Summary: This morning, whatever type of earthly father that you recall, I want to talk to you about what our Heavenly Father really looks like. Today, I encourage you to let go of counterfeit was of thinking about God. Whether your earthly father filled you with
“Motivated By His Grace” Galatians 2:15-21
A little girl was drawing a picture of God. Her mother told her that nobody knew what God looks like. The girl replied that they would when she finished drawing His picture! We all have a picture of God in our minds, don’t we? For most of us we see our Heavenly Father the same way that we see our earthly father.
For some of us, this means that we see God as some sort of a cruel tyrant; someone to be feared much more than someone to be loved. We remember abusive times when we were made to feel very small and insignificant. The memories of our fathers are hurtful and as a result we are not free emotionally to worship God fully and we are not free personally to receive the full extent of God’s love for us.
For others, the connection between our earthly and Heavenly Fathers means that we see God as distant and completely unavailable. Our earthly fathers were so busy working to provide for our physical needs that they had little time left over for hugs or walks with us.
For a privileged few this means that we see God as a wonderful friend, loving teacher, and eternal encourager. We recollect warm memories of our fathers pushing us in a backyard swing. We fondly bring to mind memories of being pressed round and round at a local park on a merry-go-round.
This morning, whatever type of earthly father that you recall, I want to talk to you about what our Heavenly Father really looks like. 1 Timothy 1:17 says, “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)
Though our Heavenly Father is in a sense invisible, He is nonetheless perceived. Ezekiel 10:5 says, “And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.” (ESV)
God is speaking to us today, but we must be willing to listen. A man went inside a telephone booth and dialed the number of a friend. When the connection was made, the friend kept saying, “I can’t hear you; speak louder; I can’t hear you.” All he could hear was the roar of traffic in the background. “Shut the door so I can hear,” he said to the caller.
In order to hear God’s voice speaking to us, we’ve got to shut the door to the outside world so that it won’t distract us from hearing the voice of God. This morning, as you listen to the words of this message, Allow me to persuade you to close the door to distracting thoughts… close the door to the preconceived image you have of God in your mind… and listen carefully to what God really looks like…
Galatians 2:15-21 says, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” (ESV)
I encourage you to learn to live a life motivated, not by guilt or duty, but by the overwhelming grace of a loving God. How often do we find ourselves going through the motions of this life? We get up out of bed and make the coffee, feed the dog, get dressed, go to work…
So often we live as though we are only living to live… Have you ever found yourself feeling like a robot walking around town with your hands stretched out in front of you? How often do find ourselves living as though duty and obligation is what this life boils down to.
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Morality or duty...never yet made a man happy in himself or dear to others.” Morality is good. Duty is noble. But grace is satisfying, freeing, liberating, invigorating… grace is the central theme of the Bible and the main message of the Christian faith.