Our Fathers Who Are on Earth
An earthly father should reflect the heavenly Father.
From the editor
Father's Day is just around the corner (June 21), and should you decide to offer a message for the occasion, Mark Mitchell's look at a portion of the Lord's Prayer might provide some helpful direction for your preaching. For a batch of fresh illustrations on fathers and fatherhood, click here.
I confess that I often allow Father's Day to pass without preaching about fathers. With this sermon, I'm breaking the norm. I want to speak to fathers and about fathers. Specifically, I am going to talk about the responsibilities of fatherhood. What is a father supposed to do? I think there is a certain amount of confusion in our society over this question. Some time ago I had done the premarital counseling for a young man and his wife. It lasted about six months. He's now a father, and he came up to me one day and said, "I think we should require pre-parenting counseling and not just premarital counseling. The adjustment of getting married was nothing compared to the adjustment of becoming a father!" He was expressing what a lot of fathers feel, and most of the difficulty he speaks of comes from simply not knowing what to do.
One of the consequences of this confusion is spiritual in nature. We know that whenever Jesus prayed, he called God "Father." We might say, "Well, of course did! He was God's Son! What else would he call him?" But not only did Jesus call God "Father," he taught us to call God "Father." In Matthew 6, he said: When you pray, say this, "Our Father, who is in heaven."
But there are a lot of people in our society who have a hard time thinking of God as a father—much less calling him that. For them, the word "father" is hardly a term of endearment. It conjures up images of rejection, anger, ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.