Ye Have Not Many Fathers

Pastor Rick Cooper

No one knows about the day or the hour not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father; as it was in the days of Noah so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man, for in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field, one will be taken the other one left; two women will be grinding with a handmill, one will be taken and the other left; therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come, but understand this; if the owner of the house would have known of what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come in a hour that you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom the Master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time. (Matthew 24:36)

There is something in this passage of scripture that is sometimes overlooked. What I am talking about is fathering ministry. So many times we look at the times and the seasons of how bad everything seems to be, but is something else that we need to pick up here. He is talking about Noah and in another passage of scripture in Luke, he talks about Lot. What is it about these two men besides the era they lived in. What similar things happened to these two people. They and their families were saved!

Today, the wicked are becoming more wicked and the righteous are becoming more righteous. The darkness is getting darker and the light is getting lighter. I want you to realize that God has called us into a salvation ministry. What is really happening around us is that God is raising up a fathering ministry. It is a sovereign move of God in this hour and God is answering a prayer. He is answering a prayer to raise up fathering ministries. To raise up fathers in the nations and God is raising up those fathers for a purpose. Anytime destruction comes, God always has some- thing prepared to save His people. And that something has to be built, that something has to be prepared. Noah was one that prepared. Noah was a father that saved his family.

In 2 Peter 2:5-10, it talks about Noah and Lot and how they were fathers that saved their families. In Hebrews 11:7 says that Noah by faith saved his family and brought them into the ark. We live in a stormy time and there are things that are taking place that we dont understand and things are happening all around us that are trying to drive us away from our faith. Most of that is the wickedness that we have around us. But God has made a provision.

Recently, the Holy Spirit stirred me inside and God spoke to my heart and said, There are some things that have not been set right, and I want those things set right. I want the people to start recognizing spiritual fatherhood. I want the people to start looking for that, start searching for that because thats what I am doing in your day. We need to realize that we need fathering ministry more today than ever before. The Old Testament ends with these words:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

He says that if there is not a fathering ministrycoming together in these last days, then I'll come and smite the earth with a curse. The New Testament begins in the first chapter of Luke talking about John the Baptist.

He will also go before Hi in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17)

God is using a fathering ministry to build an ark of safety in this time. We know that the Old Testament ark was made out of wood and pitch and whatever else was needed to build the ark. What is the ark today? It is the only thing that God says that He is building. The only thing that God says He is building in the New Testament is the Church. He said that upon the Rock He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He is building a place of safety in a time of need. Many people dont really see the significance of being a part of a church, a local body until there is a time of need. And sometimes it is too late. They wait until desperation comes and the doors of the ark are closed and then they cant get in. Your place in the church in the church is of vital importance. If you are not in that ministry when the storms come, you are not going to be standing, you are going to be drowning.

Our society is lacking fathers, and because of that, children are in rebellion and their boat is sinking. The homes, the society is falling apart for a lack of fathers. But God says that His boat thats built with my fathers and I am calling them together. He is bringing them together to build that place of safety to run to in a time of need.

Lets look at how to recognize a fathering ministry. When we think of fathers, we usually think about our natural father. But there are other types of fathers that we have in the Word:

1. An ancestor was called a father. 1Kings 15:11 - those that went on before you were called

2. A founder of the faith was called a father. Abraham was a father. Noah was a founder of something, he was a builder of something.

3. A father was a benefactor. Job 29:16 says have I not been a father to the fatherless, have I not given to them and took care of them. What he is saying is, have I not stood in your place and been a father to the widows and the orphans.

4. A teacher can be called a father. 1Sam.10:12, prophets were called fathers because they were teachers.

5. One who had an intimate relationship with you. One who was not your natural father, but one who had an intimate spiritual relationship with you. Paul speaks to Timothy and Titus and says you are my dear sons in the Lord. 1Cor. 4:15, the Apostle Paul says have I not become your father in the Lord. What he was saying to the Corinthians church was I want you to recognize who has fathered you. He went on to say that they had many instructors but very
few fathers, but I in the Lord am your father! He was telling them to listen to him because he was their spiritual father.

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children. Encouraging, comforting, urging you to live lives worth of God who called you into His kingdom and into His glory. (1Thess. 2:11-12)

Paul is showing to us a fathering ministry which no doubt included Titus, Timothy and others were included in this fathering ministry that he brought forth. 1John 2:13-14, the Apostle John is writing to spiritual fathers, spiritual children, and spiritual young men. What we are seeing here is a fathering ministry laid out in scripture and what the church is missing today is a fathering ministry. Everybody in the church wants to be independent and rebellious, especially in America. Everyone wants to do their own thing and they dont want to be told what to do. The attitude that we see is Im not going to submit to nobody, Im in charge here, Im going to do what I want to. The rebellious dwell in a sun scorched land. Yet the book of Hebrews 13 says to obey those that are over you in the Lord. And the only way God works in this earth today is through men. Everybody is waiting for something to happen, for Jesus to come back or waiting for God to do something. God is not going to do anything except through man. Its not that He
cant, He wont do it for He has just chosen to work through man. Why do we think that He sent His Son to the earth to do His work. And then Jesus said, as my Father has sent me, so I send you..... Realize that God wants to work through man. Jesus said that when He left, He would send the Holy Spirit to do a work. Where? Through a fathering ministry. If we will listen to the fathering ministry, the ark will be built and we will have a place of safety.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christs gift. Therefore He says: When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. Now this, He ascended- what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:7-16)

Gen 6 through 9.

1. It is a righteous ministry. Everything that looks good and looks miraculous is not always God. You will know them by their fruit. A fathering ministry will always call you to righteousness. Noah was a man who was found righteous in all of his generation.

2. A fathering ministry hears God. Noah listened to God and this was why his family was saved. He listened to the voice of God.

3. It is a gathering ministry. Noah gathered his family, those that had relationship with him, and left none behind. He was concerned with those that were in his family. People running here and there and not connected to ministry. One cant be in the church universal if they are not connected to a local ministry that is somewhere in the ark.

4. Noah and his sons built the ark. Noah had the word of the Lord. The detailed instructions,the measurements. God told him to build it just as he was told, but the old man could not have built it by himself. He needed his young sons to put all of this together. Noahs sons were respectful to their father and listened to what he said. He gave them instruction and they did it. The church today wants to get together and have a vote or a committee to decide something and how to go about doing it. God is giving instructions to the church and He is saying this is how I want it to be done.

5. Encourages people to enter into the ark. It encourages them to hunger and thirst after the principles of God. A thirst to understand. A desire to see. Some today are not entering in. The call is falling on deaf ears. Noah's sons were not saved just because they heard, they were saved because they entered into what was said.

6. They are a protecting ministry. God sealed the ark when they entered in. God seals His people.

7. God remembers the fathering ministry. They had been in the storm for many days, but God remembered Noah. The children of Israel in Exodus 2:24 says that God delivered them because He remembered their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He didnt deliver them just because they cried out........When God sets up a fathering ministry, he anoints that ministry, and He remembers the people in what He has established.

8. It is a discerning ministry. When the storm was over and the ark rested, he didnt decide to just get up and go out of the ark. A fathering ministry will look past the surface. Let me say that natural fathers need to begin to wake up and discern what is going on in their own families. Noah sent out a raven and found nothing. You cannot view that which is around you through the soulish (fleshly) realm. A raven eats flesh. When he sent out the dove (Holy Spirit) he then knew where the water were. If you will ask God he will tell you what is going on. A fathering ministry is guided by the Holy Spirit.

9. It is a worshipping ministry. The first thing that Noah did when he came out of the ark was to make sacrifices and worship God.

10. It is a covenant ministry. It is not running to and fro but it is staying where it is. God is calling us to covenant and it for a lifetime. He is building lifetime ministry. God is calling us into a covenant relationship. Churches are hiring and firing and all they are doing is bringing in the hireling. You dont want a hireling, one who is not in covenant with you, for he will leave when the wolf comes. John 10. You dont want someone you can hire and fire. You want someone who is called by God and set in your midst.

Genesis 9 - Noah saves his family, all is going well, he plants a vineyard and drinks the wine and becomes drunk and was found lying naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan saw his nakedness and told his two brothers outside. The brothers went into the tent with their faces turned away from their father and covered him. Because Ham exposed his father, Canaan was cursed. Shem and Japheth would not look upon his humanity. Covenant people honor their fathers and when we respect and receive the one who is sent, we receive God. Fathering ministries are sent by God.

In closing, the five fold ministry has been sent to us. If we dont receive those people, then we dont receive God, Many dont think that these things are all that important. 1Samuel 10, David has a king that has been very good to him. He was an Amorite king, a heathen king, but he took care of David and his family when Saul was after him. David is now the king of Israel and he gets a message that this king has died. So David says that he wants to honor this man because he had honored him. So he sent a delegation to pay honor to the Amorite kings son, but the people see them coming and begin to advise this son the wrong way. They said that David was sending the men over to spy on them. So they decided to cut half their beards off (beards were their honor in the Old Testament), disgrace them and cut their robes off half way down. They went home naked. They went home with their backside showing. David sent word to them that they should go home until their beards grow back out and their honor comes back......he told them that he would handle the problem. You see when the ambassadors were dishonored, the whole nation was dishonored. So David gathered his army and said we are going to go and teach these people a lesson. If I send somebody next time, they better pay attention to what I am doing.

This reminds me of a parable in the New Testament where Jesus says that he lent out His vineyard to tenets, who took care of that vineyard. But I sent out to them messenger after messenger and some they beat and some they mistreated and some they even killed. But I will now send my son whom I love dearly. But the tenants said to themselves, this is the heir of everything, we will kill him and the vineyard will be ours. Todays bosses saying this church will belong to me and Ill run it the way I want to run it. What do you think will be the Fathers response to them for killing His sons? Will He not with anger come and avenge Himself against those wicked servants that He asked?

I hope this voice is being heard. God has spoken to me and has said that this is very important how that we treat the men of God. And we must start treating those men of God the way that God honors those men. Some may think this message is not important, but I tell you that this is the heart of God. God says I want you to start listening to the men I have sent. You receive them and you pray for them and do what they say and you dont uncover their nakedness. We do these things and we will be blessed. When we work under the Fathers covenant, we are blessed with the Fathers blessing. We can be cursed or we can be blessed. It all goesaccording to how we honor the Father and those whom He has sent.

One last comment, Paul said that there were many sick and many which were asleep because they discerned not the Lords body. God has called us to respect the position that one is called to. When we do that, God will build the ark and put us into a place of safety. Honor those around you. Some are sick because you have not done what God has told you to do. You have not honored the men of God because you have looked upon their flesh and not understood that they have been sent by the Father.

Article contributed by: Pastor Rick Cooper - Open Door Church - P.O. Box 8265 - Birmingham, AL 35218 - Telephone: 205-781-6060