Summary: Four characteristics of great fathers.
READ: 1 Corinthians 4:14-17
Three kinds of fathers God is looking for:
2. Fathers in the House of God (v15)
- Setting the example
- Setting the tone
- Taking responsibility
3. Father’s of spiritual sons (v17)
- Personal discipleship (also need some godly “mothers” to take on spiritual daughters)
- “imitate me” - He is recognizing the universal principle that people will always follow what you do, not what you say. You can talk your head off, but, if your life does not reflect what you say, they will not follow you. They will pay no attention to it, because coming through all the time is that non-verbal communication that is saying, "Yes, I am saying all this to you, but it is not really very important because I do not bother to do it myself." You have no right to talk if you do not do what you say. Many parents have kidded themselves into thinking they were teaching their children right when they told them what to do, but never did it themselves. The child picked up all the vibes that were coming through, and did just like the parents did.
Four Characteristics of Great Fathers
NB - The model of perfect fatherhood is God
Here is where so many people get it all back to front. People say, “You talk about God being a ‘father’ - you should have met my dad. He was a user. He was a tyrant. He was a molester. Don’t talk to me about fathers - if God is a father then I don’t want to know Him!”
But listen, God is not just “LIKE a father”; He IS Father. THE Father. The Bible shows God to be the model of fatherhood upon which all other fathers are judged. If you want to know what a TRUE father is, don’t look at your earthly father, or my earthly father, or any other earthly father (however good they may appear to be). Open the pages of God’s Word and see the heart of the Father revealed in the nature of God. HE is the model. The One who is: Faithful, True, Just, Merciful, Compassionate, Slow to Anger, Loving, Affectionate, Providing, Patient, Kind, etc, etc, etc.
1. Great fathers love unconditionally
- Parenthood takes fortitude. (Chain letter for parents … It reads: "Dear Friend: This chain letter is meant to bring relief and happiness to you. Unlike other chain letters, this one does not cost money. Simply send a copy of this letter to six other parents who are tired of their teenagers. Then bundle your teenager up and send him or her to the parent at the bottom of the list. In one week you will receive 16,436 teenagers – and one of them should be worth keeping. Warning: One dad broke the chain and got his own teenager back."
2. Great fathers put their children first
- In our days we’ve seen fathers deserting their families because they’ve needed to do “something for themselves”.
- Self-centredness (“Better that a millstone was hung around their necks.”)
3. Great fathers look to their children’s future
- “train up a child in the way THEY SHOULD GO.” – students of our kids
- Help them find direction — without not pre-directing them.
- Parents must be careful not to project onto our children our own ambitions and dreams.
- Every child comes into the world with “sealed orders” – a unique destiny to be fulfilled. Part of the parent’s calling is to help their children “unseal” their orders. To discover what it is that God means them to be and do.
4. Great fathers wait for wayward children
- Story of the prodigal son; the father was “out in the fields” waiting (watching).
How to respond to this message:
a. (Dads) Commit to being a great father
b. (All the rest) Pray for fathers (and honour them!)
c. (Parents) Ask God’s forgiveness for regrets—but do what you can today. (May need to apologize to a child—then be the waiting father.)
d. (All) Receive your heavenly Father’s love.
i) loves you unconditionally
ii) puts you first
iii) He looks to your future—has a destiny for you
iv) waits for you to turn to Him
I just want to tell you today—however life feels right now: FATHER LOVES YOU.