God's truth for today's world

 

Happy Father’s Day! We’re glad that all of you are here to worship with us today. The Bible talks a lot about fathers.

Ephesians 3:14-16 (ESV)  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

We have a heavenly Father and as believers, we are His children. The father of every family in heaven and earth is named after our heavenly Father. The authority and leadership of every earthly father comes from our Father in heaven. These verses tell us that our heavenly Father desires to strengthen earthly fathers with His power through His Spirit. As fathers, we must draw our strength from our heavenly Father.

This morning, I’m going to direct the message to fathers, but everyone can learn from the biblical principles. I encourage every father to open your heart this morning to receive blessing and strength from your heavenly Father, so that you can be a blessing to others.

Today, we begin a new message series called “Growing a Godly Family.” We’re going to be talking about the characteristics that God wants your family to grow in, so that it can be all that God intended. My message is entitled “Persevere as a Father.” As fathers, we need to learn to persevere. To persevere is to make a decision to endure in following God. Persevering means to not give up. To persevere is to be determined in going with God.

2 Peter 1:5-6 (ESV)  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness,

Last Sunday we talked about exercising self-control. Today, we want to learn to add steadfastness or perseverance to our self-control. It doesn’t do much good to exercise self-control for a day or two or a week or two and then go out of control. We must persevere in our self- control in order to grow in God. As fathers, we must persevere as examples and spiritual leaders for our marriages and families. The role of a father is critically important to raise children who will in turn follow God.

A recent study examined the role of the father in the children’s attendance in church when they grew up. If a mother is a regular church attender, but the father is not, the study showed that only 2% of the children became church attenders in adulthood. If the father was a regular church attender, but the mother was not, the study showed that 75% of the children became church attenders in adulthood. So, you see that great importance of the father setting an example for his children. Today, we’re going to talk about how a father can persevere in being a godly leader in his home, church, business and the world.

Draw strength from God

Ephesians 6:10 (ESV)  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

As fathers, we mustn’t rely on our own strength, we’re not strong enough to do what God is calling us to do. We must learn how to be strong in the Lord, to draw our strength from Him.

Live your life with endurance

Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)  … let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith …

This verse speaks of life as a race, a marathon. In the race of life, we must get rid of the sin in our lives, so that we can finish the race. We are to run the particular race of life God has set before us with endurance. The opposite of endurance is lack of endurance. If you don’t have enough endurance, you won’t finish the race. We learn from other Bible passages that to finish the race is to receive the prize of eternal life. As fathers, we are to run the race keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is our example, our strength and our prize at the end of the race. How do we get the strength to finish the race?

Be strong in God’s Word and prayer

Ephesians 6:17-18 (ESV)  and take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

This passage in Ephesians 6 speaks of spiritual warfare. In the list of equipment for God’s warriors, there are only two offensive items. The first is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. We have the strength to battle the enemies of God, as we know and use God’s Word, both in our own lives and for those we are responsible for. Jesus repelled the temptations of Satan by quoting from God’s Word and we must do the same. The second offensive item for God’s soldier is their communication equipment, which is prayer. Through prayer, you receive commands from God and you ask for help when under attack. Notice that God commands us as fathers to keep alert with perseverance in our prayer lives as we for pray other believers.

Application

As a father, God is calling you to be strong in His strength. To be strong in God’s strength is to live your life seeking to follow God in every aspect. As a father, God calls you to be a spiritual leader as husband, as father to your children, in the church and in your work. You can fulfill that calling by being strong in God’s Word and prayer. Lead your family in at least a weekly Bible study at home. Pray with your wife. Get involved in ministry in the church. In the years to come, your children will follow your lead, for better or worse. Make it for better, as you are strong in the Lord.

Be a warrior for God

2 Corinthians 10:3 (ESV)  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

As a father who draws his strength from God, God calls you to be a warrior for Him. We’re not talking about being a soldier in the US Army persay, but a warrior in God’s army. God call you as a father to wage war not with physical weapons but with spiritual weapons.

Use divine weapons

2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

The weapons that God makes available to us are supernatural weapons that have the power to demolish strongholds. The strongholds spoken of in this verse are spiritual strongholds. Spiritual strongholds are areas of persistent sinful behavior or thoughts in a person’s life. Strongholds can be areas of addiction to substances or simply habitual sinful behavior in our attitudes and actions. Strongholds are created in the areas of our weakness to temptation. Everyone has strongholds in their lives that need to be destroyed. As a father, you are responsible to destroy strongholds, first of all in your own life, but also in the lives of the rest of your family.

Destroy opposition to God’s truth

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV)  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

These demonic strongholds in people’s lives are supported by arguments, opinions and thoughts that are contrary to the truth of God’s Word. As God’s warrior, as a godly father, you need to be able to destroy the foundation of those strongholds with the truth of God’s Word and the power of God’s Spirit. Again, you need to take every thought captive in your own mind, as well as dealing with the strongholds in the lives of your family, your relatives, workmates and neighbors.

Application

God has especially built men to be warriors. That’s why men are competitive and so into sports. The Bible says that physical exercise is of some benefit. So engaging in sports is certainly a worthwhile pursuit. But using your thumb on the remote does not really qualify as physical exercise, does it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with watching a sports game or two. I enjoyed watching the NBA Finals, even though I’m not much of a basketball fan. Yet as fathers, we must engage in a real battle for God. A battle that has eternal consequences, both for your family and those God has put into your life.

As God’s warrior, what is the goal? The goal is to rescue people from captivity in Satan’s strongholds, to see people saved, added to the church and growing in God. That’s who God created you to be, that’s what God created you to do. That’s where the real action and excitement is. Get in the battle, be a warrior for God.

Keep your focus on the goal

Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV)  Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

As we persevere in our lives in serving God, we must keep our focus on the goal. The goal is to receive the promise of God, the reward of God at the end of the race, at the end of the battle. Your confidence, your faith in God must be maintained through the battle. Don’t throw it away, don’t lose faith or confidence. If you do, you will lose your reward, you won’t receive the promise. So, we must have endurance. We do the will of God and we keep on doing His will throughout our lives. We keep on believing until the end, keeping our eyes on the goal.

Decide to endure to the end

2 Timothy 2:12-13 (ESV)  if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;  if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

In this sobering passage, God’s Word makes the goal of our lives very clear. If we endure throughout life, if we persevere in serving God and don’t give up, we will reign with Christ in the life to come as an overcomer. What’s the opposite of enduring? It’s denying Christ. What does it mean to deny Christ? It means to give up on serving Him, it means to stop believing, it means to deny that Jesus is worth living and fighting for. What is the consequence of denying Jesus in this life? The consequence is that Jesus will deny that He knows you at the judgement. You will spend eternity apart from Him in hell. If someone denies Him and is faithless, it’s not God’s fault. He remains faithful, His promises and word are true. You must endure to the end in order to reign with Christ in eternal life.

Believe God will help you finish

Philippians 1:6 (ESV)  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

The good news is that we’re not in this alone with our own strength. God began a good work in you as a believer, and He will work in you to complete that work, as you continue to walk with Him. Give God free reign in your life, to keep on working. Far too many people think they’ve arrived, that they know everything there is to know about God and the Bible. They are unteachable.

So many people, think that if they hear something different to what they’ve believed in the past, it must be false. Yet, the standard we are to measure the truth is not within us, it’s not what we’ve believed in the past or our parents have believed. The standard by which we are to measure truth and the means by which God does His good work in our lives is God’s Word. For God to complete His work in your life, you must be a continual learner of God’s Word. Keep your focus on the goal.

Application

Our personal focus is to be on finishing the race ourselves. But is that all there is? If that was all there was, what is the point of God keeping you alive? Why not just take you to heaven immediately when you got saved? The reason that you and I are still alive on this planet as believers, is that God wants to use us as warriors in the battle with the kingdom of darkness. The battle that we are engaged in is the battle for the souls of people, that more people would be saved and come into the kingdom of God.

You are responsible as a father that your spouse, your children and your grand-children are saved. You are responsible that neighbors, workmates, relatives and others in your circle of influence become believers. There are so many things that distract us from the goal, from the reason God saved us. Let’s keep our focus on eternity. Let’s make sure we endure to the end and that we take as many people with us as possible into heaven.

Conclusion

Today, we’ve spoken to fathers about persevering in following God, but the message applies to everyone us. We must draw our strength from God in running the race of life. God calls us as warriors to fight in the cosmic battle between light and darkness. We use divine weapons to destroy opposition to God’s truth. The goal of our lives, the goal of the battle is that we endure to the end and reign with Christ. The goal is that not only do we endure, but we bring many others along with us. As God’s warriors, we should rescue many who are captives of the kingdom of darkness and see them saved, brought into the kingdom of God. May each of us continue to grow in the knowledge of God and perseverance.

Message Outline & Study Guide

Growing a Godly Family Series

Responding to Abortion
Train Your Children
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