Rom. 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his
Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
A favorite gift for Father's Day is the ball cap emblazoned with the words "World's Greatest Dad." You may see even more of them this year than ever on the heads of proud fathers everywhere. It's nice to be appreciated and Father's Day has been set aside by our culture to honor our dads.
There is one dad, however, who doesn't always get a lot of honor on Father's Day. That is the REAL "World's Greatest Dad," the Heavenly Father. The verses of our text reveal a lot about Him that we don't often emphasize. As children of God, we cry out, "Abba." Vine tells us that Abba is the word framed by infants, and shows blind trust. It is a word of love, endearment, closeness. It was the child's first attempt at calling his father, corresponding with our 'da-da" or "pa-pa."
These verses teach us that our Father is much more than a distant figure directing our lives from afar. He is our spiritual Daddy, active in all parts of our lives. It is He that we lean on in times of pain and hurt; it is He that we call on in times of need; it is He that provides for us in all ways --practically, emotionally, and spiritually. He wants us to think of Him as "Dad." This being so, let us take this Father's Day to honor Him, the REAL "World's Greatest Dad."
I. DAD'S DECLARATION A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour?... Malachi 1:6 Our culture has degenerated to the point that fathers do not get the respect that they once did. Many fathers do very little to inspire respect from their children. But our Heavenly Dad is perfect, commanding the respect and honor that other fathers can not!
As a dad, I have made numerous mistakes in discipline and caring for my children. I have incorrectly assessed situations and meted out unfair punishment and restrictions. No child of God can charge his Father with such wrongs. He has complete knowledge and perfect wisdom in dealing with His children. So why do we not honor Him as a perfect Dad? Why do we think little of His care and concern for us? Like Israel, we take Him for granted and fail to honor Him as a Father.
II. DAD'S DEVOTION And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. Luke 12:29-30 Almost twenty years ago my life changed forever. On November 1, 1980, at 6:31 AM, I became a father for the first time. I remember looking out the hospital window and thinking how my life had just changed. I was now responsible for a new life which God had entrusted me with. Thus began a journey in which I am learning more about my own limitations as a Dad and the complete perfection of my Heavenly Father.
Our Father is devoted to meeting all our needs. He does not promise to satisfy our wants, for no good father would spoil his children. We think of ourselves as self-contained individuals, knowing what is best for us. But God sees us as children, not always understanding our own needs. As a good Father, He must sometimes protect us from ourselves. We must trust Him! The child cannot always understand the dealings of the Father. We must believe that He works for our own good in things that we do not understand. In Luke 11:13, Jesus says, If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? We must learn to trust Him when we cannot trace Him!
III. DAD'S DEMAND Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?...Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. One of the duties of the father is to provide the proper atmosphere and environment for the growth and nurturing of his children. There are certain characteristics that are desirable in children and the father must cultivate them. It doesn't matter what the other kids do, the Father makes righteous demands on His children. He may say to his children: "We are not like other families. We have rules that are peculiar to our family. It does not matter how the other families do it. We are different! You are mine! You answer to me!"
Vice President Al Gore was cornered with allegations of fundraising misconduct. His answer to all who questioned him was that there was "no controlling legal authority" over him. No one had the constitutional power to question his actions. Many Christians live as if there is "no controlling authority" over their lives. But there is a Spiritual Father who says that we must obey and separate FROM outsiders and TOWARD our family! we hinder the family unity when we fail to separate as an obedient child.
IV. DAD'S DISCIPLINE For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth....If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?... we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? Heb. 12:6,7,9 Many Christians seemingly have never grasped these verses. They live their lives in constant turmoil and suffering, never understanding that their lives are displeasing to God. Their minister doesn't believe that God "would punish His children." The poor Christian never sees his relationship with a Heavenly Dad.
God's correction and chastening is purely a personal matter. It is not the business of others how God chastens his children. It is not even our business as brothers and sisters how God may chasten us. It is between the individual and His Father. These verses say all that is needed about this most personal of bible truths. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth..." God is not mean and hateful in His discipline. He is loving and kind! He sees the totality of our lives and knows what we need.
V. DAD'S DESIRE Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Eph. 5:1 Every child at some time imitates his father. Every parent remembers fondly when their toddlers try to walk in their shoes or wear an item of their clothing. That is the meaning of this verse. The word translated followers is mimetes. This is the word from which we derive mimic. God wants us to imitate Him. Christ is our earthly example. Certainly we are not redeemed by a holy walk, but such a life is pleasing to our Father. It is a natural outgrowth of a close relationship with Him, just as natural as the little boy walking in his father's shoes.
A closer look at the words of the verse yields even more information. As dear children means asa favorite possession. In other words, we are to follow our Father as His favorite child would follow. Many times good parents are accused of having "pets." It should never be true that a parent favors one child over another. This verse tells us that each of the Father's children can be His "pet." He is all-powerful and does not play favorites. Therefore, we can all be His "favorite."
VI. DAD'S DESIGN Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. God has a purpose for His children, a grand design. We are --right now --the children of God. We do not outwardly appear to be any different than the non-believer. But God knows His own! We are His!
If that great
truth was not enough, God tells us more. It doth not yet appear
what we shall be... It's not that God does not know our future,
but that He chooses not to disclose it now. But then He gives us
a hint of things to come. we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. We shall
be like Him! All of our earthly journeys will intersect at one point--
Him! God has a purpose for His children. He has a design for
us. Let us renew our allegiance to God, our Heavenly Father.
Let us honor Him on this Father's Day as truly the world's greatest Dad!
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