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Friday, June 10, 2011

Father's Day sermon



            This morning people all over America are celebrating Father's Day.


        As we celebrate with them, it occurs to me that we do not always spend a lot of time talking about how our fathers have influenced our lives. 


Often when an athlete or movie star wins an award, they remember to thank their mothers, and when she cannot be there, it is not unusual at all to hear them say to the camera, "Hi, Mom!"  But when was the last time you saw someone 'mug' for the cameras and say, "Hi, Dad!"??  One notable exception was when Tiger Woods won his first PGA Master's Championship.  He ran across the green and embraced his Dad with tears in his eyes and said, "We did it, Dad.  We finally did it."


Dad is the king of the castle, as long as Mom says it is okay to call him that.  (lol)


Dad is usually the breadwinner, even in today's society, still, although more and more families have two parents in the workplace to support the family.


Dad is the one who either fixes the car or else makes arrangements to take it to the garage where a qualified mechanic can do the maintenance or repair work needed.


Dad is often the mower of the lawns, the tiller of the gardens, the planter of trees, the trimmer of shrubs, and the washer of cars.  He's the first handy-man we turn to, even if he is really only handy at finding a good man or woman to hire to come and handle the jobs needing attention.


Dad is the model man for his sons and the model husband for his daughters, an example they are likely to follow – thus demanding much of a man under the best of circumstances.


And when God chose a way to express His relationship to us through Jesus, He chose "Our Father…"


So is it any wonder we celebrate Father's Day, too, as Christians?


The very first commandment with a promise was this:

Honor your FATHER and mother (Ephesians 6:2).

And what was the promise?

…that it may go well with you and that you may live long upon the earth.

That's right!  Honor your Daddy, so you can extend your life!!!


When I was becoming a young man, I learned the hard way that Dads are to be honored.  You can ask me for the details later, if you like.  But trust me, I learned the hard way.


And I haven't been alone in that – in learning the hard way.  Israel learned that way time and time again that they should honor God, their Father.  And some of them died in the process.  I thank God that my lessons learned were NOT that hard!


This morning I want to remind us all of some lessons Jesus' father knew and taught Him and can teach us, too, if we'll pay attention.


I.                  Joseph knew that a relationship with God is a serious relationship – and that it requires serious consideration and resolve.


A.  Joseph was faithful to the Lord – he learned to be faithful to God even when it seemed easier to go another way.  (Matthew 1:18-25)

B.    Joseph was a "righteous" man.   V. 19

"righteous" – just, honest, good, and perhaps merciful

C.   But Joseph was afraid of how it might look, too.   V. 20

"do not be afraid" – said the angel

don't be intimidated by what people think

D.   So Joseph paid attention to the message received.   V. 24

"he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him"

E.    And took Mary as his wife.   V. 24

"and took Mary home as his wife"

F.    And remained chaste with her – no physical consummation of the marriage –

until she gave birth to Jesus.   V. 25a

G.   And Joseph did as he had been told and named the baby boy, 'Jesus'.   V. 25b

 What Joseph did was NOT easy.  What Joseph did was NOT what he could have done.  But what Joseph did was exactly what God wanted.

He counted the cost and chose to honor God, his Father.

Joseph evidently shared this lesson with Jesus, because we find Jesus teaching this very lesson to His own disciples in Luke 14:25-35

If you want to be a follower of God, you must Count the Cost…and then make your choice.



II.              Joseph knew that marriage is serious, too, and that every child needs both mother AND father – a father who stands by his wife.



From the first visit of the angel   Matthew 1:24-25  (:18-25) 


He took Mary home as his wife  …


To the town of Bethlehem    Luke 2:5  (:1-7)


He took Mary to Bethlehem with him to be counted as his family …


To the reception of the shepherds   Luke 2:16  (8-20)


He stood beside Mary when people came to see the baby heralded by the angels …


To the presentation in the Temple   Luke 2:22, 33-34a, 39  (:21-40)


He took Mary with him to the Temple to present their son …


He stood with Mary as Simeon and Anna praised God they got to see the baby, Jesus …


He stood by Mary as they did every thing the Law required them to do …



To Egypt after the second visit of the angel   Matthew 2:13-14  (:13-18)


He took his wife and son out of harm's way until it was safe to return …


Back to Nazareth after the third visit of the angel   Matthew 2:19-23


He took his family, HIS family, and returned to Nazareth to start over again …


And to Jerusalem every year at the feast of Passover   Luke 2:41-51


41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.



Joseph had plenty of opportunities to reconsider his choices.  He had plenty of opportunities to turn back before he got involved any further. 


But Joseph chose to stay and pay the price, love his family, and honor his Lord.


It is evident that this lesson was not lost on Jesus, who later said,


"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

                Luke 9:62


If you want to follow God and be a good husband, you must Pay the Price.



III.           Joseph also knew that Jesus deserved a father who stood by Him and stood with Him, taking Him all the places a father and son in Israel should go together.



A.   Joseph protected Him.


He took Him to Egypt to save His life.


B.    Joseph gave Him a safe home.


He took Him back to Nazareth and made a life for them there.


C.   Joseph took Him to the Jerusalem for the Passover feast.


He took Him to the feasts every year at Passover, modeling devotion to God.


D.   Joseph raised Jesus as his own son.


He raised Jesus so that nobody looked down on Him as illegitimate.


Mt 13:55  

"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary,

   and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"


Joseph was a man who followed through on his commitments.  He honored God.  He stood by his pregnant wife.  And he walked the walk – no matter where it took him.

Once again, I have to note that Jesus took this lesson, too, to heart.  Jesus was God's Son, there is NO DOUBT.  But in a very real way, in a way that matters to every son and daughter here today, Jesus was Joseph's son, too…for Joseph was a father who helped Jesus Walk the walk through the valley of the shadow of death by walking that walk every day while Jesus was growing up.

As Jesus said, "A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone,

after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher."

If you would be the man God chose to be your children's Daddy,

then you have got to Walk the Walk.





        Joseph was a good man, a just man, a man who honored the Lord.  He counted the cost.


        Joseph was a good husband, not abandoning his betrothed when she became pregnant with a baby that was NOT his biological baby.  He stood beside her, protected her, loved her, parented children with her, and honored God in the ways he treated her … He paid the price.


        And Joseph was a good father for those reasons, and also because he CHOSE Jesus as his very own, without turning away from Him at any time.  He took the time to be what God chose him to be – a father to God's only Son … He walked the walk.


It takes a special man to be a father.  It takes years of effort and sweat and blood and tears, with no guarantees.  It takes a commitment to love the family you are blessed with by God. 

Bottom Line:  It takes counting the cost, paying the price, and walking the walk.


For all of those here who have done these things with your families, We Honor You Men Today.


Some men do not do so well.  Some choose to follow the prince of this world and never are the Men, the Husbands, nor the Dads to their families that God meant for them to be.  It is a choice many men have made and live to regret.


For all of those here who have failed occasionally, or even miserably, we encourage you to begin afresh today to count the cost…pay the price…and begin from here on to walk the walk for your family's sake...and to honor God, who has given you everything you ever have had and everything you now have.


The Greatest Father of all time so loved the people He created in His image that He could not bear to be separated from them by their sin.  So He sent His Son, His one and only Son, to die for us – for all of us who sinned and walked away from His ways. 


He sent Jesus to love us completely and bring us home to our loving Father in Heaven.


Count the cost.

Pay the price.

Walk the walk.



Go beyond choosing to father a child.  Choose to be a good dad.


While we stand and sing, He is holding out His arms to welcome you to His loving embrace … to welcome you home.


Title and author: 

What We Can Learn From Jesus' Dad

Glenn Ziegler (Merrillville, Indiana)

Merrillville Christian Church

Merrillville, IN 46410



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