1. Father’s lay the Foundation.
Traditionally father’s lay the foundation for the marriage and the family. It did start with Adam after all:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 2:18, 21-24 (ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV)
When God created the family he started, literally, perhaps even genetically with Dad as the head of that household. The Holy Father used a Father to lay the foundation for marriage and the family. And that foundation starts with our marriages. Paul lays out God’s plan for marriage in Ephesians 5 by commanding men to love their wives the same way Christ loved the church. Did you hear that? We are to love our spouses in the same manner in which Christ loves the church, even being willing to lay down our lives in death for her. THAT is a huge statement we are literally to love her to death men. Not to her death but to our own! That means we place her needs miles ahead of our own, we sacrifice deeply for the good of our bride. If your looking for help in that area I recommend the Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
2. Father’s pass on their Faith.
In the old testament days the father was the priest of his household. It was the father that prepared the sacrifice, it was the father that planned and led the pilgrimage to the holy city for the feasts, in short it was the father who was charged with passing on the faith to their children. Even today we know statistically that when father’s are the primary faith leader in the home, their kids are more likely to embrace faith themselves! So how do we get it done, how do we pass on our faith to our kids in an effective manner?
We Demonstrate it in our own lives. This doesn’t mean we act out our faith, it means we authentically live it. No one will spot a phony in their faith faster than that man’s wife and kids at home. You can’t pass on your parent’s faith, your friend’s faith, or your wife’s faith. You can only pass on your own. So it starts with you. Start by establishing a regular habit of devotional Bible reading and prayer. Don’t wait until you have a seminary degree, take it a day at a time, teach and train as you learn and grow yourself.
Next seek out ways to intentionally inject faith daily life.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
The best way to pass on the faith is to make it a part of your daily life and then to intentionally take the time to connect your faith life to your everyday life.
3. Father’s take response-ability for the Finances.
Dads we have been charged with heading the household and that includes making sure that the family has what is necessary for basic life function. The Bible speaks to this particular issue rather harshly:
“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.”
1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV)
The Apostle didn’t mince any words here, he leaves no room for doubt as he connects a father’s responsibility to provide for the family but what does he mean by provide?
3 Ways God Calls men to provide for their families.
- Protection: The family needs to feel safe. This isn’t just physical safety but spiritual and emotional safety too.
- Provision: The family needs to have basic food, shelter, and clothes.
- Passion: The family needs to know and feel the Father’s love for them.
God isn’t so hard though that he doesn’t understand tough times, illness, and injury. Sometimes providing for the family is protecting what God has already given the family and making it last as long as possible. That means cutting unnecessary expenses, reining in the budget, making hard, responsible, decisions for the good of the family. God wants us to be good stewards of all he gives us including our finances and our families.
4. Father’s bring the Fun.
It isn’t about being serious all the time, some people have so sanitized life in the name of religion that is almost seems that a smile is kind of sinful, but this just doesn’t pass biblical muster!
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalm 126:2 (ESV)
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.
Job 8:21 (ESV)
Our heavenly father is the source of our truest and deepest joy, HE fills our mouths with laughter! And as Dad’s this is another area where we need to emulate our Heavenly Father. We don’t need to teach kids to laugh and have a good time, it is part of their nature. God places that desire deep into our hearts, but when life gets hard they do need to be taught how to get through those tough moments and often times the only thing you can do is laugh.
5. Fathers are Fierce.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 11:12 (ESV)
God has called us to be the shepherd and leader of our families and to protect that small piece of the kingdom that is entrusted to us. And we had better know that there is a battle, a raging war going on, and our enemy doesn’t play fair. It isn’t just about you, The enemy wants your kids.
Take a look at the marketing, media, and our ever increasing interconnectivity and you’ll see that kids today face an onslaught that is unprecedented in history. Men we must be fierce, when we protect our families from the world that would swallow them whole. That means we guard what happens online, what we allow on our televisions, what games we allow our teens to bring home and play. We do hold our kids to a higher standard with who they spend their time with and date. And we don’t just draw the line, we explain it, we teach why it is that we guard against these incessant attacks because until they can stand on their own and fight for themselves, we are given the mandate to fight for them.
6. Father’s lead in Forgiveness.
Luke 15:11-32: The Prodigal Son
Once a young man approached his father and asked for his share of his father’s inheritance before his father died. A complete rejection of the life his father had raised him in, turning away from everything he had been taught. In effect saying, "I would rather have your wealth than to have you in my life." So this father who loved his son so deeply, gave him what he asked for, an entire inheritance, and the boy went on to waste it all in pursuit of a life contrary to the life he had been brought up to live. Stories like this are the stuff of nightmares for parents desiring to raise godly children. But I contend that this story is less about a rebellious child than it is about a forgiving father.
Some parents choose the side of embracing their embarrassment rather than forging ahead in forgiveness. It is typically a pattern that has emerged for the whole of the child’s life. Parents who embrace their embarrassment have a long memory and they speak of it often. Parents who forge ahead in forgiveness know what it means when 1 Cor 13 says that love keeps no record of wrongs.
The key to leading in forgiveness as a father is the same thing as the key to the Christian life. We live and walk in love. As a parent communicating that means that our kids know first and foremost that they are the object of our affection rather than of our derision.
There had to be a reason the prodigal thought he could walk back up that drive and ask his father for a job. He knew he was loved, he knew he would be accepted back, he knew his father led in forgiveness rather than holding onto disappointment, hurt, embarrassment and fear.
My favorite part of the story, the part that sticks out the most every time starts in verse 20
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.[a]’
22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
This is the model for dealing with the failure of our children. Notice the father doesn’t condone all that behavior, but he forges ahead in forgiveness. It is how he deals with us in our failure and how we are to relate to our own kids, in God’s strength, when confronted with their failure as well. Love is the driving force behind forgiveness.
7. Father’s serve as a Fastener to the family.
Families are named and known based on the last name of their father, that name fastens them together. It enables them to share interests, ways of thinking, experiences, even hopes and dreams. That is kind of what it means to be a part of a family, and we are bonded through the father as member within the family. God calls us in much the same way.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
1 John 3:1-3
“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.”
God desires for us to be a part of his family, and through Jesus Christ we can be. God has laid the foundation, made the way, he is the example, he is the perfect heavenly father.
The blood of Jesus both brings and binds. It makes it possible for us to come to Him and binds us together as His family. We would not have the blood if we did not first have His love.
Love is the key. Father’s serve as the Fastener to the Family, put simply dad’s are like duct tape! Love is the adhesive. The blood is a symbol of the extravagance of God’s love. Our Father God is love. So fathers, those who want to be father’s, embrace love as you lead, and you will fulfill these foundations.
If you want to hear the message in it’s entirety you can listen at www.lifepointlebanon.com.