Summary: Every man who has been a believer for a long time, needs to come to the place of bringing younger men along in the Faith. Here's a look at this important matter.
Fathers In Christ/ pastor Eric J. Hanson
Spoken to the Western Maine Christian Men's Breakfast
June 23, 2012
The only possible way to be a godly father is to understand the nature of God our Heavenly Father, and to have that nature flow through one’s life.
God reveals Himself through His written word, the Bible. There are several places where clear glimpses of His sinless Father heart come through. Let’s look at some of these scriptures today and gain real insights and power connections which we need for life.
You do not need to be a natural father in order to gain real benefits from today’s message.
The starting point, as stated back at the beginning of this message, for godly fatherhood on our part, is to know the Father Heart of God, and then to cry out in prayer, to be like Him. These two powerhouse scriptures give a great start to understanding that Father heart of God.
As we gain confidence in Him, we will tend to become better fathers ourselves, even to our adult children; better grandparents too, by the way.
Romans 8:14-17a. (read it)
In Israel, when a male child was born, that is how he was spoken of; as a male child, not a son. Son-ship was understood to be attained as a child matured and began to take on the character of responsible manhood. By the age of 12 or 13, if a father in Israel had done his job right with his boy child, that boy would now be starting to carry the weight of some real responsibility and real reward in the family business. He would be ready to attain the status of son-ship within the family and the community.
As we learned to walk with God by studying the scriptures, imitating good examples in the faith, cultivating a good prayer connection with God the Father, and learning to be led by the Holy Spirit, we came closer and closer to being able to carry real responsibility before God.
As we reach the level, of being led by the Holy Spirit accurately and consistently, the quality of our lives begins to reveal the Heavenly Father to those around us, because they can see the family resemblance! We become like Him.
• We do not abandon people.
• We are not unpleasable, irritable, and too “busy” for our loved ones.
• We are not habitually angry or unforgiving.
• We do not hide from difficult things which need to be dealt with.
• We can receive the Lord’s wisdom as needed.
Now what if your children have long since grown up? What if you have no grandchildren, or maybe they are far away and you have little input into their lives. What if you never had children? How can you exercise fatherhood?
Becoming a Father in Christ
By leading people to faith in Christ, and also taking those who are young in the Faith under your wing, and through example and teaching, caring and prayer, bringing them to a place of being disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, you become a spiritual father to them.
Paul, after 18 months of unrelenting spiritual labor in Corinth had become a spiritual father to that church. He had led many of them to saving faith in Jesus Christ. He had taught them how to follow the Lord and to be faithful. He was a father in Christ to them.
This whole thrust is not the gaining of a title. The newer believers toward whom you act as a disciple maker, are not to call you “father”. This whole dynamic is, instead, a life giving way of living, which grows from the powerful life of God within you, as you walk with the Spirit of God as a son in the family of God.
To all veteran believers present here today, I issue the following question: Don’t you want to be what I just described? I do! It is my prayer that all of us who are long in years in Christ, will move into this spiritual fatherhood.
Some thoughts for discussion
1. Are there any people currently in my life whom God has stirred a desire in me to “take them under my wing” in Christ?
2. Are my priorities such that God can use me in this way, or am I encumbered with other “things” which hold me back from helping to make disciples in a planned and consistent manner?
3. Did anyone come alongside me, when I was new in the Lord, and really take an interest in me “growing up into the Lord”.
a. If so, how was this helpful to me?
b. If not, what did I miss out on that could have been helpful?
4. Do I need to make an appointment with my own pastor and ask him how I might get started in this, or become better at this if I’m already moving in this direction?