Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fathers Forever


The best picture of a father is the picture God gives us of Himself. All God ever wanted to be was a father. And, once a father, always a father – nothing can change it … ever!

The last word God spoke in the Old Testament is recorded in Malachi 4. God knew it would be 400 years before the earth would hear from Him again. The words He chose to leave with His children were very calculated and very important. What did He say? He spoke about fathers.

Malachi 4
5  “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (Some imagine these to be two days.)
6  And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Dysfunctional families bring a curse in the earth.)

After Malachi, the next time anyone on heard from heaven is recorded in Luke 1. It was an old priest named Zacharias who was in the Temple in Jerusalem interceding for Israel. The angel Gabriel suddenly appeared to Zacharias with a message from God. Guess what the message was about? Gabriel’s message contained the same words from Malachi about fathers.

Luke 1
17  "He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ’to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

If fathers were in the heart and on the mind of God as the last thing He said in the Old Testament and the first thing He points to in the New Testament, I believe we can safely conclude God sees fathers as vitally important to His plan. And, the hearts of children towards fathers as well.

In fact, in both of these passages reveal the heart of God concerning family relationships, specifically the relationship between father and child. The 10 Commandments also speaks to this critical issue. (Ephesians 6:2)

You see, if planet earth is to be any reflection of God’s Will or heaven’s pattern, healthy father-child relationships must be intact. There are many passages in the Bible that give parental direction and instruction but the weight of maintaining healthy relationship throughout life is yet placed on children. This is a reflection of each individual’s responsibility towards God.

This morning however, I want to share 4 characteristics of a father we gain from looking at our Father God. Fathers, we represent our Father God:

A Father Is Aware
        He cares enough to know what is going on (Genesis 1:1&2)
A Father Is Involved
        He plans and works to make things better (Genesis 1)
        Not distant but gets closer to those things which need to change
        Pays the price and accepts the cost without complaint (John 3:16)
A Father Is Forgiving
        Stays ready to receive the repentant and returning child
        Like the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:20)
        It’s a matter of the heart (Psalms 103:13)
A Father Is Forever
        When it’s all said and done, all God will have left is family.
        Family is forever. (Exodus 3:6; John 14:16; Ephesians 3:14&15)

“Let the Revolution Begin!” Revolve means to come back around. Perhaps one the greatest challenge we face in this world is to humble ourselves and become responsible to fix something we didn’t break. Many times it will mean we have to come back around … revolt … revolve and return.

As we age, much of the burden of continued relationship falls on children. Sure, it is a parent’s responsibility in the beginning but as life continues, more and more the burden shifts and relationship becomes the burden of the child. It’s the same with the relationship we have with God. He came to us in Christ first, now we must come to Him. This is the simple truth. God is our Father, we are His children, and we are to honor Him.

God’s Word has not changed. Fathers – we must be aware, be involved, be forgiving because just like God, we will be fathers forever!