Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:12-24 (& others)


Happy Father’s Day! You may have a great father or maybe had a great father to follow in his footsteps. Or maybe you had or have a not-so-great father, who you try hard not to be like. Whatever your earthly father is like, we have a perfect father example to follow.

God created people to be his image bearers – to show what he is like to in other words to glorify Him. These final verses in 1 Corinthians 16 give some clear instructions about how we should act. And since God describes himself as our heavenly father who loves his children, fathers have a special challenge to show that fatherly aspect of his character. Even though this message is directed to our dads and future dads, there is solid teaching for everyone, so ladies listen up too!


  • We are almost done with our series in 1 Corinthians called Living in Light of Eternity. We have heard the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth about some very serious problems they were dealing with like divisions, fighting, sexual morality, marriage, and singleness. Then he taught about using their spiritual gifts humbly and properly, and the need for everything to be done in love. Paul encourages believers with teaching about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrection as believers.
  • That’s where the series title “Living in Light of Eternity” comes from. With our view of eternity, knowing that our souls will go on forever and ever, knowing that God will judge our behavior, and knowing that His Son Jesus died so that we can spend eternity with God – how should we think, live, and act today?
  • As Paul concludes the letter in chapter 16, he gives some finally words to follow and then ends with farewells.

READ 1 Corinthians 16:12-24

v. 12 Paul tells the church he strongly urged Apollos to go visit them, but he thought he should wait. As a side note, if Paul was a bishop and in charge of Apollos, he could have ordered him to go, but he wasn’t in any kind of role like that. They each had their own ministries to the churches and could go when and where they wanted.

When I saw this next passage, it seemed like a perfect father’s day sermon. Paul is telling the believers how they should act. It really applies to everyone, but these attributes should especially be true of father’s and men who are called by God to lead their families and our churches. Sadly in our culture for the past generation or two, men have given up their role as spiritual leaders at home and in many churches. Women have fought for the rights to own property, to vote, to be educated, to hold jobs, and to be paid fairly. None of these things are biblically wrong, but the reaction may have been for many men to sit back and stop leading at all. Many young men today choose to stay little boys by avoiding responsibilities, staying at home, spending more time on play, and avoiding work and marriage.

These clear instructions in verses 13-14 are short and to the point, so I am going to share some additional Scripture that address these commands.  And I am going to let God’s word speak for itself. Most of these verses don’t need explanation, but hopefully the way they are grouped together will help you see the changes you need to make in your life.

Act Like Men

Verses 13-14

Be Watchful

Be alert. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Be careful – especially of areas where you tempted most easily. Watch out for sin creeping into your life and your family.

Matthew 24:42

Galatians 6:1

Colossians 4:2

1 Peter 5:8

Stand firm in the faith

2 Chronicles 20:17

Galatians 5:1

Ephesians 6:13

2 Thessalonians 2:15

These verses talk about holding your position without wavering. Know what you believe and why you believe it. Don’t be tossed back and forth like the waves. They talk about not giving in to temptations. Your family and your church are depending on you.

Act like men

Many other translations, don’t use the word “men” at all. Most of them say “be courageous” – don’t be afraid, don’t worry, do what you are called to do! I happen to like this phrase “Act like men.” It still means something to many people. John MacArthur suggested that this courage came from spiritual maturity. Don’t be a baby – be an adult spiritually speaking.

In the King James Version this verse says “quit you like men.” That is why I don’t use that translation. Quit like men has a totally opposite meaning today. The culture and use of words has changed a lot in the past four hundred years. Make sure you are reading a Bible you can understand.

1 Chronicles 28:20

Hebrews 13:18

James 1:25

A man is called to not only know the right thing to do, but to act on it. Often, that takes courage. And courage as many men who have faced life or death situations does not mean being fearless. It means you do what you are supposed to do, even though it may be terrifying. You do the right thing.

Fathers – be sure to teach your boys how men are supposed to act. That is by your example more than by your words. Those boys are watching you to see you how you treat their mother, how you treat and talk about your parents and in-laws, whether you’re honest, whether you keep your word. This is a tall order, but fathers who are present and leading their families well have a huge impact on their boys and girls, too.

Be strong

This phrase literally means hold fast. Don’t let go. When God says “Be strong” He often also says “wait for the Lord.” Don’t do this on your own power, rely on God’s strength and wait for God’s timing.

Joshua 1:9

Psalm 27:14

Ephesians 6:10

This should be humbling to recognize that it is not by our own strength, but it is trusting in God to work through us. It takes spiritual growth to become spiritually strong. Spending time in God’s Word and applying it in your life. And it takes humility to ask God for help.

Do everything in love

Back in chapter 13, Paul said “love is the greatest.” Love should be our motivation for everything we do. Wanting what is best for others is true love. I am going to share the most verses about Love because it is so important.

We have many examples of God’s love for us to follow.

God’s Love

Numbers 14:18

Love for God & Love for Others

Matthew 22:37–39

John 13:35

John 15:13

What does love look like? Or in other words, how do we show biblical love?

1 Corinthians 13:4–8

These two are specifically for husbands.

Ephesians 5:25

Colossians 3:19

Be careful that your love for things in the world is not greater than your love for God and people.

1 John 2:15

1 Timothy 6:10–11

1 John 4:18–19

Our love for others comes naturally when we recognize how much God loves us.

Recognize Godly Men

verses 15-18

In the next four verses Paul talks about some godly men and we can learn from them.

Devoted to service

Paul recognizes several godly men and calls the church to willingly submit to their spiritual authority over them.

Mark 10:45

Colossians 3:23–24

Does your family see you serving faithfully in the church? Serving your family, neighbors and others?

Fellow workers & laborers

Paul is thankful for those who not only support his ministry in prayer, but come to work alongside him.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Are you willing to serve as a deacon, or on a committee or a ministry team at church? Will you come alongside and serve with other faithful men?

Spiritual Refreshment

Paul is especially encouraged by Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus because they not only helped the church, but they refreshed Paul spiritually. Do you know people like that? You spend time with them, and you are encouraged and built up to keep serving. Your spirit is refreshed.

God was refreshed on the seventh day after the six days of creation and he called Israel to keep a Sabbath or day of rest every week. Do you set aside time for physical rest? Young dads especially need to leave some open time on the calendar for your family to rest and enjoy being together. Spend a day without sports, without electronics maybe, without busyness. Learn to rest and teach your family the value to being refreshed.

Exodus 31:17

Here are four powerful ways to spiritually refresh your family and others.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

  1. Admonish or correct the idle – get them busy serving.
  2. Encourage the fainthearted. Those that are afraid to step out and try things need extra encouragement instead of judgment.
  3. Help those that are weak – maybe physically weak or newer believers.
  4. Be patient with everyone. That is something I need to be reminded of especially as a dad. Your kids are not mature adults. Just because you told them something a thousand times, you may need to say it again. They will make mistakes. Let them be kids. Let them learn from their mistakes – that is usually much more powerful, than you fixing their problems yourself, or telling them exactly what to do.

Final Greetings

The churches of Asia send their greetings. Aquila & Prisca and the church in their house send hearty greetings.

All the brothers send their greetings.

Paul, sends this greeting in his own handwriting.

Our Lord, come. We’re ready Jesus! Remember Paul’s encouragement from chapter 15 – Jesus is coming back to bring believers to heaven and change us into eternal bodies!

God’s grace be with you.

I love you all in Christ Jesus. You can never say “I love you” enough. Especially as a dad. Your family needs to hear and see your love in action. Let them know you love them unconditionally, just the way God loves you and them.

Do you spiritually refresh others or are you typically a drain on them? It’s OK to ask for help and prayer, but is that all you do?

Take Aways

Are you acting like a man? A godly man?

Are you watchful over your life and your family’s spiritual growth?

Do you know what you believe, why you believe it, and are willing to defend it?

Do you rely on God’s strength or are you trying to hold it all together yourself?

Is love your primary motive?

Does your family know you love God, love your wife, and love them in that order?

Are you a spiritual refreshment to your family and church?

Do you know God as your heavenly father? Are you part of his family? The only way to do that is by confessing your sin, and accepting his Son, Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Happy Father’s Day! I am praying that we can all be the godly father’s that God called us to  be patient with them all. He is a good, good father – and we have a great father figure in Him.