Summary: Charge to fathers... Our children naturally imitate us, so let's imitate Christ... Imitate Christ's love for God, His Bride, and others, and imitate His selflessness

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Happy Father’s Day! We’re planning to cook some burgers and just hang out as a family this afternoon. I’m really looking forward to that. But I think my biggest Father’s Day present will be tomorrow when we pick up our son at the airport! It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 months already!

You know, fathers are a strange breed. How many of you have daughters? If your daughters are older, you probably remember when young men would come a-callin’. If your daughters are still young, this is something you get to look forward to.

ILL: My wife told me of when she and her brother were staying at her grandma and grandpa’s place when she was 16, and a young man was coming over to see her and watch some TV. Her grandpa had no teeth, was missing his thumb from a hunting accident, and had lost a leg from a work accident. He was sitting in the living room without his teeth in because he didn’t like to wear them. My wife tells him to go in and put his teeth in, so he goes into the bathroom and comes hopping back out on one leg with a big toothy smile on his face. “Grandpa! What are you doing? Go put your leg back on!” Grandpa hops back to the bathroom and comes walking back with a big toothless grin. “Grandpa! I need you to wear your leg AND your teeth!” He says, “You’re only 16. He’s only gonna get one or the other! When you get married, I’ll wear both!”

I think there’s a special “daddy gene” that kicks in whenever a man has a daughter or granddaughter. We know all too well from personal experience what young men can be like.

ILL: We have a family rule that any young man who wants to take my daughter out must come to the house and ask my permission in person. We also apply this rule to our boys that they must ask a young lady’s father for permission before they can take her out on a date. Several years ago, a young man comes over to ask my permission to date our daughter. I was on my best behavior that day, and only put him to work helping me assemble a bunk bed before giving him permission. He wasn’t so fortunate during one of his other visits to the house. You see, I have a machete that I brought back from a mission trip to Nicaragua. This young man is standing in the hallway, and I jump out of the bedroom while pulling the machete from its scabbard saying, “Hey, do you want to see my machete?” He screams and is out the front door faster than I’ve ever seen anyone move before or since. One of my prouder daddy moments.

Dads (and moms)… Have you ever had that moment when you did or said something to your child, and then the realization hits you… Oh no! I’ve become just like my father (or mother for you ladies).

No matter how hard we may try to be different from our parents, there are some things (both good and bad) that seem to creep into our own personalities. We are imitating our parents!

I’ve even found myself using some of the same “sayings” that my dad used on me. One of my all-time favorites is, “Go ask your mother”.

Or what about:

“When I was your age…”

“Don’t make me stop this car!”

“If you don’t stop crying, [pause & let congregation finish the statement] I’ll give you something to cry about”

“I’m not sleeping, I’m [pause & let congregation finish the statement] just resting my eyes.”

Sounds like you had the same father I did!

While we naturally pick up traits and behaviors from our earthly parents, we are also children of God… at least those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins.

Turn in your Bibles this morning to 1 Corinthians 4:14-17. [READ]

The Apostle Paul is writing this to the church in Corinth, which was a seriously troubled church. Though they were true believers, they had a lot of growing up to do.

Paul speaks to them not as their teacher, but as a father. As I was reading these passages earlier this week, I got to verse 21 and just started laughing out loud. Verse 21 says:

“What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod (of discipline), or in love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Cor. 4:21)

Doesn’t that sound like something a daddy would say? “Would you rather have a spanking, or are you going to straighten up?”

Imitate me… Walk as you see me walk… Speak as you hear me speak.

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