HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR FATHER GOD?
Like it or not, how you view your earthly father affects how 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 for a moment and recognise that this will likely colour your view of God, because God is revealed to us in His Word as a Father.
2 Corinthians 6:18 (ESV)
and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
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.
But some know Him as a loving Father, whose heart is for you and whose love is infinite.
If you focus on your earthly father you will see faults, if you focus on your Heavenly Father you will see perfect love! Today on Father’s Day, I want to introduce you, or for many of us, remind us, of the incredible heart of your Father.
THE HEART OF YOUR FATHER
When we are talking about the perfect Father, there is no better illustration than 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 does this parable tell us about the characteristics of the Fathers Heart?
- THE HEART OF THE FATHER 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.
God’s love for you is unconditional, (meaning no matter what you do He loves you), unwavering, (meaning it never changes) and unfathomable, (meaning try as you might, you will never exhaust or even understand the depth of the Father’s love).
The world tells us that if you live someone you have to let them do whatever they want. That’s not true! There are consequences…
Does God’s infinite love mean everyone goes to heaven? No, it means that all of us deserve hell because we have all sinned, but God’s mercy and love is there to make a way for us to get to heaven, to have eternal life, if we so choose… by accepting His Son Jesus.
If you go to hell, it’s your choice, not His. If you don’t receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you will go to hell, and it will break God’s Father heart, because He loves you so much, even if you choose to reject His Son.
But if God loves us, why doesn’t He let us all go to heaven? If He did that, heaven would be hell!
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, but note this… the wayward son was still in a pig stye! He wasn’t spared the consequences of his rejection of his father.
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.
If you reject Jesus, there are consequences, in this life and the next! Even as a saved believer, if you willingly sin, you’ll be forgiven, but you still have to face the consequences. Remember, the symbol for Christianity is a cross, not a cushion!
God is a loving Father, and any loving father knows that discipline is part of growing up. Our dad’s sometimes allowed us to feel the consequences of our sin, because that’s how we learn and grow mature. God 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, sit for 10 minutes and observe! Kids step out of line, and kids do need to experience consequences for their actions. But through it all God’s unconditional love is waiting for repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
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!
When you sin, He doesn’t throw you to the lions of consequences, but while you experience these just consequences of your sin, He walks beside you waiting for you to turn to Him. Why? Because He loves you unconditionally.
- THE HEART OF THE FATHER WANTS THE BEST FOR YOU
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.
God has a plan 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, fulfilled and Joyful. 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.
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!
You are God’s special child, and also His special project, and He is faithful… He will never give up on you! You sin, let Him down, reject Him, disobey Him, and He never gives up on you, just like our dads should give up in us. If you turn to the Father today, He will forgive and complete His plan in your life, because He never gives up on you… Never!
- THE HEART OF THE FATHER IS ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU
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, searching the horizon, 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!
The Bible is full of proof that God loves sinners, and when they repent He accepts them and raises them up. Paul attacked and murdered Christians, and God sought him out! David committed adultery, murder, etc. and God made him king.
Picture this… in your darkest moment of sin, in your greatest time of shame, your Father is watching, waiting, not condemning but longing for you to turn to Him. He doesn’t like what He sees you do, but He never stops loving 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?
- THE HEART OF THE FATHER ALWAYS RESPONDS TO REPENTANCE
The story is told about the father on a family holiday who came across a large road sign that read, “Road Closed. Do Not Enter.” The man proceeded around the sign because he was confident it would save them time. His wife and kids weren’t sure, but there was no turning back for this persistent road warrior. After a few kms of dad boasting about how clever he was, they found the road led to a washed-out bridge. He turned the car around and retraced his tracks to the main road. When they arrived at the original warning sign, on the reverse side was written,
Welcome back… Stupid!
Let’s face it, we all do foolish, head strong things. We all think we can go our own way. The prodigal father responded with forgiveness to his son’s repentance. Your Heavenly Father does the same.
2 Peter 3:9
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.
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. If you think sinning is fun, try holiness, it’s the best!
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!
- THE HEART OF THE FATHER WANTS TO RESTORE YOU
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 full sonship. The brother didn’t understand this. He got mad at the father, demanding his brother be taught a lesson. But for the father, his eyes were only on restoring his wayward son.
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 dumb decisions, the pain you caused others, the pain you caused yourself… God is in the restoration business, and today He is calling you home.
IT’S TIME TO GIVE GOD A FATHER’S DAY GIFT…
Today, Father’s Day 2021, and in Father’s Day we all give gifts to our fathers. I’m going to invite you to give a gift to your heavenly Father today… I want you to bless your heavenly Father.
Psalms 103:1 (ESV)
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
As Christians We usually think about God blessing us. Little children think this way about their dads, but as kids grow older, they get the chance to bless their dads back, and I think we should do that today.
When the prodigal son turned his face towards home he was humbled, he was broken, but his father was blessed. Our humility and repentance blesses our Heavenly Father.
However desperately you need Jesus, when you ask Him into your life, You don’t become a slave, you’re a son or daughter of the King of Kings, making you are a prince or a princess. You’re royalty, and royalty honours the king.
It’s high time we gave our Father a gift. Something that reflects our love for Him. As a dad, I can assure you that a misshaped clay bowl, a messy painting or a dodgy looking Father’s Day card means far more than a shop bought gift. Not because the quality is better, but because of the heart of the giver. I’ve told you today about the heart of the Father, so what about your heart responding to the Father?
On a piece of paper I want you to write down 3 things that you can thank God your Father for today. Just between you and God. Doesn’t have to be big, like salvation or your health or your family, but make it something personal, something special, something specific.
This is our moment to bless the Lord, O my soul. Thanking God blesses the heart of the Father, and we don’t do it anywhere near enough!