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Summary: God wants to help you be a dad who makes a difference. 1. He will take away your guilt (vs. 4&13). 2. He will give you the goodness you need (vs. 5-10). 3. He will give you the guidance you need (vs. 11-12). 4. He will give you a grateful heart (vs.13 ).

Dads that Make a Difference

1 Thessalonians 2:4-13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 15, 2014

(Revised and updated from a sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church June 18, 2006)

*To all of the dads here this morning: I hope you have a great Father's Day. We thank God for you! And we should. Garrison Keillor reminds us that Father's Day goes back to a Sunday morning in May of 1909. On that day, a lady named Sonora Dodd was sitting in church in Spokane, Washington.

*Sonora was listening to a Mother's Day sermon, and she thought of her father who had raised his children after Sonora's mother had died giving birth to her. Sonora thought that fathers should get recognition, too. And she asked her pastor if he would preach a sermon to honor fathers on her dad's birthday that June. The pastor agreed, and that was the start of Father's Day.

*But the tradition caught on much slower than Mother's Day. Mother's Day became an official holiday in 1914. But Father's Day was not officially recognized until 1972. That's hard to believe isn't it? (1)

*On this Father's Day of 2014, I hope you are thankful for your own father. I hope you can look back and say: "I had a dad who made a difference in this world. I had a dad who made a difference in my life!"

*And if you have the privilege of being a father this morning, I've got some great news for you today: God wants to help you be a dad who makes a difference. Today's Scripture shows us how.

1. First of all, God will take away your guilt.

*This wonderful truth is for all of us here today: God wants to take away our guilt! Paul reminds us of this truth in vs. 4, when he mentions the gospel or good news about Jesus Christ. There Paul said: "But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."

*In other words: "God has trusted us with the gospel, and we speak the gospel, because that's what God wants us to do." God wanted them to speak the good news, because He wanted us to hear the good news. God wants everybody to hear the good news: That He loves us, that He sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins, that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and rose again to take away all of our guilt, if we will trust in Him.

*Paul knew all about guilt. Before he met Jesus, he was full of self-righteousness and murderous hatred. But Paul met the Risen Lord on the road to Damascus, and he trusted in the good news of the cross.

*Paul was guilty, but he found out that God can take away our guilt. And that's what God wants to do in your life, because you are guilty too. All of us fail, all of us fall short, all of us need to be forgiven, and God wants to take our guilt away.

*Please understand that I am not just talking about feelings of guilt, although Jesus Christ will take those away too. But some guilty feelings are good for us. The Bible calls those feelings godly sorrow: The guilty feelings that help us turn away from sin, and turn toward the Savior. The people in the greatest danger today are the ones who feel no guilt before God.

*But I am not just talking about guilty feelings. I am talking about facts. And the fact is that you are guilty, and so am I. Without Jesus Christ, we all stand guilty in the Court of Heaven. And it doesn't matter how we plead. Without Jesus Christ, we are guilty before the highest court in the universe. But Paul found forgiveness, and so can you.

*God will take away your guilt right now. But what do you have to do? Just do what these people did down in vs. 13. There Paul said: "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe."

*God's forgiveness is found in the Word of God! You just have to receive it and believe it. Receive the good news about Jesus Christ. Believe in Him, and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.

*You know I'm not just talking to Dads right now. But Dad, God will take your guilt away. And that will help you be a dad who makes a difference.

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