“When I say the word Father, what does it mean to you?” This is how Ruth began her sermon this week. We all have differing ideas of a father, based on our own experiences. For some of us, a father is a teacher, someone loving, who spends time with us and makes us laugh. For others, the image of a father can conjure up memories of nothingness, absence, cruelty, or even abuse.
We come into the world with the expectation that we will be loved unconditionally. It is only when we grow up that we realise that we will have disappointments. Our fathers, once thought of as heroes, are revealed to not be able to make everything better, even though they might want to.
When we think of God as a father, the image can be coloured by our previous experiences. Ruth went on to say that if we were to forget everything else in this message, that there are two truths that if we are able to fully grasp them, then we will have the most transformative power in our lives. These truths are:
- You Are A Child Of God
- God Is The Perfect Father
At the Cherish conference in Life Church UK this year, Louis Giglio said that “God is not a big version of your father, He is the Perfect version of your father”
God is Perfect. He is our Perfect father. In looking at Him as our Father, we must be prepared to forget everything we know about earthly Fathers, and let go of all our preconceived notions, in order to truly see God as the Father that He is.
Ruth gave us a series of points that describe the type of Father God is:
- Is for us
- Loves us unconditionally
- Wants us to succeed
- Doesn’t want any harm to come to us
- Will pick us up if we fail
- Encourages us
- Cheers us on
- Wants to spend time with us
- Wants to give us the desires of our heart
- Will NEVER leave us
- Delights in us
There are so many more things that define God the Father, so, moving forward, Ruth asked us to cast away all of our pre-conceived ideas of what a Father is so that we can look at just four qualities of The Perfect Father.
Firstly, God is a CLOSE Father. It says in Acts 17:21, “God did this so people would reach out for Him and find Him since He is not far from each of us”
He is always there for us, whenever we need Him, and also when we don’t. God will never have the answerphone on. He is closer than a brother. We will ALWAYS get Him, because He loves to be there for us and meet our needs. Matthew 6:31-32 says “So don’t worry saying ‘What are we going to eat? Or what shall we wear? Your heavenly Father knows you need these things”. In truth, the point here is that good fathers take care of their children and give them what they need, and if this is the case, then how much more can we count on God and His unlimited resources to look after us.
Ruth’s second point is that God is a CARING Father. He wants us to know that we are loved, that we are cared for, and that we matter. God is happy to listen to everything that we have to say. He loves us ‘to bits’. He is interested in us, and He cares for us. He is there for us 100% of the time. In illustrating this point, Ruth gave several passages of scripture, such as Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you”
These passages prove how much God cares about us, that He is willing to go ahead of us, wherever we go. Sometimes, we can feel like the disciples, when they were in the boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm rose up. They were tossed back and forth and they cried out for help, saying, “Lord, don’t you care?”
The truth is that we just haven’t grasped how much He cares about us. Ruth asked us if we had ever felt like that, and then told us that God’s answer to the disciples’ question back then, and to our questions now is “Yes. Yes, I care a lot”. God is the PERFECT Father, and He cares about us. He cares about our health, our finances, our school grades, our family, our relationship, whether we are successful, and we MATTER to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you!”
The third point was that God is a CAPABLE Father. Nothing is beyond His power, or His resources. He can handle it all. He is our capable father. Ephesians 3:20 says “God can do anything, you know – far more that you could ever imagine of guess or request in your wildest dreams!”. The truth is that if God can speak the universe into existence, keep Noah safe during the flood, breathe life into a boy, keep three Hebrew boys safe in the furnace, feed the five thousand, take care of the disciples in the storm and raise Lazarus from the dead, then He is more than equipped to take care of us.
God wants to meet our needs. He doesn’t want us looking everywhere else to have those needs met. He wants us to look to Him. It says in Philippians 4:19 “My God shall supply all of your needs”. That means all. Not just a few, not a selection. ALL. God cares about all the minute details of our lives, and He wants to be there and to help us through whatever we are going through and He is perfectly capable and able to do this if we only let Him.
Ruth’s fourth point was that God is a CONSISTENT Father. As a child, almost all of us have probably experienced waiting for a father who has promised to leave work early to be at our sports day, and they have been unable to come. This does not happen with God. He is a consistent Father. Things happen in life sometimes, and earthly fathers let us down, but this is not the case with God. He is reliable and can be counted upon. 2 Timothy 2:13 says “Even if we are faithless, He remains faithful”
While people are unpredictable, God is not. He does not have ‘moods’, He doesn’t have bad days. Everything with God is based upon who He is, not who we are. In an ever changing world, we can rely on God. Everything in the world changes, but God is our rock. ALL of God’s promises come true. In Malachi 3:6 is says “I the Lord, do not change” The truth is that if God says something, then we can count on it.
In closing, Ruth said that regardless of our experience with our earthly father, our Heavenly Father wants to be close to us. He wants us to build a relationship with Him. He wants to be our Dad. The thing is, that although everyone is a child of God, not everybody has a relationship with Him. Not everybody is able to call Him Father, but God makes it so simple for us to enter into a relationship with Him. All we must do if we are to be able to call Him father, is to believe and accept Jesus. John 1:12 says that “to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God”.
God, the PERFECT Father is sat in his chair, calling to us, asking us to come and sit with Him, and to talk to him about our day, week and life. He will cover everything we’re going through if only we let Him. He wants us to know that He is Dad, but will we let Him?
Scriptures: Matthew 4:48, Acts 17:27, Psalm 145:18, Matthew 7:11, Matthew 6:31-32, Psalm 103:13, Deuteronomy 3:22, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23:1, Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 12:2, Hebrews 13:6, 1 Peter 5:7, Ephesians 3:20, Luke 1:37, Philippians 4:19, James 1:17, 2 Timothy 2:13, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 18:20, John 1:12