Know Your Four Fathers

2 Timothy 1: 3 [KJV - AV] - I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

In case anyone misunderstands today's scripture I am noting below the New KJV version of the same.

2 Timothy 1: 3 [NKJV] - I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,

Paul wrote this to Timothy in his second letter and surely when Paul spoke about his forefathers he did not mean his father nor his grandfather or his great-great-grandfather, for they were Jews and Romans and had no knowledge or understanding of God, thus there is no question of them truly serving God with a pure conscience (understanding).

To understand this we need to understand who we are as humans and our relationship with each other.

The Bible talks of 4 types of fathers - earthly fathers, Heavenly Father, spiritual fathers and fathers by faith.

Earthly father - they are the ones through whom we are bought into this world. Our parents are connected to us as long as we are in this flesh, but the moment we cease to be in this body of flesh they cease to be our parents. Christians need to understand when we are in Heaven we will be no person's son or daughter, brother or sister for we will be neither natural male nor female but spirit being like the Angels who are just connected to God in their upward relation and among each other on the same level (not taking into account the hierarchy). Only those who are ignorant of scriptures hope to meet their father or mother in Heaven. It will be so humorous when they realize all will be brethren. We see this relationship with Jesus and His mother. When Jesus was man, Mary was referred to as His mother but we see when Jesus died and had not resurrected yet (when He was in Hell) He was not man, and during this period Mary was not referred as His mother but as the mother of James and Joses (Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40 & Luke 24:10). But after He resurrected again in body as Son of man (for His body was not corrupted, since no sin was in Him - He alone resurrects in body for it was a promise fulfilled - Psalms 16:10 & Acts 2:31).

Heavenly Father - We have only one, but even in this One there are 3. God the Father as well as God the Holy Spirit and God the Son are our Father for they created us and the Greek word 'Father' referred in the Bible has 2 meanings one which means creator or giver of life and the other provider. Our true life giver is the God Head and our true provider is God the Father (Matthew 23:9) through the Holy Spirit and Son.

Spiritual father - these are those who bring us to know God and build us in our faith in Him. This could be a Pastor or any Believer who is instrument in bringing us up in faith. The interesting part here is that one does not remain always in this position. As soon as we grow in maturity more than the one building us then that person ceases to be our spiritual father and becomes our companion or associate. We see this relationship between Paul and Timothy, Paul acknowledges this with great humility in his later letters. From calling him a son he starts to call him associate and brother.

Fathers by faith - this is one very important relationship which is very misunderstood in the Bible. This relationship is the second strongest father relationship after our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is stronger than our relationship with our earthly fathers. Paul in his letter to the Romans states we become the children of Abraham and the true Israel (Jews) through our faith in Jesus Christ. All the promises of God come to us through our fathers and most prominent among them is Abraham. All those through whom the Covenants were made with man right from Noah to Jesus, including Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David become our fathers of faith. (Romans 4:10-18 & 9:4-8)

With Jesus we have a multidimensional relationship for He while being our Father/s (God & Covenant) He also is our Brother which is very important because of which relationship we have the 2nd relationship and become Israel for He is the first true Israel - Princes of God / Sons of God.

Paul in today's message speaks of the fathers of faith in his letter to Timothy. And the Lord is telling us today, if we are the children of our fathers (of faith) we need to imitate their faith like Paul did.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord Jesus, You are God our Creator who came as your creation man. You called us your brothers so that we become children of Abraham. You also became our Father of faith for by your Covenant we receive our blessings. Lord, help us realize who we are as human and the real us as spirit beings. Help us focus our eyes on your plan for us and be led by your Spirit and not by our natural desires and understanding...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference Scriptures ]
Matthew 27:56 - Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.

Mark 15:40 - There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Luke 24:10 - It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

Matthew 22:25-30
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Psalms 16:10 - For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:31 - He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

1 Timothy 1:18 - This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

2 Timothy 1:2 - To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Philemon 1:1 - Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,

Hebrews 13:23 - Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

Romans 4:10-18
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Romans 9:4-8
4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Matthew 23:9 - And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

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