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← The Fatherhood of God - Charles Leiter

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Showing Revision 8 created 04/19/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Well, let's pray before
    we look into the Word.

  2. Our Father, we ask You
  3. for Your Holy Spirit this evening -
  4. the Spirit of faith and power
  5. and love and of a sound mind.
  6. We ask You that You would glorify Yourself
  7. that we'd come away
  8. with a little glimpse of who You are.
  9. Help us, Lord.
  10. We're not able to do that,
  11. but we pray that You would do it;
  12. that You'd take control.
  13. We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
  14. Well, our text this evening

  15. is found in Matthew 6:9.
  16. Matthew 6:9,
  17. and actually just the
    first part of the verse.
  18. "Pray then in this way,
  19. 'Our Father, who is in Heaven...'"
  20. "Pray then in this way,
  21. 'Our Father, who is in Heaven...'"
  22. As you know, these are the first words
  23. of what's called "the Lord's Prayer."
  24. Maybe a better name would be
  25. the "model prayer" or the "pattern prayer"
  26. because the Lord is giving us this prayer
  27. as a pattern for our own praying.
  28. And as for the larger context,
  29. this prayer comes about in the middle
  30. of what we know as the
    Sermon on the Mount,
  31. and this glorious passage of Scripture
  32. that begins at the beginning of Matthew 5
  33. and goes all the way
    to the end of Matthew 7.
  34. And at the end of this sermon,
  35. Matthew makes this comment.
  36. He says, "the result was that when Jesus
  37. had finished these words,
  38. the multitudes were
    amazed at His teaching."
  39. They were amazed at His teaching.
  40. A couple of years ago there in Kirksville,

  41. we spent some time considering
  42. the amazing teachings
    of the Lord Jesus Christ;
  43. the radical teachings of Jesus.
  44. And by the time we finished the series,
  45. I basically had come to the conclusion
  46. that everything the
    Lord Jesus taught was radical.
  47. It's amazing. I mean, think of it.
  48. "It's easier for a camel to go
    through the eye of a needle
  49. than for a rich man to enter
    the Kingdom of Heaven."
  50. What a shocking word
    that was in that setting!
  51. "Every idle word that a man shall speak,
  52. he shall give account for it
  53. in the day of judgment."
  54. You know that has to be true.
  55. God's not going to let
    some things slip by,
  56. but just think about that.
  57. "That which is highly
    esteemed among men..."
  58. Think of that.
  59. "...Highly esteemed among men
  60. is an abomination in the sight of God."
  61. "Unless a man is born again,
  62. he can't see the Kingdom of Heaven."
  63. You've got to be born two times.
  64. Think of these things!
  65. Just one after another!
  66. "Don't think that I came to
    bring peace on the earth.
  67. I did not come to bring peace,
  68. but a sword."
  69. "Strive to enter at the narrow gate;
  70. for many will seek
  71. and will not be able."
  72. "Before Abraham was born, I am."
  73. "No one knows the Father except the Son,
  74. and he to whom the
    Son wills to reveal Him."
  75. Think of this.
  76. Jesus said nobody in the whole world
  77. knows the Father except for Me,
  78. and anybody that I
    choose to reveal Him to.
  79. Well, we could go on and on, couldn't we?
  80. The wonderful, radical,
  81. world-changing teachings of Jesus.
  82. But tonight then, I'd like for
    us to focus on one thing;

  83. one of those teachings,
  84. and that is the teaching of the Lord Jesus
  85. concerning the fatherhood of God.
  86. "Pray then in this way,
  87. 'Our Father, who is in Heaven..."
  88. We can't imagine how radical
  89. and earth-shaking these words were
  90. in the day in which they were spoken.
  91. The Jews had heard many times
  92. of the fatherhood of God
  93. in relation to the corporate
    nation of Israel.
  94. Just one example:
  95. Hosea 11:1,
  96. "When Israel was a youth,
  97. I loved him,
  98. and out of Egypt I called My son."
  99. So there's the Father -
  100. the Father of Israel His son
  101. in a corporate sense.
  102. And even on the individual level,
  103. there were some passages,
  104. like Isaiah 43:6, He says,
  105. "Bring My sons from afar
  106. and my daughters from
    the ends of the earth."
  107. So there were some things like that,
  108. but when it came to the
    matter of private prayer,
  109. the Jews never addressed God
  110. as "our Father."
  111. In fact, those who have
    done a thorough study
  112. of the rabbinic writings
  113. just in recent years,
  114. say that no Jew ever
    used the term "father"
  115. as a direct address to God
  116. until the 10th century A.D.
  117. In other words, Christians had been saying
  118. "our Father" for 1,000 years
  119. before any Jew began to do that
  120. as far as any records that we have.
  121. They spoke of "the Father,"
  122. but they never used the term "Father"
  123. to address God in prayer.
  124. Yet, Jesus did it repeatedly,
  125. and He taught us to do it.
  126. He said, "When you pray,
  127. pray like this, 'Our Father in Heaven.'"
  128. Beloved, if you are Christian,

  129. God is your Father in a way
  130. that far exceeds any fatherly relationship
  131. that He had with the
    corporate nation of Israel.
  132. In fact, God is your Father
  133. in the most intimate,
    personal way imaginable.
  134. You have been born of God.
  135. John says born, "not
    of the will of the flesh
  136. or the will of man, but born of God."
  137. And he goes so far in 1 John,
  138. he says, "God's seed remains in you."
  139. We would have never said
    something like that, but he says that.
  140. "God's seed remains in you."
  141. You've been born of God.
  142. This fatherly relationship with God.
  143. In another place, he says we've become -
  144. Peter says, we've become
  145. "partakers of the divine nature."
  146. You're a child of God,
  147. both by legal adoption
  148. and by spiritual birth.
  149. And from deep within you
  150. comes welling up this elemental cry,
  151. "Abba, Father."
  152. Abba, Father.
  153. An intimate, love relationship
    with the God of the universe.
  154. Beloved, this is a fatherhood

  155. that's far deeper than
    any human fatherhood.
  156. It's the reality of which
    the best earthly father
  157. is only a shadow.
  158. In fact, God created earthly fathers
  159. so we'd have some idea
  160. of what He's talking about when He says
  161. He's our Father.
  162. Sadly, many of you may have had fathers
  163. that you have to try to forget about
  164. in order to get a right concept of God.
  165. But to the degree that
    there's common grace -
  166. I know myself and my home,
  167. my father did not truly know the Lord,
  168. but we went to church,
  169. and he, in many ways,
  170. gave me a glimpse of
    what it is to be a father.
  171. But all of those things are shadows.
  172. God created earthly fatherhood
  173. as the type of which He is the anti-type
  174. or the true Father.
  175. He is the only real Father
  176. that any of us will ever have.
  177. He's what fathers are supposed to be.
  178. And the Lord Jesus says
    this in Matthew 23:9,
  179. "Do not call anyone on earth your father.
  180. For one is your Father -
    He who is in Heaven."
  181. He's the real deal.
  182. Those other fathers are shadows.
  183. Hebrews 12:9, "We had fathers of our flesh
  184. to discipline us, and we respected them.
  185. Shall we not much rather be subject
  186. to the Father of spirits and live?"
  187. So the best earthly fathers
  188. try to be on a human level
  189. what really only God can be to us.
  190. But Jesus not only taught
    us to say, "Father," to God,

  191. He taught us to say, "Our Father."
  192. And this means, first of all,
  193. He's my father on an
    individual, personal level.
  194. And we've said that.
  195. But think of this,
  196. in teaching this, He's teaching us
  197. that we're part of a family;
  198. that we've got brothers and sisters.
  199. So there's true fatherhood -
  200. the only real fatherhood that ever was.
  201. And the real family -
  202. true brothers and sisters on a level
  203. that's never been in an earthly family.
  204. Think of that.
  205. And so we gather together as a family.
  206. And we lift our voices
    and say, "Our Father."
  207. Our Father.
  208. I mean, when we come to the place,
  209. when all these little things
  210. that our brother talked about this morning
  211. that we separate over this and that,
  212. when we come to the place
  213. where all that falls away and we stand
  214. in the presence of our Father,
  215. we will feel a love for each other
  216. that is unimaginable.
  217. Brothers and sisters of the true Father.
  218. Men from every tribe
    and tongue and nation.
  219. Think of that.
  220. Wasn't that glorious to see
  221. all those different languages?
  222. And there's so many more -
    there's thousands more.
  223. All one in Christ.
  224. All part of the same family.
  225. All from the same Father.
  226. All born from the same Father.
  227. Indwelt by the same Spirit.
  228. Well, God is our Father.

  229. What else does Jesus say?
  230. Not only our Father,
  231. but He's our Father in Heaven.
  232. In Heaven.
  233. In other words, He's in a different realm
  234. than we are.
  235. He's the Creator.
  236. We're the creature.
  237. He's infinite.
  238. We're finite.
  239. You know, we use this word "infinite" -
  240. we don't really have any idea
  241. what that words means.
  242. When I used to study math in college,

  243. we would talk about
  244. a particular function at a certain point -
  245. it goes to infinity we'd say.
  246. It goes to infinity.
  247. And in your mind, you picture
  248. this really, really, really large number
  249. that looks like this...
  250. it goes to infinity.
  251. But you see, once you get to that number,
  252. you're not any closer whatsoever
  253. to getting to infinity
  254. because there isn't any end to it.
  255. And so you travel a million,
    million, million miles
  256. and you haven't gotten
    any closer whatsoever
  257. because there isn't any place -
    you're never going to get there.
  258. You don't get any closer.
  259. Those are when you think in terms of space
  260. or in terms of numbers,
  261. but when we think in terms of God,
  262. infinite - we don't even
    know what that means.
  263. But He's infinite.
  264. So, how far have we come already?

  265. Well, Jesus said pray like this:
  266. "Our Father in Heaven."
  267. What's it mean? It means that we are
  268. in a love relationship,
  269. an intimate family relationship with God,
  270. and the God that we're
    in this relationship with
  271. is both personal and infinite.
  272. He's our Father in Heaven.
  273. Both personal and infinite.
  274. And that's the foundation
    and governing reality
  275. of the Lord's prayer that follows after,
  276. and all prayers,
  277. and the whole Christian life;
  278. that our Father is both
    infinite and personal.
  279. Charles Hodge pointed out many years ago

  280. that the human mind left to itself
  281. cannot come up with that.
  282. When men start thinking about God,
  283. and they start moving in the direction
  284. of an infinite God,
  285. they lose His personality.
  286. And you see that in Eastern religion.
  287. They talk about a god as a little-g god
  288. that is another name for everything.
  289. But the God of Hinduism for example
  290. is not a personal God.
  291. It's just another word. It's an "it."
  292. A word for everything.
  293. And some of you know about reincarnation.
  294. You know that you're reborn,
  295. you're reborn, you're on this wheel.
  296. The idea is to get off of
    the wheel of rebirth
  297. and to blend back into the nothingness
  298. of the impersonal.
  299. Hindus don't want to be reborn;
  300. they want to get off of that
  301. and blend back into nothingness.
  302. Why am I saying that?
  303. Well, because there's
    no place for a person
  304. or for personality in Hinduism
  305. because the god of Hinduism is impersonal.
  306. In other words, it can't hear;
  307. it can't speak.
  308. It's less than we are.
  309. And the Hindu idea of nirvana
  310. is not at all like a
    Christian idea of heaven.
  311. It's a negation of personality;
  312. not an affirmation of who you are.
  313. And so, you know in Buddhism,

  314. you have this saying,
  315. "man enters the water
    and leaves no ripple."
  316. In Christianity, you have:
    man enters the water
  317. and leaves ripples that go on forever.
  318. Because God is personal
  319. as well as infinite.
  320. But anyway, you go in that direction -

  321. the mind of man has the infinite.
  322. You go in the other direction,
  323. you have the personal gods,
    but they're not infinite.
  324. Greek gods are like that.
  325. This is popular in our day -
  326. all these various "gods."
  327. And they're a bunch of big men and women
  328. fighting each other.
  329. And they're nothing.
  330. You see, you have personality,
  331. but unless God is infinite,
  332. He's just a big man who can't help you.
  333. He's in the same predicament you're in.
  334. But if you've got a God who exists -
  335. I mean, we can imagine a fire that burns;
  336. you keep putting logs on it.
  337. We can't imagine a fire that
    burns on its own forever.
  338. These are some of the things
    that we're talking about
  339. when we talk about a self-existent,
  340. infinite, personal God.
  341. So, our God is both infinite and personal,

  342. and with Him we have
    answers to everything.
  343. But, oh, what a hard time we have
  344. holding on to both realities.
  345. The mind of man wants to go one
    way or the other constantly.
  346. If we start seeing how great God is,
  347. immediately we start thinking
  348. what could He care
    about my little problems.
  349. And He gets more and more removed
  350. from really entering in to our feelings
  351. and our trials.
  352. You start going the other way
  353. and you really begin to realize
  354. how much God cares,
  355. and you start thinking of Him as little.
  356. You know, He's torn with the
    same problems you are,
  357. and He can't figure out what to do,
  358. and He's struggling with things.
  359. You see this in false theology.
  360. You see both directions all the time.
  361. But God is both infinite and personal.
  362. So, first of all, He's infinite.

  363. He's in Heaven.
  364. And that's absolutely foundational
  365. to the whole Christian life,
  366. and to every prayer
    that the Christian prays.
  367. "Thy kingdom come."
  368. Well, God's infinite.
  369. He's able to make His kingdom come.
  370. John the Baptist said God's
    able from these stones
  371. to raise up children unto Abraham.
  372. So, we got out and look at things
  373. and say it's impossible -
  374. what's God going to do?
  375. Look at Islam.
  376. I've read accounts in the last year or so
  377. of people in Mecca having dreams
  378. that led them to read the New Testament
  379. and get converted.
  380. I mean, God's able to do anything.
  381. He's able to save,
  382. no matter how obstinate
  383. and impossible the sinner is.
  384. God says to Ezekiel, "Son of man,"
  385. you know, he went out and looked
  386. at that valley of dry bones;
  387. there were very many
    and they were very dry.
  388. And God says, "Son of man,
    can these bones live?"
  389. I remember, years ago,

  390. I used to live in Lawrence, Kansas.
  391. One time, I went to the natural
    history museum there.
  392. It was late in the day
  393. and I think I was about
    the only person in there.
  394. I probably was the only person in there.
  395. And I walked around in those hallways
  396. with my footsteps echoing,
  397. looking at those bones.
  398. "Son of man, can these bones live?"
  399. And you look at the bones
  400. of those tar pits
  401. and those saber-tooth tigers and all that,
  402. and you look at them -
    they're very dry
  403. after thousands of years.
  404. But God speaks and they
    begin to come together.
  405. You see, this is the foundation.
  406. God's infinite power is the foundation
  407. of our praying for the kingdom to come.
  408. Nothing can stop Him
  409. from bringing in His kingdom!
  410. He's infinite in power!
  411. He can do anything!
  412. He can keep kings from sleeping at night
  413. so they happen to pick
    up a book and read it,
  414. and that type of thing, you know?
  415. He can save your child.
  416. He can save the most impossible cases.
  417. The devil will tell you,
  418. "look, God's a God of the mountains,
  419. but not the valleys."
  420. "He can save so-and-so,
    but this problem's different."
  421. "You never hear about
    anybody getting saved
  422. with that kind or problem."
  423. God hears that and He says,
  424. "We'll see about that."
  425. Daily bread?

  426. Just think about these
    requests in the Lord's prayer.
  427. Daily bread? You need daily bread?
    He's infinite in power.
  428. He's able to bend heaven and earth
  429. to get daily bread to you.
  430. He's able to do far above
  431. all we can ask or think.
  432. He's able to make all grace abound to you
  433. that always having all
    sufficiency in everything
  434. you may have an abundance
    for every good work.
  435. I remember Bob Jennings told me,

  436. and Terri may have to correct
    me on some of the details,
  437. but one time, when they
    didn't have any money,
  438. and they're praying and need daily bread,
  439. and as I recall, it was in the parking lot
  440. of the grocery store.
  441. They got out and he said
    the wind was blowing
  442. and it blew a dollar bill up to his feet.
  443. Well, you can't buy much
    food with a dollar bill,
  444. but it's God saying,
  445. "look, I can give you a windfall.
  446. I can do anything.
  447. I just want to remind you,
  448. I'm in charge of this."
  449. If we put together the testimonies
  450. in this room tonight
  451. of all the miraculous provisions,
  452. I mean, it would be astounding.
  453. I used to keep a book of that
  454. until the book got full.
  455. One thing after another where God
  456. faithfully provides in ways
    that we can't imagine.
  457. Knowledge.

  458. Francis Schaeffer used to say,
  459. "There's no black hole back of God."
  460. There's no hidden things
    that He doesn't know.
  461. He knows everything.
  462. He's infinite.
  463. Because He knows everything,
  464. nothing's going to come
    out of the darkness
  465. and surprise Him and overthrow His plans.
  466. Providence. We talked
    about that last year.
  467. He's able to control every insect,
  468. every snowflake, everything,
  469. every aspect because He's infinite!
  470. Deliverance from sin?
  471. God's infinite. He's able.
  472. Beloved, do you believe this?
  473. He's able to take the most helpless,
  474. hopeless drunk or drug addict
  475. and make them stand.
  476. And Paul says stand he will,
  477. for God is able to make him stand.
  478. We used to sing that song,
  479. "It's the grandest theme
    in the earth or main,
  480. our God is able to deliver thee."
  481. Praying for some weak
    and struggling brother?
  482. God's infinite.
  483. He's able to keep Him from falling
  484. and present him faultless before
    the presence of His glory
  485. with exceeding joy.
  486. Praying in relation to
    the powers of darkness
  487. pressing around?
  488. Brother Dan told me that over there
  489. where they're laboring,
  490. you feel it, you feel it,
  491. he's laboring under it all the time.
  492. I didn't feel it because he's bearing it.
  493. God's infinite.
  494. Principalities and powers
    are nothing to Him.
  495. Greater is He who is in you -
    how much greater?
  496. Infinitely greater!
  497. He's not just a little bit greater;
  498. He's infinitely greater.
  499. Jesus is dealing with a legion of demons.
  500. He just says, "Go."
  501. God is infinite.
  502. We come to Him with reverence and awe
  503. as the one who is infinitely exalted.
  504. You know, even the Lord Jesus Himself
  505. in John 17, He says, "O Righteous Father."
  506. "Holy Father."
  507. We're not talking about a flippant
    attitude in this fatherhood.
  508. He's the infinitely exalted One.
  509. But at the same time, God is personal.
  510. He's our Father.
  511. The God who spoke the
    universe into existence
  512. is our Father.
  513. At the present estimate,

  514. how many stars do you think there are?
  515. Ten thousand?
  516. Well, I think all the
    grade school kids here
  517. know better than that.
  518. How about ten thousand billion?
  519. That's a lot.
  520. How about ten thousand billion trillion?
  521. That's how many at the present estimate.
  522. It's probably more than that now.
  523. It's been a couple
    years since I read that.
  524. So what's a trillion?
  525. When you take a million of something,
  526. and you take a million of those millions,
  527. we can't even imagine that.
  528. You've got a million;
  529. and you've got a
    million of those millions.
  530. Now take a billion of them.
  531. A billion of them.
  532. And take ten thousand
    of that billion trillion,
  533. and the Bible says,
  534. He calls them all by name.
  535. Because of the greatness of His power,
  536. not one of them's missing.
  537. He calls them out
  538. Now, think of this.
  539. He's not calling them "one-billion-one,"
  540. "one-billion-two," "one-billion-three."
  541. You know what names are in the Bible?
  542. They talk about some
    characteristic of something.
  543. He's got a unique name
    for every one of those
  544. ten thousand billion trillion stars!
  545. And each name - mysterious names -
  546. and names that go into what the character
  547. of that star is.
  548. And He's your Father.
  549. What right do we have
    to be so unbelieving?
  550. It's pitiful, isn't it?
  551. We can't lay hold of it.
  552. We've got to ask our Father,
  553. "Help. Help me. Help me to see."
  554. "Help me to believe a little bit
    of what You're able to do!"
  555. Our God is a personal God.
  556. Now, you theologians,
  557. don't let philosophy
    rob you of this reality.
  558. Some of the things I've read
  559. about God's supposed impassibility -
  560. that is, His inability to experience
  561. pain or emotion -
  562. they're sheer philosophy,
    and they fly in the face
  563. of a thousand Bible verses.
  564. It's from theologians thinking too long
  565. about God's infinity.
  566. If you do that, you can't
    hang on to His personality.
  567. But they say, look, God's impassible.
  568. He can't be touched with emotion.
  569. Well, let me read a little bit to you.
  570. "Grieve not the Spirit of God."

  571. Don't make Him sad.
  572. That's what the word grieve means.
  573. You can look it up and look
    at all the other verses.
  574. "As a bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
  575. so your God will rejoice over you."
  576. How many of you have
    ever been to a wedding?
  577. You think there's any emotion there?
  578. You look at the groom
  579. and the bride comes through -
  580. we don't believe this!
  581. The infinite God -
  582. He says, "I'll rejoice over you
  583. like a groom rejoices over the bride."
  584. Isn't it amazing?
  585. "He will exult over you with joy.
  586. He will be quiet in His love.
  587. He will rejoice over you
    with shouts of joy."
  588. That sounds like some emotion to me.
  589. "God so loved the world,
  590. that He gave His only Son."
  591. He delivered Him up.
  592. And we can't comprehend this,
  593. but we know this, it cost God greatly
  594. to crush His Son.
  595. That's a revelation.
  596. God revealed that to us.
  597. Think of Abraham
  598. and that offering up of Isaac.
  599. He says, "take now your son,
  600. your only son, whom you love."
  601. What's He saying to us?
  602. He's getting across
    that what Abraham felt,
  603. there's something, somehow
  604. connection with Him sacrificing His Son.
  605. Beloved, God is not
    some philosophical "X,"
  606. He's our Father.
  607. "'Wherefore come out from among them
  608. and be ye separate,' saith the Lord,
  609. 'and touch not the unclean thing,
  610. and I will receive you.'"
    I'll welcome you.
  611. "'And I will be a Father to you,
  612. and you shall be My sons and daughters,'
  613. saith the Lord Almighty."
  614. You see it?
  615. Your Father in Heaven.
  616. He's almighty, and here He says,
  617. "You'll be My sons and daughters."
  618. He treats the ladies -
    "You're My daughters."
  619. And to the men, He says, "You're My sons."
  620. Think of that. Isn't that special?
  621. This God that we're talking about.
  622. Well, what are some of the implications

  623. of the fact that God is
    our Father in Heaven?
  624. I've got nine of these.
  625. And most of them come from the Gospels.
  626. Some come from other places
  627. where they're a little clearer.
  628. But some of the implications -
  629. and this will be the rest of the message.
  630. The first implication -
  631. I believe the most profound implication -
  632. and I hope that I'll be able somewhat
  633. to get it across.
  634. What's it mean that God is my Father?
  635. It means that I have a lap to climb into.
  636. I have Someone - you have
    Someone to hold you.
  637. You have a Father.
  638. You have a home. You belong.
  639. Think of the terrible state of those
  640. who have no heavenly Father.
  641. You're flying in a plane at night
  642. over some unknown city,
  643. looking down in the darkness
  644. on thousands and thousands
  645. of little specks of light,
  646. and every one of them is a house.
  647. Unknown names.
  648. In those little specks
    of light are people.
  649. Unknown people.
  650. Thousands of them.
  651. Tens of thousands of them.
  652. Millions of them.
  653. And then you realize, you're one of those
  654. little, unknown...
  655. I'm talking about a person without God.
  656. The feeling that you have.
  657. Pascal said it like this,
  658. "When I consider the
    short duration of my life,
  659. swallowed up in the eternity
  660. before and after..."
  661. He's talking about our
    smallness in relation to time.
  662. "...When I consider the
    small space which I fill,
  663. or even can see engulfed in the infinite
  664. immensity of spaces of
    which I know nothing
  665. and which know nothing of me.
  666. I'm terrified.
  667. And I wonder that I'm here
  668. rather than there."
  669. Have you ever thought about it?
  670. "I'm here rather than there,
  671. for there's no reason why
    here rather than there,
  672. or now rather than then."
  673. He says I think about
    that - I'm terrified.
  674. You see, without God,
  675. man is an orphan in a vast, cold,
  676. very uncaring universe
  677. that doesn't even know he exists.
  678. And when you look out on those
  679. millions of stars in the darkness,
  680. if you have no heavenly Father,
  681. you are nothing.
  682. You are a nothing.
  683. And there's a terrible sense
  684. of insignificance and aloneness.
  685. I'll quote Pascal again. He says,
  686. "The eternal silence of those
    infinite spaces alarms me."
  687. But when you realize that your Father
  688. made all those stars,
  689. it's different, isn't it.
  690. And, that He's both infinite and personal.
  691. And He really does love you.
  692. Everything changes. You belong.
  693. You're accepted.
  694. And at the very root of all reality,
  695. you have a home.
  696. You have a place to go.
  697. I remember one time
    I was in a strange city,

  698. and I was already a Christian,
  699. but it came over me -
  700. this sense of aloneness and smallness.
  701. It's terrifying.
  702. And then it came into my heart,
  703. "I will receive you.
  704. I will be a Father to you."
  705. And as soon as you have that,
  706. the infinite God is my Father!
  707. And everything's going to be alright.
  708. He's with me.
  709. You have a place to go.
  710. You have a home.
    You have a lap.
  711. You've found the ground of your existence
  712. and it's not some cold,
    abstract principle;
  713. it's the lap of a loving
    heavenly Father.
  714. Surely the opposite of that
  715. is part of what hell is.
  716. You remember Jesus talks
    about outer darkness
  717. and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  718. You look inside, there's warmth,
  719. there's a family, there's a home,
  720. there's rejoicing, there's Abraham
  721. and Isaac and Jacob coming;
  722. people coming from the east and west
  723. and reclining.
  724. And you're outside. They're in there.
  725. They have a Father.
  726. And you're outside in the darkness.
  727. No family.
  728. No Father.
  729. Well, I think the most fundamental meaning
  730. of having God as our Father,
  731. and that is we've found
    our reason for living.
  732. We've found the meaning of existence.
  733. But the second thing,

  734. that God is my Father means
  735. that I never need to be afraid
  736. because God cares for me
  737. in a personal and intimate way.
  738. Matthew 10:29-30,
  739. "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?
  740. And yet, not one of them will fall
  741. to the ground apart from your Father,
  742. but the very hairs of your head
  743. are all numbered."
  744. Jesus says, "Don't fear
    them that kill the body."
  745. The One who names every star
  746. has numbered the hairs on your head.
  747. He cares that much about you.
  748. And you know, it's not the idea
  749. just that God knows how
    many hairs are on your head,
  750. He knew how many
    hairs were on Hitler's head.
  751. That's not the point.
  752. But that He's that concerned about you.
  753. That concerned,
  754. that not one sparrow
    can fall to the ground.
  755. You say, how do I know I won't
  756. fall to the ground and get killed?
  757. You don't know, but you do know this,
  758. it's not going to happen
    without your Father
  759. being right there
  760. controlling the whole thing.
  761. The context of these verses in Matthew 10
  762. is persecution, but it
    applies to every area
  763. where we might be tempted to fear.
  764. God won't just let
    anything "happen" to us.
  765. He cares for me in a
    personal and intimate way.
  766. Not one of those little birds
  767. can fall to the ground
    apart from your Father.
  768. But the third thing

  769. that the fatherhood of God means to me:
  770. the fact that God is my Father
  771. means He will provide for me.
  772. Now, we know these things.
  773. Matthew 6:26-33.
  774. "Look at the birds of the air,
  775. that they do not sow,
  776. neither do they reap,
  777. nor gather into barns,
  778. yet your Heavenly Father feeds them."
  779. So there's the food thing.
  780. "Are you not worth much more than they?"
  781. He goes on, "Why are you
    anxious about clothing?"
  782. So now He's dealing with that.
  783. "Observe how the lilies of the field grow.
  784. They do not toil, nor do they spin,
  785. yet I say that even
    Solomon in all his glory
  786. did not clothe himself like one of these,
  787. but if God so arrays
    the grass of the field,
  788. which is alive today and tomorrow
    is thrown into the furnace,
  789. will He not much more do so for you,
  790. O men of little faith?
  791. Do not be anxious then, saying,
  792. what shall we eat?
    Or, what shall we drink?
  793. Or with what shall we clothe ourselves?
  794. For all these things the
    Gentiles eagerly seek,
  795. for your Heavenly Father knows
  796. that you need all these things."
  797. So God is my Father.
  798. He'll feed me. He'll clothe me.
  799. He'll provide for me.
  800. What right do I have to be anxious?
  801. I'm not telling you
    anything you don't know,
  802. but beloved, how much
    have we entered into this?
  803. Can you imagine a life
    where you don't have
  804. any anxiety at all about
    any of that stuff
  805. because you know God is going to
  806. take care of it all?
  807. That He's infinite in power?
  808. That's what Jesus is talking about.
  809. He's talking about freedom from fear
  810. of somebody killing you.
  811. He's talking about freedom from fear
  812. of not having food or
    clothing or provision.
  813. Just to be totally free.
  814. Look, my Father owns everything.
  815. He spoke the universe into existence
  816. and all those stars.
  817. I don't have anything possible
  818. that could happen to me.
  819. A little bird can't fall to the ground.
  820. Think of this.
  821. The fact that God is my Father,
  822. it means that I don't have
    to use vain repetitions
  823. like the Gentiles do.
  824. He says your Father knows
  825. that you need those things
  826. before you ask.
  827. Number four: the fact
    that God is my Father

  828. means that I can trust Him implicitly.
  829. Now listen to this,
  830. "What man is there among you
  831. when his son shall ask him for a loaf
  832. will give him a stone?
  833. Or if he shall ask for a fish,
  834. he will not give him a snake, will he?
  835. If you then, being evil..."
  836. Now fathers - the best fathers -
  837. compared to the Heavenly Father are evil.
  838. They come so far short of what He is,
  839. but even we know how to give good gifts
  840. to our children.
  841. "How much more shall your Heavenly Father
  842. give what is good to those who ask Him?"
  843. Why would the Lord give this teaching?
  844. Well, because the devil
    is always telling us -
  845. you know the word "devil"
    (diabolos) means slanderer.
  846. And he's constantly slandering God to man,
  847. and he'll tell you that the
    kind of Father you have,
  848. that if you ask Him for an egg,
  849. He'll give you a scorpion.
  850. The devil tells you that.
  851. Constantly.
  852. He'll tell you God's a liar.
  853. "You shall not surely die."
  854. He tells you God's holding out on you.
  855. God knows that if you eat that,
    you'll have something good.
  856. He'll tell you that the good land
  857. that God is giving you
  858. devours its inhabitants.
  859. If you go in there, it will eat you up.
  860. All those slanders about
    the character of God.
  861. I've shared a lot more examples of this
  862. in talking about our
    adversary the slanderer,
  863. but there's so many of them.
  864. I was thinking before
  865. when I was preparing this,
  866. I was thinking of how many
    young people there are here.
  867. So you girls, you're praying, and you say,
  868. "Lord, I want You to choose
    a husband for me."
  869. Or you guys, you're praying,
  870. "Lord, I want to put it in Your hands.
  871. I want You to choose my wife."
  872. And the devil's right there saying,
  873. "Don't do that!
  874. God will give you the
    ugliest girl imaginable.
  875. Or, if you do that,
  876. you won't even get married at all.
  877. He won't even give you a wife.
  878. You've got to take
    this in your own hands."
  879. See, it all goes back to:
  880. do I have a Father?
  881. Do I have a loving Heavenly
    Father who can do anything?
  882. A.W. Tozer was telling
    his congregation one day
  883. about how he had put his little daughter
  884. into God's hands
  885. just for whatever God would have for her,
  886. and a woman came up after the sermon.
  887. She said, "Aren't you afraid to do that?"
  888. Think of what kind of God
  889. the devil tells us we have.
  890. You know, that he's an "evil" type God.
  891. I can trust Him implicitly.
  892. That's what Jesus is saying.
  893. He's saying you will never come
  894. as a child of your Heavenly Father
  895. and say, "Father, will
    You give me an egg?"
  896. and He says, "I will, son,
    now close your eyes
  897. and put out your hand,"
  898. and He drops a scorpion into it.
  899. He'll never do that.
  900. He'll give good things to
    those who ask Him.
  901. Number five: the fact
    that God is my Father

  902. means that I never need to make
  903. an outward show of goodness.
  904. God is able to keep track
    of everything in secret
  905. and reward me in ways
  906. that no man ever could.
  907. Oh, that we could lay hold of this.
  908. "Beware of practicing your righteousness
  909. before men to be noticed by them,
  910. otherwise you have no reward
  911. with your Father who is in Heaven."
  912. And He goes through three things.
  913. "When you give alms,
  914. do not sound a trumpet."
  915. You want your alms to be in secret.
  916. Don't let your left hand know
  917. what your right hand's doing.
  918. "And your Father who sees in secret
  919. will repay you."
  920. When you pray, don't
    be like these hypocrites.
  921. They stand out in the open.
  922. They want to be seen by men.
  923. Go into your inner room,
  924. and shut the door,
  925. and pray to your Father
  926. who is in secret.
  927. That's where God is.
  928. You say, God's so far away;
  929. I can't find God. Where is He?
  930. Well, He's in secret.
  931. "And your Father who sees in secret
  932. will repay you."
  933. And then He talks about fasting -
  934. not to put on a gloomy face
  935. to be seen fasting by men.
  936. "When you fast, anoint your head
  937. and wash your face,
  938. so that you may not
    be seen fasting by men,
  939. but by your Father who is in secret.
  940. And your Father who sees in secret
  941. will repay you."
  942. Think of this:
  943. I don't have to put on a show to men.
  944. It doesn't matter what men think anyway.
  945. God knows. He sees everything in secret.
  946. Every bit of it He knows.
  947. And He said I'm not going
    to let you miss out.
  948. Just as I was preparing
    this, I'm thinking,
  949. Lord, over and over You're saying
  950. He will reward you; He will reward you.
  951. If you fast, if you pray, if you give
  952. in the presence of your Father,
  953. He'll reward you.
  954. We can be sure He will.
  955. He keeps perfect records.
  956. He sees everything in secret
  957. because He's infinite.
  958. And He will reward.
  959. Number six: the fact that God is my Father

  960. means that I have a perfect example
  961. to pattern my life after.
  962. I've got a Father worthy of
    emulating in every way.
  963. "You've heard that it was said
  964. you shall love your neighbor
    and hate your enemy,
  965. but I say unto you,
    love your enemies
  966. and pray for those who persecute you,
  967. in order that you may be sons
  968. of your Father who is in Heaven.
  969. For He causes His sun to rise
  970. on the evil and the good,
  971. and sends rain on the righteous
    and the unrighteous."
  972. I like that.
  973. It's like a little kid has an orange ball.
  974. God has His sun. "That's My sun."
  975. God causes His sun to shine.
  976. He causes His sun to shine on this earth.
  977. And He sends rain on the righteous
  978. and the unrighteous.
  979. He says, "if you love those who love you,
  980. what reward have you?
  981. Do not even the tax gatherers do the same?
  982. And if you greet your brothers only,
  983. what do you do more than others?
  984. Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
  985. Therefore, you are to be perfect
  986. as your Heavenly Father is perfect."
  987. We know how young sons
    want to imitate their fathers.
  988. Well, here's a Father worthy of imitation
  989. in every way.
  990. And the Lord Jesus looks
    at what's happening
  991. in the world around us.
  992. He says, look, your Father's being kind
  993. to these ungrateful and evil men.
  994. You imitate Him.
  995. "Love your enemies.
  996. Do good and lend
  997. expecting nothing in return,
  998. and your reward will be great,
  999. and you will be sons of the Most High,
  1000. for He Himself is kind
  1001. to ungrateful and evil men.
  1002. Be merciful,
  1003. just as your Father is merciful."
  1004. Number seven:

  1005. (Is this good hermeneutics,
    Jesse, to have nine points?)
  1006. The fact that God is my Father means
  1007. that He loves me too much
  1008. to leave me without discipline.
  1009. Isn't that something?
  1010. Hebrews 12, "You have forgotten
  1011. the exhortation which is
    addressed to you as sons.
  1012. My son, do not regard lightly
    the discipline of the Lord,
  1013. nor faint when you are reproved by Him.
  1014. For those whom the Lord loves,
  1015. He disciplines and He scourges every son
  1016. whom He receives.
  1017. It is for discipline that you endure;
  1018. God deals with you as with sons.
  1019. For what son is there whom his
    father does not discipline?
  1020. He disciplines us for our good,
  1021. that we may share His holiness.
  1022. All discipline for the moment
  1023. seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful.
  1024. Yet to those who have been trained by it
  1025. afterwards it yields the
    peaceful fruit of righteousness."
  1026. Proverbs 3:12, "For whom
    the Lord loves, He reproves,
  1027. even as a father the son
    in whom he delights."
  1028. So, God loves me too much to
    leave me without discipline.
  1029. That doesn't mean that every
    hard thing that happens to us
  1030. is a punishment for sin.
  1031. Sometimes a trainer will
    have a runner carry weights -
  1032. something like that -
  1033. he's not punishing him;
    he's disciplining him,
  1034. preparing him; making him stronger.
  1035. God does that too.
  1036. Number eight: The fact
    that God is my Father

  1037. means that His attitude toward me
  1038. is one of kindness and compassion;
  1039. not harshness and rejection.
  1040. How many people are going around
  1041. thinking that God is carrying this club
  1042. waiting for them to slip up
  1043. so that He can smash them?
  1044. Jesus talks about this even in conversion.
  1045. He says (Luke 15), "While he
    was still a long way off,
  1046. his father saw him and felt compassion
  1047. and ran and embraced him and kissed him."
  1048. He's telling us what God is like
  1049. in His attitude toward us.
  1050. Psalm 103:13-14,
  1051. "Just as a father has
    compassion on his children,
  1052. so the Lord has compassion
    on those who fear Him,
  1053. for He Himself knows our frame;
  1054. He is mindful that we are but dust."
  1055. Think of what a wonderful thing that is!
  1056. When I'm going through a trial,
  1057. God knows our frame.
  1058. He has compassion on us.
  1059. He's mindful.
  1060. My Father understands.
  1061. He knows my frame.
  1062. His attitude's one of compassion.
  1063. He's so patient. He's so merciful.
  1064. He's not a harsh taskmaster.
  1065. Malachi 3:17, "'They shall be Mine,'
  1066. says the Lord of Hosts,
  1067. 'On the day when I make
    up My own possession,
  1068. and I will have compassion on them
  1069. as a man has compassion
    on his own son who serves him.'"
  1070. Last one.

  1071. And I truly am sorry to
    have so many points.
  1072. The fact that God is my Father means
  1073. that He delights to
    give me an inheritance.
  1074. You may feel ever so weak and afraid
  1075. you may not even make it to heaven.
  1076. Satan may tell you that
    God doesn't want you
  1077. to make it to heaven.
  1078. And that He's against you.
  1079. That isn't true.
  1080. Jesus said, "It's not
    the will of your Father
  1081. who is in Heaven that
    one of these little ones..."
  1082. He's talking about believers.
  1083. "...That one of these
    little ones should perish."
  1084. And none of them will. Not one.
  1085. Right after Jesus tells us
    to seek first the kingdom,
  1086. He immediately assures us,
  1087. "Fear not, little flock,
  1088. your Father has chosen gladly
    to give you the Kingdom."
  1089. And according to the Lord Jesus,
  1090. there's a day coming when the righteous
  1091. will shine forth like the sun
  1092. in the kingdom of their Father.
  1093. Well, there's so much
    more that could be said.

  1094. So much hinges on this love relationship
  1095. between Father and son
    or Father and daughter.
  1096. When our love for the Father
  1097. is really strong and clear,
  1098. immediately we think about His name,
  1099. wanting His name to be glorified.
  1100. Immediately we think about wanting
  1101. His kingdom to be advanced.
  1102. You don't have to say,
  1103. well, I've got to remember now
  1104. to be concerned about the name of God.
  1105. It just happens automatically
  1106. when you're full of love for Him.
  1107. And it happens automatically
  1108. that when you pray for your daily bread,
  1109. it's in connection with wanting
    His kingdom to come,
  1110. not just selfish.
  1111. And wanting to have victory over sin;
  1112. wanting forgiveness for sin,
  1113. and deliverance from sin
  1114. is not so you'll feel
    better about yourself.
  1115. But so that you can what?
  1116. So that you can let your light so shine
  1117. that men will see your good works
  1118. and glorify your Father
  1119. who is in Heaven.
  1120. Well, Jesus said when you pray,
  1121. say, "Our Father in Heaven."
  1122. May God help us to believe
    and lay hold of these things.
  1123. Amen.