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Father’s Day Sermon (2012) June 17, 2012

Posted by roberttalley in Acts, Family, Father's Day, Humililty, Paul's Life.
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Acts 21:4-6

There is much more said in the Old Testament about being a wise believing father than there is in the New Testament. In fact Proverbs is the book about being a wise believing father and we need to spend more time in it than we do. Yet we do have glimpses of what it means to be a wise believing father and we have one of these glimpses here in Acts 21. This passage doesn’t exemplify everything we need to be wise believing fathers and husbands but it does show us a couple of things that we could implement into our lives.

A. A wise believing father ensures that his family is around good Christian leaders. These men wanted their wives and children around the Apostle Paul. You might argue that we don’t have any apostles but we do have spiritual leaders within our church and we need to make sure that our children are around these people so that they might learn from their example. You see, none of us can teach our sons everything that they need to know. It takes a church to raise wise believing children.

Is it worth it? “According to an ancient legend, the chessboard was originally invented in India. The wealthy ruler was so appreciative of the new game that he offered to reward the inventor and asked him what he wanted. His answer was simple. He asked for a single grain of rice to be placed on the first square of the board. Then he asked for twice as much on the second square, and that the ruler would continue doubling the rice on each square until the board was filled. It doesn’t sound like a lot for a new game, but when you do the math it takes over 4.8 billion metric tones of rice to fill the last square. That is more than eight times the current worldwide annual production of rice.” Is it worth investing our church in wise believing children?

The major objection to this is that the church is full of hypocrites. I don’t doubt that is true. My problem is how do you tell the hypocrites from the real person who is flawed. The twelve men following Jesus were guilty of many of the same sins of which Jesus accused the Pharisees. Neither group was really aware of their failures. That is why Jesus needed to point them out.

The church is the family of God and he has put us as fathers over his family. Mothers play a role. Grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews all play a role. It takes a church to raise wise believing children.

1. Good Christian leaders are those who have taken up their cross. While we are all to take up our cross and follow him, it is significant that Jesus chose twelve men, men who were to be leaders, and taught them how to take up their cross. Jesus related to these men as the Messiah but he also related to them as men to men, leaders to leaders. David Murrow wrote in Why Men Hate Going to Church (2005), “Men develop lasting friendships when they’ve suffered together. The bonds formed on a battlefield are enduring. One time I asked my father who his best friend was. He identified an old army buddy he’d hardly spoken to in thirty years. Men who have competed together, sweat together, bled together, and overcome adversity together are bonded for life.” That is what Jesus did with these men. Yes, the resurrection was crucial but without that preparation time before his crucifixion, that bond that Peter and John pointed back to in their second and first epistles would never have been formed.

2. Good Christian leaders are those who are humble. Again from David Murrow (2005), “There are certain churchgoers-I call them the humility police-who see it as their job to humble anyone who might get praise or credit.” They discourage hand-clapping after special music. They misunderstand that you can be great and be humble. God encourages greatness. He told Abraham and David, I will make your name great. Jesus said in Mark 10:43, “If you want to be great…” It is great to be great. The path to greatness as a wise believing man is found in accomplishing God’s will in humility. Again, Jesus said, “If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others…The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.” Paul did not shirk from this responsibility. He said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”

B. A wise believing father provides his family memorable religious and church experiences. “Come on, son. The Holy Spirit told me that Paul is going to suffer if he goes to Jerusalem. He is convinced, however, that God wants him to go there to suffer for the name of Jesus. He is sacrificing himself. I want you to come with me and see a man who is great, who stands for something.” This is the Christian education that we need to give our wives and our children. Our lives as men must be those that show our wives and children what it means to live and work as a platoon for fighting with our God against the forces of hell.

1. The emphasis of Christian education is not in knowing facts but rather in learning dependence on God. Knowing facts and going no further is a child’s activity. Knowing every batting average will not help you hit a fastball. Knowing the facts about every animal in the sea doesn’t make you an oceanographer. Knowing verses in the Bible alone will not make you dependent on God. When, however, you take those verses and learn through them and the experiences that God allows you to go through, when those verses become more than just facts, they become powerful and vital to your life. These men wanted their wives and children to see a man who was dependent on God.

2. The emphasis of Christian education does not separate the family from the church and gives to neither priority. While you need to have your family exposed to Christian leaders, they need to see you as a Christian leader. I’m not talking about being a pastor or a deacon. Your family needs to see you as someone who achieves something of importance in this church. If your kids are not home, your wife still needs to see you as a vital part of the platoon, someone who, if he is missing, gives an advantage to the enemy, the one who desires to destroy both your family and the church.

Men, we are going to make mistakes. Lee and Clark in Boys to Men (1995) tell how a grocer had worked side by side with his son in a neighborhood grocery store, teaching him what it means to be a man of integrity. Once while “restocking some shelves, he noticed [his son] running out the door, leaving the cash register unattended. When his son returned, [the father] gave him a mini-lecture about responsibility. When he finished, he asked [his son] why he had run from the store. ‘Well, that older lady who was just in here paying for her groceries dropped a twenty-dollar bill when she opened her purse, and I didn’t notice it on the floor until after she left. I was trying to catch her to give it back to her.’” Let that be the type of mistake we make.

The Family Heritage (Ecclesiastes 2:18-26) November 21, 2010

Posted by roberttalley in Ecclesiastes, Family, Father's Day, Solomon.
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THE FAMILY HERITAGE (Ecclesiastes 2:18-26)

Heritage is an important theme in the Old Testament. When you follow the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Saul and David, you find that the heritage left for the oldest son was crucial. It is why in each of these cases God decided who would be the son of the promise. Isaac was chosen over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Joseph and Judah over their ten other brothers, and Solomon over all his brothers. You see heritage is more than possessions. It is more than proud memories as those that we celebrated this past Thursday on Veterans Day. Heritage is even more than the DNA which we have from our birth parents. Heritage is that which God has given us that our children have use of in their life. It may be possessions, proud memories, ethnic identity, or a godly worldview. Whatever it may be, there is always something that we pass on to our children, the family heritage.

I. There is no guarantee, however, that the heritage we leave behind will be cherished (2:18-23). Genesis tells us about Esau. His grandfather had received the initial promise from God. His father was the son of that promise, the miracle baby, Isaac. As the oldest son, Esau was next in line for that promise. He was a hunter. Coming back from an unsuccessful hunt, he met his brother cooking a pot of pea soup. He was hungry. He asked his brother for a bowl. Jacob said, “I’ll trade you a bowl of soup for your heritage.” Esau did not care, “What good is my heritage if I am dead?” His statement showed a lack of faith in God’s promises and his family’s heritage. Esau did not cherish the heritage God had given his family.

Our children make their own spiritual decisions (2:18-19). This is the hardest lesson as parents that we have to learn, there are no guarantees. Often we quote with hope, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Unfortunately, that is likely a mistranslation. More like it should read, “Train up a child in the way he wants to go and when he grows up he will continue in his old ways.” Yet there is hope, even if we as parents mess up. We can start over. Jesus said, “Except a man is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” How is one born from above? 1 Peter 1:22-23 explains, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” In other words you hear the truth of the word of God, you believe the truth of the word of God, and you obey the truth of the word of God.
a. Our children may not embrace their godly heritage (2:20-23). “The father wants a legacy; the son wants autonomy. The father feels betrayed when his son exercises his freedom in a way that robs the father of his legacy. The son spends his life caught in the tension of wanting both independence and approval. To gain approval, he must cooperate with his father’s view of life; but to feel independent, he must violate it.” (from God of My Father by Larry Crabb, Jr. and Sr.).

II. We are to enjoy life as a gift from God (2:24-26). Walter C. Kaiser points out that not only the possession of the blessings of life but also the ability to enjoy the blessings of life is a gift from God.

a. When we please God we receive the ability to enjoy God’s gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and joy. The unbeliever cannot actually enjoy life as God intended. He can take pleasure in things as Solomon did but when it is all over, the pleasures simply slip through his hands (2:26b).

b. We might seek for these things (1:12-2:11) but in the end there is no profit unless God gives us the ability to enjoy it. A man once told Max Lucado, “I learned, that once I had what I wanted, I found I didn’t want what I had.” (from the Inspirational Study Bible).

III. We are to live for God while we have life (11:8-12:1). Ecclesiastes was written with death in view. The heritage we provide for our children is only for this world. It is in the nasty now and now and not the sweet by and by in which we are to live for God.

a. Rejoice in the good (11:6-9). Solomon reminds us here that it is not wrong to pursue the good things of this life. It is not wrong to dream dreams, to get educated or trained, to build houses and wealth, to establish a career, to provide a heritage for your family, to enjoy a retirement. In all of these things that belong to our life we are to rejoice. As we rejoice we are to remember that we are accountable to God. We are not ultimately accountable to the future generation nor even to the present generation but to God, who judges everything correctly.

b. Remove all wickedness (11:10). Martin Luther used to say that we should live a life of repentance. Of what have you repented of this week. Has God convicted you of any sin? Have you dealt with it or have you shrugged it off and said, “It’s no big deal.” Perhaps you are struggling to remove wickedness in your life but cannot seem to put it off. You need to immerse yourself in God’s Word. We can help you with that. We can show you how to study God’s word in such a way that you can confess and forsake your sin. You need to immerse yourself in prayer. We can pray for you also. You need to immerse yourself with the fellowship of God’s people. Some of them have sat or are sitting exactly where you are sitting. Take your sin, however, seriously and repent and forsake it.

c. Make plenty of room for God (12:1). It is likely that someone sitting here today has not put their faith and trust in Christ. Jesus died for your sin. You deserved to be punished in hell for eternity but Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross for your sin. God allowed His Son to be sacrificed for you. You need only trust the resurrected Christ as the only way of salvation from sin. Whether you need to be saved and forgiven or you need as a believer to conquer sin in your life, make room for God.

Have you any room for Jesus, He who bore your load of sin?
As He knocks and asks admission, Sinner, will you let Him in?

Room for pleasure, room for business – But, for Christ the Crucified,
Not a place that He can enter In the heart for which He died?

Room for Jesus, King of glory! Hasten now, His Word obey;
Swing the heart’s door widely open, Bid Him enter while you may.
(Source unknown, adapted by Daniel W. Whittle)

A lady once asked Mr. Wesley, “Suppose that you knew you were to die twelve o’clock tomorrow night, how would you spend the intervening time?” “How, madam?” he replied, “why just as I intend to spend it now. I should preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I should ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the society in the evening. I should then repair to friend Martin’s house, who expects to entertain me; converse and pray with the family as usual; retire to my room at ten o’clock; commend myself to my heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory.” (from Spurgeon’s Encyclopedia of Sermons). We need to live in such a way, that nothing we are planning would need to be changed.

Next week: Psalm 30 “Thanksgiving and Prosperity”

An Early Father’s Day Sermon from Proverbs 4 April 26, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Father's Day, Proverbs, Religion, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership.
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INTRODUCTION: We are treading into an area of some controversy and we need at this time to deal with it in a way that is helpful and not hurtful. The subject of child rearing is one of those subjects around which there tends to be a lot of heat and not much light. There is a great danger of spiritual pride in our attitudes toward the ways others rear their children. What we want to understand today, however, are some general principles concerning child rearing. As demanded by the text, we will attempt to make some personal application of these principles.
The passages that we are looking at during the next three weeks come from the book of Proverbs. There are a couple of facts you need to recognize about the book of Proverbs. It is meant to be preventative. It is specifically written to keep young people from making disastrous choices. It is not intended to help them once they are in trouble but to keep them from getting into trouble in the first place.
Also, it does not guarantee that the young people will accept the guidance being offered. In fact, the very existence of the book is proof that young people raised in God fearing homes are in danger of rejecting the very truth they have been taught.
One final note before we look into the text. You may not have young children. That does not mean that the passage says nothing to you. Remember that just as a father is responsible to rear his children, this church is responsible to rear the believers in it and those who come to faith in the ways of the LORD. If you are a believer, you are responsible to do your part in bringing others to maturity in Christ and the principles in this passage apply to you also.
I. The goodness of a father’s instruction is the reason to abide in it (verses 1-2). One of the things that strikes me in this passage is the lack of emphasis on being a good example. It is just assumed that the father is living what he teaches and that he is a good example before his children. The reason I believe is this: there is a huge difference between doing something and expecting someone to follow you and training someone to do something. The first has its place but an example without instruction is in the long run senseless.
It is an old illustration but very appropriate. There was a young lady who baked cornbread in a small skillet. The cornbread was delicious. Her husband asked why she made cornbread in a small skillet. She answered, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.” Later that day she called up her mother and asked why she made cornbread in a small skillet. Her mother answered, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.” The girl called her grandmother and asked the same question and received the same answer. Finally, she called her great-grandmother, asked the same question, but received a different answer. Because when I was young, my oven was not big enough to hold a large skillet. Decades of small skillet use because someone followed an example without receiving instruction.
So we have a father who does more than serves as an example but rather is training his children in good instruction. To understand what good instruction is, you need to understand the underlying assumption, the foundation of the book of Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The passage we are looking at today is tells us the importance of good doctrine or teaching and the result of good doctrine. It is true that you will find no mention of God in this passage. However, there is no meaning to the instructions given here unless you acknowledge Christ in all your ways, trusting His understanding and His direction rather than your own. Proverbs says, if you follow the LORD, if you choose the good way, this is how you should raise your children but if you do not there are real dangers that your children will find themselves in.
II. The priority of a father’s instruction is the reason he gives it (verses 3-9).
A. His instruction is his children’s inheritance (verses 3-4a). Notice how the writer identifies himself. He is the only son. In Genesis 22:2 (see also verses 12 and 16 as well as Judges 11:34; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; and Zechariah 12:10), when God commanded Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, to be sacrificed; God was not ignorant that Abraham had another, older son named Ishmael. God was emphasizing the fact that Isaac was the receiver of both the physical and more importantly the spiritual inheritance of his father. This is the same usage that we have here in these verses.
We may have the opportunity to pass down some measure of wealth or at least a few precious belongings to our children. What we must give them is instruction in the ways of wisdom, in the ways of God. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God gave them the feasts so that they might not only celebrate God’s deliverance for them but also that they might teach their children about the power of God. David in Psalm 71:18 says that even in his old age, he still had something valuable to pass down to the next generation, his knowledge of the power of God.
“The poem, “My Father’s Hands Held Mine”, by Norman H. Russell is extremely moving. The speaker talks about his childhood experiences with his father…The next phrase, “The deer that dies falls from both our hands,” suggests that perhaps his father may still be there somehow in spirit if not in body. He also gives adequate credit to his father for each deer that he kills because his father was the one who taught him how to make arrows. Drawing from the Native American culture that this man seems to come from, the father probably also taught him to hunt. The speaker is thanking his father and praising him because he knows that if his father hadn’t taught him how to him how to do these things, that he would be having some serious issues providing for his family. That’s probably why the father chose for them to do this together. He knew it would have a practical impact on his son. This would leave his son with not only a way to do things but the reason and ability to teach his sons so that they’ll remember him.” (from Phil Talley’s analysis of “My Father’s Hands Held Mine.”
This is why we as father’s and mother’s and leaders within this church must give priority to training our young people. Our example is not enough. They must be taught by us the power of God and the wisdom of God or else they will starve spiritually.
Wisdom has priority above all else (verses 4b-7).
If the way of wisdom is kept, it enables the man or woman who keeps God’s way to live (verse 4b). This means more than simply to be breathing but to have true spiritual life. If you desire to be spiritually alive, then you must believe and observe God’s Word. All other spirituality, apart from God’s Word is no more than a readjusting of the corpse of our spiritual deadness.
If wisdom is acquired, it will preserve and protect the one who acquires it (verses 5-6). This is a scary world. There are many dangers in it. The person who is trained in wisdom, in God’s ways and makes it a priority in his life above all else will be protected when the dangers comes. Fathers, mothers, leaders in this church, if we do not train our children in the ways of wisdom they will be exposed to danger.
Often there is a lot of debate as to how much we should isolate our children or expose our children to the things of this world. This is a legitimate question that every parent should deal with but not everyone comes to the same conclusion. There is obviously a line that must be drawn somewhere but it is not always clear where we should draw that line.
If, however, we do not take steps to train our children in the ways of God, the debate becomes meaningless. It does not matter where I draw the line, if the my child is not trained, verbally taught and shown by example, the ways of God, he or she is exposed unnecessarily to danger. That is why we emphasize Scripture memory in Awana. That is why we have the past three years challenged you as a church to memorize a specific passage of Scripture. We will do that again this year. That is why you need to lead your family in devotions, with at least Bible reading and prayer. That is why some of you parents need to bring your children to our Sunday morning prayer meeting, so that they may learn through our prayers, how to talk to God. That is why some of you need to have your children in Sunday School, as inconvenient as it may be to get up on the only day you can sleep in. We are not talking about building up numbers but rather about building up an inheritance for our children. That is why you need to bring your children with you to every service that this church offers. That is why we as a church offer a nursery. It is the first steps that this church takes in providing protection for our children.
The state has not, never has, and never will protect our children from the destruction of this world. It is left up to us as a church and as Christian fathers and mothers within the church to provide the protective training and instruction that our children need to live and that our children need to be preserved and protected from destruction.
Wisdom can do this because it is the principle thing (verse 8). In other words, it is more important than food and clothing. It is more important than education. It is more important than a good career. It is more important than anything else that this world has to offer. There is nothing, nothing, …nothing more important than training our children in the wisdom of God.
Treasuring discernment above all else results in exaltation above others (verses 8-9). You can teach your child self-esteem but if you do not teach him or her wisdom, they will simply exalt themselves but it will not be real. They will simply be proud. The wisdom from God, when treasured above all that this world has to offer, will exalt that person above everyone around him or her. Do you want your life to be important. Treasure wisdom. That may not impress your neighbors. Your senators and congressman will probably not take notice but God will exalt you. You will be honored with permanent, eternal honor. Honor that only God Himself can give out. You will be eternally significant. You will be important in God’s kingdom if you treasure wisdom.
The coercion of a father’s instruction can result in God’s blessing, if the children abide in it (verses 10-13).
Verse 11 has two very interesting words in it: taught and led. They do not simply mean the act of teaching and the act of leading. There is force implied. I have caused you to learn. I have caused you to follow this path. I have made you to learn. I have forced you to follow in this way.
Quite often, I hear someone say, we do not want our children to be forced to follow the right path. We want them to investigate the various religions and choose the one that they find is right. Solomon would have laughed at such an idea. If you want your child to follow the way of wisdom, if you want your child to choose the path of blessing (as verse 10 teaches) you must force your child to learn and to walk in the right path. If you do not, if you let your child go in the way he wants, he will follow the way he wants and will never come near the path of blessing which God has laid before him.
Even believers fall into this trap. “We should not force our young people to pray in youth group. We should not force our children to go to church with us.” Yet Solomon says that is exactly what we must do. Basic training has a reputation of being unpleasant because suddenly young men and women are forced to do things that go against their natural inclination. They are forced into a certain path. They are made to learn certain things. If they do not then they cannot serve. If we refuse to take that type of attitude in training our young people, how can we expect them to follow the path of wisdom.
Verse 12 tells us actually what will happen if we do not force our children onto the right path, if we do not force them to learn the ways of wisdom, the ways of God, the ways of this word. They will come to a dead end. That is what hindered means. No where to go. Trapped. How many times have we seen people say, “I do not know where to go, what to do, where to turn?” Yet in hindsight it is easy to see what happened. They either were not taught or refused to learn the ways of wisdom and they made foolish decision after foolish decision until finally there was no way out. They stumble, they fall, they can go no further for they have chosen the wrong path.
During the next couple of weeks we will talk about some of those things that we should teach but let me emphasize again that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. If you want your child, if we want people to go in the way of wisdom, we must teach them the gospel of Christ. Jesus was God in heaven and became man to be punished for your and my sins. He died, was buried, and rose again. Will you fear Him? Will you bow before Him as the only God and Savior Jesus Christ? Will you trust Him alone for forgiveness of sins? That is the beginning to the path of wisdom. Teach it today to your children. Tell it to your families. And if you have not followed it yourself, begin today on the path of wisdom through faith in Christ as your Savior.
NEXT WEEK: Proverbs 31:1-9 – What My Mother Taught Me – Part One: The Three Dangers

Dad, Is Your God Awesome (A Father’s Day Sermon from Nehemiah) June 15, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Father's Day, Nehemiah, Religion, Sermons.
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Nehemiah 4:7-15


Today, I am talking to dads. It is Father’s Day and it is appropriate to speak to dads. The lessons of this sermon are appropriate for all of us, so I trust that you who are not dads will listen carefully also.


I.                    We see from the story of Nehemiah that we should expect opposition to God’s purposes in our lives from all directions (4:1-6:14). This is not surprising. Paul, at the end of his life, wrote, “All who would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. It is interesting to note, however that the greatest opposition came when the work was half done (4:6). They had started well but the real question was whether they would finish well.


The Opposition…

The Reaction

Ridicule (4:1-3)

Prayer (4:4-5) and Positive Action (greater diligence in working; 4:6)

Planned attacks (4:7-8)

Prayer and Positive Action (posting of guards; 4:9)

Physical exhaustion and fear of death (4:10-12)

Posting of the guard according to families (4:13,16-18) and Encouragement of the people (4:14,20)

Economic crisis and greed (5:1-5)

Anger, Serious Thought, Rebuke (5:6-7) and Positive Action (caused the people to pay the debts; 5:7b-11)

Planned attack on the leadership (6:1-2)

Refused to come (6:3)

Slander (6:5-7)

Denial (6,8) and Prayer (6:14)

Plans discredit the leadership (6:13)

Refused to come (6:11-13) and Prayer (6:14)


Dads, there will be opposition to you leading your family into spiritual maturity. There is not important work done without opposition. Let me read a few excerpts from an email of a missionary couple in Slovakia whom we know, Don and LeAnne Waite.


“In one of our last updates we told you about the VBS we held in Rakusy on Monday, May 26th.  You know there was a large crowd of people that came and that things went well until the last minutes of the afternoon.  You know that the back window of the van was shattered as we tried to leave the village…  

            …On Friday afternoon Don, Michael and Justin decided to visit Marian and Maria.  They were not in church last week – very unusual for them.  This is the couple that has been such a help in recent weeks – the same couple who has faced persecution in their home.  When they visited Marian wasn’t home and they spoke with Maria.  Maria was visibly shaking.  She told Michael they couldn’t come on Sunday.  She said she didn’t feel well.  Michael said, “Maria, it is Friday.  How can you know if you will feel well on Sunday?  What is really the matter?”  She then broke down and said their family has been pressuring them not to come to the services.  Pray for that family.  We feel so bad for them.  It is so typical of the way the Catholic church operates to put pressure on the family in this way.  They are withholding baptism from Ivan, the oldest son’s child because Marian and Maria are attending services here.  Most of us have never faced this kind of persecution.  Pray for Marian and Maria.  They are so new to the Christian life and they have grown so much in the past few months.  Our hearts ache for them…”


            The next day the following email was written. “Greetings.  We are once again coming to you asking you to pray for Marian and Maria.  I mentioned in our update yesterday that they were facing pressure from family and the Catholic church in the village where they live.  They haven’t been in church for the past two weeks because of this; but they have stopped by each week and have called after the Gypsy service to ask how things went. 


They stopped by the house this morning to talk to us.  Don was out when they arrived and I called Stevens to come over.  Don returned part way through our visit.  We aren’t sure exactly what the situation is since their Slovak is hard to understand; but it seems that after Don, Michael and Justin visited on Friday there were some problems.  Marian was at work when the men were there and when he got home he found their son arguing with Maria.  The end of it was that they slept outdoors in a park somewhere Friday night and then went to the town that Maria’s mother lives in on Saturday.  We think they slept somewhere in a park again last night.  If our understanding is correct their son, who owns the house where they all live, has given them until Friday to find a place to live.  Don is gone to take them back to the house now.  We aren’t sure if the situation is really as serious as it sounds as the Gypsies are often very emotional.  They are looking for somewhere to live here in Kezmarok and have asked us to help them find a place.   They can’t afford much in rent so finding something will be a challenge.  Pray with us that this situation will be resolved.  They have promised to come to us or Stevens before they spend another night sleeping outdoors. 

            Marian plans to go with the men on visitation Wednesday.  They plan to be here for their discipleship time of Friday and have said they are coming to church on Sunday.  Pray that God will protect them and give them peace, wisdom and strength to stand in the midst of the persecution they are facing.  Pray that God gives us wisdom in how we can help.”


Why is it possible to do in the face of such opposition, what is right? Because these men know and recognize that God is great and awesome and encourage and strengthen their heart with that truth.


II.                 What kind of encouragement does Nehemiah provide for the fathers?

1.      Nehemiah prays with his people (verse 9).

2.      Nehemiah commands them to take responsibility for their family (verse 13).

3.      Nehemiah reminds that God is great and awesome. Although Nehemiah did take proper actions, he left the outcome in God’s hands.

III.               Nehemiah did not build the wall. The Jews did not build the wall. Their great and awesome God built the wall (Compare 4:1-3, 15 with 6:15-16).

IV.              In what ways was Nehemiah an example to the workers?

a.             Compare 1:5 with 4:14! He could with confidence proclaim God’s greatness and awesomeness, because he had expressed it privately outside of the limelight. This prayer was the beginning of four months of constant and consistent prayer for the building of the wall in Jerusalem. The central motivation for this prayer was the greatness and the awesomeness of God. In fact all of the motivations to which Nehemiah appealed in accomplishing the work in Jerusalem, including the family relationship, are submitted to the character of their God.

b.            4:18, 23 – He was at his place in God’s work.

c.             He prayed (4:4-5).


The question remains, why does God allow opposition to His work (9:29-32)?


29    And testified against them, That You might bring them back to Your law. Yet they acted proudly, And did not heed Your commandments, But sinned against Your judgments, ‘Which if a man does, he shall live by them.’ And they shrugged their shoulders, Stiffened their necks, And would not hear. 30  Yet for many years You had patience with them, And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31  Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You are God, gracious and merciful. 32  “Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, Who keeps covenant and mercy: Do not let all the trouble seem small before You That has come upon us, Our kings and our princes, Our priests and our prophets, Our fathers and on all Your people, From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. 33  However You are just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, But we have done wickedly.


Sometimes God allows opposition, so that we might understand His greatness and awesomeness in His dealings.


INVITATION FROM SPURGEON BASED ON THIS PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE:  But I have not been speaking to all who are here. Some of you do not pray, some of you cannot set a watch. The message for you is, “Ye must be born again.” You cannot attempt Christian duties till first you have the Christian life; and the only way to get the Christian life is to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to the fountain which he has filled with his precious blood; wash there, and be clean; and then, quickened by his Spirit, set a watch. I am looking to see some people brought to Christ at this service, for although I have been preaching to God’s people, if they will watch for you, and pray for you, there will come a blessing to you through their watching and praying. The Lord grant that it may come to many of you! “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him when he is near.” May many seek and find the Lord to-night; and may many call upon him in truth! “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” God grant that it may be so to everybody here, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.


The Appeal of Catholicism, the Meaning of Manliness and other Links June 21, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Child Rearing, Father's Day.
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Why is Catholicism Appealing to Some?


Follow the links to learn more about the importance of fathers.

Al Mohler points to the research of W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, who argues that fathers play an essential role in the raising of children. His recent study, “Religion, Race, and Relationships in Urban America,” suggests that fathers play a very important role in five specific domains of children’s lives.

The Meaning of Manliness


Links – Secular and Religious June 19, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Book Reviews, Father's Day.
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My brother’s Father’s Day post about our dad.


Theory as to why Hollywood doesn’t make movies about abortion.

 The Times [London]

For the funny bone.

The Holy Observer

A review of a very popular book. I haven’t read this one but started “23 Minutes in Hell” and would put the two in the same category and not just because of the title.

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper : A Discerning Reader Review [10/10]

The AP on Virtual Rome: “Computer experts on Monday unveiled a digital reproduction of ancient Rome as it appeared at the peak of its power in A.D. 320 — what they called the largest and most complete simulation of a historic city ever created.” The official site is at the University of Virginia’s Rome Reborn 1.0. (With thanks to Justin Taylor “Between Two Worlds”)

A good historical perspective of present day evangelicalism.


Abraham Sacrifices Isaac (A Father’s Day Sermon) June 17, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Faith, Father's Day, Genesis, Isaac, Sermons, Will of God, Worship.


Genesis 22

Oftentimes when God evaluates a father, the evaluation shows great shortcomings in the father. I think of Eli, of whom God said in 1 Samuel 2:29, ‘‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?’’ This is a sad commentary on a man who should have known better.

(For more on this story see The Father Who Would Not Say No)

How much better it is to be like Abraham. This is what God said of him in Genesis 18:19, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

In Genesis 22, we see the ultimate example of a father, whose worship of God and testing by God, allowed his son Isaac to practice the righteousness and justice of God in his life.

God tested Abraham by commanding an act of seemingly foolish, submissive worship (Compare Genesis 22:2 with 21:12). Why then would God want to kill Isaac? God did not want Isaac killed but rather wanted to test Abraham.


There are at least two types of tests with which God tests believers. There is the test of authenticity. That is the type of test where it is proven that someone really is a believer. That is not the test here. This is a test of quality. God was not testing to see if Abraham’s faith was real or not. That had already been established. God was testing Abraham to show the quality of his faith in God. This is an extreme test. This is not a test where you determine whether you have fool’s gold or real gold, this is a test to determine the purity and the quality of gold that you already know is real. This is a more precise test. This is a more exacting test. This is a test, not whether you have real faith but rather what will your faith withstand.

Perhaps we should look at this test a little closer. This test seemed to be contradictory. God had promised in 21:12 that Isaac’s seed or descendant would be the promised one through which all nations of the world would be blessed. It is hard to see how that could happen if Abraham offered Isaac as a burnt offering.

Secondly, this test was extreme. Isaac was to be offered as a burnt offering. Abraham was to take his son to Mount Moriah, where he was to build an altar and lay wood for burning on the altar. Then he would tie his son up and lay him on the altar. Then he would take a knife and cut his son’s throat. After his son had died, then he was to set the wood on fire and burn up the body of his son.

“This is what God told Abraham to do. At that point the man of faith only has two options. Either you obey or you don’t. If you stop to argue, that in itself is a form of disobedience. If you try to talk God out of it, that too is disobedience. If you offer an alternate plan, that is also disobedience.” Ray Pritchard


Abraham was willing to obey God because he had concluded that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead so that the promises of God might be kept (Hebrews 11:17-19). He believed God’s promise as well as God’s ability (inherent power) to keep that promise. When Abraham believed God, it was accounted to him for righteousness. In other words God tallied up the books and found Abraham righteous. In this situation we see Abraham tallying up God’s books and when he looked over God’s books He found that God had the ability on the books to raise Isaac from the dead. Remember, there had never been a resurrection of any kind before. Abraham had no biblical accounts of a resurrection but He did know a God of great ability and power who was more than capable of bringing Isaac back to life even after being offered as a burnt offering.

This willingness to obey had been shown repeatedly over the past thirty or so years. Abraham had seen God’s blessings in his life. He had seen God visually several times. God had enabled him to win battles. He had seen God’s power in destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. God had opened up the womb of his ninety year old wife and given them a son. He had seen God protect them when they were in the foreign lands of Egypt and Gerar. In all of these things Abraham was willingly obedient to God.


This willingness was revealed by Abraham’s statement in verse 5. They were going to worship God, i.e. bow down before Him in submission. Abraham was not just going to fulfill the letter of the law. He was going to bow down to the ground in worship before God during this great test. He was going with an attitude of submission to God’s will.

Verse 5 also tells us that Abraham said they both were going to return. God had not said that Isaac would return. We know what Abraham thought God might would do according to Hebrews 11 but God had not promised a resurrection. What God had promised, however, is that through this son there would be a great nation through whom the whole world would be blessed. He based his obedience during the test from God on the promise of God.

We know that Abraham trusted God because of what Abraham did when he was tested (James 2:21-24). By revealing his faith through his works in this test, his faith was made perfect or was completed. His faith was not maintained by works but was brought to its logical end by works.

Abraham began his journey of faith in Genesis 12. God repeatedly confirmed His promise to Abraham. God made an unconditional promise but faith in that promise still demanded works. That is what faith is. It is a belief that demands action. That is why the journey of faith was not completed when Isaac was born but rather when Isaac was rescued from death. Faith and works are inseparable. If you have faith and no works, your faith is dead. You never had true faith to begin with. If you have works and no faith, your works are dead. There is no salvation in works. There is, however, completion of faith in works.


God provided a ram as Isaac’s substitute and He reconfirmed His covenant with Abraham emphasizing the obedience of Abraham. (Genesis 22:7-14). The word “provided” is literally “sees.” When Abraham named the place of sacrifice, “Jehovah provides”, he was saying, God sees what is going on. He is actively involved in my test. He is actively involved in my obedience. There is no test that God is going to put me through in which he is not active in my response to that test.


Fathers, those of you who are believers, what do you love? What is it or who is it that is so important to you that you would take off work to give time to that person or thing? What is it that receives the best of your spare time, spare money, and spare strength? If God was to take it from you, what promise would you fall back on?

Let’s slow down. Think about this question. What promise would you fall back on? What has God promised you that commands immediate, unquestioning obedience when the test comes? Do you have such promises?

If not, then you need to get alone with your Bible and with your God and establish some promises that will hold you up when the test comes. Your faith is only as good as the promises you depend on. You need some promises that will produce quality when you are tested. You need some promises that will produce works that will complete your faith.

If you have not put your faith in Christ, the quality of your faith cannot be tested. Whether you even have faith in Christ can be tested, however. What is the test? Are you trusting Christ alone for salvation? Are you trusting His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins? Or are you trusting something or someone in addition? Are you, sinner that you are, hoping that you will be good enough to please God? It will never happen. God cannot tolerate sin. If you have sinned once, someone must die. Jesus died for your sin, if you will trust Him and Him alone, but as long as you are trusting your good works, there is no hope for you. Will you trust Him today to save you?



Links to Sermons on Abraham’s Sacrificing of Isaac June 15, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Child Rearing, Faith, Father's Day, Genesis, Sermons, Suffering, Worship.
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http://www.biblebb.com/files/whitefield/gw003.htm George Whitefield

http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/3671.html Ray Stedman

http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermons/read_sermon.asp?id=315 Ray Pritchard