Summary: A sermon about trusting in God.
“Do Not Be Afraid to Follow Christ”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
At Annual Conference this past week an interesting statistic was put forth.
It appears that, even in this day and age, the father in a household still plays a tremendous role in what direction the family will go.
If a father in a household is interested in the church and active in the church…
…93% of the time the rest of the family will participate in church as well.
If it is only the mother who is interested and active in church…
…32% of the time the family will participate in church as well.
If a child is the only member of the family who is interested and active in church…
…the chance that the rest of the family will get involved drops down to 2 %.
A New York Times columnist writes that what fathers want most for Father’s Day is not designer ties or polo shirts or new cell phones.
Fathers want their authority back.
The columnist argues that the proper role of the father is not that of friend, which seems to be the role so many parents take these days…
…No, a father is someone a child should look up to.
The columnist puts forth an idea that many would disagree with.
He says that “Motherpower is rooted in love, fatherpower in authority.”
It’s not that nurturing is necessarily foreign to men, some do it very well, but moms are more naturally skilled at it.
Dads are better suited at laying down the law.
At least this is the columnist’s opinion.
I can’t help but wonder if the lack of respect for all authority structures could be traced, in part, to the abandoning of authority by dads.
Could it be that some men lash out in violence and abuse against their family out of a misguided attempt to reclaim authority?
Has the proper respect for fatherly authority been replaced by a hellish fear?
Or, in many cases, a complete absence?
The role a father plays in a family’s life is so very important.
When I was growing up my mother would take us three children to Sunday school while dad would stay home for a little ‘down time.’
This was really his only chance to be by himself, as a father of 3 young children who worked hard all week long.
After Sunday school, my father would join us for worship.
At the ripe young age of five I decided that I did not want to go to Sunday school any longer.
“Dad doesn’t go to Sunday school,” I protested, “why should I have to go?”
From that time forward my father sacrificed his precious hour of freedom in order to set the right example for his son.
He started going to Sunday school, and has continued attending Sunday school ever since.
The easier way to go, for my father, would have been: “Fine, Kenny you can stay home with me because I am not going to attend Sunday school.”
Or he could have blasted: “Do what I say, not what I do! You will continue to go to Sunday school and I will continue to stay home!”
I am very thankful for the sacrificial love that my father has shown me and continues to show me…
…and as we see in our Gospel Lesson for this morning our Heavenly Father has shown us the Ultimate in sacrificial love, and we are called to follow in His footsteps.
This may not always be the easy way, but it is always the right way!
In our Gospel Lesson for this morning Jesus is telling His twelve disciples what they will face as they are sent out into the world to proclaim the Gospel to all kinds of strangers…all kinds of people.
Followers of Christ are going to be persecuted.
We are going to be bypassed, shunned, withdrawn from, isolated, talked about, ridiculed, mocked, considered strange, and joked about.
Some will even call us names.
Some called Jesus Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons, and Jesus tells us: “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!”
If Christ—Who is to be the head of every Christian’s household—has been called the Prince of Demons—how much more should the members of His household expect to be called!
Wow! That statement alone should cause us to sit up a little higher in our seats.
As those who follow Christ, we are considered members of His household!!!
We are family…we are the family of Christ…of God!!!
You and I, we are brothers and sisters…