Shared June 15th, 2014

Once again, it is Father’s Day so I’m very sure you will agree with me that it is worth stepping back and reflect on fatherhood. But first, we have to consider, even if briefly, the original father, God the Father, “from whom,” according to Ephesians 3:15, ”every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named”.  He is the Father of all because His Son, Jesus said so. 

Our outline for today reads as follows:

1. God the Father Loves His Children

2. Godly Father Defined

3. A Godly Father Loves God

4. A Godly Father Loves His Wife

5. A Godly Father Loves His Children

6. Godly Fathers Needed. Would You Be One?

1. God the Father Loves His Children

Jesus said so when a very teachable opportunity came. According to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus didn’t hesitate at all.  With an awesome and reverent address this is how He opened what today has become globally a model prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven” Luke 11:2-4.  Fast forward from the Gospel of Luke to that of John and in John 1:12 we read the following: “ But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”  

Now when you look at these two Scripture verses, you will notice something between them.  In the first Scripture, Luke 11:2, there is mention of the word “Father” whereas in the second Scripture, John 1:12, nothing of the sort is done. Yet, the reference to Father is made there because John says that we are the “sons of God.” And as sons, God is our Father.  Amen!  And you know, just like how the word “Father” seems to be missing in this verse, so it is that many times, most particularly when we are in dire straights we think that God our Father is not there; but beloved, He always is.  He is not an absentee Dad.  He is always there for us.

According to the Greek, the word “father” means protector, upholder, one who nourishes.  When we look up the word “father,” we find that it is used in several ways.  We all know that primarily, the word “father” is universally understood to mean or to describe a man who begets offspring with a woman as a result of the God-designed natural reproduction process with which we are familiar. 

However, this is not the only way that the term “father” is used; the word has other meanings too. For example, in the Bible, besides being a progenitor, a father could also be defined as:

 2. Father Defined

An author, beginner or inventor of any art or profession.  For instance, Genesis 4:20 – 21 19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. 21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

So we can see Jabal seems to be the first man to invent the tent as well as Jubal who seems to have invented the harp and the organ.

A father is also one who founded something, as in the first ancestor of a tribe or nation.  Among the human race Adam is the prime example; and there were several after him, like Genesis 17:4-5 indicates where we read, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Here we see Abraham described as a father of many nations.

We also see the originator or the root of a religion or a belief system defined or classified as a father thus in Romans 4:11, 16 Abraham was mentioned as the Father of all them that believes God; let us read together the following two verses, 11 and 16:  11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all. Here we again see Abraham as our example. 

While all these refer to makers and inventors, “Father” also means a creator. 

James 1:17-18, 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand 

In another sense, the Bible calls God the Father of both men and angels. 

Isaiah 63:16, Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Ephesians 3:14-15, 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Hebrews 12:9, Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Now if we were to study the Jewish fathers mentioned in the Old Testament, we would find that they were accorded reverence, respect, and honour.  Nonetheless, they had to earn all of this reverence, respect, and honour.  Moreover, first and above all, they had to love God.  You see, not every father is one with whom God is pleased.  Why?  Because not all fathers love God, whether they are found in the Bible or not.  A father with whom God is pleased, a father with whom God is satisfied keeps God as number one in his life.

3. A Godly Father Loves God

This is about the right priorities in terms of relationships. Today, we have so many examples in the Bible of fathers who loved God.  Interestingly Adam, as the first man and the first human father, had no human example to imitate or to learn from except God.  Yet despite his weakness which he displayed when he avoided his God-given responsibility then blamed Eve, made a host of excuses yet still he had a strength in that he was made in the image of God and shared a close relationship with his Creator.  He walked with God, the Bible says, and that is the example we get from him: as fathers, we ought to walk with God.

As we saw earlier in Ephesians 3:15, human fatherhood is modeled on the fatherhood of God.  That is why Paul wrote that “every fatherhood in heaven and on earth” is named after God the Father.

In Proverbs 14:26, we are told, In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence:  and his children shall have a place of refuge. And talking about Abraham, God Himself said in Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

As you can see, God works through fathers to impact their children and families. 

Finally in Joshua 24:15, Joshua made that famous statement, 14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

Saints, a godly father loves the Lord and makes sure the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, his God is at the center of his family.

4. A Godly Father Loves His Wife

First, we have read how the Bible mandates man, in Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5, 6 to leave father and mother and “cleave unto his wife” so that the two can become one flesh. 

Becoming one flesh means you love your wife as yourself. According to Ephesians 5: 25-31 and I Peter 3:7, it also means that the husband is to treat his wife in a certain special way.  For instance, Ephesians 5:25 declares Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.  And 1 Peter 3:7 talking about husbands and their wives says Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [wives] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 

And it adds, that your prayers be not hindered. That is very serious, you know!

So as a father, your children are learning from you how to treat their wives.  Every father has a vital duty, whether they are married to their children’s mother or not, of providing at least certain essentials.

What are these essentials? For starters, provide food, clothing, shelter, comfort and protection for his household.  And it goes deeper than that because in 2 Corinthians 12:14 Paul says: “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”  

And still deeper, the Scriptures say in 1Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”  Do you know who an infidel is?  An infidel is a brute beast without natural affections.  He is one who has denied the faith and done so in works and therefore ought to be dealt with as an apostate from the Christian religion.

So what the Lord is saying is that as a man is bound to provide for, love, protect his wife, so is he bound to provide for his sons and daughters.

5. A Godly Father Loves His Children

So then as we have seen, even an infidel is taught by nature to provide for his own family, relatives, and generally even the infidel recognizes this role and responsibility.  You see, when it comes to children, we think children are ours.  No. Children belong to God and therefore are on loan to us and that is why we read this amazing scripture in Psalm 127:3, which says, Children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

That word heritage, means possession, property, portion so in reality, children belong to God. And you and I, as saints, or people of God are called His heritage. In other words, God claims us as His own and as such, we are the objects of His special care. Talking to pastors, look at what 1 Peter 5:3, using the word heritage: 1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

The Present

The other thing is that children interpret time spent with them as love.  The more time you as a dad spends with your child, the more confident the child is emotionally, spiritually, etc.  To add to that, children who know their parents love each other have a security and stability blanket wrapped around them and have some confidence about life, which they cannot gain in any other way.

Children watch how you as a dad treat their mother.  And not only do they watch but they also learn and their ideas about marriage are shaped by you so right now as a dad, you are creating a pattern through your activities; and, this pattern in turn becomes a blueprint for marriage which in turn is etched as a model in their minds, forever.

The Future

A godly dad leaves a legacy for his children. Proverbs 17:6 leads us into the future, saying, Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. Children’s children mean grandchildren.  Church, fathers, the lesson that our heavenly Father want us to learn here, and this is particularly for the young men, is that young men start right now thinking about what kind of grandfather you want to be, or are aspiring to be before you even consider a wife. 

Do you know why the Scripture is saying that? Because as long as the Lord our heavenly Father gives you long life, you have a lot of work to do to get to that role and responsibility. In effect, God is saying start planning now and if it is His will for you to be a dad and a grandpa, He will equip you accordingly.

Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”  Wow!  We started by saying a godly father loves the Lord.  Well, we will end in the same vein.  Look at the world in which we live today. It doesn’t matter where one lives, whether in North America or Africa, the Caribbean or Europe there is kidnapping, neglect, abuse, molestation, fornication, and rape of children.  One of the files I’m working on at work is on Child and Family Services and Enhanced Protection of Children and you won’t believe what some fathers/parents do their own children. 

And what is the trend these days?  In our so-called “advanced” society, children are perpetrating crime against other children; you know, child-on-child abuse, which it ranges from shooting to stabbing and so the school is no more a safe place for our children.  But look again at what Proverbs 14:26 says, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”  It means a God-fearing and God-loving father knows that his children are safe because God said so.  He is the One who hides them in the secret place, on His holy mountain.  So God is saying that the safest place for children is with a man who fears and loves Him.

Men who fear God love Him, absorb His Word and its wisdom and as godly fathers they maintain a constant relation with their children.  God loving fathers go to great lengths to ensure that safety is pursued in everything from where the family lives to who they are in close friendship with and who is welcomed into their home.

6. Godly Fathers Needed. Would You Be One?

Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” 

Fathers, let’s ask ourselves, is this our testimony? Is this the example that we are setting forth in our home? Can our family testify and say, “I know my father loves God because God is first in his life?” As God looks upon us, is He number one in our life?

Let us pray.

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