I jokingly sent the following Father’s Day sermon outline to a pastor friend who asked me to preach at his church on Sunday morning.
Three C’s of fatherhood are:
- Cultivate athletes
- Create fun
- Come to church
In reality, this isn’t far from our culture’s view of fatherhood, and this deficient view has even crept into the church. Too many wives and mothers sit alone on Sunday morning. A woman begs her husband to come to church. She prays fervently to get him to show up on a Wednesday night. If she can coax him to lead a class one time, she feels like she’s got the next John Piper!
Of course, I’m being facetious, but why are 61% of our churches made up of women? In a country with 97 males for every 100 females, why are so few men and fathers attending a local church? The answer vary, and pragmatism won’t fix the problem. How men can be spiritual leaders in their homes when they’re actively neglecting the local gathering (Hebrews 10:25).
There is a fatherhood crisis in our culture, and it’s a not a social problem. It’s a spiritual problem. God programs aren’t cure, Good News is. The issue is more than mere presence, we have a problem of purpose.
Where have all the fathers gone?
We need fathers in our homes flipping through books and tucking their children in bed. Our children must hear the gospel preached and see God’s power in their homes every day. Little boys long to see their father pursue his wife in ways that movies refuse to portray. Our daughters yearn to see a man who models the biblical standards they’ll one day seek in a husband.
The world needs fathers who believe the gospel and point their children to God’s grace in their obedience as well as their failures. Are you doing your part?
Youtube is a double-edged sword. Anytime an average Joe can film himself on a smartphone and influence people, it’s destined to fail miserably. However, Youtube is great for many reasons, especially my DIY needs. I’m broke and always looking to fix things myself.
When my dishwasher flooded the kitchen floor, some plumber taught me how to replace the gaskets that were leaking. When the dishes wouldn’t come clean, another Youtube plumber taught me how to remove the milling blade and clear out the filters. I wouldn’t call myself a handy man or Mr. Fix It, but I got the job done.
Too often we think the Bible is like Youtube. Something needs to be fixed and we’ve seen plenty of fathers go to church, read the Bible, and do better. It’s a fatal misconception. While Christian bookstores and pulpits across the globe are filled self-help practices and DIY guides guaranteeing results, the reality is that the solution is outside of yourself. There aren’t 10 steps or 5 C’s to become a better dad. Becoming a godly father is often a grueling process of failures and success resembling a rollercoaster rather than a steep ramp.
Fathers, we need the gospel.
”A surefire way to destroy your home is to try to fix it yourself.”
Without the Gospel…
1. Without the gospel, you are dead in your sins. Christ alone brings redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:7), and we are all sinners who have earned the wages of death. Only Christ can bring us the forgiveness we vitally need. Until we believe the gospel and trust in Him, we remain dead (Ephesians 2:1). Not paralyzed. Not weak. Dead. Dead people don’t fix things. A surefire way to destroy your home is to try to fix it yourself.
2. Without the gospel, you are spiritually fatherless. Through Christ, believers have access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). The Holy Spirit—the Spirit of adoption—in us cries out, “Abba, Father” to remind us that we are God’s children. As a child of God you have a loving, caring Father who loved you enough to send His Son to die on the cross for you. God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and faithful toward His children (Psalm 86:15). Until you become God’s child, you are a spiritual orphan.
3. Without the gospel, you have no power. If you want to live a powerless life, live a gospel-less life. You may be able to go to work, pay the bills, and berate your family into submission, but you’ll never have the power to be a godly father. You’re weak and deficient at worst and self-congratulatory and prideful at best. Worst of all, you’ll never be able to obey the clear biblical commands. God’s power works mightily in the heart of every believer, building us together into a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Left to yourself, you can do nothing.
4. Without the gospel, your message is hypocritical. Without believing the gospel yourself, you walk in contradiction each time you call your children to believe the gospel. You can tell them to love God, but you can’t love Him yourself. You aren’t being strengthened through the Spirit to understand the love of Christ that surpasses all understanding. Even a vast theological library and expansive knowledge of scripture won’t be enough to show your children the power of the gospel in your life. Only God can. He does this as you behold Christ and His Spirit transforms you from the inside out (2 Corinthians 3:18). Minus the gospel, your life will be that of a graceless hypocrite.
5. Without the gospel, you’ll have no victory in spiritual warfare. Since the Garden of Eden, we have seen Satan waging all out war on our souls, our families, and our communities. Unarmed and unguarded against our spiritual enemy, we are in a fearful place. In Christ you’re guaranteed victory over sin and Satan—part victory now and ultimate victory when Christ returns. Not only did Jesus disarm Satan and his fallen angels, He has also already marched them around in a victory march broadcasting their shame (Colossians 2:15). He has triumphed over them in His resurrection, and in Him, you have died with Christ and been raised with Him. Arming yourself with only physical weaponry puts you in a losing battle on the defeated team.
“You may be able to go to work, pay the bills, and berate your family into submission, but you’ll never have the power to be a godly father.”
Run To Jesus
You need Christ to make you the father you want to be. If you don’t desire to be a godly father, beg God to give you the right desires. The greatest need for you and for your children is that you know Christ and point them to Him! Don’t try harder in your own strength. You need to drop to the feet of Jesus and cry out for help. Don’t bruise yourself and wallow in the mire of your failure. Instead, set your eyes on the One who bore the cross and despised its shame. Cling to this great Savior who brings forgiveness only through His name!
Take your fatherhood successes and failures to God in prayer. Confess your sins to God and earnestly seek forgiveness Turn from your insufficient fatherhood and cling to the heavenly Father who put perfect fatherhood on display. Pore over the scriptures and be the father God has called you to be.
Fathers, you are needed!
This article was first published at dwellwithchrist.com.