Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Thought for Fathers

I was listening to a sermon by the late Adrian Rodgers called “The Battle for the Bible” where he was preaching from the book of Jude about how Christians need to contend earnestly for the faith. Right away this sermon has a few things going for it that helped to grab and keep my attention.

The first thing is that Adrian Rodgers was a very powerful and moving gospel preacher. Part of the reason for this was the fact that he had a very powerful and booming voice, and he knew how to use it. The second thing is that he was preaching out of the epistle that has been used by God to awaken my heart and mind to a need for study and proclamation of the Word of God. He was preaching from the book of Jude. It should be no surprise at how important this book is in my life, because from it, both the title of my blog and my general attitude toward Christian matters has been derived.

Out of all of the many things that Pastor Rodgers said, I found myself fascinated by one fact that was fairly insignificant to his whole sermon. He was referencing the fact that if we do not contend and strive for the truth and for the faith that the downfall could be great in our own life time. He spoke about Jude’s reference to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and made the point that these cities knew about God’s judgment. In fact he said that one of Noah’s sons (Shem), who came through the flood, was still living at that time.

I had never heard anyone say that before. I had never thought about the possibility that Noah or Shem would have been alive during Abraham’s life. And I suppose that if someone would have asked me, I would have guessed that they both would have been dead before Abraham’s time or at least when he was very young. But if we understand the genealogies of the bible as communicating literal years without gaps between the generations, as I think that we should, then we can easily see that Shem was alive when Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed.

Shem was born at about 1559 After Creation (A.C.) and that he lived to be 600 and died in 2159. If we follow the times given in Genesis, we see that Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 in the year 2049. But Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed one year earlier because when He was sending the angels down to Sodom and Gomorrah, God said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” (Genesis 18:10) So this means that Shem lived for 100 years after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Even though there were many potential barriers between Shem and the rest of humanity at that time (land, language, etc.), there was still the living witness of God’s mercy in salvation and His wrath in judgment that people could have listened to.

(Click here to see a chart of the genealogy)

So what is my point? Just because I am saved and I have been delivered by God from sin and death (like Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives) doesn’t mean that my children or grandchildren will be. Even if I am convinced of the gospel, proclaiming it until the day that I die, and, like Noah, I am even known as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), that doesn’t ensure that my grandchildren will believe. Knowing that this is true, this is even more of a reason for fathers (like myself) to be extremely diligent and to view the spiritual instruction of our children with the utmost importance and urgency.

Will some of my children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren reject the cross of Christ and die in their sins? I hope and pray not. But I must live and execute my life in such a way that I will not be responsible for the dilapidation of the testimony of the gospel in the eyes of my family. We must contend for the faith, teach our children constantly, and pray for God’s ever-present mercy to be placed upon ourselves, our families, and those to whom we preach.

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