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The “New Normal” of Fatherhood!

June 21, 2015


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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost                           Trinity Lutheran Church

21 June 2015                                                           Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Ephesians 6:1-4: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ … Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”


Malachi 4:6: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”


WARNING: Fatherhood in the way of Ephesians 6 and the rest of the Bible is the “new normal.” I say “new normal” because at the moment it’s Alice In Wonderland time! Aberrations abound. To be transgender, homosexual, trans-racial or trans-human is now the so-called norm. But I’m here to tell you that all of that is inhuman. Unhuman. Uncreaturely. Idolatrous. The God-pleasing normal is to be a father. A man is to be married to a woman. Having a family with his wife. This is what you as Christians want to do. What you delight to do. Because fatherhood is God-pleasing.


Having said that I also need to call all of us to repent of our failures of being Dads – sinning against our children and families. Not being faithful to the responsibilities God has given us. Sinning not only in what we do but also sinning in what we don’t do. We have contributed very much to making fathers in the way of Holy Scripture an endangered species!


Besides our own sinful nature or old Adam, we are oblivious and apathetic to the various forces that are tyrannically driving fatherhood into extinction. In our oblivious-ness and apathy we essentially give our approval and support to the utter destruction of fatherhood.


One of the factors pummeling fatherhood is the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Woodstockers I call them. They’re now society’s mega elites and power brokers from Washington D.C. to Lincoln, Nebraska. From San Francisco and Chicago to Omaha. From Berkeley to UNL. From Gloria Steinem and Hugh Hefner to Warren Buffet. From Lady Gaga and Bruce Jenner to Ellen Degeneres. The Woodstockers and their goose-stepping disciples are purposely and repressively attempting to totally eliminate marriage and family life according to God’s will from the face of the earth. These elites espouse and legislate every kind of immorality imaginable. However, what God gives for our good regarding sex and marriage they despise. And by the end of next week it is most likely (although I pray it doesn’t happen) that the majority of black robes on the Supreme Court (five of them) will give their dictatorial and infallible approval to “gay marriage” that will undermine fatherhood, marriage, and family completely in our society.


And then: Katy Bar The Door! Soon you will learn what Jesus meant when He told His disciples that “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake,” (Matthew 10:22). That you will be “delivered … over to courts … dragged before governors and kings for my sake,” (Matthew 10:17-18). Soon you will have a choice to make. You will either continue to confess Jesus as Lord or you will compromise and bow the knee to the government as Lord. Who will it be? Will you obey God like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego or like Daniel? Or will you obey men who pretend to be little divinities and harshly demand your total submission? Jesus says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).


Add materialism, infidelity, drunkenness, drug abuse, self-centeredness, and laziness, not to mention idolatry (the worship of the self as God) and unbelief to the mix, and the foundations of fatherhood are ruthlessly eroded.


Brothers and sisters, God, through the prophet Malachi, warned us what would happen when we live like this. Our country, from the cities to the country, is feeling the “curse” of chaotic anarchy, brutal violence, widespread and wanton destruction of public and private property, sadistic street gangs, rebellion against all legitimate authority, vile criminality and unbridled murder. You’d better hear Deuteronomy again: “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”


Well, there are a few of the unprotected endangered species left. They lurk in the every day and ordinary ways of life. A few fathers can be found. If you take the time to look there will be a few rare sightings of a father here and there. Working hard to provide for his family. In the yard hitting ground balls, having a catch, pushing a swing, riding a bike, kicking a soccer ball. Burning the midnight oil helping with the science project due the next morning at school. Sitting endlessly in the bleachers. Opening up his wallet handing out another $20 bill for a further fundraiser. Every now and then there is the rarest of rare fathers that leads his family in prayer and regularly loads them in the minivan or SUV for Sunday School and the divine service. Sits in the back pew of the church to keep his baby or toddler happy, cleans up the Cheerios and keeps the hymnals from being torn to tatters. For such fathers we give thanks to God our heavenly Father!


Brothers and sisters, it’s time for us learn on this Father’s Day that if we lose or reject God’s gift of fatherhood we stand to lose a lot. They are: order, authority, discipline, structure and headship. Daddy is the head of the family. I know. I know. That’s so unwoodstockian! So unPC! So anti old Adamish! But I’m here to tell you that Dad’s headship in the family is God’s will. God sets Dad at the head of the family. A headless family suffers. And so does society. As Malachi warns us and as we are seeing. Remember?


Now, gentlemen, don’t misunderstand, twist or spin what I just said. Headship doesn’t mean that you are dictator or jerk. The fatherly authority of headship doesn’t mean that you are to domineer your wife and children. It doesn’t mean that you get your way all the time. That’s a perversion of true manhood. Being a father and the head of a family means being the SOURCE OF LIFE. Not simply a man who has numerous baby-mommas! Supplying your sperm – the raw biological material – is the easy part. The father is to see to it that he provides for, preserves and protect the life of his family.


That includes the family’s spiritual life. Regarding this topic YOU DON’T HAVE BETTER WORDS THAN THE LORD! His words are these: “Fathers, bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:4). Dad is the pastor or the bishop of his house. His pulpit is the dining room table or the living room chair. His ordination papers are his marriage certificate, birth and baptism certificates of his kids! His family is his congregation.


I’m warn you fathers, do not delegate the duties of your call to your wife. She is there to be at your side and help you. But you are responsible. “Fathers, bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Experience, social studies and history teach us that when the father takes the lead and brings his family to church, 80% of the children stick with it. But when mother has to take the lead and does what the father should be doing, only 40% of the children stay in the church. Kids get it loudly and clearly! “When I grow up, I can be just like Dad!” So, dads, by word and example I beg you – I beseech you — to bring up your children in the training and instruction of the Lord.


Father’s Day is a double edge sword. It’s bitter sweet. After all, some of your fathers were broken men. Some hurt you deeply. Perhaps your father abandoned you or he abused you. Neglected or ignored by your father. Maybe you had a father that drank too much and it literally killed him and your family. Possibly your father worked too much. Missed you growing up. Didn’t see the joy of your first steps, your first home run or goal scored. Perhaps he missed your confirmation, your prom or wedding.


Fathers and families, today is the perfect day for reconciliation and healing. To be brutally honest gentlemen, as fathers, we have not been faithful to our God-given fatherhood. We’ve frustrated or exasperated our children. Their constant aggravated refrain is: “I can’t do anything right in my Dad’s eyes!” We’ve disciplined our children not out of love but from anger. We live only for ourselves. We put our own prestige, power and position ahead of our children. We’ve abandoned our spiritual responsibility to bring up our children in the instruction and training of the Lord. We stay at home, work, or play while mama takes the kids to Sunday School and church. We’ve used our fatherhood to be little tyrants and dictators – forcing our family to serve us rather than us serving them. Fathers it’s time for all of us to repent. Confess our sin to our children and wives and beg our children and wives to forgive us.


To be fair, I have to speak to the kids today too. To be brutally honest, as children, we must confess that we haven’t honored our fathers as we should. We’ve made their lives miserable at times. We’ve kept them up late at night worrying about us. Watching for us. Waiting up for us. We’ve challenged Dad’s authority and headship and have despised Dad’s discipline. We have rebelled against his spiritual authority when we didn’t listen to his teaching from God’s Word, didn’t want to go to church and live as faithful Christians. We haven’t obeyed Dad in our youth and we haven’t cared for him in his old age. We’ve blamed Dad for what is wrong in our lives, instead of taking responsibility for ourselves. To put it quite simply, we haven’t thanked God enough for our fathers.


So, children, where you have sinned against your father, repent. Confess your sin to your father and beg your father to forgive you.


And while you’re at it, (and I know this is such a novel idea), go ahead and confess your sin to Jesus. Have good use of Him too! After all, He died FOR YOU.   He died FOR YOU who have been hurt by your father. For you who have been hurt by your children. In His body and soul Jesus bore all your pain, suffering, abandonment, abuse and hurt when He hung and died on the cross.


I know it goes against everything that you’ve ever learned in life but I am going to say it. Here goes. Anger, hatred and retaliation do not heal. The wounds of Jesus do! His forgiveness and His forgiveness alone saves all fathers and all children. So, I beg you to bury the wounds of your past in the healing wounds of Jesus. So that you can live in the present and have a future.


Brothers and sisters, Jesus’ Good Friday forgiveness will have its way with you as you regularly receive it in the divine service – especially as it’s given in the absolution, the sermon and the Lord’s Supper. His Good Friday forgiveness will also help and empower you fathers, to be mentors and leaders to the young men in our congregation and communities about what it means to be a father – to exercise a God-pleasing headship in the family. So that fatherhood is attractive to young men. So that they will want to be father in the way God designed this vocation. So that instead of living under a curse we can all live with the Lord’s blessing in the way Malachi promises: “He [God] will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” What joy!


Happy Fathers Day!


In the Name of Jesus.

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