Endangered Species, Act!

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Jun, 17

SERMON NOTES

JUNE 18, 2017

CHUCK LOFTIS - SENIOR PASTOR

Endangered Species, Act!

Text: Genesis 18:1-19.

Introduction –

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was signed into law on December 28, 1973 by President Richard Nixon. It provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend. Love it or hate it (or somewhere in between) the ESA is meant to assist identified species to continue reproducing and not just hold on in order to die out slowly.

To be clear: I don’t believe humans are animals. We were created distinct from them, complete with a spirit and a conscience through which God works His redemptive ways, reflects His glory, and exacts justice in the world. However, in seizing upon the idea of endangered species, I want to identify a breed that is seemingly so in our nation: the American Father.

Purpose: to call fathers to take action in establishing godly households and the rest of us to help in providing a supportive “ecosystem” in which they can.

Fathers: a group under assault.

  • In society.
    • In our contemporary sociopolitical culture, pay attention as I have the past 40 years and do I what I did in preparation for this message: take a stroll through the media and you’ll be left with a strong impression of what is largely thought of men and fathers these days:
      • Men are stupid (http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/12/12/370414365/are-men-idiots-who-do-stupid-things-study-says-yes);
      • Men are weak (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-23059/Why-men-weaker-sex.html);
      • Men are obsolete (http://www.hannarosin.com/the-end-of-men/);
      • Men are arrogant (http://jezebel.com/349134/men-wrongly-think-theyre-smarter-than-they-are);
      • Men are clueless (http://jezebel.com/why-do-men-always-think-you-like-them-1686378021);
      • Men are violent (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-police-mass-shooting-men-women-gender-20160715-snap-story.html);
      • Men are useless (http://elitedaily.com/women/study-turns-out-men-are-useless-shocker/);
      • Fathers are unnecessary (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/are-fathers-necessary/308136/).
    • This thinking became entrenched in marketing campaigns and academic institutions by the 1970s and – by too many – an acceptable thread in today’s social fabric.
  • From Satan (John 10:10a; I Peter 5:7).
  • And our mightiest enemy: self (II Corinthians 2:5-11; Ephesians 5:27).

To counter these, Dads: take action in four ways (Genesis 18:17-19)!

  • Fathers, like Abraham, you’ve been called to a destiny: to raise up a generation that will be assets, not liabilities; producers, not takers; solutions, not problems.
  • How will you accomplish this? Four Rs you MUST fulfill to avoid becoming an endangered species:
    • Retain God’s ways inwardly then live God’s ways outwardly (v. 19; cf. Psalm 119:11… hidden, store, treasure, keep, laid up, keep close).
    • Resist against Satan’s deceptive temptations (Matthew 6:13; I Thessalonians 3:5).
    • Next, refuse contributing to the stereotypes.
      • Men/Fathers are stupid; be sensible, instead (I Peter 5:8-9).
      • Men/Fathers are weak; be strong, instead (Ephesians 6:10-12).
      • Men/Fathers are obsolete; prove your necessity, instead (Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 29:15; Matthew 7:7-11; Ephesians 6:4).
      • Men/Fathers are arrogant; don’t be: Fathers, be humble instead.
      • Men/Fathers are clueless; be informed, instead (Proverbs 13:22).
      • Men/Fathers are violent; be passionate, instead (Matthew 11:12; Ephesians 6:4).
      • Men/Fathers are useless; be helpful, instead (Matthew 23:11; Romans 12:9-13; Galatians 5:13; 6:10; Hebrews 6:10).
    • Then, Fathers, in all these things, reproduce yourself in your children (Genesis 1:11, 24).

Conclusion –

I want to suggest three ways that mothers help godly fathers to NOT be an endangered species. Godly mothers, always:

  • Speak well of their children’s father (Ephesians 4:29);
  • Refuse to let their fears control the household: godly mothers support their children’s father when they want to take a step of faith in obedience to scripture (Hebrews 11);
  • And follow him as he follows Christ (I Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:22-33).

To do otherwise is a disincentive for fathers to increase in our concern to do well and be the most we can be. Affirming the things fathers get right in godliness is a great motivator to go and be and do more for God and our families.

And, finally, rather than cut off a father at his knees, how about we all get on our knees to prayerfully intercede?

That’s the best thing we can do to help an endangered species act!

Jun, 18