Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

06/24/2018 P.M.

 

Living Under The Fatherhood Of God

Matthew 7.7-12

 

Tonight… I want to build on the foundation we laid this morning… Noting that God is deeply involved in our lives.

 

Even when life tumbles in… As a Father… God is at work in our lives.

 

The Fatherhood of God is taught throughout Scripture…

 

He’s our Father because He created us…

 

Isaiah 64.8 says… Lord…you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

 

Deuteronomy 32.6 has Moses asking in rhetoric… Is He not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?

 

From Mars Hill… Paul tells the Areopagus… It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. We are His offspring.

 

God is our father because we live under his authority… His rule.

Jeremiah 31.9 has God saying that He was Israel’s Father… Our Father.

Then He promises that as our Father… He will lead His people beside streams of water and on a level path where we will not stumble or fall.

 

Jesus came bringing us a much deeper concept of the Fatherhood of God.

The Jews of Jesus’ time seldom… If ever… Saw God as their father. When they did it was only in vague symbolism. They saw God as someone who was…

• Distant…

• Aloof…

• Awesome…

• Powerful.

They understood God as one who was to be feared and was unapproachable. They certainly never understood Him to be a God that was up-close and personal.

 

But Jesus came teaching that we should think of God in terms of His being our Father. In fact, He used the term FATHER… In reference to God… Over a 150 times in the Gospels of…Matthew… Mark… Luke… And John.

 

Jesus came saying… God is My Father... He is your Father.

In the Sermon On The Mount… Jesus refers to God as our Father Seventeen times.

• Sixteen times he refers to God being our Father.

• Once as God being His Father.

 

Not only did Jesus teach the fatherhood of God… He taught that God was our ABBA Father… The word ABBA is Aramaic.

 

Colin Brown… In his Dictionary of New Testament Theology says… ABBA is a child’s language.

• It’s one of the first words a Jewish baby learned… ABBA.... Daddy.

• ABBA was a homely word… A family word… An everyday word.

• It is a word of intimacy...

• A word of closeness...

• A word of faith and trust...

• Dependency…

• Simplicity…

Yet always maintains a respect for God’s awesome sovereignty.

 

No Jew would have ever thought of addressing God as Abba Father.

 

But Jesus did... In His prayer in Gethsemane… He prayed… Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me... Not My will, but thy will be done.

 

This Abba Father concept does not end with Jesus… The New Testament continues to teach that we too should see God as our ABBA FATHER.

 

Romans 8.15… 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.

He goes on to say that… This ABBA FATHER relationship with God makes us brothers and joint heirs with Christ.

 

Galatians 4.6 has Paul saying… Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out… Abba Father.

 

Romans 8.16 tells us that… This Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are indeed the children of God.

 

Galatians 3.26 & 27 tells us how we become children of God… How we get into this abba father relationship with God…And become joint heirs with Jesus... You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… For all of you who were baptised into Christ have put on Christ… Have been clothed with Christ.

 

John 1.12 & 13 testifies to the fact that faith makes us children of God… To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the power… The right… The authority… To become children of God… Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God… born from above… born again.

 

Church… I hope you understand that God is our ABBA FATHER… And I pray you have such…

• A close…

• Intimate…

• Dependent…

Relationship with Him.

 

Wow…What a concept… If God… The creator… Provider… Sustainer… Protector… Of the universe is our Father… Our abba Father… What have we to worry about… Even when life tumbles in.

 

When I was growing up and had a need… I would just go to my parents and say… Help me.  I knew they would help... Because I was their son... They loved me.

It never crosses my mind that they wouldn't do what is best for me.

I knew that everything my parents had was mine… if I needed it.

I also knew that if what I ask for was not in my best interest… They would say No.

I may not have liked that… But I knew I could literally trust them with my life.

 

Tonight…The sovereign God is saying…

• I’m your Father...

• Your heavenly Father…

• YOUR ABBA FATHER...

So don’t worry... Trust me…

• I will lead in green pastures… Beside still waters…

• I will refresh and renew your spirit within…

• I will always lead you in paths of righteousness…

 I know the plans I have for you… Plans to prosper you and not to harm you…

Plans to give you hope and a future.

When you will call upon me and pray to me… I will listen to you.

• Ask and you will receive... Seek and you will find... Knock and it will be opened to you.

 

Church…Listen to Jesus as He reasons about the concept of God being our Father… For if your earthly fathers know how to give good gifts... (And they do)… How much more does your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him!

 

OK… As an ABBA FATHER… What’s God really like?

What does the Fatherhood of God mean to us?

 

First… It means He loves us.

There is no doubt that God’s love as a Father is best seen in His sending Jesus to save us.

 

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.

 

John 3.16 and Romans 5.6-8 are still alive and viable today… You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

 

As our Father… God is ready to forgive.

I loved my daddy.

I can honestly say that he is the best man I ever knew.

My regret is that…

• I didn’t always treat him right,

• I wasn’t always the son he wanted me to be,

But my joy is that I knew he loved me and forgave me… I never doubted that for a moment.

 

If your earthly father knows how to give good gifts, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.

 

Church… If God is our father… Then we ARE and can forever be forgiven people.

 

Listen to these scriptures confirming our forgiveness as sons of God…

 

•  In Him we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

 

When we were dead in our sins God made us alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.

 

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

Jesus’ most well-known narrative on forgiveness is that of the prodigal son.

 

We usually focus our attention on the sins of the son.

Perhaps what we ought to do is focus on the forgiveness of the Father.

God is the Father in this narrative.

The good news is that…

• When we come to ourselves,

• When we acknowledge our sins,

• When we return to the Father’s house,

He will welcome us with… A hug… A kiss… Shoes for our feet… A ring for our finger… A robe to cover our sins… And a feast of rejoicing.

 

Listen to our Father God… Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

 

As a Father… God is patient with us.

I haven’t always been patient with my children… But God has always been patient with me.  The patience of God is spoken of in several scriptures…

 

In Genesis 6.3… God tells Noah…My patience will contend, (the KJ says, strive) with Mankind for a hundred and twenty more years and I will bring an end to this age.

Peter says… God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.

 

1 Timothy 1.16 has Paul saying that it was God’s patience that saved him… Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

 

Second Peter 3.9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 

Some here tonight have not become children of God for one reason or another.

God waits for you patiently.

 

In the case of others… God patiently waits for us to behave like His children should behave.

• He’s waiting patiently for us to discover and work… our purpose… our role in life.

• He’s PATIENTLY waiting for us to give up that favorite sin that so easily besets us.

• He is waiting for us fathers to take the responsibility we should in raising our children.

• He is waiting for some of us to become the kind of husbands we ought to be.

 

Church… Where do you suppose you and your preacher would be tonight…Were it not for the patience of God?

 

Number four… As a father God promises to answer our prayers.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 

Asking implies we have faith enough to expect an answer.

Honest… Genuine… Heartfelt prayers… Are an indication of our faith in God’s Fatherhood.

 

James says… You have not because you ask not... Or you ask doubting... Lacking faith.

 

We need the faith of Hannah of the Old Testament. She fasted and prayed for a son. After her prayers and fasting… She got up… Refreshed herself… Went home believing.  And sure enough Samuel was born in answer to her prayer of faith.

 

SEEKING implies we do something.

Seeking is asking plus effort.

Luke chapter fifteen is about… A lost sheep… A lost coin… And a lost son.

• The shepherd found his sheep after he went seeking.

• The lady found her coin after much searching.

• The father sighted his son after much longing and looking.

 

Church… Are we doing anything to help effect our prayers?

 

• Don’t pray for good health with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of liquor in the other… While eating too much… Eating all the wrong things… And procrastinating on our exercise…. etc.

 

• Don’t pray for unity in the church while continuing to… Criticize… Gossip… And sow discord.

 

• Don’t pray for our Elders to love and guide us… Then not submit to their shepherding care.

 

• Don’t pray for the lost and never mention Jesus or give to any mission effort.

 

Indeed!!... Seeking includes action on our part.

 

KNOCKING implies persistence.

In Luke’s record of Jesus teaching His disciples to pray… Asking… Seeking…Knocking… He stops and tells the parable about the friend who came knocking and asking for food at midnight. The man said… No I am in bed with my family....Go away. But Jesus said, because of his persistence… The man gave him what he needed.

 

We must be persistent in our prayers.

 

John R.W. Stott… In his book… Christian Counter Culture… Tells us that all three of these verbs are present imperatives.

 

Are you a child of God tonight?

You can be born again… Born from above… Born of God by… Faith… Repentance… and New Testament baptism.

 

For most of us… Our challenge is to live under and appreciate the awesome concept of the Fatherhood of God…

 

Let’s say yes to God’s prompting… As we stand and sing this song together.