Ministry as a Father (1 Thessalonians #9)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12

Paul has given the negatives of of the ministry.  He reminded the Thessalonians that he had not approached them in flattery and other things.  Now, he’s going to remind them how he did enter in among them.

It’s amazing that you have to say this, but male and female are NOT social constructs.  They are biological identities.  They are based on God as a complete being, dividing out his characteristics to people.  You identity is not different than your biology.  If you’re born a male, you are a male.  If you’re born a female, you’re a female.  If you’re born a dog, you’re a dog.  If you’re born again as a child of God by the Spirit of God, you’re a child of God.

The world is full of hypocrites; some say churches are, but I disagree.  The world has more hypocrites than the churches.  On one hand blame their sin being “born this way.”  Then when the world wants to wallow in confusion, it ignores being born any certain way and says, I don’t identify with the way I was born.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11 Paul gives male and female qualities both needed for ministry.  He talks about being like a mother and being like a father.  God created them male and female.  In spite of what the culture tells you.  And if God had his way, every child would grow up under a loving mother who is gentle, cherishes her child, is affectionate toward them, gave of herself, found her child to be dear, labored and travailed for her child.  And if God had his way, every child would grow up with a loving father who exhorted, comforted, and charged his children.  And between a loving Dad and a loving Mom their children would have the perfect balance of preparation for a healthy, productive life.

Now, if you don’t have that, you start with a disadvantage.  You have no father to compare to.  Or you have no mother to compare to.  Or your mother was too busy with her career or with other people so you’re idea of a motherhood is what you have learned from your mother.  Or you have no father to compare to.  So the masculine attributes don’t mean anything because there is no dad to compare to.  In a healthy ministry there are masculine and feminine qualities that are both needed.  Let’s consider the masculine characteristics.

A Father encourages his children

  • Webster’s Dictionary: to encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise. The primary sense seems to be to excite or to give strength, spirit or courage.
  • To urge on to walk worthy of God.
  • It’s like a salesman trying to get you to buy their product.
    • Dad is trying to sell his children on a walk worthy of God.  The minister is trying to sell the congregation on a walk worthy of God.
    • Jack in the Box lady who hated the special sauce.
    • Ford dealer who drives a Chevy.
    • We want our kids to grow up right.  Part of that is prioritizing what God prioritized.  For instance church.  But we teach our kids that church is fine if you don’t have anything else better to do.  Church, fellowship with believers, being fed by the Lord is fine if you’re bored.
  • Last few years in the oil field I was an Area Manager and dealt with operations primarily.  Sales was run by a different group.  I didn’t usually meet customers, but on a few occasions I did.  I remember we sold an additive that we produced, that I used when I was in the field drilling wells.  I remember telling these customers about this product that I wasn’t just selling; I knew it worked and I loved using it on my wells.  I knew why I liked it.  I knew what it did and how it could help them because it helped me.
  • Dad, it’s time to get familiar with walking worthy of God so you aren’t the Ford dealer who drives the Chevy.  And you aren’t the Dad who doesn’t really know what benefit following the Lord has.  And you aren’t the Dad who isn’t real sure how godliness works on the job.
  • There is enough discouragement in the world, in the peer pressure, in the job to not ever want to do right.  Your children, Christians, need to be urged on to do right.
  • The woman at the well going to tell everyone she knew, Come see a man that told me all things whichever I did! Is not this the Christ?!
    • Our problem is not that we’re not excited about telling others about Jesus Christ.
    • The truth is you’ll talk about what excites you.  Our problem is we’re not that excited with Jesus Christ.
    • The truth is we’re not that familiar with Jesus Christ.

A Father comforts his children

  • An eight year old boy lay in a hospital bed, dying of cancer.  He knew it wouldn’t be long.  His dad came in the room and sat by his son.  The boy sensing it wouldn’t be long now said, “Daddy, am I going to die?”  The dad asked, “Why son?  Are you afraid?”  The boy said, “Not if God is anything like you.”
  • Sending the Comforter says something about what God’s people need
    • The Lord Jesus Christ could have said, “I’m going to my Father, and I’ll pray the Father will deposit a million dollars in your bank accounts.”  But that would’ve been of no benefit.
    • Empathetic that the Lord would provide his Holy Spirit to help the believer be obedient.  Obedience will come with difficulties as the Lord fully understands.
  • You need to know that serving the Lord is going to be OK.
    • But what about?  But what about?  But what about?
    • The Lord told his disciples one time, look, take no thought for what you’ll eat or how you’ll be clothed.  If you need an example, watch a sparrow.  She’s clothed and fed, and your life is considerably more valuable than hers.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added.
    • What Christ is saying in the most basic terms is if you prioritize my work, it’s going to be OK.
    • You and I have insecurities, or the Bible word, fear, of not directing our own steps.  We don’t think that direction comes from somebody who knows the way.  So God becomes part of the leftovers and we can’t figure out why we don’t have any light on the direction our lives should take.
    • We are good at making priorities out of things that God didn’t make priorities out of.  Jesus Christ said of the Pharisees they did a lot of things, but they left the weightier matters of judgment and mercy undone.  What you leave undone will determine what kind of Christian you are.
    • Organizational priority in the tabernacle – Exodus 40:3.  Ark of the covenant was built first.  God’s priority is fellowship with his people.
    • Foundational priority of Jesus Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:11.  Jesus Christ is the only true foundation of all things.  We try to force a foundation underneath things we’ve already built.
    • Mary and Martha.  Martha busy.  Mary sitting at Jesus feet.  Mary is commended, Martha is scolded.
  • Comfort has to do with giving someone a stable place to rest their confidence on.
    • Jesus said, Let not your hearts be troubled, I go to prepare a place for you.
    • Comfort one another with these words.  What words?  You’ll see your loved ones in Jesus Christ again.
    • 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
  • Christians and children need to know it’s OK to obey God.  You’re not losing out by listening to the Lord.  You’re not missing out on life by saying no to this world.  You’re not stupid because you don’t do some things everyone else does.  It’s OK to say no.  It’s OK to be a Christian and have people laugh at you and mock your beliefs.  It’s life and their beliefs aren’t going to be around much longer anyway.

A Father charges his children

  • Children and Christians need to be given a direction to move in.
    • Parents foolishly say they just want their kid to make up his/her own mind.  Hey, your kids already made up their mind, now what they need from you is to correct their mind  and help them make wise decisions. A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
    • You’re shepherding their heart.
    • Eli did not restrain his sons because it was inconvenient to do so.
    • Eli honored his children above God.  He made God submit to his children.
    • Eli does not restrain his sons because of his career
    • Eli does not restrain his sons because he’s not parenting on purpose
  • Proverbs 3:11 – Training. Whatever constrains behavior trains the heart.  Example: If I bribe my child in order to get the behavior I want then I am training that child to respond to bribery.  To take it a step a further, I have appealed to that child’s greediness and hooked their heart to equate good behavior and greed.  If I give commands until I am mad to the point of snatching up my child in anger I’m training them to respond to force.
  • Sometimes the thinking has to be corrected, or charged in the right direction.  Paul tells Timothy to charge them that are rich in this world not to trust in uncertain riches or be highminded.  They’ll fall in a trap if they do.  The trap is where their trust lies.
  • Charge is energy pointed in a direction.  You define the movement.  Like a rudder on a boat.