MSG: Get a Grip on your Father’s Promise

Get a Grip on your Father’s Promise

Luke 24:32-49

There she was sitting across the room in a cuddle-lumtuous sweater, horizontal stripes of pastel yellow, pink, cream and blue colors.  Her hair was long, blond flowing down to her shoulders.  She had a bright smile and a twinkle in her eye, but I was trying to be spiritual, so I tried to ignore her.  She looked like someone I’d like to meet, but I was trying to be spiritual.  We both happened to be in a Christian organization leadership training class, so I was trying not to be caught staring at her beauty.

That summer I was going to be on a beach project at Newport Beach, CA, body surfing for Jesus, I mean winning souls for Jesus.  My peg on the USA map was at Newport Beach and I saw that she was going to be only about 70 miles away in San Bernardino– pretty close, but far enough that I’d be too busy on the beach serving Christ.  Then while on the project, because of my roommates need to see his parents in San Bernardino, a chance encounter, but only for a moment.

Several months later, my action group leader invited me to watch a movie on leadership at his church.  I showed up on Saturday night and there she was.  It was her dad’s movie projector and that’s where she went to church.  Guess what?  I switched churches.  I changed from driving  seven miles to church to driving 41 miles to church.  Great church.  Good teaching.  Good looking gal.

All I could do was think about this gal.  That long blonde hair with that sweet smile!  I needed to go out with her, but I decided to call her dad to ask permission.  I wanted to do this right.  Okay, dad’s permission granted and then delayed by her church’s communion pitch in.  Whoa, that was a  good time.  I couldn’t wait to call her on the phone.  I could hardly wait to drive the 37.2 miles to see her.  I knew every tenth of a mile and curve in the road and elsewhere to spend time with her.  I liked how she thought.  I liked how ordered she was.  I liked how she knew so much about Scripture and she wanted to memorize Psalm 119 with me!  Whoa, what a gal!

When you experience someone you love, you can’t stop talking about her.  She presented a promise of a good life together and I sure enjoyed the time I had with her.  Every meeting was an adventure, a romantic rendezvous. Whoa!  I couldn’t wait.  She thought like the woman I wanted to marry.  So just nine months after I first met her, three months after our first date, at the ripe old age of 20, I was hooked and said, “Will you marry me?”   When you encounter someone you truly love, you can’t help but enjoy her presence.  When you are inspired by the promise of a great life together, you can’t help but lead.  So, 35 years later, after many bumps in the road, Barbara, I love you more than ever….

The same is true with Jesus.  When you experience Jesus, you can’t help but talk about Him. When you encounter Jesus, you can’t help but enjoy His presence and when you are empowered by the Father’s promise, you can’t help but lead.  With that promise of an abundant life, how do you get a grip on your Father’s promise?  The Children have joined us today, “Children, you should each have an insert. I’m going to give you three things to draw in the boxes, or you can write on your insert.”  

1)      When you experience Jesus, you can’t stop talking about Him   Luke 24:32-35

There were two men walking along the road to Emmaus talking about the events of the last week, when Jesus approaches them from behind and asks them what they are talking about.  One of the men, Cleopas, acts surprised that anyone would ask such a question.  So he recalls great details about Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, but He was seen alive. As they walk along, Jesus admonished them and helps them understand through Moses and the prophets that the Scriptures were fulfilled in Jesus.  As they approached the village the two men constrained Jesus from proceeding further and asked Him to join them to eat and rest. When they took bread, Jesus blessed it, broke it and gave it to them and their eyes were opened.  Then Jesus vanishes! [Children, draw a picture of your dad]

In our passage, the men were ready to flip out.  They became like two roosters welcoming the morning.  With great enthusiasm, the men begin to converse as Luke records,

                     32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us  
                on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
              33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those 
              who were with them gathered together,
              34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”
 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. (Luke 24:32-35)

The men were like a dozen Colts fan after the 2007 Superbowl! They described how their hearts were burning on the road before they knew it was Him as He opened Scriptures (22:32). Emmaus was 7 miles from Jerusalem, so they quickly left Emmaus and ran to see the rest of the disciples (22:33).  They arrive and find the disciples talking up a storm about the events!  They respond to the men, that indeed they know Jesus had arisen and He appeared to Peter!  Yes, even Peter, the one who denied Jesus three times (22:34). The two men related to the others how their hearts burned on the road and then they recognized Him while breaking bread!

Do you experience Jesus?  When you do, you can’t help talking about Him.  If you are not talking about Him, you haven’t experienced Him!  And when you do encounter Him, you look forward to His presence! 

2)      When you encounter Jesus, you can’t help enjoying His presence   Luke 24:36-43

I’ll never forget that Friday night on the way over to Barbara’s house. She asked me what I wanted her to fix for us to enjoy eating at her house.  I told her lobster.  So she bought these two large lobsters. 

Now, when you are in love, it’s like looking into the sun.  You can’t see anything else.  It seems sometimes, you don’t know what you’re doing.  You do some silly things.  I took those two lobsters with my gloves on and chased her cat called Pinkerton around the house.  Pinkerton was a big fat white cat.  He was probably 14 years old and weighed about 40 pounds. Pinkerton ran of course.  It wasn’t a very nice thing to do.  You do some silly things when you are in love.  You just can’t wait to be in each other’s presence. It’s like eating a delightful meal together. [Children, draw a picture of a table of food]

How does Jesus respond after the disciples ran out on Him?  Does He return in anger to set the record straight?  Does He yell and ask them, “How come you guys ran out on Me?”  Or, “Why didn’t you guys stick with your word; you said you would stand with me!”  Jesus does not do anything like that.  Instead Jesus seeks to restore the relationships.

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” (Luke 24:36)

Jesus appeared and said, “Peace.” They needed to hear that, because they all ran from Him at His worst moment.  They leave Him to be crucified, He comes back, so what or how is He going to react?  He responded with the mercy of God and said, “Peace.”

                 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
            38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
 39“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:37-39)

They were “scared out of their wits” just like they were Matthew 14 when they saw Jesus walking on the water and thought He was a ghost. Jesus sought to help them regain control of their emotions and asked, “Why are you troubled?” He wanted them to reflect and asked, “Is God not in control?”  When you believe God is in control, you can enjoy the presence of people. Jesus verifies to them, it’s Him and they have no need to fear.

                      40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet1.
               41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any 
                food here?”
              42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb1.
 43 And He took it and ate in their presence. (Luke 24:40-43)

Jesus gave them proof He was not a ghost; He’s back in person. He ate in their presence to prove to them He was the real thing. Can you imagine the fear turning to joy? Can you imagine the joy as they realized they had encountered the real Jesus again? That gives rise to the reality that Jesus was empowered by the Father’s promise of His will and plan, so Jesus passes that down to the disciples.  

3)      When you are empowered by the Father’s promise, you can’t help but lead   Luke 24:44-49

                  44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you,
              that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and
              the Psalms concerning Me.”
 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

Jesus helped the disciples see there was nothing new.  “I’ve spoken this before.”  He made sure they understood what was written.  [Children, draw a soldier leading troops in a charge]

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise1 from the dead the third day,
47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
 48 “And you are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)

            There are seven points Jesus made to the disciples.  First, what happened was written already in Scripture.  Secondly, it was necessary to happen according to the Father’s plan. Thirdly, it was necessary that the Christ suffer for the sins of the world.  There would have been no reconciliation to God without the death of Jesus Christ.  Fourthly, it was necessary for Christ to rise from the dead on the third day to prove the Father’s righteousness was satisfied with the death of Jesus.  Fifthly it was necessary that the message of repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name to all the nations. Sixthly, it is necessary that every Christian be witnesses of that eternal truth.  That witness is revived with every moment spent with Jesus Christ, with every encounter with Jesus. Why?  So the seventh truth would be made known in verse 49.

49 “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem1 until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)

            The seventh truth is that the Father’s promise would be empowerment to make that message known to the nations. The Promise of the Father – the empowerment is coming.  You will be endued with power, or “clothed” with power.  So stay in the city until you are clothed.  It all comes together by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is not a force, like on Star Wars.  He is a person, who will guide you into Scriptures and empower you to lead your family.  It is the promise of the Father.  The promise of the Father directs our attention to the importance of fathers.  Father’s represent God the Father.  Their influence has great affect or lack of influence leaves of vacuum of spirituality in the world as we are seeing in the United States today.

            Two important passages reveal the importance of the Father influence in Scripture.

Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:8)  

                  31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your
              household.”  32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his
             house.  33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And
             immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his
             house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his
             household. (Acts 16:31-34)
            Yes, the influence of fathers is incredible. God the Father worked it that way as a way to show how much influence He has when people follow and submit to His will.

 

The Power of Influence

Attending Church First Families Follow

100 Children 1.7%
100 Mothers 18%
100 Fathers 93% 

However, when fathers don’t lead and families don’t follow, then we have a vacuum of influence.  In fact, children and whole families begin to fall away from the Lord.  For example, 

For every 10 men in the average church…

• 9 will have kids who leave the church
• 8 will not find their jobs satisfying
• 6 will pay monthly minimum on credit cards
• 5 have a major problem with pornography
• 4 will get divorced affecting 1,000,000 children each year
• Only 1 will have a biblical worldview
• All 10 will struggle to balance family & work:

Because they really want to HAVE FUN!

Listen, fathers represent God the Father and when we don’t lead as the Father, provide as the Father, teach as the Father, lead as the Father, then family falls away.  Now, ladies, what is your part?  I love it when women get into Bible Study.  I love it.  But some of you don’t understand why men don’t lead.  I’ll tell you. 
Men (and woman) are in a spiritual war that is unseen and the enemy is fighting against men saying, “You can’t lead.”  “You’re not spiritual enough.”  “You don’t know enough.”  “You’re not good enough to lead.”  So men believe those lies and do exactly what Adam did back in the Garden of Eden.  Adam was standing right next to Eve, while she was talking to the jive-talking serpent.  He should have been protecting her, but because he didn’t she bought the devil’s line and was deceived.  Then Adam bought into it also and ate the fruit.
Today men lay back spiritually and  don’t take the risk of leading their families.  Why?  Men do not want to fail; they do not want to look like a fool; and they don’t want someone to find out they are a fake spiritually, that is they don’t want others to know they don’t know as much spiritually as they want others to think.  So, they hedge back. 
Women? We need you to pray for men.  If it was easy being a man, there would be men leading their families in Bible devotions regularly during the week.  Fathers would make sure their kids were memorizing Scripture.  Fathers would make sure their kids were the most grounded in Scripture so when they went into the world, they knew what promises they could count on.  Why does that not happen?  Because there is an invisible war going on. The enemy, the devil is winning. 
Today is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  God wins.  Everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ wins.  And we want to help people get beyond that and be discipled to understand God’s game plan.  That’s what this church is all about.  We want to help fathers understand and know the battle, so they can win their families, keep their families, enjoy their families and when the children grow up, the children will keep coming home for wisdom to go back into the world to disciple others to Jesus Christ.
We believe fathers or men leading are the key to solid growth in a church.  We’re grateful for women, youth and children.  It’s the fathers that must take their place and take the promise of the Father and pass that down to the children.  It is the plan the original settlers had when they came to America,
“Promising also unto our best ability to teach our children and servants the knowledge of God and of his will that they may serve him also.” – First settlers of Salem (1636)

It’s not the government’s job to teach our children.  Sometimes it does a pretty good job, but the parents are really the best ones as God designed it.  Why?  God designed the parents to be the teachers of their children.  We at Grace want to help you. I love what Jonathan Edwards says,

“Family education and order are some of the chief means of grace, if these fail in the home all other means are likely to prove ineffectual.” – Jonathan Edwards

In other words, we can have the best school system or even church program, but if the families’ are not raising up their children to godliness, even what we do in the church to train children, will not be as helpful.  We are here only to help parents.  Richard Baxter makes it very clear who must step up to the line and take responsibility,

“The husband must be the principal teacher of the family, he must instruct them, examine them, and rule them about manners of God.” – Richard Baxter

I praise God for moms that step up and lead their children.  I pray that we can help dads take on that privilege of making sure the kids know and understand who Jesus Christ is and why He came.   Get a grip on the Father’s promise, and you can’t help but lead.

The Promise of your Father will empower you to

Get a Grip on real life!

·         God has called every man to serve as a model of the Father John 14:9

·         We men need to step up to the line and practice until we get it Phil 4:9

·         God will supply you what you need Phil. 4:19

·         We can do all things through Christ Phil. 4:13

·         Come join the team at Grace

 

·         Get a grip on the Father’s will

·         Get a grip on Father greatness

·         Get a grip on your Father’s promise to the next two generations

 

Message Based Discussion Questions

1)      Do you remember a promise your father gave you growing up fulfilled?

Digging Deeper:

2)      Who are three heroes of faith in Hebrews 11? __________; ____________; _____________ What are examples of what they were trusting God for in the present and future life?  How many didn’t see the promise fulfilled in life?  Did that cause them to waiver in faith?

3)      Look up the following passages related to the Father promises about the coming Messiah (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4; Is. 7:14; Matt 1:18,24,25; Ps. 2:7; Matt 3:17; Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16. How many of the passages prophesy of the coming Messiah? ___________ How were those prophecies fulfilled?  What does that say about the promise of the Father?  What promises has He made to/for you?

4)      Compare Eph. 5:18 with Col. 3:16 and their contexts.  What is similar about each passage? ______________.  What is different? _______________.  Note Rom. 15:13-14.  What are the three ingredients of growth? (cf. Rom. 15:4)  Why is your utter dependence on these three aspects crucial to enjoying God’s presence?

Making application of the message to life:

5)      How have you experienced Jesus this week? Have you shared that with anyone? If not, what will you do?

6)      How would you describe enjoying Jesus’ presence to a sixth grader?  What are several ways a believer can enjoy His presence?

7)      The Father’s Promise is real.  Is it causing you to lead others in faith?  How could you initiate trust and application so it becomes a reality?

 

 

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