By John J. Blanchard
June 15, 2013
Good morning to all of you on this Father’s Day weekend 2013. Father’s Day is a significant day in the year when we want to recognize fathers and fatherhood, but I want to do it in a little different way than we would typically do it. I want to go back to ancient Israel’s relationship to God the Father, which basically was nonexistent. There was a God that they actually did not know existed, and that was God the Father. They had a connection to Yahweh which we understand was Jesus Christ, but they did not know the Father.
If you turn to I Corinthians chapter 10, we will have a reference to the God of the Old Testament that ancient Israel had contact with. We are turning to I Corinthians chapter 10, verse 1: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”
This is undeniable proof here that when ancient Israel was following the pillar of cloud and the fire, they were actually in contact with and hearing Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament in the gospels if we turn to John 8, we will see that they did not understand Christ as a Savior in the sense that He was going to save us from our sins. Turn to the gospel of John, chapter 8, verse 19: “Then they said to Him, ‘Where is Your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.’”
Christ said, you don’t know Me. They did not realize they had actually heard His voice on Mt. Sinai and that it was He who had spoken through the prophets. They did not understand the full import of what this God that they were in contact with was all about, and that was to eventually save us from our sins and to initiate what we term the Millennium on into infinity with the plan that God has for the human race. They did not have nearly full enough comprehension of who Jesus Christ was. He told the Pharisees and Sadducees, you don’t even know Me, and you don’t know My Father. It is just more evidence that they really did not know the Father at all, and they couldn’t properly recognize Jesus Christ when He was standing right in front of them.
If you go to Matthew chapter 11, we can see that part of Jesus Christ’s purpose when He came to this earth was to reveal the Father. Matthew chapter 11, verse 25: “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.’”
Once again, Christ said, they really don’t understand who I am, and they certainly don’t know You unless I reveal You to them. It was part of Christ’s job on earth to reveal the fact that there was a Father and that Father existed in heaven. If you turn to the gospel of Luke, we can confirm this once again.
Luke chapter 10, verse 22 where once again Christ is speaking: “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
We have these two awesome Beings that existed forever who knew each other intimately. They always have known and always will know each other intimately, but the rest of life only gets to know Them as They are revealed. I am sure that was even true for the angels but definitely true for human beings who live a physical existence and cannot peer into the spiritual realm. We only get to understand who the Father is and the Son by revelation. The only one of the two that came here is Jesus Christ. He came here as a man but as a man with a special mission to save us from our sins and to reveal the Father. He revealed what was going on between Them and what the plan of God actually is.
CHRIST SPOKE OF AND TO THE FATHER
If you look through the gospels, Christ often spoke of His Father and often spoke to His Father. We wouldn’t even have enough time in this sermon to go through every Scripture that reveals how often He was in communication with His Dad and how often He spoke of His Dad. We can turn to a few Scriptures that show that.
I would like to go to the gospel of John chapter 5. We will read John 5, verse 30 where Christ says this once again: “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.”
We see a reference to His Father in which He says, I can’t do anything on My own. As a man, of course, He was limited, but with His connection to the heavenly Father, He could accomplish all these wonderful things that the Father wanted to do. It is a marvelous concept. We see this Father-Son relationship and how They worked back and forth. Christ is admitting, without My Father I really couldn’t do anything.
Turn to John chapter 14. It is actually an incredible circumstance that we will talk about a little more in a minute here. Christ is speaking once again in John chapter 14, verse 28: “You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.”
Christ is saying, My Father is greater than I am. I do His will, and I follow the commandments as He tells Me to. If you look at Christ’s ministry, when He was going to perform a miracle or do something of note, He would pray to His Father. He says in other places like in the model prayer, pray this way. Pray and ask My Father anything in My name, and it will be done. That is how the Father shows He honors the request of the Son, but that’s how the Son always showed that He respected His Father’s position. He realized His Father’s position was greater because He had become a man. Also He recognized that His Father had the authority to issue commands and edicts that the work get done a certain way. Jesus Christ was to obey a Father-Son relationship. Acts chapter 1 shows us in an even deeper way. We often read these verses around Pentecost, which we just celebrated recently, but I want to come at it from a little different angle here.
Christ is speaking to His disciples after His resurrection in Acts chapter 1, verse 7: “He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’”
They wanted to know when the kingdom would be restored and when would they see their nation become great again. Christ said, I don’t even know. It is all in My Father’s authority. He keeps that to Himself. In another place we understand that God the Father even knows when Jesus Christ is going to return. The angels don’t know, and Christ doesn’t know. When God the Father and Jesus Christ became a Father-Son relationship, it cut Christ off from certain knowledge that was critical that only one being in the entire universe would know. If it gets out of the bag, like anything else, and Satan learns what it is, he could fight it.
There is certain information that only the Father in the whole universe has. It shows this relationship between Jesus Christ and the Father in which Jesus Christ understood what it meant to be a Son and what it meant to obey. He realized that His Father had a position greater than His and that He had authority over the Son. Yet, They work together. It is by the Father that people are drawn to Christ, and it is by the Son, Jesus Christ, that people get the Father revealed.
Turn to the gospel of John chapter 14, verse 6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
The only way we can understand who the Father is and approach Him, is through Jesus Christ. That’s why our prayers go through Jesus Christ. He is our Mediator, and that is why we pray in His name to the Father. We have an intermediary. We have an intercessor. His position as a Son to His father and as a brother and a husband to the Church—to us—gives us a unique way to the Father to get things done.
THE FATHER’S AUTHORITY
We recognize this chain of authority that Jesus Christ—the Son, the bridegroom—is in authority over the Church, but He is also under the authority of the Father. We must go through Him as a high priest in order to contact the Father. It is a marvelous system, and it shows a chain of command. It shows a governmental structure and an authority structure that God the Father has put into the Church and actually into all of mankind eventually. It shows how we get to know the Father, how we reach Him, and how to get our prayers heard.
Turn a few pages over to John chapter 6. This is another aspect of this. Jesus Christ is speaking here in John 6, verse 44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Now you see this circle of authority. He told us in the previous Scripture the only way you can get to the Father is through Me. Now He says, you don’t even get drawn to Me except the Father draws you. That power or that movement we feel in our lives that stirs us up to seek what is truth, to seek a savior, to seek Jesus Christ, or to understand the Scriptures is the Father working in us. Without us understanding it or realizing it, He is drawing us to His Son. That powerful feeling that we feel when we are starting to get converted is the Father working in us. He inexorably is drawing us toward the Son, and the Son, once we do become converted and receive the Holy Spirit, in turn reveals the Father to us. It is a marvelous circular system. It is always recognizing authority and always recognizing that God has a Father-Son-family relationship with humanity.
A FATHER IS A PROVIDER
That brings us to some interesting and very enlightening points. To be a father of course is to be a provider. If you are the ultimate Father of all who are saved through Jesus Christ and you are God the Father, that means you are the provider of all life in the universe. It is a marvelous concept where we see this apex of everything. This omnipotent Being who is in charge and has authority over everything is God the Father. Scripture reveals with certainty that is the situation. The Father is the provider.
Turn to Matthew chapter 6 for the model prayer. We are going to read the model prayer. Christ said, I want you to pray this way. If you go to Matthew chapter 6, beginning in verse 9, here is what Christ used as a model for prayer: “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Christ is saying here, My Father is the kingdom, the power, the glory, and will be forever. When you pray, you pray that My Father’s kingdom come. You pray that My Father’s will be done. You pray that He will send us your daily bread and that He will forgive us our sins and protect us from the evil one. Yet we have this authoritative structure that is a family structure where we do all that by going through Jesus Christ. Whatever we pray, we pray through the name of Jesus Christ asking the Father to take care of our needs. Indeed God the Father is the provider of the universe. That is what we are recognizing here in the model prayer. Our Father is the one who imparts eternal life.
Go to the gospel of John chapter 5, beginning in verse 26 where Christ is speaking: “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself…”
He is admitting that it was the Father who put this life into Him as a human being. Of course, we know that Jesus Christ was God before He was a human being, but as a human being, He needed to have that eternal life infused back into Him. It had to come from a source. He is saying, it was My Father who did this.
Continuing in John 5, verse 27: “…and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”
God the Father gave a certain amount of authority to Jesus Christ over all created things. We can read that in I Corinthians 15. The Father had ultimate authority and passed that portion of authority on to His Son.
John 5, verse 28: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice, and come forth…”
They are going to hear the Father’s voice.
Verse 29: “…those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. 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.”
He said, I can’t do anything. When Jesus Christ died, whose voice said, arise, Jesus Christ? It is the Father’s voice—the source of life. It will be so again.
What we are seeing here is that the Father is the provider of all the universe, and He is the initiator of life. He is the initiator of eternal life. It is an awesome concept to grasp. That’s why He is called the Father.
CHRIST WAS ALWAYS GOD
If you go back just a few pages to John chapter 1, we will confirm what I told you a moment ago. Christ did exist as God forever and ever before that, but things changed. He became a son when He became a man.
Let’s read the gospel of John chapter 1, beginning in verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [that’s Jesus Christ]. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
This is one of the reasons why Christ told the people of His day, you don’t even know who I am really, and you certainly don’t know who the Father is! The Father was drawing people to Christ, and Christ was going to reveal all this to them. It is written in the words that we can understand and have this relationship with the Father by going through Jesus Christ. It is truly an awesome situation in which God the Father and Jesus Christ work in this miraculous way showing how a father and son relate. Ultimately it shows how the father, son, His bride, and children relate. The father has the authority. He is the initiator of life and has a position that we need to recognize as an authoritative position.
God is the chief provider of the universe, and Scripture reveals it totally, like I said. There is no denying it. Christ went along with this concept because He always existed with God the Father. Somebody had to say, I will become a man. I will become less than God for a while, but you, God, are going to have to sustain Me. You are going to have to help Me. You are going to have to answer My prayers. Then you are going to have to resurrect Me after I die, so I can resume the position I had before. It is an incredible thing here.
Let’s go to Hebrews chapter 4. We are going to read a couple of Scriptures showing that Christ went along with this plan that both of Them formulated and was willing to become a man. Hebrews chapter 4, verse 14: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We can boldly go to our High Priest, Jesus Christ, to the throne of God the Father and have our supplications heard. Jesus Christ intercedes for us with much sympathy and understanding because He had become a human being. He had felt pain, suffering, and privation. He had been persecuted. He knew in every way what it was to be human. He sympathizes with us, so when we pray, we don’t have to worry that we are praying to a God who does not know what it is like to be physical. Jesus Christ certainly knew what it was like, and He still knows what it is like to be human. He takes our supplications to God the Father, and we know we have this intermediary that understands very intimately all of our problems, our temptations, and our trials. It is a marvelous system. Christ went along with this.
Turn to Philippians chapter 2, verse 5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God…”
That term “robbery” is not really a good word there. He did not consider it important to stay equal with God. He was willing to sacrifice that to get something else done.
Continuing in verse 7 of Philippians 2: “….but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
This marvelous system that they put in place needed a God and an eternal being willing to become a man. Christ and the Father must have discussed this for a long time and came up with this marvelous plan. Jesus Christ said, I will willingly become the Son. I will willingly empty Myself of divinity and become a mere mortal, and then You are going to have to sustain Me as the Father. It was a wonderful sacrifice on the part of Jesus Christ and also on God the Father. He had to give us His only begotten Son and allow that Son to suffer and die, so that we would have a chance at eternal life.
THE FATHER PROVIDED A SYSTEM FOR FORGIVENESS
The Father as the provider had to give us a Son to sacrifice. That’s where this whole system comes into play, so that we can have our sins forgiven. That is discussed in II Corinthians chapter 5. If you would, go to II Corinthians chapter 5, and I would like to start reading in verse 18. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ…”
All things are of the Father who is the initiator of life.
Continuing in verse 18: “…and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…”
It is through Christ that we are reconciled to God.
Verse 19 of II Corinthians 5: “…that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Can you imagine two perfect human beings where one was willing to become a humble human being and then become like sin? He took all of our sins on Himself. Through His leading a perfect life, these sins were expunged, if we agree and go along with this plan and follow the conversion plan process. If we go along with it, we are reconciled to the Father. It is a marvelous system, but it required that God the Father give us the ultimate as a Father and that was to provide us the sacrifice of His Son.
We understand how this works because of the physical example in the Old Testament, and that is Abraham, the father of the faithful. I want to turn to Genesis chapter 22. Turn all the way back to the beginning of the Bible to Genesis chapter 22. We can now grasp what father Abraham was doing as a type of what God the Father and Jesus Christ were doing for us. He was cementing in the human race the concept of father and fatherhood. That’s the point of today’s sermon.
We are going to Genesis chapter 22. We will read most of this account here just to re-familiarize ourselves with it, so I am starting in verse 1. Genesis chapter 22, verse 1: “Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’”
Something just occurred to me as I was reading this. These two servant men who came with Abraham aren’t mentioned any more than this here, but that they were briefly left behind. I would say that is typing the two men on the cross that died on either side of Jesus Christ. We know ultimately that was showing how the Church divides into those who are faithful sons and those who are not. It is very interesting that God made the picture that complete that there were even two servants who came with Abraham and Isaac.
Continuing in verse 6 of Genesis 22: “So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.”
Obviously a young strong son could have resisted, but just like Jesus Christ and His relationship with His Father, Isaac was totally obedient to his father. He knew at that point he was going to be the sacrifice.
Verse 10: “And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it for up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’ Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’”
Indeed the way all the seed of mankind is truly blessed is with the eternal life that comes through Jesus Christ and this marvelous Father-Son relationship.
Now we have this type, and we can understand physically what was involved. We can picture what God the Father is doing. Abraham was called the father. Ancient Israel understood he was the father, but he was a father in the physical sense tied to the spiritual sense. It is a marvelous system, so that we can see physical and spiritual being revealed. Through Abraham we get a greater understanding of who God the Father is and how the seed progresses. We also see how the initiator of the faith and eternal life works through human beings. It is a marvelous system.
THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF FATHERHOOD
This concept of fatherhood is definitely divinely inspired, and a father is over all his household as God the Father is. That’s why we go through our Mediator, Jesus Christ, for any need we may have, any concern we have, or any trial that we are in. We can go through Jesus Christ to the Father knowing that prayer is going to the initiator of life, to the provider of His household, to the protector of His household, to the guide of His household, to the leader of His household, and the One with the authority to rule over the household.
Now He passed much authority on to Jesus Christ, but as I mentioned, there are certain things He never lets out of His own authority. We see this marvelous family structure of governmental structure in which it is all organized. We could go on down and read in Philippians and Ephesians how it is all organized with apostles, prophets, and ministers, but it is organized in a family structure.
God the Father is the Head of His household, the initiator of life, the provider, the protector, the leader, and He has the authority. That’s the concept that translates into human fatherhood and to human families.
We all know human beings—other than Jesus Christ—have many faults. There is no father on this earth who has done it right in a physical sense, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have that authoritative structure in the household. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a position that is divinely ordained. It is. I would go as far as to say that most fathers want to do it well, but we are just human. I am a father, and I could go back and innumerate all kinds of things that I did wrong. All of us fathers realize we fall short, but we want to do better. That’s where we are like Christ. We want to improve and become more and more like Christ and be that marvelous son who does things the way the Father wants it done.
In the meantime, we should not denigrate or destroy the position of fathers. This is what’s wrong in today’s society. It is breaking the commandment. Go back to the Ten Commandments. I am going to Exodus chapter 20, verse 12 to read the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
That’s a commandment. By honoring our father on earth, our physical fathers, we are learning how to honor our Father in heaven. This commandment is dual and has two sides to it. We should be honoring our Father in heaven by always praying through Jesus Christ and following the structure that They set out for us, but it also requires honoring our physical fathers. That gives us physical blessings. We realize that our physical father has short comings, but God is working with him, too. We are being worked with, our fathers are being worked with, and we are trying to follow this heavenly pattern.
My point is it is a divinely inspired institution. Fatherhood is not to be tampered with, yet today in our modern society fatherhood and fathers are often the butt of jokes and comedy routines. The position is being diminished year by year. In many circles fathers are treated as irrelevant anymore. Many individuals or circles of society are treating fathers as a problem that we can get around with artificial insemination and various family structures. We can get rid of this onerous authoritative figure called the father. We do that at our own peril. It has been shown over and over again a father is a lynchpin in the family to help keep the family stable and to provide for it. I am not saying women can’t have a job and all that stuff. We understand women are given talents, and we discussed a lot of that with our Mother’s Day sermon. Motherhood is a divine institution as well. But the father has certain roles and certain authorities that are divinely given to him. He needs to learn how to exercise it well.
The point is, if we tear apart and destroy fatherhood, we are damaging a God-inspired divine institution, and we do it to our own peril. God’s plan is to create an enlarged family of beings with eternal life, and He does it through human beings and human families and through the family of man at large.
God wants to take care of His family the way He took care of His Son and the way His Son helps take care of His bride and His children, so to speak. He wants to keep this loving concept and this concept of providing, caring, and nurturing. The closer we get to that, the more blessings we obtain, but also the more we understand who God the Father is and why His system works so well. We are to become more and more perfect like our Father in heaven. We are told that in Scripture as well.
This Father’s Day weekend, if you are still fortunate to have your physical father on earth, keep these things in mind. Look past his shortcomings, and praise him for the things that he has done well. Realize that if you are a father, you need to do as well as you can. If you are a mother, you need to back up that father. The husband and wife need to be working together realizing that we have this marvelous system with a High Priest who is the Son of God the Father that we can go through. We ask for forgiveness for the times we don’t do it right. Our ultimate Father in heaven will forgive if we follow this simple procedure, this simple outline and the plan of God as He designed it through fatherhood, motherhood, and family. The further we get from that, the more our families fall apart, the more difficulties our society and our nation have. It is as simple as that.
Let’s learn that fatherhood is a divine institution. Apply as many divine admonishments in our lives as possible on how to do it. Put those into our families, and we will have blessings abundantly. We will get to know what it is to have a beautiful, wonderful, loving Father in heaven as an example for us to follow.