A Godly Man, A Godly Father

A Godly Man, A Godly Father

Deacon John Low - 19 June 2021

A Godly Man, A Godly Father

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Tomorrow is Fathers’ Day, I am sure, not everyone remembers, because usually, Mothers’ Day is the one people will remember.

Even in the history of Fathers’ Day, do you know it originated from Mother’s Day?

Way back in 1910, it came about when a daughter wanted to honour her father, who single-handedly raised and nurtured her + another 5 siblings.

Fathers’ Day is always the by-the-way, secondary comparatively.

Even in celebration. Mothers are typically showered with gifts, flowers and a good meal, Fathers’ Day celebration is always planned, only the night before.

But in our Christian faith, we know how significant the role of a Father is.

In 2 Corinthians 6:18, our Lord Almighty says “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me.”

And when God teaches us how to pray, it begins not with God almighty, or God the alpha & omega, but it begins with “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”

This father-child relationship is distinct in Christianity, for no other religious Gods call man their children.

And because our heavenly Father is so perfect in all his ways, it is a high calling for earthly fathers, like us, to live up to.

That’s the reason why when we think of our mothers, we always think about her love and her sacrifices. And when we think of our fathers, we always tend to think about where he has fell short.

Fatherhood is indeed challenging because of how God has instructed the man. He is to head, to lead, to love and to be responsible for the entire family of his wife & children that God has placed under his care.

That is why in the Garden of Eden, when the first family succumbed to the devil’s schemes. Although Eve is the one who ate and gave Adam the apple, when God came, he called to Adam not Eve “Where are you Adam?”

The man, the head of the household, the father is responsible for his family as this is how God has created and designed for mankind.

And ironically, although children are usually more emotionally attached and closer to their mums, fathers are the ones whom are followed and role-modelled after by the children.

In other words, fathers are the ones who play a big part in shaping our children’s faith.

Statistics had also shown…

A non-practicing mother with a regular churchgoer father will see about two-third of their children ending up at church when they grew up.

In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will only see one-third of their children ending up at church.

From the statistics, we see the influence of a father on the children as the kids look increasingly to their fathers as their role models as they grow up.

This week, Singapore releases the Population Census report (surveyed once every 10 years) where we also saw an increase of young adults stating they had no religious affiliations.

Therefore, it is important for brothers to rise up to this high call to be the head of the households, to be responsible for the spiritual well-being of your family.

In the bible, there are many fathers worth mentioning (for e.g. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, which we have gone through in the book of Genesis) and there are also a lot of verses pertaining to fathers and the qualities fathers should have.

Today, I would like to share on Noah, who is always remembered as the righteous man who built the ark.

But in fact, more successful than building the ark, Noah stands out as a Father who saved his entire family in the darkest times where wickedness is all around them.

Now, please do not switch off because you are not a father.

Whether you are a father or not, there is a word here for you as well.

Because, in reality, the achievements that mark Noah as a godly man, a godly father, should also be true about every believer in God’s family.

You see, whether you are a dad or not, you are still a person of influence in someone’s life.

So, let’s allow our Lord to speak to all of our hearts today.

 

The sermon today will dwell on Genesis 6-9, the account of Noah.

6:1 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

9 Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.

11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it:

…. rooms, roof, how many decks etc

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

…. V19-21 instructions about bringing the animals & the food.

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

 

DAYS OF DANGER

From the verses, we knew that Noah & his family was living in the days of danger, where every inclination and thought of human heart meant evil.

People’s ways were corrupted and the earth is filled with violence.

Noah’s generation was living in a world without any moral compass or restraint.

That is what grieved God and moved Him to bring in the flood to destroy every living thing on earth, except for Noah & his family.

Today as we always say, the end days, do we sense such danger too?

Or do we only see dangers like how the world perceived?

For example: the ongoing COVID-19 variants which are highly transmissible, the dangers of internet & social media which will make us infamous for the wrong reasons, or more & more mentally unsound people appearing on the streets, slashing people & driving recklessly?

Yes, no doubt, all these are dangers but these are not the dangers the bible is talking about.

The danger in Noah’s days is when God is deleted from the human mind and everyone just live for self-gratification, everyone becomes lovers of self.

And because God is out of the picture, the minds and ways of man became corrupted and perverted naturally and unsurprisingly, just like Lot’s days in Sodom & Gomorrah.

Last week, Pastor spoke about the world’s fight for human rights, we saw how the LFBTQ movement has emerged in recent years and how abortion, the killing of lives, is justified in the name of family planning.

And more recently, we saw how the Black Lives Matter movement saturates the internet and become a worldwide voice for the minorities.

With the social media, we saw how man can also take things into their own hands when the law could not, through the cancel culture or call-out culture. 

We also saw how bitcoin trends in our society due to the greed of man.

To appeal to the sinful nature of man, even the truths are being misconstrued in church, where we see a rise in the health & wealth gospel.

Truths that speak about the sinful nature of man, repentance, our eternal belonging, our purpose and our inheritance are now outdated and too conventional, and they fell on deaf ears.

Look at all these signs happening & look at the bible.

In 2Ti 3, the bible describes the end times.

1 There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

It seems like all boxes are being ticked.

So, can we sense the days of dangers we are in? Can we sense that God is increasingly being choked out of the society?

And that is why from the Population Census report released last week, amongst all religions, we saw the greatest deviation & also the greatest increase of 3% in people adopting no religions.

In this time of ours, we always hear parents mentioning that the kids of this generation are hard to teach, so they conveniently leave it to the society to shape them.

And in the name of modern parenting, they give their kids the freedom of choice in anything, including if they want to follow God.

But Noah had proven to us that even in the worst of times, a godly man, a godly father like him, can raise up a godly family.

So, it is not impossible, but we first have to be aware that we are indeed living in the days of danger, where Man is being exalted above God.

 

The 2nd point which is the main bulk of the message, we will expound on the 2nd “D”, Dad, who is Noah, a Godly Man, a Godly Father.

To be a good father in Christ, there can be many qualities and attributes which can be taught or imparted, for example to be loving, to be patient and forgiving, to encourage and not embitter, to discipline and instruct in love, to be courageous and strong, right and just… etc etc

But as I was preparing this message and reading more about Noah, I was convicted that above all these qualities, Noah is truly a Godly Man, and being a Godly Man, he will certainly be a Godly Father, a Good Father, without a doubt.

So, I am not going to talk about the qualities of a good father today, but instead how Noah is a Godly Man, whom we can learn a great deal from, whether we are fathers or not.

 

DAD – NOAH, A GODLY MAN, A GODLY FATHER

We have read just now that Noah was a righteous man, blameless and he walked faithfully with God. (he is one of the 3 being described in the bible to walk with God, so for sure he shared a very intimate relationship with God)

And he found favour in the eyes of our Holy God. So, we ask how can we find favour of God? What is it that God sees in Noah?

<Heb 11:7> By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

 

(1) Faith

The first thing in Noah which is the most important of everything is Faith, for everything comes from our almighty God.

But in this day & age, all the parents’ attention on their kids is not to build their faith up in God, but to build the kids’ faith in themselves, so that they can be confident & successful in this world.

Noah, being confident in himself would not have saved his entire family, but his confidence in God, in his every word & instructions, saved his family.

He trusted in God, not the weather reports. He trusted in God, not what others tell him. He trusted in God despite the lack of signs & evidences.

The word of God was enough for Noah, for faith comes by hearing.

And from <Heb 11:6>, we know that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

We can teach our later generations all the right things, but if we didn’t teach them “what is faith”, they will not be able to experience God and taste His goodness themselves.

The task that God has instructed Noah to carry out required immense faith from the very beginning to the end, there is a lot of resources, commitment and time involved.

But before Noah could display such extraordinary faith, Noah’s faith was first built up through the ordinary times, his daily living, for we have read that he walked with God and in his common conduct, he is being described as “a just man, perfect in his generations”.

So, the worthy question for us to think about is: Are we exercising & building up our faith in our ordinary times?

Is it habitual for us to cast our burdens upon the Lord? Are we experiencing answered prayers, God’s help and providence in our family all the time?

Faith will not just come to us suddenly, faith cannot be like a guest in our house, whom we invite only every Sunday.

Faith must reside in our house, for we need faith every moment in our life, whether we are alone or with people, whether we are at rest or busy, whether our life is smooth sailing or in trials.

For without faith, even King David will fall into temptations, and Noah also revealed his weaknesses later when he was drunk.

Another important aspect of faith would be Complete Faith!

What is complete faith? Complete faith is our trust in God in all things, treating all of God’s words alike.

Nowadays, believers like to cherry pick the truths they want to believe in, that is not complete faith but partial faith.

If we truly believe a man, we will believe all that he says.

We cannot believe there is hell, but doubt that there is heaven. We cannot believe there is judgement, but doubt that there is atonement.

So, when Noah believed in the promise from God that he & his family would be saved, he equally believed that there will be judgement, and the flood will come.

And because Noah’s faith is complete, his faith was uncompromised in the seemingly impossible.

How many times do we easily disbelieve when things seemed impossible and illogical?

For e.g. when we are ministering to our unbelieving parents, when we are praying for a “miracle”, when things stay stagnated even though many hours of prayers were put in?

Noah, in his time, it had never rained before, he was asked to construct an ark on dry land, he was told that animals will come to him in pairs, he was already about 500 years old when asked to build the ark, Noah continued to believe in God completely when facts & sciences proved otherwise and even if he has to be the odd one out.

Faith is indeed confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

So, Fathers here, or B&S, are we building ourselves and our families up in Faith in the ordinary times, so that our faith in God can be complete to stand firm in things that doesn’t make any sense to the world?

Or our faith is still built on the seen and the logical? Worse still, are we are trusting our own intellect, our own will and ways more than our Sovereign God?

So, the first thing that we ought to learn from Noah is His solid Faith.

 

(2) Fear

The 2nd thing that accompanies Faith is Fear.

In <Heb 11:7>, just now we read…

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”

This fear is different from the fears the world has, it’s not the fear of failures, the fear of missing out, the fear of wasting time.

For Fathers, it is not the fears we want our children to have towards us, so that they will listen and follow our instructions.

It is a holy fear towards God as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.

Noah knew that when God says that judgement would come, it would come because our God is a Holy God.

The better word will be reverence towards God.

Do we have such reverence towards God, or are we taking God too lightly?

When we searched our hearts, we will know. The attitudes we take in dealing with our sinful inclinations, the attitudes of even coming to church today, how we make our decisions, prioritize and plan our time and schedules.

When we reflect upon all these, our hearts will reveal to us the degree of our reverence towards our Holy God.

Other than the fear (reverence) of God, another kind of fear that we believers should have, would be the fear of our own sinfulness.

We fear God because of His greatness, and let us fear ourselves because of our sinfulness.

Let us fear of our own sinfulness so that we would not perish like the rest outside of the ark.

Throughout the bible, we saw how easily man, even noble men used by God, can be easily tempted to sin in ways they cannot imagine.

We spoke about the great King David who committed adultery and murder when he let his guard down.

Chief Apostle Peter, who infamously pledged to Jesus that “even when everyone forsakes you, I will never”, denied Jesus not once but thrice.

And even Noah who had experienced God in such magnitude, fell into drunkenness in his later years.

So may we restore such fear in our lives, the fear towards God so that we will trust every word He says, and the fear towards our own sinfulness, so that we do not trust ourselves, our wisdom, our will and ways.

If our later generations can be nurtured to have such fears, they will definitely walk with God in every seasons of their lives.

 

(3) Obedience

The 3rd and last thing we could learn from Noah today would be Obedience.

This is also why I named my Son Noah, because of his obedience to God.

Faith & Fear together led Noah to obey God fully, for we read from the scriptures many times in Noah’s account that he obeyed the Lord and did exactly, according to all the Lord had commanded him.

He is in full obedience, as he did not leave anything undone, nor did he add anything to God’s instructions given him.

Let us study and reflect together the Full Obedience Noah had demonstrated.

 

Firstly, his obedience is (a) Unquestioned

We have earlier mentioned that the task given to Noah at his time is highly demanding and illogical.

Noah would have all the rights to question God about the waters, how the animals would listen to him, how to build the ark without any tools (unlike presently), why choose him (since he is quite aged and was a farmer but not an engineer), how long to build the ark? Etc etc.

These are just a mere few questions out of a long list Noah can have, but Noah did not question God, he just obeyed fully out of faith and holy fear, though he may not fully understand at that point of time.

For us now, even our kids, for every instruction given, we would have a whole list of questions.

For e.g. when Pastor asked me to share today, I did control but still shot at him a few questions.

We love to question authority.

 

Secondly, Noah’s obedience is (b) Immediate and Consistent

The common problem of man nowadays is procrastination. (E.g. Rachel is always very busy because of this problem which she often acknowledges, yet falls into it again and again.)

Can you imagine if Noah’s obedience in building the ark is inconsistent and delayed?

Before he could have finished building the ark, the floods would have come and drown all living things including him and his family.

I think we also often experienced that if we are slow to obey and act according to the convictions that God has given us, we will lose the opportunities or the convictions over time.

(That is why our new year resolutions always continue for a couple of years)

So, we have to learn to obey God immediately and consistently, so that we do not lose sight of Him.

 

Third, Noah’s obedience is (c) Careful

We didn’t have time to read <Gen 6-9> today, but if you have read the instructions given by God to him, you would have realized that they were very detailed, for e.g. the measurements, how many decks, what kind of wood, must waterproofed them, how many windows, how many animals etc.

Noah didn’t obey the instructions carelessly, for our existence today is the testament of Noah’s careful obedience.

If he were to cut corners, like many of us will do (for e.g. never waterproof the ark accordingly), the ark would have been the first Titanic in history.

So, our obedience cannot be thoughtless, it must be careful and deliberate.

 

Fourth, Noah’s obedience is (d) At All Costs

Sometimes, we can obey God when it doesn’t cost us too much time, effort or money to do so.

For Noah, his obedience is at all costs.

Imagine the money and labour he had to put in to build this enormous vessel and he would not have any volunteers except for his family to work on this absurd task.

Also, the changes he had to made to his life, his priorities, his spending habits, his work schedule, he is literally rocked out of his comfort zone.

He spent 120 years with no signs of assurance to build the ark. That’s more than one-tenth of his life. (put in today’s context about 10 years of our life, start building when we are 40 years old.)

But Noah obeyed God and made it happened, he is willing to put all his eggs into that one basket.

For us, we doubted the existence of God easily when God made us wait just for a little while.

May we be encouraged by Noah’s at-all-costs obedience.

 

Lastly, Noah’s obedience is (e) Against the World

We can never imagine the daily scorn Noah received from this huge ark parked right in front of his house.

And the bible says, Noah is a preacher of righteousness. So, as he built, he must have preached to many, who came by, on the judgement of God and the rain that is to come.

For 120 years, not a single drop of rain fell on earth and for sure many must have ridiculed him and thought of him and his family as a crazy bunch.

I think even for his family (his wife, his sons & daughters-in-law), Noah might have to spend a lot of time & efforts convincing them throughout the 120 years to remain faithful in their obedience to build the ark.

So, such is Noah’s full obedience, which I believed we fell short in many ways, may God help us.

 

These are the 3 things we learnt from Noah, which are valuable lessons for all of us, whether we are fathers or not.

Noah’s complete faith, Noah’s fear of God’s greatness and fear of his own sinfulness, and lastly his full obedience.

 

Lastly, the 3rd “D” – Deliverance.

DELIVERANCE

I believed everyone here knows how Noah’s story ends.

Noah and his family entered the ark, the floodwaters kept coming for forty days. For 150 days, the earth remained flooded, every living thing on this earth was wiped out, except for all in the ark.

Noah & his family was rescued in those times of extreme wickedness.

After Noah came out of the ark, the first thing he did was to build an altar to honour God.

In Genesis 8,

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

For 120 years, when Noah preached about the judgement day, no one converted.

For 120 years he built the ark, there is no water to float it.

He seemed like a failure to the world and maybe sometimes to his loved ones too.

Yet he was not discouraged, he never gave up, kept doing what God had instructed him to do.

And over the course of doing so, he won his family over, he saved his family from the floods.

For a Father, there is no greater joy than this, that your children followed and loved the Lord.

I hope this encourages all of us here, especially those who are praying earnestly for our loved ones.

Sometimes, we have to bite the bullet, do certain things which may not be understood by the world (for e.g. still gathering in church now when we are still in a pandemic), sometimes even our loved ones may misunderstand us.

But God is not asleep and his faithfulness and goodness will prevail.

In contrast to Noah, will be Lot and his family.

When Lot fled Sodom and Gomorrah, he begged his family to escape, having received warnings of Sodom and Gomorrah’s imminent destruction from the angels.

But Lot, who compromised every step of the way with the culture around him, had absolutely no credibility when dealing with his family spirituality.

He has no spiritual authority at all.

They mocked his warnings. And when God began to rained down his judgment and Lot fled, his wife and sons-in-law perished.

While the daughters managed to escape, in order to preserve their family lines, they made their father, Lot, drunk and committed incest.

2 Fathers: do we want to be a Noah or a Lot?

So, through today’s message, I hope everyone of us here, whether we are Fathers or not, we are convicted that no matter how tough our walk with God is, He will give us sufficient grace, like how he had given to Noah.

And no matter how wicked the times are or going to be, God will enable us to raise up Godly families to honour Him.

May God receive all the glory.

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Deacon John Low
johnlowcw@gmail.com

John is an ordained Deacon, who has been serving The Blessed Run Church. He is married to sister Rachel and they have two lovely sons, Noah and Jonah.

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