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A Dad's Faith

Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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No Happy Homecoming

Jesus was a Jew and His home country was the land in which His own people lived, Judea and Galilee. He had been with the Samaritans for two days and they had gladly received Him. They had faith in Him as the long awaited Messiah. Now He was returning to His own people and He knew the reception that awaited Him was not to be like the one He enjoyed with the Samaritans.
The Samaritans had accepted Him at His word. They did not need miracles in order to come to the conclusion that He was special. His teaching convinced them . They believed Him to be the Messiah not a magician or healer…they believed He was Messiah and they had become His followers.
John 4:41 NASB95
Many more believed because of His word;
The Galileans welcomed Him solely on the basis of the miracles they had seen Him perform in Jerusalem at the Passover feast. Theirs was not a faith in Him as Messiah but prophet or healer. They only thought Him special for His ability to do miraculous signs among them.
These are the same folks and same kind of faith seen in They saw signs, believed Jesus to be someone significant and flattered Him with praise. They did not genuinely trust Him in their heart as their Messiah.
John 2:23–25 NASB95
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
They had intellectual and emotional kind of faith but lacked volitional faith we see in the Samaritans…they did not genuinely trust Him with their life as their Messiah…they saw miracles, were wow’d by them and believed Jesus to be someone special…a prophet or magician but they did not believe Him to be Messiah.
Intellectual faith — To believe God can do anything
Emotional faith — To want God to do something for us
Volitional faith — Consistent acting that bids the eternal truth of God to be present fact, as if it is so.
Faith without works is dead. It isn’t saving faith unless it is living faith and living faith always produces a changed life.
James 2:20–22 NASB95
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
You can believe Jesus exists, that He has the power to forgive your sins and give you eternal life (intellectual faith)…you can want Him to do so (emotional faith)…but until you put action to your belief by praying, repenting of your sin, asking God to save you and giving your life to Him (volitional faith)…your faith is incomplete and you aren’t saved.
I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, I want Him to save me and I have prayed, repented of my sin and given my life to Him…I am saved because I received what He did for me on the cross by giving my life to Him. Just believing, hoping and wanting would not have been enough…I had to act upon the word and receive it.
These folks had intellectual and emotional faith but that wasn’t enough.

The Royal Official’s Faith

This was an official in King Herod’s court. Probably a Jew and very familiar with the ministry of Jesus.
He was a man who had intellectual and emotional faith. He had heard of Jesus and His ability to do miracles. His son was critically ill and near death. So based upon His faith He went to Jesus with the desire to see Him heal His son. He begged Jesus to do so.
And Jesus rebukes the CROWD not just the man. Jesus makes clear that the people only believe because of the signs they see. The crowd and this man’s belief were completely based upon miracles. He did not have faith in Jesus as Messiah but magician and healer. Jesus is basically saying, “You people would have no faith in me at all if it were not for the miracles that you see.”
The man asks Jesus again, more emphatically, pleading and using a different Greek word for his son in the process, “Please sir, come heal my little boy before he dies.”
He believes Jesus has to be present in order for his son to be healed. He also believes the time and opportunity for Jesus to do anything for the boy only exists as long as he is alive. The man was wrong on both counts. So Jesus says...
Jesus tells the man to go and that His son will live…Here is the moment of truth...the man exhibits volitional faith and becomes a follower of Christ. He was now taking Jesus at His word…He was believing as though a thing is so, when it is not so, in order for it to be so, because it is so.
As far as he knew his son was still sick at that moment…but he was headed home with the belief that his son was going to be well because Jesus had said it was so. He now had volitional, saving faith in Christ…He was living a life of trust in Jesus.
Jesus had given him an opportunity to take his faith to the next level and he was doing so by living his life upon he words of Christ.
His servants met him and give him the news that his son is well. He asks when and realizes that it was at the exact moment Jesus said His son was well. He and his household then believe in Jesus with volitional faith…his faith was strengthened and his household all came into volitional, saving faith in Jesus as well.

Where Dad Goes So Goes The Family

Did you know that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow? If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow. But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.* — Statistics from Focus on the Family Publishing, "Promise Keepers at Work."
Did you know that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow?
Our culture can cry all they want about the lack of need for a daddy in the home but the family is led by daddy. This is not to say that families can’t be led by mom when it is necessary. Or that mom’s play any kind of less significant role in the home…it is a different role but no less important.
But if dad is present he is the spiritual leader in the home. The family looks to him…men…whether you like it or not this is the absolute case. Scripture teaches it
Deuteronomy 6:5–7 NASB95
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Ephesians 6:4 NASB95
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Mom and dad have the greatest potential, good or bad, for spiritual impact upon the lives of their children. Dad’s have the most.
Are you taking this responsibility seriously? Are you the priest in your home? Do you lead your family to attend church each Sunday? Do you lead your family to read the Word of God and pray every day? Do you talk about your relationship with God daily? Do you show your kids God is the center of your life..that you are given to Him.
This royal official went home, saw his healed son, shared the story with His family and led them to place faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
A young man was to be sentenced to the penitentiary. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father--a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, "The Law of Trusts." "Do you remember your father?" asked the magistrate. "I remember him well, your honor," came the reply. Then trying to probe the offender's conscience, the judge said, "As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?" There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. "I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, 'Run along, boy; I'm busy!' When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying "Run along, son; this book must be finished!' Your honor, you remember him as a great lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend." The magistrate muttered to himself, "Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!"
This royal official went home, saw his healed son, shared the story with His family and led them to place faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
Do you have volitional faith in Christ? Are you saved? Have you given your life to Him?
Do your children know it? Are they saved? Are you living the kind of faith in Christ that will lead them to Him? Are you taking seriously the greatest opportunity and responsibility of fatherhood?
Don’t think you’re off the hook if you aren’t a man or you aren’t a father this morning…we are all called to stand in the gap.
Jamie Buckingham tells a story in his book, Power for Living. It was a story first told by Fred Craddock while lecturing at Yale University. He told of going back one summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to take a short vacation with his wife. One night they found a quiet little restaurant where they looked forward to a private meal—just the two of them. While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table. “Where you folks from?” he asked amicably. “Oklahoma.”“Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living?“I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.”
While they were waiting for their meal they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting guests. Craddock whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” He didn’t want the man to intrude on their privacy. But the man did come by his table.
“Where you folks from?” he asked amicably.
“Oklahoma.”
“Splendid state, I hear, although I’ve never been there. What do you do for a living?
“Oh, so you teach preachers, do you. Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife. Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly: Oh no, here comes another preacher story. It seems everyone has one. The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply. “What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was. “When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early.
“I teach homiletics at the graduate seminary of Phillips University.”
“Oh, so you teach preachers, do you. Well, I’ve got a story I want to tell you.” And with that he pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with Craddock and his wife.
Dr. Craddock said he groaned inwardly: Oh no, here comes another preacher story. It seems everyone has one.
The man stuck out his hand. “I’m Ben Hooper. I was born not far from here across the mountains. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so I had a hard time. When I started to school my classmates had a name for me, and it wasn’t a very nice name. I used to go off by myself at recess and during lunch-time because the taunts of my playmates cut so deeply.
“What was worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through you. They were all wondering just who my real father was.
But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. “Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’ I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down. But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.” With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.” The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends. Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected a man born to a single mother to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper.
“When I was about 12 years old a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me.
“Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’
I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.
But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. “Wait a minute,” he said, “I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a son of God.”
With that he slapped me across the rump and said, “Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”
The old man looked across the table at Fred Craddock and said, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” With that he smiled, shook the hands of Craddock and his wife, and moved on to another table to greet old friends.
Suddenly, Fred Craddock remembered. On two occasions the people of Tennessee had elected an illegitimate to be their governor. One of them was Ben Hooper.
If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.
If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.
But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.*
But if the father is first, there is a 93 percent probability everyone else in the household will follow.*
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