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Father's Day 2017

Posted on June 13, 2017 at 1:15 PM

Dear Saints:

This Sunday we give special recognition and honor to our fathers for their God given responsibility and service as the shepherd of their family. Being the “head” of the home carries with it an awesome responsibility for Dads to love their family even as Christ is the head of the Church and loves every member. It is a position of the highest service or ministry possible for a man. Although it is often minimized or even viewed simply as an obligation, fatherhood is one of the highest callings a man may experience and is absolutely vital to the well being of the family, the culture, and the nation.

 

While there are many references and biblical stories that describe and illustrate fatherhood, the one that seems to summarize it best is in Paul’s counsel to the Ephesian fathers in Ephesians 6:4, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” This command reveals both the importance and the specific function of fatherhood as God has planned for the welfare of the home. I have no doubt that if this one command were obeyed by our Fathers we would radically change our culture in one generation. But whether or not we can change our culture, we can make a difference in our individual families by learning and following this command.

 

The importance of Fatherhood

 

Although Paul states it in the negative by telling fathers what not to do first, his instruction to “provoke not your children to wrath” speaks to the importance of the role of the father in the lives of their children. To give you some idea of that importance psychologists tell us that a child’s concept of God is developed in the first five years of their lives by the relationship they have with their Father. What Paul means by “provoking to wrath” is to frustrate kids with double-bind messages, unrealistic expectations, and abusive behavior. Self centered fathers give their children a false idea of God by their poor example as well as undermine the self esteem of their children.

 

The effects of an absent or abusive father are well documented in teenage rebellion and life long difficulties in relating well with God and others. From the very beginning the Bible records the devastating effects of a dysfunctional father when Cain murdered his brother Able. The natural self-centeredness of the human race makes it likely that all children will be frustrated by their fathers somewhere along the line. In fact, there is no such thing as a perfect father who will not at some point frustrate their kids. This is due not only to the fact that fathers are not perfect, but that kids are just as dysfunctional by nature.

 

In the midst of all this dysfunctional darkness shines the light of the gospel. God reveals himself through the Bible as our heavenly Father who loves us as his own children. Revealing himself as our Father in heaven sets the model for earthly fathers to follow. In addition, our heavenly father not only set the example, but he is actively involved in our everyday lives to deal with the natural dysfunction of both fathers and children. Through his only begotten son, Jesus, God has made a way for all our dysfunction to be remedied by the gospel of grace. He has provided a way for all fathers to prevent frustrating their children and actually intervenes personally in the life of every child to ensure that the mistakes of their father can be blotted out.

 

It is in the role of fatherhood that the gospel is most clearly revealed for all to see. The command here is to bring children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This means that we fathers are to raise our kids in a way that is opposite of the natural selfish dysfunction of the world. We are to raise them to receive the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Practically this means that we are to train our kids to relate to their heavenly father. By the time they are 12 years old, our children need to know who their heavenly father is and how to relate to him to satisfy their deepest needs. They need to know how to be nurtured by God and taught by him. This means they need to be able to hear his voice and follow him in all their decisions.

 

Fatherhood, then, is to set the example for young children and hand them off to their Heavenly Father. God does not have any “grandchildren” in the sense that he will not relate directly to your kids, but is a father to all. It is the role of the father to raise their children to relate to the heavenly Father.

 

The Nurture and Admonition of the Lord

 

The nurture of the Lord is all that the Lord does to make us secure in his love. Fathers need to raise their kids by first receiving that nurture for themselves. They need to have their own needs for security (love, acceptance, and forgiveness) met in Jesus.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

 

John

 

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