Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 13th June, 2021
Two weeks ago we had Pentecost Sunday, and of course I preached on the Holy Spirit. But the focus was about what it means to live out of the experience of being in the Upper Room – just like when the disciples were baptised in the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room and the Church was birthed into being.
But for us, the Upper Room isn’t a room at all. It’s a place of being – a way of life!
It’s a way of expressing and living out of the Holy Spirit’s Anointing that we carry on the inside.
And He goes with us wherever we are! You carry the Upper Room with you! You are a living and walking temple – the room – the building – of The Holy Spirit.
Then last week I spoke about Jesus. And my hope was that we would have a fresh awareness of who Jesus is and what His life means for us in the 21st Century.
It was actually about the perfect way He loved people – in a way that they needed at the time… He knew just how to love people in a way that healed them, restored them, reconciled them… and drew them to the Father.
Yes, Jesus died for us and rose again, and gave us the gift of resurrection life. But who He is – is also who we are called to be to the world.
So I think it’s only fitting that today we look to the Father.
I kind of got it back the front. It’s normally Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But I somehow managed to bring this little series around another way – Holy Spirit, Son and Father! I’m sure they don’t mind. After all, God is three in One.
I’ve found through my involvement in ministry with Christians over the years, that if someone is going to struggle to identify with an aspect of God’s nature and character, it will inevitably be to do with Him as Father.
It’s usually because we’ve all had our own experience with an earthly father – and as wonderful as they might have been, none of them were perfect.
Just as we have all been influenced, for better or worse by our own dads, so were they – by their own fathers.
So it’s not about judgement. It’s about recognising we are part of generations of stuff – and the fact we all live in an imperfect, fallen world….
For some – there’s no experience of fatherhood at all. Father’s, for some, were completely absent – sometimes physically – sometimes emotionally.
So either way, to know and love God as your Father is something that can take a bit of working through. Especially if the words father and abuse are used in the same sentence.
I had a good dad. Not an abusive one. But not a perfect one. I knew his father – and I have been able to put the pieces together and gain some understanding of why my father responded sometimes like he did.
Growing up, sometimes I felt that I was not quite the son my dad would have liked.
I’ve seen photos – I was pretty cute – but I was very different in personality to my Dad.
He was a really good footballer in his younger years. He played for Marist Brothers in Lismore. I hate football.
He was passionate about fishing. I hate fishing.
He worked really hard with his hands. He started out cutting down red cedars. He met mum while he was delivering pumpkins to her parents shop.
He ended up being a tyre retreader – and became a partner in a small business – but it was really hard and heavy work right til the finish of his woking life.
I’ve always worked in an office – I studied – became a counsellor and pastor, of all things. Dad was a disillusioned Catholic.
Somewhere along the line he decided to never step foot in a church again. The only way we got him in this building was for a family wedding or his own funeral.
His is own father caused him a lot of grief because of his religious bigotry. My grandfather wouldn’t go to dad’s wedding because he married an Anglican. My mother was never accepted by him.
I still remember as a little boy finding dad’s rosary beads in a bathroom drawer. And I managed to break them, accidentally…
I feel now that there was something really significant in that happening. For dad – and perhaps for me. I look back at that moment and sense that something of his religious past and generations was broken off him – and off me. I’m not talking about being Catholic here. I’m taking about anti Christ religious bondage which can happen in any denomination.
When dad’s friends would find out that he had a pastor as a son – especially a Pentecostal one, if they knew what that meant – they would scratch their heads in disbelief.
We were so different… I had to overcome my some strange feelings of rejection and become confident in my own identity in Christ.
It didn’t help that dad was the one to discipline me as a child. And the strap was his form of punishment. Again – a generational carry down. He didn’t know any other way… He just didn’t know how…
But I loved him – and in his final years on earth he had to depend on us more – Venese and I and my sister – as much as he tried not to. But I felt it brought a closeness in our relationship that was never there before.
He truly did his best with all that he was capable to doing – and I know from what others have told me, that he actually had a lot of respect for how I lived my life and was proud of me and my little family.
But as I launch into my message about the Father Heart of God, I wanted to encourage you, that regardless of your experience with or even without your natural earthly father, you have a Father who knew you and loved you before you were even born.
He created and formed you as you grew in your mother’s womb, and He established your true identity and had written in His book, all of the incredible destiny that is uniquely yours.
He is well able, if necessary, to redeem your distorted or imperfect image of what a father is.
If you still have wounds from the past, He’s able to heal those wounds – as He reveals Himself as a good, good Father – through His word – through Jesus Christ His Son – and through Holy Spirit revelation.
I know He can. He’s done it with me.
And now it’s my desire that the church becomes a place of healing for the fatherless, for the broken, for the abandoned and rejected….
We have been given the Father’s heart not only for ourselves, but for others.
But to know what it means to carry the Father’s heart, we first need to know what it means to be a child of God.
And that’s who we are. We are children of God our Father.
This has so many implications, and a few of those we will talk about in a moment.
New King James Version
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born[a] of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, [b]“Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
New King James Version
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”
The only other place Abba Father is used is when Jesus cried out to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was facing a torturous death. Abba is a term that means father, but it is the intimate name that only a child uses for their own father.
So to be adopted as a son in a kingdom sense is to really and truly become a child of our Heavenly Father. Being adopted by God means there is no distinction between a natural child and an adopted one – which of course is how most adoptive parents feel about their children.
I want to read Rom 8 again from the Passion Translation. It really captures the heart of God in a poetic way.
The Passion Translation
“And you did not receive the “spirit of religious duty,” leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the “Spirit of full acceptance,” enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as he rises up within us, our spirits join him in saying the words of tender affection, “Beloved Father!” 16 For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, “You are God’s beloved child!”
Maybe there are others here this morning who experienced what it feels like to have a fear of never being good enough. I felt at times like I was never good enough – but that was something that was transferred down from my grandfather to my father to me.
It’s a spirit of rejection. But the Father’s love breaks its power with the spirit of full acceptance.
I know in my life, rejection has been broken into a thousand pieces now.
My heavenly Father has placed a seal of His love around me.
Perhaps though there are some of you who still struggle with rejection. Well that’s what this message will hopefully help you overcome.
Perhaps fear comes at you in some other form, or through some other lie that you’ve received from your father or from someone who was meant to protect you and care for you.
Those lies distort our concept of our Heavenly Father. They can distort our concept of what love is!
Let me pray right now about that!
I pray that first of all you would reveal to us any false understanding of who we are that we might be carrying deep on the inside.
You desire truth in the award parts of our life – and so we cry out to you this morning to shine Your light to reveal any darkness and replace it with the light of Your truth.
Help us break away from any form of bondage – from the law – from a religious generational past – from the strongholds of our own mind.
Father, You know the perfect thing we need – a word – a revelation – a feeling – that will break the power of the enemies lies and strongholds.
Come Holy Spirit, and let that Spirit of adoption – that revelation of our true identity and how much we are loved and fully accepted…. Let that flood our souls right now.
As we continue to allow Your Word to penetrate our hearts, let it divide and separate the pure from the vile. We want to know what true and pure love is.
We ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.
You know, becoming a child of God means also belonging to a family. That family is the household of God – Christ’s body, the church.
We all have the same Father. We are literally brothers and sisters with Christ.
I won’t read it again, but John 17 reinforces the heart of Jesus – that we would become one with Him and with the Father. And all that Jesus has with the Father – that place of glory that He talks about – we have it too. We are one with them. We are one together. It’s mind blowing to comprehend it. But it’s true.
And going alongside that – is this whole revelation about being an heir of God through Christ.
As blood washed, Spirit filled, sons and daughters of God, we have inherited something incredible.
We no longer have to own the brokenness and curses and vulnerabilities of our past generations. That’s no longer our inheritance!
New King James Version
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
This is so much more than a natural inheritance. This is so much more than a transaction – a transfer of an estate…
Firstly, He says, do not fear little flock. He’s speaking to us as a protective Shepherd overseeing and caring for the sheep. An analogy Jesus uses often.
It’s the Father’s good pleasure…
It is our Father’s delight, His joy, His pleasure – to give us His kingdom.
He’s not wanting to hold it back, He’s wanting to release it – with joy!
Jesus says, when the fullness of the Kingdom comes,
New King James Version
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
So you see, God has always had it in his heart to bless His children with His Kingdom.
But then He gives the reasons why we are given this precious inheritance…
35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’”
Jesus then says, when you did it for the least, you did it for Me.
This is what His children do!
He is the Father. He provides everything in His whole kingdom. But our part is to express the Father’s heart and love to those who need to know it. Which is everyone!
And although in this instance Jesus is referring to the fullness of the kingdom being released in heaven, we also know that the kingdom of God is here now.
And the most incredible thing is that the kingdom isn’t over there, or over here…. The kingdom is within us. We carry the kingdom of God as our inheritance on the inside.
Our Father has placed it here so that we can become His true, authentic, anointed, children.
It’s the Father’s gift to simply be received and accepted.
New King James Version
“Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
He gives the kingdom with joy and delight – and that’s how He expects that we should receive it – with childlike joy and delight.
Aren’t you glad that your effectiveness and impact in ministry isn’t dependent on you own goodness and power?
It’s dependent purely on God’s kingdom goodness and power that He, as a loving Father, has given you as an inheritance. We’ve got this amazing down payment here on earth. More then enough! The rest will come later.
When preachers usually preach on the Father heart of God, they inevitably end up somewhere with the prodigal son.
That’s because it’s a beautiful picture of Father God’s heart towards us.
The prodigal son wanted to live his life his own way. He ended up in a pig pen with the pigs. And when he came to his senses and realised what he had left in the first place, he retuned home with his tail between his legs.
All the while, the father was watching and waiting…. And the home coming became a glorious celebration.
The other son who stayed faithfully by his father’s side throughout that whole time got an attitude of poor me – and had his own little pity party.
The thing is – a true father’s love and acceptance is always there to be found again. A father never rejects a son or daughter who genuinely turns their heart back towards him.
In the same context of the prodigal son, Jesus talks about the sheep that was lost, but is now found.
He speaks about the coin that was lost but is now found.
And here He then talks about the son that was dead, and who has come to life again – he was lost and now he is found.
That’s our heavenly Father’s heart. Always ready to reconcile, to restore, to rejoice, to embrace His children as they turn their hearts towards Him.
1 John 3:1 (part)
The Passion Translation
“Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children…”
In the New Testament, it’s so easy to find verses that paint the picture of our Father in Heaven.
That’s because in the New Testament we have Jesus, God’s own Son.
And when we see Jesus and know Him – then we also know the Father.
The Passion Translation
“The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—his mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of his spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took his seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One.”
Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.
Perhaps our prayer should also be this morning, that our lives would be a true representation also of the Father’s heart. That Jesus would be seen by the world through us – and therefore, they would also see the Father.
It’s a high calling – but there is no fear…. And if we come as little children, He has promised us the kingdom as our inheritance.