Jentezen Franklin - Fight For Your Family
Look with me in Nehemiah 4, and I'll begin reading with Nehemiah 4:13. "Therefore I position men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings. I set the people according to their families, with their swords, and their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, and the leaders, and the rest of the people, 'Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord is great and awesome. Fight for your brothers, fight for your sons, fight for your daughters, fight for your wives, and for your houses.'" Nehemiah 4:20. "Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us".
What he's saying is if you'll fight for your family, God will fight for you. I want to talk to you about fight for your family, "Fight For Your Family". The attack in the 21st century is upon the home. We have got to understand that the values that we cherish and the ideas that we hold dear are worth fighting for. The family, as we know it, between a man and a woman and children, is worth fighting for. Marriage is worth fighting for. Our homes are worth fighting for. We have to take a stand for our kids, for our marriages, for our homes, for our values.
Nehemiah encountered opposition in rebuilding the walls, and he said to his enemies in the same chapter, he said: "You'll have no portion here". He said, "We are rebuilding the walls of our cities, because we're going to rebuild our families and our homes". And he said to the enemies: "You have no portion here". He went on to say, "The city does not belong to you. Our homes do not belong to you, the God of Heaven, He will help us, He will prosper us. And we are committed to our families".
Young couples better settle two things in this day and time: number one, you better be committed to God, and you better be committed to your marriage and to your family. Because if you have any looseness in your commitment to God or to your family, the enemy will move in and divide and conquer. God said, "If you will fight for your family," to Nehemiah and that people, he said, "If you will fight for your brothers and fight", look at Nehemiah 4:14 again. He said: "Fight for your brothers, fight for your sons, fight for your daughters, fight for your wife," I'm going to say this singular, wife, because back then, it was plural, but it's wife. Come on, say, "Amen". "Fight for your houses," and he said, "If you'll fight for your house, fight for your family, then God will fight for you".
I'm not afraid to raise kids in this day and time. Because the Bible has promised us, you know, it's almost like a spirit of fear that can come on you, that the times are so perilous, but I'm not afraid to raise kids and raise grandkids in this time, because we have the promise that no weapon formed against the home that is built upon the rock will prosper. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls, no matter what the enemy has done to your family and done to your home, he rebuilt the walls, and those walls are still standing today. If you go to Jerusalem, the walls around Jerusalem that he rebuilt are still standing today. They pray at that wall, that he helped rebuild, because there was a man who took a stand, and he said, "I'm going to fight for my family".
There's a cause worth fighting for. Our families are worth fighting for. It's not easy. It's not easy to hold your family together. It's not easy to raise children, in the times in which we live. Everything seems to be against the family, and against the home. But when we decide that our families are a cause worth fighting for, God said, "Then I will fight for you". Fight for your family. Fight for your marriage. Don't give up on it, fight for it. Fight for your wife. Fight for your husband. Fight for your sons and your daughters, because Satan is on a rampage. And he wants to destroy the church, but he can't destroy the church without destroying the home.
The first institution before the nation was the church, and before the church, there were races of people. And before the races of people, the only thing to precede the home was God Himself. If the home is the number one priority of the Devil, then we better make sure it's the number one priority of our lives. I thank God for my home. I'm glad and thankful that God gave me Cherise. I'm glad that God gave me Courteney and Caressa and Caroline and Conner and Drake, and my son-in-laws. I'm thankful for them. I'm thankful that God has blessed me. The happiest times of our life are with our family.
Enjoy your family. Love your family. Because the enemy wants to do everything he can to divide and conquer and destroy. He wants to make your family miserable. He wants to make your marriage miserable. He wants to make your relationship with your children miserable, and we are not ignorant of his devices. The Bible said that we're to fight with love. That's why the Scripture said, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church". The husband is the house-band. He's the band around the house that holds it together. And you fight with love. We fight because the Bible said, when we fight, that God will come along beside us and fight for our families. It's costly commitment. It costs you something to hold your family together, to hold your marriage together, to hold your children together.
The famous story is told of a man who was in his 60s at the peak of his career as a college professor, and he told of how that his wife had Alheizmer's, and he resigned from the board of a known university, and at his peak, and his board of directors begged him to stay. And they said, "We don't understand. She doesn't even know what your name is". And he looked back in response and said, "She needs me, and she may not know what my name is, but I know what her name is. She may not know who I am, but I know who she is". It's costly commitment, it's 'til death do we part.
The Bible said of Noah, when he built the Ark, for the saving of his family, in the Book of Peter, it gives us a little bit more insight when it said: "He was the eighth one to go on the Ark". Now, he had six children and a wife, so here's the point. When he built the Ark, before the gang plank could close, and before he could get on that Ark, he went out, and the Bible said he was the eighth to enter in. That simply means that he made sure my children are on the Ark. He looked around and he counted, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and the scripture's specific that he was the eighth one on the Ark. Why? Because he was making sure that his family was on the Ark, so that when judgment came down on the Earth, and the church began to rise, a picture of the Rapture, I say to fathers and I say to mothers, make sure your family is on the Ark.
Make sure your sons and your daughters, he was the last one, and when the door closed, he knew, my family are here. And that's what we're called to do, to fight for our families. He wanted to make sure that they were on that Ark. Don't leave it up to the preacher, to save your family. Don't leave it up to the youth director or the youth program or the church or somebody else. Don't even leave it to the mother, Dad, to do your praying. But get your family, make sure your family is in the Ark.
I love the words of Joshua, when he said: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Job had a job. The word Job is spelled just like job, and he had a job in Job 1. He said that: "He would build an altar and put a sacrifice according to the number of his household," everyday, and it said, "This Job did continually". I want you to see Job everyday of his life, he had ten children, and he had his wife. And everyday, he said, "I'm Job and I have a job. My job is to, for every one of my children," and he would name that first child, that firstborn child, and he would slay an animal, and build an altar, and put that blood on that altar, and call that child's name out before God. And he would go to child number two, and he put blood on that altar, and build a second altar. And he did this continually, day after day after day, he was fighting for his family.
He was saying to demons, he was saying to wrong relationships, he was saying to drugs and alcoholism, "Get away from my family, I plead the blood of Jesus over my children, one after another after another". And people say that's old-fashioned, that's old school. You call it what you trust in psychology, and you trust in a child book that you read, that somebody who didn't have children wrote. And weren't trying to live for Jesus, but as for me and my house, we're going to serve the Lord, and I've learned that that old stuff works, that they may drink from the rivers of rebellion and they may go down the wrong path, but if you put enough blood on 'em and enough prayer on 'em and enough intercession on 'em, there's no hell hole that can hold 'em. God will bring 'em out. If you'll fight for your family, God will fight for you. Give Him a great praise if you believe I'm preaching the truth.
We're not going to let hell raise our children, we're not going to let gangs raise our children. We're not going to let Hollywood raise our children. We need to raise our children, and we need to put them on the altar. He put his wife on the altar, he put his children on the altar, and this, Job did continually. That's your job. Your job is to cover your family. Keep close watch on your children. Often, people fail to fight. But if ever there was a cause to fight for, it is our families. Often people fail to fight, but if ever there was a cause to fight for, it is our families.
Ahab and Jezebel were reckless in their lifestyle. They were godless in their ways, and listen to this. They had 70 children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Seventy. And the Bible said that when judgment came, that an army invaded and cut off the heads of all of their children and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. And killed 70, the whole family was blotted out. There's another man in the Bible, and the only other man in the Bible that I could find that has 70 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and his name was Obed-Edom. We're not told his wife's name. And they had 70 children, just like Ahab and Jezebel had 70 children and great-grandchildren.
Who was Obed-Edom? He was the man who moved the Ark of the Covenant into his home. David danced behind that Ark, but it was Obed-Edom that brought it into his home, and for three months, it stayed in his home. And all 70 of those children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren that were exposed to the Ark of the Covenant in their home, in the presence of God, were so touched by it that not one of them failed to work in the temple. The Bible said all 70 worked in the temple. From bloodline to bloodline, the blessing flowed. From generation to generation, the blessing flowed.
I want to say to parents and people who are here, fight for your family. Stay in their business and stay in their lives, and when you have to stand up and correct them, correct them. If it hinders and hurts and you have all kinds of stuff going on, stand for what's right. Fight for what's right. Stand on the truth, and you know what? They may go, "Wow", they may get crazy, and they may get mad. They may go off, but if you have raised them right, if you have raised them in the house, you don't have to be a perfect family, but if you've done your best to bring 'em to the House of God, and to serve the Lord before them, and you've done your best to have God's presence in your home, and in your life, there's something that gets on your family that they will never be ever, ever, ever be able to get away from.
As a matter of fact, I just want to tell you, there's nothing more important than what you're doing right now. It's more important than a ball game, it's more important. We've lost that, see, we don't believe this old stuff anymore. But I'm going to tell you, beware of dangerous distractions that take you and your family away at critical times, where the children need to be in the House of God. We're fighting for our families. Every time we get up and bring 'em to church, every time we open the Bible and pray, we're fighting for our families.
Philemon 1:2. "To the church that is in your house," Paul wrote a letter and he said, "Most of the time, I'm writing my letters to churches," but he said, "The church that I'm writing this letter to is in somebody's house". Do you have any church in your house? Is God present in your house? The Bible said that when we honor God, when we provide a place for Him, when we fight for our families, and I'm just here today to encourage dads and moms to not give up. That if the enemy has come in like a flood, we know what it is. Cherise and I know what it is, and usually, he'll come out of nowhere, and it's not one battle, but it's multiple battles. And his strategy is to divide and conquer, divide and conquer.
And when you're fighting for your family, when you're fighting for those teenagers or those college students, when addiction is trying to get 'em or the wrong people, and the wrong crowd, that's when you go to your prayer place, that's when you open this Book, and you declare the promises of God. And I'm giving you a great one this morning, that if you will fight for your family, God will fight for you. Don't give up.
And I want to say in closing, that it's important that we understand the impact that we have on our children and our children's children. The story is told in the Northeast of a famous attorney, who had an alcohol problem. And he's very successful, and on the way everyday to his law practice, he would walk on the streets of Chicago past a bar, and he would slip in for a morning drink. And then go onto his office, and he did it everyday. One day, as he was walking, the snow was lightly falling, he heard a noise and turned around, and he saw his little six-year-old boy. Somehow, he had slipped away from his mother and slipped out of the house, and when he looked, the little boy was putting his little foot in the big footprint of his dad.
The dad had left that footprint in the freshly fallen snow, and the little boy would put his little foot in the footprint of the big steps that his dad was taking. And suddenly, as he was standing outside the door of that bar, and he looked back and saw that that boy was stepping in every one of his footsteps. And he was smitten with conviction, and he ran and scooped the boy up, and took him home, and put him in the arms of his mother, and ran downstairs. And he says he fell to his knees, and he began to weep and cry. And he said, "Oh God, help me to never, ever again allow my footsteps to lead my children to a bar, but let my footsteps lead my children to You, from this day forward".
I want to ask you a question. Where are your footprints leading? All that's going to matter when you are on your death bed is where did my footprints lead them? If you're leading your children to Jesus, if you're leading them to serve Him above all, prioritizing Him above all, then you're leaving the greatest legacy any parent can ever leave their children.
I remember when my father died. And I decided to help Mom, because we stayed, Cherise and I stayed a few days at the house where she had to move out of pretty quick. And one day, we went up into the bedroom, and it was my job to take my dad's shoes, and he used to wear these wing-tipped shoes. Anybody know what I'm talking about? The wing-tips. They're bad, amen. Dad liked to dress good. And I had cried and I had broken, you know, through the funeral and through the loss, and all of that. It was very unexpected. He was an amazing preacher, powerful preacher. One of his favorite sermons is, "When the Holy Ghost Comes to Town". He could preach it, too. But I'll never forget that Cherise was helping me, and we were cleaning the closet and helping Mom, and getting some of his suits, and some of his clothes.
And I reached down and took that big, old foot. I forget what size it was, it must've been 11-and-a-half or something like that. It was huge. And there's something about those shoes that it all came crashing in. And I heard the Lord speak to me, and say, "You've got big shoes to fill". And so often, we sing and I had this thought hit me: so often, we sing, or the little children sing in children's church, "Be careful little feet, where you go. Be careful little eyes", but really, we ought to turn it around and sing it as an adult song.
"Be careful big feet, where you go. Be careful big eyes, what you see". Because where the big feet go, the little feet are going to follow. Where the big eyes go, the little eyes are going to follow. Where the big heart is devoted, the little hearts are going to follow. And we need to understand and ask the question, where are my footprints, where are they leading my children and my children's children? Fight for your marriage. Fight for your family. Fight for the children that are addicted, that God used you to give birth to. Don't give up on them, because if you raise them in church, and even if you didn't, God said, "Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound".
But I cannot underscore how critical it is that the footprints that you're leaving, if a child gets up and asks you, "Are we going to church today, Mommy and Daddy"? It's a sign you're not being the parent you're supposed to be. If they dare have to ask, it's a sign your footprints are not moving in the right direction. That's hard, isn't it? But this stuff will save your family. I'd rather have my family serving God than have anything the world can give them. Where are your footprints taking the next generation?
Stand to your feet. I feel a burden for families today. I feel a burden for homes that are under attack. The walls can be rebuilt. The enemy may have devastated, fight for what's left. Fight for what's left. Fight for what's left. Fight for what's left. Rebuild the walls. Rebuild off of what is left. "Pastor, pray for me. I know I'm not following. I know I'm not living like I ought to live, and I want to surrender my life to Jesus Christ today. Pray for me. I want to get right with God". If that's you, I want you to pray this prayer, and everybody out loud, say these words.
Lord Jesus, as for me and my house, we choose to serve the Lord. We make You Lord of our home, Lord of our family. We rebuild the walls by Your mighty power, we are forgiven. I receive Your forgiveness. The miracle starts with me, and let it spread to my family. Until all of them are on the Ark of Safety, and ready for Your soon return. Lord Jesus, I give You my life, and I give You my family. Let my footprints always lead the next generation to Your feet, in Jesus name, amen.