Summary: Father’s day message.
READ: Matthew 4:1-11
Today is “FATHER’S DAY”. One day of the year that we set apart to remember and honour our “dads”. For so many of us this is a joyous day, for we have such fond relationships with, or memories of, our fathers.
I thank God when I think of my own dad. He’s a godly man who faithfully brought me up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He instilled so many things in my life for which I will be eternally grateful. And we have a close and affectionate relationship to this day.
But there was moment in my life when I came to know a whole new dimension of FATHERHOOD relationship. I day when I was adopted into a whole new household; a household in which my earthly parents are now truly my brother and my sister - we share a common Heavenly Father. And since that day I have been enveloped in a paternal care that transcends any other love I’ve ever known. I received Christ as my Saviour, and in that moment I was made a son of God and restored to perfect, intimate (even affectionate) relationship with the great Creator.
And here is a wonderful hope for us all! I am aware that not everyone has the same experience with their earthly fathers. Some were tormented, even abused, by a godless man. Others were dominated by a tyrant. Others were ignored, or even deserted. And then there are some who never even knew who their earthly father was. But here is the hope - the promise - this morning: NONE OF US need live without the Fatherhood of God. He loves every one of His children without distinction, and He is faithful and true to the uttermost. There is NONE like Him. His paternal care is not just a replacement or a compensation for those who haven’t known an earthly father’s love - NO - He is the TRUEST Father of all. And every one of us is in need of His love.
Look briefly with me, then, at what the Scriptures teach us concerning “The Fatherhood of God”.
Firstly, let us observe that ...
1. God Is, By Nature, A Father.
He has a Father’s heart. It’s the very nature of who God is; He is a Father.
We see this revealed in His relationship to the Creation. God created all things, and He sustains it all continuously with meticulous care. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:26-34 [READ & comment].
So, God is, by nature, a father. But even to say that is NOT ENOUGH. The Bible goes further. Secondly, let us consider ...
2. God Is THE Model Father.
Here is where so many people get it all back to front. People say, “You talk about God being a ‘father’ - you should have met my dad. He was a user. He was a tyrant. He was a molester. Don’t talk to me about fathers - if God is a father then I don’t want to know Him!”
But listen, God is not just “LIKE a father”; He IS Father. THE Father. The Bible shows God to be the model of fatherhood upon which all other fathers are judged. If you want to know what a TRUE father is, don’t look at your earthly father, or my earthly father, or any other earthly father (however good they may appear to be). Open the pages of God’s Word and see the heart of the Father revealed in the nature of God. HE is the model. The One who is: Faithful, True, Just, Merciful, Compassionate, Slow to Anger, Loving, Affectionate, Providing, Patient, Kind, etc, etc, etc.
In Matthew 23:9, Jesus says: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven.” It’s a strange verse, isn’t it?! I puzzled over it for a long time. What does it mean? Should I be calling my dad by his first name instead? No, not at all ! Jesus is speaking here in an ultimate sense. In the same passage He says not to call any man “teacher”, for Christ is our Teacher. But we know that in other parts of Scripture it is clear that if we cannot receive earthly teachers given by God, it is a sign of and immaturity.
What Jesus is saying is we are not to look to any man as our ultimate instructor; that place belongs to Jesus Christ - men make mistakes; they will fail us. All teachers are to be evaluated alongside our Great Teacher. What they say must be compared with what HE said. If they conform to His example they are VALID. Where they do not they are to be rejected!
And Jesus says that the same goes for fathers. Call no man “Father” in an ultimate sense. We are not to impugn God’s character by judging HIM according to the standards of our earthly fathers. HE is the standard by which we judge fatherhood. The most godly father on earth is but a shadow of God’s perfection!