Archippus might very well be one of the most epic names in the Bible. I’ve now been lobbying to name my next child after this friend of the Apostle Paul. Yesterday we launched our new sermon series Reconciled where we dove into the book of Philemon and in the opening few verses we were introduced to this character named Archippus . More importantly, Paul refers to him as a fellow soldier. That’s interesting and certainly worth considering.
As a Christian, we don’t often think of ourselves as soldiers in a battle let alone use the language of an “army” to describe the church. But verses like Philemon 2 make something abundantly clear. We are in a war and as Christians we are soldiers fighting against sin and the spiritual forces of evil in this world (Ephesians 6:12). This is why you will often hear us say at Mercy Hill that we desire to raise up an army of kids who will be on mission for the gospel. Right now our army is over a 130 strong each week and growing. But as history has shown (time and time again) an army is only as good as its leaders.
No, I’m not talking about the leadership in our kid’s ministry. (Although we place a lot of value on our kids staff and volunteers). Rather, I’m talking about dads. Raising up an army of kids who will love Jesus, follow Jesus, and be on mission for Jesus begins in the home. In a recent article by Douglas Wilson, he highlighted five specific things that ought to define us husbands and dads who believe and apply the gospel. He writes…
First, a kind husband is incomplete. God created man in his image, male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27). A man and his wife become one flesh (Genesis 2:24), which indicates the intimacy of sexual union (2 Corinthians 6:16). Apart from the intervention of God with the gift of celibacy, it is not good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18).
Second, a kind husband is a lover. The ideal here is the lover portrayed in the Song of Songs. He is ardent, devoted, strong, and sexually confident.
A kind husband is a provider. A man who does not provide for his household is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). Since his wife is the most important member of his household, he has a profound obligation to provide for her. Specifically, he provides her with food, clothing, and conjugal rights (Exodus 21:10).
Fourth, a kind husband is a nurturer. A Christian husband is called to nourish and cherish (Ephesians 5:29). In this sense, a lack of tenderness, where appropriate, shows a lack of masculinity. A husband is kind to the object of his kindness.
And last, a husband is a kinsman-redeemer. A husband is close to his wife; she is his sister, his bride (Song 5:1). In a very real sense, he models for her the idea of savior and redeemer (Ephesians 5:25–26). What husband is sufficient for such things? Not one, but we live and love by grace.
Each of these traits involves action and as we discussed yesterday action will flow out of our identity. If we desire to see these realities played out in our marriages and in our homes we must continually bask in the beauty of the gospel. For there we are reminded of who we are and then (and only then) can we begin to live in response. Raising an army might be a mountain of a task but it becomes a whole lot easier when we have great generals leading the way.
As a church, we are committed to equipping parents to help raise an army of kids who are on mission for Jesus. That is why we have created a parenting resource page on our website. This page will help you navigate the crazy world of parenting and discipling your child by providing you with specific tools and resources that you can use in your home each week. Check it regularly for updates and make sure to download our weekly community group guide that follows the current sermon series.
– Jeremy Dager (Pastor of Age-based Ministries)