CHOOSY FATHERS, CHOOSE JESUS
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Joshua 24:14-24:18 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
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Fatherhood, preacher1, Prefecting
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CHOOSY FATHERS, CHOOSE JESUS
(v. 15) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Before we get started, I just want to put you on notice that I am going to do things a little bit different this morning.
You see -- Usually the pattern in most of our churches, is to exalt (or praise) motherhood on Mother’s Day and beat up (or criticize) Fathers on Father’s Day. It never ceases to amaze me how whenever there is a male function of some sorts in the church, people look for ways to remind men of all of their shortcomings.
You see -- we preachers are no exception; we usually join the fray by chewing the dads out for not spending enough time with the family, or for being spiritual deadbeats. And when we do so, I find it amazing as to how we have the audacity to come to Church the following Sunday and complained about the lack of male presence.
Sorry brothers, I really don’t want to break that tradition, and besides I am a preacher, so let’s get that ritual over with. Brothers, I say brothers spend more time with your family and don’t be a spiritual wimp -- be the head of your home. Whew, I feel better now, don’t you?
Now, if you don’t mind, as I said in the outset, I’m going to do things just a little bit different this morning. If you don’t mind, I’d like to preach one of those uplifting "Mother’s Day" sermon for our Fathers.
Why? Because I believe that being a Christian Father is one of the highest callings any man can ever achieve in his life.
But before I preach -- I would like to give you brief history lesson about Father Day.
While preparing this sermon, I discovered that the idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington. Yes, a woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her.
It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Her father was born in June, so naturally she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th day of June 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
So now you know -- and now that you know I would like to go on record this morning to say that a CHRISTIAN FATHER is one of the most unsung, upraised, unnoticed, and unappreciated heroes of all times.
In fact one little boy defined Father’s Day best -- when he said that Father’s Day was just like Mother’s Day, the only difference is that you don’t spend as much money on the gift -- most of you men would agree with me when I say, what gift.
I read a statistic that stated that the greatest numbers of long distance phone calls are made on Mother’s Day; however, the largest number of collect calls are made on Father’s Day.
Someone wrote these humorous words entitled “The World According to Dad.” These are words that most dads have said at some time or another to their children -- So dads listen up and see if these saying describe you:
· This is going to hurt me -- more that it is going to hurt you.
· Be quiet, I’m trying to watch the game
· Bring back my change
· Ask your mother
· What do you think I’m made of?
· You want me to take you where?
· You ya’ll don’t understand, when I was your age I walked five miles to and from school and it was uphill both ways.
· Turn them lights off -- you don’t pay no bills around here
· Alright now -- if you break your leg, don’t come running to me
· Get down before you kill yourself -- on second thought go ahead
· Why -- because I said so
· Just wait until you have some kids of your own
· Better yet -- just wait until I home
· And last but not least -- shut up before I give you something to cry about
I’m sure that almost all of you have heard or at least seen the peanut butter commercial where its caption says, “Choosy Mothers Chose Jiff”.
Well -- being that today is Father’s Day -- I would like to talk to you this morning about “Choosy Father” Why? Because Choosy Father Chose Jesus (repeat).
Brother and sisters -- we could search the scriptures to many different places in the Bible for an example of a Godly Father. And I think that you would all agree that one such father is without a doubt, Joshua.
Men -- I know that I could have chose many different men to discuss this morning, but I think that the examples of Joshua suits our case -- besides we call ourselves the Joshua Men don’t we.
So bare with me for a moment as I give you a brief introduction as to what is taking place here in our text. We see here in Chapter 24 --Joshua at the rape old age of 110 -- calling a meeting of the leaders of Israel to Shechem for a farewell address.
We see here in our scriptures -- that Joshua, charging the children of Israel to obey the Lord who had fought for them and given them an inheritance. We see here, Joshua warning them of the danger of apostasy, by saying, “Choose you this day whom you will serve...”
I thank God today -- for Christian Fathers who follow the example of Joshua. Who in spite of their riches, in spite of all their prosperity, in spite of all of their inheritance -- A Christian Father who has enough guts to say: I don’t care what the psychologists are saying, I don’t care what trends may be going on in the world.
I thank God today for Christian Fathers who follow the example of Joshua and ain’t afraid side against what Dr. Ruth, Jerry Springer, Ricky Lake and a host of other so called role models are saying about teenage promiscuity.
I thank God today for Joshua Men who ain’t afraid say that homosexuality is wrong. I thank God for men like Joshua who ain’t afraid to tell their children -- NO.
So having said all of that -- I think I’m ready to “murder a hit” and sing:
Ø What the world needs now is a man like Joshua
Ø Who is willing to say that you can chose what you want
Ø But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
I want to talk to you today about Choosy Fathers -- so come on a walk with me and let me show you “How Choosy Fathers Chose Jesus.”
*** Watch this
Look at verse 15 of our text
(v. 15) “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Oh -- how I love this passage of scripture. Here he have a Choosy Father who decided that in spite of what everybody else was doing -- that he was going to fear, serve and chose the Lord.
Joshua’s farewell address is an excellent example of a Father/Child relationship. Yes it is -- and I thank God for Christian Fathers like Joshua, who not only gave us life, but also teach us how to live. Yes, it’s nice to have a good job with a Fortune 500 company. Yes, it’s nice to get that promotion to management along with the increase in your salary. Yes, it’s nice to get your dream house, in your dream neighborhood. And Lord knows it’s nice to drive to church in that new Benz, or BMW.
But think about this for just a minute, God uses the "Father/child" examples like we have in our text as a model to explain our relationships with Him.
It is this relationship that find is our highest calling. When we pray to Him, we pray as Jesus taught us, "Our Father, which art in heaven..." Why Father? Perhaps it is because of the importance of that father-son relationship.
There are lots of things that we could say about Joshua, but for the sake of time I want to mention just two -- two qualities that he possessed that all fathers would do well to emulate.
#1 -- He was the Priest of the His Home.
We see on our text, Joshua acknowledging his responsibility for the spiritual life of his family. Notice that it is Joshua who is doing the speaking for the family -- he declared their intent. Now a days we have so called Joshua Men, when asked a asked the simplest of questions -- coward down and reply, I don’t know let me ask the boss first, and we all know who the boss is.
But then on the other hand -- I know why some women will not allow some of you men to make any decisions around the house.
You see -- contrary to popular belief, you can’t go around calling yourself Joshua and telling folk that you are the priest of you home. You see -- before you can consider yourself priest of the home you must first possess certain qualities. Yeah -- in order to be a priest you must first be in close contact with God.
According to the Bible, it is the family that was designed to be the basic educational unit. And we see this point at the end of each and every Sunday School Lesson -- where we find recorded Deuteronomy 6:6-9, where it says (v.6) “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (v. 7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when riseth up. (v. 8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. (v. 9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
This scripture leads to me believe that Joshua was not out of order in speaking for his family. It leads me to believe that he was simply doing his fatherly duty to make sure that his children know how to be saved and how to walk in the ways of the Lord.
I read somewhere that “A boy loves his mother, but he will follow his father.” So the question to you men is -- where are you leading your children? (Repeat)
Some months ago I heard a touching story about a humble, consecrated pastor whose young son had become very ill. After the boy had undergone an extensive series of tests, the father was told of the shocking news that his only son had a terminal illness. The youngster had accepted Christ as his Savior, so the Minister knew that death would usher him into Glory; but he wondered how to inform one in the bloom of their youth that he soon would die. After earnestly seeking the direction of the Holy Sprit, he went with a heavy heart through the hospital to the boy’s bedside.
When he got there he read his son a passage of scripture -- then he said a prayer with his dear child. Then he gently told him that the doctors could promise him only a few more days to live. And he went on to ask his son “Are you afraid to meet Jesus, my boy?” Blinking away the tears, the little boy said bravely, “No, not if He is anything like you Dad!”
I want to talk to you this morning about Choosy Fathers -- Why, because Choosy Fathers Chose Jesus.
#2 -- The Second quality that Joshua possessed that would be good for men to emulate is that he had a Plan for the Family.
Which means to me that being priest of the family is not enough. The Christian Father must also have a plan for the spiritual life of his loved ones. Joshua said “...we will serve the Lord.”
You see -- when Joshua spoke his voice rang with the sound of unity “me and my house.” We have here a since of togetherness. And I believe that the reason that unity was there was due to Joshua’s Godly character, example. His faith was genuine, authentic and as a result his family said, in essence, “Whatever you say, Dad, we will agree.
Through Joshua’s -- example we can see that when the family is united, it will endure the trials that come its way. Joshua pressed a godly determination to persevere with his family. He was prepared to stand-alone with his family if necessary.
Men -- I want to know if this example of Joshua suits your case.
I want to talk to you this morning about Choosy Fathers -- Why, because Choosy Fathers Chose God.
Lets talk about the family for a minute -- lets stay right here for just one minute. You know, nowadays we have a whole lot of women saying things like, I can I do bad all by myself, and proclaiming that they don’t need a man.
Well -- I stop by to tell you this morning that that is a lie straight from hell and those very statements are the very matches that light the might flame of Lesbianism, same sex marriages that is sweeping across our country.
My questions to you are -- Can the family get along without fathers in the home? Are dads disposable, like pampers? Are they needed for a healthy family?
Men -- I have a feeling that every “single” mother in this room probably has a similar story to tell us if time allowed them to speak this morning. Oh, there might be a few variations here and there, but I would almost bet you that their stories would be very close.
Most of their stories would sound something like this: “I am a single mother raising two children here in the city, and I’m doing it all by myself. My child’s father doesn’t pay any child support. Oh yes -- he is supposed to, but he won’t. And the courts don’t seem to want to do anything about it either. Right now, he owes somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 – 20,000; I’m so mad I don’t even know how much it really is. And this is money that the family he helped to start so desperately needs.”
Women you may be in that situation because you do not know the distinct difference between Christian Fathers and unsaved men.
Let me break it down to you like this -- unsaved black men of the world can do better than anybody else to get a game started. They know how to get a game of hoops going, if they have to play on dirt, with an orange crate as a basket. They can get a game of touch football going in the parking lot if they have to use a watermelon as a football. They can get a game of baseball going in the street if they have to use a mop handle as a bat. Yes, they can get a game started.
Women -- when that rascal told you how much me loved you and how much he cared about you, all the long trying to convince you to lay down with him -- oh yes, he differently knew how to get that game stared. But a Christian Father knows how to finish the game. He knows how to make babies, and more importantly he knows how to take care of them.
Men -- I just want to know if this example suits your case.
Let’s get back to this single mother -- you know the one who works two jobs, regularly shops at what we use to call the five & dime store for her clothes, drives an old beat up car that’s in the shop more than its on the street, you know the one that is behind on her bills and often has to skip meals and borrows money from relative and friends to make ends meet. Many days her children would eat bowls of cereal or macaroni, as she watches with tears in her eyes.
Well -- Black Women, my Nubian sisters, I know your pain; it is nearly impossible for one person to fulfill the role of two.
Church -- some would have you believe it takes a village to raise a child. But, I beg to differ. May I submit to you this morning that when you classify raising a child as everyone’s job, it ultimately becomes nobody’s job! Why -- because nobody will be held accountable and the villagers will not be willing to step up to the plate and except another man responsibility.
I’d rather say that it takes two parents to raise a child -- yeah, a mother and a father.
So contrary to popular belief, Black women don’t need a village to raise their child; what they need is for father of their children to raise their children. That’s why Christian Fathers are such a valuable entity.
We need more Joshua Men -- who are willing take up the banner of Jesus Christ, not just for our own salvation, but also for the salvation of our children.
Fathers are responsible for the physical welfare of their children. Like Jairus was in Mark 5:23 when he came to Jesus and said, "My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, that she may get well and live." And like the royal official did in John 4:49 "Sir, come down before my child dies."
These are examples of men who were actively involved in the lives of their children. Not only did they provide for them financially, but also they pleaded for help to save their lives when they were dying.
Which means to me that Fathers -- are needed for more than financial support. Yeah -- you can get all the child support, all the Section 8, and all the WIC you want -- but a child raised without a father, at least in the black community, is more likely to live in poverty, yes, you can get all the food stamps you want but and child raised with a Christian Father is also more likely to have emotional or behavioral problems, commit suicide, be sexually active before marriage, but and child raised with a Christian Father is more likely to engage in delinquent behavior and get a divorce when they are grown.
Spiritual Christian Fathers need to follow the example of Joshua and be willing to teach a new set of rules to a black community that is starving for a new direction.
Christians Fathers are needed to take responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their children, like Job did. Job 1:5 says, "And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. Thus Job did continually."
Unfortunately, not every child has a father like Job. Eli the priest disgraced his calling because he did not rebuke his evil sons and take responsibility for their spiritual welfare.
Scripture says, "For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever." (1 Samuel 3:13-14 NASB)
Fathers -- I stopped by to tell you this morning that you are responsible for the spiritual condition of their children. Your wife will certainly work with you, but you are ultimately responsible. We must never shirk that responsibility like Eli did; instead, we must be active like Job in the spiritual development of our children.
I want to talk to you this morning about Choosy Fathers -- Why, because Choosy Fathers Chose Jesus.
Christian fathers are also responsible for the emotional well being of their children. They need to love them like David did. We all know that David was not a perfect father. He certainly made his mistakes, but I am impressed with the love he showed toward Absalom in 2 Samuel 18:5 where we find recorded "And the king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom."
Well -- what you mean preacher, For those of you not familiar with this Bible passage -- to put it simple, Absalom was in rebellion against his father King David, and was trying to take over the kingdom. He was an enemy of the throne, yet David loved him because he was his son.
Men -- that example of King David shows us that Children will disappoint you from time to time, but that should not stop a Christian Fathers from loving them.
Christian fathers ... Have you blessed your children? Do they know by your actions that they are special in your eyes? Have you told them you are proud of them? Do you tell them you love them?
Other people will be their friends, their mentors, and their coaches. But no one else will ever be their father. Only you can fulfill that role.
They need the physical, spiritual and emotional provisions that God has instructed you to impart to them.
Yes -- Put food on the table? Yes. That’s your responsibility. You may guide your children into spiritual maturity. Yes. That’s your responsibility. Provide a framework for emotional health. Yes. That’s your responsibility.
But if you are a Christian father, it is not just your duty ... it is your joy!
You see -- once you become a Christian Father you will find joy in getting up in the middle of the night for your children’s sake.
Once you become a Christian Father -- you will find joy in undergoing the longest trials for your children’s sake.
There is joy in defeating the most stubborn doubts for your children’s sake.
There is joy in sailing the roughest seas for your children’s sake.
There is joy in claiming the toughest of victories for your children’s sake.
No matter how difficult the challenges, a Christian Father knows that:
The darkest nights are always followed by the brightest days.
No matter how difficult the challenges, a Christian Father knows that
The heaviest burdens are always followed by the greatest blessings.
The strongest temptations are always followed by the decisive moment of triumph!
Christian Father knows that
The worst battles are always followed by the sweetest victories!
So let me ask you this morning, are you living your life with a commitment that is pleasing to God?
Are you really committed to God? Are you sharing your faith, studying the Word, praying, being faithful to the church?
Are you living your life out loud? This morning, God’s calling you to be fully committed to Him. He will not do what He desires in your life until you become fully committed to Him. He never asks you to give up something that He doesn’t replace with something greater than what you gave up.
Wouldn’t you like to begin today?
If all of us here this morning would really commit ourselves to serve the Lord, there’s no telling what this church could be. But until we do, we can only dream about it instead of experiencing it. But I don’t just want to dream about it -- I would like to find out.
Men -- God is challenging you this morning to take the next step. There’s no excuse you can make that will cover up your lack of commitment and service to Him.
This alter is open right now for those who will honestly say, Lord, I’ve been putting my self first instead of you. I haven’t really been serving you whole-heartedly like I should, and I want things to begin to change today. The Lord knows there is going to be some struggles and some issues that you’ll have to deal with. But God will help you through them all.
So at this time -- I would like for all Fathers and Husbands to get up from where they are sitting and come to the alter and make a renewed commitment to God and your family -- to be the Joshua in your family that God commands?
Men it is time to stand up like Joshua -- and show your family, your children how to be humble in the presence of the Lord? It is time to show your family, your children what God they should be serving.
Repeat after me:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”
So press on, Christian Fathers ... with Jesus Christ as your guide, and heaven as your goal!