The Heart of the Father
Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne
We have been looking at God over the last few weeks. We discovered that He is the creator and sustainer of the Universe, the creator and sustainer of our marvellous bodies, and that He is above all other gods, ancient and modern. Last week Kenny looked at the attacks on fatherhood in our nation.
We have learned about the ancient demonic goddess Ishtar and her deliberate, sustained attack on manhood. This demonic force is behind the insane drive towards emasculating men, transgenderism, bisexuality, and the like in our time. Remember…
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Despite what the Gay BC might want to report, this not hate speech. We do not hate LGBTEFGHIJK people. We love and respect them as human beings, but we refuse to condone their actions and say that God accepts their sin in the name of love. God is love, but He is also still holy and just, as well as loving and forgiving.
THE SINISTER AGENDA
Why is there such a concerted effort towards destroying normal sexuality? What’s the agenda? It’s to destroy God’s creation,
Genesis 1:27 (ESV)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And part of the reasoning behind destroying gender is the emasculation of males and especially the role of a father. Why attack fatherhood?
God chose to reveal Himself as a Father to us, not a mother or a bisexual or a transgender god like Ishtar, but as a Father. The Church of England is opening discussions on using gender neutral terms for God, and the 2011 NIV translation is already gender neutral. Rev Dr Ian Paul in the Telegraph said, “The fact that God is called ‘Father’ can’t be substituted by ‘Mother’ without changing meaning, nor can it be gender-neutralised to ‘Parent’ without loss of meaning. “Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable but relate to their offspring in different ways.”
The Bible says that God is creator, King, Lord, and Father. But sometimes our view of God as a Father is affected by our relationship with our earthy father.
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR FATHER GOD?
I had a wonderful, loving, godly father, but I know many of you have not had this. For some, you lived in terror of his moods or his belt. 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 or physically abused you.
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 chose to reveal Himself 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 smash you, waiting to punish you when you step out of line. Others live in fear of rejection from Him, fearing that the smallest failure will see Him reject you. Some can’t believe that he loves us at all. But many here will 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!
The greatest illustration in the Bible of the unconditional love of a father is found in Luke 15.
THE FATHER’S HEART…
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.
This parable shows us a lot about God the Father’s Heart? And why are Ishtar and others like the media and governments trying to remove maleness and fatherhood from our culture? Because if you take fatherhood away you miss these incredible blessings and connections to God, your Heavenly Father.
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.
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 the depth of the Father’s love).
The world tells us that if you love someone you have to let them do whatever they want. That’s not true! Love can still be there, but are consequences to actions…
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! Heaven is without sin, so unless your sins are forgiven, you can’t make it. But if you accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, your sin is automatically forgiven.
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 pigsty! He wasn’t spared the consequences of his rejection of his father. He was where he chose to be by his actions, but his father waited for him.
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 in eternity! Even as a saved believer, if you willingly sin and disobey the Father, you’ll be forgiven, but you still have to face the consequences. Remember, the symbol for Christianity is a cross, not a cushion! God’s unconditional love is not a licence to sin!
God is a loving Father, and any loving father knows that discipline is part of parenting. Our dads 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 ten 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 always waiting for repentance and restoration.
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 just throw you to the lions of your consequences, but while you experience these fair and just consequences of your sin, He walks beside you waiting for you to turn to Him. Why? Because He loves you unconditionally.
2. THE FATHER’S HEART 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 the creator of the Universe 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. If you sin, if you walk away, you walk from the great plan God has for you, He still loves you but you’ll lose your destiny. But even if you have lost your destiny, if you come back to Him, you can rediscover it again.
God 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 stupid request you make, or giving you licence to live a life of sin! If you truly love God as a Father, you must trust Him with every request, every need, every situation, and be obedient. 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, like the prodigal son, 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. He is the perfect father. If you turn to Him today, He will forgive and complete His plan in your life, because He never gives up on you…never! His grace is inexhaustible.
3. THE FATHER’S HEART 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 selfishly 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! He sees, but He also waits for you.
Our excuses are often so pathetic, because He knows 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 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.
4. THE FATHER’S HEART 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 kilometres 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 stupid, foolish, head strong things. We all think we can go our own way. We all fall short of God’s standards.
Romans 3:23 (ESV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
If two men are running to catch a plane, and one man is an hour late, while the other is one minute late, both men miss the flight! It doesn’t matter if you are “better” than your neighbour. Your neighbour is not the standard. God is the standard, and we all fall short.
In the parable the son finally recognised that he’d fallen short, so he headed home, and when he did, the prodigal father responded with forgiveness to his son’s repentance. Your Heavenly Father responds the same way for you.
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.
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 for things they’ve said and done that fills them with sorrow and kills their joy.
But 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. If you delight in God’s Word, you will delight in God’s will. And when you repent, 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!
5. THE FATHER’S HEART DESIRES 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. 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 hurtful words, the pain you caused others, the pain you caused yourself…God is in the restoration business, and today He is calling you home.
TIE A WHITE RIBBON
Tony Orlando and Dawn had a hit song called “Tie a Yellow Ribbon“, and it was loosely based on an old story.
A young man had committed a crime and been sent to prison. He had been out of touch with his parents who were ashamed of his actions. He wrote his parents saying, “I’ve served my time, I’m being released. I’ll be on the train, and the train runs past our family home. If you forgive me for what I’ve done, tie a white ribbon to the old oak tree outside our house. If the ribbon is not there, I will stay on the train, and you will never hear from me again.
On the train home he sat beside an old man and told him the story. As the bend in the tracks approached, where his father’s house was, he asked the man to look out the window and tell him if he saw a white ribbon on the tree.
“Do you see it, is it there?” He asked. “No,” replied the old man, and the young man’s heart sank. But he went on…”There isn’t one white ribbon, there are hundreds of them all over the tree. What does this all mean?” He asked.
The young man replied, “It means I’m going home!”
IT’S TIME TO COME HOME
Today God the creator of the Universe, the Lord of Lords, your father, is calling you home. There are hundreds of ribbons on the old oak tree. The Father is saying, “Come home.”
Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Isaiah 55:1 (ESV)
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
He loves you, He cares for you. He will protect you and prosper you and lead you into your destiny, so come to Him this morning.