Father’s Day – the picture of the earthly father as an image bearer of God has been marred almost without recognition.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says:
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And here, in God’s early words to His people, we see His heart for the family and fathers.
If we are fathers, the most important lesson we teach our kids is about a heavenly Father who will consistently pursue them with love, firmness, grace, holiness, compassion, mercy, and consistency. Dads: our fatherhood is to be a shadow of the ultimate fatherhood of God – not perfect, but a reflection that can be colored in by the Holy Spirit and God’s common grace.
So, put down the smartphone and pick up the Bible and read it to your kids. Be engaged and attentive with your family. Romance your wife, invest in your kids, and remember that you can’t be significant in the world until you are significantly investing in the lives of your children and family. Stop allowing sexual temptation to devalue women, rob our families, and destroy the hearts of our wives. We are called to love our wives like Christ loves the church. That means loving your precious, image-bearer of God even when the daily routine of life seems boring, even when her sin makes her unlovable, even when she wounds our ego, and even when she doesn’t respect us. ‘Til death do us part.’
We do this because our marriages are a picture of the gospel. Our wives and our children need our presence and our dependence on God. This is a picture the world needs more than our rhetoric.
Single men, men who have an empty nest, or men who aren’t an earthly father – you still have the grand opportunity to make a difference. Don’t waste your days fogged with video games, immaturity, or laziness. Model hard work, integrity, and be a big brother to kids in need. You are still a representative of the character of the fatherhood of God, even if there are not children in your home.
But why is this so important?
Psalm 68:5 says:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.
Tim Keller says, “In this world the strong eat the weak. But God’s strength is seen in His care for the weak in Psalm 68:5, so we should be famous for sacrificially loving the poor and marginalized. This reflects the gospel itself, for God does not call people to earn salvation by their own strength. He came in weakness to die for His people… God created people to thrive best in families.”
Beloved, as we look at Father’s Day let us remember that God’s grace is good, deep, rich, and powerful. He is the father to the fatherless, the oppressed, the poor, the needy, the stranger, the widow, the orphan, and all of us wretched sinners.
Galatians 4:4-7 says:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Both men and women are characterized in this passage as having the rights of “sons,” because with sonship comes the right of inheritance. The Greek word for “sons,” huioi is a legal term used in the adoption and inheritance laws of first-century Rome. As used by Paul here and elsewhere in his letters (Rom. 8:14–16, 23), this term refers to the status of all Christians, men and women, who, having been adopted into God’s family, now enjoy all the privileges, obligations, and inheritance rights of God’s children.
Because we are His sons, we wear His name and we share His gospel with the nations as ambassadors of Christ. We are given 4 marks of sonship through our spiritual adoption that I hope we can savor this Father’s Day:
1) The ability to cry out to our Father
Because of our sonship, we have the ability to not only cry out, and not only to be heard, but to be answered. “Cry out” means a loud cry full of passion and feeling. This is a child crying out for their parents. Our children cry out, because they know that we will listen and respond.
One of the hardest realities when I first began at Lifeline was walking into an orphanage full of children expecting it to be loud and out of control with crying and yelling. Instead, inside most orphanages all you hear is silence. Children have lost their voices, because they have been trained that just because they cry, it doesn’t mean someone will listen and come.
Beloved, if you are a child of God today, you have the ability and the privilege to cry out to your Father. When life is hard, cry out to Him because He will listen and because He hears His children. But spiritual adoption doesn’t just grant the believer the ability to cry out, it also grants the believer…
2) Access to speak to our Father
We have access to the Creator, Author, Owner, and Sustainer of the Universe, because He is our Daddy. What a beautiful thing to be the children of God.
We don’t give speeches to our parents or approach them extremely formally. In the same way, we can be spontaneous and come to God in prayer with warmth, passion, and freedom, but yet with reverence and respect. Spiritual adoption also grants the believer…
3) The abiding presence of our Father
God is present. He is near to us. Just as a child calls out to their parent, they are heard because the parents are present.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
At the end of the Bible, John sees the fulfillment of all things in Revelation 21. As God’s children we sometimes fight against our sonship, just like newly adopted kids sometimes wrestle with their acceptance into a new family. Sometimes we have spiritual amnesia and we act as if we have no Heavenly Father. As we see in Revelation, God will consummate our adoption and we will truly understand we are the Children of Almighty God standing in His presence.
Revelation 21:6 says:
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
The presence of God is the greatest gift of confidence that comes from our adoption. No matter what you are going through we have confidence and abiding hope because the sovereign King of the universe gives us His abiding presence. Lastly, Spiritual adoption grants the believer . . .
4) An intimate relationship with our Father
The name “Abba” for God the Father denotes intimacy. We have assurance of the love of God, in the same way a baby doesn’t doubt or question the love of his parents. The Father sees us as He sees Jesus, because we have been assigned the rights, position, and benefits of only sons of the father.
Therefore, we do not rely on our works to earn God’s favor, we rest in the sonship which is ours through the atoning life of Christ. We work, because we have a deep affection for the Father because of how He has lavishly loves us.
In light of these truths, how will we respond this Father’s Day? Will we abide by the systems of the world and adapt to the cultural norms or will we live radically different lives? Will our lives emulate the character of God by joining the cause of Christ to defend the fatherless?
Joshua 24:14-15 says:
Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
**Join us as Herbie Newell shares with us some great insight about the responsibility of men to live as image bearers and not like the culture in today’s world. Listen to this episode of The Defender Podcast here.