We have a Father we can Follow.

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Intro: Our fathers. We all have one. If I were to poll 10 of you, I am sure that 10/10 people would have a dad. I know, shocking!
It is sobering, however, to think of those 10 individuals and see: how many of them had a Father they could look up to? Would it be 9 out of 10, 7 out of 10, 4 out of 10? It saddens me to think of situations that some of you have been through. I am thankful that I have a great example of a God-fearing dad, not perfect, but constantly seeking to be God-honoring. The reality is not all fathers seek to display a Christ-like character. Even the best of fathers fall short of perfection.
Lord willing, our dads, are following that heavenly father, seeking to grow their character closer to that of Him and they can be a good example to us as they imitate Christ. Someday if God grants me a wife and kids that’s who I want to be: a father seeking to be Christ-like in providing, protecting, teaching, and nurturing my family how God would want me to. When dads are following God’s design of fatherhood it is sweet. When spouses follow God’s design of a Husband being willing to lay down his life for His wife and a Wife submitting her husband in the Lord it is awesome.
Ephesians 5:33 ESV
33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
This is the example I praise God that I was shown growing up by my parents and by other couples. Regardless of the example your father was to you, either good or bad. Regardless of your dad being God-fearing or not. Regardless of the person our father is or was...
Truth: We have a Father we can Follow.
We have a heavenly Father that we can Follow. He is totally deserving of our adoration. He is totally deserving of our imitation. He is the perfect dad. He always gives us exactly what we need, not what we want. When we go astray He disciplines us lovingly. When we go stagnant He introduces situations we know as trials that have the potential to grow us closer to Him if we let them.
We have a Father we can Follow.
Ephesians 5:1 ESV
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
We have a Father totally deserving of imitation. We are called to be “holy as he is holy” as Leviticus and 1 Peter tell us. We are to be different from those around us our identity in Christ is that we are His beloved children.
We have a Father we can Follow. He is totally worthy of our imitation and we will see many of those admirable traits of our Heavenly Father as we bounce through Ephesians.
Turn to Ephesians 1:1-14

We have a Father that has adopted us.

Ephesians 1:1–14 ESV
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
We have a Father that has adopted us.
Our adoption means that He has chosen us. 4-5
He chose us before the foundation of the World for a purpose. To be holy and blameless.
How am I doing at that purpose? Am I being holy and blameless? Am I different than the world?
Our adoption means that we should praise Him. 6
Part of why He has saved and adopted us into His family is to reveal His great grace.
Am I praising God for His great grace that He has shown to me daily?
Our adoption means that we have forgiveness. 7
Our sins have been paid for by the blood, we have been forgiven. And the great riches of God’s grace has been shown to us.
Ephesians 2:3–5 ESV
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Our adoption means that we have an inheritance and a purpose. 11
Part of our inheritance we obtain now. Freedom from sins dominance in your life. The gift of the Holy Spirit. Peace and Joy.
Part of our inheritance we obtain later. Freedom from sins presence will come when we enter eternity. And we know that salvation is final.
Our adoption means that our salvation is final. 13-14
Our adoption is to the praises of His glorious grace.
Our forgiveness is according to the riches of His grace.
Our hope in Christ is to the praise of His glory.
Our possession of our eternal inheritance is to the praise of His glory.
We have a Father who has adopted us. Let me tell you what I have been taught and read about as far as adoption back in Roman law entail.
by John B. Song
Knowing the meaning of adoption, which preserved Roman power, illuminates the Pauline message. The grace of adoption was afforded to slaves of sin to make them coheirs with Christ. Adoption was not an unwelcomed status. Rather, it was a coveted status among those who could potentially rule the Roman world. There was nothing more joyful than to discover that one had been adopted by a powerful Roman family. For Paul, the Roman emperors were no gods, for they were mortal, subject to moral corruption. Rather, there was greater joy in knowing that one was adopted by God the Father through faith in Christ. For in Christ, we enjoy the liberties and privileges of being the children of God.
It is a privilege to be a Child of God. Our adoption means He chose us, we should praise Him for His grace in that act. He has forgiven us and we have an inheritance and a purpose. In Roman culture that inheritance wasn’t just an after death thing. It was a blessing to be had and given by a father at the moment the adopted was made a child. Our adoption also means our salvation is final, we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is for sure.
We have a Father we can Follow. This Father has adopted us. That is very special and we should treasure that not ignore it.
We have a Father who has adopted us.

We have a Father that we can talk to.

Our fathers will not always be there for us. It may be a bad decision on their part, or a lack of commitment to communicate with you. Or it could be that God has brought them into eternity. And these situations that come up remind us to make the most of our time with our family. They either know the Lord and can encourage us and teach us, or they do not know the Lord and we must be a light and share Christ with them. I can think of individuals in my family on both sides of that conversation.
While our earthly fathers will not always be there, our heavenly Father will always be there. We have a Father that we can talk to. And He always answers perfectly. Yae, Nae, Maybae.
We see Paul shares His personal commitment to prayer two particular times in Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:16 ESV
16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
Ephesians 3:14 ESV
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Both of these statements show just how practical Paul’s doctrine was to Him. He didn’t just preach pray without ceasing, He lived it. Here he is going along, writing to the believers in Ephesus and he just breaks into prayer particularly there in Ephesians 3. Prayer should be second nature to us as believers. Something goes good, we should praise God for it. Something difficult is happening, we should praise God in it, and ask for strength.
It is not just the super saints that have access to God. We can put people on pedestals and think, “Oh if I could just be like them pray like them.” No we all have access to the Father.
Ephesians 2:17–19 ESV
17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
You are a saint our you ain’t. If you are in Christ you are a saint. Congratulations, you have access through the Spirit to the Father. You can talk to Him at any time.
One of the things Paul prayed for the Ephesians we see in Chapter 1 verse 17.
Ephesians 1:17 ESV
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
Communication is a two way street. God answers our requests with a yae, nae, or maybae, and He also gives wisdom when we need it and grows us in our knowledge of Him. All of this is made possible through the Spirit.
James 1:5 ESV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
We have a Father we can Follow.
This Father has adopted us.
This Father we can talk to.

We have a Father who has a standard.

Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The first 3 chapters are doctrine. The Last 3 in Ephesians are living it out. And so we are right here at the crossroads.
A standard of humility, patience, gentleness, love, and unity in the Spirit. The list goes on in the coming chapters. I encourage you this afternoon and this week to read through chapters 4-6 of Ephesians for more practical everyday living commands.
Conclusion: We have a Father that we can follow. One who is an example in every way to us. We have a Father that has adopted us. We are special to Him, He has chosen us, we are sealed, we have an inheritance through Christ. We have a Father we can talk to. There is no super status that we need to achieve. We all have access to the Father through the Spirit. We have a Father that has a standard and He shares it with us throughout His Word. It is not a question how we should walk in following our Father.
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