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18. Living as a Christian husband and father

The Master's instructions about everyday life. (Ephesians 5:25-6:4).

There can be no doubt that this is the most important responsibility God will give to any man. He may work in the secular world for fifty hours every week and serve in the church for most of his free time, but he is called by God to be a husband and a father for every hour of every day of

every year. Men – when you arrive home from work you have arrived at your most important task!

Ephesians 5:25 – 6:4 teaches at least four goals for the Christian family man.

To give leadership in the home

It was Adam that God held responsible for the rebellion in the Garden of

Eden (Genesis 3:9). Paul says that the man is ‘the head of the wife as

Christ is the Head of the church’. Our Lord Jesus has never abdicated

His role for the church and neither should any Christian man shirk his role

in the home. Leadership involves strength and sacrifice. It involves

decision-making and maintaining dedication. It involves time, sometimes

experimenting with trial and error, and it involves tenderness.

To initiate love in the family

The love with which God loves the world is the same love that he

commands the husband to have for his wife. It goes beyond sexual love,

beyond sisterly love, and into spiritual love, which is made possible only

through God’s Holy Spirit in your heart and life.

Paul gives three comparisons to show just how much a husband should love

his partner. He should love ‘as Christ loved the church’. He should love

‘as his own body’. He should love ‘as he loves himself’. God loves us in

spite of our faults, in spite of our failures and in spite of our faithlessness.

He never walks out on us. He never washes His hands of us. He never wavers

in His love for us. He seeks love and He strengthens what love He finds. What

a challenging pattern!

To look after the family needs

The words ‘feeding’ and ‘caring’ are very descriptive of this part of the

Christian husband’s responsibility. All the needs of the church are met in

Jesus Christ. With God’s help the husband should endeavour to meet the

physical, material, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of his family. Of

course there is a world of difference usually between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.

It may be that your first job is to teach your family to be more discerning in

this matter!

To be a living example to the family

The Bible’s phrase describing God as ‘our heavenly Father’ puts the onus

on any dad to live as an ‘imitator of God’ (Ephesians 5:1). Children should

be able to learn what God is like by looking at their father on earth. They

can tell the difference between reality and hypocrisy. They get

exasperated very quickly if they see you saying one thing but doing


Notice that training and instruction in the things of the Lord are also

part of the Christian father’s work. They should never be left to the

pastor or the Sunday School teacher. Their job is to reinforce the

teaching already given in the Christian home.

Is the time you invest in your family really in proportion to the

responsibility God has given you?

Other scriptures to read: Proverbs 29:15-17; Colossians 3:21;

1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Peter 3:7.

Discussion guide on ‘Living as a Christian Husband and Father’

Reading Ephesians 5:25-6:4.

1. Ephesians 5:1 tells us to “imitate God” as Christians. There must be

nothing remotely like “sexual immorality”, verse 3. Christians must

“find out what pleases the Lord”, verse 10, and “understand the

Lord’s will”, verse 17. Verses 18-20 may describe a family at

worship. All this leads to the teaching on the Christian family.

Why is it important to see the context of this family teaching?

What is the secret for having the ability to live the way God wants

us to? Verses 1,18,20.

2. How will children judge God when they pray, “Our Father, Who is in


3. How does Galatians 3:28, “in Christ, … there is neither male or

female”, comment on the wrong attitudes of some people, who

believe men are superior to women (or women are superior to men)?

4. Why do you think it was Adam God called to account for the very

first sin, when it was Eve who first took the forbidden fruit?

Genesis 3:6, 9-12.

5. Ephesians uses three examples of how a man should love his wife.

How would you sum them all up in a short sentence?

Ephesians 5: 23,25,28.

6. Why is a child likely to be “exasperated”, “provoked to anger” by

his or her father? 6:4. How can the father best overcome this?

7. Whose job is it to teach children the word and the ways of God?

Justify your answer from our reading. How do you think it will best

be done?


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