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Faithlife

02 - II. Faith in the Father

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22 June, 2008 AM

Tree Of Life Wesleyan Church

Billings Mt.

II. Faith In The Father

Ps. 68:5; Isa. 64:8; Matt. 7:11; John 3:17; Rom. 8:15; 1 Peter 1:17

                Last week we looked at the first article of religion for the Wesleyan denomination, that article was number one, faith in the holy trinity.  Today we are going to look at article II. Faith In The Father, which is the first part of that Holy Trinity.  Article 2 states:

                We believe the Father is the Source of all that exists, whether of matter or spirit.  With the Son and the Holy Spirit, He made man in His image.  By intention He relates to people as Father, thereby forever declaring His goodwill toward them.  In love, He both seeks and receives penitent sinners (The Discipline).

                The faith of a child is fantastic.  They understand God, who He is and what He can do.  A little boy’s prayer was this:  “Dear God, please take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me.  Oh, and please take care of yourself, God.  If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess!”  Another child was asked “Why is there but one God?” he  answered: “Because God fills every place, and there’s no room for another one.”

                In the first part of this article we state that God, as Father, is the Source of all that exists, whether of matter or spirit.  If you remember in Genesis 1:1, we have these words, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Of course if we continued to read here in Genesis, we would find that the Bible tells us that God Created everything.  This is where we differ with many other beliefs, for we do not believe in the Big Bang theory, we believe that God is the Source of all that exists.  We also believe that God, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, made man in His image.  If you are still in Genesis, look at verse 26, which says, Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  Did you catch what it said?  God Himself said, “Let US make man in OUR image.” Some people will say that means nothing, it does not mean He was with anyone else – but then in the book of John we have these words,  “In the beginning was the Word (keep in mind that Word is another name for Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; (remember what Genesis said, let us make man in our image) without him nothing was made that has been made.”  It should be easy to see that God, His Son and the Holy Spirit made man in their image.

                But now let’s look at another aspect of God, one that seems to cause a great deal of problem in our society.  That problem is relating to God as Father.  There is a big push on right now to change the Bible and make it politically correct by changing all reference to a male God and making them so that they could be used for either male or female.  But we are going to see that God is referred to as Father, not mother or some person – this is very important, and we must keep in mind that we can not compare God to our earthly fathers, but instead, if there is to be any comparing it would be comparing our earthly fathers and even ourselves, to God – for He is the Great example.

                If we look at Psalm 68:5, we read these words, A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  There are those who would like us to believe that if there was a God, all He did was create the earth, and now He sits back to see what will happen, but here we are told that God is a father to the fatherless, and a defender of widows, and He does this from His holy dwelling.  A father to the fatherless.  This means that we are never left alone, God is always there to take care of us, for we are His children.  Lets continue on with the idea of God as Father.  If you were to look at the Septuagint, or the Hebrew Scriptures you would see that Scripture says, “The Father, not the mother or the person that can be either male or female – the father is a father to orphans and a defender of widows, is The God in His holy dwelling.”  Do not let society change what your Bible says – do not let people like Billie Jean King, the tennis player, who once said, that she thanked God wherever SHE was – don’t let these people who refuse to read the Word of God influence your belief – Scripture says, God is Father!

                Going hand in hand with the this Scripture in the Psalms where we see that God does not leave us, is this Scripture in Isa. 64:8, which says, Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.  We are the continuing work of God.  A father never ceases to mold his children, he continues to shape and direct them.  Our heavenly Father does the same thing,  He is the master Creator and shapes and molds us for we are the work of His hands.  I have often heard people say that they can not change because they have always been this way and they are too old to change.  But that is not what we read here.  God is the Potter, and He shapes us.  It says nothing about the clay being so old that it can not be shaped any more, or that it is so old that it has become hard. Also I found that if you apply water to dried clay it will become shapable again.  And with the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the spring of living water, everyone can become good clay.  This verse says that we are the clay and our Father shapes our lives.  My parents are still giving me advice, and I have not lived with them in over 27 years.  Why do they do this, because they love me, and how much more does our heavenly Father love us and as long as we let Him, He will continue to mold and shape our lives.  After all, that’s what Jesus tells us in Matt. 7:11,  “If you, then, though you are evil, (speaking of earthly father) know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  But if we stop asking for His help and pull ourselves away from the Potter, we will become hard and unshapable, it is only if we will let the Master’s hands mold us that we will know the kind of gifts that He is able to give to those who ask.

        Mark Guy Pearse used to tell of the time he overheard one of his children admonishing the other, “You must be good or Father won’t love you.”  Calling the boy to him he said, “Son, that isn’t really true.”  “But you won’t love us if we are bad, will you?” the boy asked.   “Yes, I will love you whether you are good or bad,” Pearse explained. “But there will be a difference in my love. When you are good I will love you with a love that makes me glad; and when you are not good I will love you with a love that hurts me.”

                That’s showing the kind of love that God has for His children.  He will always love us, even when it hurts Him.  In the gospel of John we hear these words from Jesus:  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  That’s love.  God loves us so much that He did not want to condemn us, but has done everything He could to save us, including sending His Son to save us through His death on the cross and more importantly through His resurrection.  God as Father has given mankind a model of what a father should be – one that loves even when it hurts.  Children often make mistakes, but fathers are to be there to pick up the pieces – just like our heavenly Father does.

                This verse in John tells us something else.  It tells us that God does not forget His children.

                A five-year-old girl, returning home from a funeral of her grandmother, rode in a car with her other grandmother.  “Where did Grandma go?” she asked.  “We believe she went to be with God,” the other grandmother replied.  “How old was she?”  “She was eighty years old.”  “How old are you?”  “I am eighty-three.”  The little girl thought a bit, then said, “I hope God hasn’t forgotten you!”

                When someone says that to you, “I hope God hasn’t forgotten you?”, it doesn’t sound too good, but let me tell you, God has not forgotten anyone!!  I went through a time in my life when I wasn’t sure if God remembered me.  That sounds strange, but I would be just fine, then I would find myself asking what if God did not love me?  As soon as I thought that, it was as if my heart would skip a beat and I would panic, and fear would set in.  I was miserable.  But then I was reminded about a verse in Romans.  Romans 8:15.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

                By that Spirit of sonship we are able to cry out “Abba, Father.”  Only a son can do that and once I realized that I was a true child of the King I was able to cry out Abba, Father.  No longer did I find myself questioning if God loved me, because I knew He was my Father.  When I cry out to Him, He is there to comfort me, and protect me from all the things that my mind comes up with.  Just like an earthly father who will go into their child’s bedroom to chase out all the imagined monsters, our heavenly Father comes along side us to chase away all the fear that would enslave us to this world. 

                Even with all the verses in the Bible that tell us that God does exist and that He wants to be a true Father, there are still those that don’t believe.

        A pastor entered a tavern where a man, wishing to embarrass him, rose and suddenly called out quite loudly, “Es gibt keinen Gott” (“There is no God”). The pastor went to him, calmly laid his hand on his shoulder, and said, “Friend, what you have said is not at all new. The Bible said that more than 2,000 years ago.” The man replied, “I never knew that the Bible made such a statement.” The pastor informed him, “Psalm 14, verse 1, tells us, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” But there is a great difference between that fool and you. He was quite modest and said it only in his heart; he didn’t go about yelling it out in taverns.”

                My Bible tells me that God does exist and that’s why we can say,

We believe the Father is the Source of all that exists, whether of matter or spirit.  With the Son and the Holy Spirit, He made man in His image.  By intention He relates to people as Father, thereby forever declaring His goodwill toward them.  In love, He both seeks and receives penitent sinners (The Discipline).

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