What does it take to be a biblical father, and what does Isaiah have to do with it? Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents conform their parenting to the standard set in Christ.
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Welcome back, friends!
Well, I guess I should be welcoming myself back. My family and I just returned from our vacation, which was so great. It was one of those vacations from which you don’t need another vacation. And one of the highlights was our trip to Niagara Falls.
It was the first time for all of us, and it was so amazing. It was a magnificent and stunning testament to God’s creative glory. But, then again . . . so are your kids.
Have you ever thought about it that way? Have you ever looked at your kids and been amazed by the fact that they declare the glory and creativity and power of the Lord?
Well, I think it would do all of us well to see our kids as God’s image bearer . . . even when they don’t obey.
And speaking of obedience, I hope you enjoyed the four-part review of “Teach Your Children to Obey.” I can tell you — from personal experience — that you’ll never stop having to remind your children of the four-part definition of obedience. Even when they are grown and out of your home, as a brother or sister of Christ, their obedience to God will need to be challenged or encouraged from time to time.
On the topic of obedience, I see two gigantic Failure Philosophies in the world: 1. That obedience is unnecessary for you, but necessary for everyone else, and 2. That mere external obedience is better than disobedience.
And it’s that second one with which Christian parents struggle all the time.
We work so hard just to get our kids to submit on the outside that we are either too tired to take it to the next step, or we think we’ve gone as far as we need to go.
But what our kids really need is a heart for Christ that desires to obey so that He may be glorified. I know it’s a lofty goal, but it’s the one to which God has called all parents to guide their children.
But this episode isn’t so much about our children’s obedience as it is ours. This two-part episode is our “Isaiah 11 Father” which is a counterpart to our two-part “Proverbs 31 Mother” and will be added to our “Biblical Parent” series.
Of course, both of these studies apply to both parents. You can be a Proverbs 31 Father and an Isaiah 11 Mother; so I hope that whether you’re a mom or dad, you’ll join us for this study.
But first, I want to thank Matt, Sonja, Adam, and Nichole for making it possible for us to learn what it means to be an Isaiah 11 Parent. Their monthly and one-time gifts allow this listener-supported ministry to continue creating free parenting resources.
So, thank you, dear friends!
And they would heartily agree with me that you should click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link below so that you can prayerfully consider if the Lord would have you partner with us. You can become a monthly Patron — even if all you can afford is $5 a month. You can also give a one-time gift of any size, and you can specifically sponsor an episode.
There are a lot of ways to partner with us, and many of them aren’t even financial, so I hope you’ll click on that link in the description of the this episode.
Alright, what is an Isaiah 11 Father, and why do we need to start our study in Ephesians 5?
To read the first five verses of Isaiah 11 might leave you scratching your head as to how it’s to be applied to our parenting.
So, I want to start with Ephesians 5:23-24 because it clearly communicates an important expectation for all husbands and fathers.
It’s a very familiar passage for many of us. Paul says, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
This whole passage is absolutely filled with amazing, family-applicable Truth concerning God and His expectations for us. But these two verses really set the bar super high!
Now, it’s one thing for God to command us to be like Christ, but I think it’s another when He likens us to Christ as He does in this passage.
“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”
The implications of that are staggering, and demand a long and well-studied conversation — however, we don’t have the time for that right now.
My purpose right now is to remind us how incredibly important it is that we are Ambassadors for Christ. Not only should we be like Him, God wants us to actuay function as He functions.
Jesus has to be Who He is if He’s going to be the Head of the church. And we men have to be just like Christ if we are going to be successful as the heads of our families.
Let that marinate for a minute.
We husbands and fathers can only hope to lead our families well as we are conformed to the image of Christ.
This concept is further strengthen in verse 24: “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
The Lord desires that wives submit to their husbands in the exact same way that the church submits to Jesus Himself. Now, I’m going to argue that submission to Jesus is easy when we stop worshipping self because He is the perfect God to follow — He loves us, He sacrificed Himself for us, He’s constantly working everything toward our greatest good for His greatest glory. What’s not to love?!
And the same should be true for us. It will be much easier for our children and wives to stop worshiping themselves and worship Christ as they submit to your leadership . . . if you’re a living and active representative of Christ.
The bigger jerk we are, the bigger egomaniac we are, the harder we’re making it on our families to submit to us as the church submits to Christ. We’re making it hard by lying to them. We telling them to worship us instead of worshipping Jesus.
But we lead them to worship Jesus as we husband and parent as He would.
It’s such a stunning discussion and vital undertaking, and it’s this conformity to Christ that will lead us to Isaiah 11.
Why Isaiah 11?
Isaiah speaks quite often of the Messiah, and does so by many names. Isaiah is quite an amazing book, and it’s very familiar whether you think you know much about Isaiah or not. In fact, we often hear this passage from Isaiah 53 during Easter — “4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
In fact, this passage is one of the four Servant Songs in Isaiah that celebrates the suffering servant, the Messiah.
So, again, I ask, “Why Isaiah 11?”
Well, think of it this way . . . if we’re commanded to be holy as God is holy, and if we’re commanded to be changed into the image of Christ, then we’d better know Who He is. We cannot become something we do not understand. We can’t emulate something we don’t know. We can’t believe something we’ve never learned.
I talk about this process a little bit in episode 46, “How to Be Jesus to Your Kids.” That would be an amazing follow-up to today’s study.
In that episode I explain how I had to search the Gospels and really study Jesus in order to portray Him on stage. And during that process I was struck by the fact that I should have been doing that all along in my every day life. I shouldn’t have had to wait until I was portraying Him on stage to truly desire to know Him well enough that I could speak as He spoke and act as He acted for the reasons He did.
Of course, I’m an infinity away from actually living as He would live, but it’s still something to which we’ve all been called.
So, I want us to consider Isaiah 11 because verses one through five are a simple, yet significant, description of Who Jesus is. And, if we’re suppose to lead our families as Christ leads the church, then it would seriously behoove us to find out how Jesus leads.
So, I welcome you to turn to Isaiah 11 with me. Of course, if you can’t get to a Bible just yet, you can always do it later. I’ll include all of the passages I cite today on our free episode notes at our blog, Taking Back the Family. You can find that link in the description of this episode as well.
Let me start by reading Isaiah 11:1-5, “1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.”
How does that sound for the job description of a father?
Of course, some of this won’t apply to us, and much of it will apply differently to us than it did to Christ, but this passage will be the focus of the rest of this episode and the entirety of the next.
So, let’s begin. What is an Isaiah 11 Parent? Or we could ask, what does it look like to lead our families as Christ leads the church?
1. The Isaiah 11 Parent Lives in Christ.
Keeping with the metaphor from the passage, we could say it this way: The Isaiah 11 Parent is Rooted in Christ.
The first verse describes how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy that an eternal King would come from the line of David. Now, unless you’re a Jew from the line of Judah — and specifically the line of David — then there’s no way we will ever be considered a shoot from the stump of Jesse.
But in John 15:5 Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
And the four previous verses of John 15 help us understand how being in Christ allows us to be like Christ. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
If we’re not on the vine, we can’t have access to the life of the vine necessary to produce fruit. But if we’re in the vine, then the life of the vine produces fruit in our lives — and that fruit will look like Christ.
Speaking of what it means to be “in Christ,” I invite you to listen to our “Parenting in Christ” series that starts in episode 241.
We must be rooted in Christ if we’re ever going to be able bear the fruit of leading like Him.
Now, it’s always difficult for me to know how long to spend on a point like this. It’s easy for me to assume that if someone is listening to this podcast for Christian parents, then he or she is — obviously — a Christian parent.
But I can’t believe that’s true. We’ve talked a lot — within in the context of parenting our kids — that it’s so easy for our kids to think they’re saved when they never truly submitted to Christ. I believe that there are likely millions of people — if not more — who go to church at least four times a month who truly believe they’re children of God when — in fact — Jesus doesn’t even know them.
That means that there’s a very good possibility that there are people who regularly listen to this show who may believe they’re rooted in Christ, but who aren’t. In that event, I want to encourage all of us to never just take our relationship with God for granted. The evidence of being in the light is that we live in the light. The proof that we are rooted in Christ is the fact that we regularly bear fruit unsaved people cannot bear.
We saw that in the previous passages and we see that all throughout Scripture. God changes us.
I love you enough to challenge you on this. I believe God wants some of you to hear this because you need to be more honest with yourself concerning your sanctification and conformity to Christ.
But this also isn’t a point for saved parents to simply ignore because they know they’re born again and they can prove it from Scripture and in their lives.
Remember what Jesus said? “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” It’s so easy to compare ourselves to the parents around us at Walmart and Six Flags and our kids dance recitals and ball games. It’s so easy for us to even compare ourselves to the other parents in our churches and come to the conclusion that we’re doing just fine because we’re doing better than they are.
We need to compare us with only two things:
Before we move past this point by saying, “Yes, I’m rooted in Christ and He was in Jesse,” let’s at least challenge ourselves to be honest with whether or not there are areas in our lives where we still want our way.
Of course, the answer will be yes, there are plenty of those places. So, it’s from those areas where we’re tempted to sacrifice our entertainment and work and kids and money and food to ourselves — instead of God — that we need to apologize and repent.
And we also need to take a hard look at who we are in relationship to who we used to be. If we’ve been growing in our sanctification, then we should be more like Christ this year than we were last year.
Is that true of you?
Has Jesus been pruning you, and have you been bearing more fruit because of it?
Before we can hope to parent like Christ, we must first be alive in Christ.
Now, there are five main points I’d like to make about how to be an Isaiah 11 Father, and this is only one of them. So, let me address the second one and finish up with the last thee next time.
Verse 2 reads, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”
This makes all the sense in the world. My family and I recently listened to an audio recording of the book of John, and — right before He left — Jesus promised that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would come right after He left.
We know from Scripture that all born again believers have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. A familiar example is I Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?”
We’ve also recently discussed the importance of us being controlled by Him as we would be influenced by alcohol. We know that true obedience must be done in the right power that comes from the Holy Spirit.
So, it shouldn’t surprise us that even the Suffering Servant Himself would function in line with the Holy Spirit.
Then the rest of verse 2 gives us more detail about Who this Spirit is: “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
If you’ve been with us any length of time, this should sound a lot like the “Teach Your Children to Learn” series.
Let’s step through the Holy Spirit’s characteristics real quick:
He’s called the . . .
1. Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
We know from Proverbs that the Fear of the Lord is the absolute core and necessary first prerequisite to true knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
So, it’s not surprising that the Spirt of the Fear of the Lord would also be the . . .
2.- 4. Spirit of Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.
If you are a child of God, then there should be a deep and growing respect for everything God is and everything He’s done, as well as a significant fear that we should ever displease Him. However, it’s important to note that our fear of displeasing Him is not a fear that I’ll lose my salvation or be punished somehow, it’s simply a mature disgust and significant trepidation for hurting the one Who’s done everything for us.
And it’s that two-pronged fear that will enable us to open God’s Word, and — among other things — learn to the be the parent He’s called and created us to be. But, we’ll not just know what we’re supposed to do, we’ll also grow in our understanding of the implications and requirements of such a life, and we’ll desire to put that knowledge and understanding to work in our lives . . . and that’s called wisdom.
But all of that is only possible through the Holy Spirit.
But not only will we have the fear, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to be who we’re supposed to be, we’ll also have 5. The Spirit of Counsel.
This is also a two-pronged concept. On one side the Holy Spirit counsels us how to stop living for self and start living for God. But it’s this same Spirit Who enables us to counsel our children.
And lastly, we’re told that the Holy Spirit is a 6. The Spirit of Might.
Like we mentioned a few minutes ago, it’s God, through the Spirit, Who empowers us to obey as only a Christian can.
It’s that same Spirit Who provides the strength necessary to be the Isaiah 11 Parent we’re supposed to be.
So, let me finish off with some application questions, and a request that you share this episode with your friends!
1. Would your children say that you are a genuine Christian?
Now, I know their opinion on that matter may be very confused and — as such — matter very little. So, let’s ask it this way . . . would your children say that you desperately love Jesus?
If not, then I encourage you to click on the link in the description entitled “The First Step to Being a Good Parent.”
2. Would your children say that your parenting is motivated by the Fear of the Lord?
3. Would your children say that your parenting consists of Biblical knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?
4. Would your children say that you know how to use the Bible to help them stop worshipping self and start worshipping God?
Now, if you’re concerned that the answer to some of those questions may be “No,” then I encourage you to continue listening to this podcast. Everyone here at TLP is dedicated to worshipping God by equipping you to be the dad or mom He called and created you to be.
It’s usually not an overnight thing, it’s a process of change from one degree of glory to another, and we want to help you in that process.
You can access any of our free podcast episodes and free episode notes, you can read our blog, and you can even connect with one of our TeamTLP Counselors by emailing us at counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
We are excited to see how we can bless you and your family.
I would also encourage you to listen to “How Do You Become?” series with which we started the year. That series addresses a bunch of practical ways you can fall more desperately in love with God, His Word, and His will.
And join us next time as we look at how the Isaiah 11 Father delights and judges, and what he wears.
Because there’s nothing more satisfying than being who you were created to be. And there’s no one who can help you become that better than the One Who made you in the first place.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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