Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE GLORIES OF FATHERHOOD”

 

This morning I would like to bring a message from God’s Word extolling to you the glories of fatherhood. Please be mindful of my careful choice of words. I am not attempting to bring a message from God’s Word extolling the virtues of fathers. Too many people have had the tragic and painful experiences associated with fathers who were virtue-challenged, fathers whose approach to their station was anything but glorious, and fathers whose involvement with the mother of their child was little more than an episode of brief pleasure followed by decades of irresponsible neglect. I speak not of men whose views of fatherhood are so diminished that they have chosen to forego the privilege, either by opting out of the possibility of siring a child altogether or by opting out of the challenges and responsibilities associated with being the biological father of a child who has been sired by instead providing absence instead of presence, neglect instead of attention, or abuse instead of affection and love. I do not speak of duties this morning. I do not speak of obligations. I do not speak of responsibilities. Rather, I speak of the hopes of fatherhood, the privileges of fatherhood, the delights and joys of fatherhood, and the honor of being someone’s father.

I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of an approach to fatherhood that does not reflect the conscientious investment of one’s heart and soul, does not reflect heartfelt commitment and faithfulness, and does not reflect profound investments of love and prayers. Therefore, I am committed to an approach to fatherhood that does what those I have mentioned does not. Additionally, I looked on for decades at attempts by children to secure the love and approval of their fathers without success, and took note of the futility of children seeking from their fathers what those men did not have to give because of the emptiness and lack of interest and absence of skill in meeting a child’s emotional and spiritual needs.

My advice to children of all ages whose dads provided nothing for them beyond food and shelter, and seemed to be oblivious to the role that can be played in the upbringing of children in their households? Cry a good cry and then get over it. Stop attempting to squeeze blood from a turnip. Some boys and men, even some who have sired children, are simply not dads. It isn’t in them, and they are incapable of providing for youngsters what they just do not have to give. Does that specific man’s unwillingness or inability tell you anything about fatherhood in general? Not at all. One man’s conduct tells you only about that one man, and nothing at all about all men or the glories of fatherhood. After all, some people are very easily fulfilled and satisfied, while others find fulfillment and satisfaction in sacrificing for the benefit of others and investing their life in the lives of others. Why would anyone want to drive a Volkswagen Beetle when God provides the opportunity to drive a Rolls Royce? I do not know.

I make no attempt to discover the thinking behind those kinds of decisions this morning. Therefore, with malice toward none, consider with me the glories of fatherhood, being the adult male in charge who presides over the upbringing of God’s choicest treasures, the children.

Five considerations: 

First, CONSIDER THE PRIORITY OF FATHERHOOD 

Where does fatherhood rank in the grand scheme of things? Where does fatherhood fit in when the priorities are listed, when the importances are ordered, when the rankings are referred to? There are three passages in God’s Word among those that inform the conclusions to be drawn about the priority of fatherhood:

First, consider with me Genesis 2.24: 

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” 

Here, at just about the beginning of the human experience, God establishes the pattern for families and the propagation of the human race. There are two actions mentioned, followed by a consequence. A man leaves. Then a man cleaves. And the consequence is that they two shall be one flesh. This is a condensed description of marriage. However, notice the priority in the home the man leaves to marry a woman and to form another home. The man leaves “his father and his mother.” The priority in that opening phrase of the verse is profoundly important because when a father or a mother is mentioned for the first time in God’s Word, the father is listed first. That is significant.

If you think such priority listings are unimportant, turn with me to Acts 13.1-13: 

1  Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simian that was called Niger, and Lucas of Siren, and Mann, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Silica; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

6  And when they had gone through the isle unto Pathos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Brasses:

7  Which was with the deputy of the country, Surges Pails, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

8  But Flymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

9  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Pathos, they came to Peerage in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. 

In verse 1 Barnabas is listed first in the list of elders, with Saul being last. Verse 2 records the call of Barnabas and Saul as missionaries. In both verses, Barnabas is listed first, showing his prominence. In verse 7 it is once again Barnabas and Saul. In verse 9 the Spirit of God inspires Luke to list Saul without mentioning Barnabas while introducing us to his new name of Paul. Then, in verse 13, it is “Paul and his company.” Do you still think the priority is unimportant? If you hold on to that delusion, there are important truths in God’s Word you will not learn.

The final verse we look to regarding priority is First Timothy 2.13: 

“For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” 

Adam was the first father and Eve was the first mother. The order in which they are listed was not only important in Genesis 2.24, the significance of that order reverberates in the human race thousands of years later to this verse where Paul uses it to justify the approach Christian congregations are to use in public worship. Therefore, the priority of fatherhood is established. 

Next, CONSIDER THE PROMINENCE OF FATHERHOOD 

Just to be fair, so social justice warriors will not accuse me of perpetuating the patriarchy, consider the prominence of fatherhood both in the biblical record as well as the record of secular history:

First, in the Bible. Without anything like skillful and discerning exegesis of the passages, can we learn something from the fact that more than three times as many Bible verses make reference to a father as there are references to a mother? 972 verses in the Bible make mention of father. 292 verses in the Bible make mention of mother. That reflects a prominence observable in the Bible. Next, consider the wisdom of Proverbs. Twenty-three times in the thirty-one chapters of Proverbs we find the phrase “My son,” supporting the reasonable conclusion that the theme of the book is a father’s instructions to his son.[1] Third, consider the Apostle Paul’s summary statement on fathers and mothers in First Thessalonians 2.7-12. In that passage, as with elsewhere in God’s Word, the prominence of fatherhood is undeniably presented as a fact of life in the well-ordered intact Christian family.

Turning to an overview of secular history, we see four types of cultures everywhere in the world that fruit is not hanging from trees for people to pick and eat as they walk by. Where there is stress to survive there are distinct patterns to be observed: In pre-Christian cultures around the world, whether in Asia or Africa, whether in North or South America, whether in Europe or Australia, fatherhood was observed to be more prominent in indigenous cultures than motherhood. When the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was introduced to these various regions and gained a strong foothold, it was observed that the prominence of fatherhood versus motherhood remained unchanged, while the underlying reason for the differences in prominence was significantly altered. In pre-Christian cultures, the prominence of fatherhood was owing to the relative size, strength, and proneness to violence of men. In Christian cultures that same prominence was altered as to the reason, with God’s will for families replacing size, strength, and proneness to violence as the qualifiers for fathers’ prominence. The onset of feminism in Western culture is primarily an anti-God, anti-Christian, Marxist ideology that targets institutions such as the traditional family, so-called patriarchy (meaning all men are bad), religious institutions that promote traditional marriage, institutions of higher learning, and so forth. The result of that effort has been an overturning of the prominence of fatherhood in people’s thinking with government intentionally replacing fatherhood as the provider and protector of women and children. This produces the large number of unwed pregnancies, irresponsible dads who do not take care of their kids, and the surprising number of people in advanced countries who opt for pets to care for instead of children. However, what happens in post-feminist cultures that have moved past opposition to Christianity and the so-called patriarchy? Look to the Middle East and ISIS. Look to Black and Latin American gang cultures. Look to the racist white motorcycle gangs. Without exception, they have all reverted to a pre-Christian approach to male/female relationships, with fathers prominent as before the arrival of the Gospel, but owing to size, strength, and violent tendencies without regard for God’s will. Thus, with the exception of a political agenda designed to destroy the impact of Christianity in the West, secular history shows that fatherhood is naturally prominent. It was before the arrival of the Gospel, and it will be in the post-Christian era unless the Lord Jesus Christ comes first. 

Third, THE POWER OF FATHERHOOD 

May I refer at this point to more than a father’s authority, but including also the relative size and tone of voice also exhibited by typical fathers?

When you eliminate the emasculated environment of feminism’s efforts to remove or suppress masculinity in men, who would deny that the effect of fathers on their children is radically different than the effect of mothers on those same children? Have fathers ever attempted to coerce correct behavior from their children by saying, “Wait till your mother gets home”?

When considering the rod of reproof and the chastisement parents are directed to employ to correct the behavior of their children, who is usually expected to be the parent administering the rod, mom or dad? While not denying the mother’s role in correction, we find in Proverbs and in the letter to the Hebrews that it is characteristically the father who is most effective in the administration of correction. Hebrews 12.7 concurs with the tenor of Scripture with the words, 

“for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” 

And while in no way diminishing the heroism and sacrifice of godly moms, the Apostle Paul likened his ministry of setting the moral example of holiness, justice, and blamelessness while exhorting, comforting and charging young Christians in Thessalonica to the conduct of a father with his children.[2] 

Fourth, THE PRODUCTIVITY OF FATHERHOOD 

While I have never heard of anyone discussing the fruitfulness of men as being theoretically possible or in any way desirable apart from women, there is ongoing chatter among third wave feminists about how great it would be to eliminate men entirely. Some not only refer to all forms of sex as rape, even consenting sex in marriage, they also fantasize about the desirability of asexual reproduction. They discuss the possibility of bearing children without men being involved in the reproductive process at all. Setting aside such lunacy for a moment, let me address fruitfulness by commenting on two aspects of the productivity of fatherhood:

First, it is the natural pattern among all species. Would anyone suggest there is not a natural inclination hardwired by God into every species to reproduce? Does not the survivability of every species depend upon that species being fruitful? Thus, it is natural for both men and women to seek to reproduce. Zeroing in on men, since it is Fathers Day, it is to be observed as quite unnatural among species for the male of the species not to seek to reproduce. Thus, the natural tendency of human beings who are males is to engage in reproductive activity, to want more than sex. God declares to us that such conduct is to take place only within the bounds of marriage. Human beings, then, are to marry, to then have sex with their spouse, and to by that activity reproduce as a married couple. When human beings engage in sexual activity without the benefit of marriage they are acting like barnyard animals.

The spiritual pattern among believers further reveals that we bear the image of God and are not merely animals. As thrilling as it is to sire and then to parent a child as a father, there is a far more important spiritual parallel to being a natural father. It is to be a spiritual father, First John 2.12-14: 

12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. 

The Apostle John addresses his readers as being their spiritual father and likens them to being his spiritual children. Within that group of spiritual children are three subgroups. The spiritually immature are “little children.” The spiritual adolescents are “young men.” The more mature are “fathers.” I would suggest to you that the “fathers” in this passage are those believers who have reproduced other believers. “Young men” are those capable of spiritual reproduction but who have not yet born fruit. “Little children” are new believers who have not yet matured to the place of being capable of spiritual reproduction.

Therefore, as natural and thrilling as the delight of being a dad, the glories of fatherhood are but a natural state glimpse of the thrill and privilege of being a spiritual father, which any Christian can become when involved in the ministry of discipling others. Imagine seeing people come to Christ and then ministering to them so that they, too, someday bring people to Christ. That is glorious! 

Fifth, THE PICTURE OF FATHERHOOD 

You already know that the First Person of the Triune Godhead is God the Father. He is and has always been, to His eternal Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, the Father. How wonderful it is, therefore, that He chose to create mankind, that He chose to institute the family, and that He chose to ordain the man of the family as the father.

Every human being bears the image and likeness of God. We are shown that wonderful truth in several passages in God’s Word.[3] Additionally, however, God has allowed some men to become something more than image bearers. He has enabled us to become natural fathers, bearing some resemblance in the natural realm to His spiritual relationship to the other Persons of the Trinity and those born into the family of God.

Then, in addition to the astonishing privilege, some men have of being fathers to natural children, every believer in Jesus Christ can become a spiritual father to other believers. Of course, this is restricted to those who grow and mature, to those engaged in spiritual reproduction through evangelism, and to those who invest their lives into other Christian’s lives. But it is possible! 

Thus, we see that as wonderful as Fathers Day is shown to be (and I routinely refer to it as the most important day of the year), it is but a glimpse of things far more glorious. In the natural realm, what can be more glorious for a man than being a father? It is the culmination of all things manly, in my opinion, because a boy wants to grow to manhood, then wants to marry the great love of his life, and finally, wants his true love to bear his children to love and to raise.

As glorious as those hopes, dreams, and aspirations are for most men, there are greater truths and privileges that God has opened to every one of His children, the glories of spiritual fatherhood. Think of it. You can know the blessing of sins forgiven and communion with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Then you can engage in bringing others to know your blessed Savior. That would make you a spiritual father, whether you are a Christian man or a Christian woman. And through ongoing ministry, you can invest your life in theirs so that your spiritual children themselves grow to maturity in Christ.

What a great and glorious life God provides to those who are in Christ. We are privileged to be partakers of the divine nature! And as wonderful as our lives are when we grow in grace and become spiritual fathers of others in this most holy faith, eternity will be so much more glorious for us. Until then we live for Christ and do His blessed will, seeking to reach the lost with the Gospel of God’s grace, and investing our lives in those who have come to faith in Christ.

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[1] Proverbs 1.8, 10, 15; 2.1; 3.1, 11, 21: 4.10, 20; 5.1, 20; 6.1, 3, 20; 7.1; 19.27; 23.15, 19, 26; 24.13, 21; 27.11; 31.2

[2] 1 Thessalonians 2.10-12

[3] Genesis 1.26, 27; 5.3; 9.6; Romans 8.29; 1 Corinthians 11.7; 15.49; 2 Corinthians 3.18

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org