Don’t you wish you had a father like that?
DECEMBER 25, 2020
Don’t you wish you had a father like that? Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. I’m Matthew, executive producer of the program. Our host is Steve Brown. He’s an author at seminary professor who teaches that God’s amazing grace is the key to a life of radical freedom, infectious joy and surprising faithfulness to Christ.
Thank you Matthew. If you’ve been with us this week and by the way, Merry Christmas. This week, we’ve been talking about Christmas themes. And we’ve been looking at Isaiah 9 and the prophesied coming of the Messiah, that Mary and Joseph maybe even thought about this text when they were looking at their newborn baby and before they had been given instructions. And they thought about these names for the coming Messiah. We’ve seen that Isaiah said when that baby comes, when the Word becomes flesh, that Messiah has four names. He is a Wonderful Counselor, that’s the first name. He is a Mighty God, that’s the second name. He is the Prince of Peace, that’s the third name. And then there’s one final name and don’t forget it. He is the Everlasting Father. Now this name signifies two things. First, it says that the Messiah would be the Father of eternity, in other words, the creator. Do you see it? Jesus was the one who came. And John 1 says that everything was created, was created by him. He is the Word become flesh, the Word, the creative Word, the written Word, the Word. But that term signifies something that’s even better. No, it’s not better, but it’s something that you got to remember at Christmas. It signifies paternal benevolence. I’ve told you often about my father. You would have liked him. You wouldn’t have approved of him, but you would have liked him. He didn’t do things right. He drank too much and gambled too much and ran around too much. But you know, every morning when I pray the Lord’s prayer and start by saying our father, I stop for a minute, and I say, Father, I want to thank you for my biological father, because I think I see your love because of him. My father became a Christian just three months before he died. And I’ll introduce him to you when we get to heaven. If there ever was a sinner saved by grace, my father was, he wouldn’t go to church and he never criticized us. He just didn’t think he was good enough. And a beloved doctor told him about Jesus, who came for sinners. And on very close to his death, my father in a childlike way came running to Jesus. And Jesus said, I was expecting you. And, but let me tell you about my father. He was a pool shark, he was very good. I practice and got so I could beat the Baptist and the Nazarenes. They can’t play pool, but the Baptist are not half bad. And I, we put a pool table in our youth center. When my father came, after he retired for the first time, I said, let’s go play some pool. And we went down to the youth center. And he broke the balls and ran the table, twice. I mean, balls were standing up making noises, smiling and jumping into the cup. It was epic, I mean, I stood there just in amazement when hustlers would come through my hometown, they would call my father and he had a job he could leave, and so he would come to the pool hall, where my mother was sure, the devil resided. And he would hustle hustler. Well, at any rate, I played pool with my father in the youth center. And after he finished, he smiled, put his glasses down on the slate top of the pool table and said to me, son, when I was younger, I was better. You know, there are so many stories, I don’t have time to tell them all to you. But the one thing about my father that stood out above everything, and that includes his sin, is how much he loved his sons. He carried our pictures and he would, and if you ever gave him half a chance, he’d pull out those pictures, show him and brag on his sons. I mean, whether he was drunk or sober, he loved us with such profound love. He didn’t think that he could have a party unless we were there and at his funeral, my brother and I, and my mother, we all stood outside as the line went through. And there were a lot of people. And do you know, almost every one of them when they stopped in front of my brother Ron and me, I mean, almost every one, had a phrase and we heard it over and over and over again. Did you know how much your father loved you? Oh man. Would you like to have a father like that? I mean, would you like to have a father, you do. And this Christmas, when you look at that baby, you remember that baby grew up and that his name is Everlasting Father, a father who knows what he’s doing. Who’s wise beyond understanding, who is a Mighty God who controls everything and you’re his daughter, your son, and he loves you the way my father, my biological father loved me, only double it and triple it. That’s what Christmas means. So in the middle of the hustle and the bustle and the business, don’t forget what Christmas is all about. You got a father, you got a daddy and you got a home and you should celebrate. It’s my practice on these Christmas broadcasts each year, to read the Christmas story, from Luke. You can follow along. This is what Luke, the physician said about that first Christmas.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and the lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling claws and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Listen to me, that’s not a myth. That’s not a nice story. That’s not a place where you go, aww, that happened, that’s a fact, that’s a reality. I don’t do this very often, but occasionally, I take some time to talk to people who have come up on this broadcast by accident. You know, if you’re not a believer, you feel something during this time of year. There’s a kind of warm haze about it. The parties are fun. The food is good and the family is great and the presidents are even better. But you know, in your heart of hearts, that there is something deeper, something else going on, you just don’t know what it is. Listen to me. And I’m going to tell you what it is. It’s Jesus. When all of history was changed and magnified and made different, everything is before or after he came. Every moment in history is judged by him and measured by him. For years, people had looked into the sky and asked their questions. Is there a God? And if there is a God, what’s he like, does he care? Is he a monster? Does he love? And then very hesitantly, does he love me? And the laughter of God spilled over into a dark world. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. And so if you just were flipping across the dial this Christmas and you heard this fog horn voice and you thought, well he sounds reasonably intelligent, but what he’s saying is insane. No it’s not, it’s a fact. You can have your own Christmas this Christmas. You run to Jesus and you tell him your need and your sins. And he will say to you welcome. Oh, by the way, Merry Christmas to you, from all of us at Key Life.