Distinctively Different in Dark Days

Bible Book: Proverbs  1 : 7-9
Subject: Father's Day; Christian Dad; Family; Legacy

On this Father’s Day, I recount the story of a man at work one Friday when a colleague asked him, “So you have any big plans for the weekend?” “Yes,” the man replied, “I’m spending it with my children.” “Oh,” the first man said, “So you’re babysitting?” “No,” the second man replied, “I’m being their father.”

Harmon Clayton Killebrew (1936-2011), the Minnesota Twins slugger, shares the following:

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’  ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply, ‘We’re raising boys.’”1  I don’t have to tell you things have changed since then. The home is under attack by immorality, illegality, and irresponsibility. We must face the facts and trends about family life today.  May we cry out with B. B. McKinney (1886-1952) in the second stanza of his great hymn:

God give us Christian homes!

Homes where the father is true and strong,

Homes that are free from the blight of wrong,

Homes that are joyous with love and song;

God give us Christian homes;

God give us Christian homes!2

Remember a father’s love. Hebrews 12:5-11 reads, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Ephesians 6:4 reads, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Remember a father’s leadership. Joshua 24:15 reads, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  Acts 16:30-31 reads, “And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

Dr. Woodrow Kroll shares the following: “Both parents are important to a child.  For example, a study once disclosed that if both mom and dad attend church regularly, 72 percent of their children remain faithful. If only dad attends, 55 percent remain faithful; if only mom, then 15 percent.  If neither parent attends regularly, only 5 percent of their children will remain faithful to the church.”3

Remember a father’s livelihood. 1 Timothy 5:8 reads, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) explains, “True, some wonderful stories are told of men who have given everything to missions, and through lack of foresight and careful understanding of the Word of God, have left their wives or children without adequate provision with tragic consequences. This kind of thing does not match up with the plain, practical teaching of the Bible. We must care for our dependents.”4  Rev. George Whitefield (1714-1770) comments, “To what greater degree of apostasy must he have arrived, who takes no thought to provide for the spiritual welfare of his family!”5

How can you be distinctively different in dark days?

I. First, note the foundation of spiritual life.

Proverbs 1:7 reads, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Dr. Sid S. Buzzell explains, “One cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things if he begins at the wrong point, refusing to fear the Lord (i.e., to recognize God's character and respond by revering, trusting, worshiping, obeying, and serving Him).”6 Someone refers to verse 7 as the key to unlock the book of Proverbs.  The foundation of spiritual life is the fear of the Lord!

The fear of the Lord involves a humble repentance toward the LORD. Romans 1:22 describes those filled with pride as follows: “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Proverbs 3:7 reads, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”  There must be a change of mind and heart. 

The fear of the Lord involves a healthy reverence for the LORD.  Dr. John Philips (1927-2010) explains, “The word translated ‘fear’ simply means ‘reverence.’ It occurs fourteen times in Proverbs. Unless the Lord is enthroned in the human heart, there can be no real knowledge of His truth.”7

Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) states, “The saving power of the Word is reserved for those for whom it is intended. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.”8  Dr. Tozer explains, “A truth fully taught in the Scriptures and verified in personal experience by countless numbers of holy men and women through the centuries might be condensed thus into a religious axiom: No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.”9 John Bunyan (1628-1688) explains, “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and they that lack the beginning have neither middle nor end.”10

II. Second, note the formation of spiritual life.

Proverbs 1:8 reads, “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” This command is echoed in Proverbs 6:20, “My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.”

Dr. Woodrow Kroll shares the following: “In questioning 5,000 young people in grades 4 through 12.  Harvard University psychiatrist Robert Coles and other researchers found that children in the United States are becoming morally illiterate, reflecting to some degree the morality of the society in which they live. The researchers found that some children (16 percent) look to God or Scripture to determine what is right.  Twenty-five percent base their decisions on what would be best for everyone involved, and another 20 percent on what is generally accepted in the community.  Eighteen percent do what makes them happy, 10 percent do whatever they think will improve their situations, and another 11 percent have no form of logic or reasoning at all to help them. Questioned about a specific moral situation, 21 percent of elementary students and 65 percent of high school students said they would be willing to cheat on a major exam.”11

Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 29:17 reads, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Ephesians 6:1-4 reads, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Dr. Jay Kesler, Chancellor and current President Emeritus of Taylor University, said, “The rules and disciplines of our households should not be aimed at simply keeping control and order. There is more to it all. Rules are teaching tools.”12

Dr. Gary E. Gilley, author of Out of Formation: Spiritual Disciplines of God and Men, explains, “One of the problems facing the evangelical church today is that too many men and women are setting themselves up as the final authority on the Christian life. We need to remember that no matter how famous, successful or popular Christian leaders may become, their authority rests solely on the revealed Word of God, not their own personality or intellect.”13

Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) warns, “The worst sort of clever men are those who know better than the Bible.”14 James 3:13-18 reads, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Dr. J. Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index, shares, “A teacher asked a class of small boys about ten or eleven years of age this question. Which of the Bible translations do you like the best? [After several answers were given.] One little boy said, ‘I like my daddy's translation best because he translated it into life and I can see it in him.’” “Dad, be honest.” Dr. Harris continues and then asks, “What kind of man are you? Are you God’s man for the home? Are you a godly husband and a godly father? Are you truly a spiritual man?”15 Maybe you are wondering what is a spiritual man?  Ephesians 5:17-18 reads, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.”  As a drunk man is under the control of alcohol a spiritual man is controlled by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual man is controlled by the Holy Spirit in his thoughts, words, and deeds.

III. Third, note the focalization of spiritual life.

Proverbs 1:9 reads, “For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.” Dr. Adam Clarke (1760-1832) explains, “That is, filial respect and obedience will be as ornamental to thee as crowns, diadems, and golden chains and pearls are to others.

Political dignity has been distinguished in many nations by a chain of gold about the neck. Solomon seems here to intimate, if we follow the metaphor, that the surest way of coming to distinguished eminence, in civil matters, is to act according to the principles of true wisdom, proceeding from the fear of God.”16 Rev. John G. Butler explains, “The reward for heeding wise instruction is expressed in a figurative way as beautiful and expensive jewelry. Rich people often spend fortunes to obtain gems and jewelry. We need to acquire spiritual jewelry of wisdom more than literal jewelry of expensive gems. One can acquire the best jewelry without being wealthy in this world's goods.”17

Dr. Woodrow Kroll explains, “How we discipline and how our children respond to discipline will have an effect for a very long time. Proverbs 13:18 says, ‘Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.’”18  Proverbs 15:5 reads, “A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.”  Following the godly training of your parents brings your spiritual life into focus.  Rev. Matthew Poole (1624-1679) explains, “This will make thee amiable and honourable in the sight of God and of men; whereas the forsaking of those good counsels will make thee contemptible.”19


According to a new Barna report, “Only 17 percent of Christian adults in the U.S. who attend church regularly and consider their faith important hold a biblical worldview, and many are embracing belief systems that contradict the teachings of Scripture.

Barna defines a biblical worldview as ‘believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.’

Among the significant findings, Barna reports that self-identifying Christians are gravitating toward the following worldviews:

New spirituality. For instance, 28 percent of Christians polled say people of all faiths pray to the same god or spirit, regardless of the name they use to identify the spiritual being.
Secularism. Thirteen percent of Christians believe a person’s life is valuable only if society regards it as valuable.
Postmodernism. Nearly a quarter of Christians contend that what is right and wrong depends on an individual’s beliefs.
Marxism. Fourteen percent say the government, not individuals, should control resources as needed to be sure everyone gets a share.
Millennials and members of Generation X were up to eight times more likely to accept non-Christian worldviews than Boomers and Elders.

‘This research really crystalizes what Barna has been tracking in our country as an ongoing shift away from Christianity as the basis for a shared worldview,’ Brooke Hempell, senior vice president of research for Barna, says in the report. ‘We have observed and reported on increasing pluralism, relativism and moral decline among Americans and even in the Church. Nevertheless, it is striking how pervasive some of these beliefs are among people who are actively engaged in the Christian faith.’”20

May God bless America with revival in her churches and spiritual awakening among her citizens. Let's pray hard! “Study the history of revival,” states Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931-2005), who continues, “God has always sent revival in the darkest days. And, what God has done before God can do again.”21 May we live distinctively different in dark days!


1BrainyQuotes, “Harmon Killebrew Quotes,” Accessed: 06/17/17 https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/harmonkill105101.html .

2B. B. McKinney, ”God Give Us Christian Homes” (Public Domain) Accessed: 05/04/17 http://us.search.ccli.com/search/results?AllowRedirect=False&Page=5&Authors=4294894434&Sorting=Popularity&List=Author .

3Warren Mueller, Homemade, May 1990. Cited by Woodrow Kroll, Proverbs: God’s Guide for Life’s Choices (Lincoln, NE: Back to the Bible, 1996), 90. 

4Stephen F. Olford, Expository Preaching Outlines – Volume 5, Second Qtr, Week 19 “Systematic Giving” Database © 2014 WORDsearch Corp.

5George Whitefield, “The Great Duty of Family Religion” Sermon Notes (Joshua 24:15).

6The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books: a division of Scripture Press Publications, Inc. 1985), 907. Database ©2014 WORDsearch Corp.

7John Philips, Exploring Proverbs, Volume One: An Expository Commentary, 27. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.

8A. W. Tozer, Man the Dwelling Place of God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1966), 28.

9A. W Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, (Camp Hill, PA: Wingspread Publishers, 1986), 39. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

10The Entire Works of John Bunyan, In Four Volumes, ed. Henry Stebbing (London: James S. Virtue, 1860), 2:110.

11Woodrow Kroll, Proverbs: God’s Guide for Life’s Choices (Lincoln, NE: Back to the Bible, 1996), 102.

12Jo Berry, Proverbs for Easier Living (Minneapolis, MN: World Wide Publications, 1980), 113.

13Gary E. Gilley, “Spiritual Formation” (Springfield, IL: Think on These Things, February/March 2012 - Volume 18, Issue 1). Accessed: 05/06/17 http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/20-christian-living/753-spiritual-formation .  

14Charles H. Spurgeon, John Ploughman’s Pictures: Or, More of His Plain Talk for Plain People (Springfield, OH: Farm and Fireside Company, 1881), 47.

15J. Gerald Harris, “The Blessed Man” Sermon Notes (Psalm 1:1-3).

16Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke's Commentary. Database © 2014 WORDsearch Corp.

17John G. Butler, Analytical Bible Expositor – Proverbs to Song of Solomon, (Clinton, IA: LBC Publications, 2008), 9. Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.

18Kroll, Proverbs, 113.

19Matthew Poole, Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible. Database © 2013 WORDsearch Corp.

20Barna: Update: Research Releases in Culture & Media, “Competing Worldview Influence Today’s Christian” (May 9, 2017). Accessed: 05/13/17 https://www.barna.com/research/competing-worldviews-influence-todays-christians/?utm_source=Barna+Update+List&utm_campaign=d2b24df6dc-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_05_9&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8560a0e52e-d2b24df6dc-180634534&mc_cid=d2b24df6dc&mc_eid=bc8  . 

21Adrian Rogers, “Freedom is Not Free” Sermon Notes (Proverbs 14:34; 23:7).


Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Don’t Miss the Revival! Messages for Revival and Spiritual Awakening from Isaiah and

Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice [Both available on Amazon.com in hardcover, paperback and eBook]

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Miss-Revival-Spiritual-Awakening/dp/1462735428 &  http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684 / fkirksey@bellsouth.net   / (251) 626-6210

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