Sermons. God is our Father

Perhaps we are so used to say and hear the word "Father" in prayer, in church, and in books, that we do not perceive the depth of its meaning, and we do not fully understand it. Or, may be, we take it for granted and do not meditate on it.

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Pavel Zhelnovakov

The New Testament truths bring into our lives a wonderful order of rest, an order of trust, a revelation of confidence and bright hope.

God's love is so wondrous, so deep that no human mind or heart can comprehend it in full. God is our Father. This is so wonderful and important for every one of us.

1 JOHN 3:1-2:

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is."

Have we ever stopped in wonder before these verses, which can penetrate the deepest depths of our hearts: "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would (not only) be called children of God; but even be His children."

The Bible does not often addresses us that way. Surely, it addresses believers. It addresses the people who accepted Christ as their Savior and have experienced the forgiveness of sins. It addresses the people who think of who they are to God.

To these very people, John, the apostle of love, who deeply understood God's love writes a lot about God's fatherhood. He teaches that God is not only the Lord of our lives, but He is our Father!

The word "see" makes us stop and for a moment stare in amazement at something the writer is telling us about. Not just to hear something, but TO SEE SOMETHING WITH THE EYES OF OUR HEARTS!

This word draws our attention to something incredibly important and so serious that to pass by it is almost a transgression. People do not often use such words.

Just want to remind you that this word is addressed to believers who know about God's values, God's beauty and God's wisdom. John's exclamation makes us stop and think: "What did he mean by it?"

Dear friends, you and I are privileged today to talk about the greatest mystery of the New Testament, the greatest mystery of Christianity – of God's fatherhood. We will talk of what it means t be His children.

Perhaps we are so used to say and hear the word "Father" in prayer, in church, and in books, that we do not perceive the depth of its meaning, and we do not fully understand it.

Or, may be, we take it for granted and do not meditate on it.

We are His children. What do we know about it? Do we tremble with reverend fear when we pray: "Lord, you are my Father, and I am your son!"

What do we know about the feelings of God's heart when we come before Him with this prayer? What do we think of Him when we worship Him?

When we meditate on it, we need to experience deep reverence before God who is our Father. This is the mystery of the New Testament!

The Old Testament Jews bowed down before the Holy God, the Mighty One! They knew Him by name, and their hearts trembled. They knew Who they were facing!

But they could not fathom what the New Covenant would offer to people. For only THE NEW COVENANT OFFERED TO PEOPLE THE MYSTERY OF SONSHIP BECAUSE OF THE CROSS.

"… that we would be called children of God; and such we are...we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. "

The apostle Paul continues to reveal this mystery in the book of Ephesians.

"Grace to you and peace from God the Father…" You mean, from God Himself? How can you imagine that?

Of course, we can look at it as a religious cliche and thus insult God. But we can also look at it as GOD'S PERSONAL ADDRESS TO US!

Many of us pray for God's answers. I do that, too. Many of us have no rest especially after reading a book about someone who experienced God's answers to their prayers. And our hearts cry unto God: "Lord, I also want the answers to my prayers!"

Dear brothers and sisters, when you want an answer, read Ephesians 1:1-5:

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will."

I know that this God's letter of love will come to you through Eternity. Our hearts will feel it because these are not mere words. No! This is God's personal address to someone who is reading the Bible, to someone who is praying, to someone who is meditating.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." Oh, yes, Paul has something to share with us!

"…He predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself..." What do we know about our predestination before God? What do we know about this great decree of God which sounded before the first earthly sounds! Before the first constellation was created, before nothing existed, this decree sounded in God's Eternal Council..

And God set before Himself a goal, a decree which He would fulfill in the millennia.

Nothing and no one can hinder God's desire to have children to whom He wants to give His life, His love, His values.

God did not made up this decree a couple minutes before the Cross. It was not an act of His pity in view of our sufferings and sorrows, like: "Yeah…The best thing for these people would be if I give my life for them."

None of us can know when the decree sounded because it sounded before time or space.

All that was happening by God's grace and generosity on this Earth, in this Universe, in our lives had one great purpose: God's predestination to adopt us as sons through Jesus Christ, thanks to His good will. This is what the Bible says.

If we study what was happening over the millennia, what was happening in the history of the Jewish people, if we examine the words and prayers of the great prophets from the perspective of this revelation, then many situations which did not used to make sense would become clear, and we will see God's purpose – that we might become His children. His children not by name only. It is God's desire that we would be called and that we would be His children. This is God's design for humanity.

Hardships and sufferings move us to God. And God, for His part, desires to bring EVERY PERSON to the EXPERIENCING THE JOY OF SONSHIP.

God wants every person, whether male or female, young or old, layperson or minister to know Who the Heavenly Father is.

What kind of relationship can I have with Him? What does He have for every one of us? How often do we meditate on what it means for us to be children of God? Are our hearts thankful to Him?

Are we willing to slow down before the Lord and to stood in humility, in reverence of our hearts, in the greatest joy of being His children? We are His children not in name only but in our essence, because He has given us life.

Dear Friends, God desires that we understand our sonship. And this is possible only if we understand that He is our Father.

THIS IS THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP THAT I HAVE WITH HIM: HE IS MY FATHER!

The Old Testament Jews could not understand this. God revealed Himself through His prophets by names that reflect different facets of His personality.

When we read the Old Testament our hearts tremble because we face greatest revelations.

But a Jewish person did not know God as his Father! Only the New Testament people were given the mystery of the gospel and the truth about our sonship. Aren't you glad to know that the Lord God Almighty is your Father? Alleluia!

Beloved, when we pray the Lord's prayer, what do we mean by it? What do we think when we call Him "Our Father who is in Heaven?" Do we realize the family ties that bind us and Him? That I am His son or daughter?

May be we are so used to it now because we close our meetings with this prayer. Perhaps when it's time to pray our mind is tired and we are ready to leave church. Why, it is merely the closing of a service, and we do not have to think about it.

God's greatest desire is for us to realize that He is our Father!

I think that the heart of our God cannot rest until we know for sure that He is our Father. And this should be reflected in our striving for Him not only as for God who gives us strength and comfort, and protection, but also as a striving of a child to his father.

The Apostle invites us "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us." In other words, "Be still and see," – think about it, meditate over it, and change your lives accordingly.

What do we know about being children of God?

The gospel of John perplexes us with the question of our identity (1:9-13):

"There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

Everyone of us knows their last name, their date of birth. Most of us know their parents well. But I am talking about something else: OUR TRUE IDENTITY.

Our lives on Earth are temporal. In Eternity we will not refer to ourselves as a son or daughter of so-and-so, we will not have our last names. There will be one Father for all people there!

My Friends, when we experience a spiritual drought, when problems and suffering come to our lives, when our wounded hearts sink in despair, and we cry before God, - what do we need in these moments?

I believe that the greatest answer to all our problems and troubles is the revelation of the family ties that bind me with God, namely, that He is my Father and I am His son!

When I stop and meditate over my real identity, MY HEAVENLY INDENTITY, all my problems and troubles seem so little and insignificant and they are not worth a second of my time!

What, then, is our identity? “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man (i. e., physiology and genetics), but of God.”

One time a man, who had been born blind, and later healed by Jesus taught a marvelous lesson to the ignorant of his day. When the scribes told him: “We know Moses, but we do not know this One. Where does He come from?” the guy gave a courageous answer: “It is surprising that you do not know where He is from!”

It is surprising! Every one can say this as the main diagnosis of his illnesses.

Many of us do not see ourselves and other believers from the perspective of sonship. It is especially sad when we call our husbands or wives, our parents or children “jerk” and other bad words…When we are rude with others or raise our voices, do we realize what we are doing in such moments???

We say these words to those who have been born of God! To those who have God’s eternal life in them, in whose hearts the King of the Universe lives!!!

WHO ARE WE? My words might be strange to you, but we are so used to identify ourselves just by our first name: John, Mary, Stephen.

We know our friends’ faces very well, we know their every wrinkle. Even better than their faces, we know their weaknesses. We know what button to push to get the result that we want.

This knowledge is worthless and dead. The knowledge that is harmful to the relationships and that kills our lives.

The real knowledge which reveals our true identity is very important for us. The Bible tells us that God has given to us a great identity. We have been born spiritually not by the will of a human. Surely, we all have been born physically. And we also have our earthly citizenship. Some of us have a high social status, others have a lower status. We all have names which we are proud of. But this is not most important!

We have something that carries our spirits to heaven. The mystery of the New Testament has been revealed to us – we are the children of God!

The Jewish people to whom the Lord Jesus had come, who had a right to be called the children of God, did not accept Him. It is sad, but only to “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

A RIGHT is a privilege. A right is not something that everyone has. A right is something high. Especially when this right is bestowed by God. It’s a great right! And this right is the right to be children of God BORN OF GOD!

Dear brothers and sisters, find some time in your busy schedules to meditate over the mystery of our identity, the mystery of a new creation, and the Spirit of God who lives in our hearts. Give thanks to God for our identity, because we owe it to our Heavenly Father!

So, beloved, our sonship is from God. Because of it, we have a new kind of relationship with Him. I urge you to learn to treasure it!

Treasure it not about yourselves only but also about those who are around you. Look now at each other and be obedient, as children are, because my request is unusual.

Beside yourself, you see a person who you’ve known for quite a while. His face may be not the most pleasant one, and perhaps you wish you would never see him again. But look at him and think: his true identity is from God! God lives in this person! You see someone who has inside eternal life, the life of the Almighty, the life of God’s Kingdom! You see a son or a daughter of God!

If you want to know what God’s fatherhood is all about, if you want to know what kind of relationship we have with the Father, come and see! Take some time in your business, to slow down and SEE!

You can pray: “God, take away the scales from the eyes of my heart. I pray that Your Spirit of wisdom and revelation will help me see. Because You are calling me and I do not want to be blind. I want to understand the mystery of my relationship with you, because You are my Father!”

Abraham’s blessings were all that an Old Testament Jew could aspire for. But Jesus said once that Abraham was glad to see His day. And he rejoiced when he saw it. Our eyes are blessed because many prophets and kings wished to see what we are seeing, yet they never saw it. It remained a mystery to them. But to the New Testament people the mystery has been revealed: God is our Father!

This is something that we freely receive: God is our Father and we are His children. Because of that we can boldly come into His presence because children are welcome to approach their parents! And this is the most important thing that we lack at times in our Christian walk – the deep understanding that God is our Father.

The best thing we can do to understand the mystery of His Fatherhood and our relationship with Him is just to look up to Jesus! To examine His live in the pages of the gospels.

What did God’s Fatherhood mean to Jesus? What did He think about it? What did it add to His life? How did it help Him, and how can it help us, who are learning from Him?

John 4:34:

"Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."

John 6:38:

"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."

John 17:4:

"I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. "

Luke 22:41-42:

"And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”"

Because Jesus knew that God is His Father, He humbled Himself before the power and authority of God.

One time, God asked Old Testament believers through the prophet Malachi: “If I am the Father, why don’t you honor me? If I am the Lord, where is your reverence before me?” Dear Friends, when we say that God is our Father, when we relish the word itself as we address God, “Father…” what do we mean by it?

For Jesus, it was the greatest revelation of God’s power and authority in His life.

Jesus’ will was holy and unblemished. He could have walked according to His own will, but He said, “Father, I will do what you have told me to do, I will accomplish what you have desired.” Jesus wanted to do His Father’s will.

Jesus always expressed the respect and honor that a son would to his father, “Father, not My will, but Yours be done.”

When we understand better that God is our Father, when we know about the Father’s power and authority, do we still want to call Him, “Father?”

Do we understand that it is our privilege to pray, “Our Father who is in Heaven?” I see the Father’s authority behind those words, and I want to obey Him! This is the right that He has given us!

John clearly teaches us that if I claim to love the One who gave birth to me, then I will genuinely love those who are also children of God – the very people who we can be angry with or who we forget to pray for. Just because they have been born of God, I am to love them.

Oftentimes we put ourselves above others. This is selfishness. In that case the best thing we can do it pray, “Forgive me, Father, because my attitude to your other children is wrong. And the more I know that You are my Father, and I am your child, the more I want to love those who have been born of You.”

Dear Christians, let us remember that the strength of the church is in brotherly love!

Many Christians today pray, “By the power and authority of Jesus Christ, we command this and this,” “we have power in this and this…”

Beloved, remember: WE HAVE THE AUTHORITY to command and do other things only after WE LET GOD HAVE AUTHORITY IN OUR LIVES – TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOUR.

The true spiritual power comes when we begin to love our close ones. When we obey God’s commandment to love our neighbor, we have access to true spiritual power. Only when we obey God’s commandment, we can command in the name of Jesus as we pray.

We need to learn to love those who are not lovable, those who are not like us, those who we would not normally like. The Bible is adamant about it: if God loves this person, I have no choice, but to follow Him and love that person.

1John 5:2-3:

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."

This is what the Father’s authority in our lives!

I pray, “Father, You have given me a right to be Your son.” But this right means ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF HIS POWER AND RIGHT IN MY LIFE!

We can show obedience to the Father in keeping His commandments. Especially, in loving our neighbor. This love will not let us pass by the suffering and afflicted, it will not let us neglect the prayer requests of others, or keep on sleeping when the Spirit wakes us up in the middle of the night to pray for someone. The best that we can do then is to pray to God. This is GOD’S POWER in our lives.

For Christ, God’s Fatherhood also meant His great love.

John 5:19-20 – these are wonderful verses telling us about God’s love:

"Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel."

John 15:9-10 – these verses give God’s life, these words reveal to us what God’s Fatherhood means:

"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love."

God’s Fatherhood is expressed in His real love for us.

We might say, “Lord, I do not see this love…” Well, what if you do not keep His commandments, and as a result, we cannot abide in His love?

Dear brothers and sisters, God really loves every one of us!

John 14:21:

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

John 14:23-24:

"Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me."

God really promises His love to us. And if we understand what God’s Fatherhood meant to Jesus, we know that the same kind of Fatherhood is given to us! Because we have the same life that was in Christ. But please, do not mistake this life for the divine nature of Christ. We will never have divine nature, we will never be God.

A Christian is born again, born of Him – this way Christ gives us His Spirit.

This is why when we’re talking about His presence in us, we are talking about His life in us. The same life that was in Christ.

Sometimes that can perplex us, especially when others despise and mock us. We think then: “This should not be happening. Oh, if only I had God’s life in me!”

But once we look at Christ’s life, things fall into their places.

When we talk about God’s love for Jesus, we understand how great that love was. Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have loved you; abide in My love.”

Beloved, please, find some time to slow down for at least a couple minutes a day. We might need to turn the TV off or to close a favorite book. Let us take time to meditate, “Lord, what does Your love mean to me? What does the Father’s love mean to me?”

We would probably experience the same thing as we did as little children when we sat on a dear father’s lap, putting our arms around his neck.

This is just a bleak picture of what we can experience when we come to the Lord in prayer as we desire to abide in His love.

The Fatherhood of God is the reality of His love, the true reality of our lives.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you.” Jesus loves every one of us with the same power, same energy, same strength, and same depth. There is no other explanation.

God loves us because we are God’s children, His children!

Perhaps in the highest moments of our prayer life before God, we would dare some time to address Jesus not only as the Lord of our lives, but as to our Heavenly Brother.

When I first addressed Jesus that way, “my Heavenly Brother,” I felt joy mixed with fear: “What will God think? Do I have a right to address God this way? Me, the imperfect sinful me?”

Yes, I do. I have this right because God’s life is given to us if we have been born from God, and if the Bible calls us brothers – this is what the Lord Himself said. And He calls Himself and us, the Father’s children.

Jesus gave us the basis for this right, as He addressed His disciples, “go to My brothers, and tell them, ‘I am going up to My Father and your Father.’” (John 20:17).

The greatest words of God’s truth have been given us – He is our Father.

The Bible says that for Jesus God’s sonship was expressed in the wonderful fellowship with the Father.

John 8:29:

“And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

John 16:32:

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.

Dear Friends, sometimes, in the moments of spiritual draught, we like to whine before the Lord, “Everyone has abandoned me, no one understands me, no one appreciates me…”

It is sad, when we are abandoned and misunderstood.

Jesus also said that one time every one would abandon Him. And this has really happened. All the disciples left Him. One of them denied Him, the other one betrayed Him.

But at the same time Jesus shares the greatest revelation of the relationship that binds Him with the Father, “I am not alone.”

One time in the North, someone found a man who froze to death. A Bible was right next to him. And there were some words written on the snow, “I am not alone.”

This man froze to death. Before his death, he was all by himself. But his last words were, “I am not alone.” Beloved, he knew God as HIS Father!

When Jesus went to the mountain to spend a night in prayer, He had fellowship with His Father. I do not believe that He could not wait for the night to be over. His prayer was nothing like some of our prayers, when we have a “prayer schedule” : time in and time out. But some of us know what Jesus was feeling, “Lord, how could these hours fly so fast?”

We did not notice that just because we were having fellowship with Him! With our Heavenly Father.

“See,” dear Christians, see well what kind of love the Father has given unto us! That we would not only be called but also that we would be children of God. Our fellowship with Him.

"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him." (John 14:23)

"Abode" is a place of fellowship.

Do you remember the words of Christ to the church in Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”? These words are addressed to Christians! Jesus promises His fellowship with the Christians who would open their hearts for Him!

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him and he with Me,"- I will have fellowship with him!

We often sigh, and pray, and cry for it, but it requires so little: just hear and open! The Lord says, “Whoever loves Me, will show it in keeping My commandments. And My Father will love him. We will come together: Myself and the Father. In his life, in his heart We will make Us abode in time of prayer or in any other time.”

And this is forever! This is something that you will not want to trade for anything! This will be the deep revelation of God’s Fatherhood in us.

What else was the revelation of Fatherhood for Jesus, and, consequently, for us? For we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, the children of God, and we have one life with Him, the life that was given to us in the mystery of the birth from above.

John 5:22-23:

"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

John 12:23,28:

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

John 17:1:

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You

Wonderful words that the Lord Jesus said to His Father. Jesus understood that it is a privilege to call God “Father,” and to have fellowship with Him. It is a glimpse of glorification to come!

God’s Fatherhood for me is His glorification of me, and my glorification of Him in my life. Is it the same for you? Is it always?

If we think of the greatness of Jesus’ glory, of the greatness of the Father’s love for the Son, then we will see a picture of how the Father will honor His children who are serving Him, “If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26).

Beloved, we need to stop and think again what these words mean “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are” and “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him.”

Maybe we should spend hours in prayer to be filled with the revelation of His Fatherhood.

What does God offer to those whom He has saved, justified, brought to Himself so that they will know Him, love Him, follow Him? The answer is, Glory!!!

He became the firstborn of the brothers, in other words, the first, the eldest, the chief Brother. The Greatest in the large God’s family of brothers and sisters.

"And whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom he called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified!" (Rom. 8:30).

Dear Friends, God’s Fatherhood for us is God’s real glory in our lives. And here’s how we can achieve it, “Whoever loves Me, let him keep my commandments.”

Dear Christians, I can repeat over and over again the words of the apostle John, “See!” Take time in your lives to see! See the love that God has given unto us so we will be called children of God, such as we are. So that the time might come when we are like Him! Let us know and obtain His glory! Just as God desires!

Amen.