Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: God as our Father and King
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
God as our Father and King
Luke 11:1-4; 12:32-34
What name do you use when you address God in prayer? What you use says much about how you see your relationship with God. Until recently I have primarily addressed God as Lord when I pray. Then at the beginning of this year I read an article that addressed this question and it caused me to look at what I use when I address God in prayer and why. Yet as I reflected on this article I realize that the way I approached God as King or Lord, was distant and reverent. But since that time I have shifted to addressing God as Father and it has changed my sense of intimacy and relationship with God in my relationship. But when you look at the Lord ’s Prayer you see the two are tied together, God is our Father and our King. Because Mark already has taught on the Lord ’s Prayer I want us to focus on God as our Father and look at some characteristics of God as Father and King. Luke ties these two together here and in Luke 12:32-34. Let’s look there.
1. I Can be Fearless Because God Promises to Always There
Chapter 12 is sprinkled with words from Jesus about not being afraid. And in every case the contentment and peace and fearlessness and courage that he wants us to have is not because of the human resources at our disposal (like money or ability or possessions or intellect or looks or status or connections). In every case the peace and courage and fearlessness is because God will be there for us even when human resources are inadequate or fail us. Let’s look at a few.
Let’s start with verse 4, Jesus says, "do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” Here is an example of how the basis for fearlessness stands when all human resources of help fail and you get killed. Jesus says, "Even then, don't fear, because God will be there for you in death and after death for ever. God promises to always be there for us; even more in death than in life because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Next look at verse 11, “when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Don't rely on human wisdom or memory or shrewdness; rely on God the Holy Spirit. When you feel utterly inadequate to know what you will say, trust God, and not yourself. God promises to always be there for us even when we do not know what to say.
The third example of this is the one I want to focus on a little longer. Look at verse 32: "Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." God, the Father, commands us not to fear when it comes to money and things. Don't worry, don't be afraid. "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen to gladly give you the kingdom."
2. I Can be Fearless Because God is my Shepherd
First, fear not because God is our Shepherd. "Do not be afraid, little flock." We are his flock and he is our Shepherd. Notice the affection that God has for us by calling us ‘little flock.’ It is a term of endearment, tenderness, warmth, and care for us. If he is our Shepherd, then Psalm 23 applies: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" - that is, I shall not lack anything I need. What do we know of the Good Shepherd? He is totally responsible for the provision and protection of the flock. He would move the sheep out to green pastures to ensure that they are fed; he would care for their health, he would protect them; and he would find them when they stray. He searches out until he finds that one lost sheep. Do you know that all of heaven rejoiced when you became a Christ follower? Do you believe that is true? Have you ever thought about what that must have sounded and looked like?
3. I an Be Fearless Because God is my Father
Second, fear not because God is our Father. "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are not only his little flock; we are also his children, and he is our Father. The significance of that is clear from verse 30, "All the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them." In other words, your Father really cares and really knows what you need and will work for you to be sure that you have what you need. Do you believe God is radically committed to your good? He is not pursuing because he has to but because he wants to and it is in his very nature as a Father to pursue you passionately with goodness and mercy. Do you believe that God enjoys you? What is your picture of God – as one who tolerates you, one who puts up with you or enjoys you?