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Everlasting Father, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2022 9:00 am

Everlasting Father, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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December 23, 2022 9:00 am

Pastor J.D. continues today to identify four types of father wounds that our Everlasting Father heals and shows us how Jesus fills those longings and is the heavenly Father we’ve always craved.

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Today on Summit Life with JD Greer. You got to stop viewing your Heavenly Father through the lens of the failures of your earthly one and you just start evaluating your earthly father through the lens of the heavenly one. He's the real father. He's the one you're created for and here's what's going to happen.

When you do that, not only are you going to become healthy and not only are you going to heal, but you're also going to develop the ability to love and forgive your earthly father for the way that he failed you. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian, JD Greer. And as always, I'm your host, Molly Vitovich. Hey, Christmas Day is almost here. In fact, we say a big Merry Christmas to you today. We pray that your week has been full of joy and anticipation as you're looking ahead to celebrate with family and friends this weekend. And today we have our final message in our teaching series called Hope Has a Name. Did you know that our relationship with our dads shapes not only our faith and how we view God, but how we also approach life? Whether your earthly dad was gone or whether he was great, we all crave a father who never disappoints or leaves us. Pastor JD continues today to identify four types of father wounds that our everlasting father heals and shows us how Jesus fills those longings and is the heavenly father that we've always craved.

So let's rejoin pastor JD right now in our message titled Everlasting Father. Let me use this moment to say that for some of you, the key to understanding all this is going to be that you're going to have to stop viewing your heavenly father through the lens of your earthly dad. And you're going to have to start viewing your earthly father and evaluating him through the lens of your heavenly dad.

My friend, Jonathan said, this was the turning point for him and his development of a real trust in God. He started to realize that God was the real father. God was the one he was created for, that his dad was just a temporary stand-in. God was the original, his dad was the replica. He said, my earthly dad is supposed to be like a training wheels that teach me about the heavenly father.

And I had some really bad training wheels. They were terrible, but now I know the real father. And that was the point the whole time, which gives me now the ability to cope with the ways that my earthly father failed me.

So again, for many of you, you got to reverse the order. You got to stop viewing your heavenly father through the lens of the failures of your earthly one. And you just start evaluating your earthly father through the lens of the heavenly one. He's the real father. He's the one you're created for.

And here's what's going to happen. When you do that, not only are you going to become healthy and not only are you going to heal, but you're also going to develop the ability to love and forgive your earthly father for the way that he failed you. Because you're going to realize that his failures, though they were painful, they weren't ultimate. And they don't have to be devastating in your life because he was just a temporary stand-in. And the arms that you ache for were the heavenly father's arms, the security you long for, the attention, the love, the unconditional love that you yearn for was things that the heavenly father would give you. And your earthly father was supposed to teach you about that, but he didn't. And now you've got the heavenly father.

And so you can forgive the earthly father for the way he failed you. Number three, third kind of dad here is the emotionally distant dad. The emotionally distant dad. This is the kind of dad who may have been stable and consistent. He never abandoned you or abused you. He just never expressed emotion to you.

He never made you feel special or told you that he was proud of you. The author said that this fathering style made up approximately 50% of nuclear families between 1945 and 1980, causing him to leave it to be her dad. His dads in that generation often just didn't know they were supposed to be emotionally engaged with their children. It just wasn't part of the package, how you understood what a dad did. Chances are that a lot of you in this room, especially if you're a little older, you grew up with a dad like this. One book that I was reading said that there are three things that every child needs to hear from his or her father.

He needs to hear, she needs to hear, I love you, I'm proud of you. And then number three, you are really good at something. You need to hear the father declaring that into your life. But you never heard those. And that left you with an insatiable desire to prove yourself so that you could hear that from somebody.

You wanted to hear from somebody what you long to hear from your earthly father. Years ago, I filed away the most incredible quote by Bo Jackson. 20 years ago, many argue he was the greatest athlete to live in modern history. Most professional in both football and baseball. In this Sports Illustrated article I was reading, he said, quote, my father has never seen me play a football or baseball game, not a single one. Can you imagine, here I am, Bo Jackson, one of the so-called premier athletes in the country, and after the game, I'm sitting in the locker room and I'm looking around at my teammates, some of whom didn't even play, and envying the ones whose dads have come into the locker room to talk with them and take them out after the game to get a drink. I never experienced that.

And I always wanted to. Stefan Poulter said that kids who grew up in an environment like this not only fail to develop a healthy relationship with their fathers, they often struggle to develop healthy relationships with others because they've never learned to open up emotionally with other people, not their spouses, not their kids. They don't really have close friends. And so when people like this go through pain, they tend to go through it all alone. They might be extroverts with lots of acquaintances, but they don't really have friends that they go deep with.

They don't have friends that they depend on and who depend on them. Tragically, he says, this often plays out in a repeating cycle. You end up creating the same kind of emotional distance in your children. But see, I want you to understand your heavenly father isn't like that. Your heavenly father is so emotionally connected to you that, again, you think about Jesus's story in Luke 15 of the father whose prodigal son has wandered away. There's a detail in there that I never really noticed what was being communicated here, but it says that the father stands at the gate of the home every day looking and longing in the distance of the way that his son went.

Here's what occurred to me. The father is an adult. He has a job. If he's standing every day looking in the distance of his son, what is he not doing? He's not doing his job.

He can't do his job because he is so emotionally connected to his child that, listen, he cannot be happy until his son has been restored. Do you understand that you have a heavenly father that is so emotionally connected to you that he has bound up his emotions in yours so that he cannot be happy until you have been redeemed and restored? And when you come home, Jesus tells us in this story, the father in Jesus story lifts up the edges of his robe and he sprints after his son, which was a sign in those days of receiving ridicule and shame that he was willing to undergo to bring his son back home.

That's how connected your heavenly father is to you. By the way, John Piper points out that almost every single parable that Jesus tells ends with an action step. He'll end the parable by saying, and go and do likewise. This is one of the few parables, Piper says, where there is no action step because you're supposed to end this parable not with something to do, but you're supposed to end it in wonder. You're supposed to end it worshiping. You're supposed to say with the apostle John, behold, what kind of love the father has bestowed on me, the one who ran away, the one who scorned him and humiliated, the one who pounded nails into his wrist, the one who betrayed him, the one who put all this shame and pain on him after I had murdered him, that he looked after me and he was so connected to me that he couldn't be happy again until he had restored me. And you're supposed to be consumed with wonder and worship. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high. I cannot really get my mind around it.

He's the heavenly father I've always craved and always looked for before I move on to our last one. If I could just say this one more time to you, dads, maybe the most significant thing you can do for your kids is just be emotionally connected to them. In Stefan Poulter's book, he says that emotionally distanced dads said the tragedy is most of them have no idea the damage that their emotional distance is causing their children. They think, well, I'm doing my job. I'm providing for my children. I'm taking care of them. I'm protecting them. I don't abuse them. I'm being faithful to their mom. They're clueless, he says, that part of being a good provider, the most important part, includes emotional nurturing and active involvement. And I've told you before that, I mean, I've said that to you before, I told you most Christian men feel like they're being good dads if they provide food and shelter for their families. And I always want to be like, really? That's the standard?

Possums provide food and shelter for their offspring. Is that the bar we really want to give for godly fatherhood? I mean, you're supposed to be present in their lives.

Maybe the most present person. You're not supposed to turn over all the discipline to your wife. This is not something that she's supposed to do by herself. That's your job. You ought to share the same intentionality and ownership of their development and their involvement that you ever would at your job. Because you are the one who represents the tenderness of God, the father, to them. And in many ways, the way they learn to think about God is the way they relate to you.

The attention that they get from you reflects the attention they believe they'll get from God. Here's the last one, number four, the absent father. This is the dad, of course, who just wasn't there. 40% of children in America live in fatherless homes, almost half. In some places, of course, that number is much higher.

And here's what happens. Kids often interpret subconsciously the absence of their dad as a personal rejection. They think that they weren't important enough for dad to stay.

They weren't good enough. They may never articulate it. Nobody ever says that to them, but that's what they end up thinking. Counselors say this often manifests itself as a background sadness. It's like a soundtrack that plays in the back of their hearts, which is a great metaphor. You know how sometimes you're watching the scene of a movie and the soundtrack tells you how you're supposed to interpret it. You could change the soundtrack and feel something totally different. You can play ominous music and feel like something bad's about to happen. Play, you know, giddy music and you feel like something funny is going to happen. So for these kids, the background thing happening in their heart in every situation is sadness.

This is probably going to lead to rejection. Any good thing they're experiencing, they're just waiting on the other shoe to drop. They've got this nagging suspicion that life is going to end up alone. Often the sadness and fear starts to express itself as anger. For many fatherless boys, in the absence of a father figure who could demonstrate to them what real masculinity was, they turn to some other way to try and prove their masculinity. Rebellion, athletic or sexual prowess, sometimes even violence or gang activity. One author said that fatherless young men often gravitate toward aggressive heroes like violent action heroes or gangster rap stars because these guys represented a masculinity they never saw in their fathers. Now it's a skewed masculinity to be sure, but it's what they gravitate toward in the absence of authentic masculinity. They never had a dad who got down on the carpet and wrestled with them and showed them what strength under control looked like and showed them how you could leverage strength not to dominate but to protect and empower. And so because they've never seen that, they think that they got to show their strength by dominating others and by using it violently.

Some guys who grow up without a present father figure become overachievers, always trying to be the man that their dad never was, trying to prove themselves so they can receive from others the affirmation they never got from their fathers to have somebody tell them you're worth something and you're good at something. We're glad that you've been with us this week as we've reflected on the birth of our Savior through this short teaching series. We'll finish up our teaching here in a moment, but first let me tell you about a daily email devotional that's available to our Summit Life family. I know we are all on lots of email lists and many of them we just ignore, but let me encourage you that this one will bring great value to you in the new year. In fact, the devotionals even follow along with our current teaching on the program so you can stay plugged into these messages regardless of your schedule. This email might be a step in the direction that you need to establish a regular study of God's Word, so be sure to contact us right away.

To sign up for this free resource, visit us at jdgrier.com slash resources. Thanks for being with us. Now let's get back to the final moments of today's message on Summit Life.

Here's Pastor J.D. Girls with absentee fathers can manifest all this in similar ways. Sometimes they struggle to develop respect for themselves or confidence in their careers. Sometimes in the absence of a father's love, they crave the attention and care from a man that they never got from their dad and they become willing to do whatever they need to do to get it.

Listen to this. One study showed that 90% of female porn models were sexually abused as children. Doesn't that break your heart? By the way, guys, when you're tempted to look at one of these images, why don't you just realize that this image that you're gazing at, most likely she's there because of some kind of sexual trafficking because the majority of them came that way. But the ones that chose that career path did so because for most of them they developed such an unhealthy attitude toward their body when they were a kid because a father figure who was supposed to protect them instead abused them and taught them that what they were really good for was the exploitation of their bodies for the satisfaction of a man. And maybe when you're tempted to look at it, what you ought to think is, maybe I wonder if it was her father or her grandfather or her uncle.

I wonder which one it was that first taught her she was nothing but a sex object to be used and then discarded. You see, many of us come out of places where it may not be that extreme, but there was a wound. There was an open gaping wound that was left by the absence of our father. And what I hope that you will see is that Jesus could not be more opposite than an absentee father. In fact, he tells us in Hebrews 13 five, I will never, never leave you or forsake you.

The Greek word here means never, never, never ever for any reason whatsoever. He wouldn't leave you when you had spurned him. He wouldn't leave you when you'd humiliated him. He wouldn't leave you when you took wings and flew to the ends of the earth. He wouldn't leave you when you made your bed in hell.

Far from being the kind of dad who would walk out on you to pursue a better option. He wouldn't be happy until you had returned home and would give away his life. And in many ways, his honor so that he could take your pain and bring you back home far from using you or abusing you for his own pleasure. He allowed himself to be abused and tortured for you so that you could have eternal life. And as you pounded nails into his hands and wrist, and you said, I don't want you and I don't want to be around you.

And I don't want your counsel. He looked back at you and said, father, forgive them for they don't know what they're doing. That's the heavenly father that you crave. That's the heavenly father that Jesus came to be.

That is the one that you've all we've been searching for. You know, even if you had a good dad, at some point, at some point, even the best dads disappoint. At some point, even the best best dads fail you.

And here's another reality. Even the best dads die. They won't be around forever. And when they die, they can leave this big gaping hole in your heart that you don't know how to feel. That's why I love that word that Isaiah uses, everlasting father. This is a father who never leaves, never disappoints, never fails, never abuses, never dies. He's everlasting from the beginning of your days. He has paid attention to you. And from the time you were in the womb, he's known all about you. And there's not been a single thing that's happened to you that he wasn't watching over and intending for good.

There's not a single feature of your life that he did not know in great detail and delight in and cherish. He is the father that your heart has always craved, whether you've known it or not. So see, I repeat again to you, do not judge your heavenly father by your earthly one. Evaluate your earthly father by your heavenly one.

He's the replica. Your dad was the original. And your dad failed you.

Even the best dads fail. But you've got to direct your attention and turn your eyes now upon Jesus. Because Jesus is the heavenly father that you were created for. And when that happens, you're going to be healthy and you're going to be whole.

And the most remarkable thing might happen. You're going to be able to love and forgive your earthly dad. And you might be able to call him up and say, I want you to know I love you and I forgive you. Because even though there was some strain in our relationship, even though you caused a lot of pain, I know the heavenly father now and he's forgiven me and I forgive you. By the way, if you're a dad who's sitting here feeling overwhelmed by how you have failed, and you're realizing how poor of a reflection you've been of the heavenly father, one of the things you can do is you can call up your son or daughter. You can sit them down and you can say, I just want to tell you, I'm sorry. I have failed you.

I was supposed to be this to you, but I wasn't. And what I really want to teach you now is that you have a heavenly father who was everything to you that I never was. And one of the things you can teach them is you need a savior.

They need a savior. And you can say, I'm looking now to the heavenly father to forgive and restore the mistakes that I've made. The same heavenly father can mend and heal and restore the mistakes that you have made. You see what I realized coming into this place today is that Jesus wants to heal as the everlasting father. He wants to heal the wounds that have been left by your earthly father. And he wants to heal the wounds that life has inflicted on you.

Zephaniah 3 17, he rejoices over you with gladness this morning. He quiets you by his love. He exalts over you with loud singing.

I love that phrase. He will quiet you by his love. Sometimes I'll be at home. I'll be sitting in my office working and I'll hear a distant cry coming from a long way away. And I listen more and it gets closer. It gets louder and louder. I'm like, what is going on?

In fact, this happened a little while back. And I get louder and louder and louder. And I'm like, it's coming for me.

Riot burst through the office door. Tears coming down her face. She's crying.

She's got bloody knees and bloody elbows. And she jumps up in my lap and you know, I'm like, what's wrong? And she's like, just tell me what's wrong. You know, tell me what's wrong.

And she can't, she can't talk. So I just squeeze her and I hold her for a minute. I'm like, it's okay. It's okay. Daddy's here.

Daddy's here. And she keeps, you know, kind of breathing deep and crying. And I'm like, gee, I start praying for her in her ear. She says, take the owies away.

Take the owies away. And I can feel her body just start to relax. And she starts to breathe because she's in the arms of her earthly dad. You see, here's what I know is happening for many of you today. See, life has brought you in here and it's left you with bloody knees and bloody elbows. And here's the thing, nobody sitting next to you has any idea the pain that you come here with.

You don't even know how to express it. You see, here's what's going to happen. I can tell you what's going to happen. When you jump up into the arms of your heavenly father, he is going to quiet you by his love. He's going to start saying things to you like, as high as the heavens are above the earth, that's how great my love is for you. All things in your life are working together for good, that I will protect you, I will keep you, that nothing will touch you, that is not a part of my plan. Nothing can separate you from my love. As high as the heavens are above the earth, that's how great it is. And not height or depth nor principality or power or anything in all creation can separate you from my love.

I knew the end from the beginning. I have turned back all of your enemies. No condemnation belongs to you. You are cherished in my sight. I will never leave you or forsake you.

I will pursue everything in your life for good. I am your heavenly father and I am always on your side and you can be quiet in my love. Because no matter what life has done to you, the love of the heavenly father is greater. This is eternal life, Jesus says, to know him, the heavenly father, and to embrace the love that he has offered to us in Christ. Here's a question. Do you know the love of the heavenly father? Do you know that love? Because if not, you can this very morning. You can this morning.

It's very easy. The gospel is this. The gospel is that the heavenly father, Jesus Christ, left God's throne and he came to earth and he suffered in your place and died for you so he could put away your sin and restore you to the father. But you've got to choose that. You have to choose to receive his love. He won't force it on you. You can receive it by coming home, by surrendering to Jesus as Lord and by receiving Jesus into your life personally as Lord and Savior and everlasting father.

Have you ever done that? You see, you don't get that by growing up in church. You don't get that by becoming more religious. You get it by choosing to let Jesus Christ enter your life and take control of your life and be your savior and your Lord and your everlasting father. If you've never chosen that, you can do that this very morning.

Why don't you bow your heads at all of our campuses if you would. If you've never received Christ as Lord and Savior and everlasting father, here's what you could say. You could say a prayer just like this one. These are not magic words, but if they come from your heart, God will hear them. You could say, Lord Jesus, I am your savior and your everlasting father.

If you hear them, you could say, Lord Jesus, I know. I can sense your love coming for me and I surrender. I surrender to you as Lord and Savior. And I receive you into my life right now.

Say it to him. I receive you into my life right now as Savior and Lord and everlasting father. We're listening to Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Today is the last time that we'll be together before Christmas Day, so thank you. Thank you for joining with us. In fact, today I have a special Christmas message for you from Pastor J.D. Hey, listen, I want to say a special word to our Summit Life listeners and maybe some of you that are joining us for the first time or you're new. We want to thank all of you for being a part of what God has done at what we call it J.D. G.M.

I guess it stands for J.D. Greer Ministries. You have helped us shine the light of the gospel in the darkest corners of the world because of your financial support and most importantly, because of your faith and your prayer. We've seen God multiply our efforts like only God can. Summit listener, especially for those of you that are gospel partners, I just wanted to say thank you.

I'm glad you were able to take a few minutes out of your day to dive into the gospel with us. And that's really what Christmas is about. It's about receiving God's lavish generosity to us and then demonstrating that to the people we love.

This Christmas, a great way to honor Jesus is by giving to help get the message to those who still sit in darkness. And that's what we are about here at Summit Life. So we'd love for you to head over to jdgreer.com. We can show you ways that you can be involved in tangible ways in getting the gospel into the ears and the hearts of people all around the world.

We know this is a busy time for you and your family, but as we celebrate Christmas this weekend, we just wanted to say thank you for setting aside time to join us each and every day. This program is here on the radio and online because of friends like you. As our way of saying thanks for your special year-end gift today, we'd like to send you the brand new 2023 Summit Life Planner. You can request the planner when you visit us online at jdgreer.com.

That's jdgreer.com. If you'd like, you can always mail in your gift and request for the planner to J.D. Greer Ministries, P.O. Box 122-93, Durham, North Carolina, 277-09. I'm Molly Bidevich, inviting you to join us again next week when we'll celebrate Christmas just a little bit longer.

We'll reflect and remember the reason for this season. It's Jesus, the Great I Am. Merry Christmas to you and yours from here at Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-23 10:21:23 / 2022-12-23 10:32:18 / 11

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