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By Tom Zobrist
“Do you know your spiritual father?”
Illus. of “Fixing Our Mistakes” A minister and lawyer were chatting: "What do you do if you make a mistake on a case?" the minister asked.
"Try to fix it if it's big; ignore it if it's insignificant," replied the lawyer.
"What do you do?"
The lawyer replied.
"Oh, more or less the same.
Let me give you an example.
The other day I meant to say 'the devil is the father of liars,' but instead I said 'the devil is the father of lawyers,' so I let it go."
No one would ever want to admit that the devil is their father, yet for the majority of the world, the reality is that he is and they don’t even know it.
The problem, if this is true, is who can you trust?
How do we know if we are being told the truth by anyone?
An even more important question is, how can we know if the devil is our father?
The answer to this is in our passage today.
OPEN to the passage.
*In this passage, we see how to tell who our spiritual father is.
Open in PRAYER.
PREVIEW the passage.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we have been here, but Jesus is still speaking with a crowd, among whom are many religious leaders, at the Feast of Tabernacles.
He has claimed to be God and Messiah and some had even made a profession of faith in Him, how genuine that was we don’t know.
The topic two weeks ago was whether or not those professing Christ lived like Christ and truth and the knowledge of the truth was a central theme.
Cf. v 31-36 That theme is continued here in His discussion concerning the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil, there is no in between.
SO, how do we know where we fit?
Let’s start with…
if god were your father… vs. 37-43
Illus. of every child carries traits from their father, some physical, some behavioral, but we exhibit their traits.
We just spent some time with my family in Alabama and my dad’s brothers always tell me how I remind them of him, not so much in looks but mannerisms.
The same is true spiritually.
We will display the traits of our spiritual father.
First, what are we like when our spiritual father is God?
This first trait is seen in the negative.
You would not oppose Jesus and HIs WOrd
V 37a 1.
Jesus knew that they were Abraham’s descendants, physically.
They were part of the chosen people.
But, they were mistaken in thinking that made them children of God.
They could be physical descendants of Abraham without being spiritual descendants.
2:28-29; 9:6, 8; Gal.
V 37b 2.
They revealed who they were by the way that they responded to the person and words of Jesus.
They rejected Him so much that the leadership was actively seeking a way to kill Him.
Illus. of those today that cannot accept the Bible are merely revealing whose child they really are.
V 38 3.
Jesus, as He has said before in this conversation, was merely speaking the words that His Father had given Him to say to these people.
V 26 How they responded revealed whose child they were.
They did exactly what their father had instructed them to do.
This sounds a bit confusing at this point, which is why their answer upcoming was what it was.
V 39a 4.
The Jews respond to Jesus by pointing out that Abraham was their father.
They were trusting in their Jewish heritage.
John the Baptist had warned them about the danger in this.
Earthly heritage does not make us children of God.
John 1:12-13 Second, if God were your father…
You would obey God’s word
V 39b 1.
What were the works of Abraham?
He believed and obeyed God.
Abraham believed God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness.
These people didn’t even believe the words of Jesus.
How could they obey Him.
V 40 2.
They were rejecting God’s messenger and His Word.
Instead, they sought to kill Him.
Abraham was obedient to God and His Word.
Children of God obey Him.
V 41a 3.
They did the deeds of their father.
Their father was different as were their works.
V 41b 4.
Their only argument was at least they knew who their father was.
They felt that they had a heavenly origin with how Abraham was chosen, as were they.
Perhaps they were taking a swipe at Jesus’ heritage.
Perhaps it was rumored that He was illegitimate at His birth.
Once again, children of God obey His Word.
Third, if God were your father…
c. you would love him
V 42a 1.
He’s part of the family.
By nature, we love our families.
If we don’t, that is a godless and unnatural state to be in.
Jesus was from God.
If they were, they would love Him.
V 42b 2.
Jesus was God’s representative sent from God.
Once again, if they loved God, they would love Jesus.
Finally, if God were your father…
d. you would understand his word
V 43 1.