You Have Not Many Fathers
Lesson 1 – The Father’s Heart
THE FATHER’S HEART
The apostle Paul said, “Though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers.” I Corinthians 4:15 There’s a lot of discussions today about “apostolic” ministry, and much of it is good; however, there must be a proper understanding of what it means to be a “spiritual father” in order to understand the ministry of apostles. An apostle is a spiritual father to other ministers. Apostolic ministry is about serving, not about becoming some type of a celestial CEO. “A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame.” Proverbs 17:2
Any ministry which lives for itself and builds for itself will also die by itself. Too many ministers want the honor and respect which comes from being a good father when they haven’t displayed a father’s heart. Instead, they act more like the apostle Peter with his sword ready to attack anyone who disagrees with them. Many people feel like Malchus, the High Priest’s servant after Peter cut off his ear: they’re afraid of anyone with authority. Their bleeding ears make them deaf to apostolic truth. But fatherless people are suffering people, and families without fathers always pay a high price. Rejecting authority isn’t the answer to the abuse of authority.
The issue of “spiritual fathers” isn’t about being sired into the Kingdom of God. There’s only one heavenly Father, and it’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be born again. The issue is about being fathered into ministry. One of the promises God gave for the last days is, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.” Malachi 4:5-6 Every truth in the Kingdom of God is based on relationships. God does call us ambassadors and servants, but He also calls us His children, His sons, and daughters. He’s our Heavenly Father.
The apostle Paul in writing to Timothy said, “To Timothy, a true son in the faith.” Again, he said, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 1:2, II Timothy 2:1 To Titus, he wrote, “To Titus, a true son in our common faith.” Titus 1:4 Paul was writing about the spiritual relationship of their ministry, not about a natural relationship. He wasn’t their natural father. The connection between a father and son in ministry is a connection of being one in spirit.
There are three main things that a father’s heart provides for his sons and daughters.
FATHERS GIVE US IDENTIFICATION
The first great benefit from a spiritual father is identification. One of the big questions every child must answer is, “Who am I?” We must know where we came from to know where we’re going. John 13:3 Jesus didn’t begin His earthly ministry until He submitted to John’s baptism and there came a voice from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 Many ministers, like Benjamin, the son of Jacob, have been inappropriately misnamed by a dying religious system. Rachel, in her pain, cursed her own son. We need fathers, who like Jacob, prophecy our destiny. Genesis 35:18 It’s a tragedy for sons to misalign themselves with those who are trapped in their past and cannot prophesy their future.
FAHTERS GIVE US IMPARTATION
When Jesus was baptized in water, there was an impartation to His spirit by, “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” Matthew 4:16 The Holy Spirit was given to Jesus without measure. John 3:34 In a similar manner, the apostle Paul wrote about Timothy’s ordination service, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you by the laying on of my hands.” II Timothy 1:6 Spiritual sons learn to have a father’s heart by serving with their fathers. Philippians 2:20-22
Fathers have something very important to give their sons, and when fathers fail to bless their sons, a generational blessing is lost which takes years to regain. This spiritual impartation is crucial for the success of their ministry. Without their father’s blessing, many ministers struggle for years trying to gain the momentum in ministry their father could have imparted to them.
FATHERS GIVE US AN INHERITANCE
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22 It’s the delight of fathers to bless their children. Each new generation of ministers should glean from both the successes and failures of the men and women of God who preceded them. We are called to worship the God of our fathers. The deposit we make in our children should enable them to have a greater relationship with God than we have. Deuteronomy 30:5 By building on the foundation which their father’s laid, they should be able to accomplish even greater things. John 14:12 Everything that comes from God to a believer comes in the form of an inheritance. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.” Romans 8:16-17
Everyone needs a Spiritual Father to be Successful in Ministry.