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The Son, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2021 9:00 am

The Son, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 13, 2021 9:00 am

No matter what our relationship was like with our earthly dads, we all carry wounds from our childhood. But our heavenly father can heal all wounds.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. The God who could command the wind and the waves and the meteors and the tsunamis was the God who crawled on his face through Gethsemane, who submitted himself to the horror and darkness and humiliation and torture of the cross so that he could rescue us.

In other words, he was not just mighty in power, he was mighty in love, mighty to save. Happy Monday and welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Okay, think back with me for a minute. When you recall your childhood, what kind of memories do you have specifically of your dad? Maybe he was a great father or maybe your relationship with him was always strained. Maybe he was abusive or just absent.

Well, no matter what your relationship with your dad was like, we all have some kind of father wound that we carry from our childhood because let's face it, none of our dads were perfect. But today Pastor J.D. Greer describes how we can heal from those types of emotional wounds. It's a spiritual healing that comes from a perfect father and it's part of our Christmas series that we've been in called Foretold. Pastor J.D. titled this message The Son. All right, well today we want to reflect on the gift of Jesus to us.

Now I realize that's not crochet at all. Is it a pastor preaching on Jesus as a gift at Christmas? I'm probably the only pastor in America who's doing that.

But there's a reason that I want us to focus on it. Isaiah 9-6, where we have been the last two weeks here, prophesies to us these words, for unto us a son is given. Now as I showed you last week, a little review here, Isaiah 9 is a prophecy. It was a prophecy that was spoken as an answer into a real situation. A real Jewish king named King Ahaz was being threatened by attack from two different enemies. And so God, through Isaiah, tells Ahaz that, he says, I'll help you.

I will help you. But in the midst of this promise to help them, God also made a prophecy to them about a Messiah that wasn't going to be born for 700 years. And so last week we asked the question, how can a prophecy about a Messiah that wouldn't be born for 700 years, how could that help the situation that they were in at the moment? And what we learned was that ultimately our problems require a much more significant solution than simply delivering us from a particular battle or our particular problem.

That's why God gave them not just offer to help in the present, but the promise of a Messiah who would come. Our problem as a race is not simply bad health or bad marriages, or attack from our enemies, or disintegrating families, as bad as those things are. Our problem as a race is our separation from God.

And ultimately all of our earthly problems go back to that root. We cry out to be delivered from bad health. God intended to deliver us from the curse of death that caused bad health.

We cry out to be delivered from injustice and broken relationships. God wants to deliver us from the sin and the selfishness that causes bad relationships. And so God promised a Messiah that would come to save us from our sins and restore us to God by dying on a cross in our place and thereby paying for and destroying the power of sin in our lives. You see Christians believe that ultimate healing begins through a relationship with Jesus, receiving him as Savior and Lord.

Unless you've been restored to God, even if you have earthly peace, great health, great relationships, all the money you could ever hope for, you're still separated from real life, which is God himself, and you stand eternally condemned. So Jesus' first mission was to deal with our sin problem. Now when Jesus comes the second time, as I explained to you, he will restore justice and peace on the earth. Here was the Christmas theology lesson I gave you last week in case you forgot it. The first advent brought relief from our sins. The second advent will bring relief from our suffering. Now some of you asked, well that's all great, that warms my heart, but how does that help me in the present?

I got problems right now. I showed you two things. Again, number one, God does answer prayer in the present. He loves to help his people. He did it in this story in Isaiah 9 and he'll do it for you, many of us here have experienced that, but secondly and more importantly, and y'all, this is one of the most important things you will ever learn. Listen, more importantly, number two, what we get in the present is relationship with him. A relationship that is so valuable and weighty to us that though it does not automatically change our pain, it changes our perspective on it. I told you a quick story last week about my dad, watching him go through a very painful surgery a number of years ago and how when he woke up in the operating room and before they were able to re-administer a certain amount of anesthesia, how much pain he was in and how as he opened and he was coming to consciousness, how he called out for my mother and was just looking for her. And when she came over to him and grabbed his hand, it wasn't like the pain went away, but somehow just her presence there with him changed his perspective on the pain that he was in. Many of you have somebody in your life that has been the same way to you, it didn't take away your pain, but just the fact that they went through it with you changed your perspective on it.

I see it now with my own children. I see how when they are in pain and I am in their presence, that brings a level of comfort to them. Well just think about it, if the presence of someone that you love and loves you brings that kind of comfort to you, can you get your mind around what it's like for God who made the universe and who holds it all in his hand and who loves you more than anyone else ever has loved you, what it would be like for him to be there with you through all of the pain.

If that is true, wouldn't that change how you looked at your pain? To see what God does in Isaiah 9, don't miss this, he describes himself and the Messiah to them in four relational names. God would come to us, he said, but here's your first relational name we looked at, as a wonderful counselor. Jesus would be a counselor. What's a counselor do? He helps us with our problems. He helps, he understands, he sympathizes.

And by the way, he's not one of those counselors that lectures you about your failures and holds them over your head and beats you up with them. In fact, James said of the counselor this, James 1.5, if any of you need wisdom or help, let him ask God who gives help, I love this little phrase, without reproach. You know what without reproach means? It means without saying to you, hey idiot, how did you get yourself in this problem anyway?

That's what it means without reproach. A lot of people are afraid to come to God because they screwed up their own life. When you repent, God does not reproach. He receives and he helps.

Wonderful counselor. The second name we looked at was mighty God. The Messiah was the God who would overcome all of life's dangers. Jesus demonstrated that when he came. The Gospel of Mark, which for whatever reason right now is my favorite Gospel. When I read Gospel, one of the others, that one will become my more favorite. But for right now, the Gospel of Mark is my favorite.

The Gospel of Mark opens up by systematically showing you that Jesus has power over everything that threatens us. The Gospel of Mark, honestly, it opens up like a WWF match. It's like first round, Jesus versus disease, winner, Jesus. Second round, Jesus versus demons, winner, Jesus. Third round, Jesus versus the weather, winner, Jesus. Jesus versus death, winner, Jesus. You get to the end of Mark 5 and it's like Mark is going, anybody else? I mean, I swear, if Mark had been written today, I'm pretty sure it would have opened up with the phrase, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to rumble? He was the mighty God.

To put it in the vernacular, he was kicking tail and Mark was taking names for him. But I showed you that the Messiah was not just mighty in those things, death, disease, demons, disaster, as awesome as that is, he was even more mighty in what he was willing to go through to save us. The God who could command the wind and the waves and the meteors and the tsunamis was the God who crawled on his faith through Gethsemane, who submitted himself to the horror and darkness and humiliation and torture of the cross so that he could rescue us. In other words, he was not just mighty in power, he was mighty in love, mighty to save.

I gave you one of my favorite quotes by the early church. The true strength of a flame, they said, is not shown by its ability to burn upwards. Even a weak flame can burn upwards.

You light a match, a very weak flame, it burns just fine. So the real strength of a flame is shown by its ability to burn downwards. And what the early church fathers were saying by that is, God's glory, the strength of his power was not shown. His majesty was not shown by his ability to create the universe, as awesome as that is. His real majesty and power was shown by the way it burned downwards, how he came and took upon himself our sin.

That's where the true might is shown to us. He is mighty to save. He's mighty God. Today, we are going to look at the next name that God gives to us, the third relational name, and that is verse 6, the Everlasting Father. Everlasting Father.

This is kind of an odd name. If you're not familiar with the Bible or church, it's okay, but let me explain something to you. When Jesus came, he revealed himself as the second person of what we call the Trinity, three persons of the one true God, and Jesus has eternally been the Son of God. Now, this was a description in Isaiah 9 of Jesus, who was the Son of God, and normally in the Bible, the Son is not called the Father. But the reason God gives him this name is because Jesus would be to us relationally like a Father. And I would suggest to you that if there were ever anything that we needed in a Savior, it is a new and restoring Father. For many of you, and I know this as your pastor, for many of you, some of the greatest pain in your life goes back to a messed up relationship to your Father. I know some of you have had good fathers, and I know some of you have sweet memories, but for many of you, a lot of you, it was bad. Maybe he was abusive, maybe he was never there, maybe that was because of divorce, or maybe he just was too busy. Maybe you just remember how disappointed he always seemed to be with you.

Maybe he was never emotionally connected to you, and now it's just awkward when you get around him. That's especially brought to light at Christmas time. I mean, have you had a father? Okay, that's everybody.

That's right. So this applies to you. Sociologists and psychologists have consistently noted that one of the most, if not the most, significant factors that forms how we engage with life as a relationship to our Father. For example, one California school study noted that 98%, 98% of its discipline issues were caused by emotionally damaged young boys whose common characteristic was father loss. I picked up a fascinating book this week by a guy named Stefan Foulter, Dr. Stefan Foulter, called Father Factor, how your father's legacy impacts your career. And what he does in this book is he outlines four types of dysfunctional fathers and what effects they have on your career. I'm going to use some of his categories, and I want to help you see how your relationship with your dad really formed how you look at life, right? And I'm going to show you even God, how these ways that you learn to relate to your dad affect how you even relate to God. I'm going to change some of his names and some of the content, add a lot of my own stuff, but I'm going to follow the categories he listed.

Here's the first one. For many of us, you had the never satisfied dad, the never satisfied dad. This is the dad who no matter what you did, he never seemed to be satisfied with you. This is the parent who was always concerned with how well you did, how you looked, how you compared to the other kids, whether or not you won, how you ranked in your class.

Dr. Foulter says that you can see this style early on. Parents are image conscious, worried about how their four year old is dressed when they go to the park, always comparing how their kids are doing compared to other kids at various stages. The message the kid got, even if it was unspoken, was that he had to achieve something to be worth something.

Even if his parents never said it, the kid got the vibe, you're not smart enough. You're not athletic enough. You're not pretty enough.

You're too fat. You don't try hard enough. You're not really that impressive.

You don't really make me proud. What the kid hears is I'd be happier with you if you were better. If you did more, you'd be worth more. So for kids who grow up in this kind of home, proving themselves to others becomes the dominating theme of their lives.

And naturally they apply it to God. Whatever you do, you have this nagging kind of unspoken doubt, have I done enough? Does God approve of me?

I bet God would be happier with me if only I were more self-disciplined, if only I were bolder in my witness, if only I were more generous. You compare yourself to others and you think, man, if I was like that guy, I bet you God would really be happy with me. If this is you, what you'll see is that your self-image goes in cycles. When you compare yourself favorably to others, you feel great about yourself. You feel approved. But when you compare unfavorably to somebody, your whole system of self-worth is challenged.

And so you go through cycles. Here's your second dad he identifies, the time bomb dad. This is the kind of dad you just never knew quite what to expect from him. If he had a bad day at work, the smallest thing would set him off. You were scared of what he would do when you walked on eggshells around him. Maybe it was alcohol or drugs behind these outbursts or maybe it's just he was under stress or he couldn't control his temper.

But more than once you got hurt, either physically, verbally, emotionally. Your dad kept order in your house through sheer volume or the threat of a blow up. Maybe it was sexual abuse, whatever.

You lived in fear of him. Kids that grow up in this kind of household grow up hating their dads because you can't love somebody you're afraid of and can't trust. A lot of times, by the way, these kids become control freaks because, you see, when their dads exploded for whatever reason, that kid's life crashed. And so they now want to control everything to keep that from happening again. The author said that these kids become like Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor, right after the Japanese attacked in 1941, they established in Pearl Harbor something that is there to this day, a radar system around Pearl Harbor that is so sophisticated that it can detect any movement in the Pacific Ocean in a 5,000 mile radius of Pearl Harbor. That's the way these kids get. They're always on the lookout for the next blow up where it could happen and they're scared to not be fully in control. The author says an incredible number of anxiety disorders have their beginnings in this style of fathering. Well, then they apply this to God. I read of one little girl who, when her father would sexually molest her, he would quote to her Ephesians 6, 1, children, obey your parents to the Lord, for this is right. What do you think that does to her relationship to God? If something bad happens, you think, well, what's God ticked off at me about now? What's God's problem? And you never really learn to love God because you can't love somebody you're afraid of and can't trust.

You might fear God and obey him for that reason, at least on the outside, but you don't love him and you don't want to know him. You resent him. And just like with your dad, you try and control him by doing whatever you got to do to contain him. You go to church, you're a good boy, you do what you think it takes to keep him off your back, but again, you do it all out of duty.

You have no real love for God, no adoration, no craving or desire to know God. The third one he identifies is the emotionally distant dad. This is the kind of dad that was stable, consistent, moral. He never abandoned you or abused you.

He just never expressed emotion to you. This is the television dad, by the way, of the 1950s, leave it to beaver dad, father knows best kind of guy. This kind of dad never abused you. He never cheated on your mom, but he just never made you feel special. There are three things every child needs to hear from his father. I love you, I am proud of you, and you were good, good at certain things.

You never heard those. To hear your dad say I love you would feel awkward. It would have felt awkward then because he just didn't have that kind of connection with you. Hugs with him now are awkward. For some of you, if you call and your dad answers the phone, he immediately yells for your mom to pick up.

Because of that, you never learn to open up emotionally to others, not your spouse, not your kids, not your friends, and you sort of stay at a distance. Well, you apply this to God and you see him as distant. A lot of Christians are like this in church. God is more of an intellectual theory they obey and a judge they report to than a daddy that they love and crave to spend time with. You can tell, by the way, a lot of these guys, because a lot of times they have a hard time showing emotion when they worship in church, it's not demonstrative. I mean, they're good Christians. They obey all the rules, but their worship is more ritual.

You can see it. They just don't have that emotional passion and love for God. They relate to God intellectually, but not really emotionally. People who grew up with this kind of dad usually live with a fear of failure, a sense that when you are in pain, you are alone and you don't emotionally engage in your marriage or with your children. The author says, tragically, a lot of these dads had no idea their emotional distance was causing that kind of emotional pain and conflict.

They thought, I'm doing my job. I'm providing for my family. These men, he said, were clueless that part of being a good provider included emotional nurturing and actual involvement with their children. The author said that this fathering style made up approximately 50% of nuclear families between 1945 and 1980. Here's number four, the absent dad. The absent dad. This is the kind of dad that was just not part of his kid's life. Maybe this dad, your dad walked out on you.

40% of children in America live in fatherless homes. Or maybe he never left, but he was just never there. He was always working.

He never spent time with you or came to your games. Years ago, I filed the most incredible quote by Bo Jackson. Remember him? God, many people argue he was the greatest athlete that's ever lived. He says, quote, my father has never seen me play a football or baseball game. Can you imagine? Here I am, Bo Jackson, one of the so-called premier athletes in the country, and I'm sitting in the locker room, envying every one of my teammates whose dad would come in and just talk with him, have a beer with him after the game. I never experienced that.

Sports Illustrated, 1995. Here's what happens. Children interpret the absence of their dad as a kind of personal rejection. You felt you weren't important to him because you weren't good enough. This produces an incredible sadness in the kid that he doesn't quite understand.

This sadness is accompanied by a fear of aloneness, and a lot of times this mixture of sadness and fear as the kid grows up starts to express itself as anger. There was an article in the News and Observer this week talking about the violence, the gang culture, the high school dropout rates among our teenagers right here in the Triangle. I don't know if you saw this, but our state, North Carolina, ranks number four in the nation in high school dropouts. We got more PhDs per capita in Raleigh-Durham and just about more high school dropouts.

How odd that those things are together. The good news is if you can get past high school here, you'll be a genius. It's produced, this article said by the common characteristic that the father wasn't present. In the absence of a father figure, young men tried to define their masculinity in some other way.

Rebellion, sexual prowess, bragging about athletics, violence and gang activity. Other guys who grew up without a present father figure become overachievers, trying to become the man that their father never was. Please don't miss tomorrow's program when Pastor J.D. Greer introduces you to Jesus, the Everlasting Father, on Summit Life. Well, every once in a while here on the program, we like to do something a little special. We've said a lot over the years about how our gospel partner family is really the fuel that drives this ministry. So we have a very special offer for this week only. From December 13th until December 17th, in addition to our annual 2022 Summit Life Planner that you'd normally receive with your gift, we'll also give each new gospel partner who commits to a regular monthly gift a signed copy of Pastor J.D. 's new prayer book called Just Ask.

We would love it if you'd take a second and learn more about becoming a gospel partner right now at and get your signed book today. And as we look ahead to a new year, a lot of people are setting goals for themselves, whether that's a financial goal, a health goal, whatever it may be. J.D., do you have any thoughts for our listeners as they're kind of looking ahead and making these plans already? No matter what you do, you cannot add any more seconds to your day. So the question is, how do you make the most of your days and how do you use them well? Well, it takes planning. The easiest way to waste your life is not through some big dramatic decision.

It's through not capitalizing on a bunch of small moments. And the first of the year is a great moment to say, God, what have you been doing in my life? What do you want to accomplish in my heart this year? What do you want to accomplish through me? This planner will help you ask some of those questions, examine what God is saying to you through Scripture and in communion with the Holy Spirit. You know, setting goals of any kind is important.

Health goals, education goals, financial goals, those are great, but most important ones are spiritual goals so that you can say when you and I stand before God, I lived 2022 the way that you wanted me to live it. I think this is a tool that will help you get your mind around that and get started on it. Don't miss this resource.

I really think it'll make a difference in your year. Just go to where you can get your copy. For this week only, you can get both the 2022 planner and a signed copy of Pastor JD's new prayer book called Just Ask. And that's when you sign up to become a monthly gospel partner. It's quick and easy, and it means so much to us. And as always, ask for a copy of the 2022 Summit Life Planner when you give a one-time gift today by calling 866-335-5220 or request the planner when you give online at I'm Molly Vidovich, and I'd like to invite you to join us again tomorrow for the conclusion of today's message called The Sun, Part Two here on Summit Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 14:44:52 / 2023-07-09 14:55:04 / 10

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