What a Father Does

Fathers’ Day – Proverbs 17:6 – Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.

Intro: What does a father do? Your answer to this question might naturally come from your experience, since we all have a father. But we also know, however, that fathers are different. Some here today may have never known their father. Societies experience and expectations of fathers has changed as well. But there is a place we can go to learn about the fathers – to the words and actions of our Father, Our Father in heaven. He does what a true father should do. He is our model in every way.

  • Was Almighty’s choice to reveal Himself in the concept and relationship of a father arbitrary? Or did He propose to teach us about Himself, and teach us about our responsibility as fathers?
  • Matthew 5-7: Our main text this morning is the context of our study last Sunday (Mt. 6:33) from the Sermon on the Mount. If I counted correctly, Jesus uses the word “father” 17 times in His sermon from the mountain. He is certainly utilizing that image to portray God, both as His father, and ours. In these verses we can see a picture of what a father does. We understand the God, the Father is transcendently above every other father, and we cannot be what He is. But the responsibility of every father is rooted in the image of Our Father in heaven. He is the ideal to which all fathers should aspire.
  • As pointed out in today’s bulletin article, God, the Creator can be seen as our Father from more than one perspective. In one sense He is the Father of all humanity. Mal 2:10Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? We are all created in His image, and Paul refers to all humans as His offspring in Acts 17:28-29. He provides for all of His creation. But Jesus’ depiction of God, the Father, points to His role toward His redeemed people – those who are spiritually His children through Christ. As our Spiritual Father, what does God do?

I. Fathers Cast a Character:

A. Character reflected: The first words of Jesus’ sermon are a portrait of a certain character. The beatitudes “(blessed are” statements of the first 14 verses) describe the countercultural character of God’s people. poor in spirit, meek, mourning, merciful, peaceful, and hungering to do what is right. From whence do these people derive their out-of-this-world character? Matt 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Jesus’ many references to God, the Father, is a reference to the source of the character of His Children. They are a reflection of Him.

1. Therefore, a father an enormous responsibility to establish a character path for his children to follow. In fact, it might be better understood that fathers DO set the path, whether they intend to or not. Do you want your children mimic your character? To follow your path? Notice how Jesus emphasizes the implications of fatherhood in the tough commands to the children.

• Matt 5:44-45 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

• Matt 5:48 – Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

II. Fathers Know Their Children: Jesus teaches on the importance of motive and direction in acts of worship. There were, and are, those who give to the poor, pray and fast, in a big show of religious piety, but their motive is to be seen of men. Jesus calls on God’s children to do what they do to please God alone.

  • Matt 6:1Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven… :3-4But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly… v. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

A. The fact that their Father knows them allows the children to fearlessly do what they do without pretense (the right hand does not know what the left is doing). He recognizes the direction of their heart and seeks to reward true obedience. He is more that a tyrannical ruler-maker. They can be confident He will reward them justly, fairly and openly.

III. Fathers Provide: Possibly the most understood work of a physical father is to provide for his children. 1 Timothy 5:8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Even our secular society has a certain disdain for deadbeat dads. Jesus’ teaching in this sermon flows from this understood work of the father in more than one way.

A. In making His case against anxiety over the things of this life, Jesus points God children to the birds of the heavens and the grass of the field. Matt 6:26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … v. 28-30 – Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? v. 32-33 – For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

1. Fathers know what their children need and they provide it. Jesus’ point is that the relationship demands this provision. The child is dependent on the Father’s willingness to provide what is best for the child – Matt 7:9-11Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

2. Spiritual Needs: This certainly applies to the physical needs of a child. What real father would refuse to feed his children? But what about the spiritual needs? Many parents want what is best for their child, but they are unwilling to make the sacrifice necessary to provide it. (“I want my child to know God, worship God, be a moral person, respect authority, etc.”) Eph 6:4 – And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Young’s literal translation says… “nourish them in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.” The words of God (instructions and commands) are what they need to eat.

a. Physical discipline is what a child needs, and as such is a fruit of the love of a father. Prov 13:24He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Prov 22:15 – Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

3. Emotional Needs: But within the context of discipline is the warning to fathers to not exasperate or instill resentment in their children through harsh treatment or discipline that flows from anger. Col 3:21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Fathers must also provide for the emotional needs of their children. James 1:19-20Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

4. Need for Protection: Another element of the father’s provision is protection. A father is responsible for protecting his children from what will harm them. Many fathers today recognize the need to protect their children from physical harm. (proper car seat, “stranger danger”, never allow them to play with a loaded gun). But what about the spiritual dangers they face.

a. (see slide) fill in the blanks with what you think threatens your children… Read the whole passage…. 1 Tim 6:6-10Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Fathers, are you protecting your children from this? Or are you encouraging them to seek the best paying job, have all the things of life, seek to be rich.

My Father in heaven seeks to protect me from the things of the world. He does not give me everything I desire. He disciplines me through suffering and want, teaching me that importance of spiritual things.

b. The word that may best answer our query is love. Our Father loves us. It is more than what He does, it is Who He is… (1 Jn 4:16) 1 John 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

One last point from Matthew 7…

IV. Fathers have a Will: The last time we see the word father in the Sermon on the Mount is in Mathew 7:21 – 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Notice here that Jesus says “My Father”. He declares that He is the true Son, and later shows Himself to be so, by doing the will of His Father. The main point here is the imperativeness of obedience. We cannot just say, Jesus is Lord, we must be willing to show it by doing the will of the Father.

A. The word for will in this verse is Thelema (thel’-ay-mah)- a determination; choice; purpose; volition; or inclination. It is also translated as desire or pleasure. Fathers have a will, a determination, a purpose in regards to their family. They seek to lead their family through the exercise of this will. This demands the father be a leader who demands accountability. It also demands that the father demonstrates his will in his own life. He is out in front showing the way. Paul tells us that God, our Father saved us through the counsel of His will… He made known what He wanted to happen, and His counsel led us to it.

1. As a father you must lead your children with purpose and determination. Josh 24:14-16Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Dare to Stand Like Joshua….