HAPPY FATHER’S DAY- THE FATHERHOOD OF GOD
As we celebrate Father’s Day, we are mindful of our earthly fathers. Most of us have many fond memories of our fathers; how they loved and cared for and protected us, worked hard to support and educate us, and gave us good things. But we have a greater Father- Our Father God in heaven. Consider these facts: We had no choice to be born; no choice of our parents, no choice of our gender, no choice of our ethnicity and citizenship, and no choice of when in history we would be living. God made all those choices for us, and even has a greater plan for us if we obey Him and learn about His plans for us! This is the reason why we study the Bible and search the scriptures- to learn of God’s great love for us. God said ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ Je29:11 NIV. We will see below that only as believers in Jesus Christ, can we call God our Father, and have this privileged life with Him forever.
From the Old Testament- God Our Father
The concept of God as our Father has only a few specific references in the Old Testament. In the OT, God is mainly revealed as a God of judgment and a jealous God. He destroyed the world with a great flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. De4:24 states ‘For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God’. But David said ‘..thou art my father, my God and the rock of my salvation’ Ps89:26. Isaiah foretold of Jesus coming to earth; ‘..his name shall be called.. The mighty God, The everlasting Father..’ Is9:6. He said ‘thou art our father.. our redeemer’ Is63:16. In the OT, God is often referred to as the God of thy father Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Ex3:6 states ‘.. I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob..’. In the OT, God is mainly referred to as the God of thy fathers.
The Fatherhood of God As Revealed By Jesus Christ
In the New Testament, when He began his ministry, Jesus revealed our special relationship with God, our Father. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify YOUR FATHER which is in heaven’ Mt5:3-16.
Then Jesus said when you pray say ‘OUR FATHER which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’ Mt6:9-13. Jesus referred to God many times as ‘your Father which is in heaven’ or ‘your heavenly Father’, using the personal pronoun ‘your’ meaning our Father Mt5:45,48! In the NT, God our Father is revealed as a loving and merciful God Jn3:16. Jesus said ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall YOUR FATHER which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?’ Mt7:11.
No One Can Call God Father, Unless He Knows Jesus Christ As His Saviour
No Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, or anyone else can call God ‘Father’ unless he believes in Jesus Christ as his Saviour. WHY? Jesus said ‘I and my Father are one’ Jn10:30; ’I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him’ Jn14:6,7. He said ‘For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God’ Jn16:27.
Here we see that God is either our Father in heaven or He is not; there is no maybe! As we study the Bible, we learn about our Father in heaven; His nature, His attributes, His power, His love, His promises, and His plan for us. Jesus said ‘.. for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him’ Mt6:8. Our Father God knows our need before we ask and is ready to give good things to us when we pray and ask Him. God became our Father in heaven when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour! The manifold blessings of God our Father are exclusive only for His children.
God, Our Father in Heaven- What Advantage Have We?
What advantage do we have when we have God as our Father? In everything and in every way! As His children, we share an intimacy with Him, for He cares for us! First, we look at who God is. God is Almighty, the Creator of everything; God is All-Knowing, and God is Everywhere- Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. It is very good to have the most powerful God on our side. The Bible states ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Ro8:31. ‘.. No good thing will He withhold to them that walk uprightly’ Ps84:11. ‘God has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant’ Ps35:27. Paul wrote ‘.. my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ Php4:19. Peter stated ‘Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you’ 1Pe5:7. God said ‘.. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ Heb13:5.
Faith Required to Receive From Our Father
There are countless blessings and promises in the Word of God of this nature! But the key to receiving God’s blessing is OUR FAITH in Him. Heb11:6 states ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him’. Faith is essential and foremost in receiving from God our Father. But we need to know the Word of God to appropriate His blessings. Ro10:17 tells us ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. What did God do for us? God came to earth in the person of Jesus to give His life and to die for our sins, that we might have everlasting life.
Ro8:32 states ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things’? Jesus said ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE’ Jn3:16. John wrote ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God..’ 1Jn3:1. Jesus said ‘..and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him’ Jn14:21.
The Great Love of Our Father God For Us
Suppose that you are a son or daughter of a very rich, powerful, and generous person. You would be very privileged and have access to the best in life, whether they are homes, food, clothing, schooling, travel, medical care, luxury, pleasures, etc. You would be very honored and esteemed with many catering to your every need and desire. In a spiritual sense, our relationship with God our Father is somewhat like that. Our Father has a great love for us! We are related to a great God with unlimited resources. Our relationship with Jesus and our Father in heaven gives us access to His blessings and favors.
Heb4:16 states ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’. We should not be hesitant or timid in seeking God’s help for our needs. Ps46:1 states ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’. David wrote further, ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ Ps23:1,6. Our relationship with God speaks of His love, intimacy, access, privilege, blessings, kindness, goodness, mercy, peace, help, strength, protection, and favor toward us! And one day, eternal life with everlasting blessings and bliss!
Our Great Inheritance To Come– From God, Our Father
The scriptures state that we also have a great inheritance coming from our Father in heaven. Re21:7 states ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son’. To receive this inheritance, we need to be holy, as our Father is Holy 1Pe1:16. We need to become overcomers– overcome the lust of our flesh Ga5:16, and not love the things of the world. ‘If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him’ 1Jn2:15. (See also the book of Revelation Chapters 2&3 for the rewards of the overcomers). Jesus said ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’ Mt5:5. Jesus also said ‘.. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ Mt25:34. He said ‘.. it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ Lk12:32. What kingdom and where?
Our Father has a new kingdom awaiting us, to give to us- to rule and reign with Him forever. Paul wrote ‘ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ’ Co3:24. Paul said ‘In (Christ) also, we have obtained an inheritance..’ Ep1:11; ‘That in the ages to come God might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus’ Ep2:7. There will be new worlds and new ages to come. Our inheritance is to inherit a kingdom God has prepared for us before the foundation of the world! Our inheritance to come is the redemption of our physical body Ro8:23; to never die Jn11:26; but to become glorious like Jesus Christ 1Jn3:2; to be the children of God, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Ro8:17. Jesus said ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son’ Re21:7. Jesus said ‘I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be’ Re22:12.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son and the Father- Lk15:11-32
The parable of the prodigal son gives many insights into the very great love our Father God has for us and about our inheritance. Many sermons have been preached on this very popular parable. Here prodigal means to be wayward or unruly, and also spendthrift or reckless in spending. Though there are three main characters in this parable, the Father and his two sons, but it is mainly about the wayward son. The prodigal son, the younger one, was a reckless spender, who wanted to enjoy life now! He left his country after asking his father for his inheritance, which he wasted on ‘riotous living’ v13, and on ‘harlots’ v30. Judgment came upon the land in the form of a mighty famine v14. Some kind citizen gave him a job of feeding pigs v15. The prodigal son was so hungry he ate the same husks as the pigs did v16.
One day he came to his senses and realized even his father’s many hired servants had ‘bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger’ v17. He repented and said he would return and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants’ vs18,19. The father also longing and looking for his lost son such that ‘when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him’ v20. The prodigal son confessed his sin to his loving father v21. The father said ‘Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry’ vs22,23. The father said ‘For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found’ v24. The elder son was angry that his father had never done anything like that for him. The father entreated the elder son and said ‘Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found’ v31,32. Another important point is, had the prodigal son not repented and returned to the Father, he would have gone to hell!
This parable is really about all of us, and our relationship with God our Father in heaven. It reveals our own waywardness, and the love of the Father has toward us, waiting for us to repent, to return, and to remain with Him. Though the prodigal son was remiss and riotous in his early life, he was destined to become someone important, with ‘royal garments’– the best robe, a ring indicating the Father’s authority, and shoes to wear. It tells of how the Father longs for his children to come to their senses and rightfully inherit the things that are already theirs. The Bible states that ‘all we like sheep have gone astray..’ Is53:6. To be truly blessed we must repent, return, and remain with our Father. We were also once dead in our sins and were lost, but we are now alive, no longer lost, but found!
Do you see yourself as the prodigal son or daughter making your way back to the Father’s house, to receive the blessings He already has prepared for you? Do you see how God has predestinated and chosen you for Sonship? Jesus said ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you’ Jn15:16. Jesus said ‘..Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ Mt25:34.
Our Special Relationship With God, Our Father
In this lesson, we learn that we have a very special relationship with God, OUR FATHER. It is that God, the Almighty Creator is also our personal Father in heaven; that we are related and are very special to Him; how He loves and cares for us, and seeks to bless us. By accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we are adopted into the family of God. Ro8:15 states ‘For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’. Ga4:6 tells us ‘And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father’. We can cry out Abba, Father- our Father God in heaven!
It is very important that we know about our relationship with God, our Father; what He expects of us and what we can expect of Him; what our rights and privileges are as sons and daughters who are in Christ. We are His children, and heirs to His throne. We have a direct channel and access to Him. Heb4:16 states ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need’. Php4:19,20 state ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever’. This is what the New Testament of the Bible is all about: It is all about God, our Father, His great love for us, and our special relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord, for all eternity and for everlasting life!
Praise God, our Father in heaven, from whom all blessings flow! Amen!