The Perfect Father!

Father’s Day ~ Sunday June 21st, 2015

Rev. Mouris Yousef, Pastor

The Perfect Father!

Psalm 68:4-5; Matthew 7:9-11

 

Happy Father’s Day! Today we recognize fathers. On Father’s Day, we thank our fathers for everything they have done for us and everything they mean to us. Some of us can do this easily because they had great fathers while others reluctantly because they had a father that wasn’t worth the title. While some of us grew up around incredible godly fathers, some probably grew up with fathers who came far short of the ideal; fathers who were cold, distant and disengaged; fathers who were angry, critical and controlling; fathers who were alcoholic, or depressed, or physically abusive; fathers whose own inner struggles sapped all their strength, leaving them with little left over to care for their families’ needs. And that has impacted some people’s ability to see and to trust God as their heavenly Father. Even the best of fathers, with the best of intentions, often miss the mark. Those of us who are fathers know that all too well. In spite of our best efforts, we often fail to be what God would have us to be. We act selfishly and sinfully. We fail to love our children as we should. It grieves us to admit that, but it’s true. We know that the picture of God’s fatherhood that our life is painting for our children is far from perfect.

This morning, we’re going to be looking at an important question: “What kind of father is God?” To the Atheist, ‘god’ is a product of the imaginations of weak people who need a crutch. To the Buddhists, ‘god’ is a ‘Force of Nature’, a universal glue binding everything. To the Muslims, God is ‘Transcendent’ – Too above, too far from us to know or understand. To these, calling God our Father, our Daddy, is an obscenity. But to a Christian, God is a ‘Person’ – Knowable as far as He has made Himself known through His Son Jesus Christ. Now if God is a person, what is His relationship to His creation? We have three options: 1. No relationship – He created and then just went away. 2. Master – Judge ~ He let us go on our own but will judge us one day. 3. Father – Wants a personal, loving, daily relationship.

The ‘Fatherhood’ of God

So, the fatherhood of God is so central and unique to the Christian faith. A quick glance at a concordance reveals that the name “Father” is applied to God very infrequently in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, it is never used by a person referring to God as “my Father.” It always refers to God as the Father of the nation of Israel. For example, Isaiah 63:16, “But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.” Another example in Isaiah 64:8, “O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

The New Testament refers to God as a father over 250 times, and that’s enough by itself to make it significant. Jesus called God “Father” more than 60 times. That’s how God chooses to identify Himself. This is so important because it affects how we relate to Him. Two implications for such a great truth:

First: A New Way of Looking at God

The teaching about “God’s Fatherhood” is a new way of looking at God. The Aramaic word for “Father” of Jesus’ native tongue was “ABBA”, or “dear father” – often translated as “Daddy.” It is a word that conveys the level of loving intimacy Jesus was reaching for. In a culture that had made God ever so distant, so formal, so cold, Jesus injected warmth and a sense of personal relationship with God. As Paul puts it in Romans 8:16, “When we cry ABBA, FATHER, it is the Spirit itself bearing witness with our witness that we are the children of God.” Yes, God is the immortal, invisible, God only wise. God is the almighty creator. But God is also a most personal God, ever ready and eager to listen to us, to scoop us up into His bosom, to wrap His arms around us, to love and cherish us and to stand with us as only a mother or a father can do for a child.

Second: Is There Anyone Up There Who Cares For Me?

The “Fatherhood of God” answers the greatest question of the universe: Is there anybody up there who cares about me? Is there anybody up there who watches over me? Is there anybody up there who knows my name? And the answer comes back – Yes.  Yes. Yes. There is a God in heaven who cares about you.  And He is called Father. This “Fatherhood of God” is the answer to the deepest problem of humankind – the problem of fatherlessness. The reality of “God’s Fatherhood” reminds us that if we know Jesus Christ, we are not orphans in the universe. I love the words of the Scriptures in Psalm 68:4-5, “Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

The heart of Jesus’ teaching, the Sermon on the Mount, also reveals the same truth. In Matthew 7:9-11 we read, “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” He is our provider! I know we can say like Abraham in Genesis 22:14, “The Lord will provide.” Like a good Father, He may not supply every single want in our life, He may not supply every need in the way we think it should be provided, but He will take care of His children because He is a Perfect Father.

The image of God being a “Daddy” is so deeply rooted in the Scriptures. It conveys these two amazing truths: God is very personal and God is our provider. God is so committed to His children. As mentioned, there are so many applications for that. As we conclude, let me put before you this morning a challenge. This challenge comes from Malachi chapter 1. This challenge is not only for the fathers among us this morning, but for all of us. Let me ask you this morning: Are you honoring your Father? In Malachi 1:6-7 God had this to say to us, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table may be despised.” Are we truly honoring God? As you examine your life today, what areas of your life that need to come under the lordship of Christ and the fear of the Lord? Happy Father’s Day church! Rejoice over the fact that you’ve an amazing Heavenly Father who is loving, caring, and compassionate. To God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

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