Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Love of the Father


Father's Day
June 18, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


The Father's Heart


Have you ever felt like God has or had it "in for you?" 

God is watching you, kind of like a bug, waiting to squash you?

I want you to turn to Luke 11 verse 11...

a story is told about a popular worship leader and song writer who when away into the mountains to get access to the heart of God and God's love as an inspiration for his music.

He spent the whole day in the quiet of the mountain forest, expecting God to speak to him in some mysterious and grand way, revealing God's love and majesty to him.  But came away at the end of the day, empty handed and disappointed.  God was silent.

When he got home, he quietly walked into his baby son's room where he was sleeping in his crib.  He kissed him on the cheek as he bent over the crib.

Just at that moment, God showed up.  He heard a verse in his memory echoing down through time:

[Luk 11:11-13 NLT] 11 "You fathers--if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

You see, what our friend, the songwriter had missed was the very object lesson that was right in front of him!

HOW MUCH MORE?

Today is Father's Day, and I want to celebrate our father's, our men, here today, but more than that I want to point to a Father who never fails us, whose love never fades, who has proven His unconditional, unfailing love by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to bring us back into relationship with Himself.

Our epistle reading this morning is a key to understanding the heart of the Father:

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand

and a bit further on...



God's love has been poured
 into our hearts through the
 Holy Spirit that has been 
given to us. For while we were
 still weak, at the right time 
Christ died for the ungodly. 
Indeed, rarely will anyone die 
for a righteous person-- 
though perhaps for a good 
person someone might actually 
dare to die. But God proves his
 love for us in that while we 
still were sinners Christ died
 for us.
And Paul also adds:



[Rom 5:10-11 NLT] 
10 For since our friendship 
with God was restored by the 
death of his Son while we were 
still his enemies, we will 
certainly be saved through the
 life of his Son. 11 So now we 
can rejoice in our wonderful 
new relationship with God 
because our Lord Jesus Christ 
has made us friends of God.

Friends of God!!  
Sons and Daughters of God!  
We have been given a privileged 
place - in the heart of the Father!  
Just like the songwriter's son, 
we have a place that can never 
be taken away from us, that will 
never be less or more because 
of what we do or do not do!  
Did you hear me?

I've said this to my girls, "There 
is nothing that you can do that 
will make me love you any less!"  
Now there have been trials of 
that statement!  Like any of our 
children, our fervor of love is 
tested by their behavior 
sometimes, but the Love 
remains.

Remember Jesus statement of 
the Father:   "If you being evil, 
know how to give good gifts to 
your children, HOW MUCH MORE?
 the Father in Heaven?"  
HOW MUCH MORE?

And let me say that God is not 
swayed in His love for you but 
anything you do or do not do?
God is not swayed in His love
 for you but anything you do 
or do not do?

But what about when I'm
 disobedient to God 
(most of the time!)  Do you 
think that your sin has caught 
God by surprise?  That He is 
suddenly mad at you - that your 
hardship is caused by His 
hatred or neglect of your 
cause?  of your circumstances?

Turn with me to Hebrews 12...  
This is the un-fun part!

[Heb 12:4-7, 9-11 ESV] 
4 In your struggle against sin 
you have not yet resisted to the 
point of shedding your blood. 
5 And have you forgotten the 
exhortation that addresses you 
as sons? "My son, do not regard
 lightly the discipline of the Lord,
 nor be weary when reproved by 
him. 6 For the Lord disciplines the 
one he loves, and chastises 
every son whom he receives." 
7 It is for discipline that you have 
to endure. God is treating you 
as sons. For what son is there 
whom his father does not 
discipline?
 ... 9 Besides this, we have had 
earthly fathers who disciplined 
us and we respected them. 
Shall we not much more be 
subject to the Father of spirits 
and live? 10 For they disciplined 
us for a short time as it seemed 
best to them, but he disciplines
 us for our good, that we may 
share his holiness. 11 For the 
moment all discipline seems
 painful rather than pleasant,
 but later it yields the peaceful 
fruit of righteousness to those
 who have been trained by it.

True Fathering is like this.  God is 
not going to be a false Father!  
His love is unchanging, 
constant for us.  

So what does the "discipline" of 
the Lord look like?  is it cancer? 
 is it broken relationships?  
is it the suffering we all 
partake of as a result of the 
fallen world about us?  
is it our sicknesses... illness?  
Does it look the same as the "attacks of the devil?"  Let me ask you a question...
Are the Devil and God the same
 in their nature?  Do they both
 do evil?  Even if Good may come out it?

Can I say it like Paul...  
Not only NO, but HELL NO!

Much of our suffering is the 
work of an enemy!  The result
 of our brokenness and our 
own choices?  Often times the
 only discipline we need is the 
natural consequences of our 
choices.  As earthy fathers 
today, we do our children a 
disservice by divorcing them
 from the consequences of 
their choices.  It only take one
 time to learn that the burner
 is hot! or the knife is sharp!  
We watch our children carefully, 
vigilantly, so that their stupidity 
doesn't cost them more than
 should be necessary for them
 to learn, but God is the perfect
 Father, and he allows us to go
 our own way, do our own 
thing, and then He comes 
alongside, he waits for us to
 return from our pig pen.

Remember the parable of 
the Prodigal Son.  Actually
 and equally, the Parable of 
the Loving Father!
We aren't told how long the 
son was gone, perhaps years... 
yet the Father was still 
standing at the window looking 
out for his return.

That is the picture of the
 Father's Love I want to 
leave you with this morning.  
The prodigal was restored 
to his Father, was given a robe
 and a ring - his Father's ring.  
All the rest of the estate had 
already been reserved for his
 elder brother!  I think that's why
 the elder brother was so 
incensed on his discover of the 
celebration of his brother's 
return.  God love is 
extravagant!  It cost's Him 
something.

It Cost HIM Something...

Let's say John 3:16-17 together...
"For God so loved the world,
 that He gave His only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believes
 in Him, should not perish but 
have everlasting life... 
For God sent not His son 
into the world to condemn 
the world, but that through 
Him, the world might be 
saved." 

The Father loves you.  
You can never change that! 

Don't allow yourself the 
self-indulgent belief that you
 can effect God's love, 
positively or negatively,
 toward you. 
God allows us our freedom, 
our choices AND our
 circumstances.  We are free 
to choose our way in God's
 kingdom but we are never 
free to choose the 
consequences of our choices.

God, the perfect Father 
in Heaven, loves you and 
wants to demonstrate His love
 for you... HAS demonstrated
 His love for you in that
 "while you were still a 
sinner, Christ died for you."  
Now God wants to restore you 
to that place of relationship
 with Him, in Christ and by 
the power of the Holy Spirit!
Let us pray...

God our Father, 
the Father of every family named
 under heaven...
Let the riches of Your Glory, 
Father, strengthen us 
on the inside through the power
 of Your Spirit!
Let Christ dwell in our hearts through faith, 
that we, being rooted and grounded in love 
may gain strength to know and to 
comprehend the fullness of God's Love - 
its breadth - its length - its height - its depth!  
And further to know completely the love of
 Christ that we can never fully know or 
understand.  Lord, fill us with all the 
fullness of God!

Father, you are able to do so much more
, super abundantly more, than we can ever 
ask or than we can even imagine in our 
wildest dreams! Your power and love is 
beyond our grasp, but your power and 
love are in us and working your will, 
day by day.  Let your glory - Father, Son 
and Holy Spirit - be seen in us, your
 Church, your Body, now and always, 
for ever and ever.
Amen!

taken from Ephesians 3:15-21

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