John MacArthur on Proverbs (Part 1) We need to faithfully teach our sons by example and precept

Over and over in Proverbs you hear the words “fear the Lord.” In fact, some of he references are Proverbs 1:7, 29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10;14:26,27; 15:16 and many more. Below is a sermon by John MacArthur from the Book of Luke on 3 reasons we should fear the Lord.

In today’s lesson John MacArthur talks about faithfully teaching our sons by example and precept. I know that there were times that I read Bible verses to my children about controlling your temper and then they would see me lose mine. I would tell them what the word of God says but I would fail to live it out in my life. I hope to become more faithful so my kids can both see what I say and what I do and they will know that they both match up.

John MacArthur

I remember hearing Dr. Adrian Rogers say that if he had to do it over again he would read from Proverbs every day to his kids. They turned out to be great kids and they were raised right. Nevertheless, if he had to do it over again he thought a more emphasis on Proverbs is the way to go. That is why I am spending so much time in Proverbs with my kids today.

John MacArthur does a great job on Proverbs and here is a portion of his sermon on Proverbs.

This is Father’s Day and a fitting time to speak to that father that is here in our fellowship in our congregation this morning. As a father myself of four children, these are lessons that I will share with you out of the Word of God that have been very precious to my own heart as well. I don’t get an opportunity very often, nor do I take it, to focus direction on fathers and so I want to do that this morning.

One little boy’s definition of Father’s Day went like this, “Well, it’s just like Mother’s Day only you don’t spend so much.” Well we fathers can concede that. Someone said, “A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be.” And the phone company tells us that calls on Father’s Day are not as high in number as calls on Mother’s Day and most of them are collect.

Well Father’s Day is, for those of us who are fathers and who have the privilege of having loving children, a very special time. I know on this particular Father’s Day I’m missing three of mine for the first time that I can recall, they’re all gone but one. It’s still nonetheless a special joy to see what God has wrought in the life of your children and to enjoy some of the sweet fruit of His grace in their lives. Being a father has always been a high priority for me…not only because it was for my father and his father but because of what the Word of God has to say. Unfortunately that high priority role of the father is being systematically attacked and destroyed in our culture.

This particular society in which we live has attacked the male role with such devastating force that I really do believe we have sentenced the next three or four generations to tragic experiences of disastrous proportions because if one thing is clear in Scripture it is this…the sins of the fathers are visited upon the third and the fourth generations. What that means is, where you have wicked men in leadership, where you have a decline in the father’s role, it takes three or four generations to root out the evil that they produce. We are not looking at a situation where because of a sinning father three or four generations of son…of sons will pay the penalty. Not at all. Ezekiel 18 forbids that in advocating individual responsibility. But what we are seeing is that because fathers lead a nation, a wicked generations of fathers will so impact that nation for three or four generations that it takes that long to root out their wicked effect. I believe that the legacy of this generation of fathers is tragedy upon tragedy upon tragedy in the following generations.

In the plan of God, however, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be and certainly in the church we should be following that plan. Whatever may be happening in the society around us, we should be ensuring a righteous generation in the church. We have a responsibility as fathers to our sons particularly…sons who tend to be for the most part more rebellious than daughters because they are the ones given by God leadership roles and capacities. If we will faithfully teach our sons, they will by example and precept lead the women as well. Where you have a plurality in the nation of godly fathers, they will impact the mothers. And where you have godly sons, they will impact the daughters of the next generation. And so the high priority of Scripture then is that fathers teach their sons…and thus raise up a generation of godly leaders.

Because God has ordained this and because God wanted us to be sure that it was followed carefully, God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit gave a manual for fathers to use on their sons. A basic research book, that book is the book of Proverbs and I want to invite you to turn to it if you will right now and we’re going to be looking at the first ten chapters of Proverbs in a very general sense.

This book is the lesson book on living from which fathers teach their sons. In fact, that is very apparent. If you look at chapter 1 verse 8, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction. And while at the same time not forsaking your mother’s teaching.” You find again chapter 2 verse 1, “My son, if you will receive my sayings…” Chapter 3 verse 1, “My son, do not forget my teaching.” Chapter 4 verse 1, “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father…” verse 10, “hear, my son, and accept my sayings.” Verse 20, “My son, give attention to my words.” Chapter 5 verse 1, “My son, give attention to my wisdom.” Chapter 6 verse 1, “My son,” chapter 6 verse 20, “My son, observe the commandment of your father.” Chapter 7 verse 1, “My son, keep my words.”

And so it goes that this entire passage is designed for a father to teach his son. As fathers go, so go nations…so go generations…so goes history. And so God took the principles, the basic principles of spiritual living and packaged them in the 31 chapters that we call Proverbs.

Now a proverb is very simple. It is a principle stated in concise terms. We could say a proverb is wise in content, and concise in form. It is a brief to the point pithy statement for the purpose of instruction…brief to the point that they might be remembered.

What you have in Proverbs then is a compilation of these concise wise statements. This then becomes the basic book of truth that fathers use to teach their children, a book of wisdom. And frankly, if fathers are to raise a generation of godly men who will lead the women to godliness, they must teach the truths that are mandated in this father’s manual.

Frankly, just to depart from that a moment, there’s a lot of instruction available today for fathers to teach their sons, much of it even in a Christian context, that is pretty much trivial. Much of today’s instruction is…to be a friend, listen to your son, go places with your son, take him to a ball game, have fun, follow his interests…etc., etc. What Proverbs has to say is much deeper than that. Teach your son trivial things, you’ll raise a trivial father who will teach his son trivial things. Teach your son deep things, you’ll raise a son who becomes a father who teaches his son deep things.

So the primary duty of a father is not what one little boy said…”The primary duty of my dad is to take out the trash.” The primary duty of a father is not even to bring home the bacon. The primary duty of a father is not to fix what’s broken. The primary of a duty of a father is to teach holy living to his sons…and, of course, to his children as well including the daughters…but primarily the sons.

_____________

FINAL QUESTION: WHAT DOES PROVERBS 3:1 MEAN?  “My son, do not forget my teaching.”

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