A Godly Father
Father’s day here in New Zealand is celebrated on different date. For what reason? I still have to find out. Since it looks like “Father’s Day” is celebrated in most part of the world. Let’s talk about a Godly father this morning. My father died early when I was just 12 years old, but he left a good memory on us his children. He was well loved in our community and a well respected man. He was not a perfect father but I will always love Him.
I want to draw your attention to a biblical father that is easily overlooked because of the popularity of his children. Zebedee, the father of the Apostles James and John, is an example to us all. There are a number of reasons that he is a Godly father that we should seek to imitate.
I. He Raised Two Remarkable Sons.
A. Note that I said, “He Raised…”
1. Someone once tried to correct my English (which happens quite often).
2. They told me that you “raise” corn, but that you “rear” children.
3. Well, look with me at Ephesians 6:4.
a. “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord.”
b. Here, fathers are given the responsibility of “raising” their children.
c. They are to be brought “up”! in the training and instruction of the Lord.
d. That means according to the principles of God’s Word and to live by those principles.
e. Not just know what God says, but to do what God says!
B. Are we actively training and teaching our children according to the principles of God’s Word?
1. Our children are born in sin and they naturally do wrong.
2. We must “raise” them up to one day receive Christ as Savior.
3. We must bring them up, spiritually to not only know the Lord, but to obey His Word in their lives.
4. I believe that Zebedee had raised his sons in the knowledge of God, and had taught them to worship Him.
C. His sons were remarkable.
1. In Mark 3:17 we are told that these two sons were called the sons
2. That tells us something about the nature of these two remarkable young men.
3. They were filled with zeal and energy.
4. In Luke 9:51-56 we have an occasion where the thunder erupted.
D. Jesus recognized that these two men were men of outstanding character.
1. He trained them, along with Peter, for leadership, first among the twelve and then later in the early church.
2. They made up two-thirds of the “inner-circle” among the disciples.
3. They were privileged to be with Christ on the Mt. of transfiguration.
4. This was repeated in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus chose them to go with Him in prayer.
5. Truly, Zebedee raised two remarkable sons.
II. He Taught His Sons to Work.
A. Note: Mt. 4:21.
1. They were both with their father busy mending their fishing nets.
2. If you have ever seen fishing nets, you can understand that this was an important, although not very glamorous, job.
3. What makes this incident significant is this…
a. Mk. 1:20 tells us that Zebedee was not a poor fisherman.
b. His business was such that he had several hired servants.
c. And yet, he had taught his sons to work.
B. If there is one glowing failure of twentieth century fathers…
1. It is that they have failed to teach their sons to work.
2. It may not be possible for you to train your sons in your own skill or trade, but we can teach them the importance and the willingness to work.
3. As fathers we should seek to impart these principles by exhort -ation and by example.
4. Zebedee did not exempt his sons from the hard work involved in making a living.
5. One of the curses of today is this: “I don’t want my children to have to work as hard as I had to.”
6. Why not? It didn’t hurt you!
C. His sons were called by Jesus.
1. It does not surprise me to find Jesus calling men who had been taught by their father the importance and principle of hard work.
2. Jesus knew very well what kind of men were needed to be involved in taking the Gospel around the world.
3. Note: Mt. 4:21 was a call to service…I will make you fishers of men.
4. They immediately responded to His call.
5. What a privilege for Zebedee, to be able to hear Jesus call his sons into service, and to see them respond willingly!
III. He Released His Sons.
A. This is a great character trait!
1. We usually focus on James and John’s immediate response to the Lord’s call.
2. But think about Zebedee for a moment.
3. He did not offer any resistance to their leaving.
a. This is noteworthy because at this time, Jesus was not well- known.
b. Many considered Him to be an itinerant teacher and preacher.
c. Zebedee allowed his two sons to leave the family business and follow after Jesus.
B. Zebedee was prepared to release his sons.
1. This is most important!
2. It would be wonderful if they could have carried on the noble tradition of their families and be fishermen.
3. However, God had other plans for these two young men.
4. Zebedee was prepared to trust God to provide for his sons.
C. Are we prepared to release our children to serve God?
1. God will not call all of them into fulltime Christian service, but some He will!
2. There are many fathers who will trust God for the salvation of their children, but cannot trust Him to take care of them on the mission field or some other area of Christian service.
3. God knows more about what is best for our children than we do!
Conclusion: Zebedee is truly a great example of a godly father. He raised two remarkable sons, he taught them to work, and was prepared to release them to serve Christ. Realize that James was killed in his service, and John was tortured for his faith. With the way things are developing in this world today, that could be the normal result of serving God in the years to come. However, we ought not allow that to deter us from doing what is right!
Fathers, this message has been directed to you. We all need good examples to follow. Zebedee is just such an example. Perhaps you are here this morning with a great need in your life, God can and will meet that need according to His will. Maybe there are those here who do not know the joy of salvation in Christ, you need to come and we will take the Bible and lead you to Christ right now. If you need to come for whatever reason, come now and meet with God at this altar