The Kind of Father I Should Be

Bible Book: Joshua  24 : 15
Subject: Fathers; Father; Dad; Father's Day; Home, The

Today is Father’s Day and, as we come to this hour of worship, I want us to think about dads in our modern, American society. We celebrate Father's Day, but in more than 40 % of the families in American there is no father present. The single parent family is quickly becoming the dominant pattern in our day. Mostly this consists of a mother and her children. One out of four children born today are born in fatherless homes. In many homes in our country the father is not a visible part of the family. It was Barbara Bush, wife of former President George Bush, who once said, “Success does not depend on what happens at the White House, but what happens at your house!” That being true, it is no wonder that our society is in such a mess today.

There is a great need today for godly fathers. There always had been and always will be such a need. During a visit to the children's Bible class, a preacher looked into their serious faces and asked, “Do you love God?” They nodded that they did love God. Then he asked, “Why do you love God?” After a moment a small voice came from the back: “I guess it just runs in the family!” Yes, great answer! Apparently that child came from a home where love for God was prevalent.

It has been said rightly said that a child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father. A teacher asked some preschool children to draw a picture of God. Toward the end of class the children were excited to show their work. They came up with rainbows and men with big hands. Finally, the daughter of the teacher showed her picture: a man with a suit and tie on. "I don't know what God looks like," she said, "so I just drew my daddy instead." What an awesome responsibility. It would be wonderful if children could think of their fathers in this way.

Also, it is important for children to see their father’s model God's love in marriage and family living. There is the story of a little girl's first day at school. The teacher was making out her registration card. She asked the girl to give her father’s name. They little girl said, “His name is daddy.” The teacher said, “Yes, I know he is your daddy, but what name does your mother call him.” The little girl looked at the teacher somewhat surprised and said, “She doesn’t call him any names, she likes him.” It would be wonderful if all children could see love modeled in dad and mom in just that way.

Today I want us to ask the question, What Kind Of Father Should I Be? For our message I want us to look at Joshua. He was a man who committed his family to the Lord. I want you to notice 4 attributes in the life of Joshua which we as fathers should incorporate into our lives. Look with me at Joshua 24:15.

I. A FATHER OF SEPARATION            …But…as for me and my household…

Joshua knew that many families in Israel had begun to worship other gods. The gods of Ur, Egypt, the Ammonites and Canaanites were popular in the land. It was the fashionable and acceptable thing for a person to accept the worship of these gods into the home. Joshua spoke in no uncertain terms concerning his position on this issue. He called on the people to put away these idols. But notice what he went on to say. He told them that no matter what they did, he was going to worship the Lord. He was going to separate himself from the popular culture of his day. I don’t mean to say that he was going off to live in a cave somewhere, I mean that he was not going to give in to the politically correct ideas being espoused by society. Even if he looked foolish and was spoken of in negative terms, he was going to serve the Lord.

A. The Choice

This is a choice we all have. You can seek to blend in with the crowd or you can stand for the Lord no matter the cause and cost. This choice is very important for fathers. We must not allow culture to swirl us down into the vortex of macho image of our time.

B. The Courage

Joshua had the courage to do what was right. Look back at Joshua, chapter 1. From the beginning, Joshua was told by the Lord to be of good courage. That is the heart cry today. Fathers, be of good courage! Have the fortitude to stand faithfully for God in a godless world!

II. A FATHER OF DEDICATION         …As For Me…and my household….

It takes dedication to be the kind of father that our children need and deserve. It calls for a deep and total commitment to God's ideal for fatherhood. Certainly this is something missing in most homes in our day. Every man in this fellowship, every father in this church, ought to desire to have the level of dedication necessary to be the father God desires for us to be.

A. A Private Matter - Heart

Joshua had made a commitment to the Lord that began in his heart. In Joshua 22:4-6 we read, "Now that the LORD your God has given your brothers rest as he promised, return to your homes in the land that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

You will note that Joshua told the dads to serve the Lord with all their hearts. Devotion that doesn't start in the heart will soon depart! Devotion that doesn't course through the soul will soon grow cold!

Then Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their homes. Note that Joshua put the emphasis on the heart, on loving God, and obeying Him. That is because Joshua knew now important this really is! A commitment to God and your family always begins with the heart!

Every person who is saved, every person who has trusted Jesus for salvation, did so from the heart. Christ died for you. He rose for you. He intercedes for you. He is coming to take you home. He wants you heart! There may be a father, or anyone for that matter, in this service who has never trust Christ to be your Savior. Let me tell you, salvation is not gained by work. It is not earned by anything you or I can do. Salvation is made possible by the sacrificial love of Jesus revealed at Calvary where He died for your sins. He gave you His heart. He asks for your heart in return. This is not just a matter for dads, but is an issue for every person.

B. A Parental Matter - Home

Joshua also sent the men home. He told them to go home and be careful to love the Lord. No matter how we act elsewhere, how we act in our homes will determine the kind of men we really are. Our children see us when we are at home, with our guard lowered. We must be careful to keep our commitment to God, our wives and our children at peak performance in our homes. What we are at home will say much more to our children than how we act at church around other Christians. The kinds of things we watch on television will give evidence to our children of the type of fathers we actually are. The way we treat their Mom will say more than how we smile and shake hands with folks at church on Sunday.

Yes, we must remember that the influence of our children begins in the heart and must first show up at home. If that is the order of priority, our flimsy faith will soon show through!

C. A Public Matter – Hands

Commitment is a public matter as well. We must be careful to obey and let others see our commitment. We must never be ashamed our Lord. As we work with our hands, whether holding a hammer, a Bible or a computer keyboard, we are revealing the kind of men we actually are. Just as our devotion as a father must start in the heart and show up as a priority in the our home, it will fail if we do not guard our hands once we are away from home.

Yes, our commitment begins in our heart, but it can't remain there. I want to say a word to every person in this service. You can't be saved and keep it a secret. If you truly trust Jesus, you will not be ashamed of Him. It begins in the heart, is reflected in the home but it must be made public to be real!

III. A FATHER OF INSPIRATION     …and My Household…

Sadly, many women attend church without their husbands, and children trail along without dad in church. Fathers must be an inspiration to the family in terms of devotion the the Lord. I will never forget my dad sitting beside me in church when I was a boy. I can remember him praying with me. No memory is more precious concerning my father than hearing him pray. When I was a teenager, I sat in his Sunday School Class and heard him teach. His dark blue eyes seem to penetrate every young man in that class. His faith inspired me. My Dad was perfect, none of us are, but His faith was real and I knew it! Each father in this service must ask this question: Can my children see that my faith is real in the way I live, the way I study God's Word, the way I love their mother, the way I worship in His church, and the way I love them?

A. The Source of his Love

Joshua loved the Lord because he had been loved. How was he loved by the Lord?

He was delivered out of Egypt by the power of God.

He was kept in the Wilderness by the grace of God.

He was victorious over Jericho by the hand of God.

And all of this was due to the love of God!

He authority did not come from his position as a father, but from his passion as one loved by the Father above. Having received great love, he knew how to give love. He loved his family and desired God’s best for them.

Some men do not take seriously the task of loving the family faithfully. A father turned to his daughter and said, "Your young man approached me this afternoon and asked for your hand and I consented." The girl began to cry and said, "But, Father, I don't want to leave Mother." The father answered, "But don't let me stand in the way of your happiness--take your mother with you."

Men, we are to love our God, love our wives and love our children! Joshua loved his family and intended to inspire them to know and have God’s best.

B. The Force of his Leadership

The force of his leadership was to be found in his ability to inspire others to know God, to remember God, to turn to God! Joshua did not talk about what he had done, he talked about what God had done! He knew that his life had been blessed with grace. He intended to inspire his family to experience that same blessing from above.

Men, we are often given to pride. We accomplish something and want to take full credit for it. You have worked hard, but who gave you the ability to work? You have learned much, but who gave you the mind to learn? You have gained much, but who opened the doors for you to gain much? If you answer, "I did it myself," you are in real trouble. Tomorrow you may not be able to lift you arm, stand on your feet, and your mind may slip away and leave you in a fog. I have seen big, strong, independent men who were flat on their backs. One man I knew had an important job. He was successful and earned a wonderful income. I got a call that a problem had arisen and by the time I arrived at the hospital, this man could not even stand up without help. He was young, handsome and had a lovely family. He lost his important job, all of his income and his mobility in a moment. What happened? He took a step which led to a twisted back and his career and working life was over. I am not talking about an old man with his life behind him. I am talking about a young man with young children. Listen, the strength we have and the opportunities we have are lent to us by the Lord. Yes, we have to use them, but without God's blessings all of it can be gone in a flash. Always give God glory. The force of your leadership must be your close walk with God!

IV. A FATHER OF APPLICATION     ... We Will Serve The Lord

A. This Involves Worship

The word used here is used in the Old Testament at times to describe the priests who served at the Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle and later at the Temple. Fathers, we must serve God in His house, as well as at our house. We need to bring our family to church, not drop them off at church.

B. This Involves Work

This word was also used for tilling the ground. It was hard work in those days to till the ground. Oxen were used to pull plows which had to be handled by men. It took great strength to hold on to a plow. Jesus said, "No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Fathers, we must be strong for the Lord. We must be steadfast. We must pray, give, attend, and work in God’s Kingdom. We must love our children, discipline our children, understand our children, listen to our children, spend time with our children, and point our children to the Lord.


Many men think that great men are the ones who fly jets in combat, the ones who win Superbowl games in January, or become heavy weight champions in the boxing ring, but I tell you that real heroic men are those who faithfully take out the garbage, help the children with their homework, and consistently lead their family in prayer. That is the kind of fathers we should be, and can be, if we will recommit our lives to the Lord and go to our homes to serve Him faithfully!

Today, let us remember how good God has been to us. Let us renew our commitment to Him.

I want to close using a scenario that I am sure happens in many homes. Dad is tired, rushed and feels a lot of tension in his life. Something angers him, and because of the pressures, he unloads. He said something really ugly to his wife. He barks at the kids, kicks the dog, slams the door and walks out, or goes to a room in the house to be alone. Sunday comes and dad piles the kids in the car and drives off to church with his wife beside him. The sermon is preached, and the invitation is sung. The father stands there and sings along with everyone else. One of his children looks up at him and wonders, "Will dad go forward today and straighten things out with God?" Dad just keeps singing till the invitation is over. He goes out of the church, shakes the pastor's hand with a smile and takes the family out to lunch. Now, listen to me fathers! If you never see the need to publicly confess and seek renewal with the Lord, will your children really believe that a new commitment means anything? If you are too big to bow down, do you think they will ever believe it is necessary in their lives to bow before God? Let me tell you, when a child sees dad bow down before God, he or she knows there is something real to his faith. Your children know you are not perfect. God knows you are not perfect. I know you are not perfect. But, how long has it been since you openly, honestly and totally bowed down in the front of your church just to confess you personal sins to God and ask Him to forgive you? How long has it been since you remembered how good He has been to you and simply fell down publicly and thanked Him for all His blessings to you and your family?

I call on fathers this morning to make a public, open and true commitment to your Lord. Come forward during this time of commitment, bow down here and renew your live for Jesus, for your wife and for your children. You might want to take your wife by the hand, tell her you love her and bring her with you to bow and pray. Joshua was not ashamed of his commitment, and he was not ashamed of his love for God, and he was not ashamed to admit to his family all that he believed about his faith. Let each of us boldly honor the Lord with a new and deeper commitment as men of God.

Come now! Those who do not know Jesus, come to Him today and be saved. You believe in your heart, now confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Make your open decision for Christ today. It is a decision you will never regret!

So, let us sing, and you come. Fathers, be the first down these aisles. Come now, the Lord is calling you. Come to Him!