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September 24, 2022 7:00 am
You know were involved in a series here entitled the holy one of Israel series all about God were studying the attributes of God were studying the intrinsic nature of God and today were going to go on and talk about part six and in part six I want us to look at a part of God's nature that is strongly and repeatedly mentioned in the Bible and that is that God is our heavenly father.
Now let me say at the outset, in talking about the subject.
I understand that I'm treading on some pretty sensitive ground with some of us here because many of us here today are carrying a lot of baggage in our lives because we had fathers who were not on the human level, everything that they should've been with folks as followers of Jesus Christ. It is imperative for us to realize that God our heavenly father is not at all like our earthly fathers were in many cases you'll never hurt us will never desert us. He'll never use us or abuse us. He's the best father that anyone could ever have a perfect father and the fact that in the Bible God describes us as his children, and the fact that in the Bible God happily embraces his role as our heavenly father. This fact has enormous ramifications for our lives as followers of Christ and that's what were going to talk about today know what is the Bible really say about God being our heavenly father. Well, it may surprise you to learn that in the New Testament alone. God is referred to as our father more than 260 times.
In fact, the greatest prayer in all the Bible, the Lord's prayer begins our father who art in heaven.
In Matthew chapter 23 Jesus said and do not call anyone on earth father, for you have one father and he is in heaven. It's as though Jesus were saying look if you had an earthly father that you're not very excited about if you will let God be your heavenly father. He will make up to you for all of the things your earthly father fell short in and Jesus is also saying listen even if you had a great father here on earth. If you let God be your heavenly father you'll take it to a level your father even on earth couldn't take it to now you might say will limit when women what is all this talk about if I will let God be my heavenly father God wants to be my heavenly father.
I mean, my understanding is that God is everybody's heavenly father right into that that every body on earth as it is a child of God right. Well folks, I'm sorry but that's not all. What the Bible teaches is a matter of fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. The Bible is clear that every human being is not a child of God and that God is not a heavenly father to every single human being and to hear God's position on this subject. I want us to listen in on a lively conversation that Jesus had one day with the Jewish leaders of Israel when he was here on earth. It's found in John chapter 8 let's pick up the conversation.
John chapter 8 verse 33 the Jewish leader said to Jesus, we are Abraham's descendents. Jesus replied verse 37. I know you are Abraham's descendents. Verse 39 but if Abraham were truly your father. Jesus says, then you would do the things Abraham did as it is you're trying to kill me, a man who told you the truth that I heard from God.
Abraham didn't do this, Jesus said no, Jesus said you are doing the things that your father does not watch. They protested and said the only father we have is God himself will buckle your seatbelt for what Jesus says next verse 42 Jesus said to them, if God were your father you would love me because I came from God and he sent me. Actually, Jesus said you belong to your father the devil will blow what exactly is Jesus saying to these Jewish leaders here while he saying in spite of the fact that your Jewish in spite of the fact that you're the physical descendents of Abraham, and in spite of the fact that you got religious performance prep and offer you as an offer you in spite of all that God is not your father.
In fact, Jesus goes on to say in verse 47. He will belongs to God. Here is what God says. The reason you do not hear. He said to them is that you do not belong to God, let's summarize what we seen here we see that the Bible says that his human beings. Yes we are all God's creatures yes were all God's creation, but it's only when we place our personal faith in Jesus Christ. It's only when we place our personal faith in what he did for us on the cross is then and only then that we come into a family relationship with God where we become God's adopted children through Christ, and he becomes our personal heavenly father. Listen to what Jesus said about this. John 112 to every person who embraces Christ. The Bible says to those who believe in his name to them and I might add to them only God gives the right the authority to become children of God. It is absolutely imperative my friends that we understand this biblical distinction between God's creatures and God's adopted children in Christ because if we fail to understand this, we will misappropriate large portions of the Bible, we will take promises in the Bible that God made only to his adopted children, and we will wrongly apply them to people who are not God's children and will get ourselves in a peck of theological trouble. Let me just say if you're here today and you never trusted Christ in a real and personal way. This is awful important information for you to have because what this means is that every body in the world.
God sees them as belonging to one or two families. That's it.
You're in one family or the other. You're either in the family of God, because you've trusted Christ in you been adopted by God through Christ or you're the devil's family, it's pretty much that simple friends. That's how God splits the world down and you know what the people go to heaven and spend eternity with God. The people were in God's family.
If you're not in God's family. You don't get to do that you get to go over your father is and spend eternity with him and you're not going to like that until you you're not going to like, and so I want to urge you if you're here and you've never trusted Christ as I said last week, don't walk to the cross run to the cross my friend and embraced Jesus Christ. So you can switch families before it's too late now for those of us who are followers of Christ who are children of God by adoption through Jesus Christ. When we get. God is our heavenly father.
What are we really get well. I want to tell you some of it. I went on to tell you all of it. Let me tell you some of the great things we get when we get. God is our personal heavenly father number one we get a father who loves us unconditionally whose love is not based upon how we perform but a father who loves us and values us and treasures us just for what we are, warts and all. This is why Paul said in Romans 58 God demonstrated the kind of love he has for us unconditional love in that while we were yet sinners, while our performance still stunk. Christ died for us. That's how much he loves us a number two we had God is our heavenly father we get a father who promises never to abandon us for dessert us. Hebrews 13 five Jesus said I will never leave you nor will I ever forsake you. Many of us here know about the awful pain of having a father walk out on us and dessert us at points in our life while I'm here to tell you as a child of God there is zero risk. This will ever happen. God says I'll never do that. Number three. When we get. God is our heavenly father we get a father who always puts our needs ahead of his own needs. Many of us grew up in homes where the whole home was centered around beating the need of the day he was there to be served well this is a different father we get when we get God because God our heavenly father has as his goal to serve his children. This is why Jesus said in Matthew chapter 20 I did not come to be served but to serve, and this is why in Philippians 2 talking about the Lord Jesus. It says that he was God in his very nature and yet he took on the nature of a servant and humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross you talk about the ultimate act of serving other people and steady yourself there.
It is the cross and number four we get.
God is our heavenly father we get a father who promises to meet all of our earthly needs Jesus in Luke 12 and do not set your heart on what you will eat and drink, do not worry about it for the pagan world runs after these things in your heavenly father knows you need them, but you seek his kingdom first and he'll take care given you all these things you'll have what you need. Number five will be good. God is our heavenly father we get a father was tender and patient with us. A father was never abusive or cruel or insensitive or unkind lover. Psalm 103 says it says as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, the verse goes on to say because he remembers our frame, he remembers were just made a custody has compassion on number six.
Almost on. We had God is our heavenly father. Number six we get a father whose merciful and forgiving. I love what Psalm 103 goes on to say, it says the Lord doesn't treat us as our sins deserve stop a minute. Is that good news are what the Lord doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. Thank God for that and the verse says nor does he repay us according to our wrongdoings. What a wonderful, wonderful, true value, and finally number seven when we could. God is our heavenly father we get a father who really cares about us.
Who really takes an interest in our life. First Peter 57 but Peter says cast all of your cares on God why because God cares for you knows it's an amazing thing that the God of the universe cares about you and me that he cares about the details of our lives.
Unbelievable. But the Bible says that's the kind of father we get when we get. God is our father, you know, I remember growing up that I didn't have a day like this. My dad took no interest in my life at all.
I mean for all practical purposes I could've been a picture hanging on the wall or piece of furniture in the living room in my house as much interest as my dad took in me and I remembered Lou as a little boy many times laying in bed at night and fantasizing about what it would be like to have a dad really cared about me. A dad who would go to my Little League games and and who would go to the meetings at school that had to do with me who knew the names of my friends and who cared what my goals were what my dreams were and was interested in helping me achieve him, but you know what I knew it was never going to be that way and it never was. That way, and that many of you perhaps grew up with a dad like that where you lay in bed at night dream what it would be like to have a dad really cared about you was really engaged in your life and you never had one. Well, I got great news for you friends when you get God as your heavenly father you get a father just like that back when I came to Christ. One of the verse of Scripture that meant so much to me that I held onto for dear life is Psalm 68 verse five. God is a father to the fatherless, and that's what I was. I mean I had a human man who conceived me but I didn't have a father I was a fatherless child and many of you know what I'm talking about here is the promise of God. God says I'll be a father to the fatherless, and he goes on to say, I'll take lonely people like I was and he said not put you in the family. I will, and friends. I'll tell you, as a young Christian I held onto that verse for dear life because it was a verse of healing in my life. It was a verse that was bringing wholeness in the truth that was bringing wholeness to my life and I want to challenge if you're a follower of Christ. You hold onto that verse two. So this is God, our heavenly father. What a wonderful thing to know, and I just scratch the surface of what the Bible says about this wonderful relationship that we get with God when we come to him through Christ. But that's as far as we want to go theologically because we want to stop and ask our most important question you know what that is.
So are you ready ready grant ARI here we go. 123 you say lawn so that what difference really does this make me this is pretty encouraging. Well, I want to go on and talk about one more thing and really lock this down to put some handles on it. There was one thing about God is our heavenly father that I left out of the previous list because I wanted to save it for the so what.
And that is that God when he becomes our father will listen to what Jesus said he becomes. John 15 one Jesus said I am the vine meeting on the trunk, you are the branches.
I watch and my father is the gardener say what in the world is that me. Well, Jesus explains it. He says everyone on my branches, the bears fruit every genuine follower of Christ is connected to the trunk. He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Our heavenly father.
Jesus says is a gardener when it comes to our lives and Azhar Gardner. Jesus says that God prunes our lives so that we will bear more and more fruit for Jesus Christ as the years go on. I remember a few years ago at a garden center come out to my house and look around at my trees and my bushes. They said these things desperately need to be pruned and I said all right how much is that going to cost them when they told me about had a heart attack as Elizabeth is the big one and I so I said what I said. You gotta be kidding charging me that much money to walk around here and snipped branches off trees and but I thought I could do with a hatchet, but not been so I said no no no no no, forget it, forget it, forget it. I'm just going to leave them alone and let them just, do what comes natural and the guy said to me he said if you do that.
These bushes will die if you just let them do what comes natural. He said bushes need to be pruned in order to be healthy and trees due to well friends. What a trees want to do naturally.
What a bushes want to do naturally. Well, they just want to spread out growing every single direction but a gardener comes along and says no, you're not going to do that to prune you were an absent discipline to do your life working to add some direction to your life to snipped this summer to cut that and were gonna work over to deal with this other thing so that you don't squander all your sap just making leaves were going to see to it that you break fruit.
That's what a good gardener does not friends.
It seems to me that what Jesus is telling us is that this is exactly what God does in our lives back. Hebrews 12 talks about this. Listen, it says my son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline and do not lose heart. When he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those he loves. He prunes us and he corrects everyone who is his child. For what child is not disciplined by his or her father, so if you are not disciplined by God, then you do not belong to him.
Listen, God doesn't discipline other people's children just his own.
If you are being disciplined by God in some area of your life. That's good news because that means that your child of God. God doesn't discipline the devil's children.
He'd undo it.
Verse 10 are human fathers disciplined us for a little while. That is, they thought best. But God disciplines us for our good. He prunes our life for our good, so that we may share his holiness. Now, no discipline seems pleasant at the time that I repeat that no discipline seems pleasant at the time. I just came back from watching my two grandchildren in Boston for a week while my son and daughter-in-law went on vacation and that they got back while we were still there for a day or so and when they got back within a few moments of arriving home, my little grandson Tyler did something that he wasn't supposed to do and daddy they headed off to the room and Tyler started yelling for me Papa baba help Bob help Pablo. He did and I said son, I'm sorry. I'd love to help you, but the police are back in town, son.
That's exactly what I said doing the police are back. He didn't have fun in that room.
I can hear it outside the room you aren't having fun. But what does the Bible say no discipline for the time is pleasant. Watch lots box later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been exercise, thereby what is all this mean, practically for you and me, friends, would you remember the story of Aladdin and the layout and you member the deal.
Jeannie had to do had to do with the owner of the Lamb said that the weather was good for the Aladdin or not. Didn't matter.
Jeannie had to do it, friends.
What this means is that God is not the Jeannie in the Lamb. God is not obligated to do when you and I wanting to do in our lives is not obligated to give us what we want. The way we wanted, and God's highest goal is not to make sure that everything we asked for. We get. God is not the Jeannie in the Lamb. He is a gardener and he prunes his children's lives and what this means is that often often God doesn't give us what we want and what we asked for why why doesn't it. Well, three reasons and were done because when it comes to pruning our life.
Number one is our gardener. God has a higher purpose for our lives as Christians and to simply make us happy all the time.
The Jeannie's job is make Aladdin happy that's not God's job God's job did you hear what the verse said verse 10 Hebrews 12 God disciplines us for our good. Why so that we may share in his holiness so that we might become godly people. The highest purpose God has in our lives is our father. My friends is to build us into men and women of God to develop our spiritual character to produce Christ likeness in our life and it is always true. I'll say this without exception. It is always true that the things we don't want are the very things we need to produce Christlike character in our life. Listen to learn humility, God has to humiliate us, but not a no I never heard anybody ever asked for that in prayer in order to learn dependence on God.
God has to put us into situations where we are utterly helpless in ourselves. We don't want that to learn compassion for others.
God's got to send pain and heartache and suffering in the lives we don't want that to learn to obey God. God needs to allow some consequences of our disobedience to set in, so that we learn once and for all, not to try that again. We don't want that friends listen.
The times were God does not give us what we want all the ease in the comfort that we asked for. These are the times that God's trying to do some deeper in our life. He's trying to help us grow deeper in our walk with Christ.
It is trying to help us understand his character and his holiness better and he's trying to form us and shape us into the likeness of Christ. This is God's purpose is our heavenly father and so many times God will not give us what we want, because he is determined to give us what we need number two.
Second reason why God is our heavenly Gardner doesn't always give us what we want. Why is not the Jeannie in the Lamb number two is because often what we asked for is bad for us that we don't know it's bad for us but it is.
You remember the Old Testament the story of Samson and Delilah man Samson wanted that woman he wanted that woman he wanted that woman he wanted that one.
He got her and he was sorry got her to.
And you know what so many times we want some more thought. Want some want some. We ask God for it. We beg for it. We then God goes no I'm not giving it to you because it's bad for you and God bless your son you don't have enough sense, understand it, but I do on your father and that's why I'm not given it to you, and you may be asking God for some Delilah's in disguise in your life and God loves you too much to give you some. It's going to harm you. Finally, number three. Why isn't God the genie and the lamp because as our gardener number three. He often has a bigger and a better plan for us and were asking for in our puny mine. We asked for something this big. It's as big as we can think God says no, no, no, I got some as big for you, so not going to give you what you are asking for because it's too little and it's too it's too puny.
Let me do for you what I really want to do for you. When I think of this.
I think of Naomi and Ruth.
You remember the story.
Naomi lived in Moab she'd move there from Bethlehem because of a famine jet, a husband and two sons and one of her sons was married Ruth. You remember the story Ruth anyway. Her husband died and then her two sons name Bailey own and fill your own, which in Hebrew means weekly and sickly. Now why would you name your kids weekly and sickly.
I have no idea. But anyway weekly and sickly guy go and don't you think Naomi spent days praying for her husband so to survive and praying for her sons, not the God I am sure she did. God didn't answer the prayer. Why not because what happened was after her sons and her husband died, she was forced to emigrate back to Bethlehem with Ruth and Ruth was out picking up corn in the field one day on subsistence level when she met Boaz, who Boaz was available and he saw Ruth and Ruth saw him and he went Yamagata do now in Hebrew, the way you say that is how the dhaba do and they got married. And God took Ruth and Naomi from living on subsistence and made them wealthy, but far more importantly, he took this godly woman Ruth and he made her the great-grandmother of a fellow named David, the greatest king of Israel, and later the great great great great great great great great grandmother of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He had such a huge plan for Ruth and Naomi but Naomi couldn't see it over there in Moab got a bigger thing to do in her life. Now, at the end she was able to see it, but not when she was in the middle and that's so true of us ran so often, when God finally finishes we look back and we go all I get it now. Thank you Lord.
But when were going so if that's not our attitude too often were like why don't you answer my prayer want to do this and I don't understand why you let this happen to me and why did this in the get-together at www.you know you know what I'm saying right you understand what is God say to us, he says look on your father. I know the beginning from the end I'm eternal I'm omniscient, omnipotent, I know what all so we just trust me I'm not going to harm you. I love you enough to die on the cross for you when you just trust me, that I know what I'm doing and you going to like it when I'm done will were not good at that, or we in the flesh. That's hard for us friends.
This is part of what God's trying to build into our lives is the ability to trust him when he throws us in the fiery furnace to trust him when we go in the lines then to trust them when we go into jail like Paul had to do to trustee when we get shipwrecked like Paul had to do to trust him.
We have to hide in caves like David did for seven years in the wilderness from Saul God's trying to teach us that we can trust him and we need to do it and when it's all over. Like with Joseph. God will take care of us just like he promised.
Presently close by saying if you're here today and you're going through some tough times in your praying and you're asking God for things your name in it and claim it and it ain't happening in your say why God understand the ground television says that you divide name and claim it I'll get it well. Don't you believe him. He's not telling you the truth you've name and claim some things all day long and you're not getting them because you don't have Aladdin in the Jeannie that's not the set up here folks, God is not Santa Claus.
God is our heavenly father and our gardener and he prunes our lives, and he does what's right for us so that we can share in his holiness and godly people so that our lives can count for Christ.
That's what it's really all about.
If that's what he's doing in your life it's going to be unpleasant. I can promise you that no discipline at the present is enjoyable, but you know what my grandsons going to be a better man because his daddy takes him back to the room and prunes.
His life, and you know what I did that to his daddy, and I think I did a pretty good job with the Lord's help and that's how people grow up to be godly men and women they get their lives, prunes, folks, that's how you and I do it so let me just say if God's doing that in your life trustee and he knows what he's doing.
He's not going to. He's not going to hurt your and I this. I'll close with the verse from Hebrews 12 it says verse nine, for we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit should we surrender should we trust the father of our soul. I promise you you trusting and even if it's when you get to heaven that you finally understand it all you going to shake your head in the affirmative, promise you you're going to say you know what Lord you are absolutely right.
You were so is trusting down here. Let's be men and women of God whispered or Jesus, thanks for reminding us today as our heavenly father. All the wonderful things that you've offered to do for us but then the Lord Jesus are couple of things that when we learn about you're doing for us were not quite as excited about like be in our gardener pruning our lives well or Jesus like the verse says no pruning at the present is enjoyable, but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. So Lord Jesus, help us to trust you that you're accomplishing holiness and righteousness and godliness in our life through the tough times more Jesus, help us to rise up and trust you because you are trustworthy as our heavenly father or change our lives because we were here today, change the very way we are reacting to our problems in our struggles in life. Bring a biblical view, not a worldly view a biblical view to our struggles in our problems that the peace of God that passes all understanding can guard our hearts and minds in Christ we pray these things in Jesus name. What is God's people say amen