1160 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC, V6E 3H7
As I look at coastal church’s event bulletin for May and Jun, there is one word on the cover, ”Filled” and you notice the needle is on the full mark. These are the weeks of Pastor Dave teaching on the Person and ministry of The Holy Spirit, and this is an important point: we must be filled. This weekend we learned about the Fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23. When God’s Spirit comes He brings some beautiful fruits with Him for our lives. They follow right after the worst things in our lives, the works of the flesh, in Galations 5:19-21. It is obvious we need these fruits of God’s Spirit, in our lives and in our society.
We also celebrated Father’s Day this weekend, and we recognise and pay tribute to fathers this week. So I will say something about fathers today. We can see the fruits of the Spirit evident in the lives of fathers in the Bible.
Every father knows that he is not a father only on one day, but a father on every day. The greatest Being in the universe, the One Who created it, He never changes, He is everlasting. When He gave us a title about Himself it was relational. It was not about a job or a career, or His creative power – it was Father. Everyone in all the earth can have this relationship with Him. In fact, He wants us to have just this. He is Father everyday, not just on June 16th. The Lord Jesus said when we pray, say” Our Father Who is in Heaven”.
In the Bible there are stories about many fathers. In the new Testament, one of the most important fathers must have been Joseph, husband of Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus. We think about Mary more than Joseph because he does not stay in the story very long. But great things have been said about Joseph. The challenges he faced, his patience, his loyalty, his gentleness, his goodness to Mary and the baby Jesus, all fruits of the Spirit.
I want to look at another famous father in the Bible. This time in the Old Testament. He had a famous family with all kind of troubles. In fact at one point, in the midst of troubles he was so sad and depressed he said,” All these things are against me.” The truth was that all “these things” were, for once, actually working for him. Also in this story are some of the most heart breaking words ever spoken. They were spoken, not by the father, but by one of his sons; speaking to another son about their youngest brother.
By now you will have guessed the story, found in Genesis chapters 42-46, of Jacob and his twelve sons, and the story of Joseph being in Egypt. The heart breaking words are found in Genesis 44:18-34. This is Judah pleading for Benjamin to return home and not to be kept in Egypt: “33Now please let me remain in Egypt as your slave instead of the lad. Let him return with his brothers. 34For how shall I go up to my father if the lad is not with me, lest perhaps I see the evil that would come upon my father?”
Judah has already said what is true of any father, in verse 30. Jacob’s life is bound up in the life of Benjamin. In the next verse he says ”it will happen, when he sees the lad is not with us, he will die. So we will bring the grey hair of our father with sorrow to the grave.”
The most challenging thought to us as fathers is captured in Judah’s word: ”How can I go up to my father if the lad is not with me” I started out with the greatest Father of all, our Heavenly Father. Now think about our children and say “How can I go up to my Heavenly Father if my children are not with me?” Look again at Ephesians 6:4: “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” The greatest place to be is in the House of The Lord, being filled with the fruit of His Spirit – see you in church.