Grasping God as Our Father
In this teaching we are going to look at the Biblical accounts of the term “Abba, Father” – taking time to enjoy God as our Father in Heaven.
In Mark we read of Jesus praying, “‘Abba, Father’ ‘…everything is possible for you. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” (Mark 14:36) The writer of the Book of Galatians tells us, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” – (Galatians 4:6) The Book of Romans, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:14-17)
This Father’s Day let us grasp the privilege of being given the right to call the God of heaven, “Abba Father.” (Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers (Eds.). (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) The passages we have just read. 1.) Show Jesus’ dependence on His Father, thus teaching us of the necessity of being totally dependent on God’s will in our lives. 2.) Our privilege and enablement to cry out to God, Abba Father is a revelation of the Holy Spirit of Christ. 3.) Our privilege of calling God, Abba Father is through the Spirit of adoption, becoming an heir of God and co-heir with Christ.
The Word Abba
The term Abba is a Chaldee word expressing warm affection with an assured confidence. (Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely) Abba is the Aramaic word for Father, spoken along with the Greek term Father (πατήρ patḗr) expresses Jesus’ dependence on God, His Father as He faced the suffering of the crucifixion. (Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (Mk 14:36). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.)
Abba, Father used in any of the Biblical text is used in reference to a solemn responsible, adult address to a Father who is in heaven reflecting intimacy and affection. (Hardin, L. T. (2016). Prayer. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.)
When a child is afflicted, suffering the consequences of bad choices and is in the need of provision they cannot provide, he or she cries out to their father with a confidence, in a solemn responsible adult address fully dependent, knowing and trusting that their father will be there. Pennie and I are in agreement, it is our hope and prayer, our children know they can come home, whenever they are in need, no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in.
Understanding God as Abba Father opens our hearts to trust in God, no matter what circumstance our sinful nature has put us in, no matter what worldly view has led us to live by and no matter what lie of the devil we have believed. God wants us to know – we can come to Him.
Jesus use of the term Abba Father affirms His intimate relationship with His Father. (Moo, D. J. (1994). Romans. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st ce)
Thus, Jesus acknowledging, “…all things are possible for you…” along with the plea for His mercy, “…Remove this cup from Me…” Jesus is about the feel the pain of all the sins of the world, He is about to give up His life for the sins of all mankind. He trusted in His Father’s mercy and grace. Yet, He submits to His Father’s will, “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” It must be understood, the Scriptures teach us His Father gave Him victory over sin and death, Jesus rose from the grave to be seated at the right of His Father and intercedes for you and I. (Mark 16:9; Romans 8:34)
Holy Spirit Cries, Abba Father
The writer of the Book of Galatians tells us, “God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:6) Just as God sent His Son into the world, so He sends the Holy Spirit of His Son into the spiritual heart of people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord. (George, T. (1994). Galatians (Vol. 30, p. 306). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
According to the whole council of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit of Christ is sent by both God and Jesus. (John 15:26) Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide His disciples in “…all truth.” (John 16:13) The writer of the Book of Romans tells us, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:9-11)
The Holy Spirit, whom led and empowered Jesus in His human life, is the Person of influence in the life-principles of the child of God. (Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 4, p. 137). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.)
There is a life principle which should intrigue us Galatians 4:6, a truth being a revelation more than an enablement. In Romans 8, we read of the Holy Spirit moving and enabling us to cry out, “Abba Father.” In Galatians, could it be it as it says, “God sent His Spirit [of Christ] into our hearts Who calls out, Abba Father.”
In Matthew 16 we read of Jesus asking His disciples, “But who do you say that I am? Peter’s revelation was, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Grasps what Jesus said, “Blessed are you… for this is not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-17) Touching God’s heart first comes with receiving revelation of who He and His Son is, then praise and public acclamation. This Father’s Day, why not invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate into our spiritual hearts the truth, God is Abba Father.
Abba Father Trough Adoption
The writer of the Book of Romans tells Christians they, “…have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”
In Roman law, through adoption all previous relationships are severed. The new father exercises authority over the new son, and the new son enters into the privileges and responsibilities of the natural son. (Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 182). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
The child of God’s relationship with his old nature should be done away with. The influence of his past which held him in slavery to his sinful nature, the world view and the lies of the devil now served.
Being an heir to Kingdom authority has its privileges and there are responsibilities in his life in Christ. The privileges of being an heir of God and co-heir with Christ are: Being a child of God (John 1:12); having access to God (Romans 5:2); being the temple of the Holy Spirit of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19); being a vital part of the Body of Christ exercising Spiritual gifts for the church and all mankind (1 Corinthians 12:13); blessed with all spiritual blessings consisting of protection, provision and guidance (Ephesians 1:13); along with having a permanent place in heaven. (1 Peter 1:3-4; Evans, W., & Coder, S. M. (1974). (The great doctrines of the Bible (Enl. ed., p. 317). Chicago: Moody Press.
The responsibility of being an heir of God and co-heir with Christ are: The privilege of sharing Jesus’ life brings the responsibility of producing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Colossians 1:10) God calling us sons gives us the privilege of knowing His will brings the responsibility of obeying His Word. (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 354). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) The privilege of having Holy Spirit gifts brings the responsibility of exercising those gifts through sacrificial love. The privilege of teaching the Word of God brings the responsibility of studying to show oneself approved to God.
Jesus gives an evaluation to check our hearts with: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I am from God…” (John 8:42) In His giving the promise of the Holy Spirit, Who reveals to us and enables us to cry Abba Father, Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) When the Lord was asked, “…how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22) “Jesus answered…, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’” (John 14:23-24)
Biblical Truths About A Father Worth Honoring
Introduction: Happy Fathers Day! Father’s day is a celebration honoring fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. The tradition was said to be started from a memorial service held for a large group of men who died in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in 1907. It is currently celebrated in the United States annually on the third Sunday in June. (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)
According to the Fathers Day Council Facts, “The average number of gifts per dad on Fathers Day is 2.5, with a combined value of $70.00. (On the Father Front, Spring, 1993, p. 1 – Galaxie Software. 2002, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.) Jack Eppololito wrote, “Our granddaughter’s second grade class was asked to write about their personal heroes. Her father was flattered to find out that she had chosen him. ‘Why did you choose your dad?’ Jack asked. His granddaughter replied with, ‘Because I couldn’t spell Arnold Schwarzenegger.'” (Humor for Preaching & Teaching; Edward K. Rowell and Bonnie L. Steffen) William Franklin writes, “If he is wealthy and prominent, or if you stand in awe of him, call him ‘father.’ If he sits in short sleeves and suspenders at the ball game and picnic, call him ‘Pop.’ If, however, he makes [over] you when you are good, and does not let you pool the wool over his eyes when you are [bad], call him ‘Dad.'” (Peter S. Seymour, A Father’s Love, Hallmark Card; The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, Swindoll – Page 204, Fatherhood)
While attending teachings out at the Norton Correctional Facilities, I was surprised to hear that very few of the inmates had good things to say about their physical fathers. Strange to a man you had a great dad, loving, supportive and a great example. I had a father, who in the later years of his life gave his heart to the Lord. It is easy to honor a father like that.
I would propose to you that honoring fathers dose not find it’s foundation in numerous family retreats, vacations, well written cards, nor gifts. As wonderful as these things are: The foundation of honoring fathers is laid down when fathers, mothers and children place their hearts and minds on pleasing Jesus Christ. Fathers understand their high call when they live in Biblical fellowship with God the Father and Jesus His Son. A man’s wife receives far more love when the husband Biblically understands that his wife is his partner in life, given to him by God and purchased by the blood of Christ. A man’s children are placed under the watchful eyes of the Lord, when they are Biblically prayed over through the whole council of God’s Word.
Just what are Biblical truths to honoring fathers? The need of the times we live in today, makes it imperative that we place in our hearts, minds and actions the guidance of God’s Word along with the illumination of the Holy Spirit on how to live out His precepts.
Fathers Worthy of Honor
The father worthy of honor, is the one who is able to submit himself to the whole council of God’s Word. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The writer of Ephesians moves our hearts to what is best for all, “concern for fellow men.” (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 354). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)The Bible tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) The Lord through the Book of 1 Peter says, “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” (1 Peter:5:5)
“Submit” is actually an active verb, “Submitting” (ὑποτάσσω hupotássō) meaning to place under in an orderly fashion [of living]. (Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.) It is to submit to directives of someone. (Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 467). New York: United Bible Societies.) It is to bring under control, to put into subjection. (Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
Taking orders from the Lord is what the writer of the Book Ephesians has in mind here. We know that because the writer goes right into instruction for wives, giving exhortation on how to respond to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-25) How husbands are to love their wives and treat their children. (Ephesians 5:25-33; 6:4) How children are to react to their parents. (Ephesians 6:1-2)
Men often bring undo strife into their families by not being submissive to the counsel of God’s Word. Men not enjoying fellowship with the Lord are kind like the:
“Fellow who was on the roof top of a two story building putting up an antenna. He was trying to attach one of the guy wires. The wind was making it very difficult, as you would expect, the man fell. As he was sliding down the roof top, he was able to catch himself. It was one of those moments when you would call out to God. In a panic he screamed, ‘Is there anyone there who can help me?’ He heard a voice say, ‘Let go and I will catch you!’ The man clinging on with all his strength then asked, ‘Is there anyone else who can help me?’ (The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, Swindoll, Submission, page 539)
Woman are more receptive to instructions from the Lord than men are. Most men do not attend church, because they to not want to deal with the area of Biblical submission to God’s Word.
Fathers Who Deserve Honor
Fathers who deserve honor are men who live a life that express a submissive heart to the Lord’s will for them. God’s Word give instructions for women who have such a man, one who is submissive to the Lord. “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:22-24)
“There is a greater equality between wives and husbands than between children and parents.” (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, pp. 354–355). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) Catch the truth, “submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” The Bible says, “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3) There is an order here. God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of every true man of God, every true man of God is the head of the marriage relationship. Christ’s desire is to please the Father and achieve His Fathers perfect will for Him. He knows the Fathers plan and submitted even to the point of death on the cross. Thus, the wife is under the submission of the Lord and submits to God’s perfect will for her man.
Every preacher who quotes this passage of Scripture is as risk of causing undo tension in the congregation. It is seldom quoted and very poorly taught in the church today. This passages of Scripture is applicable to every circumstance in life, the text says, “in everything.”
In regard to today’s message and to catch the heartbeat of what the Lord wants us to grasp, we need to go back to the very beginning when woman was first created. All the way back to Genesis, “…But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of man, and He brought her to the man… For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:20-22,24)
Catch the phrase, for Adam no suitable helper was found. Helper (עֵזֶר ʿēzer) indicating a person who is a complementary helper.
“Nearly every great song has a gifted singer that has a back up singer who sings along in a way that compliments the lead vocalist. There are famous, wonderful lead vocalist who at different times sing back for other singers. There are back up singers who sing back up in the band, and when it is time for them to be the lead vocalist, other singers sing back up for them.”
The application for today’s message is this:
“Every wife who is walking in obedience to the Lord’s will for them, knows their husband’s gifting, talents and calling. They use their gifts, talents and calling to compliment their husbands. They may very well have their own work going on with the Lord as well. They know their husband’s weaknesses, fears, and conflicts, they help in a way that gives encouragement, strengthens, and envisions.
A Biblical submissive woman is not a woman who has been verbally or physically beaten down reflecting a ‘you to be quite woman.’ She is a woman who is seen supporting her man with a confidence that is noticed by all.
I think of Gloria Gaither, in her own right is an awesome writer and poet, but is seen as powerful back up for Bill Gaither as she helps him in his calling.
Men Who Love Their Wives
Father’s worth honoring have wives that are Biblically submissive and they are men who love their wives. The Bible says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) “The main threat against a man protecting his wife’s heart is his own sin.” (Father Hunger, Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families) “A man who takes a woman to the altar is going there to die to himself.” (Father Hunger, Why God Calls Men to Love and Lead Their Families) “There is no bound more sovereign in binding than… in the case of husband and wife. For one may constrain a servant by fear, though, he is not truly bound to his master; for he may readily run away. But the companion of your life, the mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, you ought to bind to yourself, not by fear and threats, but by love and attachment” [Chrysostom]. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 355). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) “Now the word Paul uses here for “love” is the Greek word agape—the strongest, most intimate, far-reaching, comprehensive, fulfilling term for love. (MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1981). The Fulfilled Family. Chicago: Moody Press.) “Husbands have the great privilege from God of building security, intimacy, identity, and spirituality in their homes—all through love. No other calling is as great, no other obedience so Christ-like. (Jeremiah, D. (2001). Home Improvement: Study guide (pp. 62–63). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
A husband who sacrificially loves his wife is intimately aware of her needs, her strengths, her goals and desires. He gets to know about her as much as possible. He offers her the same grace that God has given to him. He has no hobby that would take away needed time, finances and provision from his wife. As the Lord makes the way, he tries to make provision for her, in case he is called home. Husbands who have been seasoned by the Lord, know the value of their wives, they protect their time with her, knowing that amount and quality of time are key to a marriage that last until death do they part.
A man who loves is wife with a sacrificial love:
1.) Gives Her Consideration: He considers her feelings, before he takes on a project, adventure, or career change. I know of a man who was succeeding in his career. New projects were arising, great adventures were laid before him. He got out of the business, because continued success would require more time away from her, no involvement of her, nor any recognition of her value as his wife.
2.) Chivalry: Why is this allowed to die in marriage now days. TV sitcoms present married couples as irrespective, inattentive, and non-intimate. I like playing Columbo, the TV detective who appears incompetent, but catches every little thing. When I go to churches that present themselves as family promoting churches, I just set and watch how the leadership couples treat each other, listening to how they speak to each other.
According to Scripture (1 Corinthians 7:5) your wife is to feel like she is the most exciting woman you can be with. I love the song by Dan and Shay which has the lyrics, ‘I just want to show you off.’ Whenever you go out and wherever you go with your wife, she is to feel like you consider it a privilege and honor to be seen with her. Opening a door for her is to be as exciting as it was when the first time you went out together. She is to know that you would rather give her attention above anything else in this world.
3.) Communion: When people in public see you out alone, they should feel compelled to ask were your spouse is and is everything alright, because normally they see you together being involved and enjoying the same things in this life. Your and your wife are to have so much communication, that when you are thinking, she feels compelled to ask you about your thoughts and feels comfortable that she will receive a truthful answer. You are to have such a communion with your wife, that when you are not together at time you’re usually together, there is an awkwardness, loneliness, a longing, an aching inside. Communion is to be so sweet, that is like a favored desert, a pleasurable meal or a satisfying drink.
Children Obey Them
Fathers worthy of honor are husbands who love their wives like Christ loves the church, and his children are to have a desire to obey them. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise, ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’”
“Obey” is a stronger expression compared to wives who are called to submit, which is the willing subjection, children are given a command here. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 356). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) The writer reminds children of the promise, the promise not being the motivation for obedience, but rather a incidental promise, because obedience to parents is God’s will for them. For no other reason than God said to! Deuteronomy 5:16 makes it so clear, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord commands you, so that it may go well with you.” Peter says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” Proverbs gives this exhortation, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teachings.”
It is elementary, if you want to see things go well for you with the Lord in trials, through temptations and success, children must learn the joy of obedience, if not for any reason, but because you were told to through God’s Word.
Although Mother’s Day has higher observance, Fathers Day is to be honored with the same zeal of heart. Fathers, be submissive to God’s will for you. Wives, understand that being submissive to your husbands is a great thing. Husbands love your wives. Children, obey your parents.
“The Christian father is really an instrument in God’s hand. The whole process of instruction and discipline must be that which God commands and which He administers, so that His authority should be brought into constant and immediate contact with the mind, heart, and conscience of children. The human father should never present himself as the ultimate authority to determine truth and duty. It is only by making God the teacher and ruler on whose authority everything is done that the goals of education can best be attained.” (Got Questions.org)
In this day were leadership means visibility, popularity, likeability and drive. It is good to heed to the words written by Albert Einstein, “Try not to be come a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
Fathers Living Biblically Before Their Children
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children…” (Proverbs 13:22)
“Inheritance” (nahal) here can be used figuratively meaning to leave a good heritage for our children. A man can choose to leave a good or bad heritage for his children to follow. God’s Word promises to “[punish] the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate [Him], but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love [Him] and keep [His] commandments (Exodus 20:5b-6) .”
Considering that it is Father’s Day, I believe the Holy Spirit of God would have us spend some time getting an understanding on how to live in such away that can plant life giving seeds into the hearts of our children. Just how do we live in a way that leaves a godly legacy? There is no greater heritage to have than that of a Christian family.
Lasting legacy for the Lord
The Bible gives four Christian character traits that can build a lasting legacy for the Lord. The first is to speak and live with Christian integrity. King David, a man whom God called “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22) confessed in a prayer to God, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity (1 Chronicles 29:17).” Psalm 41:12 says, “In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever (Psalm 41:12).” A psalmist wrote, “May integrity and uprightness protect me (Psalm 25:21).” The Word “integrity” (tom) used often in the Book of Proverbs and Psalms protects a man’s soul from the flesh, the snares of the world and the lies of the devil because his hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. (The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament; Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee; Dictionary of Biblical Languages)
The Christian father that will enjoy a lasting legacy is the man of God that is surrendered to the Holy Spirit so he may be able to tell the truth, keep his word and live out what he believes. Proverbs 17:7 says, “Arrogant lips are unsuited for a fool – how much worse lying lips to a ruler (Proverbs 17:7).” Christian fathers are to be leaders in the home and express a lifestyle of truthfulness. He must be able to gain the trust of his children. Children will not follow a man who does not tell the truth. If a Christian father wants to pass a Christian legacy down to his children he must learn the joy of speaking and living out truth. Fathers who leave a Christian legacy are fathers you follow through on their promises.
Proverbs 25:14 says, “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.” The promises of a boaster are empty. Children are thirsty for gifts from dad that could give them what they need to help them succeed in the talents and abilities the Lord has given them. Dads are needed to do all they can to help their children obtain certain healthy goals just as rain is needed to bring fruit from the ground. A father must not boast of having a car yet fail to make the time for his son to learn to drive it in the proper season of his life. A father must not boast of having a skill or trade and not take time to teach it to a child who desires to learn it. A Christian father must not promise to take his child somewhere or do something special and not make the time to fulfill the promise. Children will trust a dad who chooses to use his God given resources for the good of the children he is called to raise.
The Christian father who leaves a Christian heritage is the man who says as King David, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life — when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” (Psalm 101:1-3) When the Lord answers prayer or brings a blessing into the family, dad is to be the first to offer and lead the family in expressions of praise to Jesus. He makes an effort to live a life that expresses a heart of David who longed to let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit guide him. A Christian father lets the Holy Spirit of God place in his heart what the Word of God says about conducting His family affairs and official relationships. He is hungry for Lord’s help and continued presence.
A Christian father with Biblical integrity will not set before his eyes that which is vile. The New American Standard Bible has the best translation with “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes…” A Christian father will not allow wickedness to have dominion in his heart and he forbids it to be even placed before his eyes. Jesus taught, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness (Matthew 6:22).” The father who refuses to look upon that which displeasing to God and useless for the Lord’s glory opens the door to true Christian virtue.
For the past thirty years they have done an annual “Most Admired Men” list in America. While presidents, politicians, stars and athletes have come and gone, one man has been on that list every year for the last thirty years. He has ranged from first to third place, his name, Dr. Billy Graham. There are few men in America who has lived and overseen such a quality ministry with such a powerful expression of integrity. That Christian legacy has been passed down to his son, Franklin Graham. (The truths found in this portion of the message came about as I have studied the NIV Bible; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Barnes Notes; The Treasury of David; The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament)
Serves the Lord with intensity
A father with a heart for Biblical integrity will enjoy a lasting legacy and will live a life that serves the Lord with intensity. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Proverbs 14:22b says, “But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. Jesus said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… (Mark 10:43).”
The Holy Spirit’s challenge is to be a servant with a heart that serves Christ in everything he does. Pastor Rick Warren recently read a study of youth that were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Not one child has ever said, “I want to grow up to be a servant.” Our American dreams and way of thinking have caused our children to place their hearts on being celebrities, winners and worldly leaders.
A Christian father will strive to live before his children a life of servant hood with ambitions of serving for the purpose of glorifying Christ before those he serves. He serves hoping that the people he works for might ask about the things of God or take notice that he is actually serving the Lord who gave him his opportunities. Those in the world see employees who are only in it for the paycheck. It is those who serve for the right reasons who leave a Christian heritage. A Christian who has been Holy Spirit taught on how to do his work as working for the Lord is enthusiastic, eager to get to work and do his work. He serves with intensity no matter what he is asked to do. The happiest janitor is one who cleans the office, the shop or bathroom as though Christ is standing right there beside him. The most diligent father is the one who manages his affairs of life and business in way that expresses recognition of daily accountability.
One of the most intense and hardest working preachers I know today is Rick Warren. He writes this about his dad, “My father was an incredible servant of God. He served others and he never became famous. He wasn’t particularly brilliant, but he was a great man because he served with intensity. He was a carpenter and in his lifetime he helped build over 150 different churches all around the world and build water towers in towns ravaged by earthquakes. He paid for most of his personal expenses on those missionary outreaches out of his own pocket, just for the privilege of serving others and Christ.” Rick Warren is a hard working pastor with a heart to serve other pastors, a legacy of his dad who passed on to be with the Lord. Psalm 37:18 says, “The days of the blameless are known to the Lord and their inheritance will endure forever.” The greatest inheritance a Christian father can receive outside of Christ Jesus is sons and daughters who know the joy of doing all their labors as unto the Lord and sharing the message of Christ’s love to a lost a dying world.
Gives with generosity
A Christian father speaks and lives with integrity, serves with intensity and gives with generosity.
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work… Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
A Christian father is a man who gives to the Lord’s work in every way because it is the Lord’s work, he does not give to get but for the glory of Christ. He gives much and reaps much. A Christian father gives deliberately to please God, not grudgingly and not from compulsion. He knows that God does not accept a gift of money, talent, time and energy that is not given out of a joyful heart. He gives with purpose in his heart by thinking about the need, how to give sacrificially for the glory of God and knowing exactly what the Holy Spirit prompts him to give. He knows that if there is any begrudging, reluctance or regret in his giving. He asks the honest question, “Why is not my heart to give joyful of my finances, time, energy, talents and abilities to the Lord’s work?” Then he invites the Holy Spirit to give him the faith he needs to be the giver the Lord wants him to be. A Christian father wants his children to see him give with a right heart before God, not to please man or out of personal honor and recognition. A Christian father’s motives for giving to the Lord’s work is for the enrichment of his relationship with God, to meet the needs of the Lord’s work and for the poor, to prove loyalty to Christ, to enhance prayer, and to bring praise to God.
A man who gave generously and enjoyed a legacy that was passed on to his next generation was King David. Solomon, David’s son became king after David and was the one chosen by God to build a house of worship. It is in 1 Chronicles 22 and 28 we read of David’s heartfelt desire to build a temple for the Lord his God and it is there we read of David hearing the Word of the Lord saying that he would not be the one to build the temple, his son Solomon would build it (1 Chronicles 28:3,6). David says, “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations… So David made extensive preparations before his death (1 Chronicles 22:5).” Through his authority he appointed stone cutters to prepare dressed stone (1 Chronicles 22:2). He supplied great amounts of iron, bronze and wood (1 Chronicles 22:3-4). In speaking to his son David said, “I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord… You have many workmen: masons, carpenters, as well as men skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron – craftsmen beyond number (1 Chronicles 22:14-15).” David provided marble in large quantities as well as stones of various colors.
Let the Holy Spirit enable you to catch the heart of a father who has a heart after God. After David had provided through his political authority the Bible says David in “…his devotion to the temple of [his] God [gave from his] personal treasures gold and silver… as well (1 Chronicles 29:3).” I like how the King James Bible puts it, David said, “…I have set my affection to the house of God…”
1 Chronicles 29:3-4 tells us that David gave from his personal funds “…over and above everything [he] had [already] provided…” through his political authority. The amount he gave personally was in modern day measurements 3.6 million ounces of gold and 8.4 million ounces of silver. This means that David gave generously 110 tons of gold and 260 tons of silver. After making such a generous donation David asked the question, “…Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the Lord? (1 Chronicles 29:5) The Bible says, “…the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes… officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly… toward the work on the temple…” (1 Chronicles 29:6-7) 1 Chronicles 29:9 goes on to say, “…the people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord.”
Today the New Testament church is not a building but people who have in repentance accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. Christians give to the Lord by supporting any work that glorifies Jesus Christ before the children of God and those in the world. Just as God used David in one part of his work, in provision and then He used Solomon in the tasked of getting the work accomplished, the Lord has set people in different places of service unto Him. A Christian father who wishes to leave a legacy of providing for the Lord’s work will been seen by his children as a generous provider and worker unto the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. (The truths found in this portion of Scripture came about as I have prayerfully studied The NIV Bible; King James Bible; Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary; New American Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary; A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Barnes Notes)
In His prayer of praise David prayed, “But who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand (1 Chronicles 29:14).” David also prays to the Lord to keep this desire in the hearts of the people (1 Chronicles 29:18). David being a loving father wanted a Godly legacy to be passed on to his children prays for Solomon saying, “And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build [the kingdom of God, worshipers for the Lord] (1 Chronicles 29:19).
Succeeds with humility
A Christian father speaks and lives with integrity, serves with intensity, gives with generosity and succeeds with humility. A Christian father lives by the instruction of Colossians 3:12, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” “Humility” (tapeinophrosume) as it is used here means to have the correct estimate of ourselves. This involves the confession of sin and deep realization of our unworthiness to receive God’s grace.
Glad Tidings ran the story of Doctor James Simpson, the man who discovered that chloroform could be used to render people insensible to the pain of surgery. This discovery made it possible for people in the late 1800’s and many years beyond to go through the most dangerous operations without pain and suffering during the procedure. Once during a lecture at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Simpson was asked by one of his students, “What do you consider to be the most valuable discovery of your lifetime?” To the surprise of his students, who had expected him to refer to chloroform, Dr. Simpson replied, “My most valuable discovery was when I discovered myself a sinner and that Jesus Christ was my Savior.”
A Christian father knows ultimately what matters is what God thinks about him. The Holy Spirit has illuminated the truth of Proverbs 15:33 deep within his heart, “The fear of the Lord teaches man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” He knows that if he serves the Lord with his God given talents, abilities and Holy Spirit given gifts, the Lord will lift him to the place in life where God’s wants him to be. He knows the truth of 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” A Christian father recognizes the Lord’s presence in all his ways. In order for a tree to grow upward and withstand the storms that are thrown at it, it must strike down roots deep; so it is with the Christian father, to be exalted he must have his mind and heart rooted down in a spirit of humility totally depending on the Providence of God in every part of his life. (The truths found in this portion of the message came about as I have studied the NIV Bible, The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Encyclopedia of 7000 Illustration; A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory)
A legacy of Biblical proportion must be based
A legacy of Biblical proportion must be based on speaking and living lives of high integrity, serving with intensity, giving generously and succeeding with humility. Psalms 103:17-18 says, “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness is with their Children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.”
One such Christian father who left a Christian legacy for his descendants to follow was Jonathan Edwards. He was an uncompromising theologian and pastor who lived to please God and was a man of prayer. His descendants included thirteen college presidents, sixty-five prominent lawyers, thirty-two noted authors, ninety physicians, eighty-six state senators, thirty judges, three congressmen, one vice-president of the United States and two hundred ministers of the gospel. The family line of Jonathan Edwards experienced the promised blessings of God. (Exodus 20:4) Fathers, God gives you this day an opportunity to choose your family’s legacy. It must be established in a relationship with Jesus Christ!
Let us pray!