We are glad you are with us. On this day the world honors good fathers –and to the fathers who realize their responsibilities to their families and to God, we honor you.
One of the greatest “figures” or “representations” of God is the figure of a father. This figure was used in the Old Testament by God to describe himself to Moses, as he charges him to talk with Pharaoh. – “Israel is my son, my firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22). In Deuteronomy 32:6 Moses teaches the children of Israel “Moses song” in which he glorifies God in delivering Israel. Here he says, “Do you deal thus with the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you, has he not made and established you?” The children of Israel were a disobedient lot – are we better children than they?
And, as we further consider this idea, we see some of the passages in the New Testament that refers to us as sons of God (John1:12; Matthew 6:4, 8, 15, 18, 26) and God is referred to as Father (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:4).In Romans 8:16 we read, “The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
Can you imagine a father that gets it right all of the time? That makes no mistake in correcting and helping his children to become what He knows that they can become? That is what God does for us as a father.
A Father who, when he disciplines, disciplines for our good (Hebrews 12). A Father that loves his children with an unlimited love. A Father who cares when we are sick, and is concerned for not just our physical, but, most of all, our spiritual well-being. A Father who wants us to be with Him throughout eternity and has made provisions for us to come into His presence even when we sin. A Father who gave His only begotten Son to save all of his sons and daughters and cleansed them by the “Only Begotten’s blood?” What love! What care! What passion for us!
Earthly fathers – emulate your Heavenly Father. Love your children. Discipline them when they need it. SHOW them by your life that you are serving your Heavenly Father. Strive to be like Him, so your children will want to be like HIM!
What’s More Important Than Sunday Worship?
Jack Wilkie, Focus Press
I’m just going to get straight to the point with this one. I want to know – what’s more important than Sunday worship?
Because thousands of articles have been written and sermons preached, and yet I still have regular discussions with my preacher friends about how many people are missing on a given Sunday for other activities. Obviously, there are many, many Christians who believe there are things more important than being at worship. So, I want to know… what is it that’s so important? What’s going on elsewhere that outranks God?
Obviously, I’m not talking about those who are shut-ins, those who are dealing with a sickness, or those who have the unavoidable work assignment from time to time. I’m talking about those who feel like they have something better to do. To them I ask:
- What’s more important than worshiping God in the few hours per week set aside specifically for Him?
- What’s more important than making time to encourage and be encouraged by your Christian family?
- What’s more important than gathering with them to study God’s word and share in prayers for each other?
- What’s more important than remembering the sacrifice of Jesus by partaking in communion with your fellow Christians?
I’m not sure what it is that’s so important, but I can tell you a few things that aren’t the answer to those questions.
I can tell you that sports aren’t more important. Like many things in life, sports are perfectly fine and useful and can even be used for good in our lives, but they can also become idols. Skipping worship for youth sports or to watch the big game sends the message to the Savior who died for you that you think He’s really important… unless the game happens at the same time. It sends the message to observant little eyes that God can be put in second place for anything we want to prioritize over Him. In an era where a large majority of those raised in the church fall away, the last thing we need is more Christian parents teaching their children that the pew takes a back seat to the players’ bench. I don’t care if your child earns a scholarship, wins the gold medal, or takes home Super Bowl MVP, because if his or her soul is lost in the process, the tradeoff was eternally worthless (Mark 8:36).
I can tell you vacations aren’t more important. It’s good to get away every now and then, so you can’t always be with your home congregation. But I guarantee you that most places you visit will have a congregation of the Lord’s people nearby. Worship with them. Going out of town doesn’t get you out of God’s presence, nor does it take away your call to worship Him. Unplugging from work, school, and everyday life is great… but a Christian should never unplug from God.
I can tell you sleep isn’t more important. People get tired, I understand. There aren’t many chances to sleep in, and Sunday morning worship means getting up early, especially for those with kids. But nobody even considers catching up on that sleep on Monday morning. Work and school don’t get placed on a back burner. If you won’t sleep through work but will sleep through Sunday church assembly, think about your priorities and just how seriously you’re taking your God. Again, consider the message you’re sending to your family, fellow Christians, and non-Christian coworkers.
We preachers are tired of pushing and prodding people to be in the pews on Sunday. We don’t do it because we want you to check the box and say you’ve done your duty for the week. We do it because we know a Christian whose heart has been given to God will agree that nothing is more important than Him and that He comes first in all things.
I can tell you that there’s nothing more important on Sunday morning than being there every time you can. There’s always an excuse to be somewhere else. Don’t take it. Meet with your fellow Christians and show your God that He’s important enough to you to put everything aside and give Him your time. Give Him your Sunday nights and Wednesday nights, too, if your church gathers at those times. Be there for them, let them be there for you, and encourage one another to love God more.