My second son was born 5 months ago and this was the first thing he told me. I have had many opinions about the cry of a child throughout my life. Annoying, loud, disruptive, sleep depriving, deafening, non-stop…annoying (it’s worth mentioning twice). The cries of my very own child are different though. Not many events will stay with me as vividly as my child’s birthday. That first cry is the most beautiful noise I could ever hear, sweeter than my wives voice, more demanding than the due dates of school. God has given this helpless, needy, crying baby so much power over me.
The title of Father has been given to me, whether you call it an award or a curse to be called DADA in my opinion is the highest honor...
When I think of God the Father it flows off my lips quite easily. Most every prayer of mine begins with “Father God” and the idea that God is my heavenly father is second nature to me.
When I read the NT however I am under the impression that Jesus calling God “Father” was something new.
John 5:18- “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
Father theology is prevalent throughout the Gospels and illustrated through Jesus’ relationship with him.
Many times Jesus talks about how the disciples can give glory to their Father who is in heaven including them as sons.
Mark 10:28-30 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
If we look at the list in verse 29 and compare it with the list of what we will receive in verse 30 there’s something missing. Does anyone see what it is?
I think this is intentional. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that they were now part of his family and that God was now their father.
If we look back a couple of verses in Mark 10:13-16 we see Jesus acting as a loving, accepting father to a bunch of children. It says, “they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” Almost as a precursor to his father talk.
When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he started with “Our Father who art in heaven”, he taught his disciples that God was not only his father but theirs as well!
This was a brand new understanding of God. In the OT the nation of Israel understood God as father. As time progressed the King of Israel came to know God as father. The ultimate revelation of who God is was made known in the words and teachings of Jesus.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke firstly, want to communicate that in Jesus the Kingdom of God has come, secondly they show us that God is our father.
For some of us God as father is difficult. Perhaps your father was absent, abusive, unloving, or selfish. The father that Jesus revealed isn’t necessarily the best father a child could ask for…let me illustrate, last year we took Jon-Jon my year old son at the time to the beach. He could only crawl at the time but he loved the illusion of freedom to go wherever he wanted. After about fifteen feet Jon-Jon started eating handfuls of sand. At first we thought it was hilarious and figured that he wouldn’t like the taste of tiny rocks in his mouth until the second handful of sand made it to his mouth, much to our dismay Jon-Jon loved the taste of the sand. I ran to him, stopped him from eating sand and washed his mouth out with water. We think he liked the salt in the sand but this is just one of many scenarios where if Jon-Jon got the kind of father that he wanted he’d be dead. I’m sure some of you parents here can share scary, hilarious stories of how your kids have tried to kill themselves were you not there to protect them.
I am not the best father Jon-Jon could ask for but I am the best father for him.
God is not the best father we could ask for, he’s much better than what we could ask for. God gives us what we need, not what we want. Even though I’m relatively mature and no doubt wise beyond my years…if God gave me everything I wanted I’d probably be dead too.
So what is revealed about God being our father in the Bible?
I want you to turn to your neighbor on your right and your left and repeat after me: “God loves you”. If you can get this truth, if you can understand that God loves you the rest will take care of itself. All the suffering, abuse, confusion, doubt, and hostility is swallowed up in this universal truth: “God loves you.”
Please turn with me to Luke 3:21-22
What are the three things God tells Jesus?
“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
These three things that God tells Jesus are the most important things one could hear in their lifetime. God tells Jesus that his identity is found in him, not the media, popularity contests, or someone else but God! He communicates his love, and tells him that he is proud of him.
Do we have any Biblical Scholars in the house tonight? Anyone who knows their bible really well?
What did Jesus do before God told him these three things? What miraculous signs did he perform? What physical deformity did he cure? What caused God to say this about Jesus?
Nothing! God tells Jesus that he is his son, that he loves him, and that he is pleased with him before Jesus walks on water, before he heals the sick, or raises the dead. God tells Jesus these three important things before Jesus has even performed one miracle.
How many of you yearn to hear these three things come from the lips of your parents, “You are my son, you are my daughter, I love you, unconditionally, I love you no matter what you’ve done, I love you no matter what you will do, you cannot lose my favor, with you I am well pleased!” How many of us here need to hear this from God the father?
How many of you here try to earn God’s favor? If I am good enough then God will love me, if I pray a lot, read my bible a lot, if I am nice to people, if I get good grades, if I make my children happy, if I live a moral life, if I do good things then God will love me.
I’m about to let the cat out of the bag. God loves you before you even seek to do good for him.
If you read through the Gospels you’ll see Jesus giving the gift of healing before he expects obedience. Jesus doesn’t ask for repentance or a change in a person until after they have been saved.
In John 5:1-17
Jesus heals a lame man. Do you know what that lame man did to earn Jesus’ favor? Nothing! In John chapter 11 Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Do you know what Lazarus did to earn Jesus’ favor? Nothing.
In the Old Testament God delivered Israel from Egypt saving them in an earth shattering, 10 plague happening, Red Sea splitting way and then he asked for their obedience on Mount Sinai where they received the 10 commandments. Do you know what Israel did to earn God’s salvation? Nothing.
God saves us first and then expects obedience, but we like to twist it around. We like to make God’s love and grace cheap. We muddy the waters by requiring regulations and rules. We make hoops people have to jump through so that Grace can be earned. This is not God’s salvation…God’s salvation is free. It is a gift. You cannot earn it! Don’t make the mistake in thinking that just because it is free it is cheap. This free gift is the most expensive purchase that you could never pay for. It’s so invaluable that you couldn’t cash the check, so quit trying. Here’s what I want you to understand, this free gift, this salvation, is so costly only God could pay for it… with his son.
22 months ago my wife and I had our first baby boy. The moment of his birth was the happiest moment in my life! You know what I told him? “You are my son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.” What had Jon-Jon done to earn my unconditional love? Nothing, nor could he, you see when babies are born they can cry, poop, and pee and that’s about it. But I have so much love, acceptance, and joy invested in that little tyke it cannot be communicated with words.
This message right here is the number one thing Satan will attack in your life. Turn to your neighbor on your left and right and repeat after me, “God loves you!”
For those of you who are Christians have you ever wondered why some of your friends, family members, or co-workers aren’t Christians? Why they don’t get it? It’s not because they have arguments that disprove God’s existence, it’s not because they love their sin (although this can definitely pull them away). The reason people aren’t Christians is because they don’t understand who God truly is! If we have the basic presuppositions that God is love, and that he is good, we can’t help but be drawn to him!
Let’s go back to Luke. Check out chapter 4 right after God tells Jesus the three things… “What are they?” Son, Love, Pleased.
In the very next chapter of Luke Jesus is tempted in the wilderness.
What was the one thing Satan questioned Jesus about?
Being the Son of God, his identity.
God tells Jesus something and then Satan steps in to confuse and challenge what God said. What is this a repeat of?
Genesis, God told Adam and Eve something and Satan stepped in to confuse and challenge what God said. Don’t listen to Satan tell you you’re not God’s favorite, do the opposite remind him that you are.
God has the same emotions and heart for you as he did for his Son Jesus. It could be argued that he loves you more! When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he started out with “Our Father who art in Heaven” which meant God, Jesus’ Father was now the father of any one of Jesus’ disciples. Guess what…you are disciples of Jesus if you believe in his life, ministry, death and resurrection, so you are children of God!
The most difficult part of this whole message is believing that God loves you. It can be very difficult to believe God loves you when you don’t love yourself. Think about that. If you understood the love that God has for you loving yourself is easy.
Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
What did we do to earn salvation? Nothing. In fact we did the exact opposite, we were enemies of God and Christ died for us.
This is where the Christian faith begins. It all comes down to believing God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do. Remember that this is difficult though because this is the number one truth that Satan attacks, he doesn’t want you to know, accept, and believe that God loves you.
The word lavished is used here. God Lavished his grace and love upon us.
Have you ever been told you’re just like you’re father? Growing up people used to tell me I act just like my Dad. When I was little I loved hearing that. As I went through my awkward teenage years I hated being told I act like my Dad or even worse I look like my Dad. About 6 months ago I was approached by a gentleman who was amazed at how great I looked. I mean the elderly gentleman was looking at me like I was a Holocaust survivor. I was clueless as to where this man’s fascination was coming from until he called me by my Dad’s name. He was convinced that I was Dan Mumford who is nearly 30 years older than myself. Needless to say my Dad’s quick mind started conjuring ways to get me go to his class reunion as him and it went downhill from there. Now that I’ve had my own sons I love hearing that I look, act, laugh, or do anything like my Dad, number one it’s true and number two I have a great Dad to look up to. Just as my Dad raised me, I want my sons to be like me…but better. The only way I know how to do this is by continuously introducing them to our heavenly father.
How was Jesus like his father? In John chapter 14 Jesus tells his disciples that if they have seen him they have seen the father. Jesus had the same motives of redemption for human kind that his father did. To some Jesus challenged, to others he had compassion, for all he died if he is received with faith and obedience.
Who is God calling you to be a father to? What perspective does God want you to have on the suffering you are experiencing? How does God want you to be an obedient son or daughter? Are you acting, talking, laughing, and behaving like your heavenly father? What needs to be given up in your life to display the image of God? What needs to be taken on in your life to reveal the father to others? How has God been your father in this life?
I would like to close with the Lord’s Prayer so please stand with me and as we say the Lord ’s Prayer I would like to emphasize the first two words.