Ephesians 6:1-4

•A Holiday Special

A Special Day

•Today marks another holiday in our culture
– Holidays are days set apart to remember something
•Fatherhood is something which our broader society at best neglected, at worst rejected
– Like motherhood, fatherhood has been taking a beating
–All to often fathers are seen as bumbling fools
•Like mothers, fathers and fatherhood need defending
– It is not only in need of defending, but also of understanding
–Where can we go to understand the importance of fatherhood?
–Are we to accept the cultures understanding?

A Special Day (2)

•If fatherhood is a social construct, then we would be unable to say anything more about it
–  But if it is not, then we should have some evidence of what it looks like outside of our society
– Do the Scriptures provide us information on fatherhood?
– Does it discuss an understanding of fatherhood…not just a social construct, but ingrained within humanity as we are created by God?
– Do the Scriptures say anything?
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

(Ephesians 6:1-4, ESV)

Obedience and Honor

•Children are to obey their parents
– Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12, ESV)
–The promise is that they would have a long and blessed life
– Obedience to our parents clearly has importance to God
– He wants us to honor our parents by obeying them
•That does not mean fathers are to act in anyway they want
– This does not give fathers free reign
•Instead, we are told they are not to provoke their children to anger
– Fathers should refrain from doing this which would cause scorn
– The goal is to, “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Discipline and Instruction

•Paul does not say “do not discipline”
– He calls on fathers to bring up their children in the Lord
– The Lord disciplines, and chastens those whom He loves (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6)
– The goal is not for us to hate, but to see the difference between right and wrong
– Discipline teaches us when we are wrong so we can be in the right
• It does not end with discipline
– Fathers are to bring up their children in instruction of the Lord
– This means fathers have a responsibility to teach and train children
• What does it require?
– That we should learn more about God
– It will not do for us to be stagnant, but are to continue to grow in our own personal pursuit of knowing God

Fathers who know God

•Not only in the mind or reason which we can train and give understanding
– But by walking with God we can show the way they can relate
– We give an example to our children so they can further understand their own relationship with God as well
•Fathers are called to be instructors
– This is a common theme found in many places in the Bible

8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, 9 for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. (Proverbs 1:8-9)

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching.  

(Proverbs 4:1-2)

Fathers as Instructors

•We saw how Paul had the same concept when describing fathers as instructors
•Consider society
– Who teaches?
– The educators are the knowledgeable ones who have all the information
– Parents, are not often seen as instructors
– Providers, yes, but the Scriptures are clear that fatherhood involves teaching
• Fathers are important for our development
– They are the foundations on which knowledge begins
– How they train us will have repercussions for the rest of our lives
– Fathers have a responsibility to make sure they are training their children in the right and good ways of the Lord

Fathers as Instructors

• In times past it was not uncommon for fathers to instruct their children in catechisms
– We can think of youths who pick up on such depth as bright
– Such catechisms were done with the whole family
• It rests more with the parents than the child
– When parents cease caring about teaching their children…then they will be trained elsewhere
– They had instructed children in wisdom, the Bible, in beautiful texts of Church history
• Many tell me how things have changed in society
– Many children today continue to find their meaning, purpose, and value…in what the culture and educational systems instill in them
– It is imperative for father's to be instructors in the ways of God, otherwise their children will find answers somewhere else

Fathers Must Do Better

• Fathers cannot shirk our responsibilities
– Our wives are brilliant, beautiful, and wise, it does not mean we can slack off
– The educational system has shown that it relies on what is psychologically and sociologically in vogue rather than the truth
•  This has led to a major problem
– We have failed to protect our children by training them in what they will encounter
– We must stand firm on what we know is true and teach the truth to our children

What we’ve learned thus far

• We see a few things, then, from these verses
– Fathers are to be honored
– Fathers are to be disciplinarians
– Fathers are to seek greater knowledge of God
– Fathers are to be in relationship with God
– Fathers are to be instructors
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know shim who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

(I John 2:12-14, ESV)

“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”

(I Timothy 5:1-2, ESV)

Spiritual Fathers

•We’re in need
– Younger generations of men are in need of seeing men of faith who persevere
– Those who seek obedience to God by loving their wives and teach their own children
• You older men are our father’s of the faith
– You must make your shoulders strong for the next generation
–Whether biological or not it does not change the fact that you are father’s to the younger generations

Spiritual Fathers (2)

•Further hope 1
– Lets say you didn’t have the greatest dad growing up
– Here in the Church, by God’s grace, you will find fathers who will care for you, watch over you, love you, and cherish you, instructing you in the faith
• Further hope 2
– Within the Church there is always redemption
– Here you can learn how to be better not only to biological children, but also your spiritual children
– You can continue to grow, knowing I Christ change is possible
• Further hope 3
– It gives each of us hope knowing we are not alone
– Though we struggle, we see those whom God has kept in His grace
– This should give us peace

Spiritual Fathers (3)

•Further hope 4
– Even if you have no biological children, in the Church you find children aplenty
– You, elder man of the Church, are father figures to each of us
– Even those who have no children become fathers in the Church
– God redeems childlessness in His congregation
– Praise God for this!

Our Great Father

•“Our Father who art in heaven”
– The concept of God being our Father is strong in the Scriptures
– It stems from Christ, it is through Him we are able to pray to our God as our Father
• This has direct ramifications for us
– We are no longer merely created beings, but are God’s children
– This is not the case with all people, but instead for those who are in Christ (see Romans 8)
– There is no love as complete as the love of God the Father for the Son
– This same love is given to us
• Thus, above all in the Church, is our great God, our Father
– We are to reflect Him to our children

Our Great Father

•We have the greatest teacher
– It is God Himself
– It also means no matter the circumstances we are never fatherless if we are in Christ
•This also reminds us that fatherhood is not something trivial
– It is a reflection of God Himself
– It is no small thing to be a father
– Instead, it is a high calling, a great blessing
– Because of this we should strive to be the best fathers we can for the glory of Christ

Our Great Father

• We can reflect these things onto our children
– For our young boys who will become familiar with strength, wisdom, knowledge, grace, peace, and love
– Our young girls who will learn to walk in the same ways
– Who will then seek our such men for marriage because they will be familiar to them
– There is no better medicine for our broken world than familiarizing our children with these things


•Fatherhood is no easy thing
– It comes with heartaches, with sorrow
– Our hearts break for our children knowing the experiences and the hurts this life can bring
– If that be the case, if our children must face a dark world, then let us continue to shine the light of Christ on them
•My hope is the same as with mother’s day
– That we would remember our fathers
– All those men who have watched over us
– No Christian is without cause of praise for fatherhood
• Today, celebrate fathers
– Pray for them for wisdom
– Encourage them to remain faithful in what God has called of them as fathers
– Honor them in that calling