Follow Me

Today, we celebrate fatherhood. Being a father is no simple or easy task! We live in a culture that demeans the role of fatherhood often. TV shows often portray woman as the superheros of the family and men as idiots who can’t seem to get anything right and the role of father as unnecessary to the family.

However, even secular statistics prove just how critically important the role of father is in our society and just how bad things can get when there is not a strong father figure present in a family.

The problems are nothing new. In fact, you can take a look throughout scripture and you’ll find that nearly all of the great men of the Bible were miserable fathers. The problem existed in the New Testament church as well. You might be able to relate to some of his complaints as we read together his letter to the church in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:8-16
8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! 9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Some of us fathers can relate to what Paul wrote. Our children are spoiled. Compared to how we grew up, they are rich! They rule and they reign our households! We want the best for our children and don’t want to shame them, but we do want to warn them.

Although we could spend the morning addressing all of the issues that face fathers today and the Biblical responses to them, I chose instead to focus this morning on the solution. Paul mentioned twice in his letter to his children, the members of the Corinthian church, the simplistic answer to being a good father.

1 Corinthians 11:1
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

For us to be the best fathers that we can possibly be to our children, we look to our best example of a father; our Heavenly Father. Now, it’s difficult to get to know the example of the Heavenly Father because no one has seen Him except for His son, Jesus. However, Jesus said in John 14:9 that anyone who has seen the Son has seen the Father. That’s why we can agree with Paul and say to our children:

1 Corinthians 11:1
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

This morning, we’ll learn a few key tips that we find from the example of Christ.

1. Integrity

Jesus lived what he said; that’s how He set an example. He didn’t waiver in His commitments. His priorities didn’t change. His standards for living remained unchanging. He was the living, breathing, word of God.

If we’re to live lives of integrity, we have to put away that proclamation that many of us heard growing up, “Do as I say, not what I do!” Living this way loses the respect of everyone, including our children. Why should our children listen our words whenever we don’t even listen to our own?

We do ourselves a huge favor whenever we live lives of integrity. If our words and our actions will be divided, it should come as no surprise to us whenever our homes follow our lead and also become divided. Unfortunately, Jesus said that a house that is divided will fall.

I urge all of us fathers this morning to stop this tragedy in its tracks – our families deserve better! Let’s live lives of integrity, doing what we say, letting our yes’s be yes and our no’s be no. Living a life of integrity doesn’t require perfection. It means that we’re completely honest about our failures and weaknesses and that we ask our families to forgive us when we fall. However, it means that we do strive for God’s standards and do not excuse our mistakes or lay blame for them anywhere other than with ourselves.

Living a life of integrity gives honor and glory to God and also to your own namesake. People will come to know and trust you and your family because you prove yourselves to be trustworthy.

Integrity is a huge part of being able to say to our children:

1 Corinthians 11:1
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

2. Obedience is rewarded

No, this doesn’t mean that we bribe our children to manipulate them to do what we want. However, in the Kingdom of God, the law is well defined. Those who follow the law are rewarded. Those who are faithful with little things are given greater things and greater responsibilities.

Within our homes, our rules should be clearly known by all. Our rules should not be swayed by our emotions and how we are feeling at the moment.

Whenever God revealed His rules to His children, He reminded them of the blessings and life that would result from being obedient to them BEFORE He reminded them of the curses and death that would result from being disobedient to them.

In our homes, there should be rewards for obedience if we are to follow the example of Jesus. What we normally do in our homes is to set rules and disciplines for breaking the rules. We often leave out any blessing for being obedient. However, God setup blessings for obedience BEFORE disciplines for disobedience.

Make it a habit to praise your children when they do well in small things as well as big things. Do your children see you as their rewarder or their discipliner? Jesus said:

Revelation 22:12
Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

Be their rewarder! In this way, you’ll be able to say to your children:

1 Corinthians 11:1
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

3. Disobedience is disciplined in love

In the Kingdom of God the law is well defined. Obedience is blessed, however, disobedience is also disciplined in love.

Scripture reveals that God gets angry whenever His children are disobedient, however, His children are not disobedient just because God is angry. His anger is fueled by love for His children and concern for their good. His anger is not fueled by His mood or circumstances outside of His children’s disobedience. We must be careful to discipline in the same way!

We also find in Job 1:21 that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, still His name is to be praised. When your children are obedient and earn greater responsibility, give it to them. However, when they prove that they can’t be trusted with that greater responsibility, taking that away is an appropriate disciplinary response.

Hebrews 12:4-11
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Discipline is not pleasant, neither for the child nor for the father. However, it is necessary and actually proves to our children that we love them and that we want only the best for them. In the same way that we are disciplined by Jesus, we should also discipline our children.

The toddler years are tough and often chaotic. However, if we are consistent with rewarding and disciplining our children throughout those years, we reap a harvest of years of peace and righteousness and have trained our children by it.

4. Pray with your children

Did you know that Jesus intercedes for you? Jesus died and rose again to become the great high priest who intercedes on our behalf. Hebrews 6 says that this hope is an anchor for our souls. The rope is attached to us and it goes into the inner sanctuary, behind the curtain, and attaches to our anchor – Jesus. Satan stands always accusing us before God, however, Jesus stands as our defender.

Are we fathers who do the same for our children? Do we come to their defense? Do we intercede for our children in prayer and stand in the gap, protecting them from their enemy like Jesus protects us?

Did you know that Jesus prayed for you, personally? It is recorded here:

John 17:20-26
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus prayed for us, that we would be one with Him in complete unity; that we would be with Him and see His glory. Pray with your children. Show them that you are interceding for them. Show them that you will always be with them and for them just like Jesus is. Let your presence bring them rest, peace, and protection just like Jesus’ does. Show them the glory, wonders, and mysteries that God shows to you.

Pray to God that He would transform your life and be able to say to your children:

1 Corinthians 11:1
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.