God the Father (6/19/16)

Posted by on Jun 25, 2016 in Sermons | 0 comments

Why did Jesus call God “Father”?  Is God a man???  On this Father’s Day, Pastor Jim started with Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and guided us through the Bible to see what it means to see God as our “Father.”

The following recording is from the 11:00 service.  Click on the play button, then scroll down to follow along…

Our scripture reading was from Deuteronomy 6:6-9.  Open the below drop down box to follow along.  The New King James Version is shown…

Deuteronomy 6

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 

The Men’s Thesaurus

OK.  It’s true.  Men don’t always say exactly what they really mean.  So ladies, please allow me to translate a few things for your future benefit:

 

When a Man Says ___ What He Really Means is__
 “It would take too long to explain.”  

Translation

I have no idea how it works

“Take a break honey,  you’re working too hard.”

Translation

 “I can’t hear the game over the vacuum cleaner

 “Yes, Dear”  or “Uh Huh- Sure, Honey”  

Translation

Means absolutely nothing – It’s just a conditioned response.

“You know how bad my memory is.”  

Translation

I can remember the theme song to ‘Hogan’s Heroes’, the phone # of the first girl I ever kissed & the vehicle identification numbers of every car I ever owned – but yes, I forgot your birthday.
 “I can’t find it!”  

Translation

It didn’t fall into my outstretched hand, so I’m completely clueless.

“I’m NOT lost!  I know exactly where we are.”  

Translation

No one will ever see us alive again.

 

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.” 

 

The Fatherhood of God…

When we hear God called “Father” or when “He” is referred to using masculine terms, we immediately think that somehow we’re tying “Him” to a human gender.  But that’s not the case.  Calling God “Father” pictures a relationship; not a human gender.

 

God isn’t Human…

The Bible (John 4:24) says that God is NOT a man; He’s a Spirit…

“For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 The Old Testament reminds us that God is not a man…

Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, so he does not lie.

He is not human, so he does not change his mind.

Has he ever spoken and failed to act?

Has he ever promised and not carried it through? NLT 

Hosea 11:9

No, I will not unleash my fierce anger.

I will not completely destroy Israel,

for I am God and not a mere mortal.

I am the Holy One living among you,

and I will not come to destroy.  NLT 

 

 

God isn’t Male or Female…

God transcends gender, God is not one gender as opposed to another. Genesis 1:27 is very clear that both female and male are created in the image of God…

So God created human beings in his own image. 
In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.    NLT

God created BOTH genders; both in the image of God (all quotations from the New Living Translation)…

Matthew 19:4

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ 

Mark 10:6

But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation.  

Genesis 5:1-2

This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself.  He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.”

Isaiah 43:7

Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.'”

Malachi 2:15

Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.

 

God IS a Loving Parent…

When God is referred as a father, this is simply the use of a metaphor in which He is likened to a kind and loving father.   TO BE SURE, God’s love and care can be compared to that of a concerned and caring mother as we read in…

Yet Jerusalem says, “The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.”

“Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.  Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 

God is neither male nor female.  The image as Father (or even as Mother or Hen) tells us that God is a loving parent who wants us to love Him and to “crawl into His lap” when we run into trouble.

To avoid the metaphor of father as a description and designation for God is to lose sight of the fact that Jesus chose this as his metaphor to address God and that he taught this as the metaphor by which his disciples should address God.

It also loses sight of the continuity established by the use of this metaphor with those who have called God “Father” over the centuries. These include:

Matthew 6:8-9  Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!  Pray like this:    “Our Father in heaven,   may your name be kept holy.”
The earliest church congregations …

Romans 8:15   So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:6   And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

The Apostle’s Creed    “I Believe in God the FATHER Almighty…”
Christians all over the globe still pray Jesus’ model prayer which begins with: “Our FATHER, who art in heaven…”

When God is referred as a father, this is simply the use of a metaphor in which He is likened to a kind and loving father.

 

The Father in the Old Testament

When Jesus referred to God as “Father,” He was building on something the Israelites already were familiar with.  The language of God as a “Father” isn’t something that was created in the first century.  The use of “Father” occurs more frequently in the New Testament than in the Old, but we do see references to it in the Old Testament.

Sometimes, “Father” is used in terms of God being the “Father of the nation Israel”…

Deuteronomy 32:6     Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people?  Isn’t he your Father who created you? Has he not made you and established you?
Isaiah 63:16  Surely you are still our Father! Even if Abraham and Jacob would disown us, Lord, you would still be our Father. You are our Redeemer from ages past.
Isaiah 64:8  And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
Jeremiah 3:4 Yet you say to me,  ‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth.

Jeremiah 3:19   “I thought to myself, ‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’ I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land— the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’ and I wanted you never to turn from me.

Jeremiah 31:9   Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child. 
Malachi 1:6a   The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve?

Malachi 2:10   Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Then why do we betray each other, violating the covenant of our ancestors?

Not only does the Old Testament refer to God as the “Father” of the nation, it also refers to a special relationship God had with certain individuals…

2 Samuel 7:14    I will be his (Solomon’s) father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do.
1 Chronicles 17:13    To David regarding Solomon:  I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you.    
1 Chronicles 22:10    To David regarding Solomon:   He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’   
1 Chronicles 28:6   David to the officials:  He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father.     
Psalm 68:5       Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—  this is God, whose dwelling is holy.     
Psalm 89:26   And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’      

And at other times, the Old Testament doesn’t specifically use the term “Father”, but it still presents God using father imagery.  It presents God as a loving parent who disciplines His children.  But in these verses, these metaphors aren’t used to emphasize God’s authority over people.  Instead, they’re used to stress God’s love and parental guidance.

Exodus 4:22-23       Then you will tell him (Pharoah), ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son.   I commanded you, “Let my son go, so he can worship me.” But since you have refused, I will now kill your firstborn son!'”
Deuteronomy 1:31     And you saw how the Lord your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’
Deuteronomy 8:5    Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. 
Deuteronomy 14:1    “Since you are the people of the Lord your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead.  
Psalm 103:13       The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. 
Jeremiah 3:22     “My wayward children,” says the Lord,  “come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” 
Jeremiah 31:20    “Is not Israel still my son,  my darling child?” says the Lord. “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him.
Hosea 11:1-4    “When Israel was a child, I loved him,  and I called my son out of Egypt. But the more I called to him,  the farther he moved from me,  offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols.

I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.

Malachi 3:17     “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child
This metaphor for God may have been avoided in the Old Testament due to its frequent use in the ancient Near East where it was used in various fertility religions and it carried heavy sexual overtones.

 

Abba:  Jesus Does Something New

But Jesus takes this metaphor and turns it on its head!  Not only does He refer to God as a Fatherly Parent, He calls God a Loving Daddy!father-mountain 868394_960_720 400x300

“Father” was Jesus’ favorite term for addressing God. Jesus uses this name some 65 times in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew—Mark—Luke) and over 100 times in John.

But He doesn’t simply call God “Father” as was done in the Old Testament.  Jesus uses the Aramaic word Abba.  This is intimate; this isn’t simply about God as a Father or disciplinary figure.  Abba was a term little children used when they addressed their fathers. The nearest English equivalent to this term would be “Daddy”.  Jesus called the Almighty God, “Daddy!”  He paints an image of a child jumping into his father’s lap.  Jesus shows us that our Creator wants us to feel safe and secure.  God is a “Daddy” who will always welcome and is always there for us.

When Jesus uses the word Abba, He’s not trying to tell us that God is a Male figure.  He’s telling us that our relationship to God is what’s important.

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus opens His model prayer with the words, “Our Father…”

 

The Early Church Follows Jesus’ Lead…

This is why the Greek-speaking Gentile churches in Galatia and Rome continued to address God as Abba. They used this foreign title for God because Jesus had used it and taught His followers to do the same thing.  So it’s no surprise that the rest of the New Testament also emphasizes the Fatherhood of God. In Paul’s letters God is described as “Father” over 40 times. The use of “God the Father” shows up in:

Romans 1:7   I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.   May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

1 Corinthians 1:3   May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Romans 15:6   Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
2 Corinthians 1:3   All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3   We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.  As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:12   …always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 
Ephesians 5:20   And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:6   But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.

Ephesians 4:5-6   There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

 

It’s all About the Relationship…

For Paul, this fatherhood is based not so much on God’s role in creation but rather on the redemption and reconciliation God has made available in Jesus Christ. That’s why he keeps referring to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   It is through the work of Jesus that God invites us to call him “Abba, Father.”  Jesus Christ is the One who gives us that grace and peace that comes when we respond by faith and become God’s children.  This comes in a daily growing relationship with God our “Abba” Father.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.  For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.   

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.

 

Our Father- You and Your Children

Earthly men let us down.  It could be said that we should love our earthly fathers; to jump into his arms just in the same way that we love and trust our heavenly Father.  But many times, our earthly fathers aren’t trustworthy.  We’re human.Hand in Hand _father-28723__180

But don’t let that tarnish your relationship with God.  When Jesus referred to God as “Our Father in Heaven,” He was showing us something of God’s character. The word “Father” was all about relationship; it had nothing to do with a patriarchal agenda of keeping all things male.  When He said “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”  He was talking about a relationship so tight that we are one with God- adopted into His family.  He was talking about a relationship where we want to be God’s representative, to make His will be done on earth.

Mom’s and Dad’s-  we have a RESPONSIBILITY to bring our children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Psalm 78, Deuteronomy 6, and many Bible passages tell us to teach our children as we sit down, as we stand up, as we walk along, as we lie down, and to pass on from one generation to the next the instructions of God. 

Ask God to give you direction, in the same way that we talk to our parents.  Ask Him to place a “hedge of protection” around your family.


 

This is the One We Need to Imitate…

When Jesus called God “Our Father” in His model prayer, He was pointing us to a Heavenly Father…

The One who loves you and values and cherishes you…

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.   (John 3:16)

The One who includes you as a member of His divine family…

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.   (Ephesians 1:5)

The One who knows the number of hairs on your head…

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.  (Luke 12:7 )

The One who knows all about us and loves us anyway…

You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. (Psalm 90:8)

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:18)

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For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.   (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.  (Jeremiah 23:24)

 
The One who meets our every need…

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.     (Philippians 4:19)

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!   (Malachi 3:10-11)

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So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions.  When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit,  so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.   (2 Corinthians 2:8-11)

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.   (Psalm 84:11)

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.  (Proverbs 3:9-10)

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.  (Psalm 41:1-3)   

The One who will never leave us or forsake us…

 Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you.  I will never abandon you. (Hebrews 13:5)

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  (Matthew 28:20)

The One who is evermore ready to forgive then we are to repent…

But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.  (Daniel 9:9-10)

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.   (Romans 5:8)

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I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.  (Isaiah 44:22)   
The One who loves us unconditionally and will never stop loving us…

Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.  (Revelation 1:4-5)

 

On Father’s Day and everyday, this is the One we should imitate.  When we consider our Heavenly Father, we are not talking about a Male God who wants to keep depressing us with an authoritarian rule.  Instead we are reminding ourselves of our basic need to live out a relationship with our “Daddy God” who wants to forgive and mold us into His love.

Parents- Are we modeling this Father to our children?

 


Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…

 

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All Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical quotations in this post are from the New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved… so there!

 

 

 

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