Study Guide, June 19, 2016
Pastor Clay Olsen
In sports we have the NFL, the MLB, NASCAR, WWE, SOCCER, GOLF, NBA, UFS, the NHL, and so on. But when it comes to one of the top associations Dads can be involved in, it’s the FHL Association. And the reason we say that is because it is the one association that remains when every other one is finished. And because it’s the one that remains, it means that it’s the one that deserves our utmost attention and focus and practice, especially with ‘Dads’. We find what we’re talking about in that great passage of 1 Cor 13:13 concerning ‘the things that remain’: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” NIV
The main point we are pointing out here today for all of us, but especially for us Dads, is that the things that remain in life are the keys to what things are to be the main things in our lives. The the main things that Dads can make be the main things in their lives and in their family’s lives are these things that remain; faith, hope, and love. Remember that saying of ‘Make the main things be the main things’? Well, we could alter that a bit and say: ‘Make the ‘remain things’ be the main things”. Since ‘faith, hope, and love’ remain when other things do not, make those things that remain be the main things in your life and family and daily lives now.
And how great of our Heavenly Father to clarify what the important matters really are and to assist us, especially to assist us Dads, in not only benefiting from a focus on faith, hope, and love for our own welfare in our relationship with Him, but also then bless our families through our focus and our practice of these things in our relationship with them as well.
How like our God to cut through all the complications and tribulations of life by giving us these three keys to living a life of significance and reward in our own lives, and then by passing on these keys to those we love, to those whom God has brought into our lives; our family. Like Joshua, concerning the faith, we can also say to the world around us: Josh 24:14-15- “Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” NASU
A father who has himself been saved by grace through faith, and who then stands upon and lives by that faith, is like those in Hebrews chapter 11, he is a hero of the faith. Like those of whom that chapter speaks; Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Samuel, and more, were heroes of the faith, so any father that has the attitude and commitment of Samuel’s, “…choose for yourselves whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”, is also a hero of the faith. In one of the chapters in the Book of Life, your name, too, is recorded as a hero of the faith. And one of the characteristics of a hero is that a hero doesn’t think of himself that way, he just thinks about those things he should do in faith and should be doing for others by faith. A hero is one who has placed his own faith in his Savior, and who then seeks to please and serve His Lord by faithfully living out and seeking to pass on that faith to his family and others. And even if there are instances of prodigal sons or daughters that wander from that faith, still, the faith of the father remains, like with the faith of that prodigal’s father in the Bible; his faith remained. And again, it’s what remains that continues to have the power to change the lives and futures of others, like with the changing of even the faith of that prodigal son.
Interestingly enough, not only did the faith of that prodigal son’s father remain, but so also did his ‘hope’; his hope remained. Remember, The son had left, but the Father’s hope remained. If you recall, one of the understated elements of the story of the prodigal son was that before any of the family or those who worked for the family were even aware of the returning son, the father saw him. And he saw him because it was his habit of looking for him, praying for him, and hoping for his return. And when the son did return, the father was ready. Luke 15:20- “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” NASU
When other men see only a hopeless end, a faithful man presses on in an endless hope. A faithful man, or we could say, a ‘faith filled’ man, continues to hope because he knows that with God all things really are possible. And so he looks at life through eyes of faith and hope. He looks at others through eyes of faith and hope. He looks at his family through eyes of faith and hope. And so even though he can’t see what the future holds for each or any of them, since his faith is in the One who holds the future, he can continue to hold onto hope. As James S. Stewart said, “The very disillusionment of today is the raw material of the Christian hope.
It’s interesting that the Scriptures say that ‘hope’ remains when we would think once all things are said and done and settled in the future, hope would then be filled. Well, the same could be said of faith, since one day our faith will turn to sight when the kingdom of this world is replaced by the Kingdom of our Lord. But still, the essence of both faith and hope remain, for when faith is filled it becomes assurance, and when hope is filled it becomes rest. And these will remain and will continue to bless for all eternity.
Plus, a Biblical hope is based upon Biblical promises. And since God’s promises are certain and eternal, it turns ‘hope’ into something else that we need in our lives. Look at this: Heb 6:19- “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” NIV Dads – ‘Hope’ is the anchor for your soul when the waters start churning and tossing the circumstances of your life around you. You have an anchor to keep you and your family from crashing on the rocks of deception and falsehood and materialism and humanism. And when others around you in your community and and country are being overcome by these things you and your family can be anchored to the Rock of Christ and His promises. And not only will you not be overcome by these tribulations of the world, but you can overflow to others with what you allow God to fill in you. Notice: Rom 15:13- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” NIV
How about that? What God fills in us is intended to overflow to others. As a Dad focuses on ‘hope’ and practices ‘hope’ he becomes an anchor of hope for his family and the blessings of that hope overflows to them and others.
Faith and Hope: The Apostle Paul revealed to us that these things remain. But then he added Love, and said of the three, Love was the greatest. You know, Dads often carry such a heavy sense of responsibility that they often let that become the driving force in their lives. And how noble it is and how beneficial it is when Dads carry out this God given duty and this calling in their lives. The Bible is filled with praises for the man who serves and cares for his family through his vocation. It blesses them and his church family and his community and it blesses God. And God promises reward for all his vocational labors. But Dads must realize that this driving force of responsibility can often be a draining force as well. And as such they need re-filling by the Spirit of the Lord so that they can maintain not only their labor of work, but especially their labor of love in the midst of their service of work for their family, their church, and their community. The main habit of a Dad is to be focused on being filled with God’s Spirit in order to continue to grow God’s fruit, especially the fruit of love, in order to labor in love to his family and others.
Dads, you are to be honored for your intentions to provide for and to serve and to care for your family and others, but you are to know that to carry out your intentions in ways that remain you need to be filled with the Spirit in order to grow the fruit that will enable you to serve in the right spirit. And when you work and serve others with the spirit of love, then you can be assured that whatever you do, your works will remain, because you did your works out of the fruit that remains, and the greatest of these is ‘Love’.
Plus, I love that great encouragement that the Apostle Peter gave us, and I think particularly us Dads, when he said: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NASU Thank you Lord, Amen Dads? And I’m not thinking about overt harmful sins here, but to just be reminded that Dads don’t have to have it all together in every area of life…they don’t have to carry around a heavy burden to be all things to all people and to fix every problem and to know the solution to every situation, and on and on…No, we just have to be ‘fervent in our love for one another’. For that is not only the main thing, but it’s also the very thing that will cover a multitude of mess ups and goof ups and flub ups and ‘forgotten ups’ and, well, you get the idea…
What we’re saying here is that when the Apostle Paul says that the greatest of these is ‘love’, that we need to see that love is the key to everything that we will ever hope to be, or do. Because without love, as Paul also said : 1 Cor 13:1-3- “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” NLT
As Christian guys and dads, we want to give our lives to things that remain. We want to serve and work for things that produce gain. Again, how great of our God to tell us how. And more than to just tell us how to produce gain, to then give us the key and give us the power by giving us His Spirit to grow the key fruit by which we can not only produce ‘gain’, but whatever we then do produce, whatever effort we give ourselves to, whoever we try to do good for – will both become gain and will also remain for eternity.
Dads, this is do-able, this is workable, because God enables us to do it all through His Spirit working in us as we work with Him. God has given us the keys to focus on and practice doing the main things in whatever we do; to do it all in faith and with hope and in love.
The things that remain are the things that we are to make be the main things in our lives as we serve God, our families, and others.
‘Make the remain things be the main things.’