The father’s heart is what we want to talk about today, but first, here are some things you will NEVER hear a father say…
Take my wallet and GO CRAZY shopping.
9. No son of mine is going to live under this roof without an earring. Now quit complaining and let’s go to the mall.
- Here honey, you use the remote.7. Well, how ’bout that? I’m lost! Looks like we’ll have to stop and ask for directions.6. Your Mother and I are going away for the weekend … you might want to consider throwing a party.
5. Whaddya wanna go and get a job for? I make plenty of money for you to spend.
4. Hey, let me hold your purse while you try that on.
3. Let’s watch the Romance Channel tonight!
2. Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with your car. Probably one of those doo-hickey thingies.
and the Number 1 thing you’ll never hear a Dad say:
When I was growing up, we had it so easy!
It’s Father’s Day, and while we always celebrate fatherhood on this day, I want to have a look at God, the perfect Father and His heart for you and I. People often get this the wrong way around, looking at their own earthly father and saying he was this or that, therefore I cannot relate to God as a father. Today, let’s do it in reverse, and look at Father heart of God first and work back recognising our own father’s, however good or bad, are dim reflections of the one true Father’s Heart.
Father’s Day is often a day of mixed emotion for many people. For me, I remember the father I have lost, the godly, wise, loving man I called Dad, who went to be with the Lord nearly 3 years ago, but for many you have very mixed emotions when it comes to your father.
HOW DO YOU SEE GOD?
Maybe your father wasn’t in the picture, perhaps he left you early in life. Maybe he only showed up every other weekend, or perhaps he was at home physically but never had time for you. Perhaps he sexually abused you, belted you or maybe, like me, he was kind and loving.
Whatever your view of your earthly father, you need to stop and recognise that this will likely colour your view of God, because God is revealed to us in His Word as a Father. If your dad was kind and loving, you will easily be able to see God as kind and loving. If your dad was harsh or distant, you will tend to see God as that.
While we honour all fathers today, and we have many good ones present, not one of them would claim to be perfect, right? Jesus said….
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
But clearly none of us are perfect. However, God is the perfect father, and He is never too busy for you, never not there and He is never abusive.
Some see God as having a big stick, waiting to scourge you, waiting to punish you when you step out of line. Some live in fear of rejection from Him, fearing that the smallest failure will be punished severely.
If you focus on your earthly father you will see faults, if you focus on your Heavenly Father you will see perfect love in the Father’s Heart!
This Father’s Day, I’m going to ask you to turn it around and change your perception of God the Father. He is not an upgraded version of your earthly father, good or bad, He is the Ultimate Father, so let’s look at what that means for all of us…
HOW DOES GOD SEE YOU?
When God looks at you, He has eyes of pure love. David, a man after God’s own heart, writes
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
In Hebrew, the apple of the eye refers to the pupil, the most delicate, the most precious part. It means you are the most precious part to Him, and hiding in the shadow of your wings is all about His love for you and longing to protect you, care for you, bless you.
When God says He loves you, when He says you are precious, valuable and worth many sparrows, when He says He gave His one and only Son for you, this is love of the highest order… this is unconditional love, and this is the love He has for you!
1 John 3:1(NIV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, God sets the lonely in families,
Are you lonely? Are you burdened? The Father’s Heart is here for you this morning. Let’s look at the characteristics of the perfect Father, your perfect Father, who loves you unconditionally.
Remember, He’s not far away and distant. He’s not waiting to inflict punishment on you when you fall, He is loving, caring and closer than a brother. He has plans for you, to prosper you and not to harm you, and this morning this father’s arms are outstretched to you, saying come unto me.
THE PERFECT FATHER’S HEART
We’ve said God is the perfect Father, but how can we know this? We know the Father’s heart by His Word, and one of the best illustrations for this is this parable…
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
So what are the characteristics of the Fathers Heart?
1. THE FATHER’S HEART LOVES UNCONDITIONALLY
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I cannot even begin to express the depth of God’s love for you. His love is undeserved by any of us, yet it is unconditional and greater than any power in the universe.
I talked last week about Christians having God’s unconditional love for those who we don’t agree with or who persecute us. Unconditional love means exactly that… it does not depend on what you have done, said or thought. It’s there, it’s love, it’s for you and you cannot sin enough to lose it.
Does this mean everyone goes to heaven? No, it means that all of us deserve hell, but God’s mercy and love is there to make a way for us to get to heaven… by accepting His Son. If you don’t receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you will go to hell, and it will break God’s fatherly heart, because He loves you unconditionally. He still loves you if you choose to reject His Son and heap those consequences upon your own head. He never stops loving you.
If He accepted sinful people into heaven, heaven would be hell! We deserve hell, but God in His great love offers a way out, a way to connect again with Him…
In the parable, the father loves his son, even when the son rejects him and blows the family fortune on his own pleasures. At home, abroad, in a brothel or a pig style, the father’s love never changes!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
But hang on a minute, some will say, doesn’t He punish us when we step out of line? Doesn’t bad things happen even to good people? Let’s examine this important question, because some of us need to recognise that unconditional love doesn’t equal a nice, comfortable life. Remember, the symbol for Christianity is a cross, not a cushion!
God is a loving Father, and any loving father will allow you to feel the consequences of your sin, and He will allow discipline. He is more interested in our character than our comfort, but He does limit the hardship we face.
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Have you ever met a child who hasn’t been disciplined? If you haven’t, go to a supermarket and observe! Kids do step out of line, and kids do need to experience consequences for actions. So do we, but if you are going through difficulty right now, it is not the Lord punishing you, leaving you alone to suffer. He is there with you, walking with you, loving you and protecting you. That’s what a father does. However hard, however discouraged you might be, the Father’s Heart is what makes Him walk this road with you, right beside you, unconditionally loving you and seeing you through!
I remember my children trying to walk. They took a few steps then fell, and so I grabbed a cricket bat and beat them… wait, no I didn’t. I helped them up, dusted them off and encouraged them to try again. This is the heart of a father… this is your Heavenly Father’s heart!
2. THE FATHER’S HEART WANTS THE BEST FOR US
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Every person comes into this world with sealed orders… a plan God has for your life. And it’s a great plan, one to prosper you and not cause you harm. A plan giving you a hope and a future, a destiny, the life you long to live. Even if you sin, even if you walk away, God still has His purposes for your life. You may have walked away from God, you may have lost your destiny, but if you come back to Him you can discover it again.
Many of you have had a father who, let’s be frank, put himself first many times. As have you at times. But most earthly fathers want the best for their children. I know I have always wanted my girls to become all they want to be. I’ve always wanted them to marry a Christian. I always prayed for them to come to Christ. Even earthly fathers want the best for you!
But none of the, have the resources that your Heavenly Father does, right?
You are not an accident. You are not a fluke. You are created in the image of God, and He loves you, and has a purpose for your life. Ask Jesus into your life, and you become a child of God, and you begin to move towards the great destiny He has planned for you!
He is not out to punish you, not out to hurt you, not out to limit or control you… He wants the very best for you! But wanting the best for you doesn’t mean granting you every request you make! If you truly love God as a Father, you must trust Him with every request, to grant or not according to His infinite and loving will. He knows everything, we don’t… simple as that!
You can choose to walk away, choose to throw His perfect plan for your life back at Him. Listen, today if you repent and come to Christ, the plan is back on. Look at your life… tell me, are you fulfilled? Have you reached your destiny, or fallen short? Come to the Father today and it’s game on!
3. THE FATHER’S HEART NEVER LOSES HOPE
But we sin, don’t we. We are selfish and want what we want. We do what’s right for us. But no matter what you’ve done, no matter how you’ve sinned, God never gives up on you…
1 Peter 1:3-4
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
You are God’s special child, and also His special project, and He is faithful… He will never give up on you! You sin, you reject Him, you disobey Him, and He never gives up on you. If you turn to the Father today, He’s will forgive and complete His plan in your life.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
He won’t stop if you won’t! He’ll see it through to completion if you will walk with Him.
4. THE FATHER’S HEART IS ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR US
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
All that time the wayward child was away, self indulging and sinning as much as he could, the Father was waiting, looking, praying… the Father saw him from afar, and rushed to welcome the prodigal son home. All that time, He was waiting expectantly, looking, believing for a change of heart.
God sees everything, so you can’t surprise Him. Think your sin drives Him away? You think that if you sin in the dark maybe He doesn’t see?Hardly!
Our excuses are often so pathetic, because He know the truth. As a child my daughter Kira raided the Easter eggs one day and we caught her face covered in chocolate, sitting with her doll in a sea of glittering paper. She blamed her doll for doing it… but we knew! That’s how feeble our denials are to a Father who sees and knows it all!
And loves us anyway… Paul attacked Christians, murdered and persecuted them, and God sought him out! David committed adultery, murder, etc. and God used him and promised him one of his descendants will always reign.
Picture this… in your darkest moment of sin, in your greatest time of shame, your Father is watching, waiting, longing for you to turn to Him. He doesn’t like what He sees you do, but He loves you!
No matter what you’ve done, no matter how selfish or sinful or horrible you’ve been, God your Father is looking out for you, waiting for you, loving you. He’s looking at you right now, waiting for that change of heart, waiting to lavish upon you life and life to the full. Will you push Him away again this morning, or is today the day you give Him the best Father’s Day?
5. THE FATHER’S HEART RESPONDS TO REPENTANCE
Your Heavenly Father waits for you to respond. Many believers look at the Father and see Him as judgemental, punishing them for their failings. And Yes, one day He will judge us and yes, sometimes He let’s us experience the consequences of our sin, but always behind this is the heart of a loving Father, eagerly waiting for you to turn to Him!
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
In Greek, repentance is metanoia , which means a complete reversal of one’s mind, a 180 degree turn, not veering slightly to the good side. It doesn’t mean being sorry for being caught. It’s far deeper than that. The same word is used in
2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
You and I have sinned, even as believers we sin. If we sin, our conscience weighs heavily upon us, and we regret what we’ve done, especially if we are caught. This regret can and will destroy you. So many carry a burden of regret within of things they’ve said and done that fills them with sorrow and kills their joy in life.
But when we bring them to God, when we repent just like the prodigal son, He promises…
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Listen the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. They both are Holy, they both punish sin, but they both long to show mercy to you and me.
Repentance might be painful, it might humble you, but it actually sets you free in a way you have never experienced before. The burden of sin is lifted, the fear of consequences is removed, the joy of the Lord is restored and life, life to the full is the result.
Want to give your Heavenly Father a gift this Father’s Day? Repent and seek Him today! The Father’s Heart responds to repentance, every time!
6. THE FATHER’S HEART WANTS TO RESTORE US
The true aim of the heart of the Father is to restore us. The prodigal returned home hoping at best to just be a servant, but the father restored him to sonship. The brother didn’t understand this. He got mad at the father, demanding his brother be taught a lesson.
But the father, his eyes were only on restoring his wayward son. Not punishing, not teaching him a lesson, but restoring him. And that’s God’s promise to you…
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
Restoration means making something like the years of neglect never happened. Sin is a locust, it eats everything, it slowly destroys you from the inside out. Restore a car and it is like the day it rolled off the showroom floor, and that’s what God promises you.
Those years you’ve wandered away from Him, those years you disobeyed, messed your life up, the pain you caused others, the pain you caused yourself… God is in the restoration business, and today He is calling you home.
FATHER’S DAY IS THE DAY TO SHOW YOUR FATHER YOU LOVE HIM
No one could really say why he ran away. Or perhaps he didn’t, but was kicked out of his home by his father for something foolish that he said or did. Either way, Paco found himself wandering the streets of Madrid, Spain with hopes of entering into a profession that would most likely get him killed – bullfighting. Those who train under a mentor have a good chance of surviving this profession, but Paco’s memory of his mistakes and guilt over what happened blindly drove him to this one way street to suicide.
But that was the last thing his father wanted, which is why he tried something desperate which he desperately hoped would work. There was little to no chance that he would be able to find Paco by wandering the streets of Madrid , so instead he put an advertisement in the local newspaper El Liberal. The advertisement read,
“Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana at noon on Tuesday. All is forgiven! Love, Papa.”
Paco is such a common name in Spain that when the father went to the Hotel Montana the next day at noon there were 800 young men named Paco waiting for their fathers…and waiting for the forgiveness they never thought was possible!
It’s Father’s Day, wayward son and daughter, so what are you going to do? Are you going to take your inheritance and run away to blow it on what you think is a good life? You going to ignore Him and keep doing what you want? Maybe you’ve done that already and have finished in a pig style of a life. Are you happy to sit among the pigs eating the scraps, or are you sensing the call home to your Father?
When the prodigal son turned his face towards home he was humbled, he was broken, he was as the end of his hope. He returned home desperate, hoping at best to just be a servant. But the Father had a surprise for him, and this morning, if you humble yourself and return to the Father, He has a surprise for you too…
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Come home as a servant, become a son or daughter of the King of Kings. You are chosen, you are royalty, you are the apple of His eye, you are the favoured one of the Fathers Heart!
Come home to Him today!