Sermon:  The Father of Jesus  

Summary:  God chose a human to be a human Father who had godly character to 
raise his son to be the Messiah.  Therefore, we can look to Joseph for an 
example of what fatherhood should look like, which is righteous, merciful, 
and faithful.  

Know:  Even though God is the model Father, we can look to Joseph as an 
example of fatherhood because God chose him to raise Jesus

Feel:  The desire to be righteous, merciful, and faithful

Do:  Reflect on the character of Joseph and how it reflects the character of God.  
Identify how prevalent God's character is in your life, which is strongest, and 
which is weakest.  Identify the greatest growth areas in your life.

Text:  Mt 1:18-25

Scripture Reading:  1 John 3:1-3

Intro:
1.  Happy Father's Day - Day to honor ideal of Fatherhood
	a.  World & Hollywood ridicule it - Fathers are bumbling idiots
	b.  Problem - World try convince women they can be as masculine as men
	c.  World try convince men they can be feminine as women
	d.  Put them in mixing bowl, no one sure what their role really is
2.  Father's Day an opportunity to look at masculinity once again
	a.  It is a good thing, it is a creation of God
		- God created men to be men
		- God created women to be women
		- God created women to be mothers
		- God created men to be fathers
	b.  Not talking about the worldly Rambo image, or Archie Bunker
		- Not talking about the one who cusses, beats people up, etc.
		- Men like this probably make poor neighbors and fathers
	c.  Talking about the man who knows he is a man created in God's image
	d.  Talking about the man who is proud to be what God created him
3.  Besides, it is good to be men.  Women may ask, "Why"  - Ten reasons:  
     If you are a man...
1: Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. 2: A 5-day holiday requires only one suitcase. 3: When clicking through the channels, you don't have to stall at every shot of somebody crying. 4: Guys in hockey masks don't attack you ... unless you're playing hockey. 5: Michael Bolton doesn't live in your universe. 6: Car mechanics tell you the truth. 7: You can admire Clint Eastwood without starving yourself to look like him. 8: Gray hair and wrinkles only add character to men. 9: If another guy shows up at the party in the same outfit, you just might become lifelong buddies. 10: The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected. That's why!
4. Seriously, God created Fatherhood for a purpose a. Where can we go to look for a lesson on Fatherhood? b. Mt 1:18-25 - Joseph c. Why Joseph? Will become evident as we proceed d. Let's look at characteristics of fatherhood exemplified in Joseph I. Righteous A. Text says that he was a righteous man. What does that mean? B. Look at what we can infer about being righteous 1. Jesus was not biologically Joseph's son, conceived by Spirit 2. Jesus the human needed human parents. Who? a. Of course, needed to be descendant of David b. Also needed to have other characteristics - Needed to have godly character -- Teach Jesus what godliness is -- Teach him to be honest, trustworthy -- Teach him to pray - Needed to be someone who provide well grounded home -- Teach him to love, forgive, compassion -- Teach him to read scripture - Needed to be someone who work and provide -- Teach him a trade -- Teach him what it mean to nurture others c. Chose Joseph as Father, Mary as Mother 3. Very little biographical information on Joseph a. Had a trade, carpenter b. Working class family c. Descendant of David 4. But fact God chose him, says something about his character a. He was a righteous man b. This is why we are looking at him as example C. ILL: Still remember my young son imitating me 1. I was working underneath a cabinet 2. He had crawled under with me, imitating every move a. Twist of a screwdriver, he imitated it b. Hammer, he imitated it c. Turn around on my back for access, he imitated it 3. I was finished, so I sat up, bumped my head, he imitated that too a. I could hear "clunk" as he bumped his head too b. I couldn't help but laugh 4. They say Faith is more caught than taught a. That is because boys are watching you b. Your character is the strongest teacher D. Righteousness is important in Fatherhood 1. Perhaps this is why God chose Joseph to raise Jesus 2. God is the model father because he is righteous a. Joseph was a reflection of God's righteousness b. Joseph was not perfect, no one is c. But his character would enable him to raise a righteous son 3. **But righteousness is not the only characteristic of fatherhood we see in Joseph... II. Merciful A. This stands out in this account B. How was he merciful? - In his treatment of Mary 1. If Mary unfaithful, it a death penalty (Dt 22:13-21) a. May seem extreme b. Preserving the integrity of family serious business 2. By Roman law, could not execute someone 3. Option while under Roman rule - divorce from fiancÚ a. Yes, if engaged, you couldn't just end it b. It had to be formally and legally dissolved c. Of course, there would be public shame d. Would be like wearing a scarlet letter 4. Joseph was humiliated, yet merciful a. Could have reacted in anger and hurt b. Could publicly humiliate Mary c. Joseph thought about it, did not want to disgrace her - Planned to send her away...quietly - What? She humiliated you! Made fool of you! - Joseph decided to treat her mercifully d. Joseph reflected the very character of God, therefore could raise Jesus to be merciful - Mt 9:13 - Desire mercy, not sacrifice, not come to call righteous, but sinners - (Mt 23:23) - Jesus laying out priorities -- Mercy is a weightier part of the law -- Notice righteousness and mercy together -- Righteousness not opposed to mercy -- Ps 51:14; 98:2 - Righteousness connected with salvation and mercy C. ILL: Little Johnny got in trouble, had a bad day 1. It was a bad day - Got in trouble at school, in trouble at home 2. Prayer time with Dad-Johnny knew what coming - Prayer lecture a. Prayer lecture, when pray about all you did wrong b. Each is listed c. List what you learn and what d. Promise to be better next time 3. Johnny held his breath, waiting for Dad to start prayer 4. Dad looked down on Johnny, is that what he needed? a. Dad prayed - "Father, it been a rough day for Johnny" b. But Father, - I am so proud of him because he is my son - I love him very, very much - Father, you have blessed me by giving him to me to be my son - I know he will grow to be a good Christian Father and husband for you c. After the prayer was over, Johnny in disbelief d. Threw his arms around Dad, "I Love you Dad" - That prayer much more transforming than lecture - Mercy motivated Johnny more than lecture D. God the Father looks at you, and asks, "Is that what he needs?" 1. And then he sent Jesus, to show mercy on a cross 2. God is the model Father, and he extended mercy a. Joseph was a reflection of God's mercy b. Joseph was not perfect, no one is c. But his character would enable him to raise a merciful son 3. **But it doesn't end with mercy, we see more in Joseph... III. Faithful A. What little information we have in these first couple chapters shows that Joseph is God's faithful servant 1. It was necessary that earthly Father of Jesus be faithful 2. If have upbringing and put God first, need Father to be example B. See this in fact that Joseph accepted will of God - Follow instructions 1. Several instructions here a. Don't be afraid to take Mary as you wife b. Call the boy's name Jesus c. Mt 1:24 - Did as the Lord commanded him - v.25 - Kept her a virgin - This not his son, he entrusted with Son of God 2. More instructions a. Mt 2:13 - Move to Egypt, stay there till I say b. Mt 2:19 - Move back to Israel c. Mt 2:22 - Warned by God in a dream, so moved to Galilee d. Obeyed God's instructions without question 3. Observed God's will from scripture a. Lk 2:22 - Presented Jesus at temple, offer sacrifice b. Took Jesus to Jerusalem for commanded festivals c. Joseph was faithful to God 4. Even though he knew this not really his child, faithful a. Accepted Jesus as his own, because God said b. Faithful father to Jesus - Taught him his trade -- Tradition says that Jesus and his Father made best yokes around -- Had reputation for top quality craftsmanship - Taught him integrity, honesty - Taught him what it means to accept God's will C. ILL: Fred Craddock speaking to group of ministers 1. Said, "To give my life for God appears glorious" 2. It is like taking $1000 bill, laying all of it on altar for God - Here is my life, it all belongs to you 3. Reality for most is God sends us to the bank and has us cash in $1000 bill for quarters a. We go through life spending a quarter here, dollar there b. When faithfully serve our neighbor c. When give to one who is needy d. When share Gospel with someone 4. Usually, giving life for God is not glorious in way we think of it a. Easier to go out in a flash of glory b. But giving life for God is in the day to day acts of faithfulness D. God, the model Father is faithful 1. Even when we are faithless, he is faithful a. He keeps his word b. He is loyal, true, and faithful 2. Joseph was faithful, he kept God's word a. Joseph was a reflection of God's faithfulness b. Joseph was not perfect, no one is c. But his character would enable him to raise a faithful son Concl: 1. Fatherhood is a reflection of God a. So as we look at men like Joseph as an example, we are looking at how they strive to be godly b. That is why Paul said, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ" 1 Cor 11:1 - Paul not the ultimate example - Joseph is not the ultimate example of Fatherhood c. Bottom line, God is the model Father 2. He is a righteous, merciful, faithful father (inv) 3. Today is a salute to fatherhood (prayer)