Turning the Hearts of Fathers & Their Children to Each Other Intro. 1. The need for godly fathers has always been great 2. Reciprocal, complimenting relationship: a. Father: Producer, provider, protector. b. Child: Product, recipient, protected. 3. Eph. 6:4: When fathers turn their hearts away from their children they sin against God & their children, themselves & society. 4. Eph. 6:1-3: When the hearts of children are turned away from their fathers they sin against God & their fathers, themselves & society. 5. Mal. 4:6: And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. 6. The hearts (affections) of fathers & children must turn toward God & toward each other, or God’s judgment will surely strike. I. TURNING HEARTS: A MATTER OF CONVERTED HEARTS. A. The Heart: Will & Affection. 1. Inner man includes our affections, character & commitment. 2. Love from the heart: Fathers are to show both agape & phileo (love) toward their children: Not easy for many men! 3. The Father’s love for the Son: agape (Jno. 3:35); phileo (Jno. 5:20). 4. Elements of goodwill, trust, commitment, care, respect as well as deep affection & devotion. 5. Children’s love will reflect what they receive (learn what they live). B. Hearts that are Ready to Repent (Acts 26:20); cf. Lk. 1:17. 1. Repentance required in order to improve parent-child relations: a. Turn from selfishness to giving. (Our time, interests, etc.) b. Turn from pride to humility. (Admit mistakes, accept advice…) c. Turn from stubborn ignorance to learning (the knowledge, experience & wisdom of fathers). C. Hearts that are Ready to Seek & Give Forgiveness, cf. Lk. 15:18-22. II. TURNING THE HEARTS OF FATHERS TO THEIR CHILDREN (Gen. 18:19). A. Do Not Provoke to Wrath (exasperate, discourage), Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21. 1. Unrealistic demands/expectations, cf. 2 Cor. 8:12; Matt. 25:15. 2. Favoritism, Gen. 25:27-28; 27:41; 37:4. 3. Failure to discipline, Prov. 3:12; 29:15, 17 (20:30). B. Nurture your Children (bring them up), Eph. 6:4. 1. Teach your child, 1 Ths. 2:10-11: a. Exhort, comfort, charge (2:11). 1) By setting examples (2:9-10), education (2:9), explanations & sharing experiences (2:7-8); cf. Jno. 5:20. 2) By giving needed warnings, 1 Cor. 4:14-16. b. Requires good use of your time: Set priorities & let some things go, Eph. 5:16. c. Require persistence, patience & prayer, cf. Judg. 13:8. 2. Lay up eternal things for your child, 2 Cor. 12:14. III. TURNING THE HEARTS OF CHILDREN TO THEIR FATHERS. A. Hearts that will Listen to their Fathers, Prov. 1:8-9; 7:24. B. Hearts that will Learn from their Fathers, Prov. 4:1-7, 10-13, 20-22. -This will bless you & bring joy to your father, Prov. 29:3 (3 Jno. 4). C. Hearts that will Live their Father’s Instruction, Prov. 3:1-2, 21-26. 1. Jesus set this example, Jno. 8:29, 55. 2. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1). D. Hearts that will Respect Parents, Eph. 6:2. 1. Obedience shows respect, Jno. 8:26-29. 2. Be respectful in you speech & treatment your father & mother, Prov. 30:11-14, 17 (20:20); Exo. 21:17. 3. Don’t take advantage of your parents, cf. Prov. 28:24. Conclusion 1. Mal. 4:6: Hard hearts that refuse to turn back will suffer God’s wrath & punishment (“great & dreadful day of the Lord,” 4:5). 2. Psa. 127:3-5: Children are a blessing from God; a reward & a challenge. 3. Lev. 19:32: Parents are honored by those who fear God.