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WHAT TO PREACH ON FATHER’S DAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, June 16, 2013

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:2-5).


Over the years I have found it increasingly difficult to preach on Mother’s Day – and particularly on Father’s Day. As the day approaches I grow increasingly worried, because I don’t know what to say! In the final week before Father’s Day, my anxiety increases to a near frenzy. I find myself walking up and down in my study almost driven to distraction. What shall I preach? What shall I say? What text should I preach from? What subject shall I speak on? Mind you, this is not something that happens occasionally. Oh, no! I go through this turmoil every year!

As usual, I turn to a book called Great Preaching on Fathers, compiled by Curtis Hutson, and printed by Sword of the Lord Publishers in 1989. But I found that Curtis Hutson had a problem similar to mine. In the introduction to that book, Hutson said that “not too many sermons were available” on fathers, and “It was not an easy task to compile enough sermons for a book on this subject” (ibid., Introduction).

After a great deal of thought, I think I know the reason why it’s so hard to come up with a Father’s Day sermon each year. In the first place, there isn’t one in the Bible! Oh, to be sure, the Bible speaks specifically of fathers here and there. The Apostle Paul has some verses directed at fathers. So does the Apostle John. But there is no entire sermon on fathers in the Book of Acts. And Jesus did not give a whole sermon on fathers. Furthermore, the great preachers of history – Augustine, Luther, Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, etc. did not give many sermons on fathers. However, I don’t think this was a failing, or an oversight, on their part. Now this may seem like a heresy, but I just don’t think fathers need to be preached to very much, per se – as such. Notice that I said, “as such,” because in a very real sense the entire message of the Bible is for fathers, and for men in general.

And I’ll tell you another reason. Men don’t need a corsage or a plaque or a bookmark. Yes, we gave some mementos today, but they weren’t really necessary. Men don’t really need those things. In fact, I don’t think men really need Father’s Day. I don’t think they need it, and I don’t think very many of them even want it. It’s something the Hallmark people came up with to sell more cards. And the ladies in the church thought it was great. But if you took a secret poll of the men in any given church, I’ll bet most of them would say – “Naugh! We don’t need all that fuss!”

I can think of one good reason to have Father’s Day in church, and that is for an excuse to get men to come out and hear the Gospel preached. And to be quite frank, I think that is almost the only sensible, spiritual reason to have Father’s Day at church.

Anything that gets people to church to hear Gospel preaching is good and sensible and spiritual. But do unsaved men need to hear a sermon on how to be a father? I don’t think it will help a man who rejects the Gospel to hear a Bible study on how to be a Christian’s father. And I don’t think the men in our church need a Sunday sermon on that subject. Why should the children, the teenagers, the unmarried adults, those whose children have already left home, the seniors, and the ladies, all have to sit for an hour while the pastor speaks exclusively to the fathers of young children? I don’t see it! But every man, young or old, saved or lost, married or unmarried, needs to hear the Gospel of Christ, and needs to hear it repeatedly!

You get a man to come to church every Sunday, get that man excited about the Gospel and excited about soul-winning, and get that man working and praying to get others in to hear the Gospel – and that man, nine times out of ten, will automatically become a great Christian father! God will be with that man. God will answer that man’s prayers. That man will get far more out of Gospel preaching than he could ever get out of a pink corsage, a little plaque and a limp-wristed “Father’s Day” sermonette! Hallelujah! Ain’t it the truth! You know it is!

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:5).

Commenting on I Corinthians 2:2, John MacArthur said two things that seem to me to contradict each other. First, he said, “The focus of his preaching and teaching to unbelievers was Jesus Christ.” But then in the same note, he said, “The preaching of the cross (1:18) was so dominant in the early church that believers were accused of worshipping a dead man” (John MacArthur, D.D., The MacArthur Study Bible, Word Bibles, 1997; note on I Corinthians 2:2). In the first quote he says Jesus Christ was the focus of Paul’s preaching “to unbelievers.” But in the second quote he says that all the preaching of the early church was dominated by the message of the cross (cf. I Corinthians 1:18). Which is true? The truth is this – the focus of Paul’s preaching, to both the saved and the lost, was the “message of the cross” (I Corinthians 1:18, NKJV). The message of the cross dominated every one of Paul’s epistles, and was the focus of his entire ministry! The New King James brings out the process of salvation and the process of perishing, which are clear in the Greek text,

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18, NKJV).

Dr. MacArthur was right when he said, “One’s response to the cross of Christ determines which. To the Christ-rejectors, who are in the process of being destroyed the gospel is nonsense. To those who are believers it is powerful wisdom” (MacArthur, ibid.; note on I Corinthians 1:18). Dr. MacArthur was right on that point.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

This verse tells us that the essence of the Gospel is the message of the cross. Much of today’s preaching is centered on morals, ethics and psychology. These cannot help anyone be saved or to live the Christian life. The cross of Christ must be the common basis of all preaching, both to the saved and to the lost, “not with wisdom of words [such as ethics and psychology], lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (I Corinthians 1:17). That is why Paul said,

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

This means that whatever passage of Scripture Paul preached from he always brought into focus “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” How can you do that? John MacArthur said, in effect, that you can’t do that. He said, “Obviously the apostle was not saying he preached nothing but evangelistic messages, or that he expounded only those parts of Scripture that dealt directly with Christ’s atonement” (John MacArthur, D.D., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, I Corinthians, pp. 55, 56; note on I Corinthians 2:2).

But Spurgeon did exactly that. Very nearly all of Spurgeon’s great sermons were evangelistic sermons! And Spurgeon preached evangelistic sermons from virtually every part of the Bible, certainly not “only those parts of Scripture that dealt directly with Christ’s atonement.” It has been said, “Whatever text Spurgeon preached from, he made a bee-line to the Cross.” I have been reading Spurgeon nearly every day for years, and I can say without hesitation that Spurgeon’s dictum was the same as Paul’s – “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2). You can’t help but see that if you read a half-dozen of his sermons. For instance, in a sermon titled, “The Man of One Subject,” Spurgeon said,

I say that Paul had in Christ crucified a subject equal to his object; a subject that would meet the case of every man...a subject which would be useful to men in the first hours of the new birth and equally useful when they were made...partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. He had a subject for today and tomorrow, and a subject for next year, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. He had in the crucified Jesus a subject for the prince’s palace and a subject for the peasant’s hut, a subject for the market place and a subject for the academy, for the heathen temple and the synagogue. Wherever he might go, Christ would be to Jew and Gentile, to bond and free, the wisdom of God and the power of God, and that not to one [benefit] alone, but unto full salvation to everyone that believeth (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Man of One Subject,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1971 reprint, volume XXI, pp. 642, 643).

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

Dr. MacArthur said, “Obviously the apostle was not saying he preached nothing but evangelistic messages, or that he expounded only those parts of the Scripture that dealt directly with Christ’s atonement” (ibid.). As we often notice, MacArthur’s statement has a tinge of sophistry in it. The specious logic he uses will be dashed to pieces in the mind of anyone willing to take a few minutes to read Spurgeon’s sermons on I Corinthians 2:2, titled “The Man of One Subject” and “Christ Crucified.” These masterful sermons correct the sophomoric modern idea that verse-by-verse expositions, without a Christological focus, are superior to the sermons of Spurgeon, and the classical preachers of the three Great Awakenings. I say that so-called “expository” preaching of today is flat, uninteresting, and of little profit, when compared to the preaching of those pulpit giants. I recommend that every pastor read those two sermons by Spurgeon carefully – and more than once! It will do you more good than five courses in homiletics in any modern seminary! Remember that there is a reason Spurgeon is called “The Prince of Preachers.”

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2).

The greatest error of modern preaching is the exaltation of other doctrines and concerns above Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. We modern preachers should bow our heads in shame, for “we hid as it were our faces from him...and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3). Dr. Michael Horton has written an important book on that subject called, Christless Christianity: the Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Baker Books, 2008). I wish every preacher would read that book!

Preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified is especially important to men. And that is why this, and this alone, should be the subject we preach on Father’s Day. I will give you two of the reasons why I say that.

1.  First, the crucified Christ is tremendously interesting to men as a
matchless hero.

Men are always interested in heroes. Tell a man about Nelson Mandela, or Napoleon, or Columbus, Dr. Livingstone in Africa, or Pastor Wurmbrand in a Communist prison, and you will immediately have his attention. There is a reason why John Wayne, over thirty years after his death, is still rated in the top five movie stars of all time. John Wayne always played a hero. People giggle when you mention his name, because male heroes are out of fashion now.

There was only one reason England won World War II. They had very few planes, and no army to speak of. Hitler had everything – thousands of new airplanes and ships, tens of thousands of marching men, the best generals in the world, everything! England had only one thing in their favor – Winston Churchill. And because they had him they won the war. Why? Because he was a hero. Time Magazine called him the "Man of the Half-Century" in 1950.  U.S. News and World Report called him, "The Last Hero."  When the bombs rained down on London, he was on the rooftops, scanning the sky for German planes, risking his life, while Hitler was safe in his castle or his bunker. When whole sections of London were bombed out at night, Churchill was there every morning, picking his way through the burned out buildings. An old woman whose house had been blown up and her husband killed the night before, when she saw Churchill climbing over the rubble, cried out, “Dear old Winnie! We knew you’d come!” He came to them through the bombed out streets with tears streaming down his face, holding up his fingers in the sign of V for victory! They would have followed that old man to Hell! Hitler really never had a chance against him.

But those secular heroes are nothing when compared to Jesus Christ! If we preach Christ and Him crucified correctly He is the greatest hero of all time. He came down from the crystal towers and golden streets of paradise to walk through our dirty streets, and eat with us dirty sinners, and lead a little band of Jews to conquer the Roman Empire, and bring the healing balm of the Gospel to our dying race throughout the world! There is no greater hero than Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews – Jesus of Nazareth, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And He shall reign for ever and ever! World without end! Amen. He is our Hero! He is our master, and our example, and our God! The Apostle Peter said,

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21).

Any man who begins to follow the example of Christ, cannot help but become a great father to his children, and the hero of his home!

Yes, we should preach this crucified Christ on Father’s Day because He is a hero that any man will feel drawn to. I think that is partly what Christ meant when He said,

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).

“Onward, Christian Soldiers!” Listen to the words!

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
   On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
   Brothers lift your voices, Loud your anthems raise!

Sing the chorus with me!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
   With the cross of Jesus going on before.
(“Onward, Christian Soldiers” by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924).

“With the cross of Jesus going on before!” Amen. What a Hero! What a Conqueror! What a Saviour and what a King! “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus!” Sing it! It’s number 3 on your song sheet.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
   Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
   Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
   Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
   Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
   The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
   Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
   This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To them who overcometh A crown of life shall be;
   He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.
(“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus” by George Duffield, Jr., 1818-1888).

But there is another reason why the crucified Christ is so interesting to men.

2.  Second, the crucified Christ is tremendously interesting to men because He
can pardon your sin and change your whole life for the better!

Jesus said,

“I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).

Again, Jesus said,

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

He didn’t come to condemn you, but to save you!

Somebody says, “I don’t need to be saved!” Be quiet for a minute! Of course you need to be saved! Every man in America needs to be saved. What hope do you have if He doesn’t save you? Every man needs to be saved!

Jesus died on the Cross to take your place, to pay for your sin, to save your soul! You say, “I don’t need anybody to save my soul!” Yeah, I’ve heard that before – from one loser after the other! You do need somebody to save your soul! I did, and so do you! Isn’t it time to get real? Stop bluffing! This is serious! Come to Jesus and be saved! He will not condemn you! No! He said,

“I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).

I’ve heard people say, “That Hymers is a tough old bird! He’s hard on those kids!” Those who say that don’t know me. They don’t know that I pray for you and weep hot tears for you at night! But Jesus is far, far better than this old man could ever be! He went to the Cross, and suffered, and bled, and died, and shed His holy Blood, so your sin could be cleansed and you could be saved! And He rose from the dead to give you life – eternal life! Jesus said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). If you come to Him He will pardon your sin, save your soul, and give you an entirely new life!

Dr. Cagan was a smart guy, a Ph.D. in math at UCLA. He thought he was too smart to need Christ! But he found out he was wrong. And Christ saved him and changed his life! Mr. Griffith was a tough guy. He was in the Army in Korea. He came back and became a virtual Hell’s Angel, riding his motorcycle from coast to coast like a crazy man! He thought he was too tough to need Christ! But he was wrong! And Christ saved him and changed his life! Both of these men have told me that this song means a lot to them. It’s number 7 on your song sheet. Please stand and sing it!

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
   Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
   Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
   Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
   Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
   Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
   Jesus, I come to Thee.
(“Jesus, I Come” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

If you wish to be saved by Christ, here’s what I want you to do. Leave your seat right now and walk to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to a quiet place where we can answer your questions and pray with you. Go right now. Dr. Chan, please come and pray for those who responded. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) – or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: I Corinthians 2:1-5.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Room at the Cross for You” (by Ira F. Stanphill, 1914-1993).


THE OUTLINE OF

WHAT TO PREACH ON FATHER’S DAY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:2-5).

(I Corinthians 1:18, 17; Isaiah 53:3)

1.   First, the crucified Christ is tremendously interesting to men as a
matchless hero, I Peter 2:21; John 12:32.

2.  Second, the crucified Christ is tremendously interesting to men
because He can pardon your sin and change your whole life for
the better! John 12:47; 3:17; 6:37.