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Sermons Archive

Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
19 JUNE 1988

Scripture References:

Genesis 2:4-9
Psalm 100:3
Hosea 1:10
Matthew 5:9, 48
Mark 14:36
Luke 3:38
Romans 8:12-17
Galatians 4:1-7

Preparation Verse: (Matthew 7:21)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

There is something interesting about this holiday called Father's Day. It seems to honor only our earthly fathers, and not our heavenly Father who is the Father of us all, and of whom Jesus spoke in our preparation verse.
So today, I would like us to agree to change all of that by honoring Him.
In listing the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Luke records an interesting point in his Gospel, in verse 3:38 –  

38. the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

The fact that God created Adam has brought about the concept of a Father/son relationship; thus Luke records Adam as the son of God.
From the point of view of God being our Father, this concept, however, was not outwardly considered as a Father/son relationship in the Old Testament. His holiness and righteousness were considered too unapproachable for being that of a father.
Even today, many Orthodox Jews will not mention or write the name of God. They refer to Him as "Ha-shem," which translates as "The Name." The separation between Him and His people is considered so immense that, out of reverence for God, one could not dare to even mention His name.
From such a position, it is not hard to understand why they may find it hard to relate to God as their personal Father.
Let's take a closer look at how this position of God as our Father came to pass and, in doing so, let us resolve to strengthen that relationship.
As we read in our Old Testament Lesson verses for this morning, God formed man from the dust of the earth and placed him in the home He had created for him, the Garden of Eden.  (Genesis 2:4-9)

4. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.
5. Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
6. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.
7. Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [soul].
8. The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
9. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The fact of creation was accepted by the Jewish people, but the personal relationship of God as our Father was not understood.
And while we’re considering this Father-son relationship between God and Adam, don’t forget to consider the fact that God also created all of the animals in the same way.
The Hebrew term used in Genesis 2:7, which is translated as “living being” or “living soul” is the same term used to describe all of the other animals that God created.
Yes, they have souls and spirits just as we do.
Doesn’t this also make God the Father of all the animals, too?
I believe it does.
God was providing everything for the care and well-being of His creation, much as any loving father does for his children; but the correlation of approaching God as our Father was not perceived.
In Psalm 100:3, the psalmist writes:

3. Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

To accept God as God, and as our Creator, was most definitely understood. There was also an understanding of accepting God as our shepherd and that we are as His sheep, but not in the same relationship as that of a father.
Only in Hosea 1:10 do we get the literal Old Testament understanding of the Father/child relationship between God and man.

10. Yet the number of the sons of Israel
Will be like the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered;
And it will come about that, in the place
Where it is said to them,
"You are not My people,"
It will be said to them,
"You are the sons of the living God."

Here, in the midst of a condemning prophecy of forthcoming judgment against Israel, Hosea and God assured the people of their ultimate restoration in the kingdom age, numerically, which is not as important, but tells them of the magnitude of His salvation power, and spiritually, which is the only way of getting into heaven, and of understanding the relationship of God as our personal Father.
The message of Hosea can only be understood through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is the grace of God.
Thus from an Old Testament point of view, the concept of God as our Father would have been met, and is still met today, with a questioning, "Father?"
From the New Testament point of view, we begin to see a much different understanding. The entire message is toward our establishing a personal relationship with God.
And remember that all of this understanding came from Jesus, so sometime before His life on earth, at least some of the Jewish people must have begun to acknowledge God as father.
In Galatians 4:1-7, Paul explains part of this relationship and, in particular, to our relationship with our heavenly Father.

1. Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,

Prior to this verse, Paul had been explaining how, through our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are accepted as heirs of Abraham, not according to the flesh, nor of the Law, but according to the promise.
Here in this verse, he is beginning to show us a more personal relationship.
Let's look a little further.

2. but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
3. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

We were held in bondage to our sin. And this sin kept a separation between us and God.

4. But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5. in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

This is extremely important for all of us to understand. God, Himself, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us, and then to bring us to Him, so that He could not only accept us as sons and daughters, but also as joint heirs of all that He possesses.
By this we see the New Testament understanding of this relationship to God as our Father, thus we can exclaim, "Father!"

6. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

When we accept God's gift of salvation, and are born again, this Father relationship with God is intensified through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We acquire a tenderness and a comfort that is hard to explain; and in that state of being, we come to a relationship whereby we can call upon God as one would call upon their own "daddy."

7. Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

How absolutely loving is our God! He provides for our salvation, and desires us to be with Him as a member of "the family."
With this, however, comes the conviction of our responsibility to live as sons and daughters of a holy and righteous God.
And with this in mind, think about what Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:9…

9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [and daughters] of God.

And again in Genesis 5:48…

48. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

In both of these passages, Jesus clearly refers to God as our heavenly Father, and let’s not forget about how He taught us to pray in the first two parts of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-10).

9. “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10. ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven

It is quite clear that Jesus wanted us to fully understand that God is our heavenly Father, and not only our Father, but a Father to the whole of creation.
And this brings us back to our New Testament verses for this morning, Romans 8:12-17.

12. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –  
13. for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

If we are going to live in sin, which includes contributing to the corruption of the earth, God is telling us that we are not His, and we will die.
But if we are putting to death the sin in our lives, we will live with Him forever.

14. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons [children] of God.
15. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons [and daughters] by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

Here, again, is the repeating of the promise of the establishing of this intimate family relationship with God.
And how do we know this?

16. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17. and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.

We must constantly search our souls and question ourselves: "Does the sin in my life bring anguish to my being for all the evil that I have done to other beings, whether human or otherwise?"
If the answer is yes, then we are indeed suffering with Jesus Christ and will be glorified with Him, and we will have that personal family relationship in heaven. We also will get a taste of heaven right here on earth.
And in the process we will bring a taste of heaven to those around us.
But if we are savoring the sin in our lives, then we are building a wall between us and God; and if the process is not reversed, the wall could become a fatal barrier, for we will die behind it.
Even Jesus, while He was upon the earth, called upon His Father in a heart-rending plea on the night before He was crucified. Note Mark 14:36.

36. And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt."

In the Hebrew tradition of the Passover service, the whole cup of wine is consumed with each blessing. It is saying that unless you drink the whole cup, you will not receive the whole blessing.
Jesus knew that He could not just partially atone for our sins. He had to make the complete sacrifice. If He had not, there would be no hope for any of us.
For each of us, His love as Eternal Father, Mighty God, and Brother could not let Him give us up as lost; thus He willingly laid down His life for us so that we might live.
If we truly desire to wish our heavenly Father a Happy Father’s Day, then we should also resolve to live our lives, daily, as He desires us to live.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!
I love You very much!