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Summary: Joseph was not the biological Father of Jesus, but he certainly was a good example of the CHARACTERISTICS OF A VISIONARY FATHER.

The first two chapters of Matthew’s gospel contain five different dreams or visions. FOUR OF THESE DIVINE DREAMS WERE GIVEN TO JOSEPH - THE EARTHLY FATHER OF JESUS.

It is clear to see that Joseph was a father of vision - God’s vision!

Joseph had a particular responsibility among men. He would have to be an example of manhood and spirituality. He would need to provide a home life where the Son of God could become a great man.

It is almost mystical to talk of the boyhood of Jesus because the Bible says so very little about it. But one man was there through it all. A humble carpenter from Nazareth named Joseph.

What kind of dad was Joseph to Jesus? Well he certainly was a dad who heard from God! Notice what he did with the information God gave him.

I CALL THEM THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A VISIONARY FATHER:

1. HE WAS CONSIDERATE TO THE NEEDS OF HIS WIFE. (Matthew 1:20)

A good father will show his children that their mother is vitally important to him and Joseph did just that. He did not break off his engagement with Mary even when it bacame evident the Holy Spirit had chosen her to carry the Son of God in her womb.

Even with provisions that were less than some would have expected, Josesph saw to the care of his new wife. On a carpenter’s wages in occupied land, he offered much less in material goods than others could have.

Could it be God was sending a message to fathers about taking care of a family? The material provisions for our family are important, but not to the extent we often make them. Certainly they are not as important as the spiritual and emotional needs of our family. And a man who sees to the spiritual and emotional needs of his wife and children with have the help of heaven, as Joseph did, making ends meet.

Joseph cared about the needs of his wife before the child ever came into the world. And this exemplifies the truth that good marriages must be cultivated. Especially when children begin entering the home. It is easy to give so much attention to your children that you neglect the marital relationship. But children benefit when the marriage is kept strong.

IF YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD PARENT - BE A GOOD SPOUSE.

Here’s another CHARACTERISTIC OF A VISIONARY FATHER:

2. HE PROVIDED FOR THE PROTECTION OF HIS CHILD. (Matthew 2:13)

Joseph obeyed the dream from God and took his family into Egypt for a brief period of time because Herod sought the life of Jesus.

Fathers are protectors. The absence of good fathers is detrimental to society itself.

In his book "Life Witout Father", David Pepenoe, Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, says:

"The decline of fatherhood is one of the most unexpected and extraordinary social trends of our time. Nearly 50% of American children go to sleep each evening without being able to say good-night to their dads."

"There was a time in the past when fatherlessness was more common than it is today, but death was to blame - not divorce, desertion or out of wedlock births. Most of today’s fatherless children have fathers who are perfectly capable of shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood. Who would have ever thought so many of them would choose to relinquish those responsibilities?"

"A surprising suggestion emerging from recent social-science research is that it is decidedly worse for a child to lose a father in the modern, voluntary way than through death. The children of divorced and never married mothers are less successful by almost every measure than the children of widowed mothers. And there is reason to believe that having an unmarried father is even worse for a child than having a divorced father."

Those are just a few of the findings from sociology.

Dad, it’s time you realized how vitally important you are!

When Bo Jackson announced his retirement from baseball in 1994, it wasn’t the baseball strike, the deterioration of his athletic skills or a problem with his famous artificial hip that caused his pre-mature departure from the game.

He left professional sports for good because of something his son Nicholas asked his mother Linda. Then six years old, Nicholas wondered why his father was never home. When he didn’t receive a satisfactory response, he asked her if his father had another family somewhere else. "If that isn’t enough for any man to make up his mind, then he isn’t a man", said Jackson. "And he isn’t a father." (Jim Johnson in Montgomery, Alabama Advertisor)

A third CHARACTERISTIC OF A VISIONARY FATHER:

3. HE PROVIDED FOR THE SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING OF HIS FAMILY. (Matthew 2:19)

Joseph left Egypt as soon as possible and returned to Israel where they worshipped Jehovah.

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