"THE FATHER HEART OF GOD#2"
(A Series on Father God)
Westgate Chapel 5/19/91 p.m.
- LAST Sunday night we looked at the way that Jesus, when He took on our humanity, discovered who He was in the context of His relationship with His Father.
- HIS life, His purpose for being here on earth, His mission, His words and actions all flowed from the personal discovery of His identity......in relationship to His Father.
* At the age of twelve at the Temple, He tells His parents that they shouldn't be surprised to find Him about His Father's business. Twelve years old and finding fulfillment in doing the will of His Father.
* At the Jordan, at His baptism, at the beginning of His ministry, and all the suffering that it holds for Him, the Father affirms Jesus with, "You are My Son. I love you. With you I am pleased."
* Jesus moves into His ministry on the basis of His relationship with His Father.
* On the Mount of Transfiguration, right before Christ's suffering, again the voice from heaven, "You are My Son. I love you. With you I am pleased."
* Did Jesus have a bad memory, that Father had to repeat Himself with those exact words?
* No, on the eve of the most staggering mission of all time, the cross, Jesus, in His humanity, needed the affirmation of Father that would carry Him through in doing the will of the Father.
* In the garden, Jesus prays, "Father, not my will but yours."
* On the cross, "Father, forgive them."
* And when He tasted death and the darkness of sin so that our humanity could be redeemed, He prayed, "Father, into your hands I commit My spirit."
- JESUS knew who He was, He did what He did, He said what He said out of relationship with His Father.
ii. knowing the father
- JESUS knew the Father.
* John 1:18 says, "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only who is at the Father's side, has made Him known."
* And that knowledge of the Father is where Jesus' identity, self-esteem, courage, mission came from.
- BUT that verse also says that Jesus came to make the Father known to us.
- WE can also know the Father, and have our identity, self-esteem, courage, mission in life revealed through our experience with the Father in the Spirit.
- AND if no one has ever seen God, but Jesus, then there is also no other way to know the Father except through Jesus.
- GOD cannot be known as Father to all mankind, just because He is the Creator of the universe.
* God is first, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
* And the relationship between them is a bond of love and authority and obedience.
* Romans 8:29 says that Jesus is the "first-born" among many brothers.
* To be a "child" of God in the New Testament does not mean to be human. It means to be in relationship with the Father that was made possible by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
* So, only in relationship with Jesus can we know the Father, and call Him Father.
- GOD cannot be known through human fatherhood, thrown up on the projection screen of heaven.
* Human fatherhood, even at its best, is filled with imperfections that leave us with unfulfilled expectations.......vivid memories, longings, resentments, presence, absence.
* At worst, our earthly fathers have left many with scars that are hard to heal, and we almost universally project that onto Father God.
* When that happens the God we worship may be made into the image of a tyrant to whom we are forced to submit, or against whom we have to rebel.
* Because of the failure of earthly fathers we end up with endless doubts about our heavenly Father's care, or accessibility.
* We may try all of our lives to find love from others that did not come from our earthly father, and we did not beliee was available from our heavenly Father.
* We may spend our lives trying to please others, never believing that we could ever please our heavenly Father, because we were never able to please our earthly father.
* Do you see why we are given a word picture of Father God saying, "This is My Son, whom I love. With Him I am pleased?"
* No, the projector can't point from earth to heaven to give us a picture of Father God. That notion must be rejected.
* The only reliable projector of Father can only point from heaven to earth....and it did....and His name was Jesus....sent to show us Father.
* Actually, Jesus very coming was a result of the intense love that Father had for the whole world.
* Also, note that Jesus came to redeem and sanctify the notion of "father" that was prevalent in Biblical times.
* The Old Testament image of father was severe, authoritarian, unloving, distant, harsh where the only response expected and commanded was respect and honor.
* Jesus came to change that harshness and show the genuine love and compassion of Father.
* Likewise, in our society where the image of father is indulgent, lacking in standards, unsupportive, and sometimes detached.....that too needs the correction of the image of Father seen in Jesus.
- HOW are our notions of Father changed?
- NOT by reading books or by going through the mental exercise of comparing the Biblical Father to our earthly father.
- WE can only be healed and corrected in our thinking about Father by a deep inner work of the Holy Spirit who bring healing and change.
- ROMANS 8:15-16 says,
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."
iii. jesus showing us the father
- Every time that Jesus acts or speaks we are seeing the person and nature of Father.
- THAT is where we begin to see Father, so that we can find out who we are.
- JESUS says in John 14:9-11,
"Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."
- SO when Father works through the Son in creation, (John 1:3) He is revealing His love for us with all the beauty that we see and taste and touch.
- IN regards to salvation...."God so loved the world that He gave His Son...."
- FATHER acted in Christ His Son to reconcile the world to Himself. He gave up the one thing most precious to Him, His Son, to redeem broken humanity.
- SO, in Jesus, we see the true Father, and when He is revealed to us we then can understand who we are, why we are here and where we are going.
- WHEN you are in a faith relationship with Father, through His Son, by the Spirit.....then you too hear Him say to you, "You are My Son/daughter. I love you. I am pleased with you."
- AT the starting points of life, at the crossroads and crisis points, we get the wonderful assurance that He is Father and He loves us, and is pleased with us.
- THAT is the center from which we can live.