Summary: Over a 100 times in the Gospels Jesus spoke of our God as a Father. What does this idea of God being our Father mean to us, and what difference would that make for our lives?
OPENING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_r7AJ8-coTk (time stamp: 0.0 to 2:42)
In this sermon series we’ve been using the popular TV series “This Is Us” as the foundation of the sermons we’re preaching this month. Beginning its 3rd season, “This Is Us” has been nominated for 7 Emmys and has won a faithful fan base because it is so well written and acted that many of their fans say that they can actually “see themselves” in the shows. The characters come off as so real that many say that it echoes their lives, and that it can literally be said: “This Is Us!”
The clip you just watched shows Jack - the father of a family of 3 children - taking his adopted son Randall to a Dojo to learn martial arts. The scene has Randall being initiated into the Dojo… but the REAL focus here is on the promises that Jack publicly makes as a Father to Randall.
(Quoting the scene)
Sensei: “Are you willing to hold (your son) up no matter what comes his way?”
Sensei: “Show him (by doing pushups with Randall on his back). Good, now keep going. Are you willing to raise this young boy into a strong man?”
Jack: “Yes sir”
Sensei: “Are you willing to push him to be the best man in the world he can be?”
Sensei: “Are you willing to lift him to greater heights, even if it hurts?”
And then the sensei (or leader of the dojo) says “You can stop, alright? I think that’s enough.”
And Jack replies: “No. I won’t stop!”
Jack is the father figure in the series. The writers have portrayed him as being the one who sets the tone for everybody else in the family. In another one of the clips I saw, the other son (Kevin) tells someone: “I ask myself ‘what would dad do?’”
In the Bible, God is portrayed as our “Father Figure”. And you see it a little bit in the Old Testament (God is referred as being a father about 4 or 5 times)
In Proverbs 3:12 for example: “the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a FATHER the son in whom he delights.”
And in Isaiah 63:16 it says “… you, O LORD, are our FATHER, our Redeemer…”
And, of course, here in our text this morning: “As a FATHER shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13
But, it isn’t until we get into the New Testament - it’s not until Jesus teaching us about who God REALLY is - that we begin to see God as our Father.
Throughout the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus emphasizes God as our Father:
“... let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works glorify your FATHER who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your FATHER who sees in secret will reward you” Matthew 6:3-4
And of course, when Jesus taught His disciples to pray He said: “Our FATHER who art in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” Matthew 6:9
Over and over and over again throughout the New Testament God is portrayed as our FATHER. Jesus refers to God as the Father over 100 times in the Gospels - and that doesn’t count the numerous times God is called “Father” in the rest of the New Testament.
That got me to thinking… why? Why would Jesus emphasize that God is our Father? Well, because He IS.
When you and I became Christians, God became the one who set the tone for WHO we are and what we should be like as children of God. Once you become a Christian… you are a CHILD of God (which makes God your Father). That’s what we read in Romans 8:15-16 “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
That’s what the leader of the dojo was trying to drive home to Jack. He was telling Jack that HE (as Randall’s Father) was going to be the one to decide how his son’s going to turn out.
• Are you willing to HOLD your son up?
• Are you willing to RAISE him to be a strong man?
• Are you willing to PUSH him to be the best he can be?
• Are you willing to LIFT him to greater heights even if it hurts?
And Jack’s answer was yes, yes, yes, and yes. At least, up until the last statement the sensei makes… and then he says NO. No, I’m not going to do that. “No, I won’t stop!" I won’t quit. I won’t give up. This IS MY CHILD!!! I’ll do whatever it takes to hold him up… and I will NOT stop!