Father part 1

18 Jun

The Father Series: Part 1

 

There is perhaps no word in language that causes such as emotional impact as the word father. There is in my opinion, a vendetta to make men, but fathers especially, out to be idiots. 

Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Beethoven, the movies go on. 

 

Dad’s are seen as ultimately selfish beings, looking only for their own interests, and its only when they are about to lose their families that they wake up and trying to intervene. See Disney's incredibles.. 

 

 

In western culture, it is extremely rare for a man to be granted custody of his children in a divorce case. The role of mother is seen as much more vital than the role of fathers. Fathers are not only idiots, they are useless social vestiginal organs, like the appendix of society.

 

So why, why why does God choose as his Favorite title, his favorite way of expressing his identity to his creation as Father? You would think that God would choose mother. Matter of a fact, most of the early religions have mother goddess type figures. Particularly in ancient canaan, most of the fertility god’s are viewed as goddesses. Mother Earth is what the environmentalists like to call our planet.

Mother.

 

And who can compete with mom. When you need comfort, to whom do you run? Mom. When you need gentleness, to whom do you run? Mom. Now, not in every situation I realize that, but in most, mom’s are the push over’s, dads are the hard nosed ones. So why does God choose Father?

 

Every single mother out there longs for their child to have the presence of a Father. But he’s not there.

Why Choose Father?

 

I believe that God chose Father and wrote it in the genetic code of humanity, this need for a father. I think I can prove it too.

http://www.photius.com/feminocracy/facts_on_father

less_kids.html

This page is a disturbing look at what happens to a society that has come to believe that Father’s are not important. But some summaries Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and sexual activity in teenager years is dramatically higher among children from homes where a father is absent. Did you know that you can predict the level of crime in a community, not from the poverty, but from the

percentage of fatherless homes?

A high percentage of Children in psychiatric care do not have a father in their lives.

Percentages of educational problems, lower measured IQ, and school drop out rates can are directly measureable by the presence of a father in a child’s life.

 

I could do on and on. But I don’t think I need to.

Because here’s the thing. I think the reason that God chose to reveal himself as father is because though we might not have all had a great dad, we inherently can picture what a great dad would be like. The voids that are left in our lives by absent, abusive, manipulative, unavailable or weak fathers are tangiblely felt and impact everyone at some level.

 

Because we know, you can’t tell us how, but we just know, that our Father’s should have been there. Jesus comes onto the scene and he does something that was not unknown. He claimed God as his father. Now, in that context, there were lots of myths about children born to a god. The greeks, the Romans, they all knew that the God’s came down and had sex with humans and produced half-breeds. But Jesus comes along, and he is born of a virgin. He is not in the model of the roman God’s like Hercules. He is the first to claim completely diety, and complete humanity. This is crazy stuff.

 

But for the Hebrew of this day, you’ve got to

understand how offensive the statements of Jesus are. They had gone into exile because of their dividedloyalty. It had taken God centuries to get the pantheistic, multiple God model out of their heads.

Now, along comes Jesus claiming God is his father.Over the next few weeks, we are going to be looking at God the Father. I believe its going to be one of the most potentially life changing studies we’ve ever

done. 

 

It was the Fall of 1997. The location was a small town in Minnesota called Cloquet. A group of friends had gathered to talk about the great things we were going to do for God. We were dreaming of taking the world for Jesus. But something different, deeper was happened to me on that trip.

 

One night, we sat around, and people began to tell their life stories. One of them was a young lady that had been a friend of Tahnya and I’s for years. Her name is Beth. I was so impacted at that time

by her story that I wanted to share it with you today.

 

Her father had been Bi-polar. His mental breakdowns made dad the most unsafe person around. 

As I listened to Beth that night, the Lord dropped a phrase in my heart. A phrase that has not left. It’s an idea that has burned within me for decades.

Fallen Images of a Father God.

 

Our thesis for these coming weeks is simply this. I am going to argue, to contend, that our ideas, or our images, of our heavenly Father are deeply rooted in broken and marred images of fatherhood that exist here on earth.

 

Jesus came to show us who the Father was, and how he loved us. I am going to argue that if you truly understand the Father, and the Heart of the Father God for you, it will radically redirect your life, your identity and your destiny into a new level of freedom and health in all of your relationships.

 

This morning, I want to take a few moments and begin diving into a passage of scripture that is so familiar to anyone who has grown up around church, we almost don’t read it anymore. But I have come to believe that we miss the whole point of this parable.

 

Let’s get the context. Jesus is talking to the pharisees about lostness. He starts with 99 found sheep, and then 1 lost sheep. Sure, people get that. Then he moves on to 9 found coins, and 1 lost coin. Sure, we can get that. But then Jesus tells this parable.

 

Remember, in both of the previous parables, someone had to go looking for what was lost.

Quickly, let me break it down for you emotionally as the original hearers would have heard it.

A son comes to his dad. Dad, I want you dead so I can have your money.

Amazingly, the father does it. Though he is still alive, he divests himself of all his assets. Sells 1/3 of his cattle, sheep, goats, land, everything, and give the child cash in hand. Remember, he is telling this story to the pharisees who think they are better than everyone else. The pharisees would have been thinking Deuteronomy 21:18-21

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town.

They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours isstubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death.

 

I don’t want you to miss this… he also gives his older son his inheritance. He gives him everything.

So the little brat goes off, spends his money till he is starving to death, and finally comes to his senses.

Most prodigals come to their sense eventually. He heads home. He just wants to stay alive. He isn’t thinking about being a son. He’s thinking about where his next meal will come from. He is still a selfish brat at this point.

And then it happens.

The Father see him from far off. Which means he was up on the roof tops, an old man, in the heat of the day, watching. This is not the behavior of a middle eastern man.

Then it says the Father ran to him. Whoah, Jesus, this is too much. Run? To run, this old man would have had to gather up his robes, expose his legs, humiliate himself, and take off running. He grabs the son, and he does 3 things for him.

1.He put a new robe on him.

Nakedness in those days symbolized poverty, not

sexuality. The first thing he does is he removes his

shame.

2. Second thing he does, A ring on his finger

means he is back on the family checkbook.

3. Shoes on his feet. Slaves went barefoot. Sons wore shoes.

And then the party starts.

 

But you see, the Father’s work is not done. Because

remember he is telling this story to pharisees, who

think they are ok.

The older son comes in. He does not identify with the needy son. This son of yours, not my brother.

Then he gives this speech that is so self righteous. But at the same time so sad. All these years, he already had his inheritance available. He didn’t have to ask for a fattened calf. The calves were all his. Look at this words carefully. I have slaved for you. He worked as a slave. Not as a son.

 

This father is not dealing with one lost son, but 2.

 

One he lost to the world. The other he lost to duty. To religion without relationship.

But this story is about the father. He goes to the broken son. He goes to the arrogant son.

Oh, there is so much to this parable, I could spend weeks here. But I won’t. What I want us to take is this.

 

CS Lewis called it the God sized hole in our souls.

There is an emptiness in all of us that needs to be filled. A Longing for something, sometimes we don’t know what. I’m going to identify it. I’m going to call it our Father longing.

 

Over the next few weeks, you’re going to meet a number of different people. All with different fallen images of a Father God. But this morning I want to leave you with this. When Jesus identifies the one who goes looking for the lost in this parable, it is the Father.

This morning, I want us to end by reading a scripture

that is so familiar to most of us, we could quote it in

our sleep. F

John 3:16. For God so loved… his son…

 

Wait. I want you to notice that he sent his Son. That

means, we ought to read this passage

“For God the Father sent his one and only Son.”

 

The Father is the one seeking relationship with you.

He is the unknown longing of your soul. He is the one that Jesus came to reveal to us.

 

This morning, I realize that not many of you came

from homes with a great dad. You were not his passionate pursuit. Like Beth, there was brokenness in all our fathers. I have a great dad. His a pastor, a minister. One of my best friends. What lots of kids would dream of. But I remember one of the toughest times of my life was when I realized my dad was only human. I began to see his weaknesses and his fears. And it rocked me. Because he was my first image of God. And it was marred a little bit. And it

drove me to seek to know my Heavenly Father as he truly is.

 

This morning, we want to begin a Journey. A Journey

to discover how wrongly we have pictured God in our minds and spirits. How we have thought we didn’t need him.

 

This morning, I want you to remember this. The Father sent the son to die for you. The Father did not allow the cup to pass. The Father allowed the cross.

Because of his love for you.

 

Right now, lots of you have, “yeah buts..” I know.

Hold on. This is a long Journey.

 

But we want to pray for 2 kinds of prodigals this morning. The younger son and the older son. The younger son, the one who rejected the love of the father and spit in his face. And the older son, who thought that religion without relationship could save.

Both are prodigals.

 

Both the father passionately

loves.

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