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JESUS CHRIST IS OUR ETERNAL FATHER

A SERMON DELIVERED AT

THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

14 DECEMBER 1997

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Genesis 5:22, 25-27
Isaiah 9:6-7; 63:15-19; 64:8- 12
John 10:27-30; 17:15-26

Last week we talked about how we need to hold the Lord in our arms, and love Him as we would a little baby, and at the same time let Him hold us in His arms, and love us as His child.

We also need to relate to Him as our loving and Eternal Father, just as we would our Heavenly Father, for the Two are One (John 10:30).

This concept is hard for some people to grasp.

They can understand how a baby is born and grows up into an adult and becomes a father.

But this understanding is earthly in nature.

And by earthly standards, the fathers also dies.

Even the oldest man recorded in Scripture died.

Listen to what we are told in Genesis 5:25-27, after Enoch became the father of Methuselah.

25. And Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.

26. Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters.

27. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.

From our viewpoint, for someone to live for 969 years might seem like an eternity, but it's not in the over all scheme of things.

According to the Bible, he died well over 4,000 years ago, and to be seen as being eternal, he would still have to be alive today.

Thus, even 969 years is far from eternal.

But our Lord is eternal.

He always was, and always will be.

Though He lived as a man for a time, He lives forever as our Eternal Father.

And this is only understandable from a spiritual point of reference, where there is no time.

Let's go back and review once more what Isaiah said in 9:6-7.

6. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

And the Lord our God has accomplished this, and will continue to accomplish it, for the concept of eternity is never ending.

We have an Eternal Father who is always there to uphold us and love us, and the whole of His creation, without reservation.

All we have to do is reach out to Him in the same way as He came to us, as a baby, reaching out to us.

Let's listen to something else that Isaiah said (63:15-19).

Isaiah is writing these words at a time when most of the Israelites had turned away from following God, and only a few people are still reaching out to Him.

Let's put ourselves in the place of one of these faithful few.

To those who are reaching out to the Lord, it must have seemed like God wasn't listening, for everywhere they looked, they saw ungodliness; they saw the hardness of heart expressed in greed, in cruelty, and in many abuses and utter disregard of God's commandments. 

It's from such a soul that these words flow forth.

Let these words flow forth from our heart as well, as we cry out to our Father in heaven.

15. Look down from heaven, and see from Thy holy and glorious habitation;
Where are Thy zeal and Thy mighty deeds?
The stirrings of Thy heart and Thy compassion are restrained toward me.

Have you ever felt depressed and just needed someone to take notice of you, and hold you, and give you the assurance that everything will be all right?

And no one is there but God.

And you know He's there, but even He doesn't seem to be listening to you.

So you cry out again,

16. For Thou art our Father, though Abraham does not know us,
And Israel does not recognize us.
Thou, O Lord, art our Father,
Our Redeemer from of old is Thy name.

In essence, we are saying, "Even if my family and friends and countrymen don't respond to me, You are my Father, Lord, it is from You that I seek my help and salvation."

And if we look at this verse from a New Testament point of view, it was probably just like this for the Jews who came to believe in Jesus as Messiah.

They were rejected by their fellow Jews and no longer considered to be sons of Abraham.

From a personal perspective, in your heart, you know the truth, but no one seems to be listening.  And no one seems to even wanted to hear what you have to say.

The vast majority of the people in the world around us continue in their worldly ways with deaf ears.

Thus, we continue to seek our heavenly Father, on behalf of our family and friends and countrymen, and well as for ourselves.

17. Why, O Lord, dost Thou cause us to stray from Thy ways,
And harden our heart from fearing Thee?
Return for the sake of Thy servants, the tribes of Thy heritage.

We can say the same thing about what is happening to our Nation and the Church.

18. Thy holy people possessed Thy sanctuary for a little while,
Our adversaries have trodden it down.

Is this not what our ungodly world has done?

And what about us?

19. We have become like those over whom Thou hast never ruled,
Like those who were not called by Thy name.

And this is the horrible tragedy; for the Church, on the whole, looks just like the rest of the world around it.

And we feel alone with the truth of our Lord and Father burning in our heart and soul.

And since we see the direction that our nation is heading, and pending destruction ahead, we cry out to our Father again (Isaiah 64:8-12) .

8. But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,
We are the clay, and Thou our potter;
And all of us are the work of Thy hand.

9. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord,
Neither remember iniquity forever;
Behold, look now, all of us are Thy people.

10. Thy holy cities have become a wilderness,
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.

11. Our holy and beautiful house,
Where our fathers praised Thee,
Has been burned by fire;
And all our precious things have become a ruin.

12. Wilt Thou restrain Thyself at these things, O Lord?
Wilt Thou keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?

Our heavenly Father does hear such prayers.

But, He may not always restore that which is holy to the ungodly people, for that would be seen as rewarding evil.

But for those who seek the Lord, our Eternal Father, that remnant, He will preserve.

And one day, yet in the future, He will restore everything.

But in the meantime, we need to remember the words of Jesus, and follow after Him (John 10:27-30).

27. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

28. and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.

29. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

30. "I and the Father are one."

So, no matter how bad things may seem at times, Jesus is always there.

And He will not let the evilness of this world snatch us out of our Father's hand, for it's His hand, too.

We need to hold on to the hope and promise of our Father, that even though this world is heading for destruction, we who follow Him shall receive eternal life.

And if we have ever wondered why our Eternal Father doesn't destroy the evil, now, and take us out of this world, we need to remember Jesus' prayer the night before His crucifixion (John 17:15-26).

15. "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

Jesus didn't pray for the believers to be taken out of the world, for He knew that we were to be His witnesses, His example of Godly living to a world gone mad.

Listen to how He explains this.

16. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

17. "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.

18. "As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19. "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Do we fulfill this commission of our Father, or do we keep quiet and go along with the ways of the world around us?

And no matter what we do, still Jesus continues to pray for us.

20. "I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

21. that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.

If all who call themselves Christians have truly become one with our Eternal Father, then we should no longer see any infighting within the Church.

We should no longer have doctrinal differences or disputes.

And we should truly love one another and all of God's creation.

Likewise, we should no longer be able to keep quiet, for it is through our words of unconditional love and compassion that we will open the door for others to believe in Jesus Christ, our Eternal Father.

And, there is still more to His promise to us.

22. "And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one;

23. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.

Why are we to remain upon this earth?

Because, through our witness, the world will know that Jesus Christ came to us.

They will know that the pain and suffering we cause each other and the animals, and the abuse of the environment is not to God's liking or according to His intent.

They will know these things, even if they don't outwardly acknowledge it.

24. "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.

25. "O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me;

26. and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them."

So, we must ask ourselves, "Is there room in my heart for Jesus?"

And, are we helping to make room in the hearts of other people?

I pray our answer to these questions is, "Yes!"

Amen.

Merry Christmas.

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