June 14 – Paul’s example for Fathers

June 14, 2022 Randy Bushey

~by Randy Bushey

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children  (1 Thessalonians 2:11).

On the occasion of entering the Promised Land, the Lord gave vital instruction to Hebrew parents.

The purpose was twofold:

– to be diligent to live out their faith within family units to achieve the objective of having the children make the faith of their parents, their own.

– and ultimately, seeing that faith in God perpetuated in the lives of subsequent generations.

And so the Lord instructed through Moses:

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you…(Deuteronomy 6:1,2).

So how does a 21st century father go about influencing his kids for Christ? How do we impart to the next generation(s) the commands, decrees and laws of the Lord?

Paul – not a father himself, but clearly possessing strong fatherly instincts – uses himself as a paternal example.

The late British Bible teacher John Stott makes an interesting observation about balance: “Even though [Paul] was the champion of theological orthodoxy, he declares that love is superior to knowledge, since knowledge puffs up while love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1)”.

The great Apostle recognized that parallels exist between the duties of a father and Paul’s pastoral care for the Thessalonian church.

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children (1 Thessalonians 2:11).

So what does that paradigm look like? How can we as contemporary fathers and grandfathers imitate that model?

The apostle explains in the next verse:

encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory (v.12).

Let’s examine those first 3 terms to better understand practical application.

Encouraging is the Greek word parakaleo. This compound word combines para – beside or along with, and kaleo – to call. So fathers need to arouse their kids to biblical learning by calling them alongside for instruction, advice, exhortation and admonishing.

Too often, men expect this task to be performed by mothers, or by the church. But God holds we men as primarily responsible and for this we will give an account.

And the Lord directs us to do this effectively; not in an overbearing and judgmental way, but carefully, deliberately and joyfully taking up the task He has assigned.

 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Comforting is an English word that has evolved in meaning over time. We might think of comforting a child by giving her a stuffed teddy bear. However, the word originally was used consistent with its Latin derivation.

The key is the suffix forte. Musicians are familiar with this term instructing strength, force and power to produce increased volume and artistic authority.

That’s the picture here: to comfort and to calm, but to do so with force. In other words, by approaching to console with strength and support.

Urging translates the Greek word that is often translated witness or testify. My own father silently testified to the Lordship of Christ in his life by consistently providing the example of reading and studying his Bible. Even today in his late 80s, he commences each day with an open Bible. For as long as I can remember, He always has.

We need to remember that spiritual examples – or witnesses – testify by what we say, but sometimes more by what we do – the example we leave.

We are tasked with encouraging, comforting and urging our kids as they grow through the phases of childhood, adolescence and beyond.

Our objective is to see them live lives worthy of God.

We must be deliberate. We need to be intentional. We need to develop a plan to make this habitual.

Takeaway: In so doing, we impress on our children and grandchildren the importance and relevance of a biblical worldview, and the wonderful privilege of serving the Ultimate Master, Jesus Christ our Lord by

Our stated purpose: to do everything within the scope of our limited ability to see the next generation live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

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