Faithlife Sermons

Three Characteristics of A Good Father

Father's Day   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God the Father loves to give his children good things when they ask for them. Jesus reveals three characteristics about the Father that help us be good Fathers.


Happy Father’s Day

On July 5, 1908, a small church in West Virginia held a service in honor of 362 men who died in a coal mine explosion. It was a onetime event commemorating the lost fathers. The next year, Sorona Smart Dodd, from Spokane Washington, wanted to have a holiday that celebrated fathers like the Mother’s Day holiday that was recognized in 1908. She was successful in drumming up support and Spokane Washington celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.
By 1916, Woodrow Wilson encouraged the nation to honor fathers. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge encouraged governors to honor fathers by observing Father’s Day. Eventually, it to became a national holiday in 1972.
Fatherhood is an honorable role in the life of the family and worthy of celebrating. God designed the role of father’s to be significant in the lives of children. He made fathers the head of the home,bearing the responsibility of the family. He gave father’s the responsibility to teach their children the scriptures and to make sure he did not raise foolish sons and daughters, but wise children who fear the Lord.
Father’s however, suffer a great deal of shame. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, fathering became very difficult. Sin ruins everything, especially relationships. Adam had a son go off the deep end and kill his brother. Lot had two daughters who were so desperate for children they put their father in a vulnerable position and took advantage of him. Isaac had a son chosen by God to carry they line of the Messiah, but was a knieving liar and deceiver. Jacob had 12 boys, which ten of them became so jealous of one brother they beat him and sold him into slavery. David had a son who violated his sister and a son who led a coup de ta to remove him as king. Eli had two boys who offered a perverted sacrifice to the Lord, which caused the Lord to break out in fire toward them. And God lays the blame on Eli for not discipling his sons well. Talk about shame.
Of course, we have their “fathering” record on file in the bible. We have the luxury of reading their mistakes and pointing the finger at their failure, and there is failure, lots of it. Many of their children’s mistakes could have been avoided by being a good father.
This is where I want to turn our attention this morning, to being a good father. It we are honest with ourselves, men, when we read of the failures of the fathers in the bible, we see a lot of ourselves in them. We see their passive fathering in our own fathering. We see their foolishness in not dealing with their children’s sin in our own discipline. We see their lack of spiritual priority in discipling their children in God’s word in our own lackluster attempt to teach our children the scriptures. We feel the weight of Adam’s rebellion on our hearts and the failures of our fathering, and instead of turning to the Lord, we find it easier to escape and run away.
But God has not left us without an example. God is a good good Father. He has proven it time and time again, especially through His Son Jesus Christ. In our text this morning Jesus is going to reveal three characteristics about the Father that will help us men be good good fathers to our children and the churches children as a whole.
Matthew 7:7-11 sits at the end of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus teaching Christians how they should live in the kingdom of God while still on earth. Throughout the sermon he explains what the heart of a disciple who Jesus loves and believes and how you manifest your love and belief for Jesus in the world. If you boil it down, the Sermon on the Mount is about Christian character.
In the immediate context, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about persisting in prayer. A disciples of Jesus never stops giving up at pursing the Father for their needs to be met. As we look at this text we will see a beautiful picture of 3 characteristics of Fatherhood patterned to us by the Good Good Father.

Good Fathers Persist in Prayer For Their Children

George Mueller is one of my favorite Christians from long ago. I am fascinated with His commitment to persistent prayer. As a believer, when I grow weary in praying,I often go to his wisdom to spur me on to continue praying. Mueller wisely says:
“It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray—but we must patiently, believingly continue in prayer until we obtain an answer. And further, we have not only to continue in prayer unto the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing.”
In my mind, Mueller’s words embody what Jesus is teaching us here; that God loves it when His children pound His throne with their prayers. Inside of Matthew 7:7-11, is a persistence, almost a pounding of God with our prayers. Look at Matthew 7:7-8.
Matthew 7:7–8 HCSB
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible really captures the essence of what the Greek is implying in Jesus’s words in verse 7-8. There are three imperatives in our text: ask, seek, and knock. All three imperatives are in the Present Active, which conveys a continuous ongoing action. That is why the HCSB translates these imperatives with the word “keep” in front of it. Jesus says, “Keep asking, Keep seeking, keep knocking.” Don’t stop pounding the door of God with your requests.
There is a rising intensity with Jesus’s words. To “ask” is a general term which means to ask God in prayer. Seeking implies earnestly asking plus moving in a way exercising faith. Its like a child who calls for his mother whom he can’t see, but moves in the general direction of her voice until he finds her. To knock is seeking with perseverance. It implies that we have tried to get something but have failed. We have tried to open a locked door on our own, but we just can;t do it. We need God to open the for us. So we pound and pound asking God to open it for us. Jesus is teaching is to persist in praying to the Father. he’s not annoyed by it.
There is an idea floating around churches and Christian circles that says, “To ask God to answer a prayer more than one time or a few times is borderline sinful because it is not asking in faith.” What I mean by that is if our faith is genuine and real then we only need to ask God one time believing he hears us and will answer accordingly. Anymore than that and we cross a line. I have toyed with this idea a little bit because on the surface it seems reasonable. I’ma father. I get annoyed when my children keep pounding me with requests. However, Matthew 7:7-11, tells me to let go of that idea because that idea is ridden with pride and a man-centered view of God.
Daniel Doriani calls this idea the “beggars wisdom.” He says, regarding Matthew 7:7-8,
“This teaching can be understood in two ways. We could put the accent on the one who asks and say, “Persist long enough and you will get what you desire. This is called “The Beggars Wisdom. This suggest that our petitions can wear God out, so that he finally grants us whatever we want, even if he is initially disinclined to do so.
But Jesus places the emphasis on the God who hears, not on the man or woman who asks. He says God loves his children and knows how to give them good gifts. If we ask, the Father will give what He knows we need.”
God is not like us. He is not a Father who gets irritated when his kids keep pounding him over and over to do something. That is not his nature. That is our nature, and when we think of Him like that, we make him like us. Also, keep in ind, prayer is not about God finding out what we need, as if he does not know. Remember, Jesus already said,
Matthew 6:8 HCSB
Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
Prayer is your personal communion with God by which you express your utter dependency on Him.
He is fully aware of your needs and God loves it when you persistently ask, seek, and knock. Jesus promises that those who persist in prayer will get answers.
The result of one who who asks, seeks, and knocks is the one who asks it will be given, the one who seeks will find, and the one who persistently knocks, the door will be opened. Father’s you must keep asking, seeking, knocking on God’s door for your children. It’s absolutely vital if your going to be a god father.
The other morning I saw Ethan reading a book by Dan Dumas called “Live Smart.” It is a book encouraging teens not to waste their life on the world, but how to live “smart” for Jesus. The second chapter deals with prayer. I asked him what words of wisdom did Dan Dumas offer him regarding prayer. Ethan quoted Dumas,
“Prayer is not a luxury, but a necessity.” Dan Dumas
Father’s, your persistence in prayer for your children and your wife and your church and your community is not a luxury but a necessity. In fact, to all the men of the church, your prayer for all the children of eh church is not a luxury but a necessity. You have an obligation to pray for the next generation, and God knows we need a righteous and strong and courageous next generation! We need our children to grow up in the Spirit of the Lord. We need them to be able to discern right and wrong, and wield the sword of the Lord, the Word God so well that they can guide and guard the church, community, and with Biblical God honoring, Christ exalting wisdom. We need our children saved!
How many of our children are not converted because we loose heart and stop praying?
George Mueller never gave up praying for 2 men to be saved. He had a tenacious prayer life. For over 36 years he pleaded for God to save these two men. Listen to him.
“The man to whom God in the riches of His grace has given tens of thousands of answers to prayer in the self-same hour or day in which they were offered, has been praying day by day for nearly thirty-six years for the conversion of these two individuals, and yet they remain unconverted. But I hope in God, I pray on, and look yet for the answer.… They are not converted yet, but they will be!” George Mueller
I don’t know if those men were ever saved, but I do not they were persistently pursued in prayer by George Mueller. In the same way, fathers, men of the church, pray for our children.
Here is a simple prayer that I pray over my children often.
“Father, enable my children to love you with all their mind, heart, soul and strength, and help them to love their neighbor as themselves. Lord, help them to trust you with all their heart, and to lean not on their own understanding, but in all their ways acknowledge You so that You can make their path straight. Inspire them to seek first Your kingdom, and its righteousness so that ll things will be given to them. In Jesus name, amen.”

Good Fathers Desire to Give Good Things To Their Children

Look at
Matthew 7:8–11 HCSB
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
What does Jesus reveal about the Father in this portion of scripture? He reveals that the Good Father desires to give good things to His children who ask Him for them. How do I see that in the text? Well, lets take it backwards for a moment. Let’s define “good things” and then see how Go desires to give them to His children.
What does Jesus mean when he says “good things?”
It would be easy in our culture to immediately imply that good things mean material blessing. We live in a culture where parents feel obligate to give their children what ever makes them happy. Happiness is often equated with things: Xbox, Play Station, brand name shoes and clothes, new car at sixteen years old, spending money, private education, and so on. And if parents are not able to do these “good things” for their children, then they are not good parents. They feel shame and guilt because they are not giving their children “good things” for the “good life.”
The bible does not discount material blessing. There is a sense that God provides “good things” for His children in the form of tangible wealth or material blessing. I mean, I live in a house that over 1/3 of the world would will never likely live in. I have more than a roof over my head. I have 2475 square feet. I have more than a warm shower. I have two bathrooms with showers. I have more than enough food in my house and clothes in my drawers. I have so much I can give plenty of it away and still have enough. Over 1/3 of the world cannot say that. I don’t deserve one bit of it. All the good possessions I have in the world that are here today and gone tomorrow: health, wealth, family, were given to me because God desired to give me good things. So, I don’t discount that when Jesus says God desires to give you “good things.” However, I don’t believe the material blessing is the emphasis.
Jesus already told His disciples earlier in the sermon to
Matthew 6:33 HCSB
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
As Thomas Tehan says, “The ἀγαθά represents all that the disciple needs in order to follow the instructions in the Sermon, things that related to seeking God and his righteousness as mentioned in 6:33, the qualities of character demanded by the sermon, the Holy Spirit as that which is necessary for understanding and obeying God’s will.”
In Short, the Good things Gd desires to give to you is everything you need to joyfully advance His Kingdom by making much of Jesus in the Church, Community, and Home.
In the context of Matthew 6:33, that includes food, clothing, and shelter. My 2475 square foot house has been given to me to joyfully advance the kingdom of God. My clothes, my food, my backyard, is all God’s good gifts to me to be used for His kingdom. When I set my affections on Christ, to seek His kingdom first, to do His righteous will in my life, God will give me good things to do His will. Moreover, Jesus says, He will not only do it, but He desires to do it.
Jesus uses a lesser to greater argument in verses 9-11. He says, “what father would give his son a stone when he asks for bread? Or what father would give their son a snake if he asks for a fish? Bred and fish were commonly used in the daily diet of God’s people. Stones and snakes resemble bread and fish. To give your children stones and snakes when they ask for bread and fish is a form of mean spirited trickery. Food is a basic necessity for survival. If parents do not provide this good thing, their children perish. No good parent wants to harm their children or even deny their children what is best for them.
So Jesus says, if you, being evil desire to give your children good gifts, how much more does your Good Father desire to give you good things. The real contrast comes when Jesus identifies us as evil. Notice he dos not say “we.” That would indicate that Jesus saw himself as evil. Instead h says “you” being evil.
Jesus uses a strong word to describe our total depravity. We are by nature sinners. We are morally bankrupt. We are naturally self-centered people, not God-centered. That is how Jesus describes us. In contrast, he describes our Father, who is in heaven, who is holy (set apart-not like us). If we who are evil and self-centered desire to give our children good things, how much more does Your Father, who is holy and good, desire to give you good things. The force behind the “lesser to greater argument is the contrast creates a feeling of certainty. Jesus emphasizes God’s good desire to give you “good things.”
I don’t think there is a scripture that captures this truth better than
Romans 8:32 HCSB
He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
God’s desire to give you “Good things” led Him to send His only begotten Son to die for your sin that you can have the best thing in all of heaven and earth, God himself! God spared no cost to give you everything you need and want for a good life, and he did it with love in His heart. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. If He is willing to give His Son to you, what will he withhold from you?
Fathers, get your priories straight! Give your Children Jesus! He is the world’s best “good thing.” Once your children have Jesus, then they can seek first the Kingdom of God,and His righteousness, and all things will be given to them for their life.
This will mean a radical shift away from our culture. God is a wise Father who gives us good things according to His wisdom. Fathers, you must do the same. Your child’s happiness is not your first priority. Their holiness is your first priority. Remember, you are evil and so are they. The best good things you could give them will never take away their sinfulness. Happiness in America, rarely if ever leads to holiness. But you leading your children to holiness will lead them to happiness because it will lead them to Jesus, who will satisfy them forever. Do not indulge your children with the world. This may mean you have to say no to your children more than you say yes. A foolish Father gives in to all his children’s desires. A good Father gives his children the good things of God’s kingdom above the desires of this world.
In my own experience in parenting I have felt the tension of providing the good things of God’s kingdom verses the good things of the world. I fell it most when we have to compromise our children’s comfort for the sake of their discipleship. Everything from not picking them up when they fall down to forcing them to reconcile relationships at school to battling the attitude of entitlement that comes so naturally in our society. Being a father is the next hardest thing to being a husband. It would be so easy to check out and give in to their desires. It takes the grace of God and an intentional mindset to fight to give your children the good things that last forever. Father’s you are meant to be stepping stones not stumbling blocks to your children's salvation. Ask the Lord to change your heart to give your children His good things.

Good Fathers Follow Through With Giving Good Things to Their Children

I make this observation in verse eleven. Jesus makes a point to say, your father, the one in heaven.” This hearkens me back to when Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray. he says pray like this, “Our Father, who is in heaven.” When Jesus makes that reference to the Father, he is saying that the Father, who lives in heaven, has all authority and power to rule. He is the sovereign father.
When Jesus makes the statement here, I think he is doing the same thing. He is saying, how much more will your father, you know the one who is sovereign, give you good gifts?” Jesus is reminding us that God is able to give us good things and that will will always follow through with giving is good things.
One of the ways fathers show that we are evil is when we checkout when we need to be present. Father’s on earth have a hard time following through. This is too our shame. Following through as a Father in providing good things for your children is vital your child’s spiritual health.

Eight Commitments To Your Children

Embrace a God exalting Christ honoring vision for your children.
Keep the connection between home and church consistent.
Teach the full counsel of the word of God to your children in word and deed.
Proclaim the good news of Jesus to them and with them.
Pray often for their salvation and ministry.
Inspire worship of God in devotion, work, and play.
Protect your marriage at all cost.
Depend on God’s Sovereign grace.
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