Friday, April 22, 2011

The Goal of Fathers

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NKJV)
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

In our text today Paul reminds the Thessalonians of his conduct among them – and he uses the metaphor of a father. In so doing, Paul gives us a vision of fatherhood that we will consider for the next couple weeks. Today I would like us to observe that Paul helps us understand the goal of fatherhood: “You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe…” What is the goal of fathers? To live devoutly, justly, and blamelessly among those who believe. This is our calling. As fathers in Israel we are to set a standard that all others can witness and follow.

First, we are to live devoutly. We are to models of love for God, love for His law, love for His people. We are to be the ones encouraging our wives and children to grow in their love for the things of God – for His law, for His people. And the principal way in which we encourage this is by modeling it – loving the Lord, loving to read His Word and to pray, loving the singing of the psalms, loving fellowship. We are to live devoutly.

Second, we are to live justly. We are to be models of justice and fair-mindedness, listening carefully to complaints and judging justly based on the principles found in God’s word. We are not to be blinded by our own prejudices; we are not to delight in our own opinions. We are to be steadfastly loyal to the principles of God’s Word. We are to live justly.

Third, we are to live blamelessly. We are to listen to the Word of God and implement it in our lives. We are to live above reproach. Our standard is not that we be cool or that we be hip or that we be fashionable or that we be politically correct or that we be conservative or that we be liberal. Our standard is that we be blameless – clinging tenaciously to the Word of God. We are to live blamelessly.

This, then, is the goal of fatherhood: to live devoutly and justly and blamelessly among those who believe. How can we possibly live this way? Only by the grace of God who calls us into His kingdom and glory. He is the One who must work in and through us to glorify His Name. In ourselves we are not capable to live this way – but by the grace of God we can.

Reminded of our calling to live devoutly, justly, and blamelessly before the Lord and before His people, let us confess our failure to do so to the Lord. We will confess our sins privately and then corporately using the printed confession found in your bulletin. Let us kneel together as we confess.