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God, Our Heavenly Father - Holy One of Israel Part 6

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
September 24, 2022 7:00 am

God, Our Heavenly Father - Holy One of Israel Part 6

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Hey, you know, we're involved in a series here entitled The Holy One of Israel. It's a series all about God. We're studying the attributes of God. We're studying the intrinsic nature of God.

And today, we're going to go on and talk about Part 6. And in Part 6, I want us to look at a part of God's nature that is a strongly and repeatedly mentioned in the Bible, and that is that God is our Heavenly Father. Now, let me say at the outset, in talking about this subject, I understand that I'm treading on some pretty sensitive ground with some of us here, because many of us here today are carrying a lot of baggage in our lives because we had fathers who were not, on the human level, everything that they should have been.

But folks, as followers of Jesus Christ, it is imperative for us to realize that God, our Heavenly Father, is not at all like our earthly fathers were in many cases. He'll never hurt us. He'll never desert us.

He'll never use us or abuse us. He's the best father that anyone could ever have, a perfect father. And the fact that in the Bible, God describes us as His children, and the fact that in the Bible, God happily embraces His role as our Heavenly Father, this fact has enormous ramifications for our lives as followers of Christ, and that's what we're going to talk about today. Now, what does the Bible really say about God being our Heavenly Father? Well, it may surprise you to learn that in the New Testament alone, God is referred to as our Father more than 260 times. In fact, the greatest prayer in all the Bible, the Lord's Prayer, begins, our Father who art in heaven. In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus said, And do not call anyone on earth, Father, for you have one Father, and He is in heaven. It's as though Jesus were saying, Look, if you had an earthly father that you're not very excited about, if you will let God be your Heavenly Father, He will make up to you for all of the things your earthly father fell short in. And Jesus is also saying, Listen, even if you had a great father here on earth, if you'll let God be your Heavenly Father, He'll take it to a level your father even on earth couldn't take it to.

Now, you might say, Well, wait a minute, wait a minute. What is all this talk about if I will let God be my Heavenly Father? God wants to be my Heavenly Father. I mean, my understanding is that God is everybody's Heavenly Father, right? And that everybody on earth is a child of God, right? Well, folks, I'm sorry, but that's not at all what the Bible teaches. As a matter of fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite.

The Bible is clear that every human being is not a child of God, and that God is not a Heavenly Father to every single human being. And to hear God's position on this subject, I want us to listen in on a lively conversation that Jesus had one day with the Jewish leaders of Israel when He was here on earth. John chapter 8.

Let's pick up the conversation. John chapter 8, verse 33. The Jewish leader said to Jesus, We are Abraham's descendants. Jesus replied, verse 37, I know you are Abraham's descendants, verse 39, but if Abraham were truly your father, Jesus says, then you would do the things Abraham did.

As it is, you're trying to kill me. A man who told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham didn't do this, Jesus said. No, Jesus said, you are doing the things that your father does.

Now watch. They protested and said the only father we have is God Himself. Now buckle your seat belt for what Jesus says. Next, verse 42. Jesus said to them, If God were your father, you would love me because I came from God and He sent me. Actually, Jesus said, you belong to your father, the devil. Whoa.

Whoa. What exactly is Jesus saying to these Jewish leaders here? Well, He's saying, in spite of the fact that you're Jewish, in spite of the fact that you're the physical descendants of Abraham, and in spite of the fact that you've got religious performance dripping off of you, oozing off of you, in spite of all of that, God is not your father. In fact, Jesus goes on to say in verse 47, He who belongs to God, hears what God says. The reason you do not hear, He said to them, is that you do not belong to God. Now let's summarize.

What have we seen here? We've seen that the Bible says that as human beings, yes, we're all God's creatures. Yes, we're all God's creation. But it's only when we place our personal faith in Jesus Christ, it's only when we place our personal faith in what He did for us on the cross, it's then and only then that we come into a family relationship with God, where we become God's adopted children through Christ, and He becomes our personal heavenly Father. Listen to what Jesus said about this, John 1-12, to every person who embraces Christ, the Bible says, to those who believe in His name, to them, and I might add to them only, God gives the right, the authority, to become the children of God. It is absolutely imperative, my friends, that we understand this biblical distinction between God's creatures and God's adopted children in Christ, because if we fail to understand this, we will misappropriate large portions of the Bible, we will take promises in the Bible that God made only to His adopted children, and we will wrongly apply them to people who are not God's children. And we'll get ourselves in a peck of theological trouble. Now let me just say, if you're here today and you've never trusted Christ in a real and personal way, this is awful important information for you to have, because what this means is that everybody in the world, God sees them as belonging to one or two families.

That's it. You're in one family or the other. You're either in the family of God because you've trusted Christ and you've been adopted by God through Christ, or you're in the devil's family.

It's pretty much that simple, friends. That's how God splits the world down. And you know what? The people who go to heaven and spend eternity with God are the people who are in God's family. If you're not in God's family, you don't get to do that. You get to go where your Father is and spend eternity with Him, and you're not going to like that, I can tell you.

You're not going to like that. And so I want to urge you, if you're here and you've never trusted Christ, as I said last week, don't walk to the cross. Run to the cross, my friend, and embrace Jesus Christ so you can switch families before it's too late. Now, for those of us who are followers of Christ, who are children of God by adoption through Jesus Christ, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, what do we really get? Well, I want to tell you some of it. I don't have time to tell you all of it, but let me tell you some of the great things we get when we get God as our personal Heavenly Father. Number one, we get a Father who loves us unconditionally, whose love is not based upon how we perform, but a Father who loves us and values us and treasures us just for what we are, warts and all. This is why Paul said, Romans 5-8, God demonstrated the kind of love He has for us, unconditional love, in that while we were yet sinners, while our performance still stunk, Christ died for us.

That's how much He loves us. Hey, number two, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, we get a Father who promises never to abandon us or desert us, Hebrews 13-5. Jesus said, I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. Many of us here know about the awful pain of having a Father walk out on us and desert us at points in our life. Well, I'm here to tell you as a child of God, there is zero risk this will ever happen.

God says, I'll never do that. Number three, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, we get a Father who always puts our needs ahead of His own needs. Many of us grew up in homes where the whole home was centered around meeting the need of the dad. He was there to be served. Well, this is a different Father we get when we get God because God, our Heavenly Father, has as His goal to serve His children. This is why Jesus said, Matthew chapter 20, I did not come to be served, but to serve. And this is why in Philippians 2, talking about the Lord Jesus, it says that He was God in His very nature, and yet He took on the nature of a servant and humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on the cross.

You talk about the ultimate act of serving other people instead of yourself. There it is, the cross. Hey, number four, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, we get a Father who promises to meet all of our earthly needs. Jesus said, Luke 12, and do not set your heart on what you will eat and drink.

Do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows you need them. But you seek His kingdom first, and He'll take care of giving you all these things.

You'll have what you need. Number five, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, we get a Father who's tender and patient with us, a Father who's never abusive or cruel or insensitive or unkind. I love what Psalm 103 says. It says, as a Father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. The verse goes on to say, because He remembers our frame, He remembers we're just made of dust, and He has compassion on us. Number six, almost done, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, number six, we get a Father who's merciful and forgiving. I love what Psalm 103 goes on to say. It says, the Lord doesn't treat us as our sins deserve.

Stop a minute. Is that good news or what? The Lord doesn't treat us as our sins deserve. Thank God for that. And the verse says, nor does He repay us according to our wrongdoings. What a wonderful, wonderful truth that is. And finally, number seven, when we get God as our Heavenly Father, we get a Father who really cares about us, who really takes an interest in our life. 1 Peter 5.7. Peter says, cast all of your cares on God.

Why? Because God cares for you. Now is this an amazing thing that the God of the universe cares about you and me? That He cares about the details of our lives?

Unbelievable. But the Bible says that's the kind of Father we get when we get God as our Father. You know, I remember growing up that I didn't have a dad like this.

My dad took no interest in my life at all. I mean, for all practical purposes, I could have been a picture hanging on the wall or a piece of furniture in the living room in my house, as much interest as my dad took in me. And I remember, as a little boy, many times laying in bed at night and fantasizing about what it would be like to have a dad who really cared about me, a dad who would go to my Little League games and who would go to the meetings at school that had to do with me, who knew the names of my friends and who cared what my goals were and what my dreams were and was interested in helping me achieve them. But you know what? I knew it was never going to be that way.

And it never was that way. And I'll bet many of you perhaps grew up with a dad like that, where you'd lay in bed at night and dream what it would be like to have a dad who really cared about you, was really engaged in your life, and you never had one. Well, I got great news for you, friends. When you get God as your Heavenly Father, you get a father just like that. In fact, when I came to Christ, one of the verses of Scripture that meant so much to me that I held onto for dear life is Psalm 68, verse 5. God is a Father to the fatherless. And that's what I was. I mean, I had a human man who conceived me, but I didn't have a father. I was a fatherless child.

And many of you know what I'm talking about. Here's the promise of God. God says, I'll be a father to the fatherless. And he goes on to say, I'll take lonely people like I was. And he said, and I'll put you into family.

I will. And friends, I'll tell you, as a young Christian, I held onto that verse for dear life because it was a verse of healing in my life. It was a verse that was bringing wholeness and a truth that was bringing wholeness to my life. And I want to challenge you, if you're a follower of Christ, you hold onto that verse, too. So this is God, our Heavenly Father. What a wonderful thing to know. And I've just scratched the surface of what the Bible says about this wonderful relationship that we get with God when we come to him through Christ.

But that's as far as we want to go theologically because we want to stop and ask our most important question, and you know what that is. So, are you ready? You ready? You ready? All right, here we go.

One, two, three. So what? You say, Lon, so what? Say, what difference really does this make?

I mean, this is pretty encouraging. Well, I want to go on and talk about one more thing and really lock this down and put some handles on it. There was one thing about God as our Heavenly Father that I left out of the previous list because I wanted to save it for the so what. And that is that God, when he becomes our Father, well, listen to what Jesus said he becomes. John 15, 1. Jesus said, I am the vine, meaning I'm the trunk, you are the branches, now watch, and my Father is the gardener.

You say, what in the world does that mean? Well, Jesus explains it. He says, every one of my branches that bears fruit, every genuine follower of Christ that's connected to the trunk, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Our Heavenly Father, Jesus says, is a gardener when it comes to our lives.

And as our gardener, Jesus says that God prunes our lives so that we will bear more and more fruit for Jesus Christ as the years go on. I remember a few years ago, I had a garden center come out to my house and look around at my trees and my bushes and they said, these things desperately need to be pruned. And I said, all right, how much is that going to cost? And when they told me I about had a heart attack, I said, Elizabeth, it's the big one. And so I said, what? I said, you've got to be kidding, charging me that much money to walk around here and snip branches off trees and I said, I could do it with a hatchet for nothing.

So I said, no, no, no, no, no, forget it, forget it, forget it. I'm just going to leave him alone and let him just kind of do what comes natural. And the guy said to me, he said, if you do that, these bushes will die. If you just let him do what comes natural, he said, bushes need to be pruned in order to be healthy and trees do too. Well, friends, what do trees want to do naturally? What do bushes want to do naturally?

Well, they just want to spread out and grow in every single direction, but a gardener comes along and says, no, you're not going to do that. We're going to prune you. We're going to add some discipline to your life.

We're going to add some direction to your life. We're going to snip this and we're going to cut that and we're going to deal with this other thing so that you don't squander all your sap just making leaves. We're going to see to it that you break fruit.

That's what a good gardener does. Now, friends, it seems to me that what Jesus is telling us is that this is exactly what God does in our lives. In fact, Hebrews 12 talks about this. Listen, it says, my son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline and do not lose heart when he rebukes you because the Lord disciplines those he loves. He prunes us and he corrects everyone who is his child.

For what child is not disciplined by his or her father? So if you are not disciplined by God, then you do not belong to him. Listen, God doesn't discipline other people's children, just his own. If you are being disciplined by God in some area of your life, that's good news because that means that you're a child of God. God doesn't discipline the devil's children. He doesn't do it. Verse 10, our human fathers disciplined us for a little while, as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good.

He prunes our life for our good so that we may share his holiness. Now, no discipline seems pleasant at the time. Could I repeat that?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time. I just came back from watching my two grandchildren in Boston for a week while my son and my daughter-in-law went on vacation. And they got back while we were still there for a day or so. And when they got back, within a few moments of arriving home, my little grandson Tyler did something that he wasn't supposed to do. And daddy, they headed off to the room. And Tyler started yelling for me, Papa, Papa, help Papa, help Papa.

He did. And I said, son, I'm sorry, I'd love to help you, but the police are back in town, son. That's exactly what I said to him.

The police are back. He didn't have fun in that room. I could hear it outside the room. He wasn't having fun. But what does the Bible say?

No discipline for the time is pleasant. Watch. But, but, later on, it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been exercised thereby.

What does all this mean practically for you and me, friends? Well, you remember the story of Aladdin and the lamp, and you remember the deal. The genie had to do, had to do, what the owner of the lamp said to do.

Whether it was good for Aladdin or not didn't matter. The genie had to do it. Friends, what this means is that God is not the genie in the lamp. God is not obligated to do what you and I want him to do in our lives. He's not obligated to give us what we want the way we want it, and God's highest goal is not to make sure that everything we ask for we get. God is not the genie in the lamp. He is a gardener, and he prunes his children's lives. And what this means is that often, often, God doesn't give us what we want and what we ask for. Why? Why doesn't he?

Well, three reasons, and we're done. Because when it comes to pruning our life, number one, as our gardener, God has a higher purpose for our lives as Christians than to simply make us happy all the time. The genie's job is make Aladdin happy. That's not God's job. God's job, didn't you hear what the verse said? Verse 10, Hebrews 12, God disciplines us for our good.

Why? So that we may share in his holiness, so that we might become godly people. The highest purpose God has in our lives as our Father, my friends, is to build us into men and women of God, to develop our spiritual character, to produce Christ's likeness in our life. And it is always true, I'll say this without exception, it is always true that the things we don't want are the very things we need to produce Christ-like character in our life. Listen, to learn humility, God has to humiliate us.

But I've never heard anybody ever ask for that in prayer. In order to learn dependence on God, God has to put us into situations where we are utterly helpless in ourselves. We don't want that, to learn compassion for others. God has got to send pain and heartache and suffering into our lives. We don't want that. To learn to obey God, God needs to allow some consequences of our disobedience to set in, so that we learn once and for all not to try that again.

We don't want that. Friends, listen, the times where God does not give us what we want, all the ease and the comfort that we ask for, these are the times that God's trying to do something deeper in our life. He's trying to help us grow deeper in our walk with Christ, and He's trying to help us understand His character and His holiness better, and He's trying to form us and shape us into the likeness of Christ. This is God's purpose as our Heavenly Father. And so many times, God will not give us what we want because He is determined to give us what we need. Number two, second reason why God, as our Heavenly Gardener, doesn't always give us what we want, why He's not the genie in the lamp, number two is because often what we ask for is bad for us.

Now, we don't know it's bad for us, but it is. You remember in the Old Testament the story of Samson and Delilah? Man, Samson wanted that woman. He wanted that woman. He wanted that woman. He wanted that woman.

Well, he got her, and he was sorry he got her, too. And you know what? So many times we want something, want something, want something, want something. We ask God for it. We beg for it. And God goes, No, I'm not giving it to you because it's bad for you. And God bless you, son. You don't have enough sense to understand it, but I do.

I'm your father, and that's why I'm not giving it to you. And you may be asking God for some Delilahs in disguise in your life, but God loves you too much to give you something that's going to harm you. Finally, number three, why isn't God the genie in the lamp? Because as our gardener, number three, he often has a bigger and a better plan for us than we're asking for. In our puny mind, we ask for something this big. It's as big as we can think. God says, No, no, no, I got something this big for you. So I'm not going to give you what you're asking for because it's too little and it's too puny.

Let me do for you what I really want to do for you. When I think of this, I think of Naomi and Ruth. You remember the story. Naomi lived in Moab. She had moved there from Bethlehem because of a famine. She had a husband and two sons, and one of her sons was married to Ruth.

You remember the story of Ruth. Anyway, her husband died. And then her two sons, named Melyon and Chilyon, which in Hebrew means weekly and sickly. Now, why would you name your kids weekly and sickly?

I have no idea. But anyway, weekly and sickly died. There you go. And don't you think Naomi spent days praying for her husband to survive and praying for her sons not to die? I'm sure she did. God didn't answer that prayer.

Why not? Because what happened was, after her sons and her husband had died, she was forced to emigrate back to Bethlehem with Ruth, and Ruth was out picking up corn in the field one day on subsistence level when she met Boaz. And Boaz was available. And he saw Ruth, and Ruth saw him, and he went, Yah-ba-dah-ba-doo. Now, in Hebrew, the way you say that is Yah-ba-dah-ba-doo. And they got married, and God took Ruth and Naomi from living on subsistence and made them wealthy. But far more importantly, he took this godly woman, Ruth, and he made her the great-grandmother of a fellow named David, the greatest king of Israel, and made her the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. He had such a huge plan for Ruth and Naomi, but Naomi couldn't see it over there in Moab. God had a bigger thing to do in her life.

Now, at the end, she was able to see it, but not when she was in the middle. And that's so true of us, friends. So often when God finally finishes, we look back and we go, Oh, I get it now. Thank you, Lord.

But when we're going through it, that's not our attitude too often. We're like, Why won't you answer my prayer? Why won't you do this? And I don't understand it. Why are you letting this happen to me?

And why did this? And the good, blah-blah-blah-blah. You know what I'm saying, right?

You understand. And what does God say to us? He says, Look, I'm your father. I know the beginning from the end. I'm eternal. I'm omniscient. I'm omnipotent.

I know it all. So will you just trust me? I'm not going to harm you.

I love you enough to die on the cross for you. Will you just trust me that I know what I'm doing and you're going to like it when I'm done? Well, we're not good at that, are we?

In the flesh. That's hard for us. But friends, this is part of what God's trying to build into our lives, is the ability to trust Him when He throws us in the fiery furnace, to trust Him when we go in the lion's den, to trust Him when we go into jail like Paul had to do, to trust Him when we get shipwrecked like Paul had to do, to trust Him when we have to hide in caves like David did for seven years in the wilderness from Saul. God's trying to teach us that we can trust Him and we need to do it. And when it's all over, like with Joseph, God will take care of us just like He promised. Friends, let me close by saying if you're here today and you're going through some tough times and you're praying and you're asking God for things, you're naming it and claiming it and it ain't happening.

And you're saying, why God? I don't understand. The guy on television says that if I name it and claim it, I'll get it. Well, don't you believe him. He's not telling you the truth. You can name and claim some things all day long and you're not getting them because you don't have Aladdin and the genie.

That's not the setup here, folks. God is not Santa Claus. God is our Heavenly Father and our Gardener. And He prunes our lives and He does what's right for us so that we can share in His holiness and be godly people and so that our lives can count for Christ. That's what it's really all about. And if that's what He's doing in your life, it's going to be unpleasant. I can promise you that.

No discipline at the present is enjoyable. But you know what? My grandson's going to be a better man because his daddy takes him back to the room and prunes his life.

And you know what? I did that to his daddy. And I think I did a pretty good job with the Lord's help. And that's how people grow up to be godly men and women.

They get their lives pruned. Folks, that's how you and I do it. So let me just say, if God's doing that in your life, trust Him. He knows what He's doing.

He's not going to hurt you. And I'll close with the verse from Hebrews 12. It says, verse 9, For we have all had human fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit, should we surrender, should we trust the Father of our souls? I promise you. You trust Him. And even if it's when you get to heaven that you finally understand it all, you're going to shake your head in the affirmative. I promise you. And you're going to say, you know what, Lord? You are absolutely right.

You were. So let's trust Him down here. Let's be men and women of God. Let's pray together. Lord Jesus, thanks for reminding us today as our Heavenly Father, all the wonderful things that you have offered to do for us. But then there, Lord Jesus, are a couple of things that when we learn about your doing for us, we're not quite as excited about, like being our gardener and pruning our lives.

Well, Lord Jesus, like the verse says, no pruning at the present is enjoyable, but afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby. So, Lord Jesus, help us to trust you that you're accomplishing holiness and righteousness and godliness in our life through the tough times. Lord Jesus, help us to rise up and trust you because you are trustworthy as our Heavenly Father. Lord, change our lives because we were here today. Change the very way we are reacting to our problems and our struggles in life. Bring a biblical view, not a worldly view, a biblical view to our struggles and our problems that the peace of God that passes all understanding can guard our hearts and minds in Christ. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. What did God's people say? Amen. What did God say?
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-09 02:04:27 / 2023-01-09 02:16:39 / 12

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