Summary: A Father’s Day messaage that explores the Bible meaning of "father".
This Father’s Day message looks at the biblical meaning of “father”.
Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 4: 15
Our text reads:
For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
In referring to himself as the spiritual father of the Corinthian church, Paul described a very special relationship he had with this church. He said he was their father. He referred to other church leaders as having lesser roles and called them guardians, or as other translations put it, teachers, or tutors. In describing his unique position as father Paul gave the ratio of 10,000:1 in stating the rarity of his role.
Though the reason Paul had for asserting himself in this manner was that he might bring correction to the church, his statement reflects a lamentable fact of life experienced by many in every generation. Sadly, when it comes to the presence of true fathers, many in this world are forced to live in a huge vacuum. No shortage deprives children of the necessities of life more than the shortage of fathers.
In this message we will explore the biblical meaning of “father” and to do this we will look at some of what the Bible reveals about the nature of our heavenly Father. It is my purpose to encourage men to function with confidence and effectiveness in their roles as fathers. I also hope that the things I say will bring a measure of healing to those who have lived their lives without the benefit of a true father.
A Father Blesses
The conferring of blessing is an important theme seen throughout the whole Bible. At creation the very first thing God did after bringing the first man and woman into existence was to bless them. Thus, the act of creation itself was not complete in and of itself. The added “blessing” was a must if man was to realize his potential as being created in the image and likeness of God. Similarly, a man cannot say he functions as a father by procreating alone. To be a father he must “bless” his children at every stage of their lives.
Prior to his death, Jacob blessed his twelve sons. In blessing each son he spoke words to each one individually, words that helped to define them.
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him. Genesis 49:28
Jacob recognized the uniqueness of each of his sons and each of his blessings was different. This recognition could only come from an intimate relationship with each son. He knew the ability and gifts of each one and contributed to their development on an individual basis.
In the New Testament we read:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
In creation God blessed. In re-creation through Christ he blesses again. The first chapter of Ephesians proceeds to describe three blessings of the Father, three of the Son and three of the Holy Spirit, a triple triad of blessings. Together the three donors, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, along with the nine blessings they give, provide us with a complete redemption. There are absolutely no deficits, nothing else to add, nothing else needed to enable us to function in fullness as God’s children.
This describes the purpose of the blessing. Now let’s consider the process itself.
In his role as Father, God created the first man and woman in his image and likeness. Mankind understood clearly that his self-image was a reflection of his Father’s. This made their relationship with God very desirable, fulfilling and functional. The first man and woman knew they were unique, that they were the created and God was the Creator.
There was no doubt that they were separate from God. They also knew they were connected, joined in a love unity with their heavenly Father in a spirit of openness, oneness and in an absence of shame. (Genesis 2:25) It is important to note that in describing the nature and character of man’s first relationship with God, that which was absent was as important as that which was present.
A father who blesses and curses produces identity confusion, instability, insecurity and forms the basis for many shame based character developers. James said:
Out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing. My brethren these things ought not to be. James 1:11
Children who are told they are stupid, useless, and no good or are referred to with very derogatory words, are being shaped by the curse. They develop a shame-based identity. Children, who hear encouraging words and words of endearment, are shaped by the blessing. They develop a blessing-based identity. Our words have creative power. God created by his word and since we are made in his image, so do we.