1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NKJV)
10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
For the last couple weeks we have considered the lessons that Paul teaches us about fatherhood here in 1 Thessalonians 2. We have seen that Paul describes the character that fathers are to manifest: fathers are called to live devoutly, justly, and blamelessly in the eyes of their children – they are to be above reproach. We have also seen that Paul describes the basic duties of fathers: fathers are called to exhort, comfort, and bear witness to those committed to their care. Today we wrap up our consideration of this text by learning from Paul the end or goal of this conduct. Why ought fathers to be men of character? Why ought fathers to exhort, comfort, and bear witness to their children? So that our children may walk worthy of God.
Paul declares that he had conducted himself in this way before the Thessalonians “that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” Paul’s burning passion was to see these men, women, and children in Thessalonica loving and serving the Lord of Glory. As the Apostle John wrote in 3 Jn 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Paul shared this sentiment – and praise God that he did for it led him to write the books which now form part of our New Testament canon. Paul’s passion for his children paved the way for generations of believers to grow and profit.
So fathers (& mothers), two thoughts follow from this: first, how passionately are you praying for your children that they would walk worthy of God? Are you reminding them of what is most important in life? Calling them to believe the Lord, to trust Him, to honor Him, to cherish Him and His law. This is our calling as parents and our greatest privilege. To bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Second, fathers and mothers, beware putting a stumbling block before your children. Jesus warned the disciples after setting a little child in front of them, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offences! For offences must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Don’t be the means that God uses to blind your children to the truth. Instead, so live, so speak, so labor that you are the means to bring them to a knowledge of the truth.
Alongside the exhortations for fathers and mothers, let me remind you children of your calling. Your calling is, as Paul admonishes the Thessalonians, to walk worthy of the God who calls you into His kingdom. God has given you children the inestimable privilege of growing up in a Christian home – treasure the privilege and thank God for it.
These admonitions remind us of the many ways in which we have fallen short. We have sinned and are in need of the forgiving grace of God in Christ. And so let us confess the many ways in which we have fallen short. We will confess our sins privately and then corporately using the printed confession found in your bulletin. Let us kneel together as we confess.