A Father's Day Sermon: An Old Fashioned Home
Posted: Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
There are two great forces in every home. I speak of the father and the mother, not that the children don't have their part in either making or breaking a household, but these two are the mightiest of agencies. Consider the father's force in the home. There are many pictures of fathers in the Bible. Jacob gives us one when he cries, "Myself have you bereaved of my children." David gives another when he cries, "O Absalom, my son." The father of the prodigal adds a new touch of beauty to the picture when he calls for the best robe to be put upon his boy. I allow no one to go beyond me in paying tribute to a mother's love, but I desire in some special way to pay tribute to the devotion and consistency of a father.
There are special requisites which must be made without which no father can maintiain his God-given position. He must be a Christian. I rode along a country road with my little boy some time ago. I found that he was speaking to my friend just as I spoke to them. One man called my attention to it and said, "It is amusing, isn't it?" To me it was anything but amusing. If my boy is to speak as I speak, walk as I walk, then God help me to walk as a Christian. He must be a man of prayer. No man can bear the burdens of life or meet its responsibilities properly if he is a stranger to prayer. He must be a man of Bible study. One of the most priceless treasures I have is a Bible my father studied, the pages of which he turned over and over, and which I never used to read without a great heart throb.
I con its pages o'er and o'er; Its interlinings mark a score Of promises most potent, sweet, In verses many of each sheet; Albeit the gilding dull of age, And yellow-hued its every page, No book more precious e'er may be Than father's Bible is to me. "It tear-stained trace fresh stirs my heart The corresponding tear to start; Of trials, troubles herein brought, For comfort never vainly sought, For help in sorest hour ofneed, For love to crown the daily deed No book more precious e'er may be Than father's Bible is to me.
He must also erect in his house a family altar. I know that many businessmen will say this is impossible, but it is not impossible. If your business prevents your prayig with your children, then there must be something wrong with your business. If your life prevents it then you ought to see to it that your life is made right and that quickly.
My friend, George R. Stuart, one of the truest men I know, gave me the following picture of a Christian home. He said: "When I was preaching in Nashville, at the conclusion of my sermon a Methodist preacher came up and laid his hand upon my shoulder and said, 'Brother Stuart, how your sermon today carried me back to my home! My father was a local preacher, and the best man I ever saw. He is gone should like to see all the children together once more and have you come and dedicate our home to God before precious old mother leaves. If your will come with me, I will gather all the family together next Friday from that purpose.' I consented to go. The old home was short distance from the city of Nashville. There were a large number of brothers and sisters. One was a farmer; one was a doctor; one was a real estate man; one was a bookkeeper; one was a preacher; and so on, so that they represented many professions of life. The preacher brother took me out to the old home, where all the children had gathered. As we drove up to the gate I saw the brothers standing in the little groups about the yard, whittling and talking. Did you ever stand in the yard of the old home after an absence of many years, and entertain memories brought up by every beaten path and tree and gate and building about the old place? I was introduced to these noble-looking men who, as the preacher borther told me, were all members of churches, living consistent Christian lives, save the younger boy, who had wandered away a little, and the real object of this visit was to bring him back to God.
"The old mother was indescribably happy. There was a smile lingering in the wrinkles of her dear old face. We all gathered in the large, old fashioned family room in the old-fashioned semicircle, with mother in her natural place in the corner. The brother laid the large family Bible in my lap and said, 'Now, Brother Stuart, you are in the home of a Methodist preacher; do what you think best.' "I replied, 'As I sit today in the family of a Methodist preacher, let us begin our service with an old-fashioned experience meeting. I want each child, in the order of your ages, to tell your experience.' The oldest arose and pointed his finder at the oil portrait of his father, hanging oh the wall, and said in substance about as follows: 'Brother Stuart, thee is the picture of the best father God ever gave a family. Many a time he has taken me to his secret place of prayer, put his hand on my head, and prayed for his boy. And at every turn of my life, since he has left me, I have felt the pressure of his hand on my head, and have seen the tears upon his face, and have heard the prayers from his trembling lips. I have not been a good man since his death as I ought to have been, but I stand up here today to tell you and my brothers and sisters and my dear old mother that I am going to live a better life from this hour until I die.' Overcome with emotion, he took his seat, and the children in order spoke on the same line. Each one referred to the place of secret prayer and the father's hand upon the head. At last we came to the youngest boy, who, with his face buried in his hands, was sobbing and refused to to speak. The preacher brother very pathetically said, 'Buddy, say a word; there is no one here but the family, and it will help you.'
"He arose, holding the back of his chair, and looked up at me and said, 'Brother Stuart, they tell me that you have come to dedicate this home to God; but my old mother there has never let it get an inch from God. They tell you that this meeting was called that my brothers and sisters may dedicate their lives to God, but they are good. I know them. I am the only black sheep in this flock. Every step I have wandered away from God and the life of my precious father, I have felt his hand upon my head and heard his blessed words of prayer. Today I come back to God, back to my father's life, and so help me God, I will never wander away again.'
"Following his talk came a burst of sobbing and shouting, and I started that old hymn, 'Amazing grace ( how sweet the sound!) that save a wretch like me!' etc., and we had an old-fashioned Methodist class meeting, winding up with a shout. As I walked away from that old homestead I said in my heart, 'It is the salt of a good life that saves the children.' A boy never gets over the fact that he had a good father."
Friend, the impact of a father lingers for the whole life of the children. I would say it's influence increases as the years pass. What kind of influence are you having on your children? Do they have father who honors God in the home? Are you a father who has led the way in living a godly life? Do you yourself pray for your children and speak to them about their souls? It may be you need to become a Christian yourself. If so, don't put it of any longer. Confess to the Lord that you are a sinner in His sight with no hope of saving yourself. Then put your faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that alone to save you. Right now you can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" - Romans 10:13