Fear and love embrace in the home

Why should you teach the commandment, statutes, and judgments of the Lord to your children? So that they would obey the Lord. Obeying you is secondary. It’s important, but it’s not of primal importance. Obeying the Lord is.

…so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God…

How do you teach your children to fear the Lord? Teach them the commandments, statues, and judgments of the Lord, expecting them to do them, so that they might fear Him. Ahhh, we have such biblical ignorance today. And these are great things!

We’re not done.

…to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life…

As Stephen Baker has just expounded for us. The fear is for obedience.

…and that your days might be prolonged.

That sounds like the commandment about parents: “‘Honor your mother and father, that your days would be prolonged.’ It’s the first commandment with a promise…” and here we have it in Deuteronomy 6. You want your children to live? Teach them the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Lord.

This is a transcript of the third sermon from the 2010 ClearNote Fellowship Conference. This sermon was preached July 10, 2010 by Robert Forney.

(This is sermon 3 in a series; see also sermon 1, sermon 2, and sermon 4.)


Outline

Introduction
God commands both fear and love in the Pentateuch
The commands: Exodus 19
The application: “But make them known to your sons and your grandsons…”
Towledah (generations)
Aspire to be fathers for the Lord
Commandments for obedience for fear for obedience and life
Sweeter than honey
Fearing and loving your father
Conclusion

Introduction

I’m humbled and really pleased to be here with you. My family loves David Bayly and his family, we love our church, and we love your church, and we feel a part of you in every way. You’re our brothers and sisters, and I bring greetings and solicitations from Toledo.

Will you pray with me?

Our Father, forgive us, for we have sinned. We have neglected You in Your awesome holiness. We have denied Your greatness. We have magnified ourselves in our pride, in our vanity. Lord, forgive us for neglecting Your Word, Lord, fill us with Your Spirit in this hour; speak to us. Use my lips, Lord. Purify them with the blood of Christ. We thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Well today one out of two American children go to bed each night without a father to put his hand on their head and pray for God’s blessing. Fifty percent of the kids in America do not have a father within the home to protect them with his godly prayers from the wiles of the devil. Fifty percent of the children in America do not have a father who is strong to give them a picture of the strength of God—imperfectly, but the way that God has planned that we would image Him and so bring glory to Him. Eight percent of those in poverty have mothers who got married, finished high school, and waited till age 20. Eighty percent of children in poverty, their mothers don’t have those things—fifty percent are single mothers, it’s sixty-five percent for our African-American friends. Sixty-five percent of those in poverty don’t have mothers who have had fathers to guide them in godliness. If you go to our prisons, sixty percent of American rapists are fatherless. Seventy percent of long-term prison inmates are fatherless. Seventy-two percent of adolescent murderers are fatherless. And sadly, in the church of Jesus Christ when we pray “Our Father who art in heaven,” most of us don’t know what we’re talking about, because we haven’t had a father who feared God and loved God and loved us the way my father did. All of my friends were afraid of my father. And he loved all of my friends.

God commands both fear and love in the Pentateuch

I want to speak to you from the Pentateuch. Many of us in the evangelical world have not been schooled in the Old Testament, and we don’t know the importance of the Pentateuch. We don’t know that it is more than just five books, that it is the foundation of the rest of the Bible, that it is key to the New Testament, that it is often quoted by the New Testament by Jesus, by Paul, by Peter. In fact, I wonder how many of you would know that the book of Romans has as its structural outline the Pentateuch? In fact, you can find the Genesis point in the beginning of Romans where God created, but man fell. And then the Exodus point: “But God, rich in mercy,” redeemed us. And then the Leviticus point, starting in Romans 6, about how we should worship. And then Numbers. I was once teaching the book of Romans and I had some pastors of some of the people that were coming to our Bible study call and ask me what I was going to do with Romans 9, 10 and 11, which are so strong on the doctrine of election. And I said, well I’m going to teach it! And they’re uncomfortable with it—they say “Well, we always skip over it.” They don’t know Numbers, where Israel at Kadesh-Barnea repudiates God and Paul makes the point in 9, 10, and 11 about Israel’s repudiation: does this mean that the doctrine of election is not sure? And then beginning in Romans 12, “Therefore…” how should we then live? We present our bodies a living sacrifice—that’s Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is three sermons preached by Moses just across the Jordan River, before the children of those who came out of the Exodus go into the Land.

The Pentateuch is foundational. I want us to look at the Pentateuch to find not only the fear and love of God kissing, but our role as parents with this fear and love. It’s actually commanded to us.

The commands: Exodus 19

We’re going to start with Exodus chapter 19, and I’m going to read the entire chapter. Israel is at Sinai when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and said, “Bring this people out, that they may worship Me on this mountain.” And so the Exodus was really about leading up to Exodus 19—and of course Exodus 20, where we find the Ten Commandments. But in Exodus 19, we’re told,

In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD [had] descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.” Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.'” Then the LORD said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.

This is the Word of the Lord.

The application: “But make them known to your sons and your grandsons…”

Now. Why do I read this? Remember, Deuteronomy is the explanation, and from Romans we know it’s the application. Romans 12-16 is how we should then live. Deuteronomy is three sermons: how should we then live, given everything that God has done, creating His people, calling them, and redeeming them? Deuteronomy chapter 4, starting at verse 7. This is further, the Word of the Lord:

“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? Only give heed to yourself…”

Moses speaking to Israel in the plains by the river Jordan,

“…give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”

Are you making them known to your sons and your grandsons?

Why does it matter that he mentions grandsons?

Today we have become a people that are vainly only thinking about ourselves and our personal salvation (praise God for it). But we are part of a great nation, the bride of Christ, the holy temple, the chosen people, the priesthood, and that includes all the saints in the Old Testament and the New Testament and not just ourselves, and it includes our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and what we do affects them! Thus says the Lord.

“Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb…”

We just read it in Exodus 19, “Remember that day….”

“…when the LORD said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so [that] they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.‘”

Towledah (generations)

Fathers, do you fear God? Are you teaching your children to fear God? That’s what I want to speak to you about today. Back at Deuteronomy 4:11,

“You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the LORD spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of [the] words, but you saw no form–only a voice. So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. The LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it. So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb [in] the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure…”

So he wants us to remember Exodus 19. Now, Exodus 19 goes into Exodus 20 and the following chapters—it’s just the beginning of the Lord coming down, we have in Exodus 20 and following what God actually said, speaking from the thunder. So when I say Exodus 19 I’m not saying that we should just stop there. In fact, if we go on to Exodus 20, this is the Word of the Lord:

And God spoke all these words, saying: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands…

That means thousands of generations, not thousands of people but thousands of generations, it’s implicit,

…to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Now this is very interesting. This is missed. I think Paul Sailhamer in his book on the Pentateuch makes this point. I do know that when I was growing up, everyone thought my father was Jewish. Forneys have olive skin, big noses—we grew up in the Jewish part of Indianapolis, the north side, that was where the Jewish community lived. I graduated from North Central High School. I was in the early classes at North Central, specifically the first North Central, not the new building. The large panther on the floor as you go into the gym, my class put that there for the rest of you. (I see at least one of you who may have been at that same institution. God have mercy on both of us.)

Anyway, so in my school, everybody thought I was Jewish. You know, all the protestant girls thought I was Jewish and they wouldn’t date me; the Jewish girls, they knew I wasn’t Jewish so they wouldn’t date me, so there I was. So anyway, I actually made friends with a lot of guys that were Jewish. I kind of hung around with them, and then going into medicine—I’ve had Jewish friends my entire life. And God has given me the opportunity to share Scripture with them, and I have come to love some of their Bible scholars, those who fear God. There are not many, but there are some. And I know that this is a historic Jewish understanding and not merely one that Paul Sailhamer invented: the book of Genesis can be outlined properly, I believe, by the Hebrew word תּוֹלְדוֹת (towlĕdah). It occurs ten times, and most modern translations translate it “history”. It’s not history. It’s the word generations. So we find for the first time in Genesis 2:4,

This is the towledah of the heavens and the earth.

This is the generations of the heaven and the earth.

What is the towledah of the heavens and the earth? It’s Adam and Eve. God took the earth and made Adam.

This verse does not conclude chapter 1, which is introductory of the whole Pentateuch, but rather begins chapter 2 and the second telling, which emphasizes Adam and Eve. Why? Because Adam and Eve are the generations of the heavens and the earth.

We turn to chapter 5 verse 1,

This is the book of the towledah of Adam.

The towledah of Adam? Well, the story of Adam is behind. The story of Adam is Genesis 2, 3 and 4. We’re now in Genesis 5. And what do we find in the generations of Adam? We find his genealogy, we find the story of Seth.

Genesis 6:9, “…the generations of Noah.”

Genesis 25:12,

Now this is the towledah of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons of Ishmael…

We go to 25:19,

This is the towledah of Isaac…

What is the towledah of Isaac? Esau sells his birthright. And the story of Esau and Jacob are in the towledah of Isaac.

It’s generations. Abram is the towledah of Terah.

Aspire to be fathers for the Lord

So we return to Deuteronomy chapter 6. I want you to understand the fear of the Lord, and when He says to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” this is God’s will for us, that we have godly generations. (Godly generations, plural.) A holy temple. The bride of Christ. The living stones that the Holy Spirit brought together. The thing that Exodus 19 really prefigures is the Lord with His people filling the whole earth, filling His people, as we come together as living stones. Do you have a commitment to further generations?

When our church first started, we had people that came out from three churches that had in one way or another abandoned the centrality of the Word—the theology that’s contained in the Word—and the reverent worship and all the rest of it, that came together to form one church. We didn’t know each other, so I invited the men in the church to my home. David came, Debbie baked pies (my wife makes great pie, her mother taught her), and we were sitting around in the family room in front of a fire in the fireplace, it was sort of like a smoker—we didn’t smoke, but men used to get together and speak of men-things, and weren’t ridiculed, they didn’t permit women and children to ridicule them when men got together and spoke of manly things. I remember being invited in by my father to speak of manly things with other men, things of protecting and providing, things of the glory of the Lord. And anyway, just getting going I said, So tell me about your Dad. In my thinking there were about thirty people there. We went around the room. How many had godly fathers? David Bayly and me.

If we went around the room here, how many? Don’t despair. God is our Father. Tim Bayly is your father. Max is your father. Aspire to be fathers for the Lord.

“Honor your father and your mother, it’s the first commandment with a promise.” Be attached to the generations that God has used to bring you where you are. Be attached to the generations that come from you. And aspire that they know the fear and the love of the Lord.

Commandments for obedience for fear for obedience and life

Deuteronomy chapter 6. This is the Word of the Lord:

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you…”

Now there’s three thats, or so thats, so when we say so that, then that means there’s a cause and effect, this happened so that the next happens. So this happens so that…so that…so that. There are three so thats—listen for them:

“…this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it…

Why should you teach the commandment, statutes, and judgments of the Lord to your children? So that they would obey the Lord. Obeying you is secondary. It’s important, but it’s not of primal importance. Obeying the Lord is.

…so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God…

How do you teach your children to fear the Lord? Teach them the commandments, statues, and judgments of the Lord, expecting them to do them, so that they might fear Him. Ahhh, we have such biblical ignorance today. And these are great things!

We’re not done.

…to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life…

As Stephen Baker has just expounded for us. The fear is for obedience.

…and that your days might be prolonged.

That sounds like the commandment about parents: “‘Honor your mother and father, that your days would be prolonged.’ It’s the first commandment with a promise…” and here we have it in Deuteronomy 6. You want your children to live? Teach them the commandments, statutes, and judgments of the Lord.

“O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.”

O ClearNote! O Church of the Good Shepherd! O young men and women! Listen! Be careful! Do this!

Sweeter than honey

Verse 4 to Israel is their John 3:16. You know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life”? It’s a big verse to a lot of us. We love this verse, we love the book of John. The Jews love this verse. 6:4, if I may in Hebrew:

Shema’ Yisrael, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God; the LORD is one.”

When a Jewish father teaches his children the Scriptures, he begins with this verse. And he has a honey pot. And he takes the child’s hand like this, here’s the child’s hand, here’s Dad’s hand, Dad’s right hand—I’m using my left, because it’s the child’s right hand with the father’s right hand, pointer finger out, pointing the words so that no word is missed. And he pronounces the words as he points to them, Shema’ Yisrael, and the child tries to pronounce it: Shema’ YisraelAdonai eloheinu, Adonai echad. When the child is seven, the father picks up the child’s hand, puts it in the honey pot, touches the Scriptures where the child first read, brings it to the child’s lips and says, Remember, my son, the reading of God’s Word is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

My children are growing up! I told Debbie, you keep feeding them, they’re just gonna grow up and leave home! And it’s coming to pass. When they were young, I’d go outside and work and Debbie, my beautiful wife, would say, “Daddy’s working outside! What’s he gonna do?” And the kids would drop their Legos, they would drop whatever they were doing—and I’d bought them little toy toolboxes, and then I started buying them real tools—they’d go and grab everything and run outside! And I’d measure something, I’d say, “Well, now, Robert, you’d better measure that, let’s check that measurement.” They loved it! Why? Because I loved it!

Dad, do you love the Word of God? Can your children see your love for God and the words that come from Him?

I’m a Luddite. That’s one who’s unwilling to accept modernity. You know, this kind of Scripture thing that’s on my phone and I flip my thumb through it—you handle Facebook that way, but for me—don’t handle God’s Word that way. You know, I’m not saying that we’ve got to strip down and wash our clothes, as we heard more than once in Exodus 19, and bathe and say a prayer before we come to Scripture. But is there a fear of God? Is there an awe that we are such a nation and that our God is alive, He’s real, He’s awesome, and He’s very near and He answers us when we pray? Is this a startling truth to us, Dad? It may not be if you didn’t have a father like that.

Fearing and loving your father

You know, one thing about fearing God is fearing your father. My friends feared Dad. Well, they weren’t alone—so did I. And I loved him. Yesterday was his birthday, if he had been alive. There’s hardly a day goes by but I think of my father and my grandfather. The things that they said—what would they do in this situation? And the thing I remember most about my father is his right hand. He had a strong right hand, and it held mine, and he loved me. But he had great expectations of me. He did not wimp out on anything. And my mother is not the most submissive woman. Next to my Dad, my Mom didn’t have a chance. My Dad was powerful. My grandfather was called Bull. My Dad was called Little Bull. He was a big man in spirit as well as in size. He’s very much like Tim Bayly—tall, big shoulders, deep voice, he didn’t say much, but when he spoke it was truth. And he cared for me.

So my view of my Dad growing up was that he was so big that the only thing my Dad couldn’t do was because he chose not to. As a matter of fact, several times in my boyhood, he said, well son, you think I can’t? And then he’d do what he had not done, because he wanted me to do that thing. I mean it covered every subject. I remember once we were playing ping pong, and I’m trying to let Dad win a couple of points, so small was my view of my Dad. My Dad finally caught on and so he said, son, what are you doing? You think I can’t play ping pong? He said, now watch: I’m gonna hit the ball to you and you’re gonna hit it off the table to the left, right over here. And he hit it to me and boom, I hit over there—and I knew how to play ping pong! He says ok, now you’re gonna hit it off the table to the right, and I hit it, and boom, I hit it off to the right. And he laughed and said now you’re going to hit it over my head, and I hit it and boom, it went flying right overhead. He said son, I was having a happy game here with you.

Are you capable? God is capable. Our God is an awesome, holy God who thunders and scares everyone half to death. He whispers and the sun, moon and stars are created by the words of His mouth. What are the words of your mouth, Dad? Do you have a gravitas about you, a bearing, a presence—not pride, but knowing who you are as God made you?

I was very modest growing up about what I asked my Dad to do for me. Because he would. You know, Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive! You don’t have because you don’t ask!” You know how to give good gifts to your sons—which one of you have asked him for a loaf of bread, will he give you a stone? Are your children afraid to ask you for things because they know that you give good gifts? And as they enter adolescence they need not fear, because their father is with them, and no matter what sin, no matter what mistake, no matter what lack of capability comes along, you’ve got Dad. You go, “Well you don’t know my Dad, my Dad can’t do all that stuff.” Oh, but he’s got a heavenly Father that can. Fathers, are our prayers being hindered? You know what hinders our prayers? The love we have for our wives and our children? Do you know the authority? Consider the centurion who tells Jesus, “Oh no, you don’t have to come down. I’m a man of authority, and I have others over me. I say but the word. You just mention it and my servant will be healed.” And Jesus says, “I’ve never seen such faith in all of Israel!” Are you a father of faith, who understands the high position that our God has given to us as Dads, that we can come to Him and pray for our children and things change? You say, well this is unbelievable. Well, it’s in the Scripture. Be that Dad. Raise up in this church generations of godly men and women. Godly seed.

“Well fear and love can’t embrace…” Well of course they do! Do you think I would have loved my Dad if I thought he was a wimp? Do you think I would have had any respect for him if I could out-trick him?

My Dad was in Europe in Patton’s Army during the Second World War, he commanded a hospital in Paris, and guys in that army would come from the front and they’d always get new equipment when they went back to the front, and so my Dad got some of this equipment. One of the things that he got was a pair of binoculars from a sniper. It was one of the very few war prizes that he had. He gave them to me. I was eight. Well the neighbor boys and I would play war, this is back in the early 50s, and it was all about truth, justice, and the American Way. It was about righteousness and fighting to defeat enemies who would kill women and children and burn them in ovens and whatever—so there were sniper teams and the whole thing. I broke the binoculars. I dunno—how could I break Dad’s binoculars? I cried. Mom didn’t have to say wait till your father gets home, I feared Dad coming home. I didn’t fear Dad coming home because I thought he’d be angry. I couldn’t imagine facing him with something as real, as important that I had broken after so few minutes being entrusted with it.

What do you think my father did?

He said “C’mere, son.” And we fixed the binoculars together.

Conclusion

Do your children look at you that way? Do you see our heavenly Father that way? As someone who is so powerful and so near, so holy and so merciful, so other and so wanting for us His children to come to Him and bring our broken dreams?

Then we get to Deuteronomy 6:5,

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”

Love and fear kiss. Teach the commandments so your sons will fear.

And you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house…”

Now–sons. This is fathers, talking about sons. You say where are the girls? Oh, they’re there too. 1 Corinthians 11, a husband is the head of the wife, alright? Christ is the head of the husband. Husbands didn’t think of that, God did. The towledah in Genesis–they’re all men. You, fathers,

“…shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you didn’t build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees which you didn’t plant, and you eat and are satisfied…watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Well, you won’t forget the Lord, and I won’t forget the Lord, if we love God with all our heart and fear Him, and allow the awesomeness of God to frighten us into obedience, and the love of God to make us want to serve and obey and be like Him. And the promise: it will prolong our days, it will prolong the days of our children and our children’s children and this church and the church in Toledo—and if you’re childless for whatever reason, there are spiritual children, and it’s the same thing.

When I first came to work with David Bayly, one of the things he told me in our pastor’s college was, if you want to be a great preacher you don’t need to learn to preach, you need to be a father to the congregation. And when you get up to preach, you speak to the congregation the way a father encourages and exhorts and corrects and teaches his children.

Father, thank you for this, Your Word. Quicken us, Lord. Be glorified. Forgive us for thinking so little of You and so much of ourselves. Forgive us for making so many excuses. Forgive the coldness of our heart and our being willing to so quickly love and embrace other things. Lord, we pray for our sons and our grandsons and for their wives and their children. We pray, Lord, that you would raise up from this church and from other churches where people have not turned to Baal, a godly seed. Help us to worship You in spirit and in truth, we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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