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Series: Father’s Day Messages
Sunday am 21st June 2015 – Shane Egypt
Luke 11:11-13; Mal. 4:5-6; (2 Kings 2:14); Ex. 3:6; 1 Sam. 8:3-9; 1 Cor. 4:14-17;
(Luke 15:11-32); Luke 20:9-14; Luke 13:6-9(MSG); Luke 3:21-22; 2 Tim. 1:2-6;
1 Tim. 4:6-16; 1 Tim. 5:20-21; Heb. 12:5-12; (Titus 1:4); (Philemon 1:10); (1 Cor. 4:17).
There is a principle in the United Nations Convention on the rights of a child; the principle being that everything that is done should be done in the best interest of the child and it should be supreme and supersede all other principles. The primary consideration is the best interests of the child. We as a country are signatory of this principle. How much more will the standard of the Kingdom of God supersede all others because of his love and concern for children? (Luke 11:11-13). We know that in our society children are abused, neglected and given away. The devastation caused by the absence of fathers in the breakdown of family life is very evident in our society. This is just one assault against the institution of the family. In the history of South Africa, homelands were created and men left their homes to become cheap labour and their families could not go with them. Even today, the time spent by fathers with their children is very minimal. It is a reality in our family lives. Thank God for fathers in the faith. We really appreciate them and give them double honour.
I believe in the principle of fathers in the faith. God builds generationally from fathers to sons. In order for the enemy to discredit this truth he creates a counterfeit. Because of the abuse and failure of this principle, should we discard this principle? God forbid! Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse (Mal. 4:5-6). A father in the faith should never replace your heavenly Father. He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Ex. 3:6). When Elijah was taken he asked the question, “Where is the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). It had to do with a relationship with the heavenly Father. When the people of God have God’s institutions and that seemingly fails, they turn to the systems of the world; for example the sons of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:3-9). They did not want that which God had given because seemingly it was failing. I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church (1 Cor. 4:14-17). Paul was a father in the faith to Timothy, Titus and Onesimus (1 Cor. 4:17; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:10). What a heart response of a true father in the faith!
Let us look at seven points regarding the heart of a father.
- The love of a father is remarkable (Luke 15:11-32). After this prodigal son treated his father as though he was dead and subsequently squandered his inheritance, the father was waiting longingly for his son to return. He ran with compassion in his heart and embraced and kissed his son. There was no judgement, no arguments, it was an embrace of a true father and the heart of a father revealed to us (Luke 20: 9-16).
- The parable of the wicked vine dressers (Luke 20:9-14). Look at the un-relenting heart of this father. It is speaking of God sending His beloved son. He gave his everything. A father never gives up hope; there is always faith, the substance of things hoped for. Then he told them a story: A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer. The gardener said, ‘Let’s give it another year. I’ll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn’t, then chop it down’ (Luke 13:6-9-MSG).
- A father acknowledges his children. Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased (Luke 3:21-22). Fathers acknowledge your children. When your children make mistakes you are quick to discipline but when they do something good then there is no acknowledgement. To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well (2 Tim. 1:2-6). What an acknowledgement of Paul to Timothy! We do not know anything of Timothy’s biological father except that he was Greek. One thing we know is that Paul was a father in the faith to Timothy.
- A true father sets boundaries and instructs (1 Tim. 4:6-16).
- A father rebukes and disciplines (1 Tim. 5:20-21). In society today sometimes fathers discipline incorrectly and it borders on abuse. That is why we have protective legislation but do not let the legislation tell you that you do not need to discipline your children.
- Do not discipline in anger! How much more our heavenly Father also disciplines us. Thank God for earthly fathers who discipline us. Discipline is necessary. He disciplines us for our good (Heb. 12:5-12).
- A father imparts (1 Cor. 4:17). What was imparted to Timothy was dispersed within the congregations he was responsible for as if Paul was there. A son is a representative of his father in Christ.
In summary, the love of a father is remarkable; a father has an unrelenting, longing heart for his children; he never gives up hope; a true father always acknowledges his children, sets boundaries and instructs; a father rebukes, disciplines and imparts.