Father’s Day is a day of tradition. In the secular world the tradition is to honor fathers on Father’s Day. In the modern Christian world, especially the conservative Christian world, the tradition is to mock fathers and expresses contempt for them on Father’s Day. But it is important to remember that the anti father Father’s Day sermon is a symptom, and not the disease.
The disease is a profound contempt for fathers, especially married fathers. This condition exists largely beneath the surface the other 364 days of the year. Father’s Day provokes the disease, often driving it to the surface. Father’s Day is the day the urge to hide the condition is overwhelmed by the disgust at the sight of the culture honoring fathers in even the smallest ways.
If you aren’t involved with conservative Christian culture, you are likely taken aback by the statements above. Everyone knows that conservative Christians are dyed in the wool patriarchs who treat every day as if it were a day to honor fathers. Likewise, if you are a part of conservative Christian culture, mocking and expressing contempt for fathers is so ingrained in the culture that you likely don’t even notice it.
Last year for Father’s Day I did a series on Honor Your Father Today, a group that recognized the problem (to a degree) and set out to try to honor fathers on Father’s Day. They failed miserably, but we should at least credit them with attempting.
This year I decided to search for Father’s Day sermons online and read through a sample to see if I could find any that went against the anti father grain*. I went through a total of 17 sermons in the process (16 on this page, the other one here). Out of the 17, I found two that broke with conservative Christian tradition. But before I share the details, I’ll outline the common anti father themes in Father’s Day sermons.
Common Anti-Father Father’s Day Sermon Themes:
- Mock fathers, following the lead of feminists who for decades have portrayed married fathers as (at best) useless oafs.
- Blame fathers for the single mother revolution and the host of social maladies feminism has wrought. More on this topic here.
- Blame fathers for children (and fathers) falling away from the anti-father church.
- Tell men to man up and/or accuse them of being bad fathers.
- Jokes about how Father’s Day is less important than Mother’s Day.
As I noted above, two of the sermons didn’t follow these common themes. The first was Like Father, Like Son, by Dr. Lewis W. Gregory. Gregory’s sermon contains none of the anti father messages above, and ends with the words “happy Father’s Day”. Admittedly this isn’t a high hurdle to clear, especially since Gregory wasn’t (directly) wishing the fathers in the congregation a happy Father’s Day. But by not attacking fathers in a Father’s Day sermon Gregory is doing something radical.
Summary: Do you bear the family likeness? Whose image is expressed in your life? When you are born again of the Spirit of God, you have a new father. God is your Father! So, you are just like your Father God. You share His image in order to express His likeness.
D. Now that’s a happy Father’s Day everyday!
The other Father’s Day sermon I found that wasn’t anti-father was from Douglas Phillips**. Pastor Phillips’ sermon is titled Our Father In Heaven and opens with Phillips honoring his own father and concludes with a story featuring a father not as a joke but a protector:
A FAMILY WENT TO A LAKE FOR A VACATION ALONG A LAKE. DAD WAS WORKING BY THE BOAT HOUSE WHILE HIS 12 YEAR OLD AND 3 YEAR OLD WERE PLAYING ON THE DOCK. OLDER BROTHER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING YOUNGER BROTHER BUT GOT DISTRACTED SO LITTLE BILLY DECIDED TO CHECK OUT THE FISHING BOAT AT THE END OF THE DOCK.
BILLY PUT HIS FOOT IN THE BOAT BUT THE BOAT SHIFTED AND HE FELL IN. THE OLDER BROTHER SCREAMED AND DAD CAME RUNNING. HE JUMPED IN BUT COULDN’T FIND HIS SON. DAD TOOK ANOTHER GULP OF AIR AND WENT UNDER AGAIN FEELING EVERYWHERE FOR HIS SON.
ON HIS WAY UP FOR ANOTHER GULP OF AIR, BILLY’S FATHER FELT BILLY WITH HIS ARMS CLINGING TIGHTLY TO THE POSTS UNDER THE DOCK. HE PRYED BILLY LOOSE AND TOOK HIM UP FOR AIR.
WHEN EVERYONE HAD CALMED DOWN BILLY’S DAD ASKED HIM, WHAT HE WAS DOING CLINGING TO THE POST UNDERWATER. BILLY REPLIED, “I WAS JUST WAITING FOR YOU DAD, I WAS JUST WAITING FOR YOU.”
THAT LITTLE BOY TRUSTED HIS DAD, THE SAME WAY WE CAN TRUST OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.
The remaining 14 sermons are listed below. Many of the sermons included good parts along with the bad, but all of them fit with one or more of the bullet points listed above.
Father’s Day Let Us Be Transformed (Message With Humor) Sermon by J Jeffrey Smead
Let us Pray….
O’ Gracious Father – bless now the words of my lips and the meditations of our hearts. Breathe your Spirit into us and grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way …… you want us to go. We ask this in the name of your son Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Someone noticed that the word “father” appears in the dictionary …..just before the word “fatigued” …..and just after the word “fathead.”
So to all us fatigued, fathead fathers, ……Happy Father’s Day! (Pause)
One time a little boy was asked to define Father’s Day and he said, ……”It’s just like Mother’s Day,…… only you don’t have to spend as much on the present.”
Father’s Day: Joseph Sermon by Scott Bayles. In addition to hitting several of the bulleted themes, this one also features a fascination with cuckoldry.
Well, let me start out today by saying “Happy Father’s Day” to all of our Dads. One little boy, when asked to explain about Father’s Day, said, “It’s just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t spend as much on the present.”
That’s a joke, of course, but really, Father’s Day never seems to be as big a deal as Mother’s Day, does it?
I’m glad there is a Father’s Day (not just because I’m a dad myself). Even though it may not be as significant or special as Mother’s Day, it still gives us a chance to honor those who stand at the helm, who gather their team in a huddle, and who lead their family through life’s battles. And, since my Mother’s Day message last month focused on Mary the mother of Jesus, I thought it would only be appropriate for us to take a thoughtful look at Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, for Father’s Day.
Joseph understood clearly what God expected of him, and was ready to obey! He would take Mary to be his wife and suffer the cutting remarks of a child conceived prior to their wedding. He would obey in spite of the fact that this child of divine promise would be born under a cloud of adultery. He called his adopted son “Jesus,” just as he was told to do. Joseph believed God, obeyed God, and accepted the responsibility that God had given him.
How much better would our world be if every father did the same thing?
In 1960, 17% of children in the United States were raised apart from their biological fathers. By 1990, that number had risen to 36%. Today, nearly half of all the children in the U.S. are raise without a father in their home. How could we have become so irresponsible? So caviler in our relationships with our own children?
Dads, we can’t leave the rearing and raising of our children to the television or the daycare teacher or even to mom alone. It’s our responsibility too. We need to be actively involved in our children’s lives. We need to take responsibility, especially in their formative years. I once heard a psychologist say that whatever you plan on teaching your children (values, morals, etc.) must be taught within the first five years—after that, it’s just reinforcement. Do you know what an awesome responsibility that it!?
The Echo Sermon by Ken McKinley. This is a sermon on the lack of faith by young people. The Father’s Day tie in is that fathers are to blame.
Now I don’t know if you all remember a few Sunday’s back when I read to you the statistics from Lifeway and from the SBC, about the state of the church, but those statistics tell us a story, and what we saw at Falls Creek tells us a story as well. If you don’t remember what I quoted from LifeWay and the SBC I’ll remind you. They state in their studies and research that there are over 16 million members in the Southern Baptist denomination, but only about 6 million regularly attend church on Sunday. They also state that if the Southern Baptist denomination does not begin to replenish its numbers with younger people, ie: the next generation, we are going to have some serious problems…
Church, we have got to be committed to getting our children and grandchildren to be radically surrendered to Jesus and radically committed to His cause. Because if we aren’t, where is the next generation of Christians going to come from? They aren’t going to grow in our garden. Where are they going to come from?
Well dads, that’s where we come in to this picture. God’s ordinary way of shaping children and youth into radically committed, wise, thinking, loving, mature Christians is through parents who teach and model a God-centered, Bible-saturated worldview into their children. Turn with me to Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (Read). Now turn to Psalm 78:5 – 7 and see what Asaph says about this (Read), and since we’ve been studying Ephesians go ahead and turn to Ephesians chapter 6: 1-4 (Read). Keep your place in Ephesians because we’re going to be coming back to it in a second.
You see, the Biblical pattern is for parents, especially fathers is to not relinquish their role as the primary teachers of their children’s minds and hearts…
Burn A Hole In The Fire Sermon by Philip Harrelson
Men, we have to take the journey to the house of God! One of the reasons that our nation is in the mess that it is in is because men are more concerned about recreation than they are about worship. Leisure, sports, relaxation, and I will add in work are very poor idols that will never get our kids out of the fire!
- Men in our day will smoke joints with their children but not take them to worship.
- Men in our day will share alcohol with their children but not the Word of God.
- Men in our day will take their kids to the movies but not to God’s House.
- Men in our day will yell at a ballpark for their kid but never have a lick of emotion in their worship.
Have You Seen My Daddy? Sermon by Charlie Roberts:
I can remember, my dad would call and the first thing he would say would be, “Dad here” at the time I would think of course you’re there, and I’m here. But over the years, I came to realize that, when he said those words…it gave me comfort, knowing I could call anytime and he would come running to help me, no matter what the need was!
I could sense his presence was there, even though physically he wasn’t.
So many fathers nowadays, aren’t that way.
It’s no wonder why churches all over the globe are closing their doors, and are dropping in attendance.
Dads aren’t going, so why should the children. Fathers are supposed to be the spiritual leaders of their households. If we’re ever going to see revival in our church’s, it’s going to have to first start in our homes!
Man Up Sermon by Anthony Zibolski
Are you strong enough to be a man?
Churches filled mostly with women.
Women pulling the majority of weight in the families.
The world says:
I wear the pants,
The John Wayne type,
The Dirty Harry type. Make my day , don’t be a whimp No crying allowed
But it has shifted gears:
They paint a picture today of men that have nothing to say.
They have given up their authority in the family.
They imply that women have by force taken the lead.
Today is Fathers day, a day of cologne, neck ties, long distance phone calls, but it also a reminder to the men to man up…
…10 things you’ll never hear Dad say
10. Well, how about that? I’m lost. Looks like I will have to stop and ask someone for directions
9. You know pumpkin, now that your thirteen, you’ll be ready for unchaperoned car dates.
8. I noticed that all your friends have a certain hostile attitude. I like that.
7. Here’s a credit card and the keys to my new car. Go crazy.
6. What do you mean you want to play football? Figure skating’s not good enough for you son.
5. Your mother and I are going away, you might want to consider having a party.
4. Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with your car. Probably one of those doo-hickey things. Tow it to the mechanic, whatever it costs, ‘ll pay for it.
3. No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring. Now quit you belly aching, and let’s go to the mall.
2. Whadda wanna go and get a job for ? I make plenty of money for you to spend.
1. What do I want for my birthday? Aahh, don’t worry about it. No big deal.
So God still needs to work on a few things in most men.
They say it is an age for women to rise up and be noticed. Amen.
Equal pay for equal work. Amen.
The problem today is not rebellious women. It is men who have not taken the rightful spot in leading their families. I know there are rebellious women. I’m sure none here. Some men are comfortable giving up the lead role.
…ladies, couldn’t you follow a man who is following after God’s heart? Pray for the men in your life.
Fathers Day 2009 Sermon by Bruce Ball. This one wins the irony award.
TODAY IS THE ONE DAY EACH YEAR
* We set aside to honor our fathers.
* What a shame we don’t do this
* Every day of the year
FOR THE MOST PART
* Men do a pretty good job
* Of being husbands and fathers,
* Even though we do tend to forget dates
[Tells a clueless husband joke]
THE MORAL IS:
* while men are not perfect,
* we need to be appreciated
* for trying so hard.
A FATHER HAD 5 KIDS
* One day, he brought 1 present home.
* He told them he could only give it to one of them
HE SAID HE WOULD GIVE IT TO THE ONE WHO
* Had obeyed their mother,
* Did what she told them to do
* And never talked back to her
THEY WERE ALL SILENT,
* And then all of said
* ’You take it, Daddy!’
SOCIETY PORTRAYS FATHERS
* as being incompetents
* and as people who can’t do anything right
* so they don’t deserves any respect
A Praying And Concern Father Sermon by VAN WILLIAMS
Summary: It is a fact that in today’s time most children grow up and never serve the Lord after becoming adults. Ever notice that? Wonder why so many adults don’t serve the Lord? David’s son Absalom rebelled against him and tried to take the throne away from him
1. The Old Sin Nature, our corrupt part that separates us from God is inherited from our father/dad. – If it is not changed by God’s divine grace, that Old Sin Nature will send us to hell.
2. One would think that every father/dad would be concerned that his children not go to hell and if concerned then that father is bound to pray for his children, correct them, bring them up in the ways of the Lord and never cease to be concerned for them even when they are grown.
3. What about that father who never warns his children about hell or fails to instruct them in the ways of the Lord that would lead to their salvation?
4. God expects the father to raise his children in the ways of the Lord and if he doesn’t and they go to hell because of his neglect, their blood will be on the father’s hand.
5. Fathers, impress upon your children their duty to God. Too often fathers try to express or show their love to their children but never tell their children about Jesus who loves them more.
6. Fathers, seeing your children saved is more important than anything else on this earth.
7. Fathers, do not rest until every one of your children know the Lord Jesus as Savior.
8. But, how can a father lead his children to the Lord if he is not saved himself?
Fighters Vs. Flyers Sermon by Michael Catt
Summary: We must fight against evil and against complacency and fear. We must flee from evil and protect our kids.
Sadly, that is the case of 24 million children in this country. Their dads have simply left, opting for a life other than full-time care of the family they started. Many of these kids have been fathered in the foundation of a family where the mother and father exchanged vows and made promises that are now broken.
Regardless of the situation, fatherhood can be frightening, but it must never be flown. Our responsibility is too great, and the stakes are too high.
As a church, we cannot assume that just because a dad is in the home that he is being a dad. We cannot assume that his hand is on the heartbeat of the family. The church’s role is to support and encourage and equip.
Sometimes men, in the context of the flight, get distracted by their sin and neglect to consider how their sin so deeply affects their family. Some men need to stand up and fight against the sin in their lives and in the lives of their children. That fight begins and ends in repentance, perhaps the art of Christian living that requires the most skilled fighter.
Fathers Day 2008 Lessons From A Famous Father
Summary: Miles of distance and centuries of time separate us from King David. He was a king and we are commoners. Still, despite the distance and the differences we can learn much about being fathers in this present day by looking at this father of long ago.
A. David had been immensely successful in most of the things he had done.
1. He had been successful as a musician.
2. He had been successful as a soldier.
3. He had been successful as an administrator.
4. He had been successful as a politician.
B. David failed as a father and that outweighed all his successes.
1. In fact, David would gladly have given up his other successes if he could have traded them for success as a father.
2. Many today give up success as a father and trade it for success in business or a profession.
Six year old Tommy came downstairs crying. “What’s the matter?” asked his Mother.
“Daddy just hit his thumb with a hammer, “ the boy replied.
“A big boy like you shouldn’t cry over a thing like that,” said the Mother. “Why didn’t you laugh?”
“I did,” he replied.
Fathers Day – A Charge To Walk Worthy Of God sermon by William Akehurst. As far as man up Father’s Day sermons go, this one is pretty mild.
Summary: We have been trusted with the Gospel to bring it to others. AS A FATHER TO HIS CHILDEN, Exhort, Comfort, Charge and Implore, to Walk Worthy of God. To Walk: in Love, in Light, in Wisdom, and in Worship
Dad Talk Sermon by Michael McCartney. This one started out with great promise, and for the first three pages I thought I had found a third Father’s Day sermon that broke the anti father pattern. Then in page four it fell into the standard groove before taking a surprisingly dark turn:
Summary: Today we follow the teaching of the Bible and we honor our dads today. Dads are different from moms and they are to be honored for being who God created them to be.
a. Thanks to all you dad’s who have made this proclamation to serve the Lord.
b. Sad to say many women have made this statement. Many more mothers have made this commitment than fathers.
Dad’s I want you to listen to a poem from a teenager in Chicago who expresses how important you are as fathers and fatherly figures:
…Do you know, do you understand
that when I hear you talk about arguments
And conflicts and scars
from the past, that I think,
“Maybe I am just a regular person
instead of a bad, no good little girl
who deserves abuse.”
If you care, I think maybe He cares.
And then there’s this flame of hope
that burns inside of me for a while
I am afraid to breathe because it might go out
and I will once again have nothing
But a God who mocks and laughs
and ignores me.
Do you know, do you understand
that your words are His words?
Your face, His face
to someone like me.
Please be who you say you are.
Please God, don’t let this be another trick.
Please let this be real
Do you know, do you understand
Who you are?
Who Are You? Sermon by Anthony Zibolski
Summary: Faking the presence of God in your life is not only foolish but unproductive for the kingdom of God. We must be honest with the Lord of where we are at in our journey of life.
This is not a direct at you Fathers day message. Fathers sitting here this morning will have the same opportunity as everyone else to take a look at their lives. Men, we don’t always communicate well. We don’t always listen 100 %. Some times that get us in trouble. Can some one say Amen Women, let me help you. When a man says- “ it would take to long to explain’. He really means “ I have no clue how it works”. When a man says, “Take a break, honey, you are working too hard” He really means- “I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner”. When a man says- “Can I help with dinner?” He really means, “Baby, I’m hungry, isn’t it done yet:” When a man says “I’m not lost, I know exactly where we are”. He really means- if you do not buy me a garman, we will never be seen alive again”.
Love – Key Ingredient For Family Sermon by Bobby Stults
Summary: Dads the family is our responsibility to lead, guide and protect. We are not called to “lord” over them, but to love them and lead them!
So many times we jump to the conclusion that because God placed the man as the head of the family that God believes the man to be superior to his wife or children. This could NOT be further from the truth. It is NOT that God believes men to be superior, but it is that God has called men to be the leaders of the family unit. It is the role God has chosen for men.
Likewise, in just the opposite direction, there are many who believe that because God has chosen the woman to be in the support role and that Scripture instructs women to submit to their husbands… they jump to the conclusion that God is somehow ‘anti-woman’ and that women are somehow inferior to men in God’s eyes.
Let me ask you a question today. How long has it been since you tried a little kindness on your family? On your spouse? On your children? On your brother? On your sister? On your parents? When is the last time you put your love INTO action when it pertains to your family?
Kindness is a tangible expression of the LOVE in your heart… of the love you SAY you have… Love expressed through actions speaks loudly… We must bring ACTION to our love with our families… Men it is NOT enough for you to tell your wife that you love her, although that is very important… but words are empty if they are not back up by action!! Show your wife you love her!!!
*I started with a Google Search of “father’s day sermons”. The first actual sermon to come up on the list was this one. At or near the top of the list was Sermons for Father’s Day at Sermon Central. All of the sermons I went through above were highly rated. My intent was to take the top 15-20 sermons listed on the site. However, for some reason I seemed to periodically get different results when I returned to the page. The sort order is fairly dynamic, so I pulled whatever was top of the list when I returned until I couldn’t bear to read any more sermons.
**Update: I originally believed that this was the same Pastor Douglas Phillips whom I wrote about here. However, after looking at more of his entries on the same site I am convinced I was in error and this is a different Baptist pastor by the same name.