|설교본문||Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19|
|설교 한 주일||June 19, 2011|
“Abraham and Paul as a Father…”
Hebrew 11:8-12, 17-19
These Bible verses are actually based on what the real faith in our lives is but today is the Fathers’ Day. There are no many countries that celebrate Fathers’ Day in the World. Thank God that Philippines is one of the few countries that celebrate Fathers’ Day. In Korea, we don’t celebrate Fathers’ Day. The Fathers’ Day (celebration) actually originated from Americans, if I’m not mistaken, it started on the year 1809 – it’s not clear; some says this and some says that. Actually, there was one American father, a veteran, who fought in the Civil War in the States and who lost his wife at an early age. And then, he alone brought six children up without mother. Maybe his son, daughter or relatives want to celebrate what he has done for his six children, starting that one in the States. It has been announced; actually, some procedure was taken so it has been declared the Fathers’ Day. Actually, it was June 16 in the church when they celebrated Fathers’ Day in America. Well, it doesn’t matter; the important thing is we have fathers.
(Reading Hebrews 11:8 – 12, 17 – 19 NIV)
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
You know what Abraham has been doing and what he have done also the same goes to Paul. There are many figures you can see in the Bible associated with Fathers’ Day and father’s role in a family and in a society. Actually, Saint Paul has no son because he never get married. Anyhow, he had one son named Timothy. Today, we’ll see how Apostle Paul brought Timothy up in the Lord. Two persons in the Bible will tell us how to be a real, good or beautiful father.
Personally, my father was a soldier. He’s very smart unlike me and very sharp as well (like me). I don’t like to be like my father when I was young because he’s so strict to even talk to. He seldom had a conversation with me when I was young. I remember what he has done to me and my family was that, “What is your grade in school?” he asked me. If he starts to speak to me, I’m already ready to almost stumble down from my place. His voice is like a roaring thunder in my ears.
What kind of father you have in your life? Do you have sweet memory or very sad memory? Brothers and sisters, I would like to take this opportunity that I urge and challenge you: if there is some guilt; if there is some mistake he has done over you; this is the time in Fathers’ Day for you to forgive him no matter how he had been bad, no matter how he’d been so cruel over your life. Maybe you’re thinking that he had ruined your life but I challenge you in the name of Jesus Christ today – forgive him because there is no perfect person and there is no perfect father as well as you are not a perfect father even today. So I ask you once again fathers, commit yourself, open yourself and reveal yourself to your children that you are not perfect. Say sorry to your children, “My son, I’m sorry…” It is the Father’s Day today so that is one thing we have to do, fathers before we expect somebody to say, “Happy Father’s Day.” Being a father is not happy actually but being a father at the same time is the most beautiful and meaningful role in the life of human being.
What does the Bible says today about father. I want to see the two fathers (Abraham & Paul). The father in good faith it says is Abraham which I quote from Hebrews 11:8-12. Another one is Apostle Paul – the father who is urging his son or child to imitate.
I want you to see how they did; first, the father in good faith, Abraham. You know Abraham, how and why we say that he has really good faith. Abraham was actually born in a pagan family. His father has no any belief. His father actually served idols. But I don’t know why God called Abraham out… “You leave your family…You leave your household… You leave…” Yahweh said to Abraham, actually that time his name was Abram. So, he listened. He is the father who listened to the voice of the Lord. Do we listen to the word of God, fathers of today? Yahweh said, “You leave this place…You leave from your past whatever your past was good or miserable…just leave that place, that space and that time and then you go where I will show you.” Everytime, to the fathers even today, God is telling you and me, “You leave from this space, from this time…” The time of maybe happiness – you can say or you name the time that now is really high and I am happy – but the time you named as happiness, how about what God named that time you enjoy today? Is that happiness in the sight of God? In that time, God is calling the fathers just like he called Abraham: “Leave this space. I know, you are stable here…I know, you have somebody here…I know, you have these things… ” but God called Abraham, “You leave this place even your family…” So, Abraham left according to the voice of God that led him.
There is one sentence that I would like to emphasize to you. When I read the Bible there is the phrase, even though; I just fix my eyes on that sentence. Even though that Abraham has the faith, he left even he did not know where to go. Brothers and sisters, especially fathers, if you are in praying, if you are really listening to the word of God, many cases God never give you definite decision, definite solution, definite and ultimate conclusion that you have in question because you are struggling some strange situation in your lives. But one thing you can hear in your heart of faith is that, “I don’t know why I have this situation but I have to give thanksgiving to the Lord. This is not the time to praise the Lord. This is the time in my life for me to cry out because of the pain…” but the hurt in your heart and through your faith, God is calling you. Leave the situation and praise the Lord. I don’t know why. Although, Abraham was a father of one son, based on the promise of God, “You will be such a great father as we named you, Abraham, the father of great nations.” That is how Abraham did although he is the father-like.
Second, he was a father. They live together in one tent. As you know, tent is tent however how much good material you used in the tent, its tent. Tent means ready to move. Tent means ready to pack yourself. Tent means this is not your place. Showing that situation to his son Isaac, “This place is not your permanent place!” He lived in the tent together with Isaac and Jacob – three generations. You may say, “Pastor, the time has changed.” You see the American father and mother. They don’t live together. “Because we have problem in my wife and my mother so it’s better we separate.” See, he (Abraham) was a father who lived together in the same tent. If you have your father, visit your father especially this Fathers’ Day and stay in the same tent. Of course the tent means geographical location – certain space you are together. But that tent means even though that temporality or not permanent situation they may have in the tent, they dream together for another next station, next step of their family or journey. They dream together in that tent. I hope that SFCF is also one of those tents where we can dream together, where we can pray together, where we can cry together… Abraham was a father to stay in the tent together with his son, Isaac; because according to Hebrews, Abraham was looking forward to the city that God constructed as permanent called the City of God and not that tent. “We are living in this tent my son… We are living in this situation my son Isaac… but this is not your permanent place. We have another place where God has prepared for us…” Abraham always tells to His son, Isaac, in that tent because that father, Abraham, believed that, “This is not the place where we stay forever more. This is not my property. This is not something I hold in my life long and then give it to my children from generations to generations so they may live forever more without God.”
I was thinking about Japan. My mother called me that they have problem even in Chiba. The government announced: Do not drink any water from faucet. How far is the place where the problem – the nuke – from Chiba? Brothers and sisters, just one earthquake, Japan was the number five in the economy in the world (I don’t know now), in just one tsunami, in just one click… My mother said, “You have rain in the Philippines, right?” “Yes,” I said. “Pastor Bang, do not go out…”
Nobody knows. As the world where we are staying today is such a very much glass-like protection that we have – easy to be broken – small fire, small thunderstorms, small movement, small break-in – the place of you where you use to think is safe and permanent. You will realize how much the place where we stay today is not permanent. Teach your children just like Abraham did. This is only a tent; we have a real place to go. Do not hold this but look forward to the city of God.
Abraham was a father who lived together in a tent. And then Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. Abraham showed his son how much he loved his son. In the time of Abraham, when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, there is no comment in the Bible that the son Isaac said any word against Abraham who was about to kill. Abraham believed in God. Isaac saw how much he loved his son so Isaac believed his father, how much his father loved him. Every day in the life of a father, he showed his son, “I love you…” In Korean, the old generation including me is very much shameful if we mention “I love you” in our culture. I’m a man, how can I say “I love you”? That is our culture in Korea. Maybe my father married my mother but I think he never said any word, “I love you my wife…” I have to ask my mother next time. But the Filipino, it’s very easy for you to say, “I love you…” He was a father who believed in God; how much? You know, he got his son when he was 100 years old. I don’t like to say that he was good and he was so precious one and gave Abraham and Sarah happiness but just only one son. Nobody knows that he would get another one, next Isaac. But Abraham listened and obeyed instruction and order of God, “Release your son!” According to Hebrews, Abraham believed and thought for long, long time, in the conversation of himself. And then it became his habit – total trust in any circumstances, no reasoning, and no questioning. “Go!” he went. “Stop!” he stopped. “Give your son!” he tried to give his only son because he believes God. He gave a son for my body which is almost dead. Abraham realized his life. How many times Abraham said to Isaac, “You Isaac, my son, you came from God. See, my body is like a dead wood. He picked you up from my body.” Maybe he said these things everytime when he sees Isaac. “Isaac, you are not my son. You came from the Lord, I know.” What do you used to say to your son? “You are my son, study and study and study and be rich more and more and more!” The son you have in your house is not your son. Did you ever see the image of Jesus Christ through your son? In English word, that is changeling. It is a funny story of one who gave one son and gets something from you. You believe that your son and daughter are yours that is why you have many problems even in Christian family. I’m telling you, I have two daughters which are not my own daughters. They are daughters of God so that I have to really take good care of them; otherwise, God will ask me, “Why you treat my daughters that way?” What about you fathers? What is the way you deal with your children in your house? Abraham believed, “I got Isaac from God, yes, of course! I will return him to You… It is You who gave it to me. It is also You who will take it. And You will be praised…”
Apostle Paul had no son. Actually, he had just a son in faith, Timothy. When you see 1Corinthians 4 (actually, this is a letter to the people in Corinthians) it says, “I urge you to imitate me…” Fathers, can you say to your children, “Imitate me…”? Jesus cried, “Follow me…repeat after me…do it again…” as our mentor, our leader is Jesus Christ in the Spirit even today for you and me. “Imitate the way I speak, the way I think… Imitate me…” can you say that? “…the way how I dealt with this world…” That is how Bible teaches us today for the fathers.
Dear Fathers, who is your role model in the Bible? Maybe Adam, Abel, Abraham? Is there anyone whose role model is his own child? “I have to look for my son…I am not good but my son is good.” Who? Moses? Jesus? Peter? Just name who is your role model in the Bible? If not, that’s big trouble. You have no model which means you became a father without any sample, without any instruction which means you became a father like another father in the world. You do whatever you liked to do for your family. Dear Fathers, this is what Bible says and my conclusion, sharing and challenge to you today, if you love your children (I know you love your son or your daughter, of course) and then you show your love to your children; if so, teach them, train them to love you as well. Be honest; be good; if you want to see the honesty in your children. Make yourself for sure to be honest. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Don’t make your children very angry. You follow this way, “Okay…okay…okay…” that is wrong! Why your children get angry? – Because your instruction and your training is not the way you have to in the Lord. What you have, your instruction to train your children is from somewhere else that’s why your children always get down and angry. Bible says today to you and me, “Train them and give instruction of the Lord…” just like Abraham, “You know, you came from me just like a stone, like a dead. You are a son of God…You are so precious in my eyes but in the eyes of God, you are such a great one.” When you see your children through the eyes of God dear fathers today, may God bless you.
Rev. David Bang