Fathers are great if they are great fathers.

Fathers are great if they are great fathers.



Genesis 18.19



1.   Turn in your Bible to Genesis 1.26-28.  When you find that passage, please stand for the reading of God’s Word:

26     And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27     So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28     And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

2.   The verses that we have just read describe events that occurred and words that were spoken on the sixth and final day of God’s creation of this universe in which we live.  The next day, man’s first full day on this planet, God rested.

3.   When God created Adam and Eve, He created them perfect and sinless, living in communion with Him and in perfect harmony with the environment.  His plan was for them to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish the earth, to subdue the earth, and to exercise dominion over every living thing.

4.   Thus, we see that God’s original plan included man as both husband and father.  The command to “be fruitful, and multiply” shows us that God’s desire was for men to sire children by their wives and to be fathers to their children.

5.   Tragically, for himself and for our entire race, Adam sinned against God and fell into the depths of depravity.  Because of that terrible fall, Adam, and those generations of sons who followed him, was no longer capable of being the husband God intended him to be or the father his children desperately needed him to be.

6.   Let me cite a couple of the sad consequences of Adam’s fall:

a.   Genesis 3.8:  “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”  How sad to read of Adam and his wife hiding from God, now too cowardly to willingly face up to the consequences of his own decision.

b.   Genesis 3.12:  “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”  Now Adam begins the whining blame shifting that has characterized so many men over the centuries, blaming his woman for his own defects in character.

c.   Genesis 4.8:  “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”  Cain murdered his brother, Abel.  We recognize that Cain is responsible for his own sins in the sight of God.  But we also see a pattern in our own day, when violence is characteristic of boys without fathers, or with weak and impotent fathers.  Not having suitable role models, boys frequently turn to violence as the proper measure of a man.  It causes you to wonder what effect Adam’s fathering had on Cain.  But before excusing Cain’s wickedness, keep in mind that Abel, raised in the same home by the same father, was godly.

7.   I suppose the easiest thing a preacher could do on Father’s Day is spend an hour ripping the hide off of the men in attendance.  I could castigate men for not being the husbands they ought to be to their wives, or the fathers they need to be to their children.

8.   I could spend time addressing the issue of men who increase the likelihood of divorce in their marriages by persuading their wives to hold off on having kids.[1]  I could spend time addressing the issue of men who feel their job as dad is done at the end of the work day, rather than realizing that their truly important work only begins when they walk through the doorway to their house, to the wife who needs a husband who is a husband and the kids who need a father who is a father.

9.   Rather than do that, however, allow me to take you along a line of thinking that may be new to you.  I am not interested in castigating anyone today.  I will criticize no one; almost no one.  I merely want to excite you about the possibilities of every man in this room succeeding beyond his wildest dreams as a father on this Father’s Day.

10. Keeping in mind that God’s original plan for each father was utterly dependent upon that man’s intimate communion with God, the ability of every man to be a good father, an effective father, a decent father, a competent father, was utterly destroyed when Adam’s relationship with God was destroyed by his sin.

11. My friend, there is no man capable of fulfilling his God-designed and God-assigned role as a father apart from the power, wisdom, and life that God intended to supply fathers when He created Adam.  To state the matter another way, God created Adam to be utterly dependent upon Him.  Therefore, when Adam sinned against God and attempted to stand apart from God, attempted to be independent from God, attempted to isolate himself from the power, wisdom and life of God, he doomed not only himself to miserable failure in every area of life, but he doomed his posterity to the same failure.

12. In one sense, Adam succeeded in what he attempted to do.  He did establish his autonomy from God, his independence from God, his isolation from God.  But once he did that he came to discover how impossible it is for any man to function that way, or for any man to live that way.  And now, thousands of years later, here we are, doomed to the same fate and the same failures first experienced by Adam.

13. Partner, you do not possess the capacity, the interest, the wisdom, the power, the skills, the intelligence, to be the kind of father your children need to have, deserve to have, and deep in their hearts want to have.  In Second Corinthians 2.16, the apostle Paul asked a very important question:  “And who is sufficient for these things?”

14. He was not sufficient for the responsibilities God had given to him, and neither are you sufficient for the responsibilities God has given you, dad.  The truth is, no dad is sufficient to be the father he ought to be.  But all is not lost.  God has provided a remedy.

15. Turn in your Bible to Genesis chapter 18.  As you are turning to that chapter, keep in mind that this evening I will preach about the salvation of Abraham, which is recorded in Genesis 15.6, “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”  You will want to make sure you are here for that very important sermon.  The point that I seek to make here is that in Genesis chapter 18 Abraham is a saved man.

16. What happens to a man who is by nature deficient, but who gets saved?  What happens when a man who is constitutionally incapable of being a good dad becomes a child of God?  What happens when a sinful man, dead in trespass and sins, cut off from the life that is God, gets his sins forgiven and is given a new heart by God?  What kind of a father can such a man then become?

17. We catch a glimpse of what kind of father any man can become, by God’s grace, in Genesis 18.19.  Allow me to establish the context:

a.   As I said, Abraham is now a child of God.  He got saved in Genesis 15.6, approximately 15 years earlier.

b.   God has just made an appearance to Abraham, which I believe to have been the pre-incarnate Christ, along with two angels.

c.   During that appearance, God declares to Abraham that his wife, as old as she is, will have a son.  When Sarah overheard she laughed a laugh of unbelief, was questioned about it, lied to cover her action up, and was then rebuked for lying.

18. Our text is at an oftentimes overlooked turning point in Scripture, that lies between the announcement of the child Sarah is going to have, which incident I just reviewed with you, and the events leading up to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

19. The meal Abraham hosted for his guests comes to an end.  They rise up, and the LORD makes several comments about Abraham, including this one comment that serves as justification for telling Abraham what God is about to do in judgment against the city of Sodom.

20. Please stand at this time and read with me Genesis 18.19.  God said, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”

21. My friends, anyone who has read about Abraham knows that he was not a perfect man.  Neither was he a sinless man.  He was a deeply flawed man, as are the best of men.  But by this time in his life he is a saved man.  As can be seen in this portion of Scripture, he now has a relationship with God.

22. My message has to do with the result of Abraham’s relationship with God, insofar as him being a father is concerned.  Do you see the first phrase of Genesis 18.19?  “For I know him . . . .”  My gut hunch is that God is not, here, merely telling what He knows Abraham will do with the knowledge of Sodom’s judgment.  I am of the opinion that God is saying that what Abraham will do with the knowledge of Sodom’s judgment is the direct result of Him knowing the man.  Thus, Abraham being known of God results in Abraham behaving in a certain way toward his children and toward the others in his household.  The same will be true of you.

23. Three things about Abraham on this Father’s Day, that result from him being a child of God.  Three things about Abraham on this Father’s Day, that will become characteristics of your own parenting, dad, come the time that you become a Christian.


“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”


Fellows?  We live in an era when men do not know what to do.  We live in an era when men are brainwashed into believing lies about what God’s men are supposed to be like and about what fathers are supposed to be like.  Learn from Abraham what kind of father a saved man can become by God’s grace.

1B.    First, Abraham’s was a position of authority.

1C.   Our text indicates that God knew Abraham would “command his children and his household after him.”  The Hebrew word translated “command” is what is called a PI‘EL conjugation, meaning the verb is intensive and active.[2]

2C.   This means that Abraham was known to be the kind of father who charged his children, who commanded his children, who ordered his children to do what he wanted them to do.  And he did the same thing with others in his household, as well.

3C.   Folks, we live in an age that has come to expect men to work and provide food and clothing for their families, but to otherwise keep their mouths shut.  But God’s Word shows that Abraham, the prototype of a man who lived by faith, was anything but that kind of man.

4C.   This man walked with God, knew what God wanted, and would do his dead level best to make sure his son and those in his household clearly understood what he, and God, expected of them.  You should do the same, dad.

5C    Now, to be sure, when unsaved men attempt to wield this kind of authority they are very prone to arrogance, cockiness, and foolhardiness.  Unsaved men who do not attempt to wield this kind of authority in their homes are passive, pathetic, and weak.  But the child of God is given grace by God to exercise judgment, to grow in wisdom, and to function with God’s help in the position God has given him to occupy.

2B.    Next, Abraham’s was a position of responsibility. 

What a man is given authority to do he is also held responsible by God for.  And thus it was with Abraham.  We will see, over the next several weeks, Lord willing, how Abraham lived by faith and did God’s blessed will, not only as a man of God, but also as a faithful and dutiful father to his son, Isaac.

3B.    Finally, Abraham’s was a position of example. 

1C.   Too many fathers are of the “do as I say, not as I do” school.  But that ridiculous approach to being a dad produces only scornful children who look upon their fathers as hypocrites.  Every successful dad, every Christian dad, is aware of the importance of setting a good example.

2C.   And it was the apostle Paul, likening his pastoral oversight of the new Christians in Thessalonica to that of a father’s oversight of his children, who describes the proper example of a father.  “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:  As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”[3]

3C.   What a position every dad occupies in the lives of his children.  Keep in mind, father, that God is the heavenly Father.  Thus, you are designated by God, Himself, to be His representative in your home.  Only you occupy that position of authority in your home.  Only you can fulfill the responsibilities of fatherhood to your children.  Only you can set the example God wants set for every child.  And you can only do these things properly when you are a Christian.


In this day of passive and pathetic men who preside over hen houses that seem to be most suitable to raise girls to be Jezebels and boys to be sissies, what I am about to say will horrify feminists and shock the faint of heart.

1B.    The power Abraham wielded as a father was the power to command. 

1C.   Excuse me, but Abraham did not preside over a democracy.  He was in charge.  And someone does have to be in charge.  Amen?

2C.   Fellows, the alternative to what God has planned is for each married couple to negotiate and jostle for position and power in the home, with the resultant struggles creating only confusion and discouragement for the children.

3C.   But when a man walks with God as Abraham walked with God, fearing only God and not fearing man, he has the liberty to serve God by commanding his children, telling them what to do, instructing them how to live their lives.

4C.   Do you doubt that Abraham wielded that kind of power with Isaac?  If you do, read Genesis chapter 22 some time. 

2B.    The power Abraham wielded as a father included the power to control.

1C.   Someone has to be in charge.  Does anyone in their right mind doubt that someone has to be in charge?  And being in charge is something more than being the one who issues the commands, who tells people what to do.

2C.   Exercising the power to control requires holding people accountable and making sure that expectations are fulfilled, directives are obeyed, obedience is forthcoming.  It refers to backing up your words with a forceful personality.

3C.   I find it incredible that sometimes women who are married to the kind of man who seeks to follow the example of Abraham in this way drags her feet, exhibits exasperation, and is generally fussy about the thought of her man being a take charge, command and control, kind of guy.

3C.   To be sure, a guy has no business being this way toward other people while dropping the ball with respect to his own duties.  A guy who seeks to command and control his children without himself being in submission to God shows himself to be a hypocrite.

4C.   But all things being equal, men, God will enable you to know what to do as a father, what course to set for your family and children, and how to sail in that direction in this church and under the guidance of God’s Word.

5C.   How else can you explain Isaac’s compliance to his father’s wishes in Genesis chapter 22, when Abraham was prepared to slay his son in obedience to God, and when that strapping young man willingly submitted to his aged father without so much as a comment in opposition?  That boy knew his daddy walked with God.  So when dad told him to jump, he asked, “How high?”

3B.    The power Abraham wielded as a father also included the power to coerce.

1C.   The child of God knows the chastening hand of God in his own life.  He knows that God, being the perfect father, sometimes sees the need to give His children spankings that can be very painful . . . but that are always beneficial.

2C.   Our sick society is so perverse that we bind the hands of all but the most determined fathers, hindering them from correcting their children when they are wrong.  But Hebrews 12.7-8 shows us that God’s dealings with Christians are parallel to the way good fathers are supposed to deal with their children:  “for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”  In other words, what kind of a lousy dad would refuse to spank his child in order to correct him and coerce him to do right?

3C.   There can be no doubt that Abraham exercised the power to coerce those in his household when they strayed off the path and rebelled against him.  And though no husband is ever given authority by God to treat his wife as a child, and so can never, ever, coerce her to comply with his wishes, no father should hesitate to coerce his child to obey him when such measures are needed.

4C.   Fathers who are Christians are blessed by God with the grace to exercise power in their homes with their children.  Power to command?  Yes, but not only that.  Power to control, as well, with a personality that backs up spoken words.  And when necessary, steps have to be taken to actually force a child to comply with a father’s wishes.  But God is good, and He will bless the efforts of the spiritual, the prayerful, the humble, the conscientiously loving, and father.


1B.    First, as suggested by the testimony of Scripture.

1C.   I have already reminded you of Isaac’s willingness to submit to his dad, even at the cost of his own life.  This demonstrates not only Isaac’s own faith in God, following the example of his godly father, but he had confidence that his father was a man who did what God wanted.

2C.   Understand, folks, that I am not talking about raising a boy who will drink the Kool-Aid.  I do not refer to raising mindless zombies whose every thought and action is controlled by an authoritarian and oppressive dictator of a father.

3C.   Let us rid ourselves, once and for all, of this Hollywierd notion of what a Christian dad is actually like.  Abraham was no crazed maniac, and neither is any other dad who loves God and seeks to obey Him.  But our culture, and Hollywierd, has so caricatured the Christian adult male that most men are afraid to become Christians, #1, and are then afraid to function as the fathers God wants them to be, #2.

4C.   Abraham was simply a man who trusted God, and who stuck all the way to the end.  What, for crying out loud, is wrong with that?  What is wrong with being a Christian?  What is wrong with giving a kid a swat on the rear end when he needs it?  What is wrong with being in charge, rather than letting the inmates run the insane asylum?

5C.   Abraham was a man of such spirituality and grace that he did not give up as a father.  He did not capitulate.  He did not surrender.  And his testimony is that, even when he was an old man, his son still wanted him around, and his grandson still wanted him around, Hebrews 11.9-10.

2B.    And this is suggested by the nature of faith, when you think about it.

1C.   Guys, being a father is extremely tough.  Being a dad is so tough that most guys give up on the idea, either by refusing to properly father the kids they have sired, or by refusing to sire children in the first place.

2C.   Aside from all the difficulties that are inherent in raising children, a guy who wants to be a good dad has to deal with the possibility of marrying some woman with feminist tendencies, who will have no respect for him if he is passive, but will resist him if he is assertive.  It’s enough to make a guy want to give up.

3C.   But a Christian dad doesn’t give up.  Why not?  One of the primary characteristics of faith, real faith, the faith that God gives, is its persistence, its determination, its perseverance.  Not that a Christian dad won’t give up.  He may give up.  He may quit.  But he won’t stay quit, because faith is not a quitter.  Some Christian dad may give up in frustration on Friday night, but he will be back at it on Saturday.

4C.   The Christian man, like Abraham, will keep on keeping on.  He will continue raising his children, even if at first glance it looks like he has failed.  He will stay on course as a Christian father, even if he thinks he is being betrayed by his wife and sabotaged by the culture he lives in. 


1.   My friend, God does not expect dads to be perfect.  As a matter of fact, God knows that dads will not be perfect.  But He does demand that they be Christians.

2.   After all, how can a man who rebels against God expect a submissive child?  How can a man who refuses the Savior raise his children to do right?  How can a man who refuses the love of God in Christ Jesus properly love his children, and love their mother?

3.   Oh, what a dad any one of you men can be.  But only if you are a Christian man.  You see, if you are a Christian man God will answer your prayers.  If you are a Christian man you are no longer God’s enemy.  And if you are a Christian man you will have a heavenly Father Who will bless your efforts to be a Christian father.

[1]http://michnews.com/artman/publish/printer_4049.shtml   6/19/04

[2] John Joseph Owens, Analytical Key to the Old Testament, Volume 1, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1989), page 67 and J. Weingreen, A Practical Grammar For Classical Hebrew, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), page 100.

[3] 1 Thessalonians 2.10-11




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