Why is it so essential that fathers and mothers return to building up or edifying their own children in the Christian faith? As I look around at our culture I see rebellious people, angry spirited people, bitter people, complaining people, critical people, and people who could care less about any idea or concept of truth. Many today either swing towards the side of “anger” and thus live a murderous life (either in their heart, by word, and some even in action) or towards the side of “lies” and thus live a deceptive life (being fake, deceiving their own friends, family, and colleagues, living in order to please or impress others).
Many of these patterns originate from the home life. Many adults today who are angry people or deceptive people developed these problems because they did not have a father to function as the prophet, priest, lord, and king of the family. Let me explain further how this works.
The Roles of Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ functions in all four of those roles listed above. Our Lord was a prophet. He spoke the truth and proclaimed it passionately, even to the point where at times he rebuked the religious leaders of his own day. Then at times he functioned as a priest offering forgiveness and mercy to those in sin, even those who were guilty of gross immorality. Jesus also has functioned and continues to function today as the Lord or Head to his body, his bride the church. In this role Christ is the leader and ultimate authority over his beloved bride. Lastly, Christ Jesus functioned as the King and will one day come to earth to rule and reign over the earth as King of kings.
What do all of these roles have to do with being a father? How can a child become a healthy adult by seeing his own father function in these roles? Let us look at this a little closer.
Prophet: Courage and Conviction
First, when a child sees his father function as a prophet, the child will learn courage and conviction. For example, if a father speaks out with passion on a subject, the child will learn the art or skill of being vocal to oppose something that is wrong or considered to be a major problem. However, if a father is passive, timid, and apathetic, that child will be cowardly and apathetic, and will not care to make a strong stand on principle.
Priest: Mercy and Grace
Second, if a father functions as a priest, the child will learn the art of administering mercy and grace. When a father forgives his son or daughter of sin, or when a father forgives his wife, the mother of the home, of sin, this gives a model to the children to see mercy and grace in action. Christ forgave sin openly. If a father fails to forgive sin openly he will lead his children towards bitterness, and they will not have the skill (unless learned elsewhere) of exercising mercy and grace towards others who are in sin. In many cases these children grow up and become bitter, cold, and hard adults. A father who lives like Christ will model to the family the priestly office of Christ by handling sin with love, grace, mercy, and truth so that the child will know how to be passionate for truth while at the same time being merciful to those in sin.
Third, Christ Jesus is Lord of the Church, his bride. If a father will take the ultimate responsibility for his home, this will reveal to the child what it means to be a responsible person. Many people are upset at the irresponsibility of this generation of people, especially here in America. For a child to learn the art of being responsible he or she needs to see the father take responsibility in the home. A father, if seeking to live like Christ, must take responsibility for the whole body, his wife, and the children. The father must accept responsibility for the natural education, meals, social activity, spiritual education, physical health and safety, and any other area of the wife and children he must accept that he will give an account for all of the areas of the body Christ has placed under him. Of course a father will not handle every area by himself. Christ delegated and so too must a godly father. A child needs to see a father who is lord over the home yet who is one who delegates his rule. A child needs to see a father who will accept responsibility so that he or she can grow up and accept responsibility for whatever God places under his/her sphere of authority.
King: Community Involvement
Lastly, Jesus Christ is King. Though he is not yet serving or ruling as King one day he will return to earth to set up his kingdom. Jesus is now the King of kings who will one day rule physically on this earth as King over all kingdoms. The kingly office of Christ gives to fathers the model that we must do more than simply build our families and work in our churches with our spiritual family. As King, Christ will rule over all and all people, both believers and unbelievers, will be subject to the rule of Christ.
Children today need to see a father who will take interest in their local areas of government. A child that sees a father just interested in speaking out against sin (a prophet) but not willing to go work to actively apply that truth to the local geographical area where he or she lives will see a father who is a hypocrite. Jesus Christ has proclaimed the truth loud and clear as a prophet. Yet that is not all. One day he will actually apply and live out the truth he has proclaimed as King over all. It is a disgrace for a father to criticize the local or national government yet not turn his hand in an effort to put in place what is believed to be right by taking personal action in the government. A father is living like Christ must get involved in the government process! Children must see fathers who will go out into the community and seek to implement a righteous rule in the community. This gives to the child a balanced view of truth where he or she makes an effort to go beyond self and to take the knowledge he or she has and to seek to use that for the good of all.
Fathers let me ask you today. Are you living out the life of Christ in those four offices? Are you a prophet? Do you speak with boldness that which you believe is the truth of God? Do you quickly forgive and do you openly make it known in your home that you forgive your wife, your children, other people you know of their sin? Are you functioning as a priest? Do you accept responsibility for all of your family and their whole life? Do you take responsibility for their natural and spiritual education? Do you seek to protect and provide as the lord over your home? And lastly, are you active in seeking to bring in a righteous rule of truth in your local areas of government? Do you attend city, county, and/or state level meetings to try and present truth to the local sphere where God has you? Do you contact legislators or local government officials? Do you write, call, or speak to them in person about matters of truth?
Jesus Christ was a Prophet, Priest, Lord, and King. If we as men are to make boys into men and girls into women we must live out those four offices in our daily lives. If not we will raise children who are “murderers” or children that are “liars.” A child needs to see a balanced father so that he can learn to ride the bicycle of life in balance.
Keith Sherlin, DD; Th.D