How Do You See God as Father?

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To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

John 1:12

God’s fatherhood

Most people in the world would agree with the statement that “we are all God’s children.” It’s a nice sentiment. It just isn’t what the Bible teaches. According to God’s Word, unrepentant sinners are actually God’s enemies (see Romans 5:10 and Colossians 1:21)! It’s only when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ that we are reconciled to God and experience forgiveness and adoption into God’s forever family (Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5).

For a Christian going through hard times, this “adoption” truth is the best of all possible news. God is not just the powerful Creator or a righteous Lord, he is a loving Father. He sees your trials. He listens to your pleas. He cares and protects and supports. He is never harsh or impatient with you. He is never “too busy” for you.

Take all the best qualities of all the best earthly dads you’ve ever seen, add them together, and multiply by infinity. That’s the kind of heavenly Father God is to Christians who hurt.

Lord Jesus, I do believe in you. I have accepted you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for revealing yourself to me. Thank you for saving me! Because of your grace and my faith, I am a child of the living God. I praise you. What a privilege! What joy to know that in every situation I have a loving, wise, and good heavenly Father to counsel and help me.

adapted from Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Woods, Tyndale House Publishers (2002), pp 68-9


As a substitute father for hundreds of youth over the past thirteen years, I’ve yet to encounter a young person in trouble whose difficulty could be traced to the lack of a strong father image in the home.
PAUL ANDERSON

A child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father.
AUSTIN L. SORENSEN

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

CHRIST THE PERFECT LAMB OF GOD

The old, old story

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In due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:6

Suggested Further Reading: John 5:39-47

Unbeliever, if God cannot and will not forgive the sins of penitent men without taking their punishment, rest assured he will surely bring you to judgment. If, when Christ, God’s Son, had imputed sin laid on him, God smote him, how will he smite you who are his enemy, and who have your own sins upon your head? God seemed at Calvary, as it were, to take an oath sinner, hear it!  he seemed, as it were, to take an oath and say, By the blood of my Son I swear that sin must be punished, and if it is not punished in Christ for you, it will be punished in you for yourselves. Is Christ yours, sinner? Did he die for you? Do you trust him? If you do, he died for you. Do you say, No, I do not?  Then remember that if you live and die without faith in Christ, for every idle word and for every ill act that you have done, stroke for stroke, and blow for blow, vengeance must chastise you. Again, to another class of you, this word. If God has in Christ made an atonement and opened a way of salvation, what must be your guilt who try to open another way; who say, I will be good and virtuous; I will attend to ceremonies; I will save myself? Fool that you are, you have insulted God in his tenderest point, for you have insulted his Son. You have said, I can do it without that blood;   you have, in fact, trampled on the blood of Christ, and said, I need it not

Oh, if the sinner who repents not be damned, with what accumulated terrors shall he be damned, who, in addition to his impenitence, heaps affront upon the person of Christ by going about to establish his own righteousness. Leave it!

For meditation: The readings for most of the past week have concentrated on the shed blood and atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do these truths cause you relief, satisfaction and grateful thanksgiving in response to his love (1 John 4:10,19)? If not, you either hate him or couldn’t care less about him, which in God’s sight boils down to the same thing.˜How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (Hebrews 2:3).

Sermon no. 446
30 March (1862)

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

Christ is our Redeemer

Christ is our Redeemer

JesusGethsemane

GOD’S WILL WAS DONE!

MT. 26:36-46

 

Go to Dark Gethsemane

Then Jesus brought them into an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go on ahead to pray.”…He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

Matthew 26:36-39

Go to dark Gethsemane, ye that feel the tempter’s power; your Redeemer’s conflict see; watch Him one bitter hour; turn not from His grief away; learn of Jesus Christ to pray.

See Him at the judgment hall, beaten, bound, reviled, arraigned; see Him meekly bearing all! Love to man His soul sustained. Shun not suffering, shame or loss; learn of Christ to bear the cross.

Go to Dark Gethsemane
James Montgomery (1771-1854)

 

Learning from Christ’s passion

Step by step James Montgomery takes us through Christ’s passion. We go with our Lord to the Garden of Gethsemane, where those troublesome thoughts of death assailed Him. While His trusted friends drifted off to sleep, Jesus fought off the temptation to avoid the Cross. It was a difficult time, and in Montgomery’s simple text we feel the drops of sweat.

At Jesus’ trial — a shabby excuse for justice if ever there was one — He bore the beating and badgering without speaking a word. He was carrying our sins with Him to the Cross. At the Cross we can only fall at His feet to worship.

At each point of this journey we have much to learn from our Savior. We can learn to pray when tempted and to endure suffering with patience. And Christ teaches us to rise in newness of life, to live in a way that honors Him, and ultimately to join Him in glory.

Our Holy Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for April 1.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

MATTHEW 26:36-46

Matthew 26:36-46

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

 

 

HE BORE OUR INIQUITIES

Christ is our Redeemer

ETERNAL LIFE IS IN CHRIST

ETERNAL LIFE IS IN CHRIST

 

 

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with the bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by.

Isaiah 53:3

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns Thine only crown; how pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend, for this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? O make me Thine forever; and should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)

 

A profoundly personal and awesome vision

Although Bernard was one of the most influential Christians of the Middle Ages, settling disputes between kings and influencing the selection of popes, he remained a devout monk, single-minded in his devotion to Christ.

In his own day Bernard was known as a preacher and churchman; today he is remembered for his hymns of praise. “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” comes from a poem originally having seven sections, each focusing on a wounded part of the crucified Savior’s body — His feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and head. The text of this hymn compels us to gaze at the cross until the depth of God’s love overwhelms us. Bernard’s hymn pictures God’s love, not as an abstract theological statement, but as a profoundly personal and awesome vision of the suffering Christ.

Our Holy Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for March 28.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

FINAL VICTORY IS WON IN CHRIST!

 He’s alive!

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Christ the Lord is Risen Today!

 

But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.

1 Corinthians 15:20

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia! Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and others

 

Christ has won the final victory

The grave has been “boasting” of its power since Eden. But now it has finally met its match. It wraps Jesus up at the Cross and “forbids him to rise,” but our Champion, Jesus Christ, fought and won. Where is your sting now, O Death? Christ has won the final victory.

We know that whatever boasting we do is not in ourselves, but in the power of Christ. He has won the victory, and now we’re just soaring where Christ has led. We bask in the benefits of the Cross, and we look past the grave to our heavenly reunion with Him. Alleluia!

Our Easter Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for April 3.

Digging Deeper/Telling Others: For more on the meaning of Easter, read Why the Resurrection by Greg Laurie (Tyndale, 2005), also available in 6-pack for distribution.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

How is my beloved mine?

The interest of Christ and his people in each other

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My beloved is mine, and I am his,

Song of Solomon 2:16

 

Suggested Further Reading: Galatians 2:15-21

 

How is my beloved mine? He is mine because he gave himself to me of old. Long ere I knew it, or had a being, he covenanted to bestow himself on me on all his chosen. When he said, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God, he did in fact become my substitute, giving himself to do my work and bear my sorrow. Mine he is because that covenant has been fulfilled in the actual gift. For me (I speak in the first person, because I want you each to speak in the first person too), for you, my soul, he laid aside his robes of glory to become a man; for you he was swaddled in the weakness of infancy, and lay in the poverty of the manger; for you, my soul, he bore the infant body, the childish form, and the human flesh and blood; for you the poverty which made him cry, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.  For you, my soul, for you that shame and spitting, that agony and bloody sweat, that cross, that crown of thorns, those expiring agonies, that dying groan.  My Beloved, in all this, is mine.  No, yours the burial; yours the resurrection and its mystic meaning; yours the ascension and its triumphant shouts; yours the session at the right hand of God; yes, and by holy daring we avow it, he who sits today, God over all, blessed for ever, is ours in the splendour of his majesty, in the invincibility of his might, in the omnipresence of his power, in all the glory of his future advent. Our beloved is ours, because he has given himself to us, just as he is.

For meditation: Can you call Jesus My Lord and my God (John 20:28)? Do you take time to count your possessions in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30)?  All things’ (Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21) would take more than eternity to exhaust!

All rights belong to the collections of Charles Spurgeon(C)

 

Sermon no. 374
28 March (Preached Good Friday 29 March 1861)

Father, Recieve My Soul

Christ is our Redeemer

Is Your Name

The Shameful Tree

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last.

Luke 23:46

Behold the Savior of mankind nailed to the shameful tree! How vast the love that Him inclined to bleed and die for thee!

‘Tis done! the precious ransom’s paid! “Receive my soul!” He cries; see where He bows His sacred head! He bows His head and dies!

Behold the Savior of Mankind
Samuel Wesley (1662-1735)

 

Saved from the fire

On February 9, 1709, a fire ripped through a rectory in the village of Epworth, England. The Wesley family lost nearly everything. Miraculously, their six-year-old boy named John (who would later found the Methodist church) was saved from the fire, as was a piece of paper bearing this hymn, written by the rector, Samuel Wesley.

Samuel Wesley, father of John and Charles (and seventeen other children), was scholarly and stern. His major academic project was a study of the book of Job. And he faced a great deal of suffering himself. Nine of his children died at birth or in infancy. He was frequently in debt (even spending three months in debtors’ prison). Of course, there was also that devastating fire.

This hymn, however, shows us a slightly different side of Samuel Wesley. The theme of suffering is strong, but there’s an attitude of love, of devotion. Apparently he taught his famous sons more than just discipline, but also a deep appreciation for what Christ accomplished through His suffering.

Our Holy Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for March 22.

For more reflection on Holy week, see The Passion, Tyndale’s companion book to Mel Gibson’s powerful movie about the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life.

 

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House