Introduction: Fathers are teachers. We are. Every father is. Not should be or could be. Fathers are teachers.
Today we honor all of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the men who fill such important roles in the lives of our families and our church. Fathers we salute you. We want you to know how important you are to us. We want you to know that we realize how much you teach us.
Our fathers teach us much. Mine did. I am sure yours did. They probably teach us much more than we realize. We can use all the reminders of that we can get. Our text offers such a reminder. Acts 7 provides a summary of the Old Testament. Just before his execution, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, offers his testimony to the great purpose of God. He reviews the history of Israel and explains that the reaction of his accusers was no different than that of their forefathers who had killed many of the Lord's prophets.
Stephen's biblical review tells the story of four Old Testament fathers. He reminds us of some of the great lessons all fathers teach their young. Here are four worth remembering on this Fathers' Day.
Stephen begins where the main story line of the Old Testament begins--with Abraham. Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. The Bible frequently cites Abraham as an example of what real faith looks like. Abraham left everything to follow God's promise of a new home and new future. In many ways, Abraham had it made where he was. Some might have thought Abraham's choice was risky. Abraham left a legacy of courage. That's a lesson fathers teach.
From our fathers, we learn that life is opportunity. It must be lived with courage. Sons especially, but daughters also, learn from fathers that you can't always take the easy route. The best life requires risk. The great missionary Hudson Taylor wrote, ''Unless there is an element of risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith.''
Some times our kids don't always see it that way. One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, ''Mommy, will you stay with me all night?'' Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, ''I can't dear. I have to sleep in Daddy's room.'' A long silence followed. Finally, a shaky child's voice muttered, ''The big sissy!''
David Livingstone, the explorer who opened up the Dark Continent and paved the way for the missionaries to take the gospel to Africa. After some time his missions board wrote saying, ''Some people would like to join you. What's the easiest road to get where you are?'' He replied, ''If they're looking for the easiest road, tell them to stay in England. I want people who will come, even if there's no road at all!''
Faithful fathers help their young learn that life is filled with opportunities. Life requires courage. Next Stephen turns to Josep ...
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