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New Hope Christian Fellowship

Who Is Your Father?

WHO IS YOUR FATHER?

Introduction:

            Mart Dehaan, a writer for RBC Ministries relates the following information about fathers:

Some of us have a hard time relating to God the Father.

We sing to the Son, pray to the Son, and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” But when Jesus talks about His Father, He touches issues that may be affecting us more than we realize.

Maybe our problem is that His Father doesn’t answer our prayers as we want Him to. Or we think of Him in terms of the human fathers we have known. Many of us have never even heard our biological father say, “I love you.” Some have inherited a legacy of abandonment, addiction, and even abuse.

Even the best of fathers fail us in life and leave us in death. In one way or another, all of us have been affected by what the Bible calls “the sins of the fathers.”

The Father of Jesus

Scripture doesn’t tell us much about the relationship between Jesus and Joseph, the man who married Jesus’ mother and raised Jesus as his son.

Instead, even at the age of 12, Jesus is found relating to His eternal Father. After staying behind in Jerusalem following the Feast of the Passover, Jesus said to Mary and Joseph, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

Years later when Jesus went public at about the age of 30, He talked a lot about the Father. He told His disciples that He had come to bring them to His Father who was speaking and working through Him (John 14:8-11). When one of them asked Him to show them the Father, He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (v.9). Then, as He was about to complete the work that He said His Father had given Him to do, Jesus told His friends that He was leaving to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2). He said, “I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

From all that Jesus says about His Father, it’s clear that He wants us to love and trust His Father as He does. 

Background thought:  Verses 31-36 of chapter 8 reveal the type of belief that Jesus requires for those who claim to be His followers, a faith which required abiding in His word.  Today’s text continues the dialogue from last week.  Jesus is addressing the assertion of His Jewish audience that they did not need to be set free from bondage.         

Text:  John 8:37-47

Prayer

CTS:  Today I would like to share with you three ways to affirm God is your Father.

God is your Father, if you are choosing to:

DO THE DEEDS OF ABRAHAM (VV. 37-41a)

Explanation:

            Verse 37 of our text reveals a couple of startling facts to us.  First of all, let’s remember that Jesus is, according to the context of our passage, talking with people who allegedly have believed in His testimony.  Continuing His thought about being set free from the bondage of sin, Jesus agrees with the statement of His audience that they are, from a physical standpoint, descendants of Abraham, but based upon their actions (their desire to kill Jesus), they are not spiritual descendants (Vs 37a).  Jesus even provides the reason they are not spiritual descendants of Abraham, because His word is not in them.

            Verse 38 provides the spiritual diagnosis of their murderous disagreement.  This audience that allegedly believed in Jesus had a different desire in their hearts.  They did not desire to know the word of God, resulting in their rebellious attitude toward the word Jesus was offering them.  Their desire was to do as they saw fit with their lives.  Thus, they did not have the words of Jesus in them (Vs 37b).

            Jesus also clarifies the difficulty of trying to serve two masters, or, in this case, two fathers.  Jesus identifies that He is speaking wisdom that comes from His Father in heaven (38a).  Those who refused the instruction of Jesus would continue doing the things they have heard from a different father (38b).  With Jesus bringing His Father up in the dialogue, the concept of fatherhood is brought to the forefront of the discussion at hand.

            In response, the alleged believing audience identifies that their father is Abraham (Vs 39a), which, as Jesus acknowledged earlier, is true.  However, here is where we see the difference between being physically and spiritually related to a father.  Jesus responds with a simple resolution that if Abraham is their father, then do the works of Abraham (Vs 39b).  However, such works by these people would be impossible.  Jesus tells them why in the next verse.

            They could not do the works of Abraham because their desire was to destroy God’s plan of salvation.  Though the text does not state this thought directly, it does say that they possessed the desire to end Jesus’ life, the sooner, the better (Vs 40a).  Such was the desire of those who rejected the word of Jesus.   Such behavior was not characteristic of Abraham (40b).  The desire of Jesus’ audience was to do the works of this other father that Jesus was about to radically expose.  Abraham’s desire was to please God in all things.  Let’s take a look at a few examples in God’s word.

Illustration:

            Hebrews 11:8-10 (left his people for God), 17-19 (willingness to sacrifice his son); James 2:18-23 (Abraham’s belief wrought works).  As you can see, Abraham’s works were wrought out of his faith in God.  His faith in God was zealous to the point of being willing to leave the comforts of life as he knew it to seek out God’s blessing upon his life.  Such zeal was to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own son at God’s command, confident that God would raise his son up in order that God would keep His promise to Abraham.

Application:

            The point of application for you and me is to pursue the spiritual works of Abraham through living out a life that we have given to God as a living sacrifice. 

DEMONSTRATE A PASSIONATE LOVE FOR CHRIST (VV. 41b-43)

Explanation:

            The second part of verse 41 identifies an anxiousness of the hearts in the listening audience.  The result is their trying to discredit the lineage of Jesus.  They state that they were not born of fornication, possibly implying that Jesus, without acknowledging God’s involvement, was born in an illegitimate manner.  The word on the street was that Mary was pregnant before Joseph married her.  A heart can act pretty wicked when it is submitting to the wrong father.  They have now changed their testimony about who their father is.  They no longer are trying to cling to earthly lineage, but now are appealing to the title placed upon the Jews as being God’s people, claiming that they have only one Father, God (41b).  Jesus, once again, shatters their perception of righteousness that resulted in their seeing no need for Christ.

            Jesus tells them that if God was their Father, they would love Jesus, and thus accept His testimony.  Why would they want to do that?  Jesus clarifies the value of His word, creating an intimate picture of His relationship with His Father in heaven, and that this word is not His own, but word sent by the Father of whom they were claiming to be children (Vs 42).

            The response of these Jews was one of a continued rebellious attitude.  They were once again revealing the loyalty to the father they had chosen.  The result was they could not hear the words of life Jesus was providing (Vs 43).

Illustration

            John 14:12-24 – Jesus makes some amazing promises to those who choose to love Him.  This passage clearly indicates the attitude and devotion of one who has God as his or her Father.

Application:

            The point of application is for you and me to pursue a conscious love for Christ.  As we have been reminded so many times before, such love involves spending time with God daily in prayer, His word, and time with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

REJECT THE FATHER OF LIES (VV. 44-47)

Explanation:

            Jesus reveals this other father that is distracting, and, in most cases, leading people away from the God they are suppose to be claiming is their Father.  This father is Satan (Vs 44).  Jesus goes on to explain the characteristic qualities of Satan as a father.  If you think about the qualities of a father, most understand the father as being the lead role in a family.  Normally, the family members are heavily influenced by his leadership, and, in many respects, strive to emulate his behavior.  With such a perception of a father, Satan’s characteristics are most destructive.  Jesus assigns these listeners to Satan’s family.  Jesus identifies Satan as a murderer from the beginning (Vs 44b), one that does not possess the truth (Vs 44c), and clarifies that Satan is the father of lies (Vs 44d).  Considering the behavior of these people, it is quite clear that they have chosen Satan as their father.  The remainder of the passage makes it quite clear.  Because of their family affiliation, these people could not nor would hear or understand the words of Christ.

Illustration

            2 Chronicles 7:14 – God requires that for an intimate relationship to be present between He and His people, they must seek God, humble themselves, and turn from their wicked ways.  So it is with all who have placed their trust in God.  A person cannot come to Christ until he or she recognizes their wicked state, chooses to humble his or herself before God, ask for forgiveness, and commit to allowing God to turn them from their wicked way.  In the process, a believer is choosing to call upon the Father of truth.

Application:

            The point of application is for you and me to willfully choose to establish a defensive plan orchestrated by God to flee from evil, and to cling to that which is good, God’s righteousness.

Conclusion: 

            The question for you today is “Have you recognized your need to reconcile with your father?”  You can’t reconcile any relationship in a way that honors God until you have first reconciled with Him.  When you do, God, your eternal Father, will enable you to reconcile with not only your father on Earth, but with every broken relationship you are involved in.  Don’t delay.  Your Father in heaven is calling for you today!


REFERENCES

 Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19 (New American Standard Bible)

 8By faith (A)Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to (B)receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

 9By faith he lived as an alien in (C)the land of promise, as in a foreign land, (D)dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, (E)fellow heirs of the same promise;

 10for he was looking for (F)the city which has (G)foundations, (H)whose architect and builder is God.

 17By faith (A)Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had (B)received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

 18it was he to whom it was said, "(C)IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED."

 19He considered that (D)God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a (E)type.

James 2:18-23 (New American Standard Bible)

 18(A)But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your (B)faith without the works, and I will (C)show you my faith (D)by my works."

 19You believe that [a](E)God is one (F)You do well; (G)the demons also believe, and shudder.

 20But are you willing to recognize, (H)you foolish fellow, that (I)faith without works is useless?

 21(J)Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

 22You see that (K)faith was working with his works, and as a result of the (L)works, faith was perfected;

 23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "(M)AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called (N)the friend of God.

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BOOKMARK John 14:12-24

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2 Chronicles 7:14 (New American Standard Bible)

 14(A)and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 


WHO IS YOUR FATHER?

INTRODUCTION:  

BACKGROUND THOUGHT

SCRIPTURE: JOHN 8:37-47

CTS:   three ways to affirm God is your Father.

God is your Father, if you are choosing to:

I.   DO THE DEEDS OF ABRAHAM (VV. 37-41a)

  • EXPLANATION:  ABRAHAM’S DESCENDANTS
    • PHYSICALLY – YES; SPIRITUALLY – NO (THEY SOUGHT TO KILL)
    • JESUS’ FATHER VS THEIR FATHER
    • IF YOU ARE ABRAHAM’S DESCENDANTS, DO HIS WORKS
  • ILLUSTRATION:     HEBREWS 11:8-10, 17-19; JAMES 2:18-23
  • APPLICATION:        PURSUE THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM

II.  DEMONSTRATE A PASSIONATE LOVE FOR CHRIST (VV. 41b-43)

  • EXPLANATION:      FORNICATION IMPLIED / GOD IS OUR FATHER
  • ILLUSTRATION:     JOHN 14:12-24
  • APPLICATION:        PURSUE A CONSCIOUS LOVE FOR CHRIST
  1. III.           REJECT THE FATHER OF LIES (VV. 44-47)
  • EXPLANATION:      SATAN IS THE FATHER OF LIES – THEIR FATHER
  • ILLUSTRATION:     2 CHRONICLES 7:14
  • APPLICATION:        A DEFENSIVE PLAN; RELY ON GOD’S POWER
  1. IV.              CONCLUSION:  ARE YOU & YOUR FATHER RECONCILED?
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