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17 1-14 What Makes A Father

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                                                  liberty bible church          8/5/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“what makes a father?”

Genesis 17:1-14


Illus. of “The Importance of Fathers” Boys from a fatherless home are: 14 times more likely to commit rape; 10 times more likely to abuse chemicals; 85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes. 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes. Nearly 75% of children living in one parent families will experience poverty before they turn eleven, compared with 20% of two parent families. Children from single parent families suffer more psychiatric illness. These figures await further verification from future research. They need have only a grain of truth in them, however, to be highly disturbing. Source: Rex McCann On their own: Boys growing up underfathered Finch Publishing, Sydney, 2000, page 47, 48 Obviously, it takes more to be a Father than a biological act and a birth. What does it take?

OPEN to passage.                                       


Prop. In this passage, we see our Heavenly Father make and earthly father.

Open in PRAYER.

PREVIEW the passage. In chapter 16, Abram and Sarai make a decision that would affect the world for millennia. By the grace of God, they continue to be blessed as does Hagar and her son Ishmael. But, now it’s time for Abram to become Abraham; to become the father that God always intended him to be. Is Abram ready to be Abraham? What makes a father? In Abram’s case…

  i. he submits to god vs. 1-3a

Illus. of the world today wants us to think that all dads need to do is coach little league and buy their kids everything they want. There is a spiritual need that far exceeds any of these temporal needs. That is submission to God.

a. has god forgotten me?

            1. Everyone asks this question from time to time. It’s been at least 13 years since God’s promise to Abram in 15:4 and now he’s 99 years old.

V1a      2. God appears to him again and proclaims who He is. This is the first time God used the name God Almighty for Himself. (El Shaddai) He would use it several more times in Genesis. He was communicating to Abram that He was perfectly capable to fulfill His promise to Abram, even though He and Sarai were very old.

V 1b    3. Abram may have wanted to doubt what God could do, but his job was not to wonder how God was going to do His part, Abram was to be faithful in his part, which was being faithful in his daily life. Illus. of so often we wonder what God is doing and that’s not our job. Our task is to obey His word and be faithful to what we were called.

b. god does his part and Abram does his

V 2      1. God made the covenant and it was unconditional. Cf. 15:4-5; 12 Even though Abram had done his own thing, had doubted, had followed his own way, God’s plans had not changed. Was Abram able to believe and trust that God Almighty, El Shaddai, could get it done?

V 3a     2. This confirmed the fact that Abram was willing to submit. He was willing to believe. He didn’t know the how, but He submitted to God.

Trans. For Abram to be the father God wanted him to be, he had to submit to God, even though he didn’t have all the answers. Second…

 ii. he speaks with god vs. 3b-8

Illus. of he had open lines of communication. God spoke with him and he spoke with God.

a. the names are changed to identify the blessed

V 3b-4 1. He reminds him of the covenant we saw in chapter 15. He reviews it and clarifies it in the next several verses. He would be the father of many nations. In 12:2, he was to be the father of a great nation. Illus. of we can see how that has been fulfilled. Indeed, many in the Arab world trace their roots back to Abraham.

V 5      2. Abram means “exalted father” and reminded him of his earthly heritage, hi past, from where he came. His father was Terah and it implied that he was from royal lineage. 

            3. Abraham though was different. It means “father of a multitude.” Rather than looking back, it looked to the future; to Abraham’s future descendants. From now on, every time Abraham was addressed, he would be reminded of God’s promise to him. Imagine him telling others, at 99, that he was changing his name to reflect the number of his descendants. People may have thought his crazy, but he believed God and knew that He was capable to fulfill these promises.

b. god’s commitment to Abraham

V 6      1. He would have Many nations and kings would come from him.

V 7      2. This covenant from God Almighty was forever. It would not change through the dispensations of time that would pass; when the world changed. This covenant was forever for Abraham and His covenant people, Israel.

V 8      3. This settles the land dispute in Israel and other places in the Middle East. As long as the world was here, Israel was to possess the land. Even though she has been dispersed for a time, God always has a remnant and the people always return. 

Trans. For Abram to be the father God wanted him to be, he had to SUBMIT TO GOD, and SPEAK WITH GOD. Open lines of communication were necessary for him to be able to know what God required and to know why and how he could trust God’s promises. Finally, to be the father God wanted…

iii. he is a sign for god vs. 9-14

Illus. of all that know God have a responsibility to point others to Him. We become roadmaps, signs to God. Christians are to share the Gospel. How was Abraham to be a sign?  

A.     what is the sign?

V 9-10 1. The sign was to be circumcision. This was to be done for every male child who shared in this promised covenant of God. Although this was practiced at this time in other areas for various reasons, it was to be used for Abraham’s descendants for a specific reason.

V 11    2. It was to be a reminder of the everlasting covenant. What were the specific reminders.

                 a. It would remind them that impurity must be laid aside, especially in the marriage relationship.

                 b. That they must depend upon God for the production of all life. Humans nature is unable to produce the promised seed. They must be loyal to God and the family.      

b. WHo is to keep it?

V 12-   1. It included Jewish boys, they were circumcised on the eighth day of their lives.

    13a  2. It also included the children of slaves who lived with you.

            3. It also included any slaves that were purchased and came to live with them.

V 13b  4. This was to continue for all time, as long as the earth existed.

C.     WHat about disobedience?

V 14    1. Refusal to carry the sign resulted in being “cut-off.” They would be separated from the people. The reason for separation was because they were disobeying God’s command. They have broken the covenant.

            2. Elsewhere, Scripture refers to circumcision being a symbol of separation, purity, and loyalty to the covenant. In Deut. 30:6, Moses talked about the circumcision of the heart. Paul later said that circumcision of the heart evidences salvation and fellowship with God. Rom. 2:28-29; Rom. 4:11 To be a believer, one must trust in His promises and not in one’s own strength. In other places, Jer. 9:26 and Ezek. 44:7-9, unbelief is  described as having an uncircumcised heart.


For Abram to be the father God wanted him to be, he had to SUBMIT TO GOD, SPEAK WITH GOD, and BE A SIGN FOR GOD. What makes a father today?

1.      A man who believes in Jesus. GOSPEL This is a good start to submission.

2.      If he has denied himself and is fully submitted to God, he will have a relationship with God that will be evident in his life. This will make it easier to be a…

3.      Sign for God. Others will see that he is different and he will share why he is.

Illus. of “Family Worship”

1. If both your parents worshipped with you regularly while you were growing up, there’s an 80 percent likelihood that you’ll worship God regularly as an adult.

2. If only your mother worshipped regularly with you, there’s only a 30 percent probability that you’ll worship regularly as an adult.

3. If only your father worshipped regularly with you, the likelihood that you’ll worship regularly as an adult increases to 70 percent!

Fathers have an enormous impact on their children’s faith and values. One of your most important ministries is worshipping with your kids!

On the Father Front, Christian Service Brigade, Spring, 1995, p. 4

I don’t know how accurate those statistics are, but they do illustrate that a dad how has huge impact on his children. The best dad will submit to God, speak with God, and be a sign for God. Anything less is to settle for less than the best. Men, in this busy world, even our children’s busy world, remember Matthew 6:33. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love God with all your heart and soul and mind.



                                                  liberty bible church          8/5/07 P.M.

By Tom Zobrist

“what makes a father?”

Genesis 17:1-14


Obviously, it takes more to be a Father than a biological act and a birth. What does it take?

  i. he                                                              to god vs. 1-3a

a. has god forgotten me?


b. god does his part and…

            Cf. Gen. 15:4-5; 12

 ii. he                                                                with god vs. 3b-8

a. the names are changed to identify the blessed

            Cf. Gen. 12:2

b. god’s commitment to Abraham

iii. he is a                                                              for god vs. 9-14

A.     what is the sign?

b. WHo is to keep it?

c. WHat about disobedience?

Cf. Deut. 30:6; Rom. 2:28-29; 4:11; Jer. 9:26; Ezek. 44:7-9


What makes a father today?




Matthew 6:33- “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”


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