Pt:01 Myanmar 2017 – Spiritual Fathering

Introduction

A Problem:

All of us have been profoundly shaped by patterns of fathering which are spiritual and more common than not spiritually destructive. Let me list some examples.

Here are a couple of Old Testament scriptures pointing out the link between fathering and false worship; “(they) have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.(Jer 9:14 ESV); “Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.(Amos 2:4 ESV). (Even spiritual giants like Samuel and David failed to leave sons and successors who followed closely in the ways of the Lord.)

In the introduction to one of his books Australian evangelist John Smith tells the story of talking with a street kid about God.

The boy said, “What’s God like anyway?” Smith replied, “God is like a Father.” the boy replied, “If he’s anything like my old man who beat my mother and threw me out of the house I don’t want anything to do with him.

John Smith

One of the biggest social problems we have in Australia is crime involving Indigenous/aboriginal people. An Indigenous/aboriginal youth is about 26 times more likely to be imprisoned than a non- Indigenous young person. Governments have struggled with this problem for a long time but here is what one very perceptive young aboriginal woman said to me, “You see these young men wandering the streets of Belmont (suburb where I live), they all have the same problem, none of them have fathers.

A few years ago violence broke out between various tribal groups in South Sudan.

Soon young church going Sudanese refugees were fighting one another in Perth.

I prayed about this and went to the senior clergyman responsible for the Sudanese. I suggested to him that tribalism was the obvious problem but it wasn’t the root problem.

The core issue was that the young men from the various tribal groups had accepted unquestionably what their forefathers had told them about the other tribes. I said that the elders of the tribes needed to ask the forgiveness of the young people for sinning against them, and then God would heal the conflict.

This suggestion was totally counter-cultural, and I haven’t heard from that clergyman since!

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

God’s Way Forward

For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

One of the scriptures which have become very important to me in recent years is Paul’s words to the Corinthians, vs.15For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. vs.16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me. vs.17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.(1 Cor 4:15-17 ESV)

Anyone can take it upon themselves to teach others about Jesus but genuine spiritual fathers /mothers are rare.

THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT REASONS FOR THIS.

 Firstly, you cannot be equipped to father others through any course, programme or emotional experience. Through Jesus Christ and by the Spirit and the Word God the Father sovereignly makes us fathers in his likeness.

 Secondly, the preparation which God puts into the life of a spiritual father is difficult and painful.

A few verses earlier Paul had spoken of his apostolic struggles; vs.11 “To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, vs.12 and we labour, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; vs.13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” (1 Cor 4:10-13 ESV).

We learn the ways of God as a F/father through many tribulations and disappointments. Not all men and women are willing to go through such things.

 Thirdly, God’s work of preparing mature believers to care for his beloved children takes years of the Spirit’s ministry in your own life. You cannot take others where you have not been yourself.

 Finally, spiritual fathers, to quote Paul, “in humility count others more significant than themselves.(Phil 2:4 ESV). Since this is impossible other than in the power of the cross there will always be a shortage of spiritual fathers in the Church. But when you meet fathers you can’t miss them, they are unmistakeable.

Shortly before Christmas I was talking in Perth with a usually very quiet recently retired businessman. As he talked about various transformation projects he hoped to get involved with as an investor in the Third World he suddenly became like another person; intensely passionate, animated and eloquent. I thought to myself, “This is what fathering is all about, wanting to see reproduction, growth, multiplication and maturity in others.”

There are a number of reasons why this topic is close to my heart.

Certainly in Australia and the Western world generally, but in many other nations as well, there is a crisis in discipleship. This might involve the love of money, sexual immorality, a general desire for a happy lifestyle, a falling away from prayer and reading the scriptures etc.

Whatever the symptoms of a failure to disciple one thing is certain, programmes cannot produce disciples.

The typically Western error is to focus on the content of courses, rather than the quality and maturity of the presenter. The ministry of the early church was based on relationships not programmes.

Listen to how Paul talks in the letter to Philemon; vs.10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment…. vs.12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. (Philemon 1:10, 12 ESV cf. Acts 20:36-38 ESV etc). This is deeply touching language because parts of Paul’s own inner life, his values and tendencies, were imparted to his spiritual children. This is never a matter of rules and regulations, it is fully relational.

When, for instance, I was lecturing, many of my students, some of whom I still see from time to time, “picked up” from me a “way of life” which “tests everything” through the standard of whether or not it is centred on the person of Jesus (1 Thess 5:20 ESV; Heb 13:7 ESV). This became known as “The Jesus test”. This has caused trouble for some of them, because, like me I hope, they show no favouritism (Acts 10:34 ESV; Rom 2:11 ESV; Gal 2:6 ESV; Eph 6:9 ESV; Col 3:25 ESV; 1 Tim 5:21 ESV; James 2:1, 9 ESV).

Related to the crucial need to raise up spiritual fathers to foster discipleship is a prophetic commission that I believe I have personally received from the Lord, one which is vitally important in every generation.

Prophetic commission

the last days

At the very end of the Bible is a potent prophecy about the last days: vs.5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. vs.6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”” (Mal 4:5-6 ESV). Somehow Elijah’s end-time ministry will involve reconciliation between generations; the turning of hearts between older and younger means repentance, so that God brings blessing rather than judgement (2 Chron 6:37 ESV; 2 Chron 29:10 ESV).

The “decree of utter destruction” that will be turned away is the curse that fell on people and things under the holy war tradition of the Old Testament (Deut 7:2 ESV; Deut 13:2-18 ESV; Deut 20:16-18 ESV). In various places this curse is to be applied by destruction of fire (Josh 7:11-15 ESV). God’s ultimate goal is to free creation from his judgement.

Zechariah prophesies of a future day when “there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction.(Zechariah 14:11 ESV cf. Isa 43:28 ESV) and near the end of the book of Revelation in the heavenly city “No longer will there be anything accursed,(Rev 22:3 ESV).

What is it about Elijah that gives him a special place in the revelation of what it means to be a spiritual father?

Patterns of Fathering

It is the Elijah-Elisha relationship that provides a strong pattern for spiritual fatherhood and sonship. One of Elijah’s credentials which give him authority to call Elisha as his successor is not so much his miracles, such a pronouncing a drought on Israel, but his intense opposition to idolatry at the risk of his own life (1 King 17-19 ESV).

The way he calls Elisha is also highly distinctive:

vs.19 “So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. vs.20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” vs.21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.” (1 Ki 19:19-21 ESV).

Because the Lord has pronounced Elisha will be his successor he simply throws his cloak, the symbol of his prophetic office, over him and keeps on walking. But Elisha surely follows. The power of Elijah’s presence in the life of Elisha is such that even when on three occasions Elijah asks him to stop following he persists with unbreakable tenacity (2 King 2:2,4, 6 ESV). The highlight of the Elijah-Elisha relationship however comes just prior to the older prophet’s leaving the earth.

Elisha petitions, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.(2 King 2:9 ESV). Biblically, this means that Elisha stands in relationship to Elijah as his first born son, the one who is granted twice the inheritance of any other heir (Deuteronomy 21:15-17 ESV).

Elisha does exactly twice as many miracles as his mentor (28), but this is only a sign of a deeper relationship.

Elijah replies, ““You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”(2 King 2:10 ESV).

Crucially, Elisha knows himself to be God’s choice as the beloved son of Elijah because he witnesses his mentor’s ascent to heaven. vs.11 “behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. vs.12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariot of Israel and its horseman!”” And he saw him no more.” (2 King 2:11-12 ESV).

The two fold acclamation of sonship appears again in the Old Testament only at the death of Elisha (2 King 13:14 ESV). Its unique intensity is drawn out of Elisha because he sees that the glory of God is the reality of fatherhood present in Elijah. These words express a deep inner knowledge of sonship, the young prophet senses in his spirit that the anointing of Elijah now lives in him.

The outward sign that the authority of Elijah is imparted to Elisha, is that the mantle passed from Elijah to Elisha, the sign of his prophetic office, immediately clothes him with miraculous authority (2 King 2:13-14 ESV).

The Elijah-Elisha succession story has such power because it is permeated by a relational atmosphere which is uncompromising and apocalyptic.

Prophet-fathers hate idols and witness to the reality of the fiery judgment of the Lord which will destroy all sin; these are men who, as a said to a Christian friend about his own ministry, “take no prisoners”.

They are men, and women, of the holy war of God who enforce his judgement on evil.

They were sent to avert the decree of utter destruction and cannot be trivial about things (Mal 4:6 ESV). Jesus commanded us to disciple nations/people groups (Matt 28:18-20 ESV), and only this sort of spiritual fathering can stop the churches of already discipled nations falling away from their “first love” and coming under divine judgement (Rev 2:4-5 ESV). I see this falling away happening all across the Western world and now in evangelised nations such as South Korea. It does not ever have to happen here if the Lord raises up a generation of true spiritual fathers!

We know that Elijah was a successful spiritual father.

Whilst he was a solitary forerunner without precedent – he has no spiritual father (1 King 17:1 ESV) his spiritual son Elisha goes forth in the power of his prophetic father to parent many other prophets (2 King 4:43, 38 ESV; 2 King 6:1 ESV).

Another Elijah: John the Baptist

The New Testament opens with the angel of God testifying to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist; “vs.16 “And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, vs.17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”(Luke 1:16-17 ESV).

John discharges his prophetic ministry by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins(Mark 1:4 ESV); but when he is questioned about his identity and authority John speaks directly in apocalyptic terms. “vs.16 “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. vs.17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”(Luke 3:16-17 ESV). This message of fiery End time judgement is the very curse which his prophetic ministry was designed to save Israel from.

But in what way exactly is John one who turns fathers to children and children to fathers?

One possible answer is to note how John’s prophetic gift directed his own disciples to Jesus. vs.35 “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, vs.36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” vs.37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.” (John 1:35-37).

Of all the prophets in scripture up until this point it is John who most intensely testifies to Jesus as Messiah (cf. John 3:30 ESV). It is John’s single-minded witness to Jesus as the receiver of the Spirit and “the Son of God” that holds the key to the reconciling of generations (John 1:35 ESV).

It is however Christ himself who opens up the reality of how this will come to pass.

vs.9 “And as they were coming down the mountain [of transfiguration], Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” vs.10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” vs.11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. vs.12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” vs.13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.” (Matt 17:9-13 ESV).

John, who came in the spirit of Elijah, had a ministry which “restored all things” in the sense that everything in life, from possessions, to work, to money, was to be entirely consecrated to God, and that this was an essential part of what it meant to “preach the gospel” (Luke 3:10-18 ESV cf. Acts 3:21 ESV). Under such circumstances the judgement of God would pass over the people and they would be recipients not of fire but only of the gracious Spirit.

Whilst the Gospel accounts do to speak directly of John reconciling families, this must have been part of the “restoration of all things” Jesus attributed to his ministry. John himself would not see all things restored, because he had to suffer and die as a forerunner of Jesus himself. John’s Elijah ministry of turning of the hearts of fathers to children was a prophetic sign that the heavenly Father was about to renew the universe with a revitalized humanity at its centre in Christ. John’s ministry pointed to this End – time reality, but Jesus brought it into being

As the original Elijah was a solitary figure John the Baptist appeared as a lone forerunner. But the one who came after him, the Son of God, would “bring many sons to glory” (Heb 2:10 ESV).

The Discipling of the Son of God

I have already remarked that there is a crisis of discipleship in many nations. Sometimes this is simply because there is a shortage of mature teachers of the Word of God. More fundamentally however I think the way discipleship is approached is often confused. Courses in discipleship are usually based on a series of topics e.g. prayer, Bible reading, evangelism, tithing and so on. Instead of dealing with topics I believe we need to centre our attention to how Jesus was trained as a Son by his Father.

Jesus said in John 15, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.(John 15:10 ESV). These words of Jesus should remind us of his own parting words at the end of Matthew, “vs.18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. vs.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, vs.20 teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV). Jesus possessed perfect authority to command his disciples to make disciples because he himself had perfectly obeyed the commands of his Father.

We do not usually think of Jesus as a “disciple”, but if a “disciple” is simply a learner and Jesus was taught by the Father we can see his being discipled by God as an aspect of his Sonship (John 8:28 ESV). In these terms, “discipleship” for Jesus meant being fully like his Father and “discipleship” for us will mean being fully like Jesus.

Jesus and the Power to make Sons

The goal of Jesus’ coming was not to bring people to himself but to the Father (John 14:7 ESV). On one level his teachings and miracles did this by attracting large crowds (Matt 12:15 ESV; Matt 19:2 ESV). But as John records towards the close of Christ’s public ministry, “despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.(John 12:37 ESV). Something needed to happen to Jesus to give him the ability to permanently turn rebels into sons. The death and resurrection of Jesus makes possible a transformation in his own humanity so that through the gift of the Spirit of adoption he will be empowered to make sons in his own image.

The language of Hebrews is startling but powerful in this regard. vs.7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. vs.8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. vs.9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” (Heb 5:7-9 ESV).

Although he never once sinned (Heb 4:15 ESV) Christ’s obedience only reached perfection in his suffering and death on the cross. Paul says of Jesus that he was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.(Phil 2:8 ESV). This needs some careful explanation.

The cross is the high point of Christ’s obedience because it is the one place where he was not learning anything from his Father but he still obeyed him. When Jesus “cried out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?””, this means that in bearing our sin he is unable to receive any instruction from his Father (Mark 15:34 ESV).

This is what empties Jesus of any consciousness that he is the Son of God. Since the essence of sonship is, to quote the first chapter of Proverbs, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching(Prov 1:8 ESV), when Jesus cannot hear what the Father is saying he cannot know himself to be the Word of the Father.

Yet he continued to obey the Father even when in a place of spiritual darkness (Mark 15:33 ESV), he did not protest against the suffering he was enduring on the cross. This level of obedience is the perfection of his sonship. But it couldn’t possibly be that the Father would allow his Son to remain dead (Acts 2:24 ESV). As “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father(Rom 1:4 ESV; Rom 6:4 ESV) Jesus will be able to impart to us the Spirit of sonship (Rom 8:15-16 ESV; Gal 4:4-6 ESV). There is however another emphasis in the New Testament that most people neglect but which is vital in understanding the relationship between the Father and the Son and our own spiritual lives, this has to do with Christ’s ascension into heaven.

the wisdom of God

In the wisdom of God no human being witnessed Jesus resurrection from the tomb. There were however witnesses at the ascension.

In speaking to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb Jesus said, “go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’(John 20:17 ESV).

Through death, resurrection and ascension the disciples would share in the sonship of Christ in a way previously impossible.

Paul says of Christ’s ascension that he was “taken up in glory” (1 Tim 3:16 ESV), and in Acts we read, vs.9as they (the disciples) were looking on, he (Jesus) was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. vs.10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, vs.11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”(Acts 1:9 -11 ESV)

Elisha was confirmed as the son of Elijah as he witnessed the glory of fatherhood and the prophet taken to heaven, the apostles, in “seeing the Son of Man return where he was before” had an apocalyptic revelation of their own future with God (John 6:62 ESV; Dan 7:14 ESV). They knew that the humanity which Jesus had taken on for them had been elevated to the glory the Son had enjoyed with the Father “before the foundation of the world(John 17:5 ESV). [In the language of the Creed, “humanity had been taken into God”.] They knew that in Jesus their “lives were hid with Christ in God”, in the heart of the Father (Col 3:1 -3 ESV). The witnesses of the ascension of the Son saw for themselves that the glory of God for which the world was created was now concentrated exclusively in one place, in Jesus the Son of God in heaven (Isa 43:6-7 ESV).

Elisha possessed an external mantle of authority and had sons after his own prophetic likeness, but soon after seeing Jesus ascended to heaven the disciples receive the “promise of the Father” and “are clothed with power from on high(Luke 24:48 ESV; Acts 1:4 ESV). This is the power of the Holy Spirit poured out from the ascended heavenly Jesus (Acts 2:2, 33 ESV) at Pentecost. From now on, through the power of the Spirit and by testimony to what has been accomplished in Christ, men and women are changed from “children of wrath” (Eph 2:3 ESV) to “sons of God” (Gal 3:26 ESV).

In the heavenly Spirit (1 Pet 1:12 ESV), we know God in a new way, as our heavenly Father, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,(Eph 1:4 ESV). Knowing the unconditional blessings of the Father’s heart, our hearts are likewise turned to bless those sons and daughters that God has given us. In Christ through the gospel we have the power to multiply sons (cf. Heb 2:10 ESV). This eternal power is unmistakeably clear in the New Testament, but it remains a rare revelation across the churches. I believe there is one major reason for this spelled out in the New Testament.

Fathering On

In the son-making ministry of Elijah, in John the Baptist and ultimately in the cross of Christ there was an uncompromising and apocalyptic dealing with idols and sin which was essential to the making of sons. This is central to spiritual fathering. Another way of putting this is to say that we must see everything through the lens of the cross.

The biblical passage I believe which makes this most clear is Hebrews 12:5-11 ESV;

vs.5 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. vs.6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and punishes every son whom he receives.” vs.7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? vs.8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. vs.9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? vs.10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. vs.11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

This is a tough passage, too tough for most of the pastors I know back home. Foundational to understanding this passage is the teaching that just as Jesus could not be perfected apart from suffering neither can sons in his likeness (Luke 24:26 ESV etc.). It was prophesied in the Old Testament of the chosen king who would build the house of David, vs.14 “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the floggings of the sons of men, vs.15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him,” (2 Sam 7:14-15 ESV).

This is a prophetic word for us. God builds his family of sons through fathers that know they cannot grow in Christ-likeness apart from strong godly discipline. This discipline has nothing to do with harshness or neglect but means that our Father will sovereignly expose to just as much pain of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering needed in the circumstances of life to bring us to repentance (cf. 2 Cor 7:8-11 ESV).

We must believe that if the measure of the pain ordained by the Father in the suffering of Jesus was no more nor less than he needed to become the perfect Saviour of the world, so it must be with us. To discern the painful loving discipline of God as Father in the lives of others in ways they cannot see but need to hear about is essential to the discipling of sons. Those who have received discipline from God and submitted to it in wisdom will always become spiritual fathers.

Conclusion

In the context of describing himself as a rare spiritual father to the Corinthians Paul unhesitatingly directed his readers; “be imitators of me…. as I am of Christ.(1 Cor 4:15-16 ESV; 1 Cor 11:1 ESV). He was able to say this because his life looked like death-and-resurrection; vs.12 “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; vs.13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.” (1 Cor 4:12-13 ESV cf. 2 Cor 1:3-11 ESV 2 Cor 4:7-12 ESV etc.). Paul carried such an intense revelation of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” because in the sovereign will of God he had experienced so many times suffering and deliverance (2 Cor 1:3 ESV; 2 Cor 11:23-33 ESV).

Paul looked like Jesus dead-and–raised, but most popular discipleship/“fathering” involves discipling people to be like ourselves!

This means, sadly, that our personal and cultural corruptions are perpetuated in the next generation.

Paul however raised up men and women who could see through him how Jesus saw his Father.

These sons as a result loved, served and sacrificed themselves in the cause of Christ.

At various times I have walked into churches in Perth and watched various Christian leaders and thought, “You and trying to be like such-and-such…”

In the security of the gospel which Paul lived out in the likeness of Christ there were no clones/copies/look-alikes amongst those who followed his message (1 Cor 1:12 ESV; 1 Cor 3:4 ESV).

Matured sons of God will always be spiritual fathers making disciples in the Lord because they will always be growing spiritual sons (1 Tim 1:2 ESV; 2 Tim 1:2 ESV; Tit 1:4 ESV; Phil 1: 10 ESV; 3 John 4 ESV etc.).

Knowing the love of the Father in the Son such fathers are free from wanting to be liked and have themselves grown out of being attracted to the giftedness of others who lack the mature character of godly fathers.

This is always the way forward for the church of God– in every nation and in all times and seasons.

MESSAGE DELIVERED: Jan. 2017 | 4 cities in Myanmar

Author: Dr. John Yates

Myanmar 2017 Series Menu:

One Comment

  1. John, this is such a welcome relief to read. Thank you! I long for spiritual parents in churches to disciple believers to maturity over time within a relationship…this is the Jesus example. Now, how to encourage today’s believers to take on board the responsibility…….

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