FATHER QUEST (2)
June 23, 2019 | Steve Pixler
We are all born on a quest for our father—for our Heavenly Father.
Malachi 2:10 (ESV): Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
We are born longing for our one Father. But there are two things (among others) that have distorted our concept of God as Father:
(1) FAMILY: Our natural father.
No matter how good dad was, he was a flawed example of God. At best, earthly father are signposts pointing us to the Father. At worst, earthly fathers distort our concept of God through “father-wounds” that must be healed.
This is why Jesus said,
Matthew 23:9 (ESV): “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”
Father-wounds are healed when we PROCESS the reality that earthly fathers are themselves products of their own father wounds. We receive grace to forgive our earthly fathers because we now see them through the love of the Heavenly Father. And we release them from our EXPECTATIONS and FORGIVE them for their sins against us.
All the GAPS left (needs unmet) are the openings through which God the Father becomes real. If dad was perfect, we would worship him (“patriolatry,” to create a cool new word).
Wise dads understand that their greatest joy is to lead their kids to the Father.
3 John 4 (ESV): 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Fathers must be delivered from the fear of fathering. Our job is not to be “Best Dad Ever!” Our job is to point our kids to their ONE FATHER!
Here’s the second thing that distorts our concept of the Father...
(2) RELIGION: Our religious perception of God.
Religion reveals the “wrong side” of God. We see him backwards. We see him from our own broken perspective. Legalistic religion reveals more about us than it does about God.
Exodus 33:18–23 (ESV): 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”
21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
The Law of Moses, which is a paradigm of all human religion, revealed more about the hardness of the human heart than it did about the goodness of God.
Two examples of this:
The woman caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus. (John 8:1-11). Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” Who wanted to kill the woman for committing adultery, Jesus or the religious leaders?
“Can we divorce our wives for any reason?” (Matthew 19:1-12) Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” God accommodated human weakness, but he did not approve of it. The Law highlighted the depravity of sin. “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). The Law was “weak through the flesh” (Romans 8:3).
Religion shows the back of God, but Jesus reveals his face.
2 Corinthians 4:3–6 (ESV): And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
THE FATHER QUEST
Jesus came to reveal the Father.
John 14:9 (ESV): 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 17:3 (ESV): And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
John 17:25–26 (NLT): 25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
Jesus came to break the lies that sin told about the Heavenly Father. The Father sent Jesus into the world and into our heart to tell us the truth about him. Jesus teaches us to call God, “Abba, Father!”
Galatians 4:6 (ESV): And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15–16 (ESV): 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
When we receive the “sonship spirit” of Jesus, it heals our perception of God as Father, which then heals our relationship with our natural father. It also helps men become better fathers as they manifest the Heavenly Father to their children. And this—without one ounce of exaggeration!—beings healing to the world:
Malachi 4:5–6 (ESV): “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”