Joseph – Father’s Day Message
Note from Tony – The main outline for this message is not original with me. I came across it years ago, but don’t recall the source. If you happen to know the source, please let me know so we can give proper credit.
One evening a little girl and her parents were sitting around the table eating supper. The little girl said, “Daddy, you’re the boss, aren’t you?” Her Daddy smiled, pleased, and said yes. The little girl continued “That’s because Mommy put you in charge, right?”
One Pastor said:
“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 complain about the lack of male presence.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to do things just a little bit different this morning. 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.”
Once on a plane, I sat next to two ministers – both friends of mine. It was one of those divinely orchestrated coincidences…
We got to discussing Father’s Day messages, and the topic quickly turned to our own fathers.
1. The first pastor had been abandoned by his father as a child. Grew up with enormous challenges – and a major part of his perspective on life was centered on making sure that he did not turn out like his own dad.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.
5 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. 6 God sets the solitary in families…
2. The second pastor’s father had been heavily involved in his upbringing – a very connected family…
As my friend spoke of the absence of his father, I thought of Timothy… though his father and grandfather are not mentioned, Paul refers to him as his spiritual son in the faith. Timothy kept his eyes open for a man who could be a godly influence and example for him to follow.
In Search of Paco
There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
– Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, p. 13.
Whether or not we had an earthly father that was seeking us, and seeking our spiritual well-being, we have a Heavenly Father who has loved us…
I want to speak to you about a man – a FATHER who is very often overlooked.
He is often overshadowed by the prominence given to his wife. I’m talking about JOSEPH, the husband of Mary and the adopted father of Jesus.
Even as God chose Mary to be the one who would give birth to the Son of God, so in His mighty providence He chose Joseph to be a FATHER to Jesus and to raise Him into manhood. Mary and Joseph were chosen together to be parents.
God searched the earth, and He found a young girl – a teenager engaged to be married – of whom the Bible says: she “found favour with God”. She was a choice young lady – God-fearing young lady.
But NOTE: God also went looking for a father. He called Mary AND JOSEPH as a couple. And here is the point of it – GOD WAS DEMONSTRATING FOR US THAT THE ROLE OF THE FATHER IS A VERY IMPORTANT ONE.
Fathers are not only needed for the physical act of CONCEIVING a child; they are also needed for the spiritual act of RAISING a child. This child, Jesus, was conceived in the womb of Mary “by the Holy Ghost” – a miracle took place so technically, there was no need for a man to be involved in the conception. But a man WAS still needed to fill the role of father in Jesus’ childhood.
HAVING SAID THAT – let me say a word to single parents here today. Please don’t despair that your children are beyond hope because their father is gone, or their mother is gone – that is NOT the case. God is SO gracious. “Though my father and mother forsake me, yet the Lord will take me up.”
Single parents, today, we salute you. We honor you. God bless you for your diligence with your children!
So, Joseph was chosen. And just as God had looked for a godly young woman to bring forth the child, so He looked for a godly man to be the father. And what an inspiring model of fatherhood Joseph was. God made a good choice! (He is a WISE God.) Let’s look together, for a few minutes, at some things the Bible tells us about this man Joseph.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt…
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.”21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
What do we know about Joseph from the Bible?
1. JOSEPH WAS A LOVING MAN.
The Scriptures draw the picture for us of a wonderfully caring and affectionate man. And we can see this, firstly, in his relationship toward Mary.
Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant. How does it make him feel? Angry? Betrayed?
The penalty for adultery in the Old Testament was death by stoning. And this penalty applied to infidelity during betrothal as well as marriage. Now by New Testament times things had changed somewhat, but the matter was still treated as a grave offence. Upon discovery that Mary was pregnant, Joseph would have been obliged to divorce her (DIVORCE WAS REQUIRED TO BREAK OFF A BETROTHAL ENGAGEMENT), and this would expose Mary to public shame and humiliation.
BUT, even before God spoke to Joseph – Joseph wasn’t operating from vengeance or bitterness of heart. The Bible says: he “was minded to put her away secretly”. (There were ways in which a divorce could be enacted very quietly, without the involvement of a judge, and Joseph was already considering the best way to do this.
Joseph was kind. He LOVED Mary. It’s based on a real commitment. And husbands, the Bible says to US today that WE must love our wives with all that we have.
Joseph was a loving man toward Mary.
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – David O. McKay
“Creating a warm, caring, supportive, encouraging environment is probably the most important thing you can do for your family.”
– Stephen Covey
When Mary was about to give birth to Jesus, there was no room for them in the Inn, but Joseph did the very best he could to see that Mary was taken care of.
But we also see that Joseph was a loving man in his relationship…
When the child came along – the child he had not conceived – there was no attitude in Joseph that “THIS BOY ISN’T MY FLESH AND BLOOD”.
There was no resentment or indifference toward Him; no lack of love at all. JOSEPH ADOPTED JESUS AS HIS OWN.
- He protected Him from the hatred of Herod.
- He nurtured Him and cared for Him.
- He taught Jesus his own trade of carpentry.
- HE ADOPTED THE ONE THAT THE REST OF THE WORLD WOULD REJECT.
Joseph paid a price to be a father to Jesus.
2. JOSEPH WAS A DEVOUT MAN.
He was a man who OBEYED God.
He explicitly followed the Lord’s leading and direction. He didn’t follow his own marked-out plan for life – he wanted God’s plan for his life. So when God spoke to him in a dream and told him to marry Mary (even though she was pregnant) HE OBEYED.
Then when God spoke and said: “Take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt for safety” – he immediately obeyed. He closed up his business and left.
Then when God said: “It’s O.K. now, head back to Israel”. Again he did as he was directed. He was a man of obedience.
He was a man of FAITH.
It takes FAITH to pack your bags and head off to a foreign country with no prospects and no planning; simply on the basis that God said so. He had faith and obeyed the dream. He could have made excuses to stay where the prospects looked good, but NO – he was a man of faith.
FATHERS here this morning, your faith will speak to your children! Raise them in an environment of faith toward God.
[ILLUSTRATION]: There was a farmer who had toiled over a bumper crop of grain – a badly needed crop of grain – a badly needed crop that was going to pay off many creditors and secure the family for another year. But just a few days before it was due to be harvested a freak wind and hail storm ravaged the property, and the harvest was lost. The man stood with his little boy looking over the fields of destroyed grain. The boy expected to hear his father cursing in despair. But instead his Dad began to softly sing: “Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee.” Years later that boy, grown into manhood, said: “That was the greatest sermon I ever heard!” His father had shown him FAITH where the rubber meets the road!
Joseph was leaning on God. He was a man of FAITH. And one more thing:
He was a man who was FAITHFUL IN SPIRITUAL DUTY.
He set an example for his family – going to the Temple; attending the feasts. (We read about it in LUKE 2:41) He was regular in going to God’s house.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
So, let’s just re-cap for a moment.
- Joseph was a LOVING man. (Toward his wife. Toward his son. Toward his whole family.)
- Secondly, he was a DEVOUT man. (A man of obedience and faith, and being faithful in spiritual duty.)
3. JOSEPH WAS A WISE MAN.
Joseph was wise because he lived as one who REDEEMED THE TIME.
By all accounts it seems that Joseph had a SHORTENED LIFE.
- We don’t read of him after Jesus’ childhood.
- At the Cross Jesus charged John with the care of His mother – so it seems that Joseph was taken from them prematurely.
But JOSEPH HAD USED WHAT TIME HE HAD BEEN GIVEN HONOURABLY – WISELY!
- He had provided for his family.
- He had set an example for them that they would remember.
- He had raised them in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.
Jesus was not the only child he had; he raised other boys for the Lord also, and possibly daughters as well. He had other sons – TWO OF THEM (at least) WERE GREATLY USED BY GOD. They wrote books of the Bible (James and Jude). James was leader of the church in Jerusalem.
Joseph raised his children in the ways of the Lord, and He left behind him a legacy after his lifetime.
Are we really walking in the love of God as Joseph did?
- Walking in kindness
- Walking in graciousness
- Walking in mercy
Are we living devout, honorable, and godly lives did?
- Faithful in spiritual duties
Are we redeeming the time as Jesus did?
- Encouraging our families at every opportunity?
- Setting an example?
- Providing for their needs?
In talking with fathers, the verse is often used…
1 Timothy 5:8
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Some say, “Oh YES. I provide for my family” – when what they mean is that they put a pay cheque on the table every week. But what about the OTHER provisions they need from you?
Laughter and warmth?
We must provide for our own, men. Let’s be challenged together.
This man, Joseph, inspires me. I’m sure that he wasn’t perfect – BUT HE WAS DEVOTED, and he was doing his very best – redeeming the time.
“What Would My Child Say to Me?”
In our local newspaper, I saw this Ann Landers column on Sept. 29, 1999. It was titled “Parents’ Behavior Can Help Children.” I think it’s well worth passing on to you.
“A youth minister who was assigned to a youth correction prison for his summer work asked the boys for clues as to why they had ended up in that institution. He then asked them to draw up a code for parents to follow, zeroing in on specific areas where their own parents had failed. Here’s what emerged:
- Keep cool. Don’t fly off the handle. Keep the lid on when things go wrong. Kids need to see how much better things turn out when people keep their tempers under control.
- Don’t get strung out from booze or too many pills. When we see our parents reaching for those crutches, we get the idea that it is perfectly okay to reach for a bottle or a pill when things get heavy. Children are careful observers and great imitators.
- Bug us a little. Be strict. Show us who is boss. We need to know we have got some strong supports under us. When you cave in, we get scared.
- Don’t blow your class. Stay on that pedestal. Don’t try to dress, dance or talk like your kids. You embarrass us, and you look ridiculous.
- Light a candle. Show us the way. Tell us God is not dead or sleeping or on vacation. We need to believe in something bigger and stronger than ourselves.
- Scare the hell out of us. If you catch us lying, stealing or being cruel get tough. Let us know WHY what we did was wrong. Impress on us the importance of not repeating such behavior.
- When we need punishment, dish it out. But let us know you still love us, even though we have let you down. It will make us think twice before we make that same move again.
- Call our bluff. Make it clear you mean what you say. Don’t cave in. And don’t be intimidated by our threats to drop out of school or leave home. Stand up to us, and we’ll respect you. Kids don’t want everything they ask for.
- Be honest. Tell us the truth no matter what. And be straight arrow about everything. We can take it. Lukewarm answers make us uneasy. We can smell uncertainty a mile away. The bottom line is that we want you to tell it like it is.
- Praise us when we deserve it. If you give us a few compliments once in awhile, we will be able to accept criticism a lot easier.”
That’s what our kids are saying to us. Are we listening?
Don Schmierer, What’s a Father to Do?, Promise Publishing Company, Santa Ana, CA, 2000, pgs. 34-37