Turning the Hearts of the Fathersby Harold Vaughan — 7 years, 11 months ago
Our Great Need of Family Revival
The angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias and prophesied of his son, John the Baptist, and his unique ministry, “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:16-17).
John the Baptist did not come as a political reformer. He did not organize a “clean-up Israel” campaign. This mighty prophet cut through the peripheral and got down to the core of the problem.
The angel said he came to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” He came to restore the hearts of the young and old to holiness. John the Baptist’s mission was to turn the stoney hearts of the children back to the godly hearts of the patriarchs. He came to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers.
Sin has ruptured family relationships and brought division between the generations. One of the great needs in our day is the turning of the hearts of parents to their children. Before there was a state, a church, or a school, the home was ordained by God. God commanded the first couple to be fruitful and multiply, to subdue the earth, and rule the world for God. Home is where husbands and wives submit to one another in the fear of God. Home is where parents rear their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Home is where children honor their mother and father. The home is a church within a church, a world within a world, a kingdom within a kingdom.
Oh, that the spirit and power of Elijah would come like a flood in sweeping revival restoring godliness to our homes!
Parents are Concerned for Their Children
Millions of middle-class families are not houseless, but homeless! Countless homes in America could be described as a snack bar, a parking garage, and a Holiday Inn. It serves as a place to eat, a place to park, and a place to sleep. When parents are more concerned about building a house than establishing a home, that family could, in a sense, be considered homeless. Mary said to Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (Jn 11:32). The same could be said of countless homes.
The evil influences, wrong friends, and proliferation of decadent seductions cause parents great concern. One out of ten young girls get pregnant every year. More than twenty teens have abortions every thirty minutes. Nearly seven hundred teens become drug users every thirty minutes. Twenty teens attempt suicide every thirty minutes. Thirty-three percent of children are born to single mothers. Fifty percent of all children will spend part of their childhood without fathers. Seventy percent of mothers with young children work outside the home. Parents have every reason to be concerned.
The best time to solve a problem is before it arises. Job was a busy, industrious, and wealthy man. Yet he took preventative measures and prayed preventative prayers on behalf of his children. So deeply concerned was their father that he “rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:5).
Job took his parenting so seriously that he offered sacrifices on behalf of his children. His concern was long-term because he made these offerings “continually.” His children’s spiritual standing was of primary importance to him.
God did not give us children to populate hell! Oh, for the practical and preventative steps to lead our children to God!
Many Parents are Controlled By Their Children
Parental authority has not disappeared. It has merely changed hands—the children have taken it over!
The time has come for parents to take the ownership of their own children. During the past forty years millions of parents resigned and handed their children over to the state. Hillary Clinton wrote a book, It Takes A Village, advocating the notion that childrearing is the responsibility of the community. This is not surprising since all collectivists and socialists believe that children belong to the state.
One Christian school administrator said that many parents dropped their children off at the school at six and wanted the school to make their children geniuses and Christians. At age eighteen they wanted to receive these kids back saved, sanctified, and educated. How many Christian schools function more like a surrogate parent than an educational institution? Don’t pay someone else to do what God has called you to do! Parents need not only to take ownership, they must take responsibility for their children. A sinful age like ours will breed parents who will neglect their children, refrain from discipline, and let go all authority.
Andrew Murray said, “Many children are ruined by parental weakness.” Eli’s children were rebellious from childhood. This man Eli was a judge, a priest, and a father. Yet he failed to use his authority to govern his sons. Eli failed to direct, discipline, correct, punish, restrain, and challenge his children. God charged Eli that he honored his children above God. He let them have their own way instead of enforcing God’s ways in his home. Good-natured weakness is a sure path to wickedness. Since he refused to put his house in order, he was to blame for its destruction.
This is not to say that every wayward child is because of parental failure. God had two children in Eden and they both made wrong choices!
Strong character is generated where parental authority is strong. God said of Abraham, “For I know him that he will command his children after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.”
It is imperative that parents take control of their children. The main thing missing in child-training is the trainer. The fact is, rightly or wrongly, parents are training their children. Lawlessness in the nation gets its start in the living room. If a child doesn’t respect the authority of his parents, he will not respect God’s authority or the powers that be when he comes of age. “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). Children need boundaries.
Inconsistent discipline teaches children not to take God seriously. Children often hear, “If you do that again I am going to spank you,” or “If you do that again I will tell your father.” In both cases the child disobeys and the warning is not carried through. The child is being trained that there are no consequences for his actions. Then the preacher thunders out, “The wages of sin is death.” When parents fail to keep their word, then the children don’t believe God is telling the truth either.
You can train your children to do right. If a porpoise can be trained to balance a basketball on his nose and a killer whale can be taught to take a fish out of the trainer’s mouth, (without taking the head of the trainer with it!), you can train your children to obey and do right!
Some Parents Are Condemned By Their Children
Great homes are needed to produce great men. R.G. Lee said, “The overproduction of spiritual pygmies is traceable to the absence of great homes.” The decline of civilization parallels the decline of the home.
When human life is devalued through abortion and other means it has a destablizing effect on the upcoming generation. Parents who subscribe to the pro-death policies of the abortion advocates will live to face those consequences, probably here on earth, or at the judgment seat.
The break-up of the home is perhaps the most devastating thing that can happen to children. Marriages in America can be terminated by anyone at any time without a cause. Time magazine carried an essay which stated, “Over the past years a growing body of evidence shows that children who grow up under the tutelage of people other than their natural parents are more likely to fail in school, have social difficulties, and get arrested.”
A father and mother were getting a divorce. The Christian school decided if the parents were not going to live together then their child should attend school elsewhere. The woman, all upset, burst into the pastor’s office and castigated the pastor. She blurted out, “You are ruining the life of my child by not allowing him to attend your school!” Here is a woman who is breaking up her family and blaming the pastor for ruining the life of her child!
“He that spareth his rod hateth his children” (Prov. 13:24). According to this verse neglect of parental discipline is paramount to hatred. Young people in our day have been mercilessly abused through the collapsing of all standards. Fathers in America should stop acting like neutered wimps, get a hormone shot, and take responsibility for their families!
Parent, you can control who your children associates with, the music they listen to, the clothes they wear, and when they go to bed. Children need fences and if you don’t provide them you will live to regret it.
All Parents Are Commissioned By God For Their Children
It doesn’t take a village to raise a child; it takes a Dad and Mom whose hearts are turned toward their children. Home is the heart of civilization. Home implies a man who works, a woman who is good, and a child who is taught.
God has commissioned parents to indoctrinate their children. Jesus Christ is prophet, priest, and king to His church. The father is prophet, priest, and king to his family. As a prophet he guards his home, as a priest he guides his home, and as king he governs his home.
God charged the Israelites to diligently teach their children His commandments while they were sitting, standing, walking, and lying down (Deut. 6:7). The primary source of learning about God should be our homes. It is parental indictment if a child learns more about God in Sunday School than in his living room.
Parents are commissioned by God to discipline their children. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15 ). Again Proverbs exhorts, “Withhold not correction from the child”(Prov.23:13).
During the Passover the safety of the family depended upon what the father did. God charged the man to kill a lamb, drain its blood in a basin, and sprinkle the doorpost of his home with that blood. If the father failed to act, the firstborn was killed and the family destroyed. A family’s future is determined by the action or inaction of the father. The answer to teen crime in America is for fathers to get their children by the nape of the neck, get them in the house, and introduce them to discipline, duty, and integrity. God has commissioned parents to function under God’s design for the family. The father is to lead his family. Mothers are to reverence their husbands. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
A house is built by human hands, but a home is built by human hearts. It takes money to buy the materials to build a house, but the elements it takes to make a home are far above rubies.
The world needs mothers more than politicians, statesmen, or political activists. Because of the influence of militant feminists, millions of children are left to non-parental, outside-of-the-home influences.
Lady, do you really want to reform society? Then GO HOME! No reform will occur unless it originates there. No movement will move until it moves there. No law can stand unless it is favored there. No religion can stand unless it is useful there. God has a clear-cut design for the home and we will either conform to it or reap the consequences.
Guidelines For Parents
- Own up to every failure and put it under the blood of Jesus. Then put your past behind you, because God has put it behind Him!
- Make every adjustment you must to come under the authority of Scripture. The husband’s greatest need is esteem. The wife’s greatest need is security. Every child’s greatest need is a father and mother who love God and each other. Take the ownership of, the responsibility for, and the control of your children. Next, take the necessary steps to align your life, home, and family with the Word of God.
- Allow God to turn your heart to your children. This is the main issue. If your heart is not set on God and your children, then where is it?
- Implement the spiritual disciplines in your home. Read the Bible daily. Pray together. Demonstrate love. Attend church regularly. Discuss the Kingdom of God normally.
- Do whatever you have to do to regain and maintain the hearts of your children. When your heart is turned to your children you will know them better than anyone. When you have your children’s hearts they will confide in you. In order for you to effectively shepherd the hearts of your children they must be sure of, and secure in, your love.
The Spirit that worked through Elijah and John the Baptist is still with us today! He is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. This is the kind of revival we really need.