Summary: This is the second sermon in a sermon series based on Ron Lavin’s Book "I Believe, Help My Unbelief" based on rediscovering the Apostle’s Creed. While the primary text is from Mark 4, Psalm 23 and Matthew 6:5-10 are also alluded to.
“The Father Who Created” – I Believe, Help My Unbelief Series
March 16, 2003
Purpose: Knowing God not only as the ultimate example of a loving Father, but also as the Creator of the world and everything in it, helps us to put our lives and relationships into better perspective.
To the congregation…
Even though we’re a couple months from Father’s Day, what do you think makes a good father?
With those ideas in mind, I have two questions that we will hopefully find answers for today.
1. Is God really an Almighty, loving, Father?
2. Did God really create all that we know?
Why these questions? Well, if God isn’t the almighty, loving, Father, and he didn’t create everything around us, then there’s probably no point in continuing this sermon series! Amen?
And, if God is and did, then it should help us in putting our lives and relationships into better perspective. Amen?
Using the name “Father”
OK, first we need to discuss this father-thing. You may or may not have noticed, that I often pray to our “Heavenly Father.” Does this mean that my father was so great that automatically assume that God is like my dad? No. I do this because throughout the Bible, from the historical books, Psalms, and prophets of the Old Testament to the Gospels, historical books, letters and prophecy of the New Testament, God is referred to as God the Father, Heavenly Father, Abba Father, and the list goes on.
And while we talked about what good fathers do, unfortunately, while there are some earthly fathers who don’t care about their children, and still some others who may neglect and even abuse, Please hear me when I say that our heavenly Father is infinitely better than any of these.
Why? Every earthly father is a sinner in need of forgiveness, they have limits. But our heavenly Father has no such limits. When we speak of the God being the Father Almighty, we mean just that. God is the father who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, incapable of sin.
My father is the farthest thing from perfect. Maybe yours was closer to perfect than mine or much farther away, but I do know that my Heavenly Father is perfect. And whether we give him a name that is more politically correct or not, his attributes remain the same.
I. A Loving Father - illus. The Rope
But what are the attributes of a loving father? There’s a story of a father and a young boy getting ready to climb a tall mountain. The father, an experienced climber, wrapped a rope around his more inexperienced son. And when the boy protested, the father – older, wiser, and stronger – reminded the son of the dangers that might face.
There would be times when the boy would not be able to see his father. There would be times when the boy would get into trouble and be able to tug on the rope to get his father’s attention. There would be times when, even though the rope was slack, the boy would need to know that his father cared, that he wouldn’t let anything harm him, and that the father could be depended on.
Does God the Father treat his children like this experienced mountain climber? The world would say no. All one has to do is look at the suffering. All one has to do is look at violence. All one has to do is look at all the death and destruction that humanity produces and say, “NO” there’s nothing loving about this.
But it is at that point, we as Christians respond by saying, even in the midst of our own doubts in the troubling moments of our lives, “We’re attached to the rope.” Where others have doubt, we have faith. Where others can’t see God’s presence and conclude that God is absent, we hold tight to our beliefs that even when God seems so far away, even when we feel that God may be absent, we know that it just takes a tug on the line, and then he is there.
We’ve read Psalm 23 in many different settings, but I invite you to take another look at it this morning. In it we are not told that God will lead us around the valley of the shadows, but that he will lead us through it.
As Christians, we don’t claim to escape the shadowy places of darkness and doubt. What we do claim is that we believe even in the midst of those unbelieving times of life.
Do we struggle? Yes. Do we wonder? Yes. Do we doubt? Yes. But, like the father who brought his son to Christ to be healed, we have a relationship with Jesus Christ that allows us to say, “I believe, help my unbelief.”