heard of the church, His body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Brothers and husbands, let me ask you: were you feeling complacent and proud to be husbands, saying “my wife should submit to me as the Lord teaches us”? Let me warn you again that do not forget this part of the Bible also tells us “the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church”. Then, the question comes: How is Jesus the head of the church? In three aspects, the Bible tells us that we can be a good husband to our wife and a good father to our children.
First of all, Jesus wants us to sacrifice. You want to be a good husband and father? You need to sacrifice as Jesus sacrificed for us so that we can be saved. Jesus was the head, and is still the head of church, not because of His authority, not because of His divine prerogative, but because He made sacrifice for the church which is the bride of the bridegroom. Jesus is the head of church, not because of His authority or His divine prerogative, but because He was willing to lay down His life and pay back the debt, and to be crucified on the cross, so that we can have hope to be saved. That is the reason why He can be the head of church, a good husband of church, and a good bridegroom of the bride, because He was crucified, sacrificed and was suffering.
So brothers and sisters, you can tell that how you can be a good husband and a good father to your wife and children. The answer is to make sacrifice for your wife and children, make a real sacrifice, make a painful sacrifice, make a sacrifice that nobody can do for you on your behalf.
Bible in Matthew 26:36-37 tells us that Jesus went with His disciples to a place called
Brothers and sisters, can you make a sacrifice that nobody can do on your behalf or in you stead, for your family? If you can do that, you can be a good husband, that’s the husband that your wife wants you to be; that’s the father that your children want you to be--to make a sacrifice for the household, to make a sacrifice for the family.
Last month, I was away, you may have noticed. I was away for almost a month from Haidian church; I was taking a course of my doctoral ministry study, and flew to the seminary in
After finishing this course, I did a little bit more travelling from one state to another. When I was landing at airport in
When I was walking into the pastor’s home, he warned me not to sit in the chair because one of the chair legs might break; then he warned me again that I can sit on the chair, but not to lean my back on it, because it might fall down.
Well, I could not help asking myself, “Am I in the
So I shared my feeling with the pastor and asked why: “You do not have money to buy a decent house?” He told me that eight years ago, the pastor of that church, John Piper, urged the staff of the church to move from their cozy comfortable homes to the neighborhoods where there were troubles with prostitution, drugs and guns. And John Piper urged the staff to move from their comfortable homes into those neighborhoods where they can be the light and salt, so that the glory of the Lord can be seen, that peoples’ lives can really be changed.
So they moved into the neighborhoods, and that is why they live in such a humble house. The decision of moving from a good house into this humble one was very hard to make for this father, because his two sons were too young to be exposed to such a bad neighborhood, so he was puzzled on the way home. After dinner, he lay down his bowl and dish, starting to talk with his two sons and his wife about the decision that the church wanted the staff to make. And the two sons’ remark strengthened and encouraged the pastor to follow the decision and move into the harsh house, the neighborhood. And two sons said this: “Father, you’ve been sacrificing as Jesus did for us for so many years, let’s sacrifice one more time, that you can be like Jesus, and we can be proud of you as our father who shines the glory of the Lord.” So they moved into that house and the night they moved into the house, they heard the gun shot, the father and two children fell onto the floor with the father spreading his arms to protect the two little kids. You can tell how bad the condition is, but our Lord sacrificed that way for you, for us. So brothers and husbands, our Lord wants you to be that kind of husband and father to be faithful to the Lord to protect your children and also to sacrifice for your family.
Jesus also wants us to be faithful, if you want to be a good husband to your wife, a good father to your children, you’ll get to be faithful, because the Bible in II Timothy 2:13 tells us: “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful.”
We may not love our Lord, and that is not going to diminish the love of God. We may not love the Lord, but it does not mean the love of our Lord will come down only this much. The love of our Lord for us will remain forever and remain the same, because our Lord is love. He also wants husbands and fathers to be the love which never changes forever, because our Lord is faithful. He never changes.
As I was continuing to travel, I met another pastor who’s not only a pastor of a church, but also a chaplain for the Senate of State of Ohio. He was so proud to be able to preach to those so-called significant people who can influence the society. But one day, he was reproached by somebody who was working for the Senate. That person approached him and said: “You see, my pastor, in so many states, a law has been passed that from now on, for the equality of different religions, or people from different cultural backgrounds, you are not supposed to preach in the name of Jesus anymore. If you continue to do that, we might not ask you to come back.”
He was so puzzled, because as a Christian, you got to preach and pray in the name of the Lord. No other names can succeed the name of Jesus, and no other names should be said at the end of the prayer instead of the name of Christ Jesus. He was puzzled, because he wanted to come back to continue to preach to those senators who are important people that they can be a positive influence to the society.
He shared his feeling with his wife and kids and with his church. His wife and kids came up with a solution, but he was not sure he could get the way with this. He told the person who was asking him not to preach in the name of Jesus: “Ok, I will come back to do what you want me to do.” so he went back to the chapel of the senate, the parliament. As he was preaching one day, people with hearts sat down in the audience; they were so nervous and actually frightened that he might not pray in the name of the Lord. Then he started to pray: “Lord, thank you for this great time that I spend with them, that they can be the good light and salt……” and then he ended up his prayer by saying, “Lord, I pray all of these in the name of the Creator of the universe and the Father full of love; I pray also in the name of Christ who came down from Heaven to be crucified for us that we can be saved; I pray also in the name of the Holy Spirit that prays for us on the right side of our Heavenly Father; I pray in the name of the triumphant God.” At the end of his prayer, many senators came to the front of the church to meet him, and the person who asked him not to pray in the name of the Lord also came, saying, “Well, that’s the best prayer I have heard, but would you please next time just pray in the name of Jesus, because the prayer would be simpler?” You see our faithfulness will change the world!
Brothers and sisters, I Peter 3: 7 also tells us, “Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
Let us be faithful. Never compromise the teaching of the Lord for us, that we can be a good father and husband. Bible also tells us in Matthew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Not to be served but to serve, you husbands and fathers, you marry into a family not to be served but to seek the opportunity to serve and glorify the Lord, the glory of the Kingdom of God; you marry into a family to serve so that you can be a good example as Jesus that all the household can come to the presence of the Lord. You come to serve, you do not to come to be served.
John 1:14-16, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” What does it mean? The meaning is that our Lord, 24 hours a day, is dwelling among us, listening to our prayers, protecting us, and safeguarding us as we work in this world, as we struggle, and as we fight spiritual battles; He is with us 24 hours a day, He never leaves. So you husbands, you marry into a family, a marriage, to seek the opportunity to serve. It is not when you want to serve so you serve, or when you have time to serve so you serve, but whenever possible, you have to serve, you must serve for 24 hours a day, no time to rest.
Some time ago I heard a song entitled, “In Love with A Person Who Does Not Come Home”. The lyrics go like this: “Be in love with a person who does not come home, that I have to wait for the door to open which never opened. Once the door opened, that person walked in, I was so frightened by the capricious expression in his eyes; I was so frightened by his tightly shut mouth, because he never communicated. Well, I have to give up, because there’s no reason for me to press on for promises, there is no reason to me to press for answers.” Brothers and fathers, do you want to be a person who never comes home to your wife, or you want to be a father/husband like Jesus to His church, who makes sacrifice, has been faithful, and comes to serve? I’m sure you already have the answer. May God bless you and your family. Amen.