Following God’s Example

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This sermon is about following God’s example of fatherhood.  Here Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an example.  He wanted them to learn to serve each other.  His example is profound because he was their master and yet he humbled himself to be their servant.  That is a principle that is caught better than it is taught.

When you think about his example, you realize that there are other things we can learn from the Lord like 1 Pet 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.”  When you suffer as a child of God, the Lord wants you to respond the same way Jesus did.

Now, today is Father’s Day.  Do you suppose that there is an example of fatherhood that we can learn from God?  I believe that there is.  Of course, we know all the comparisons concerning his love, his provisions, his protections and so forth.  But notice some other things.

What can we learn from God about being fathers?

He will let his children suffer in order to teach them – Heb 5:7-9 – God allowed Jesus to suffer in order to teach him obedience and to perfect him into the author of eternal salvation – his suffering was not only for his benefit but for ours, as well – Randy’s suffering as a widow prepared him to comfort a man on Father’s day suffering the death of a child.  Likewise you must be willing to let your children suffer in order that they might learn all that God wants them to learn.

He chastens his children for holiness and righteousness – Heb 12:5-11 – he doesn’t chasten his children to dissipate his anger or to hammer them into conformity with his rules – he has the far greater object of producing holiness and righteous in them – those are his express goal – and in his chastening he confirms his love.  You must chasten your children with the goal of seeing them become holy and righteous all the while demonstrating your love to them.  You cannot demonstrate your love without chastening, Prov 13:24.

He is never concerned that his children won’t like him – Rom 3:4; Job 32:2, 33:8-13 – God allows things and even orders things in our lives that cause men to rage in anger against the Lord yet he remains sovereign and never changes his plans to win back their favor – if they don’t like something he does, tough – he doesn’t even try to justify his actions, “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?”  It is odd how strongly men can be motivated to “win” their children’s favor – like God you have to do what’s right and best for your children whether they like you or not – Paul asked the Galatians, “Am I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

He is perfectly balanced in his dealings with his children – Deut 6:1-5 – on the one hand he demands that we fear him [v.2] and on the other that we love him [v.5] – these two commands reveal his balanced nature – God is both a God of love and a God of wrath – on the one hand he is a God of mercy and on the other a God of truth – likewise as fathers our children must fear us [Lev 19:3] and love us and we cannot back away from either of these for their sakes.

He never blames himself for their failures – Rom 14:11-12 – each one of his children must give account of themselves to God – likewise, our children are responsible for their own sins – they make their choices – of course, you are accountable for your sins – but you cannot beat yourself up when they commit their own.

Conclusion: There’s no guarantee that if you follow God’s example your children are going to turn out just right – they will if they make the right choices – but they have to follow the words of God for themselves – give them the best shot at it that you can give them by following God’s example.