Summary: Some of us are trying to earn God’s love and acceptance. Some of us are afraid he’s angry with us. Some of us wonder if he even exists. But Jesus comes to each of us this Christmas assuring us of God’s unconditional love, his wonderful care and his con
Intersection (Common ground illustration)
An economy driving tradition in our Christmas celebrations involves giving gifts. We exchange gifts most of the time because we love each other. Sometimes we give because of a sense of obligation.
Our gift giving leads to unavoidable lists – lists of gifts for coworkers, friends and family. Believe it or not, even though the songs tell us Santa Claus is checking his list twice, he did not create the first Christmas list. God did. It involves four gifts only Jesus can give to you and me. God’s Christmas list for you is found in Isaiah 9:6.
Investigation of Life and Bible text(s)
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NLT)
This is the exceptionally awesome baby whose name was Jesus. The royal titles recorded here describe who he is and how he acts. These four titles – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – make up God’s Christmas gift list for you. Today we will focus on the third title.
A child is born to us…. [He will be called] Everlasting Father….
1. We look at our Everlasting Father, through the story of our relationship with our earthly fathers.
a. When we do that, we may see a father who’s never satisfied. Perhaps you seldom if ever heard the words, “I love you,” and “I am proud of you.” You tried to be perfect for dad, because you longed for his acceptance and his affirmation, but it was never there. WHEN WE SEE OUR ETERNAL FATHER AS ONE WHO’S NEVER SATISFIED, WE ACT LIKE WE NEED TO EARN HIS LOVE.
b. We may see a father who’s always angry. Maybe when dad was home, you had to walk on eggshells around your house. At any moment dad might lose it and start yelling. Maybe your dad said words to you like, “You’re never going to amount to anything. You’re a loser. We never meant to have you. You’re a mistake.” Perhaps your father abused you physically, even sexually. He hurt you deeper than words could ever tell. WHEN WE SEE OUR ETERNAL FATHER AS ONE WHO’S ALWAYS ANGRY OR HURTFUL, WE NATURALLY FEAR HIM. WE AVOID HIM OR WE TRY TO CALM DOWN HIM.
c. We might see a father who’s seldom there. Maybe you never saw him. Maybe he came home long enough to eat and change clothes before he left again. Maybe he deserted you and your mom. He may have been out working or drinking or sleeping around, but whatever the reason, he simply wasn’t there for you. WHEN WE SEE OUR ETERNAL FATHER AS ONE WHO’S NEVER AROUND, WE QUESTION HIS EXISTENCE – NOT TO MENTION HIS CARE FOR US.
2. There is a better way. We need to look at our Eternal Father through the eyes of the Bible. For the next few minutes, put your earthly father’s failures out of your mind and focus your heart on your Eternal Father’s victories.
a. When we look through the eyes of the Bible, we see an Eternal Father who is compassionate. “The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.” (Psalms 103:8 NLT) I remember when it dawned on me that there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than he already does. And we can’t make him love us less either. His love is unconditional. Many of us have worked to impress because we don’t feel accepted, and we’ve taken that same approach into your relationship with Jesus. We work at going to church. We work at reading the Bible. We work at praying, because you feel like you have to do those things to earn God’s love and acceptance. Friends, listen to Jesus’ promise to folks like you and me. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT) Relax and rest. Stop striving to be perfect. Live a life that honors God, but stop earn the love and acceptance that’s already yours through your relationship with Jesus. OUR ETERNAL FATHER IS COMPASSIONATE AND FULL OF UNFAILING LOVE.
b. When we look at Jesus through the words of the Bible, we will see an Everlasting Father who cares for us deeply. Listen to his promise. These are God’s words to you this morning. “I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) Our Everlasting Father will not attack or abuse you. He has wonder filled plans for your good.