The last observable characteristic in this series of New Testament qualities addresses the identification of men as proper representatives of God’s nature. First, as husbands and second as fathers. You don’t have to be married or an earthly father to understand these spiritual concepts. You don’t have to be of the male gender to understand the Scriptures that cover the importance of this topic. However, you must be enterally-minded to appreciate how relationships were created to work best.
For example, Isaiah 54:5 says, "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Men, is your Maker really your husband? Based on this Scripture, does your gender change to female when you meet the Lord? Of course not. Your role unto the Lord should always be one of ‘helpmeet’ to Him, this side of death or the other.
The Bible is very clear that the head of the man is Christ. In several letters of Paul, he taught on godly order in the home. Why? Because the blessings were so many when understood and lived out, not only in the home but in the Church as well!
Let’s talk about this powerful concept called ‘godly order.’ We first find it in the Godhead. We, as humans, should follow Their pattern of relationship and loving authority. In John 10, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” He was saying, ‘we are a plural unity… you see one, you get the other.’ There’s your Godhead. Yet Jesus acknowledged that the Father was His Lord when He said, “for my Father is greater than I.” - John 14:28. Then Jesus says, if you see me, you’ve seen the Father cause I only say and do the things I saw my Father doing. So, as the living Word, He’s the extension of the Father. Men must understand and learn from the relationship of the Son of God to the Father so they can be to their wives as a pattern from heaven. As these relationships mature and perfected in the home, the Church matures. For an excellent revelation on how Their relationship operated, read John 14-17 straight through. In these chapters, Jesus details how God the Father is a loving, approachable covering. It won’t take long to read, and the benefits are incredible.
I like to help people understand all three members of the Godhead: the Father thought it, the Word said it, and the Holy Spirit did it. So we have that unity of thought and application. I tell you, it is powerful. And so in these times, if you don’t have this order of relationship as a revelation, the enemy will use the lack of godly order to his advantage.
The head or leadership of the woman is the man, the leadership of the man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God the Father. So there is a government and order of responsibility. Adam was given a 1-verse Bible to obey before Eve was ever created. Therefore, because Adam did not guard the Word, God holds the man responsible for repairing the damage. Because God made a male to do this, God is not going to create an all-female revival to fix the problem. Women are used throughout Scripture and in the Church today, but the task of initiating and recovering the world from sin must be on men.
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” - 1 Corinthians 11:3
The first attribute elders need to understand is the role of husbands. Paul, an unmarried man, said the husband is to be to the wife as Christ is to the Church. He taught that a husband who loves his wife must love himself. So we begin this journey of recapturing what God created: the plural unity of the family, the plural unity of the marriage, the plural unity of the Godhead. Godly order is a revelation that the Spirit of God honors.
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” - Ephesians 5:28
Now, there’s a place for females to thrive and even lead in the Body of Christ. In Christ, there is neither bond nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female, but all have been made equal partakers of the promises and the benefits. There is a place for females, but there’s also godly order and the structure of relationship. The principles of Christianity provide the safest place of any religion in the world for women to excel in their identity and be as God intended them to be. Sons of God need healthy, bold daughters of God operating in the image & likeness He created them to fulfill.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:28
You know, when you became born again, you didn’t become a Christian first. You became sons and daughters of the living Father of all spirits. This is the standard. This is the priority of relationship we have with Him. This is a standard for men. This is standard for men as husbands, as fathers. Many problems in ministry, worldwide, have to do with the failure of earthly men to represent the Father and His love correctly. They struggle with being to the wife as Christ is to the Church. The recapturing of a loving patriarch and a loving husband has to happen.
Moving on from what a man should know about being a covering, let’s look at men as fathers. The reestablishment of the understanding of a man as a father is key to church growth in the first century. Children do much better with obedience when they are under loving authority. One of the key areas that I’ve found in mind journeys, worldwide, and all these years, that 90 to 95% of every audience I’ve ever addressed and did the father’s love teaching, 90 to 95% of these people growing up as children, never heard their earthly father ever say to them, these words, “I love you.”
Paul spent an incredible amount of time teaching the attributes of being a proper covering and father. Paul was not married; he had no children that I know of, but he understood husbandry and fatherhood. The apostle John understood fatherhood. He deeply understood the Father, and it comes out in his writings. James talks about the goodness and identity of the Father of all spirits. Peter identifies God the Father as overseeing Jesus’ life on earth. And so we have this introduction of Father in the New Testament and His authority in the Godhead.
This revelation is astounding when you receive it for yourself. We must embrace the Father’s mind on this topic. The Father audibly spoke three times in the new testament. Two out of the three times the Father’s voices recorded in your New Testament Scriptures, the voice of the Father is heard audibly from the sky, approving and demonstrating His love for the Son.
“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” - Luke 3:22
“While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” - Luke 9:34-35
Paul, unmarried, said that he was a spiritual father to many. I, Henry, have been a father to natural children, but I’ve also been a spiritual father to many that are not biological. That does not make me a god to them, but simply a representative of loving leadership. That’s part of our calling as elders; to be an extension and representative of His headship and covering. I don’t mean fear-based chauvinistic, overbearing, and controlling authority, but rather a headship earned through proper relationship and conduct. I am talking about loving patriarchal and rulership so that we set the stage and point the direction and growth. We are like a shepherd, as a father, that leads the Body. Like a shepherd, he feeds them. We used to sing the old song years ago.
“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” - Isaiah 40:11
This blog wraps up the fifth characteristic of the New Testament church age. If you wish to take this assignment and be an elder of an ACTS gathering or an ACTS church, I would ask you to consider implementing in your teachings and your application the depth of what I have presented in this posting as well as the 4 previous articles.
God bless you.