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Everlasting Father

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2022 9:00 am

Everlasting Father

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 22, 2022 9:00 am

Today, Pastor J.D. identifies four types of father wounds from the series “Hope Has a Name” to show us how Jesus came to heal those wounds.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Do you know how much and how often God thinks about you? And there has not been a single day of your life that he has not been present. Do you know how valuable you are to him?

My goodness, he would go through hell itself to be able to redeem you so that you could be with him forever. And that love, that love is deeper and greater and better than any love that you failed to get from your father. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. For many people, calling Jesus Everlasting Father doesn't bring a lot of comfort because some of the greatest pain in their lives has come from their relationship with their earthly father. They can't imagine a dad who's good. Well, today pastor J.D. identifies four types of father wounds that you may perhaps identify with.

And he does this in order to show us how Jesus came to heal those specific types of wounds. So whether your dad was absent or awesome, we want to remind you that Jesus is the Everlasting Father that your heart has always longed for. Let's continue our study in Isaiah chapter nine. Here's pastor J.D. If you have your Bibles this weekend, I'd invite you to take them out and open them to Isaiah chapter nine, Isaiah chapter nine.

Isaiah's prophecy is where we have been, where we are looking at a prophecy that was given about the Messiah nearly 700 years before Jesus had come. As we begin today, I'm just curious how many here at one of our campuses is expecting a baby. You're expecting a child in the coming months here.

Raise your hand. Pregnant, expecting a child. I know we have a number of those in here. One of the many things that they did not cover in my premarital counseling is discussing the difficulty of choosing a name for your kids. I've had to do it four different times in my marriage, and it can be a real relationship tester. There are all these rules about choosing a name that nobody ever tells you about. For example, if you or your spouse ever dated anyone with a certain name, then that name is off limits from now until the end of the world. If you suggest a name to your spouse that reminds your spouse of a girl that she did not like in high school, that name is also off limits, which is something I had to learn. And then you've got to think through first and last names very carefully. If not, you'll be like the Mann family, M-A-N-N, family who named their daughter Anita and sentenced their daughter to go through life declaring Anita Mann. And you can see how that might present a problem. This week in my extensive and highly academic sermon research, I found a list by Craig Groeschel of unfortunate name combinations of actual people that he knew. For example, one person he knew named their daughter Eileen Wright. You can see how awkward that would be.

Certain conversations might get started off on the wrong foot. Or there was another one though. I think this one is just awesome. Lois Price. I just feel like that name just makes me feel close to God, doesn't it? Lois Price.

That just makes me feel happy. Names are important and they can reveal a lot about us. And so I think it's significant to note that when God promised to send a Messiah, he describes him by four important names that reveal to us the kind of savior that he would be to us. And then specifically the problems that he would address in our lives.

His name, Isaiah says, will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. We're gonna dive in this morning on this third name, Everlasting Father. I would suggest to you that if there were ever anything that you and I needed in a savior, any relationship that we needed to be redeemed and restored, it would be our relationships with our fathers. Now, some of you have great dads or you had a great dad and your memories of your dad are fond and they are cherished. But for many of you, you did not have a great relationship with your dad.

And some of the greatest pain in your life comes from your relationship with him. Maybe he was never there. Maybe he abandoned you when you were very little, or maybe you never even knew him. Maybe it wasn't even his fault. Maybe he died early and he wasn't there during some very pivotal moments when you really felt like you needed him.

Or maybe he was physically present, but he wasn't really there, if you know what I mean. He was always too busy for you and he never really paid that much attention to you. Or maybe all you can remember is how disappointed he always seemed to be with you. Or maybe how angry he always seemed to get towards you. Or maybe you never really just felt any connection to him. It's the kind of relationship that you have now where when you call home and he answers the phone and he hears that it's you, he immediately calls for your mother because he doesn't know how to have a meaningful conversation with you. He doesn't have a significant relationship with you where you can actually talk about meaningful things.

Or maybe he was abusive. For whatever reason, there's a lot of pain that gets brought up when you think about him. And so when I say to you that Jesus wants to be your everlasting father, if you're honest, that doesn't do a lot for you.

One of our church members who attends the downtown Durham campus, his name is Jonathan. He wrote a great article that got picked up by the Gospel Coalition website about the difficulty that he has had personally in learning to call God father because of the difficult relationship that he had with his father. He says, and I quote, I was 25 years old before I could say the word father while praying because of the kind of relationship or lack thereof that I have with my dad. Father did not just roll off my tongue the way it did for many of my Christian friends. How could I come to God without fear when I've been scared to go home whenever dad was there? How could I understand God's love and faithfulness when dad left town because he loves something or someone more than me? How can God be a mighty fortress of protection when dad hit instead of hug?

Unfortunately, this is the experience of a lot of people in our society. And as Jonathan indicates, that ends up having a powerful shaping influence on your understanding of God. Sociologist Vern Bingston says in his book, Families and Faith, studies conclusively show that the quality of the child's relationship to the father is the single most important factor in whether the child adopts the faith of the parents. Eric Metaxas points out that almost all of the famous atheists of modernity, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hume, Bertrand Russell, Madeline Marie O'Hare, all of them had one thing in common.

You go back and read their biographies. They all either had an absentee father or a father with whom they had a very traumatic relationship, a father who was abusive or abandoned them. In fact, Sigmund Freud himself noted, nothing is more common than for a young person to lose faith in God when he loses respect for his father. Beyond just the development of our faith, our relationships with our dads can be the most shaping influence on how we approach life. National statistics show that 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. 75% of teenagers in substance abuse centers are from fatherless homes. One of these studies claimed that almost every social ill faced by America's children, almost every single one is related to fatherlessness. In fact, one California study I was looking at noted, get this, that 98% of its discipline issues were caused by emotionally damaged young boys whose common characteristic was father loss. What I wanna do this weekend is identify for you four different types of father wounds and show you how Jesus came to heal those and how he came to become to us our everlasting father.

I'm gonna borrow these from a book called Father Factor, how your father's legacy impacts your career. This is a little unusual of a sermon because I'm gonna use his four types of dysfunctional fathers as anchor points. But when I read this book, I thought that's a perfect way to illustrate the problems that many of us have experienced in relationship with our dad and how Jesus came to redeem that and restore that and why of all the different names he could have chosen, he chose to come as everlasting father. And by the way, I realized that for many of you, this might be a little difficult for us to walk through and it might bring up some painful memories, but I want you if you can to stick with it because my point this weekend is not to try to dredge up your painful past.

It's not to try to beat up your dad. It's to try to point you to the good that God offers us in Jesus and the kind of salvation that he extends to you and what you can experience today. Now, one really quick little theological thing I want to clear up just so it's not confusing. At first, calling Jesus the everlasting father may seem odd since the Bible clearly teaches us that Jesus is the second member of the Trinity and usually referred to as God's son. But here now in Isaiah nine, the son is called the father. This does not mean that he has switched places with God the father in the Trinity, just that Jesus in his relationship to us would be like the father that we have always longed for. This is a term not indicating his position in the Trinity, but the kind of relationship he would extend to us and the wound he would address and the kind of savior that he would be. Does that make sense? All right, here's the first of those four categories.

Number one, Poulter. Stefan Poulter, who is the author of this book, Father Factor, identifies the never satisfied dad. This was the dad who, no matter what you did, never seemed to be proud of you. I knew a pastor's wife who said that her dad was this way. He was not unkind or abusive. He always provided for her. He never left the family. But she said, I never heard the words from my dad. I'm proud of you.

That's what I always craved. She said, I was the first person in my family to ever go to college. Not only did she go, she got a 4.0 and got all kinds of academic honors. As her graduation day approached, she said, you know what I was dreaming about? I wasn't dreaming about walking across the stage and hearing the crowd cheer for all these academic honors I got. I was dreaming about walking down from the stage. And I had this mental kind of dream, this fantasy that when I walked down from the stage, there I'd see my dad pushing his way through the crowd and he'd have tears coming down his face. And he grabbed me and hugged me around my neck and say, oh, sweetheart, we love you so much and we are so proud of you. She said, when my graduation day came, she said, it actually happened just like in my dream. And at least at first I was walking down from the stage after graduation was over and there I see my dad fighting his way through the crowd.

But when he comes up to me, he didn't say, I'm proud of you. He said, hey, your mom and I, it's getting late. We got to go home and try to beat the traffic. And that's all he said.

And he left. She said, I was crushed. I was absolutely crushed. Years later, she says, my counselor tells me, this still affects how I approach my job. It affects how I relate to my husband.

It affects what I expect from my friends. You see, for kids who grew up in this kind of home, often proving themselves to others became the dominating theme of their lives. And understandably, they carried this perspective on themselves into their relationship with God. So that whatever you do, you've got this nagging, unspoken doubt that asks, have I done enough? Or you think, I bet God will be happier with me if I were a better Christian or if I were a better witness or I were a better wife or a mom or a dad.

You constantly compare yourself to others and you're like, yeah, I bet if I were like him or her, I bet then God will be happy with me. But see, your heavenly father could not be more different than the never satisfied dad. Isaiah goes on to tell us in chapter 43, that we as God's children are precious to him.

Precious is a strong word. Then he goes on to tell us in the next couple of chapters in Isaiah, that God pays more attention to us than a mother thinks about her newborn infant. In a verse many of you probably know Isaiah 45, he says, or 549, can a woman forget her nursing child? Could she really have no compassion on the son of her womb? I mean, just ask the question, you ladies that have had children, could you go a whole day without thinking about your newborn child?

That ever happened? Could you go five hours without thinking about your newborn child? I mean, Veronica, my wife, I feel like she couldn't go more than 10 to 15 seconds without thinking about that child. It's almost like Isaiah has to leave the realm of fatherhood and go into the realm of mothers because in general, mothers tend to be more attentive to their children than fathers are.

It was always amazed me how meticulous Veronica was in her attention to the smallest physical characteristics of our children. She would say, JD, did you notice that Ali has a new freckle behind her right ear? And I would be like, now Ali's our second one, right? Is that Ali?

No, I'm just kidding. I wasn't that clueless. But she just was so aware. What Isaiah is saying, it's possible that maybe even a mom could forget, but see, God is more in tune with you.

He's more connected to you than the most love-stricken mother has ever been. We'll get back to our teaching in just a moment. But first, let me tell you about our latest resource created exclusively for our Summit Life listeners. You know, there's nothing magical about the new year, but it does present a natural opportunity for reflection and change. It's a great time to take stock of your life and set some goals for ways that you want to grow in the coming months. Maybe you want to start reading your Bible every day.

Maybe it's a broken relationship that needs mending or an unhealthy habit that you need to break. Whatever it may be, we hope that our 2023 Summit Life day planner will be a great tool to help you prioritize your time and meet these goals. Reserve your copy today with a year-end gift by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgrier.com. Now let's get back to the final moments of our teaching today on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew that not a single hair falls from our head without his knowledge.

My wife is attentive, but I would say there's not a single mom in here that counts the number of hairs on their children's head and knows when one is missing at the end of the day. That's how attentive your Heavenly Father is to you and how connected He is to you. Maybe my favorite description of this is Psalm 139 where David just revels in the knowledge of the Heavenly Father and has toward Him. Psalm 139, oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know me better than anybody else has ever known me. You formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. There's not one accidental thing in me.

Beyond that, wonderful are your works. My soul knows them all very well. Your eyes saw my unformed substance. In other words, when I was just called a fetus, when I was a fetus, I was a person to you and you knew exactly who I was and what was coming and your book were written. Every one of them, every single day that was formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

And you had planned these days and you'd planned experiences and you had planned my life out. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It's high. It just blows my mind.

I can't really get my mind around it. I can't get my mind around where could I go from your spirit? Where could I flee from your presence? If I ascended to heaven, you're there. If I made my bed in Sheol, you'd be there.

Sheol, by the way, is a Hebrew word for hell. Oh, and by the way, we literally did make our bed in hell, didn't we? We made our bed in hell and even there, we couldn't get away from God because God came to earth to take hell in our place. And on the cross, he slept in the bed that we had made.

He took hell into himself and we pounded nails in his wrist. And he said, Father, forgive them. They don't know what they do because he says, you can't get away from me if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the outermost parts of the sea. Even there, your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. Do you ache to be special to somebody? Do you ache to be precious to somebody? You're special and you're precious to God.

You yearn to matter. You matter to him. Do you know how much and how often God thinks about you? Before anybody else knew anything about you, he had fashioned you and designed you and laid out every single one of your days. And there has not been a single day of your life that he has not been present. Do you know how valuable you are to him? My goodness, he would go through hell itself to be able to redeem you so that you could be with him forever. And that love, that love is deeper and greater and better than any love that you failed to get from your father. I don't know how to say this to you, but he is crazy about you and more attentive to you than the most love stricken father. Zephaniah 3.17 is a verse, I've always loved this one. The Lord will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love.

He will exalt over you with loud singing. Yeah, I know a lot of great dads. I really do.

I'll be honest with you. Maybe you know somebody like this. I don't know anybody that sings like about their children. It's almost a little hokey like, oh, Ali, I love you, Ali. I love you, Charis. I think about you all the time.

I mean, it's great, but it's almost like a little like, wow, calm it down there, Jack, if that happens. But here is God. I don't know how to say this, but God is crazy about you. Because everything that you always wanted in a father, this is what God the father is.

He is described in the most incredible ways. And by the way, before I move on to the second father wound, I mean to say something to those of you who are dads. If you want to be a good Christ-like dad, I've got one piece of counsel for you.

It's very simple. Be crazy about your kids and let them know that. Some of the best advice that I ever got about being a parent was given to me by an older pastor who just knew me and was speaking into my life. And he said, let me tell you the mistake that you're going to make as a parent.

He said, I know guys like you. He said, the mistake you're going to make as a parent is you're going to be first to your kids, a pastor, and second, a dad. But your kids don't need a pastor. They need a dad.

I said, what do you mean? He said, a pastor is always in their life telling them what's wrong with them, how to fix it. A dad is just really excited about who they are. A pastor is somebody who lays out a spiritual progress plan and then is always trying to get them to the next stage in the spiritual progress plan.

And a dad is the person who's at their games beaming with pride and yelling his head off. You remember that study that I referenced earlier, families and faith. They point out that the single greatest factor in determining whether your child adopts the faith is the quality of your relationship with them, not the quantity of what you teach them. They actually set those two things in contrast and they say, yeah, religious instruction is important, but the quality of the relationship between the child and the dad is even more important than the amount and the quality of what you teach them, which means, let me just make this really simple. It means that the quality of the devotions that you do with them is not as important as the kind of relationship we have with them where you just go out and you have a good time and you're emotionally connected to them. You guys know I'm all for family devotions. I'm all for you fathers being the primary religious instructors of your children, but I'm just telling you, you've got to focus on the depth and the beauty and the quality of that relationship.

You be crazy about them and you show them that you're crazy about them because that is the way that you emulate the heavenly father. Number two, the author talks about the time bomb dad. The time bomb dad, this is the kind of dad he says you just never know quite what to expect from him. He's got a bad day at work than the smallest thing would set him off and maybe drugs or alcohol magnified those outbursts, but more than once you got hurt verbally, emotionally, or physically. And of course you never really learn to love this kind of dad because it's hard to love somebody that you're terrified of.

Stefan Poulter says that the negative ramifications that come from this are manifold. He says an incredible number of anxiety disorders have their beginnings in this style of fathering. For example, he says kids who grow up like this often become control freaks as a response because you see when their dads exploded, their lives crashed. So now they want to control everything that's going on in their lives to try to keep that from happening again. In counseling that's called hypervigilance. Psychologists say it's similar to PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder where you went through some trauma and so now you're always on the lookout trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. Poulter compares it to the U.S.'s response after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. military put in a radar system so sensitive and so sophisticated it could detect the slightest movement within a 5,000 mile radius of Pearl Harbor. That's the way a lot of these kids grow up. He says always on the lookout for whether the next blow up might happen and scared to not be fully in control of every detail. And this of course has to affect how you see your heavenly father. You have a hard time trusting him or and leaving things in his hand because how could you trust it'll actually take care of you? What happens if he's in a bad mood? What happens if he's not consistent? Just like with your earthly dad, you're always trying to figure out what you got to do to contain him to stay at his good side.

And when something goes wrong, you wonder, well, what did I do now? What's he angry about now? But see your heavenly father could not be more opposite than the time bomb dad. David said, King David again, he says, the Lord is compassionate and gracious. He's slow to anchor when he is abounding in steadfast love. By the way, some of you grew up with dads that were exactly the opposite.

They were abounding in anger and they were slow to show affection. David says the heavenly father, he abounds constantly. He is constant in this tenderness and steadfast love and he's slow to anger. Yes, he will get angry, but it takes a lot to get him going.

In fact, I love this in Hebrew. What it literally says here is of long nostrils, which is just such a great Hebrew metaphor. Like how do big noses, what does that got to do with not being angry?

Here's how it works. When you get angry, what tends to happen? You start breathing, right? You're sick and you're getting mad, your nostrils get flared. And if you're quick to anger, your nostrils get flaring right away. But if you're trying to calm yourself, what are you supposed to do?

Are you supposed to take deep breaths and breathe out slowly and long way through your nose and they goose for a bar or whatever you say to kind of calm yourself down. What he is saying is we hear heavenly father is of long nostrils, not literally, but God is slow to anger and he abounds in love. You can see this in the story that Jesus told about the father who when his son was wandering and he had every right to be angry, instead stood out at the gate of the home every day, longing after his son, just waiting on him to repent, ready to receive him when he comes home. Yes, your heavenly father will sometimes discipline you and sometimes he will allow painful things to happen to you. But listen to me, it is never done in anger for those of us who are his children.

It is always for our good. The writer of Hebrews says that even the best earthly dads, Hebrews 12, 10, even the best earthly dads will sometimes discipline their children for reasons that come from irritation or selfish anger. The writer of Hebrews says, but your heavenly father never disciplines you in anger.

Not a drop of anger affects how he relates to you because all the anger he has toward your sin, he poured out on Jesus and Jesus suffered condemnation and judgment and anger in your place. So none of it is left for you. So every single thing the father does in your life is done with tenderness and love for your good. So Romans 8 28 can boldly declare all things are working together for good in my life. Nothing is done in wrath. Nothing is done in condemnation. Nothing is done to pay me back. All of it got put on Jesus so that now what comes to me is the father's loving control of my life and he's using everything for good. people hear the gospel in 2023 will you join us today when you do we'll say thanks by sending you the annual 2023 summit life planner to help you stay focused on the gospel in the new year this planner will help you stay organized and it also includes bible verses and a bible reading plan to remind you to keep god at the center of every day ask for a copy of the 2023 summit life planner when you give a generous year-end gift today by calling 866-335-5220 or request the planner when you give online at jdgrier.com while you're on the website you'll also want to subscribe to pastor jd's blog the articles go in depth with many of the topics we cover here on the broadcast sign up online at jdgrier.com i'm molly vidovich inviting you to join us tomorrow when we'll finish our study in isaiah 9 be sure to listen friday to summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 10:31:28 / 2022-12-22 10:42:28 / 11

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