Calvary Road Baptist Church

“GOD THE FATHER”

 

 

Last week I spoke to you about the personality of God. I pointed out that among the four major worldviews that compete for supremacy in the world today, secular humanism slash materialism, pantheism such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Scientologists, Islam, and Christianity, only Islam and Christianity even claim to embrace the notion of a personal God. However, I did not stop there. I also established that for all practical purposes, only Christianity’s view of God is a view of a being who is truly personal, and who actually communes with His creatures in a meaningful and interactive way by, among other things, welcoming their heartfelt prayers and answering those prayers in recognizable ways.

As you learned a few moments ago when one of our church’s deacons made mention of the memorial service for our dear sister in Christ yesterday, our church family is dealing with the loss of a wonderful and vibrant Christian woman, whose impact on our individual lives and on the life of our church is incalculable. One of the remarkable features of that young woman’s Christian life was the evidences in her life of a very close walk with God. Think about that for a moment. The young woman only recently received into glory is personal. She communed with and communicated with her friends, her loved ones, her coworkers, and her God. For such communion to be possible, unless of course she was a deceitful fraud and a liar, God, her God, must be a personal God who actually does interact with His creatures. If you do not enjoy such communion with God, it does not mean God is not personal. It only means you have no meaningful relationship with Him. That she had (and, of course, continues to have) a meaningful relationship with God based upon interaction and communion with Him absolutely requires that God be personal in a way unknown to secular humanists, pantheists, Muslims, and most people who claim and who may even think they really are genuine Christians.

Incredible as it may seem, some people stubbornly insist that they are Christians, even though they enjoy no real prayer life, even though they spend virtually no time reading God’s Word, even though they find the preaching of God’s Word barely tolerable, and even though they simply cannot imagine themselves getting excited enough about the things of God to try and woo some friend or loved one to Christ. Not only were those things an important part of Rosa’s life for the past five and a half years, but she additionally felt that it was profoundly important for her to submit her own mind to the mind of God. In other words, God to her was not some thing, but truly and genuinely personal.

I remember one conversation I had with her in which I said, “I love you very much, and I want you to know that my feelings toward you are much more than those of a pastor for a church member. My love for you is much like the love I have for Sarah. I love you like a daughter.” She then said to me, “Pastor, I love you like a father.”

Incredible word, father. The word father is one of the most important words a child will ever learn, because it speaks to not only one of the most important relationships that can exist in any person’s life, but also because it is a word that God has chosen to designate the First Person of the Trinity. Vital to our understanding of God being personal is the reality that one Person in the divine Godhead, the First Person in the divine Godhead, is shown to be the Father.

For the next few minutes, we will explore the topic of God the Father. It will not be a deep or particularly thorough study. However, it promises to be a useful study, since it will reflect on the most important human relationship any man will ever have, the relationship a man has with his father. Think about the fact that there is an intentional correspondence shown in the Bible between your father and God the Father, while there is no correspondence in the Bible between your mother and any one of the divine Persons. That suggests implications from your mommy and daddy relationships that you may never have considered before.

Fathers are important. They give to their children their first impressions of God. They are the first recipients of God’s command to honor others. In addition, they are accountable to God for the duty to influence their children long after they reach adulthood. At some point, however, children can no longer rely on their fathers for their impressions of God, but must look past their fathers and into God’s Word to see what God is like. It is in scripture that God shows Himself to be one God, yet three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This morning we will consider the First Person of the Godhead, God the Father. It will not be an exhaustive study, but an introductory one. It is important that you know some facts about God the Father.

 

First, HIS ETERNAL FATHERHOOD

 

Turn to John 20.17, where we read the words of the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection from the dead: “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” This is a very important verse in connection with our understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ’s office as our great High Priest, and His offering of His own precious blood for our sins. However, this verse is also relevant to our study of God the Father. Notice, as we read the verse again, that the Lord Jesus Christ’s words are carefully formulated to separate His relationship with the Father from His disciple’s relationship with the Father, His relationship with His God from our relationship with our God. Notice the end of the verse: “. . . I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” The reason our Lord worded His statement in this way is because the relationship that exists between a Christian and His heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and His heavenly Father is fundamentally different.

The eternal fatherhood of the First Person corresponds to the eternal Sonship of the Second Person. No one challenges the idea that God the Father becomes the heavenly Father of the Christian, at the time he trusts Christ as his Savior. However, our concern is with the relationship that exists between God the Father and God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Whereas God the Father has not always been the heavenly Father of a Christian, since no Christian has always been a Christian, the relationship God the Father has with His Son, Jesus Christ, is an eternal relationship. That is, the Son of God has always been the Son of God, and God the Father has always been the Father to the Second Person of the Trinity. There are many passages I could take you to, but time considerations limit us to a consideration of one representative verse, Hebrews 1.2. Please turn to that verse. Hebrews 1.2: “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” We are here told who created all things. The Creator of all things was God’s Son. Notice that all things were not created by someone who became God’s Son, but by someone who, before anything was made, was already God’s Son. Why so? Because He has always been God’s Son. It is an eternal relationship. If Jesus Christ has always been the Son of God, the eternal Son of God, then the Father has always been the Father, the eternal Father of the eternal Son of God. Therefore, God did not become the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has always been the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Next, HIS CREATIVE FATHERHOOD

 

Though His fatherhood with respect to the Second Person of the Trinity is eternal and unchanging, there is an aspect of God’s fatherhood that is not eternal. It is His fatherhood with respect to creation and created beings.

Turn to Genesis 6.4, where we see mention made of “the sons of God.” No need to read the entire verse, except to note that “the sons of God” mentioned there were created beings. Thus, God has sons by means of creation, giving to Him a creative fatherhood.

Job 38.7: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Though this certainly is poetical language, the context shows that it refers to creation’s morn and is a testament to God’s creative fatherhood.

When the Apostle Paul was in Athens, speaking to them on Mars’ hill, he said these words in Acts 17.29: “we are the offspring of God.” His point was that God is our father in the sense that we are His creatures, not in any sense that all men have God as their father in any spiritual or eternal sense.

This same kind of point is driven home in First Corinthians 8.6: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.”

Again, in Hebrews 12.9 we see the First Person referred to as the Father of spirits in this same creative fatherhood concept: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?”

Finally, James 1.17, where God’s creative fatherhood is once again highlighted: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Thus, there is a paternal relationship, a fatherly relationship, that God the Father has with His creation and with His creatures that is based on creation. It is not an eternal relationship. Neither is it a spiritual relationship in the sense that there is a spiritual basis for the relationship or that it is in any way a saving relationship.

 

Third, HIS ADOPTIVE FATHERHOOD

 

Romans 8.15 introduces us to the concept of God’s adoptive fatherhood: “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.” Notice that this concept of fatherhood is in connection with Paul’s treatment of justification by faith, is based upon the reception of the Holy Spirit, identified as the Spirit of adoption, and results in a relationship with God the Father so intimate as to cry “Abba Father” to Him. Clearly, this speaks of a relationship that is far different from God’s creative fatherhood, by which He is a father in some sense to every living soul. This fatherhood has to do only with those who are justified by faith, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and who have such a relationship with God that ground is established to intimately address Him as Abba.

Galatians 4.5 looks at this matter of adoption from a different angle: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Once again, the adoptive fatherhood of God is in view, but here speaking of the salvation of Gentiles in contrast to Jewish people.

Ephesians 1.5 shows that God’s relationship with His adopted children is inseparable and dependent upon our relationship with Jesus Christ: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.” Thus, that person who knows Jesus Christ as his savior has been predestined by God the Father to be His adopted child.

God’s adoptive fatherhood speaks of a relationship of profound importance, especially to the Roman world of the Apostle Paul’s day, where adoptions were very common, and where adoptions were legally more binding than natural relationships. Thus, as is true here in California, an adopted child actually has more secure legal rights and privileges than natural born children do.

This was no accident on the part of Paul to refer to adoption when explaining the relationship that is established when a sinner comes to Christ. On the contrary. It was all a part of God’s divine plan to show us how strong the relationship between God the Father and His adopted child really is, and how secure in Christ the sinner is as a member of God’s family by means of spiritual adoption.

 

Finally, HIS REGENERATIVE FATHERHOOD

 

The Greco-Roman world was a world of adoptions, hence the references to God’s adoptive fatherhood. However, others place vastly more significance on genealogy and birthrights. Consider what I have chosen to call God’s regenerative fatherhood.

John 1.12-13: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Notice the reference to being born. This is the new birth, and becoming the sons of God by means of regeneration.

Galatians 3.26: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” This is a comforting verse, is it not? When the sinner comes to Christ, when justification by faith in Jesus occurs, that person is immediately born again into God’s family and God becomes his father by means of regeneration.

In First Peter 1.14, the readers are appealed to as obedient children. First Peter 1.17 mentions calling on the Father. However, how does one enter into this relationship with God? First Peter 1.23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” The new birth. Thus, God is your Father by means of the new birth.

First John 3.1-2 speaks strongly to the relationship that exists between the Christian, described as the sons of God, and the Father:

 

1      Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

2      Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

 

God is personal. He is not only personal in the abstract, but He is also personal in the practical and experimental. He interacts with His creatures. He works in people’s lives, hears and answers their prayers, blesses their souls, renews their minds, communes with them in perceptible and cherished ways.

Integral to God being truly and genuinely personal is, as I mentioned last week, God being a Trinity, so that the three Persons of the divine Godhead commune with each other, and actually love each other. One of the divine Persons is God the Father.

There are a number of ways in which the fatherhood of the First Person is revealed, and we have considered four of those ways today: God is the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and unchanging relationship that has existed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

God is also Father by virtue of creation, being the Father over all that is created, in heaven and on earth. This relationship is beneficial to God’s creatures, since He blesses us in many ways through this relationship, though it is not a relationship from which eternal blessings are derived. In other words, God being father to you in this way is no guarantee that you will escape God’s wrath for your sins.

The other two aspects of God’s fatherhood, two that are spoken of so frequently that longtime church attenders may not think of God in any other way, are God as adoptive father and God as regenerative father. That is, a fatherly relationship is established when God adopts a sinner into His family and when a sinner experiences the miracle of the new birth and is born again.

These two relationships are relationships in which God becomes Father to the believer, and are both established at precisely the same time, when the sinner comes to Christ. Come to Jesus and God will adopt you into His family and will be your heavenly Father. Come to Jesus and God will also birth you spiritually in a miraculous way and your will be born into His family and He will be your heavenly Father.

Now, do you see in some small way how important your relationship with your own dad is? It cannot help but affect your relationship with God, and whether or not He is or will be your heavenly Father. As well, it renders undeniable the assertion that God is personal and that if you really are a Christian your relationship with Him will be a personal relationship.

Do you have a personal relationship with God, truly personal? If you do not, it almost certainly reflects the fact that you do not really know Jesus as your savior. Are you all knotted up inside? Do you have father issues? Authority issues, which are related to father issues?

Perhaps you and I need to discuss your relationship with Jesus Christ in a quiet and private setting. Call the church office and leave me a message and I will get back to you. Or, come back into the auditorium after we are dismissed, and you and I can talk right now.

Would it not be wonderful to know God, and to have a heavenly Father? That is my prayer for you.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org