Summary: A father’s Day message geared towards seeing how generous and ready to bless is our Father in Heaven.
A Giving Father
There is a crisis of Fatherhood in America today. There is a whole generation of children who are growing up in one parent families (often with a mother) who do not have a good relationship with their father’s even if they know them at all.
We have dead-beat dads who don’t give anything to help support the children they have fathered. We have workaholic dad’s who spend so much time at work that their kids feel like they are a very low priority. We have angry dads who often are abusive or controlling and who take out their anger on those who are least able to defend themselves, the children. Then we have abdicating dads who are present, but who are weak and unable to provide the kind of strength and stability in the home needed by children.
As a result we have kids who if they even believe in God, view their heavenly Father in a variety of wrong ways. Some see God as absent and uncaring. Some see God as a sugar daddy who gives them lots of toys, but who demands little respect. Some see God as too busy to care about them. Some see God as distant and cold. Some see God as weak and unable to do anything to help. And some see God as angry and abusive and controlling, someone to be feared but not loved.
It is absolutely essential that we obtain our view of God as Father, not from our experiences or from our culture, but from the Holy and True Word of God. Scripture alone can give us the correct view of who God really is. And there is no better way to understand God than to look at Jesus.
Please turn with me to Matthew 7:7-11 as we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount.
"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.”
My Big Idea this morning is this:
When you know God as Father you will pray!
Most of us have very weak prayer lives. We pray, but it is sporadic at best, and often we are discouraged in our prayer lives. We want to pray more, but we do not find the internal motivation to pray. When we do pray, we pray with little faith and often with little result. Why is this?
I want to propose today that the problem stems from our lack of clear understanding of what it means when we say: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
And so to correct this, I want to look at the life of Jesus as it relates to this passage in Matthew.
1. The prayer life of Jesus
2. The prayer challenge given by Jesus
3. The prayer promise made by Jesus
First, let’s look at the prayer life of Jesus.
a. Jesus had an intensely personal prayer life.
Even a casual reading of the New Testament will demonstrate that Jesus approached prayer differently than the people around Him, including the disciples.
When Jesus prayed, He seemed to be having an intimate conversation with His Daddy. Only His relationship with His Father was not like most of our relationships with our Dads.
- Jesus had complete trust in His father. If his Father said turn right, He would turn right. If His Father said, go into this town and preach, He would go into that town and preach. Jesus was in tune with the Father’s will, and He chose to always obey His Dad. How could He do this? I want us to think this morning of the humanity of Christ, not the divinity of Christ. Of course we know that Jesus was God’s Son, but Philippians teaches us that Jesus emptied Himself and became a servant. He willingly chose not to use His Divine powers. Instead He depended fully upon the Father’s direction and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Jesus was a fully devoted, fully surrendered man of God. And Jesus trusted that His Father was good, loving, kind, just, holy, righteous, and always knew what was best.
- Jesus understood His heavenly Father. He had learned how to listen. So much of prayer is not talking to God, but listening to God. What does God want? What would please God? Where is God at work and how can I join Him in it? These are the kinds of things that occupied the prayer life of Jesus.