We Are Family- The Father’s Heart
I. Generational Roles and Realities
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5:1)
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
A. Paul’s admonition inspired by the Holy Spirit is that we are to imitate God. Act like Him and mimic Him like children do their own fathers and mothers, so that we learn the Ways of God not just His Acts.
B. We all know that the basic unit of community is family. If family is the basic unit of community then it is fundamental for the protection and survival of a culture. Family has always been under attack by the enemies of God. Family was his idea and design. As a culture degrades and devolves it can be directly related to the condition of the traditional God-designed family structure. Therefore God can even in less than ideal situations place, heal, and restore individuals through His family structure…
C. Within the Body of Christ are fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters all under the head of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. So God takes the lonely and as a Good Father places them into a family that they can learn how to live in His Present/Coming Kingdom.
D. Within each functional family unit, There are wives, husbands, children, and the Lord Himself. Paul by the Holy Spirit gives directives to each family member for its proper functioning.
- Wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord.
- Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
- Children are to obey and honor their parents.
E. Everyone looks for the exception to the rule, or a way out of their circumstance because their partner isn’t upholding their responsibility, instead of trusting the Lord who is in charge of the family to work on their behalf.
F. Roles do not demean or lessen the glory that God intends on bestowing on those individuals walking in them. Our faithfulness in the place He sets us is what we are judged and rewarded upon.
G. Just as this is true in earthly families, We are the Family of God.
II. Fathers are Commanded to…
A. Do not Provoke or Enrage your Children…And ye fathers – A command addressed particularly to “fathers,” because they are at the head of the family, and its government is especially committed to them. The object of the apostle here is, to show parents that their commands should be such that they can be easily obeyed, or such as are entirely reasonable and proper. If children are required to “obey,” it is but reasonable that the commands of the parent should be such that they can be obeyed, or such that the child shall not be discouraged in his attempt to obey. This statement is in accordance with what he had said Eph_5:22-25 of the relation of husband and wife. It was the duty of the wife to obey – but it was the corresponding duty of the husband to manifest such a character that it would be pleasant to yield obedience – so to love her, that his known wish would be law to her. In like manner it is the duty of children to obey a parent; but it is the duty of a parent to exhibit such a character, and to maintain such a government, that it would be proper for the child to obey; to command nothing that is unreasonable or improper, but to train up his children in the ways of virtue and pure religion.
Provoke not your children to wrath – That is, by unreasonable commands; by needless severity; by the manifestation of anger. So govern them, and so punish them – if punishment is necessary – that they shall not lose their confidence in you, but shall love you. The apostle here has hit on the very danger to which parents are most exposed in the government of their children. It is that of souring their temper; of making them feel that the parent is under the influence of anger, and that it is right for them to be so too. This is done: (1) when the commands of a parent are unreasonable and severe. The spirit of a child then becomes irritated, and he is “discouraged;” Col_3:21. (2) when a parent is evidently “excited” when he punishes a child. The child then feels: (a) that if his “father” is angry, it is not wrong for him to be angry; and, (b) the very fact of anger in a parent kindles anger in his bosom – just as it does when two men are contending. (Albert Barnes)
B. Bring them Up…It is fathers’ responsibility to train, teach and set an example just as our Heavenly Father has done. Which means that we cannot simply tell our children what to do or how to live, but we must model it before them.
C. In the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord…Nurture and admonition or Fear of the Lord. As fathers we too must understand what the will of the Lord is and develop a healthy Fear of the Lord. We need to impart this reality to our children and spiritual children by living it openly.
III. The Great Need in the Family
A. I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I beseech you, be imitators of me. For this cause I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved son and faithful in the Lord, who shall remind you of my ways which are in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:14-17)
B. We have a great need for fathers. Those men who have invested themselves in others for the purpose of seeing Christ Jesus formed in them. Those who will withstand the prevailing winds of this age to run from their responsibility and instead entrust themselves to the Hand of the Heavenly Father to create in them His Heart.