Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, March 9th. God is holy and perfectly righteous. But the good news is that you can get to know God the Father. The series on the character of God continues. I want you to turn first of all to John chapter 14.
And in John chapter 14, let's just begin with the first verse there so you'll sort of get the context of what Jesus is saying. He says, Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions.
If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And whither I go, you know, and the way you know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not where thou goest, and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Now watch what he says. If you had known me, you should have known my Father also, and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
That is, if you'll show him to us, then we'll be satisfied. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you? And yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. And how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very work's sake. Now if you should ask someone, tell me what you think about God, or describe God as you know him. I wonder how many people would start off by saying God is Father. Most people will say God is Creator, God is Sovereign, God is Lord, God is Merciful, God is Love, God is God of Wrath, God is God of Justice.
They'll name all of these things. The last characteristic that most people will give us about God is that he's our Father. Now when you think of God being a Father, what kind of Father do you think about? Do you think about God the Father as this Father with long gray hair, more like a grandfather than a father, sitting up in heaven on some golden, silver, emerald speckled throne with all these cherubim and seraphim and the wings and the noise and all the things that are going on up there? Or do you think about him as a heavenly Father who's loving, kind, reaches out, pats you on the shoulder? You think of him as a God who's able to smile? You know most people can't think God can smile.
But you know why? Because they see him as a God of Wrath and Justice and Love and Mercy, but even his love and mercy have a different connotation to it. God is a loving, generous, kind, gentle, intimate Father who wants to get down on our level.
That does not mean that he ceases to be holy. When we say that God is transcendent, that means that he is above and beyond all things. But at the same time, he's the kind of loving, heavenly Father who has condescended to be born in the flesh of a baby, come into this world, even willing to be crucified on the cross.
If he's willing to go that route to show me that he loves me, then he's willing to get down on my level and talk to me in a way that I can understand and listen to me in a way that I can know that I'm being understood and listened to. You see, somehow while we see God as the sovereign creator of the universe, we must likewise be able to see him because he did it, we didn't do it, to see the same God who came down in human flesh and the Bible says he became a servant, humbled himself and became a servant to mankind. And do we not say that a father, to be the kind of father he ought to be, ought to serve his wife and serve his children and help them to grow up to be the kind of people that God wants them to be? So somewhere, somewhere in the strata of a transcendent God who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, but who is sovereign above and beyond all things, somehow in our minds, we must be able through the scriptures to watch God not come down from his lofty position as far as his holiness and power is concerned, but to see him move down out of joy and love and concern for us and come down here and mix himself, his life with their life in order of what? Not that we stay down here, but that he might bring us up to the level of oneness with him because one of these days we are going to live up there with him forever and ever and ever. God the father is our eternal father and he'll be that forever.
Now I want to begin tonight by correcting one statement that you'll hear over and over and over again. You'll hear people say, if somebody were to ask you, do you believe in the universal fatherhood of God? God is everybody's father. And they use this phrase in order to deceive or to confuse. For example, if God is the father of all mankind and he's the God of love and goodness and mercy, God is not a God of judgment and wrath. God isn't a God of condemnation.
He's a father. And so the used analogy, would you throw your kids out? Would you do this? Would you do that?
Would you do the other? And they use three scriptures primarily to push this. So let's look at them. Number one, Malachi chapter two, verse 10. And all that sounds real sweet and mushy. The only problem is it's just a big lie. There is a single verse in the scripture to say that God is the father of all mankind, the way the Bible teaches the fatherhood of God.
Now I want you to watch this. Malachi chapter two, verse 10. Now I want you to see the distinction here. Malachi says, have we not all one father hath not one God created us?
You say that's good enough for me. The Bible says all of us have one father, but now watch this. In what way does that teach that all of us have one father? He is speaking of the fact that God is our father by the fact that he ultimately created all mankind. Look, if you will, in Luke chapter three and the last verse, another verse that's oftentimes used. He says, which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. Which means that means that all of humanity are the sons of God.
In creation, yes, the fact that God started with Adam and created him and from Adam, the whole human race has come. Acts 17. When Paul was on Mars Hill, you'll recall verse 22 of 17.
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars Hill and said, you men of Athens I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious. For I passed by and beheld your devotions. I found an altar with this inscription to the unknown God. And the reason they made an altar to the unknown God, they had so many gods, they're afraid they're going to leave that one. So they said to the unknown God, he says, you have an altar to the unknown God, whom therefore you ignorantly worship. Him declare unto you, God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worship with men's hands as though he needed anything seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things, and hath made now watch this, and have made of one blood, all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth and have determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitations, that they should seek the Lord if happily they might feel after him and find him, though he be not far from every one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. And those three passages of Scripture seem to indicate at first the fatherhood of God.
But now here's the distinction. It is one thing for God to have created all mankind, that all of life originated from him. It is one thing to see God as the creator.
Now watch this, because here's the key. And you can even say that God is the father of all mankind. But only if you say that he's the father of all mankind in general.
The thing that makes the difference is this. God is only the father to those who accept him personally as their father. So when a man says that you believe in the fatherhood of God, what you believe in is that God is father only as the creator of all things.
He is not the father of a man who's rejected his son. He's not the father of a man who denies the presence of God. When the Bible says that God is a father, God is spoken of as a personal father in the New Testament to those who have received him as such. We do not believe in the fatherhood of God of all mankind, only in general as the original source as the creator. God is the father of the human race, but only as the creator and the beginning fountainhead of all of creation. But a man cannot say, our father, who art in heaven simply because God created him through Adam, thousands of years ago.
The only man who can say our father, which art in heaven is a man who knows him personally. Everybody cannot pray our father which art in heaven any more than they can say the Lord is my shepherd. The most unbelieving, vile people when they get in trouble, what do they do? They pull out the old Bible and say, well, let me find Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. They don't know anything in the world about Jesus Christ being their shepherd.
What they're looking for is somebody to pull them out of an emergency. The only person who can say the Lord is my shepherd is a man who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior and knows Christ to be his personal shepherd. Because everything else that follows in Psalm 23 is only available to believers. I shall not want. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness.
Now just think about this for a moment. Here's the fellow who's living like the devil, gets in trouble. He says, the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green patches.
He leads me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He has a bit more idea about his soul getting restored than anything in the world. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake. He doesn't mean that. The only part of that verse that appeals to the lost man is the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want and I'm about to die and I need help.
Apart from those two phrases, he doesn't know anything else that passage teaches. There is no such thing as the universal fatherhood of God. But now, how do you and I call upon him his father? We call upon him his father because you and I have had a personal experience with him through Jesus Christ how we were born in to his family.
That's the way you and I can call him father. Anybody who's not born in his family can't call him father. The Bible says that we are accepting the beloved that you and I have been adopted what into the kingdom through Jesus Christ we've become the sons of God by adoption. He says accept the man be born again.
What is he born into? He's born into the family of God. We can say God is my father because we have been adopted into the kingdom we have been born into the kingdom. And the only person who can call God father is one who has accepted Jesus Christ who reveals the father and only through him can he talk about God being his father.
Now I don't want you to forget that. When we think about the fatherhood of God, let's go back to the Old Testament. Somebody says all through the Old Testament Bible teaches that God's father no it doesn't. In the Old Testament Listen, he's the father of the Hebrews.
God is seen in the Old Testament as the father of that nation. Now Jesus came for a number of reasons primarily to die. One of the reasons he came was to reveal the other side of God the true nature of God that the Old Testament Saint couldn't see now watch this you say well now is the Old Testament wrong the New Testament right?
No. Listen, Revelation is progressive from Genesis on with Revelation what's God doing? He keeps pulling up shame. He keeps drawing back the veils.
And what is he doing? But he is enlightening men by simply giving them a deeper and deeper and deeper understanding into the true nature of who God is. So that when we come to the New Testament, what do we find?
We find the very beginning. For example, let's look at the Sermon on the Mount for just a moment. And you recall the last verses of the Sermon on the Mount in chapter seven says while you're turning to chapter five, it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he had taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. Now they knew God as what creator. They knew him as the father of the nation of Israel.
But they didn't have the concept of seeing God as an intimate, warm, personal father to them. When Jesus came, he began to talk about his father. Look, if you will, beginning in chapter five of Matthew. Look in verse 45.
Let's just go through and let me show you something here. Let's look in verse 43 first. You've heard that it's been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your father who is in heaven. For he maketh his son to rise on the evil and on the good, sendeth his reign on the jest and the unjust.
For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? Do not even the publicans the same? If you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others?
Do not the publicans the same? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father, which is in heaven is perfect. Now, chapter six, and verse one, Take heed that you do not your arms before men to be seen of them, otherwise you have no reward of your father. Verse six, But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou prayest, shut thy door, pray to thy father. Verse eight, Be not ye therefore liken unto them, for your father knoweth what things you have need of. And this manner therefore pray ye our father.
Verse 14, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father, we could just go on down through there and all the way down to say the sixth chapter in verse 32. For after all these things that the Gentiles seek for your father knoweth what things you have need of. And verse 11 of chapter seven, If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more should your father which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him, he began to unfold to them a whole new concept that God was a personal father, not just the father of the nation of Israel, and he had a hard time with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Look, if you will, in John chapter eight for a moment. He had a hard time with them, because here's what Jesus says. Jesus says everybody has a spiritual father, and he named the two choices.
He had a big argument going on here. Verse 41. Johnny, you do the deeds of your father, then said they unto him, we be not born of fornication, we have one father, even God. Jesus said to them, If God were your father, you would love me. That is, if God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, Adam and I were your father, you'd love me, he's not your father. You would love me for I proceeded forth and came from God.
Neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech, even because you cannot hear my word, you are of your father, the devil, and the lust of your father, you will do he was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of God. Now God says everybody has the spiritual father. His father is either Jehovah God or Satan himself. So when somebody says well, I don't believe in Jesus Christ, but I do believe God's my father know what they're saying is, if I don't believe in Jesus Christ, my father is the devil.
Now I'll tell you, you'd probably make a lot of enemies into her if you said no, the devil is your dad. But see, that's what Jesus said. Jesus said, you know, if God is your father, you'd love me.
Because you don't love me. He's not your father. Jesus said in the 14th chapter, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me now watch this. There is no way for a person to have a personal relationship with Jehovah God, who desires to be the father of all men personally, there is no way for him to be father until first of all, that person accepts the father son, he's in the son, the sons in him to accept the son is to accept the father to deny the son is to deny the father.
What do you say in that 14th chapter? He says, Thomas, if you've seen me, you've seen the father, the father and I are one I am the father, father and me. How in the world can a man so I believe in God, he's my father, but I don't believe in his son.
You see, biblically, scripturally, doctrinally, theologically, it is absolutely impossible for a man to have God as his father and reject his son. Thank you for listening to God the Father. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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