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THE FATHERLY EXAMPLE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
17 JUNE 1990
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Preparation Verse: (Genesis 6:9)
These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
What is a fatherly example?
It is living in a way that our children will desire to follow; this example can be a good one or a bad one.
Is there any set format that all fathers could follow?
No, there is no real format that we can follow, for each of us has differing life experiences, work requirements, and living conditions; thus, a "format" would not fit everyone.
What does fit everyone, however, is living a Christ-like example.
Is there any assurance that our children will follow the example set before them?
Unfortunately, there is not; but we can be assured that they will know what kind of example we set.
Each of us is given a free will; and we, individually, choose to go the direction we wish, and we knowingly choose to follow the good or the bad examples.
And Mothers, just because this is Father’s Day, don't think that this message doesn't apply to you also; for we all are responsible for the example we set.
Often we find ourselves in the position of being "substitute" parents, where even other adults look to us for leadership and for setting the example.
Such was the case with Jesus and His disciples; and He should be the example for us today. Let's listen in on Jesus' instructions as recorded in Matthew 10:1-23.
1. And having summoned His twelve disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Deep down inside I believe our heavenly Father has given each of us who believe this same power, but because of our weakness of faith, and our lifestyle, we accomplish little.
For if this was not true, there would be no hope for any of us, and there would be no need of prayer; but all things are possible through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Each of us sends out our own children with direction, as did Jesus with His disciples; and as we send them out, we also give them some responsibility and some authority, as much as we consider them capable of accomplishing, so that each of them would be worthy of the name we have given them.
2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
3. Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4. Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.
Every one of these twelve was given the same instruction and the same opportunity to succeed and to live the example set before them; but one chose not to follow that example.
Jesus is God, and we know that He set the proper example; but it was Judas who chose to go in the opposite direction.
But what about each of us?
Are we sure that we set the proper example for our children to follow?
If we are not sure, don't beat up on yourself; it won't do any good. What has been done has been done, and we can't do anything about the past.
What we can do is resolve in our hearts to follow the example of our heavenly Father from this day forward; and instead of feeling sorry for what we did wrong in the past, be joyful and thankful that our Father has reminded us to follow the proper example so that our children might do the same.
5. These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them, saying, "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
6. but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7. "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
8. "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give.
Join with me in singing Carol Owens’ hymn that these words inspired.
Hymn: Freely, Freely.
As we share what God has freely given us, we also grow stronger, the same as we desire for our children.
And remember, as we are learning, it is best to practice in places we know, and not where customs and people are different from us; thus Jesus sent His disciples first to the Israelites.
Remember this when we let our children go off on their own for the first time.
Usually we think that we need many things, if we are going to accomplish anything worth while; but these things don't matter, as Jesus reminds His disciples.
9. "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts,
10. or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
A worker is indeed worthy of his support; but the opposite is usually true, too.
If we are given everything we need, we may become lazy and still expect our support, even if we don't work; and parents, we make this mistake with our children. It's good for them to earn the spending money they need for the things they desire.
And if what they desire happens to have a designer label on it, and they see how much work they have to do to acquire it, it may not have the same importance, and they will take better care of what they have.
And more than likely, their peers as well as adults will respect them, for I know that we as parents will, and they will also respect themselves.
Just like the disciples being sent out to preach the word, others will listen to them.
And even if others don't listen, we should help them to understand that it doesn't matter.
11. "And into whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it; and abide there until you go away.
12. "And as you enter the house, give it your greeting.
13. "And if the house is worthy, let your greeting of peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your greeting of peace return to you.
14. "And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet.
15. "Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
How many times have we blessed our neighbor’s home when we enter and when we leave?
How many times have we become angry when we were not accepted, or had what we said rejected?
If we live at peace and speak the truth, and it is not received, then our Father in heaven will take care of the problem; we don't have to do anything.
Is this the example we set?
16. "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.
Each one of us knows how to set the proper example, and each one of us knows what we ourselves should do, and each one of us knows what the world is like.
Since we know all this, then we can be careful not to fall into the traps set before us, and thus remain innocent as doves.
Do we set this kind of example?
17. "But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the courts, and scourge you in their synagogues;
18. and you shall even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19. "But when they deliver you up, do not become anxious about how or what you will speak; for it shall be given you in that hour what you are to speak.
20. "For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
I doubt that many people today really let the Holy Spirit speak through them.
We just don't keep quiet long enough to let Him get a word in edgewise.
We live in a world that has gone crazy, for it rejected the love and peace of God.
How about us?
What kind of example do we set?
21. "And brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22. "And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.
23."But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you shall not finish going through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man comes.
How's our endurance?
How's our example?
We don't usually face the same kind of persecution that the disciples did, do we?
Why do you think that is?
Perhaps the example we set is that of compromise, and not of Jesus Christ.
Our nation has been going downhill since the 60's.
With the examples we have been setting for our youth to follow, what do you think the next 30 years will bring?
Is that what we really want?
I don't believe so.
But at the same time, I believe that we don't want to face the facts of why we are in the state we are in.
Unless we begin to turn back to the Lord our God, and His heavenly will, with all our heart, and set Godly examples for others to observe, and hopefully follow, things will continue to get worse.
Sometimes we don't even recognize how our examples are perceived, as with Isaac, Esau, and Jacob. Let's look at these verses of Scripture from Genesis 25:19-34.
19. Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham became the father of Isaac;
20. and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife.
21. And Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23. And the Lord said to her,
"Two nations are in your womb;
And two peoples shall be separated from your body;
And one people shall be stronger than the other;
And the older shall serve the younger."
How often do we take our problems to the Lord, and truly seek an answer, as did Rebekah?
I hope we all remember to do it all of the time.
Sometimes the answer we receive is not the expected one; for the normal role of these children will be reversed.
Is this the result of God's will, or is it just the prophetic message of what will happen?
I believe it is the latter.
Let's see, as we continue.
24. When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.
26. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.
It is quite common to nickname a child "Red" when they have red hair; but here they give their son that actual name, for Esau means red.
But when it comes to naming Jacob, the problem becomes worse, for Jacob means "heel-catcher," "trickster," or "supplanter"; and he will have to go about with that name.
How do you think such a name affected his life?
27. When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.
28. Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
I want you to take note of how God's word (not mine) doesn't associate hunting with being peaceful.
Jacob didn't hunt, and God considered him a peaceful man.
Esau hunted, and Isaac loved him for it because he had a taste for the flesh
of wild animals.
Some would say that Jacob was a sissy, a Momma’s boy, and soft; and that Esau was a man, wouldn't they?
Yet God tells us to pursue peace. Let's look at the results.
29. And when Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished;
30. and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom.
31. But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright."
32. And Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?"
33. And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Esau wouldn't have died if he didn't eat just then and there, and Jacob knew that; but he had probably seen Esau pull similar stunts with his father and win, thus Jacob lives up to the name he was given.
Esau had become hardened toward the value of life, for he killed for pleasure; and that hardness expressed itself in other areas of his life.
Esau didn't value his birthright, or very much else, I presume; for he would not have so easily given in to Jacob's demand.
Did these two young men become this way because of the example set before them?
It sure appears that way, doesn't it?
We can make a difference in this world if we hold to a Christ-like example.
It's up to us.
We have the free will that God gave us.
How will we choose?
What kind of example will we set from this day forward?
I pray it is Christ-like.
Your Comments are welcome
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