Good morning. My name is Joe Stearnes and I serve as one of the elders and one of the ministers on the Broward Church staff. Happy Father’s Day! We wanted to take some time to honor the fathers out there, the dads out there who are raising their children, who are loving them and guiding… See more
Good morning. My name is Joe Stearnes and I serve as one of the elders and one of the ministers on the Broward Church staff. Happy Father’s Day! We wanted to take some time to honor the fathers out there, the dads out there who are raising their children, who are loving them and guiding them. I’m a dad myself. And in a moment, I’m going to show you my children. But we also want to honor the people who step in the role of fathers when the biological father is missing. We want to honor the step-dads out there, the uncles, the grandfathers who are also serving as fathers. We also want to honor you. And we also want to honor the single moms who are trying to be both mother and father to their children. We hope that you feel honored and respected on this day as well.
Happy Father’s Day!
I love being a dad. I want to show you a photograph of my three children. This is my daughter, Tiffany. She’s 31 years old. She’s married and has two children and lives in Tampa. This is my son, Joey. He’s 29. He’s also married with two children. And he is moving to Colorado Springs this weekend. And this is our youngest, Daniel. He’s 26 years old, married, and lives in Atlanta. They love music concerts and they love each other. And they took this selfie when they went to a Ben Rector concert in Tampa a couple of years ago.
But they bring great joy to my life. They are children who really obey that command to honor your father and mother. They really bring a lot of joy to me. And here’s the whole big family photo. So here’s the three children, they have with their spouses, with the grandkids. We have 4 grandkids, that are all boys. You can see they don’t they don’t sit still very well. But I’m just so thankful for the gift that God has given us of family. Brings me great joy in preparing for this lesson.
The Father Factor
I read an article called The Father Factor in honor of Father’s Day. And I just wanted to share with you a couple of things from this study. I thought they were really interesting. In an article for the Institute for Family Studies, Dr. William Jennings, Harvard grad and professor at Cal State Long Beach, highlights his recent meta analysis of 34 studies. I think this is a thing lately in academia where they do studies of other people’s studies.
But he did a study of 34 other studies and he found statistically significant effects between good fathering and a number of outcomes for boys and girls. And to summarize that article, it said, “While mothers are often shown as the more nurturing parent, fathers appear to be more involved in preparing children to deal with life.”
The Best Dad
It also said that father involvement was associated with lower rates of delinquency, which of course is criminal behavior, and substance abuse among boys and girls that the father figure had lower rates when he was involved with his children.
And the last thing that they shared in that article was that on the average, an involved father had children who perform better in school and had better attitudes while in school. Dads make a difference. But I know that this day is not always a happy day for people because a lot of people grew up either without their dad being in their home where they had a difficult relationship with their dad or their dad was not fully engaged with them. And I found some statistics where that trend is not necessarily improving.
As you can see in this study from the last 50 years, in 1970 it was found that 85% of households with children had both the mother and the father in the home. But by now, it’s down a little bit below 70%. Also, 27% of all households just have a single parent involved. And 4% of households have neither the mom or the dad. They have other people besides the parents raising the children. So I wanted to offer something that I hope is a comfort and an encouragement to you if you have not had a biological father in your home engaged and involved with you. And that’s this:
Your Heavenly Father Is Your Best Dad
I don’t even think my own dad, which my father and I get along well, I don’t think he would be offended by this idea that God in heaven is the best dad that I have. And in my relationship with my children, I’ve really tried to be a good father. But I know that God is an even better father to them than I have been. And so I hope that all of us, as we take a focus on fathers, can also use Father’s Day to honor God, our father, the one father that we all have.
Are You a Child Who Pleases Their Father?
And the question I have today for you, and this is our message; do you want to be a child who pleases God, his father? Do you want to be that child? And we have to give him that honor of being children of God, as it says in 1 John, chapter 3:
“How great is the love the father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God?”
And that is what we are. You know, when I think that God made our universe and that we are very small in our universe, it’s pretty amazing that God has lifted us up to the position of sons and daughters. What a wonderful privilege that is.
Do You Want To Be a Child Who Pleases Your Heavenly Father Like Jesus Pleases His Heavenly Father?
There’s an extraordinary relationship between Jesus, the Son, and God, his father, that’s displayed in the gospels. Jesus is the perfect son. And there’s a lot of things he says about his relationship with God that maybe you’ve never heard before or if you read him and you missed him. We’re going to highlight those today about Jesus, his relationship with the father, so that we can learn from them.
This question brings into focus two of the highest priorities in the Christian life. The first is to love God and the second is to imitate Christ. So let’s begin looking at how Jesus loved his father. And we’re going to start with Jesus giving us the highest priority that there is.
“‘Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
And so what we’ll be doing today, because it’s Father’s Day, is we’re going to take a perspective on love for God from the perspective of being a son or a daughter of God. And there’s two things that Jesus did that we are going to imitate as we take this perspective.
And that’s this: Jesus taught us to do what the father says and to do what the father does. Let’s take a look at that.
“The world must learn that I love the father and that I do exactly what my father has commanded me.”
That’s an extraordinary statement. I have been, most of my adult life, a supervisor in the job place when I was in. In college, I studied business management and I managed a jewelry store. I managed a Jiffy Lube Oil change place, a medical office. I did not even go into the ministry until I was 58 years old. I’ve spent most of my adult life hiring and supervising other people. I’ve learned a lot about obedience from that process.
Obedience With A Twist Of Rebellion
The most recent business that I led was a small business that I owned called was a feed store, Lightning S Feed and Tack. A feed store is a business where you sell food and supplies to animal owners. And for us here in Broward County that was primarily horse owners. So I have a couple of photos to show you.
This is the crew that helped me one day unload a trailer full of 600 bales of hay and some of these people, you may not recognize them at first glance, but this gentleman right here is actually the song leader in today’s message, along with Noel. This is Spencer.
He helped me one day to unload a hay trailer. And the guy who’s emceeing today’s service is Andrew Faintings. He’s in the mask up there. It wasn’t for COVID reasons, but it was to keep hay dust out that he wore that day. These guys worked hard.
Here’s just one example of what we would do, we would load up these bales of hay and roll them out of this trailer. These guys are some of my best employees. But what I found is in giving direction to my employees, I would often encounter this problem, obedience with a twist of rebellion.
I Do Exactly What My Father Says
I would tell my employees, I say, look, let’s load this pallet first, this pallet second, this pallet third, put it in the box truck. And when you do the deliveries, go on Griffin Road down to 178. Turn into Rolling Oaks. I’ll give them very specific instructions.
Many times they did not want to follow exactly what I told them. And I’ve seen this in my own relationship with God, where I have a twist of rebellion that I add to it.
Now, 9 times out of 10, my employees did the job fine, even though they would take Sheridan Street instead of Griffin Road or they would load the pallets differently because they thought they knew better than me.
Sometimes they didn’t know better than me. But I’m just so impressed with Jesus’s attitude where he said, I do exactly what my father says. I’ve seen very few employees who are perfectly obedient, very few sons and daughters. Very few students in the class who are totally a totally obedient.
How many times have you done part rather than all of what you’re supposed to do? Probably the most classic example is when a parent asks their child to clean their room. Now, some parents got it down and their kids are completely obedient. But we really had a wrestling match with our kids and many parents have for them to fully obey what they were supposed to do.
Have you ever heard a small child say this to their parent? “I was gonna do it.” Or even a person on the job, please tell their supervisor that I was going to do it.
There’s a famous preacher story that I’m going to pass on to you. It goes like this:
There was a family, a dinner, a dad and mom and some children, and there was a small boy who was standing on his chair and the dad said, “Son, you need to sit down at the dinner table. It’s not good etiquette to stand in your chair.”
But the son did not sit down, so the father said again, “Son, you need to sit down in your chair.” And the son still wouldn’t do it, so he said, “Son, if you don’t sit down in your chair, I’m going to discipline you.” And the son sat down with a scowl on his face and he said, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside.”
Listen to what Jesus says, this is extraordinary. He says, “the world must learn that I love the father and that I do exactly what my father has commanded me.” I’ve never in my entire life, 62 years, I’ve never heard somebody point out to me how obedient they were.
Have you ever heard anybody say this? “I want all of you to know that I completely obey my mother.” “Just to let you know, when my teacher gives me an assignment, I do exactly as she has instructed.” How about this? “Hey, everyone. When my boss gives me orders, I do them wholeheartedly and completely.”
I’ve heard a lot of people brag about their rebellion. I’ve heard a lot of people boast about the fact that they’re not going to do it quite the way that their boss or parent or their teacher expresses. But Jesus wants the entire world to know that he’s going to do exactly what his father commands. I consider this very challenging for me personally, but it is a way that I can love, that you can love your father better.
Can You Embrace Obedience In Order To Please God?
Do you consider it weak to be obedient? Do you consider it humiliating, degrading to fully obey?
I have felt that way about obedience. I’ve felt like I need to exert some kind of independence just to show that somebody else does not have total control of me. They’re not going to boss me around. I’m only going to take it so far.
And Jesus is who we ought to look to. If we look to Jesus Christ, we see that not only did Jesus not consider it weak or humiliating, but He fully embraced it.
The question is, can we embrace obedience like Jesus embraced obedience? I believe in this way we can love God more.
1 John 5:3
“This is love for God to obey his commands.”
And I want to challenge you as I challenge myself from the scriptures here. Let us obey God in a way that really pleases him. It is a way we can love him more, which is the greatest commandment.
What The Father Does
The second thing I wanted to look at of these two things that we’re looking at in Christ’s example, this is not only to do what the father says, but to do what the father does. It is really a powerful thing to see when a son or daughter captures the spirit and the heart of what’s important to their parents. What’s important to what their parents love or what their parents do.
John 5:17 & 19
“My Father is always at work to this very day. And I, too, am working. I tell you the truth. The Son can do nothing by himself. He can only do what he sees his father doing because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
Real Life Examples of Passion
I’d like to show you three examples from the sports world where a son or a daughter has captured the spirit of their parents and they do the same work as their parents did.
The first example I’d like to give you is Archie Manning and his sons, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. I’m old enough to remember when Archie Manning was the starting quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and he was a very good quarterback, meaning anybody who knows much about the history of the NFL knows that as good as he was, his son’s eclipsed and overshadowed what he did. Both Peyton Manning and Eli Manning are on the top 10 all time for career yards passing.
Here’s another example of a son capturing the passion of his father. That’s Earl Woods and his son Eldrick, famously known as Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods was on TV shows, as a 4 and 5 year old young man doing amazing things with a golf ball and a golf club. And he took on and fully embraced his dad’s enthusiasm for golf. And, of course, the results have been legendary.
I’d like to give you one more example. It might be something you’ve heard of. It might not be but one of the great female athletes in America is Charlene Flanagan. And this is Charlene Flanagan, the great American Distance runner winning the New York City Marathon at 27. And the reason she has this expression on her face is not only is she in pain from the marathon, but when she won this marathon, she wept for a while because it meant so much to her.
This is her in 2008 when she won the silver medal in the Olympics in the 10000 meters. Well, it turns out that Charlene Flanagan’s mother and her father were highly competitive distance runners and her mother in her own right had won several marathons and was a highly accomplished long distance runner.
The Passions of Our Heavenly Father
Now, you don’t have to do the passion of your parents. If your mom and your dad was an engineer, you don’t have to become an engineer. If your mom or dad was a plumber, you don’t have to become a plumber. If their favorite hobby was bowling, you don’t have to become great at bowling.
But we are called by the scriptures, by Jesus Christ, to take on the passion and the work of our heavenly father. God in heaven. We’re going to take a look at that as we come to a close.
We’re gonna go through four passages of scripture to flesh out this idea, and that is to do what the Father does means to love what the father loves.
Listen to Jesus in one area of doing the work that the father does. And that’s the area of evangelism, of helping other people to become Christians. There’s others that we can look at. But for the sake of time, we’re just going to look at four scriptures, one after another, on this idea of evangelism and how we are called into having a love for what the father loves doing, what the father does.
“‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now, the reaper draws his wages, even now, he harvest the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.”
So, there’s a couple of things I wanted to point out of this. The first is this is the story of Jesus and the women at the well. And he couldn’t even eat food that his disciples had brought to him because he was so excited about helping this village all become followers of his and have a relationship with God in heaven.
And he says, my food is to do the will of him sent me. He’s so excited about this, he cannot even eat. And that’s a challenge for me. I hope it’s a challenge for you. Are you so excited about doing the work of God that you miss meals because of it? Because you’re so excited, so focused, so involved, so passionate about it?
And another thing he says here is he’s inviting us into the joy, the happiness, the excitement of the work. Look where he says the sower and the reaper may be glad together. I don’t know of any kind of word that’s more fulfilling than the word that God has called us to tell positive impacts on other people, either through evangelism, through discipleship, or serving those in need. There’s a great fulfillment, a great joy in partnering with other people, other Christians and in partnering with Jesus Christ and in partnering with God, the father, and doing this work together. Jesus even commissioned us to do this work.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and teaching people to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Go And Make Disciples
We are called into this passion. You want to please your father. You want to make him smile. Be engaged and passionate about his calling of loving other people and having an impact in their lives. Jesus even asked us to pray for more people to get engaged in this work.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'”
Jesus is calling us and even asking for his disciples to pray for more people to be engaged in the work that the Fathers call us, too. And the last scripture I wanted to read about this is is an extraordinary scripture.
“‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I’m going to the Father.'”
I don’t believe that any of us can do more extraordinary things than what Jesus did by preaching, by performing miracles, by dying on the cross and being resurrected.
But what Jesus is saying is that collectively, Christians as the church, are going to be able to spread his gospel to more places than he could do in his short earthly ministry. We are taking the gospel to the edges of the earth. We are doing, in a way, greater things than the Son could do while he was confined to one human body.
So, the challenge we have here is can you embrace the work of the father? And can you embrace it like Jesus did in order to please your heavenly father?
The closing scripture I have on this message is what I think our goal ought to be in this issue. It’s to have the kind of response from God that he had for his son, Jesus Christ. This is how it describes it:
2 Peter 1:17
“For he [Jesus] received honor and glory from God, the Father. When the voice came to him from the majestic glory saying, ‘This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'”
Let’s use this time on Father’s Day to have a perspective of pleasing our father each and every day, our Heavenly Father, by doing what he says and doing the work that he does.