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 

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.”