What is a kingdom-minded father? We have to understand the context in which this letter was written.
The culture was called Hellenists. The fathers/husbands were revered as the dominant figure and had absolute control in the house while the rest of the family were viewed as the Fathers’ subordinates and were typically abusive to their wives. Reports even show that some fathers would sell their kids and even kill them without being charged a crime. Many would just abandon their children in the city. So Paul is writing to men and women in a church that was in a culture that had a picture of fatherhood and parenthood that was all kinds of messed up.
Fathers actually built their families and set them up as if it were their own kingdom. The crazy thing is, is that some will and have read this passage of scripture and use it to support the very thing that Paul was telling the Ephesian church to challenge.
Men will read this verse and see it says “wives submit to your husbands” and will stop there.
Women will look at the same verse and ask what’s wrong with religion as its oppressive to women!
And what we need to see and what we will see today is that God loves Fathers and Mothers and has uniquely designed the home to be a place that declares His glory! Men and women are created with equal value in the eyes of God with specific roles that were made to complement one another and help each other for the sake of God’s glory to display His kingdom and not their own.
Since today is Fathers Day I am mainly going to speak to fathers from this passage of scripture and highlight our role in the house as God has designed it. Not to build your own kingdom but to see your house and your family as a means to build Gods kingdom.
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”
Headship here is used as synonymous with leadership. Paul is saying that God has called the family to subject themselves to the leadership of the father.
I want to be clear here that Paul is not using submission as a negative word but he is saying “willing submission” not “forced submission.” That does not mean that men are not called to submission as well. Look at verse 21 – Paul ends his call to all believers to submit to one another. What this means is that we are to willfully want the best for one another and put the wants and desires of others before our own.
This is the call for women and men.
But here is the deal…Fathers your leadership is necessary for your family to progress forward! God has called men to lead the home and show the family where they are going!
They need the head in order to go where God wants them to go!
Here is the deal…you are leading your family one way or another….you can either lead them accidentally or you can lead them intentionally. Where are you leading your family?
Most children and families learn by watching their fathers more so than they do listening to them. The way you live, spend your time, speak to your wife, what you watch all…lead your family whether you like it or not!
“Do what I say, not what I do”…is not a biblical proverb…Fathers we are called to intentionally lead families!
How are we to lead? Paul says as Christ lead the church.
Jesus leads the church through service.
Jesus saidin Matthew 20:25-28 Matthew 20:25-28 English Standard Version (ESV)
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a]27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b] 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
This is how Jesus lead the church. He led it by serving the church.
Jesus healed the blind, washed the disciples feet, he fed thousands.
This is the example of leadership that fathers should model for their families. By serving through leadership.
**Leadership is demonstrated through submission to Christ! It is hard for a woman to trust and submit to a man who does not trust and submit his life to Jesus Christ.
To be a leader in our homes we must submit and follow Jesus Christ. Then our families can trust that we know we are going leading them as we follow Christ.
Listen men God is calling you to be intentional leaders in your homes leading your family to grow in Christ likeness and lead them to the kingdom of God.
Paul says in verse 16 Make the best use of time because the days are evil. Intentionally use your time to lead your family.
5:25 says, “Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
**God is Calling you fathers to love your wives like Christ lives the church.
Fathers, one of the greatest things you can do for your children is to love your wives.
I wish that was all we could say…Just love them.
Some of you might say you love your wives but the way to treat them and talk to them communicates to your children something different than love.
Paul says, love your wives!
How? As Christ loved the church. And gave himself up for her.
Do you see what Christ like love looks like.
It looks like a laying down of your life for your wife.
A self-sacrificing love.
Paul goes on and says love your wife like you love your own body.
Just think about what Paul is saying here!
We naturally provide for, care for, nurture, feed, give, justify, everything for ourselves don’t we!
I mean we are willing to fight, and pitch a fit, and abandon our entire families to get what we want for ourselves!
We should love our families in this way! Do you live this way for your wife…..Or are her wants and desires an inconvenience to you getting what you want?
Do you fathers love your children in this way. Willing to lay down your life for them.
That means if its game day and you haven’t spent quality time with your family all week saying I am going to lay down my preferences, die to myself in order to spend time with them.
Here is The most loving thing you can do for your family…. Surrender your life to Jesus and walk in daily relationship with him. Did you hear what I said? Don’t miss it! Kingdom fathers surrender their lives daily to Jesus.
They do all they can to get alone and spend time with the Lord in prayer and in his word.
We do this out of love for him and out of love for our families. We need Christ in order to be kingdom minded. To protect us from our desires getting in the way of leading and loving our family.
I once heard someone say this. He said I always thought that I was willing to fight for my family. If someone, an intruder came into my home to harm my family…I love them enough to protect them.
But do you love them enough to protect them from the sinfulness inside you?
Do you love them enough to protect them from the man who passively ignores them, who quickly gets annoyed with them and is condescending? To Protect them from the man who insults his wife and kids?
Do you love them enough to protect them from you?
We need to daily surrender our lives to Christ and his will in order to love our families the way Christ loves us.
I love that when I prepare for a sermon and get to feeling so self-righteous I am immediately tested in every way!
Story about Wednesday waking up grumpy and Casey asking me what’s wrong…I thought whats wrong with me..whats wrong with you…Im like Oh you must be in a bad mood!
But this passage of scripture came to my mind…How you respond to this is supposed to lead Casey and your girls as well as demonstrate the love of Christ! So I just smiled and said Im just really tired and tried to love on her. Some would think that’s fake but I felt like I was trying to be obedient to Gods word over expressing how I felt!
I would like to say this is how I respond all of the time but its not…thankfully I was In the word and studying this passage.
A kingdom father loves his family enough to lay down his life for his wife and children to walk in likeness of Christ in order to protect them from even the sinfulness within us.
I love that women are called to submit to their husbands who are willing to lay down their lives for them. We make it hard for them to submit to us don’t we? But it’s easier to submit to someone who willingly gives up their own lives for their sake.
6:4 says Fathers do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Paul says that God has called Fathers to disciple their family.
He says don’t provoke them to anger…One way that we can avoid provoking our children to anger would be to lead them and love them which is a part of discipleship.
He says bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
The Greek word for” bring them up” is in the Imperative which means that this is a command from God.
Discipline here is not a negative word. It has the same root word for disciple. We are called as believers to make disciples of all nations but our first call and responsibilities is to disciple our children.
Here are 4 ways that we can intentionally disciple our children.
Read Gods word with them.
Pray with them
Work with them
Play with them
Paul says that we are to instruct them. Does this mean just instruct them in anything?
Well in a sense yes, we need to teach our children and transfer knowledge that we have accrued but Paul says what we are to instruct them with…He says the instruction of the Lord.
We are to teach our children and our wives Gods word. Paul actually says in verse 26 that we are to wash our wives in the word…Cleansing them nourishing them with Gods word…The same is understood with children.
***The only really life giving resource we have as fathers is Gods word!!!
This does not happen passively.
This happens intentionally.
Story about Campbell lying this week. Ask mommy for forgiveness…Mommy forgave. I said Just the way that mommy forgave, Jesus will always forgive you. Don’t be afraid to ask for forgivness from Jesus. And always tell the truth! Its better to tell the truth! I thought I don’t know if she is listening but Its my job to teach…next day she ran into the kitchen…its good to tell the truth!!
Listen I have to tell you that this culture is not passive about teaching your children and wives what to believe.
In fact they are furious about it and extremely intentional and we live in a world that is inundated with whatever information we want we can google and just ask our phones and we can have it.
Now how do we decipher what is true from all this information? If only God would give someone who would lovingly lead our families to know what is true…oh wait he has!! He has Called us as fathers to train up our children to know what is true.
Ive heard parents say I don’t want to force my children to believe one way or another so I let them figure things out on their own.
First of all thats a load of horse poo. You teach a child not to touch a hot stove, not to bully other kids, you teach them how important it is to show love to others and care for the poor etc and etc….you force them to get up and go to school every morning to learn that way…you teach them how to work hard…
The problem is you don’t know what is true because either you haven’t truly surrendered your life to Christ or just have not been intentional about learning the truth of Gods word.
A loving father …a kingdom father gives his children instruction in Gods word.
Its not unloving to tell your children about the good news of Jesus Christ and to give them direction in Gods word!
That’s like saying I am going to drop my child off in the woods with no compass, no protection from predators, no map, no anything and say…find your way home little Johnny…its better for you to figure it out on your own!! No that’s not loving….thats abuse and insane!!!
“Show me a father who disciples his child and I will show you a father who loves his child. Show me a father who doesn’t disciple his children and I will show you a father who doesn’t love his children.”
Hebrews 12:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Fathers… ultimately families….. God has ordained you to be a kingdom minded for the purpose of demonstrating who he is in this culture.
All of these attributes are to display Gods relationship to his people.
The purpose for submission from wives Paul says is as to the Lord
Husbands love your wives, as Christ loves the church.
Fathers our families are supposed to be a reflection of who Christ is and his love for you and me!
***This is why I believe that satan goes after families and especially tries to distract fathers and get them to disengage from their families. He tries to keep fathers out of churches and in bars, ball games, and business!
He knows the effectiveness for Gods kingdom when Fathers lead, love, and disciple their families for the glory of God.
This is more than just putting them in church and private school…these things are good but just meant to be supplemental to support what we are doing in our homes.
But you can start now.
Read with your family
Pray with your family
Work with your family
Play with your family.
My seminary president says “have fun with your kids and talk about Jesus a lot!!!!” You need to but know what you are talking about.
Last thing really quick…
Kingdom Fathers Lean on Christ
Before I get into my last point I want to talk to the single mothers in the room!
I just want to encourage you that Gods grace is sufficient for you. God see’s you in your loneliness. He knows that you are bearing the weight of two roles. I don’t pretend to know the hurt, or struggle but I just want to encourage you that the best thing you can do as a single mother without a father in the home for whatever reason is to point your children to you heavenly father who will never leave them or forsake them.
Also, you need to model to your children that your identitiy is in Jesus being enough for you and that having a man in your life does not define you but Christ is enough.
I always point to Timothy who was Paul’s disciple, who had a father who wasn’t a believer but his mother and grandmother were known as being faithful and God used that in Timothies life and called him out to be a faithful pastor. So your singleness or circumstances do not limit the extent in which God can use your faith in him in your children.
Children without fathers…you have a heavenly father who is the best father who will never leave you nor forsake you! He is the best Father and has modeled love for us in a way no other eartly father can.
Kingdom Fathers Lean on Christ
The truth is that none of us can get this right all of the time.
But there is someone who did and that is Jesus Christ.
God is our heavenly father who sent his son to live the life that we could never live. So when we fail….fail well and point to Jesus as your savior.
Ask for forgiveness from your family and show them that daddy needs a savior just like everyone else and God is faithful to save us.
We don’t get our strength to be Kingdom fathers from ourselves we get it from the Spirit who transforms us into his image.
We must lean on the strength of Gods Holy Spirit to equip us.
So everymorning I wake up before my family and I spend an hour in the word and in prayer. Im not saying this to pat myself on the back I say this because I know how I am when I am not in Gods word and that is not a good version of me. I need Jesus’ strength every day.
Sometimes when I have a bad day just emotionally or whatever I do what I heard a pastor call a driveway prayer.
I pull in and I say Lord give me the strength I need to pour out my life for my family. Fill me up so I can pour myself out.
I want to be known as a Father who puts Christs kingdom above my own. I want my children… when they lay me to rest to say my Daddy didn’t get everything right but what he did was live for Jesus and his kingdom.
God has called you today men to start being Kingdom fathers!
Your main job is to point to Christ!!!
5:1 Says be imitators of GOD!! Walk in love as Christ loves us
MPM: God has called fathers to be kingdom-minded to reflect his glory to a dark culture.
To lead like Christ, live like Christ, disciple like Christ, and lean on Christ.
Imagine if we had a church full of fathers who answered this call to be kingdom minded fathers what impact we could make on our city!
If we could disciple men who would put Christ first…I would love to see annistown Road begin a movement of men who lived kingdom minded for their families….what if we helped stopped the fatherlessness in our generation!
What if we were a part of ending abuse, divorce rate in our city, and equipped men to be kingdom minded!! Oh that we would see the kingdom of God come in our families for the glory of God among our city and in our culture!
Fathers It starts with you! Follow jesus! Surrender your life to him…take up your cross daily and follow him!! He is your strength! He is your purpose!