Today is Fathers’ Day, and I want to start my message by congratulating all the Fathers because by no stretch of the imagination, being a Father is an easy task. My good friend Gangai Victor once said, being a Father can be scary sometimes. Although fatherhood is an enormous privilege a man can have, it can be confusing, frustrating, and even painful sometimes.
This evening I want to talk about the role of a godly Father. All of us would love to be good Fathers. However, the Fathers listening to this sermon tonight know the hospital doesn’t give them a manual about being a good Father when they leave the hospital with their newborn baby and the mother. The rest of the world doesn’t provide any reliable advice, either. But thanks be to God because, in His Word, we find precise instructions on how to become a godly Father.
I am not a Father myself. However, I can talk about the role of a godly Father because I have had the privilege of being the firstborn of a god-fearing man whom I call Father for the past 38 years. I am proud to tell you tonight his life inspired this sermon. Had I been a Father, I would have turned out to be just like him. So tonight, even as we celebrate Fathers’ Day, listen to me very carefully while I present to you my message titled the role of a godly Father.
1. The father is the Priest in his own Home
I could not find any direct reference to support my argument. However, in Job 1:5, we are told that Job sacrificed burnt offerings for each one of his children regularly. Although I cannot positively say, Job most probably lived among the heathen. He was aware of the potential impact society had on his children. Hence, he knew his children needed a Priest.
We are living in a world and a time in history that is not much different from Job’s. We are living in far worse conditions than his. Therefore, it’s a must that fathers step up and assume their role as Priests in their own homes. According to God’s word, there are four priestly duties expected from every father.
The life and ministry of Jesus show that intercession is an essential duty of every Priest (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), and the Bible says he is still interceding for us (Romans 8:34). Then if the father is the Priest in his own home, he must intercede for his family. I said, at the beginning of my message, that this sermon was inspired by the life of my father. I have never seen him praying for me. (I’ve seen my mother do) Not because he didn’t, but he usually prayed from two to six every morning while I was fast asleep. I was a backslidden teenager at that time, and my father’s prayers were instrumental in my repentance.
Instructing is another essential duty of a Priest. In the Old Testament times, in addition to Prophets, Priests also served as the voice of God. In 1 Samuel 30:7-8, we learn that powerful men like David consulted Priests like Abiathar when making crucial decisions. (the phrase “…when David inquired, the Lord…” may imply that he inquired of the Lord directly. However, it means he asked Abiathar to inquire of the Lord using the Urim and Thummim.)
The Bible is very keen on training our children in the ways of the Lord. It commands us to teach them God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:7). It highlights the benefits of training them in God’s Word (Proverbs 22:6). It also highlights the consequences of not training them in God’s Word (Proverbs 13:24).
My father has never studied systematic theology or biblical doctrine. I have seen him struggling at small groups and prayer meetings when asked to share something from the Bible despite hours spent in preparation. But he impressed in me everything he learned from God’s word during his quiet time. He urged me to attend Sunday School and Children’s Church. He never gave up on me. He continued to counsel me in God’s word even when I was in a backslidden state. Overall, he played a significant role in my salvation.
Someone said, “Example is nobler than advice.” This proverb is so true. The Bible says in 1 Kings 16:30 that King Ahab of Israel was worse than his Father, King Omri. It also says in 2 Chronicles 26:3-4 King Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done.
I thank God that my father not only instructed me on the ways of the Lord but set forth an example worth following. He quit smoking the day he became a born-again Christian. He became a teetotaler after accepting the Lord as his savior. I have followed him in his footsteps. Remember, your children may not listen to you. But they are watching your every move. This generation is in dire need of Fathers who will lead by example. Tonight as the entire world is celebrating another Fathers’ Day, I am challenging you to thrive on being that father!
Jesus is not just our great High Priest, but He is also the ultimate model for leadership. The Bible doesn’t directly say that Jesus was a leader. However, we do know he displayed the qualities of great leadership because the Bible says so. Today far too many men are not willing to assume leadership in their own homes. They are good leaders at work and maybe in the local church also but not so much in their homes.
My father doesn’t have the charisma or the eloquence of a leader. He is a quiet person. But he always rose to the occasion by assuming leadership, whether at work, church, or home. He displayed many leadership qualities according to the need.
There are many facets to leadership, and as fathers, we don’t have to possess them all. However, making morally sound decisions and moving on them without vacillating is an essential quality of a leader (Matthew 21:12). My father never hesitated to make ethically sound decisions in keeping with God’s word.
A. Today even as we celebrate Fathers’ Day, start by praying for every one of your children and your wife. The length of your prayer doesn’t matter. It’s the heart that matters because God knows your desires for your children even before you ask.
B. Take time to teach them God’s word systematically. You don’t need to worry about lesson development and creativity. A free app like ‘The Bible App for Kids‘ can do it for you.
C. There are three common mistakes you need to avoid if you want to be an example worth following. (I) Don’t cover up your mistakes (II) Don’t criticize others while the children are watching (III) Don’t maintain a fake front – always be yourself. Overall, this Fathers’ Day pray that the Holy Spirit will help you be the Christian you want your children to become.
2. The father is the Provider of his own Home
God is our Heavenly Father. Therefore, He is also our Provider. He has set an example for us the earthly Fathers by meeting our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Consequently, every earthly father must provide for their children physically, emotionally, and intellectually (I covered the spiritual aspect already). Let’s examine your role as a provider in each area in detail.
In 1 Timothy 5:8, we learn that God’s usual way of providing for our families is not through an external institution, but through our own hard work. In the strongest terms, Paul emphasized the responsibility of a man to provide for his family – to do all he could to support them, which is the minimum required of a Christian man; if he does not do even this, his conduct is worse than an unbeliever’s.
My father wasn’t a wealthy man. He is still not. Yet, my father always met the needs of his immediate family as well as his extended family. He provided for his wife, me, my brother, and my sister. My father helped his relatives, and he still does. My father never had excuses for not providing.
The word of God in Ephesians 6:4 urges all the Fathers to provide emotional support to their children. In other words, God is encouraging the Fathers to let their children know that they are loved just as God has made it known to us that He loves His children.
When I was a child, my relationship with my father was a distant one. Most probably because – he was busy pursuing means of providing us. I did not know that he loved me until I reached my teen years. I cannot blame him because he simply didn’t realize expressions of love are essential for a child’s emotional growth. After all, he didn’t have access to the vast array of resources available to the Fathers of the modern-day.
The modern-day Fathers, however, don’t have any excuses for not knowing. The Church is teaching these principles through seminars, webinars, conferences, workshops, etc. The internet has a countless number of websites. A Google search for “Why is love and affection important for a child?” returns a whopping number of 70,500,000 results in 0.48 seconds. (seventy million five hundred thousand).
Education is not a synonym for intellect, but it is an indispensable part of a child’s intellectual development, which is why the majority of states around the world have made it a rule for parents to send their children to school. In the Bible, there are no direct references to schools that taught subjects such as language and mathematics. Most probably, the writing and arithmetic skills were educated at home because the disciples, although they were fishermen and tax collectors, could read, write, and count. People who wished to learn the Law went to the Rabbis of the day (Acts 22:3).
Additionally, the Fathers of the day taught their craft to their children. For instance, Jesus was a Carpenter by profession (Mark 6:3). He expertly crafted furniture, boxes, cases, etc., and with such skill, he didn’t have to work very strenuously and so just one piece fetched a very high price. Since Jesus’ guardian Father was a professional Carpenter, we can safely assume he passed on his skills to Jesus through training (Matthew 13:55).
Unlike my brother and my sister, I was not a good student. In school, I performed below average. Still, my father did not give up on me. He made every effort to give me a quality education regardless of the costs involved. Today I can bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to the Church thanks to the education I received.
A. Fathers, you have no excuses for not providing for your family because, in most countries, even the handicapped have ways of supporting their families today. You can be doing a white-collar job or manual labor. Whatever you do, don’t be ashamed of your vocation as long as it’s legitimate and in agreement with the biblical principles (Proverbs 11:1; 13:11). Earn a living because it’s not the government’s responsibility to provide, not the Church, not your wife’s—it’s yours!
B. Some Fathers believe the fulfillment of fatherly duties eliminates the need for verbal assurance. However, in the Bible, we find that our heavenly father has assured us of his love verbally (Jeremiah 31:3) and even physically! (John 3:16). Give verbal assurance to your children that you love them. Tell them! Let them enjoy the physical evidence of your love. Hug them! Some of you might say, “Well, we don’t do that in our culture.” Then get up and change your culture!
C. It’s a criminal offense by the Law to withhold education from children. The Bible doesn’t condemn secular education. It instead encourages it. Don’t let frustrations and disappointments push you back. Not all children are good academic performers. If they are smart, appreciate them. If they are average, encourage them. If they are below average, teach them to pray for wisdom. Just don’t give up (Galatians 6:9).
3. The father is the Protector of his own Home
Psalm 127:3 is a favorite verse of many parents. However, the majority do not know what it means. That verse says children are a “heritage” from God, meaning we don’t own our children. They belong to God, and we are their earthly guardians. In a previous sermon, I emphasized that Joseph protected Jesus from Herod’s sword, although Jesus was not Joseph’s flesh and blood. Likewise, God expects us to protect the children He has placed in our care. Every child needs protection in three specific areas of life. These areas are physical, moral, and emotional. Let’s examine each area in detail.
A. Physical Security
Any father worthy of the title would look out for the physical welfare of his children. He would not knowingly expose them to harm. Some of my favorite verses of the Bible are in Judges 6:28-32. In those verses, Joash protects his son Gideon against a violent mob. If not for Joash, Gideon’s story would have turned out to be very different.
I thank God every time I think about my father. At school, he protected me from bullies and defended me against abusive teachers. When I was ill, he drove me to the family physician for medical attention. At home, he protected me from potential sexual predators in the neighborhood.
B. Moral Security
Research has revealed that in the United States, children are exposed to pornography when they are as young as six. In the United Kingdom, children have their first sexual experience when they are as young as seventeen. The internet bombards them with moral garbage every day through Social Media Websites and the so-called adult entertainment websites. Your children are sitting ducks because you are too busy with your careers and ministries and got no time to supervise their online behavior.
I didn’t have access to the internet when I was a kid because the internet wasn’t even heard of at that time. However, there was Television, and the programming wasn’t always child friendly. Hence, we were not allowed to watch Television after 9 pm. Prior permission and the presence of an adult were compulsory if we ever wanted to watch after the 9 pm curfew.
My father had the instinct of a Blood Hound. He could tell whether or not a friend was terrible news just by looking at them. I was not allowed to loiter in the streets or at friends’ houses. Gangs were out of the question. Back then, I did not know what he was doing, but now I know my father was aware of what he was doing.
C. Emotional Security
In Isaiah 26:3 God, our heavenly father has promised us everlasting emotional security when we trust him. Can your children trust their father? So many children today live in constant fear their parents will separate or file for divorce. Someone said home ought to be a shelter in storms. Unfortunately, some homes are the eye of the storm.’
There are many ways you can scar your children emotionally. Comparison, public embarrassment, destructive criticism, and verbal and physical abuse are just a few. Sometimes we take our frustrations out on them. Such mistakes can damage your child’s self-confidence for the rest of his life.
I told you before that I was below average in almost everything I did, but my father never compared me with other children. He did not embarrass me in the presence of relatives, friends, or neighbors. His criticism was always constructive. Verbal or physical abuse was never heard of in our family. Always, discipline was enforced in the privacy of our home. My father did the right thing the right way, and he never regretted it.
A. Sadly, society and the church have come to a place where children are at risk of being abused by the very men who ought to be protecting them. Abuse by fathers, stepfathers, uncles, and grandfathers is escalating at an alarming rate. I dare you not to be that kind of man. I instead challenge you to be men of honor who will go out of your way to defend not just your children but all the fatherless you shall meet in your lifetime. (Psalm 82:3)
B. This Fathers’ Day, you can start making conscious efforts to teach moral values to your children (Deuteronomy 11:19). You cannot leave this to the school because what the society calls moral values are different from what the Bible calls moral values. For example, the Bible forbids fornication. The culture, however, encourages fornication under the cover of safe sex. There are many other examples, but the point is the world will impart its values to your children unless you impart God’s values to them.
C. Often, we are tempted to take our parental frustrations on children when they fail to meet our expectations. Little do we know our actions can damage their self-confidence for good. Never take your frustrations out on them no matter how disappointed you are. Remember, your heavenly father didn’t act out of disappointment whenever you fell short of his expectations (Luke 7:40-50).
You might say this is more than one man can handle. It’s easier said than done. It’s way more tricky than preparing a Fathers’ Day sermon. I agree, but the statistics below will help you realize the difference you will make in your nation by being a godly father to your children.
• 63% of youth suicides are From Fatherless Homes
• 85% of children that exhibit behavioral disorders are from Fatherless Homes
• 80% of convicted rapists have grown up in Fatherless Homes
• 71% of teenage school dropouts are from Fatherless Homes
• 75% of all youth in drug abuse centers are from Fatherless Homes
• 70% of juveniles in state institutions come from Fatherless Homes
• 85% of youngsters in prison are from Fatherless Homes
• 70% of teen pregnancies are from Fatherless Homes
Children grow up without a father because of many reasons. Men often abandon children born to them out of wedlock. Some men die at a very early age, survived by their children. Others walk away in search of greener paths. I know you are not like that. You are faithful to your wives. Today the problem in most Christian homes is fathers that are physically present but emotionally absent. I beg you to be different this Fathers’ Day.
Being a godly father is a lifetime of hard work and effort. You cannot do it on your own. You need God’s grace. The wisdom of the Holy Spirit. God will bless you with these abundantly if you just ask him (James 1:5).
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