1. Hello, our listening friends. We are glad you joined us.
2. We have been going through a series of messages on what is known as, "The Lord's Prayer,"
3. and we saw the importance of the power in prayer.
4. I want to talk to you, today, about the fatherhood of God.
5. One of the most basic elements of the faith in Jesus Christ is the fatherhood of God.
6. One of the most distinguishing marks of Christianity is the fatherhood of God to the believers in Jesus Christ.
7. One of the most uniquely Christian tenets is being able to call God, "our Father;"
8. yet, one of the greatest challenges of understanding and comprehending this concept is our experience of our earthly fathers.
9. Those, who have grown up with harsh, angry and hard earthly fathers,
10. will inevitably relate that image to our heavenly Father.
11. Those, who have grown up with fathers who are weak-willed, who do not command respect from their children,
12. will most likely relate that image to our heavenly Father.
13. The challenge for all of us is how not to associate our heavenly Father with our earthly fathers;
14. but I must say this:
15. that those who have grown up with fair, honest, loving, generous, strong and gentle earthly fathers have a better chance of comprehending the true image of our heavenly Father;
16. but, even then, our earthly fathers, no matter how wonderful they may be, are but a pale approximation of the true image of our heavenly Father.
17. Most people use the Lord's Prayer as a kind of magical prayer to get them out of trouble, or, as a substitute for praying;
18. but Jesus taught His Disciples that, when you pray, say, “our Father.”
19. In all four Gospels, Jesus spoke of God, as Father, seventy times.
20. In fact, He used the title of "Father" all the time, except the one time on the cross when He cried, “My God, my God.”
22. Because, when He said this, He was emphasizing the separation He experienced in being our sin-bearer on the cross.
23. The Aramaic word that Jesus would have used, here, is the word, "Abba," which carries an intimate and deeply personal connotation.
在亚兰文里，耶稣用 “阿爸” 这个词，来表明祂和神之间亲密无间的关系。
24. At the time of Jesus’ earthly life, this was a radical view of God.
25. This was a new revelation of God.
26. This was a unique way of viewing God.
27. The Jews knew God as the Father of their nation.
28. For example, Isaiah 63:16 declares, “For You are our Father.”
29. In fact, the entire Gospel of Matthew is written from the view of showing Israel as the son who rejected the Father,
30. Israel as the son who was in disobedience to the Father;
31. but Israel as the son who is, now, replaced by Jesus Christ, the true Son.
32. Jesus Christ is the Son whose perfect obedience brought along many brothers and sisters, namely, all of those who believe in Him,
33. those who will put their trust in Him,
34. those who accept His death on the cross as for them,
35. those who will follow and obey Him.
36. They, and they alone, can call God, "Father."
37. They are able to say that, because of their faith in their older Brother, Jesus.
38. Jesus, and Jesus alone, can get you adopted by His Father.
39. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is able to sign your adoption papers.
40. Jesus, and Jesus alone, can bring you to the Father.
41. Jesus, and Jesus alone, can make it possible to call God, "Father."
42. Listening friends, listen carefully to what I’m going to tell you.
43. The Bible tells us that, without the shed blood of Jesus Christ, there can be no forgiveness of sin.
44. Without the shed blood of Christ, repentance is not accepted in the sight of God.
45. Without the shed blood of Christ, there can be no true restoration.
46. Without faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we cannot call God, "Father," or receive forgiveness.
47. Listen again, my listening friend.
48. Remorse, or decisions to change, are not the same as biblical repentance.
49. Biblical repentance says the following:
50. "I cannot have salvation without Jesus.
51. I cannot have power to overcome sin without Jesus.
52. I cannot be a changed person without the power of Jesus,"
53. and what I’m going to tell you is of vital importance.
54. If we cannot name Jesus’ name, we cannot get the blessings that Jesus brings.
55. If we are ashamed of Jesus’ name, God the Father will be ashamed of us in the Day of Judgment.
56. If we are embarrassed to name the name of the only One Who can forgive us, we will not know forgiveness.
57. If we are anxious to avoid His magnificent name, then, there is no true repentance and, therefore, no true restoration.
58. Without Jesus, repentance is a mere human effort that has no power with God.
59. Let me tell you why.
60. Jesus’ name is power;
61. and that power works this way:
62. no one can call God, "Father" who does not have Jesus as his Savior Brother.
63. Our heavenly Father is a very compassionate, loving, graceful and merciful God;
64. but He wants people to come to Him His way, not their way.
65. In fact, Jesus paints a magnificent picture of what our heavenly Father is like in Luke, Chapter 15.
66. Jesus said, “There was a father…”
67. Jesus was painting a picture of His Father.
68. This father was loving, caring, compassionate, patient, longsuffering, slow to anger and quick to forgive;
69. but, when his son decided to leave home in rebellion, the father let him go.
70. While he waited for his son, day in and day out,
71. he never forced him to come back.
72. While his heart was broken over his son’s rebellion,
73. he never sent his servants to bring him back.
74. While he longed for his son to come back,
75. he never changed his own standards of forgiveness to suit his son.
76. Only when the son came into repentance the father’s way was he able to experience his father’s love and forgiveness.
77. Listen carefully, my listening friends.
78. You have to come to God in God’s way.
79. If the prodigal son got to about a mile from the house, but never made it all the way to the father’s eyesight,
80. he might as well just have stayed in the far country.
81. If the prodigal son sent someone to speak to his father on his behalf,
82. he might just as well stay away in the far country.
83. He had to come to the father the father’s way;
84. and, our heavenly Father’s only way for accepting us, forgiving us and restoring us is through the shed blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
85. No amount of tears or remorse will bring about true forgiveness, unless these tears are tears over the pain and the suffering that our sins cause God,
86. for our sins cost Him the blood of His only Son.
87. Feeling sorry for your wrongdoing is not true repentance.
88. Feeling remorse over sin is not biblical repentance;
89. and Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘our Father.’”
90. Do you remember the older brother in the story in Luke 15?
91. The older brother stayed home.
92. He probably went to church, and did his chores, and, outwardly, did all the right things.
93. The father tried to assure the older son that everything the father owned is his.
94. The father tried to assure him that, by Jewish law, he was entitled to twice as much as his repentant brother.
95. The father tried to assure the older son of his love for him, and his affection toward him, and his interest in him;
96. but the older son’s pride prevented him from enjoying all the benefits that are at his disposal.
97. Do you know what the problem was?
98. The older son did not believe what his father said, and was trying hard to earn what was his for the asking;
99. thus, he forfeited his privileges.
100. In fact, the older boy is the most pathetic of the two sons.
101. The older boy is a picture of a poor, pathetic person, who may be a regular churchgoer,
102. a person who wants to believe in God his way, or, her own way,
103. a person who tries hard—the wrong way,
104. or, a person who takes his father for granted,
105. or, a person who wants God’s grace and forgiveness some other way, other than through the shed blood of Jesus Christ;
106. yet the father was broken-hearted over the older boy, as much as the younger when he was in the far country.
107. I want you to notice something important here.
108. All of the disobedience and the denial does not change the love of the father.
109. All of that does not change the yearning of the father.
110. All of that does not change the waiting of the father;
111. but the waiting of the father will be in vain, if we try to modify his way,
112. or twist his way,
113. or improve his way,
114. because his way is not open to modification or change.
115. The little phrase, "our Father," reduces all the complications of life to a very simple relationship.
116. Do you have that simple relationship?
117. Have you experienced it?
118. Jesus said, “When you pray, say, ‘our Father…’"
119. Can you say that, when you pray?
120. Jesus’ original hearers knew that the role of the father is to be the provider, a protector and the director of his family.
121. Having God for my Father means an end to all of my fears.
122. There are many people in the world who are frightened of their deity, but I am not afraid of my Father.
123. Because of Who my Father is, I am not afraid, period.
124. Not only that my heavenly Father takes away my fears,
125. but He gives me all the hope and the confidence I need, and banishes my uncertainty.
126. In my Father, I have protection.
127. In my Father, I have safety.
128. In my Father, I have serenity.
129. In my Father, I have peace.
130. In my Father, I have salvation.
131. In my Father, I have joy unspeakable, even in the midst of pain.
132. Not only that, when God is my Father, I have no fear;
133. not only that, when God is my Father, I have hope and protection;
134. but, thirdly, when God is my Father, I have companionship.
135. Your family may reject you.
136. Your friends may forsake you;
137. but your heavenly Father never, never, never leaves you, nor forsakes you.
138. Jesus said, in John 14:21,
139. not only that, when God is my Father, I have no fear;
140. not only that, when God is my Father, I have hope and protection;
141. not only when God is my Father, I have companionship;
142. but, finally, when God is my Father, I have His provision.
143. All the resources of Heaven are available to God’s children.
144. The problem is that we don’t trust Him to be our heavenly Supplier.
145. The word, "our Father," means that God is eager to hear us.
146. "Our Father" means that God is eager to empower us.
147. "Our Father" means that God is eager to lead us by His right hand.
148. Do you know God as your Father?
149. It is my prayer that you do that today.
150. Until next time, I pray for God’s richest blessing.