Lets The Fathers Arise
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Genesis 18:18-19
Sunday 15th June 2014
Over the last two Sundays, we have been studying the power of effective prayer from the series, ‘Prayer that Changes Circumstances’. We take a short break from the series this week and pick it up again next week, as we celebrate Father’s Day today. I believe God wants to encourage and challenge fathers with today’s message.
Firstly, let me begin this message by celebrating all our fathers. Thank you for your leadership at home, your sacrifices, your love, for impacting the next generation, and for being world changers. Thank you for your godly influence and for being a solution to the problems of our world. Thank you for partnering with God in raising the next generation. God’s word makes it abundantly clear that ‘as goes the fathers, so goes the wife, the children, the homes, the community and the nation – a direct measure of the power and the influence that fathers carry.
On one hand, as we celebrate fathers for their contribution to humanity and the changes they have effected as a result of their influence, additionally I have an assignment to call men to embrace their fatherhood status wholeheartedly. Our world is in dire need of fathers – Fatherlessness is the most destructive trend of our generation, today. Fatherlessness is more destructive than drug addiction, gang problems, corruption and other social ills. The absence of fathers have been linked to most social nightmares, implying that if we can sort out fatherhood issues, we can successfully address most social ills in society today.
In Genesis 18:18-19, God spoke about Abraham and the role given to him to raise the next generation: “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised” (NLT). The primary role of fathers is to direct the family in the way of the Lord.
The outcome of a person’s life is intricately linked to the level of fatherhood experienced during childhood and adolescence, and needless to say that the world is in the condition that it is today, because there are not enough fathers to show their children the way of the Lord. Fatherhood is the solution to all the personal, social and national problems that we have in the world. There is no substitute for fatherhood; it is such a unique role. This uniqueness is highlighted by Jesus when he introduced God to us as our Heavenly Father in Matthew 6:6-13, especially when we approach God in prayer. Most of our doubts and struggles when praying will be obliterated once we embrace this concept of God being our Father. Just as it is almost impossible to ignore the requests of our children when they ask, rightly so, because of the existing Parent-Child relationship we have with them, so also it is with God.
Some of us approach God formally, with deep reverence and respect; some even approach Him with fear and trepidation; a false perception that He is out to get them. You need to change that perspective as God is a loving Father. As a father, he cares for you, and believes the very best in you; He carries you when you can’t carry on; he nurtures you and protects you.
Probably while growing up, your earthly father mistreated and abused you; don’t let that experience affect the image of God in your heart. Knowing God as your father is the highest and intimate level of relationship you could develop with God.
We are exhorted to celebrate and honour fathers in scriptures. Here is Exodus 20:12: ‘Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land, which the Lord your God is giving you’. Ephesians 6:2-3 also highlights the importance of this commandment, by emphasizing that it is the first commandment with promise. To honour is to respect, esteem, admire, encourage, elevate, magnify, celebrate, appreciate and recognise. It is imperative that we recognise and appreciate our fathers consistently and frequently. Our generation must be one that covers and protects our fathers, not one that exposes and ridicules them.
The story of Noah’s sons in Genesis highlights the repercussion of mocking our fathers as recorded in Genesis 9:18-27. Noah lay drunk and uncovered in his tent, and his son Ham saw his father’s nakedness. His brothers Shem and Japheth did the right thing in covering their father, walking backwards as they lay a garment on him. Noah on discovering what had happened when he woke up, blessed Shem and Japheth but cursed Ham.
Apostle Paul experienced a similar lackadaisical attitude from the Corinthian church. In his letter to them, he said: 'I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel' (1 Corinthians 4:14-15). Paul encouraged the church not to despise their fathers. Unfortunately, some still do.
Here are seven attributes of a great father:
1. A Father Is a Protector: A father protects his family and is concerned about their wellbeing. In Genesis 2:15, we read that God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. The word ‘keep’ means to guard and to protect from any external intrusion. Sadly, Adam did not adhere as strictly as he should to this instruction and consequently, the serpent had access to Eve. The fall of man is directly linked to this omission. As fathers, we must not only guard our homes, but by extension our neighbourhoods, especially if our actions will be beneficial not only to us but others as well. Our failure to act could give access to an intruder.
2. A Father Is a Provider: A father provides wisdom, counsel, friendship, perspective, insight, love, affection, affirmation, confidence and direction. In other words, a father must add value to the lives of his family members. Fathers are designed to give, just like our Heavenly Father who we address as ‘El-Shaddai’, the many breasted God. Solomon who inherited a great fortune of wealth from his father David, remarked ‘A good father leaves a good inheritance to his children’s children’ (Proverbs 13:22).
3. A Father Is a Promoter: A great father promotes and accentuates the good qualities of his children. God, the father spoke about Jesus in Matthew 3:16-17, after his water baptism saying: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ As a good father you must constantly validate and celebrate your children. It goes without saying that children whose fathers constantly celebrate them have the tendency to excel than those who have suffered abuse from their fathers.
4. A Father Is a Priest over His Home: A great father builds an altar of prayer in his home, and must be a praying father. You become intimate with whom you pray and for whom you pray. A good example of this in scriptures is recorded in Acts 2, where the disciples prayed in one accord. Luke 18:1 reads: ‘Then He spoke a parable to them that men always ought to pray and not lose heart’. Pray for your wife, your children, your community and the nation. You are designed to fight in the place of prayer. Great fathers fight the devil in prayer, not their wives or children. So, you must watch over your household and your territory.
5. A Father Is a Prophet to His Home: A great father speaks to the destinies of his children. He speaks and declares a pathway that his children will go through in life, saying words like ‘you are born to be great and significant in this world’. In Genesis 49 we read about the story of Jacob, who called his household together as he lay on his deathbed. Every utterance he made over each of his sons, from Rueben to Benjamin ultimately became a reality as a result of his relational authority in his home. As a great father, you have the spiritual authority over your home. Proverbs 18:21 reads ‘Life and death are in the power of the tongue’. So speak to the future of your children. Declare that they will be great; they are winners and born to affect their generation.
The story recorded in Genesis 35 brings this concept to life at the birth of Rachael’s last child. As Jacob’s household travelled from Haran to Bethel, Rachael reached a point on the journey where she delivered her baby and soon after she died, but not before naming the child ‘Ben-oni’, a name meaning ‘son of my sorrow’. However, Jacob renamed the baby Benjamin, meaning ‘son of my strength’. As a father, your words carry power over your children.
6. A Father Is Present: Fathers must be present to offer spiritual guidance, support, guidance and friendship to their children. The major challenge in our world today is the raising of children without fathers. Sadly, most of these fathers are at home with their children, but they hardly engage, communicate with or influence them. Hence, our prisons are full of adults who grew up deprived of fatherly love and attention. The problems of crime, drugs, terrorism, and other social ills can be linked to absent fathers. So can I implore fathers, ‘Before you decide to stop being fathers, think twice and think of the generational impact of your decision’. Fathers, there should be no excuse for depriving your children of your love; your ministry, career and friends should not be an excuse. Fathers, your children need you!
7. A Father Prunes (Disciplines): Fathers must discipline their children out of love for them. Failure to discipline a child will ultimately lead to that child revolting against you. Such a child will despise your authority; and once he despises your authority, he will despise any other authority. From 1 Kings 1:5-6, we read the story of David’s son, Adonijah who decided to declare himself king, while his father was the reigning king of Israel. Verse 6 reads: “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, "Why are you doing that?". Our prisons are full of grownups that are meant to be fathers but end up in prison because nobody cared enough to discipline them. This is how Proverbs 13:24 put it: ‘Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them’ (NLT).
As we celebrate fathers today and honour you, I encourage you to embrace and abide by these words. Can I encourage you to protect, provide, promote for your household, continue to pray for and speak prophetically over your children? Engage with your children and discipline them. Our prayer on this Father’s Day is that you will continue to be a blessing to your generation and the next generation in Jesus name. (Amen).
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