Six Ways Fathers Pursue Christ in their Fatherhood
By Scott Thomas, President of Acts 29
1. Fathers Pursuing Christ see their children as a blessing from God
Never give in to the notion that your children are anything but a blessing from God (Psalm 127:3-5; Genesis 1:28; 3:16; 4:1, 25).
2. Fathers Pursuing Christ understand that their children are born with a bent toward evil
Children are born in total depravity (Romans 3:10-18; 5:12, 18 19; 8:7-8; Psalm 51:5; 58:3). All the potential for sin of every kind is already present in seed form in every child. Parental tolerance, passivity and lack of involvement will allow the seed to germinate (Proverbs 22:15).
- Legalism is not the answer
- Behavior Modification is not the answer
- Isolationism is not the answer (John 17:14-19)
- Self-Esteem is not the answer
- Regeneration is the answer (John 3:6-7; Romans 8:7-8)
3. Fathers Pursuing Christ believe the Gospel is the Good News for Children
Leading your children to Jesus is a long-term, full-time duty given to parents (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:11, 18-20). Genuine faith is prompted by God’s work in the heart of a child (John 6:44-45) and assured by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15-16). The essentials of the gospel are the following:
- God is holy, hates sin, and demands perfection (Proverbs 1:7; Leviticus 11:44-45; Joshua 24:19; Exodus 20:5; Psalm 5:4; 7:11).
- Mankind is born as sinners condemned by their deeds in violation of the law of God and are utterly helpless (Romans 2:16; 3:10-12, 20, 23; 5:17; 6:23; 7:7; 8:7-8; Hebrews 9:27).
- Jesus is God who became man (John 1:1-3, 14), lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22-23; 1 John 3:5) and became a sacrifice for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 2:14) by shedding His own blood as atonement for our sins (Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5). His death was necessary for our salvation (1 Peter 2:24; Colossians 1:20). He was raised from the dead (Romans 1:4; 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to freely justify (Romans 3:24; 5:1-2, 9; Galatians 2:16) and make righteous those who trust in Him (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:5-6; Philippians 3:8-9).
- Faith in Jesus Christ is essential for justification (Ephesians 2:8-9). The repentant sinner (Acts 3:19; 17:30; 26:20) turns his heart from sin (1 Thessalonians 1:9 Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30) follows Jesus (Luke 9:23, 62; John 12:26) and trusts Jesus as Lord and Savior (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9).
- True faith perseveres to the end (Mark 8:34-37; 10:21; Luke 14:26-33; John 12:24-25).
4. Fathers Pursuing Christ train their children to honor and obey
This principle of obeying parents lays the foundation for every other principle about how we should treat our fellow human beings. (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). It also lays the foundation for how one is to obey the Heavenly Father (Ephesians 6:4). Below are some steps of training children to obey:
- Counter the influences of evil behavior with a deep, unconditional love for them
- Use discipline as a means to communicate that love (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 3:11-12; Hebrews 12:5-11)
- Train them to heed your instructions without delay or complaint and transfer that allegiance to God.
- Help them to leave childish folly for Spirit-controlled wisdom (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17).
- Follow the example of Jesus (Luke 2:52).
- Teach them to obey Jesus as their highest authority (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20, 23-24).
- Discern the attitude of the child (Ephesians 6:2) and the attitude of the father (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
5. Fathers Pursuing Christ practice and demonstrate submission (Ephesians 5:19-21)
- Father submits to Christ
- Family submits to father
- Father submits to wife’s needs
- Wife submits to Christ
- Wife submits to the leadership of the husband as granted by God
- Children submit to parent’s authority
- Parents submit to children’s needs
6. Fathers Pursuing Christ love their wives (Ephesians 5:25 ff)
Love is the summarizing duty of fathers. Leadership flows from love. Love is sacrificial (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28; 1 John 3:16; John 15:13; 1 Peter 3:7). Love is purifying (Ephesians 5:25-27). Love is caring (Ephesians 5:28-31; Genesis 2:24). Love is Enduring (Ephesians 5:31; Matthew 19:6)
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