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God the Father: Who is He and what is His role?

Thus says the LORD:
" Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23)

18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)

Introduction

What role did your father play in your life? Mine was a hard working father, who was always around, but always busy, as I grew up on a farm at Cudlee Creek. I remember that he had little time for us children when I was very young, but as the farm became more self-sufficient he was able to take more time out. He loved to play tennis and would challenge any of us, or all of us, as the case may be, in the long summer evenings, although he may have spent a day labouring in the orchard. He had a simple and strong faith in God, evidenced in his complete reliance on God to give the return he needed to support a young family. As he would say, the farmer could only trust God, for the farmer had no control over the weather. My memories are happy memories, but I can also recall the thrashings I received for some of the foolhardy things I did - my father believed that the best way to spoil a child was to spare the rod. He was not nasty and I don't believe ever belted us for the sake of belting us - although at the time I may have thought differently - all discipline appears ugly at the time. I grew up in the time when mum could yell "wait till your dad gets home" and we would instantly revert to perfect children!

The world's a different place now where 45 per cent of families fail, mums work, children often have no father along with, same-sex couples, IVF and blended families. The sad thing today is that many families don't have fathers. Tim's girl friend currently is prac teaching in a school where her 90% of her class is from broken families. How sad this is! We live in a society today who often does not know what a father is, and men, I worry, because many young men don't know how to be a father, because they have never had a role model.

In our bible study we have began studying the fundamental truths of Christianity, beginning with the authority of Scriptures and looking at God. I noticed that we often spend a lot of time considering Jesus and this is proper and right. It was Jesus who sacrificed his life for us in order that our sins might be dealt with. Some churches also ponder the Holy Spirit, and unlike a few decades ago, he is probably considered more widely by main stream churches today, but not always in a holy way. It was one of Jesus' last words to say:

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 (NKJV).

However, the Godhead is not just Jesus and the Holy Spirit but the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Right at the end of Jesus' time on earth he states in Matthew 28:19:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)

Note he sends out his disciples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Today I want to spend a small amount of time considering God the Father. I want to raise the profile of God the Father, as even if all men fail on this earth, (and all fathers will fail at some time), or you do not have a father, or you had a father who acted more as a torrent than a loving parent, there is a father who is greater and more dependable than any earthly father. Men, if you want a role model as to how a father behaves towards his children, start with God the Father.

There is only one God

Firstly we need to start at the beginning. There is only one God. There has been confusion for millennia, on this aspect, although God himself, time and time again states this very fact. And logic demands there is only one God - there could only be one creator of the Universe, one deity in whom all existence consists:

16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. Colossians 1:16,17 (NKJV)

The law states there is only one God

The most well recognised verse in the bible is:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4 NKJV)

This verse is called the Shama, the Hebrew word for "Hear", being the first word of the phrase. The verse says "listen up!", "Hear O Israel", or "I tell you the truth" the Lord our God, he is the only God, there is only one God and he is one.

God repeats this a little later in the book of Deuteronomy were he counters the heathen view of a dualistic God.

'Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; (Deuteronomy 32:39)

The prophets state there is only one God

Not only is there one God, but there was always one God, and there will always be only one God - He was from the beginning and will go on until the end.

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isaiah 44:6 (KJV)

And further on Isaiah states:

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:5-6 (KJV)

There is only one Saviour

There is no God apart from God. He is the righteous God, the God of salvation, and indeed he is a saviour of which there is none other.

Declare what is to be, present it-
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the LORD?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Saviour;
there is none but me. Isaiah 45:21 (NIV)

God exists in three person - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

I will not dwell much on the Trinity here, but to mention that the Godhead exists as three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Note the Godhead is "he" - some try to feminise this - but Satan will do anything in an attempt to derail our understanding of God. It's called making the Bible gender-inclusive. But whether we like it or not, God is Father, therefore male. It is important that Christians think about the Trinity and accept it for what it is. Not understanding fully how these three work together should not be a hindrance to our ability to mediate on God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in order to better comprehend the full character of God displayed in the Trinity. It is in the Trinity we have the Gospel - where we gain a real, personal and relational God. The Father is manifest in Christ (which I will talk a little later about) and Christ in his humanity understands what we suffer. Furthermore, Christ being fully man, fully represents us before the Father as our mediator. The Holy Spirit dwells in us as our comforter. Some of this sounds hard, but as our Friday night bible study notes pointed out, God created the universe, whose complexity is beyond all comprehension, so why would we think God was some simple entity we will fully comprehend?

What is the relationship between God the Father and the Son?

Jesus first refers to His Father in Matthew 7:21

"Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21 (NKJV)

God the Father has authority over the Son, which Jesus clearly shows in the Gospel of John (and the others). The Will, or put another way the helmsman of the Godhead, is the Father. It is he who wills that actions of the Son and Holy Spirit.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. John 5:30 (NKJV)

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34 (NIV)

The Son is not autonomous nor does he work from his own initiative and authority - the Son emulates the Father.

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. John 5:19 (KJV)

Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is subject to the Father, although the Father has given all things into the hand of the Son to manage. Indeed, the picture is clear, a father hands the operation of a business over to the son, but the son does what the father wants, not because he is being dictated to, but because during his long apprentice he has learnt what is good and right and perfect, and what pleases the Father, and hence carries on doing the Fathers will.

For "He has put all things under His feet." .. 28Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.1 Corinthians 15:27,28 (NKJV)

The authority of Christ is of the Father, noting that he had ALL authority both in heaven and on earth. Here authority extends to judging and executing judgment, in that it is Jesus Christ that judges Israel and the Nations in Revelation.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18 (NKJV)

For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, John 5:22 (NKJV)

Jesus Christ was sent by the Father

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4,5 (NKJV)

Jesus speaks the words of the Father, where the initiative to speak is the Father's, and the authority of the words spoken is that of the Father.

Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. John 8:28 (NKJV)

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. John 12:49 (KJV)

Jesus does the work of the Father, and he was able, in his final words, to state that he had completed the work that the Father had given him to do:

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. John 17:4 (KJV)

Indeed it was by the work of the Son he was able to demonstrate that it was his father that sent him:

"I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. John 5:36 (NIV)

Why is this important?

The Father is manifest in the Son

God the Father is spirit (not a spirit, but spirit). We are unable to comprehend (largely) God and cannot see him. However, the Son, in Jesus Christ, who was took on the form of a human has and will manifest the Father to us, that is, make known the Father to us. So although the Father resides in heaven we have a complete picture of the Father through Jesus Christ himself.

Of greatest importance is that the Father's love is made known (or manifested) by the Son:

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." John 14:21 (NKJV)

Jesus is distinct from the Father, but fully God

Christ is not the Father and is distinct from the Father, but belongs fully to the Godhead.

And you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.1 Corinthians 3:23 (NKJV)

BUT Jesus Christ is fully God

I and my Father are one. John 10:30 (KJV)

Hence Christ Jesus is equal to the Father, and fully God. This is because the Father and the Son has the same essence: they are both God. Note in the verse this sermon began the sentence: "name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". It is name not names: it speaks of a single entity, whose essence is the same throughout. If it were not, the sentence would use the plural "names". This means we must honour the son in the same way we honour the father. Our response then is commanded thus:

All should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. John 5:23 (NKJV)

Therefore, we know the Father because we know the Son. We can comprehend the character of the Father, because Jesus manifested his character to us.

Equality and subordination

Thus we see that each member of the Trinity are equal but are subordinate in role; the Father over the Son over the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never seeks himself, but always points towards the Son. The Son works the work of the Father, and is the mediator between Him and us:

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)

What is the role of God the Father?

If God is Father, there must be a son. A man who marries is not a father until he has had children. Until that time he is merely the husband. But immediately he has a child, he is a father. Our Father in Heaven has a son, and his name is Jesus.

He loves us

Fatherhood tells us of a relationship, in nature and in blood. It speaks of love which is unchanging and unchanged. He is who guides the child and carries you as a child.

"Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all you who remain of the house of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since you were conceived,
and have carried since your birth. Isaiah 46:3 (NIV)

He rules, corrects and rebukes

The Father must educate and rule his children and his household in that a father is called upon to deal with his children:

as a father deals with his own children, 1 Thessalonians 2:11 (NIV).

Love demands that a father corrects and rebukes his children:

For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12 (NKJV)

And indeed, the natural law of God is that a father will chasten or correct and rebuke his children - this is his responsibility.

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Hebrews 12:7 (NKJV)

Hence God the Father will correct and rebuke us, in order that we may stay focused on the things of God - and to the end of being holy. However, the Father is not without emotion for his children, in that God has compassion for his children:

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

He saves us

God the Father planned redemption before the foundation of the world - i.e. before the world was even created and sent His son to execute the plan in that Christ died to save those He chose to be saved.

28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)

God who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV

He adopts us

God the Father adopts us as joint heirs. Jesus refers to My Father and your Father, and hence the first person of the Trinity is also our Father. Indeed the Holy Spirit allows us to cry out in the diminutive "Abba, Father" which has the meaning of the closeness of a father to his child as a baby to his or her father. The terminology engenders the idea of love.

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." Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

He hlorifies us

We are saved into glory, to sit with the Son at His marriage supper

If children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.Romans 8:17 (NKJV)

What does this mean to you and I - the application

1.      Understanding the Trinity is needed to worship God in spirit and Truth. This truth allows us to manifest fully our devotion to God.

2.      To understand the full glory and majesty of The Lord God Almighty we need to meditate on the three distinct persons of the Godhead.

3.      The Father demands to be honoured, in that the commandments demand we honour our own parents. Therefore, we should honour the Father and the work he has and will do.

4.      To fully understand headship, we need to study God the Father. This understanding is fully applicable in the church and in the family.

5.      Whether one has an earthly father of not, God the Father is role model for men who are fathers or men or women who need and yearn for a father.

6.      To appreciate the love of the father, through the adoptive relationship we have God the Father: we are his children and he is our Father.

7.      To appreciate in praise and worship the fact the God has raised us up as children in that we are "heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16-17).

 

David L Simon (2 November 2009 GBC)
Edited 10 August 2011
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