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Fatherhood: A High + Holy Calling



Grant Partrick joins us for a special talk on Father’s Day, reminding us that few things are more powerful than a father’s words. Though everyone’s experience as a father or as children of fathers varies, we can ultimately find confidence knowing that the love of our heavenly Father meets our greatest needs.

Key Takeaway

The stories we tell and the lives we live carry more weight than we think.

We don’t have as much time as we think. We think we have all the time in the world.

The truth is that by the time our kids reach 18, we have spent 95% of our in-person time with them.

I don’t know how that makes you feel...but it filled me with a sense of urgency, a reminder of the significance of this high and holy calling and the preciousness of time.

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society” – Billy Graham

Today, we want to look particularly at one verse in Chapter 6 of Ephesians. Paul is laying out instructions on how to live as a Christian in the context of different relationships. Right before the section we are in, he is talking to husbands and wives, and he turns his attention here in chapter 6 to the relationship between parents and children, particularly in verse 4 with Fathers and children.

There is a negative—something to avoid. And a positive—something to pursue.

1. Negative exhortation—don’t exasperate your children.

Other translations say...Provoke to anger, provoke to wrath (King James), make angry, stir up anger. You get the picture.

Let me be clear about what he is not saying. He’s not saying don’t ever make them angry. That would be crazy. A few weeks ago, I didn’t let my daughter have Starbursts for breakfast, and she lost her mind.

Don’t discipline them so that they become embittered and embrace a spirit of resentment and anger.

Look at the parallel text in Colossians 3:21.

One pastor gave a few examples of how our discipline as parents can lead to exasperated and discouraged children...

  1. Refusal or failure to discipline.
  2. Unjust discipline.
  3. Inconsistent discipline.
  4. Unexplained or unclear discipline.
  5. Excessive discipline.

Paul says don’t do that. Not don’t ever make them angry. Don’t purposefully make them angry. Obedience should be the goal of our discipline, not resentment.

2. Positive exhortation—raise them up.

I’m convinced that there are few things more powerful than the words of a father. Are you encouraging or discouraging? Your words matter so much. Your influence is so much greater than we often are aware of.

God has entrusted these children to us to nurture, raise, and release into their kingdom callings. Parent with that in mind.

Think about Zebedee. Two of his boys were first-round draft picks. They left everything, including him. He had raised them up...and he released them. His name means gift of God. He didn’t want them to be dependent on him.

Then, he tells us how to raise them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Training—Discipline. Correction. Providing guidance.

Instruction—Providing counsel. It’s giving warnings: watch out for this or that.

It's training AND instruction—not training OR instruction.

According to Tim Keller, if we over-discipline without providing any counsel, we are forgetting they are humans. We treat them like animals to be trained, not individual people made in the image of God. But if we over-counsel without discipline and correction, we forget they are only children. In both instances, it will lead to frustrated parents and exasperated children.

The home is the primary disciple-making tool. It is not meant to be outsourced to schools or churches.

The stories we tell, and our lives carry more weight than we think.

Our kids are picking up more than we think they are.

The Israelites dropped a lot of balls. They failed often. They squandered their way through the wilderness. But of all their failures...this one had to be near the top. They failed to tell the stories of God’s faithfulness, and in time, they forgot the LORD.

Their parents lived in the land that flowed with milk and honey, their parents and grandparents, and now a generation arose that had no clue about the God who had given them everything they had...

What are the ways we can model, instruct, and train our kids in the ways of the LORD?

It is so much easier to tell us kids what not to do than to model for them what they are to do isn’t it?

Model for them what you want to be replicated in them

  • Don’t tell them to love their enemies. Love yours.
  • Don’t talk about forgiveness as a bible study theme....let them see you forgive those who have wronged and hurt you.
  • Don’t tell them to be generous...let them see you sacrifice for the sake of others.
  • Do tell them they can’t have everything they want...model self-denial for them.
  • Don’t tell them to obey God’s Word...let them see you repent from being under it.

One of the most powerful things we can do for our kids is to be an example. They are watching you more closely than you think.

  • The Split of the Kingdom happened in 930 BC.
  • Judah in the South. Israel in the North.
  • Israel had 19 Kings.
  • Judah had 19 Kings and one Queen.
  • 39 Total.
  • They weren’t an impressive bunch. Only eight of Judah’s kings are described as doing right in the eyes of the LORD. And only one of Israel's kings.
  • Of the 39...30 of them were lineage Rulers. Meaning they ruled because their father also ruled.
  • Of the 30...22 of them just did whatever their father did.
  • Almost 73%. Nearly three in every four just did what Dad did.
  • 18 of them did evil as Dad did.
  • 4 did right, like Dad did.

This is not a formula.

Modeling these things certainly does not guarantee that your kids will follow the LORD, but not modeling them certainly increases the likelihood that they won’t.

When we look at Josiah's story, we see that three of his sons reigned as king and did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Some of you are carrying that guilt and shame here today. It is our responsibility to model, pray for, intercede for, and believe in our kids' salvation, but faith is not hereditary. It has to be God who illuminates their hearts—and their hearts decide to trust in him.

“I cannot make my kids follow Jesus. All I can do is put kindling around a fire I hope the LORD ignites”

— Lauren Chandler

And others, you hear that 75% did what Dad did. That isn’t hopeful.

Maybe you didn’t have a godly example. You didn’t even know my dad and your dad isn’t in the picture.

Our hearts are heavy for you today, but we're also hopeful for two reasons.

1. God has given us the church.

Joash's father was wicked and not a model worth following.

Where there was no biological father to look up to, God provided a spiritual father. And it changed Joash. He was one of the few...who did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.

And not only that...his son did. And his son did. And his son did.

Four of the nine kings who did right stemmed from Joash being instructed by the Priest Jehoida.

There are spiritual fathers available who will point you in the direction of God.

2. There is a much greater cause for hope.

If we look to the beginning of the chapter we have been in Ephesians Chapter 1.

Earthly DNA is real. But it is not all there is.

God has chosen us in him before the creation of the world. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Christ.


“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”

Billy Graham

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Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Ephesians 6:1-4
  • Colossians 3:12
  • 1 Corinthians 11:1
  • Deuteronomy 6:4-12
  • Judges 2:8-10
  • 2 Kings 12:1-2
  • Ephesians 1:3-10
Grant Partrick Grant Partrick is a part of the team at Passion City Church and serves as the Cumberland Location Pastor. He is passionate about inspiring people to live their lives for what matters most. Grant and his wife, Maggie, live in Marietta, Georgia with their daughters, Mercy, Ember, and Charleigh. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary where he earned a masters of theology degree.