Summary: Third in series God in Five Weeks, Dave looks at characteristics of God the Father and his relationship to God the Son, closing with an invitation for people to come to know them both.
What Matters Most About God the Father
God in Five Weeks
Wildwind Community Church
October 8, 2006
Last week we defined “Trinity” and looked at the Biblical support for the idea of a Triune (3 in 1) God. Today I want to talk to you about the first person in the Trinity, God the Father.
When you read the New Testament, references to divine beings essentially fall into four categories. There references to the Father, references to Jesus (or the Son), references to the Holy Spirit, and general references to deity that simply use the term God. In most of these cases it appears that the writers were speaking of God the Father. But for the sake of clarity this week in looking at God the Father, I studied ninety verses in the New Testament that all refer specifically to God the Father. I asked four questions during this study.
What are the characteristics of God the Father?
What is the Father’s relationship to the Son?
What is the Father’s relationship to the Spirit? And
What is the Father’s relationship to human beings?
It is the second and fourth of these questions that I want to focus on with you this morning – the Father’s relationship to the Son, and his relationship to human beings. Of course next week when we talk about Jesus (God the Son) we will examine even more closely the relationship between God the Father and God the Son.
Because that’s what it all comes down to. The Trinity is understood to be an expression of God’s relationship to Himself. Now that sounds ridiculous, but it’s not. After all, you have a certain kind of relationship to yourself. You have certain impressions of yourself, feelings about yourself, aspirations for yourself, and understandings about yourself. So does God, and these are expressed in the idea of Trinity.
Since Trinity means 3 in 1, you cannot meaningfully divide them up in order to talk about them. In fact, since Trinity is really an expression of God’s relationship to himself, you MUST examine the relationships between the three persons of the Trinity in order to learn anything about particular persons in it. So it is that we cannot understand God the Father without looking at his relationship to Jesus – God the Son. And we cannot understand Jesus the Son without looking at his relationship to the Holy Spirit.
When we are talking about the Trinity, God the Father is always the initiator. He is the first cause, what I like to call the prime mover. God has life in himself.
John 5:26 (NASB)
26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;
To have life in yourself means that your life did not derive from anyone, or anything, else. It is to be self-existent. In other words, God did not “come from” anywhere. He did not originate anywhere, and was not created by anyone or anything. There never was a time when the Father did not exist. God the Father was in the beginning. Understand that as, “In the beginning, when everything around us got its start – when the wheels of the universe were set in motion –God ALREADY was.” Though our universe had a beginning, God himself did not. Genesis chapter 1 verse 1:
Genesis 1:1 (NASB)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The creation account is the story of how the universe came to be, not how God came to be. This is an incomprehensible but an essential truth. There is the incredible account in Exodus when Moses asks God his name. God’s response is striking and without precedent in all history.
Exodus 3:13-14 (NIV)
13 Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ’The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ’What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?"
14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ’I AM has sent me to you.’"
God’s name isn’t Steve. God’s name isn’t George or Bill or Bob or Ted or Tim or Phyllis or Marie or Anita or Jane or Rachel. Those are human names that have meanings. God’s name is more awesome than that. But how awesome is it? God’s name isn’t Awesome One, or Great One, or Mighty One, or Dances with Stars, or One Clothed In Light. Those are all awesome names, but God is beyond all of that, because all of that attempts to describe him. When God gives his name, we realize that God’s name isn’t a term of description; it is a term of being. What is God’s name?