God Is Father

God Is... June 16, 2024 Romans 8:14-17 Notes

What do you know about God as Father? What do you believe about him? Are you focused on knowing our Heavenly Father in Greater way? We live in a world determined to maneuver life, put a successful outcome together without the instruction of the God who created life in the first place.

In Romans 8, the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Rome that they had been adopted into the family of God and could now know God as Father In Christ.



Good morning, church.

Happy Father's day. And I want to say happy Father's day to y'all, all the fathers here and the ones watching online. It's a great opportunity to be here to talk about God as Father. We're continuing our sermon series entitled God is, and we've been exploring how we might come to know God the Father better by exploring his attributes and knowing his attributes. For the past few weeks, we've been taking a closer look at God's primary attributes, the first one being love, because everything else emanates from that.

And then we looked at what it means for God to be a mighty God in our lives. And then last week, a merciful God. And this week, I get the opportunity to give the sermon that's most appropriate. God is Father.

Our series theme verse is John 17 three and this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus whom you have sent. Ji Packard, a theologian and author, asked two questions in his book, knowing God. The first was, what are we made for? And the second was, what aims should we set ourselves in life? The answer to both was to know God.

He went on to say, disregard the study of God and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life's blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. When I first read that quote, I thought, wow, man, that's pretty bold, pretty powerful, almost a little off putting.

This way, you can waste your life and lose your soul. But I think it's appropriate for this because I was reading a Gallup poll in 2022 that Gallup found that only 20% of Americans now say the Bible is the literal word of God. This was a record low, down 4% from the year before. And sadly, it's not just atheists and agnostics who doubt God's instruction, but a growing number of christians find themselves in doubt as well. What about you?

What do you know about God as father? Are you focused on knowing your heavenly father in a greater way? Scripture is not simply instruction. Every word, every action, every relationship that's written in the Bible tells of a loving, mighty, merciful father who offers redemption and salvation to each one of us.

In romans eight, the apostle Paul encouraged the believers in Rome that they could know God as father. And by that we can know that God is father. The question is, how do we know God is Father? The text gives us three ways to know God as father.

Let's look at our text. Romans 814 17. For all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry Abba. Father, the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Knowing God as father means number one, being led by his spirit as his son. Take a look at verses 14 and 15. For all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear.

Take note of the word spirit here. The word spirit is used twice in these first two sentences, and the first time it's used, it's an uppercase s, and the second time it's used, it's a lowercase s. Spirit of God is obviously the uppercase. And this spirit of fear or bondage or slavery is the lowercase. The greek word for this spirit in both cases is pneuma.

It's where we get the word pneumatic from a burst of air. And what that burst of air is is divine inspiration, intellectual, a soul, a spirit. If you're familiar with the story of creation, you might recognize when God said, let us make man in our image and in our likeness, it says in chapter two, verse seven, it says, then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. So this word pneuma is actually found in the Old Testament, just in Hebrew. And the phrase used for this word is the breath.

It's the same definition in comparison to breathe in divine inspiration and intellect, to breathe in a soul and a spirit. And when it comes to our need for salvation or this need to be children of God, sons of God, I think there's another verse that really kind of brings it all together. It makes a bigger impact. If you look at Genesis five three, some of these are not in your bullet, and you can just jot them down if you want to look at them later. It says, when Adam lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own image, after his own likeness, and named him Seth.

You see, it's no coincidence that God used this term twice. He said, I will make man in my image and in my likeness, or let us make man in my image and our likeness. And then once man had sinned, something changed, an identity changed. It says that Seth was born not in the image of a holy God, but in the image and likeness of a sinful man. And so the generations would suffer the consequences of being detached from God.

His new identity. His new identity would be one of bondage. It would be one of slavery. It would be a slave to the ground trying to grow crops. It would be a slave for the women in childbirth, for pain.

God was telling them that life has drastically changed with this identity change.

So I hope today that you'll have this constant question in your mind, which spirit do I walk by, and when am I walking by the spirit, and when am I not walking by the spirit? To speak to those who are sons, and those are all who have accepted Christ and the sacrifice Christ gave and to the obligation of being God's child. Take a look at the verse. At a verse that leads into our text. So this is two verses before I actually actual text.

It says this, this is the obligation of a son, that he live out the identity. I'm sorry. Nope, that's not it. So then, brothers, you gotta read the verse and not my own opinion. So then, brothers, we are debtors not to the flesh, but to live according to the spirit.

Where am I? Here, my brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh. To live according to the flesh. I apologize. This is the obligation that we live according to this new identity.

First Corinthians 619 20. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you are bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. I want to say a little bit more about this word slave as well, to be enslaved to something.

John 834 and 36, as Jesus answered them, truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever. The Son remains forever. So if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. And so this is giving credence to this sonship that we have.

The Son remains in the house forever, but the slave does not. And so I have this picture in my mind of this, that when we are led by the temporal things of this world, when we have the spirit of this world, when we're pursuing the things that this world says are important, that we find ourselves falling into a very temporal and temporary state, and those things will not stay in God's house, but the Son will remain in God's house. And what he's saying here is if he sets you free and you're walking in the spirit, then he sets you free. It's permanent. It's done.

Matthew Henry said, a sanctified soul bears the image of God as a child bears the image of the father. It's funny. Everyone who knew my dad when I was a kid knew that I was his son. It was like everywhere I went, I'd go to the deli or I'd go down to the hardware store or whatever the case was, and was like, you're Eddie's son, right? Yeah, I'm Eddie's son.

I guess we had similarities, mannerisms, things that we said, things that we behaved similarly. And so people knew me as Eddie's son.

And probably one day, I was probably no older than my grandson. He's now about five years old. My dad left me in the car, and he went into the hardware store to buy something or other. And while he was in the store, I slid over into the driver's seat. I got on my knees, and I put my hands on the steering wheel.

And he had his uniform. He was a police officer for the state of New York. And I took his hat and I put it on my head, and I was sitting or kneeling in the car. And I was thinking to myself, people think I'm my dad. You know, at five years old, this kind of silly thought that people think I'm a police officer and people think I'm my dad.

And I started to think about that time in my life. And as I think about my relationship with God, it's actually really not all that silly.

We want to know God as father in a greater way. I do. If I was in God's house, I would want to slip on his big giant shoes and walk around. I would want to wear his hat and make believe people thought I was him. I want people to recognize the identity of my father in me.

What's your familial identity? We're so busy in this world. This world throws so much at us on a daily basis. It's almost hard to remember that we have an identity that's greater than this world. We're busy here, there, running from one thing to another, never stopping answering this question and taking care of this problem.

And I think we can tend to lose our understanding or our in the moment understanding that God is our father and that that comes with so much, so much benefit, so much to add to so much in our life.

Is your identity a divine inspiration? Is it a divine intellect? Are you walking in the spirit uppercase s for all who are spirit, for all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. Knowing God as father number two means being adopted into his family. Verse 15 says, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, abba, father, adoption, the placing as a son, is a repositioning of one's identity.

Tim Keller, in his commentary on Romans, said, as a roman citizen, Paul would have understood adoption as a roman legal procedure. He says that adoption occurred when a wealthy adult had no heir to his estate. The moment adoption occurred, several things were immediately true of the new Son. First, his old debts and legal obligations were paid. Second, he got a new name and was instantly heir of all the father had.

Third, his father instantly became liable for all actions, any debts, any crimes. He was instantly liable for everything that the Son, the new son, was responsible for. Now the father was responsible. But fourth, the new son also had an obligation to honor and please his father. I said, it's a repositioning of an entire identity because there's a new name, a transference of legal responsibility, a status of rights that we have in Christ.

We walk by a new spirit.

John 112 says, but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Whose spirit do you carry?

Have you received his spirit? Who believes in his name?

So those who have the spirit of God are adopted as children into his home. They have the rights afforded them by that adoption. Take another look at verse 15. What's this word? Abba.

Abba, father. Abba means to invoke something. To invoke, in this case, the inheritance of adoption. By where we cry Abba, father. Life's circumstances, life's difficulties, the hardships, the loss, the things that happen in this life, the need for a greater understanding of who God is.

We cry Abba, father. When we sin, we cry Abba, father. What does Abba father mean? I invoke this position now I have as a son of God. I'm no longer a person of this world.

I am now a child, a son of God. And I can invoke every privilege, every privilege, every status, every bit of wealth that comes along with that adoption. Galatians four six says, and because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba, father. Wait a minute. It just said, we cry, Abba, father.

But this says, the spirit of his son cries, Abba, father. Now, if I was going to put everything I studied into the bulletin, the bulletin would be like 90 pages long. So we could only fit just so much. The idea of God being Father is an enormous topic. So I got a few things here for you to see here.

This idea in Galatians is the idea of.

It's the idea of Christ advocating for us. Sorry, I couldn't think of the word just advocating for someone else. Remember that legal term that the Romans would have believed adoption to be? Well, now Christ takes that legal responsibility for us. Take a look at these are not in your bullet, and so if you want to jot them down, look at them later.

That's fine.

Hebrews 725. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Christ, the spirit of Christ, is interceding for you first. John two, one. My little children, I am writing these things so that you may not sin.

But if anyone does sin, he has an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, in our failures, in our faults and the things that we miss, these missed opportunities and these failures in our life. There's an advocate, Christ Jesus the righteous, in Romans 827. And he who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. An advocation, an intercession, a constant relationship with the spirit that lives in you when you are a believer, when you are saved, when you've come and said, christ, I can't do this on my own, you're coming to Christ with something that you're asking him to take the responsibility, and he does, willingly. Can you imagine a sovereign God, a creator of the universe, taking responsibility for us, broken, sinful, in need of constant repair?

He does. He does, absolutely. Matthew 711 if you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him? Our heavenly Father has made himself responsible for his children. There are five.

I tried to get a little list. Five fatherly responsibilities that God has assumed for his children. These are in your bullet number one, God is our provider. Philippians 419 God protects. Matthew 10 29, 31.

He encourages us. Psalm 1017 God comforts us. Two, corinthians one, three, four. And God disciplines us. Hebrews 210.

Being a son does have certain privileges, even in our life. If you look at your own life, whatever your dad did for a living, or however that worked out in your life, in my case, my dad was a police officer, and so he was a transit police officer. For the state, as I said before. And he had like had kind of ownership over the. Over the train stations and all the transit, so he could go anywhere in those places.

So one day he asked me if I wanted to go to the switch. You want to go see the switch? And there wasn't like a place where you'd get spanked or anything like that. The switch was a big building at the train station and it was about the size of this stage and it was three stories up and it was like on pylons, like a beach house. And so my dad and I, we climbed up the stairs and we went in and my dad sat down and I was amazed.

It was like an air traffic control place with windows all the way around and had these huge levers because I was only like 2ft tall, so these levers were huge. And so I walked in and I was amazed. Little dials and knobs and, you know, everything a kid loves. It was cooler, definitely cooler than going to the dump. And I loved going to the dump, but this place was really cool.

What kid doesn't like going to the dump? So I'm in there for about 5 seconds. My dad's sitting down and the guy shows up in the doorway and he says, hey, kid, what are you doing in here? You don't belong in here. And so I looked at my dad and he stuck his head.

He goes, oh, Eddie, is this your son? Yeah, it's my son. I got to stay up there. And because it was no longer usable, they had everything, you know, done by computer. Now I got to play with the or digitally.

I had to get to play with all the levers and I got to stay up there. But a privilege, something I couldn't do unless my dad had that ability to let me do it, and I did. There's a privilege that comes with having God as our father.

It sets something in motion that lets us call Abba father.

What's the concern in your life right now? The biggest concern in your life? What's the thing that you dread, the thing that you're worried about, the thing that you think this is not going to turn out good for me. I just know it. I've watched other people go through it and this is just not going to be a good.

It's not going to be good. What's the thing that you're concerned the most about? You have the right, you have the privilege. You have the sonship of God, the creator, to call out Abba father, invoke every privilege of the kingdom of heaven.

I find that to be an amazing, amazing part of my relationship with God. And sometimes I think, as a believer, this is universal. I think it's for all of us. I don't do this perfectly well myself. As a matter of fact, as I was studying this, I was thinking to myself, man, you do this poorly, you need to do better than you're doing.

I felt a conviction myself, because somehow I feel like we're the unknowing recipients of something so much greater than this, yet we're kind of stuck here in this world, doing the things the world does, listening to the world's ideas on what's valuable and what's not, what's important and what's not.

I remember as a young dad, my two small boys, I remember thinking, I'm missing so much of their growing up.

And I'm not saying I have the answer to this. Where am I focused on this 60 hours day at work? Where am I focused? I go to work, I come home, I go to bed. Shortly after I go back to work, I go to school, and I'm missing something.

Sometimes we're focused on the wrong thing. Rather than giving the thing to God, rather than carrying. Abba father, rather than saying, I'm going to invoke every single privilege of heaven, God, I'm giving this to you. I'm sorry. I'm giving you my finances.

I'm not taking the second or the third job. I'm going to stay home with my family because my family is before my job. I go to work for my family.

Maybe it's time to start realizing just what you're a recipient of, just what I'm a recipient of, and put aside what this world says is important and cry out, Abba father, we are heirs. We walk in the spirit. We have the right to invoke the rites of sonship.

Number three, knowing God as father means being co heirs with his son. Verse 17 says, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we might also be glorified with him. And so during the study, I came across that word, provided we, or those two words. And I thought, oh, that sounds not right.

That provided I do this, then I get that. So I have the. I mean, we know that we're saved by grace, right? Through faith, not of our own works. And so this seemed very provision, very transactional to me.

But it's not. Again, in study, we find that this word, it means that we. I'm sorry, it means. It means something other. It's a provisional statement.

It is not a transactional statement. If so, then is the actual translation. And so it reads better. It reads more accurately if I say heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. If then we suffer with Christ, we may also be glorified with Christ.

And so this is not a transactional statement. It's a provisional statement. He's saying that even through the suffering, even if you're 15 and you're in high school, even through the suffering, that because sometimes if you go to school with a Bible in your arm, you're going to take a little hit. You're going to take some hits from the people at school. If you go to work with a Bible in your hand, it's not about having the Bible in your.

But if you go professing Christ, if you go as a christian believer, you may take a couple of hits, some persecution. Some people might not like you for the things that you believe in, the things that you. You hold dear. He says, if you will suffer with Christ, you'll also be glorified with Christ.

To feel the pain, to know that it is nothing in comparison to what we will get in the glorification. To know that, to be an heir of God's kingdom, a co heir with Christ, who is the first of many brethren, to know that and to exercise our lives according to that.

In air.

In air has the. How do I say this? In air has the privilege, I guess it's still a privilege of ownership of everything that the father has, everything that belongs to the kingdom of God. Everything that your father has, you have, everything is at your disposal.

Galatians 329 says, and if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise in John 1722. The glory that you have been given, that you have given me, I have given them that they may be one even as we are one. So what is Jesus saying in that sentence? He's saying, the glory you've given me, I've given to them. And then now I advocate I intercede for them to the Father.

If you've ever thought this, I'm just not really good at this christian walk. I'm just really not good at it. I'm tired of asking God to forgive me for this or for that or, you know, I do it regularly. Some things I even ask forgiveness for every day. I'm sure he's sick and tired of hearing me ask forgiveness for it.

This payment has been made for you, this ability for you to cry, Abba. Father, this joint heir with Christ. This all belongs to you. It's an inheritance that comes the very minute you're adopted, the very minute you say yes to Christ.

If you've never said yes to Jesus Christ, that I need a savior, I can't save myself. I have a difficulty maneuvering the world I live in. I need a guide, I need instructions. I need a father.

Then I would ask you today to make that commitment. Today, Jesus told his disciples that they would suffer certain things. Jesus would have to suffer, and because Jesus had to suffer, so would they have to suffer. But the glory that comes beyond that, I can honestly tell you, is worth every bit of whatever little suffering we have. In the late eighties, my family became a ministry family, the pastor's kid.

And it got hard. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world. Financially, it wasn't easy. There were so many things that happened from being a pk, I had 300 moms and dads. Everybody knew the pastor's kid and wanted to be a parent, you know, so that was tough.

But here. So a little bit of derailment there for a little while in our home, job changed. Dad had a good job, and now he's a pastor, and things aren't so hot there. So, you know, financially, I'm talking about. But here's the thing.

My dad, first generation believer, all of my brothers and sisters believe I'm a believer. My sons are believers. They're raising their children in a home that honors God, that sees God as father. So what? A little bit of derailment financially, a little bit of derailment in my home when I was a kid, things that I didn't really care much for then.

But now I look back at the suffering with Christ and find that there is nothing better than what God takes glory in. And he takes glory in me as dad, emulating him, seeing my children emulate him, seeing my grandchildren emulate him, what more could a father want than to have children that want to be just like him? I want to be just like my heavenly father. My kids want to be just like my heavenly father. And my grandchildren will want to be just like my heavenly father.

But it starts with one decision. I will walk in the upper case. Spirit of God. Those who walk in the spirit of God are sons of God.

Are you a recipient of this great gift? If not, I would ask you to be one today. I would ask you to make that decision in your mind, in your heart right now. In a little while, Jeff is going to say there's a tear off on your bullet, and I want you to write that down. I accept Christ as my savior today because it starts a brand new life, a new identity, someone else that's going to bear the burdens of your life, someone else that has already borne the debts of your life.

May you commit this morning to know God as father, living by his spirit and by the identity of his name. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we love you and we thank you so much for loving us. Lord, we thank you that we have the opportunity to be sons, Lord, and even though I don't understand even the smallest part of this yet, Lord, we are not responsible. As a once and done.

You don't expect us to understand this all at once, Lord, that this is a journey that we all get on. But once we get on that journey, we are the recipients of every gift that heaven provides. I pray that we would have our eyes opened, our ears opened. We would have our lives opened to be the people that you've created us to be. That we would be the sons that honor you, that we would be the sons that you created us to be.

I pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.


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