Good afternoon everyone. It’s a pleasure to get together on God’s Sabbath once again. Today I want to continue with a subject we started a few weeks back about God the Father being the initiator of life. Today we’re going to talk about the Father some more, and I’ve titled the sermon “Who and What is God the Father.”
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We learn a lot about God and His plan through creation. Turn to Romans chapter 1 verse 18. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness; because what may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” And God, the Father is obviously part of the Godhead, so we can learn a lot about Him from creation. Creation reveals so much because the fingerprints of God the Father and Jesus Christ are on everything that is made not just on earth, but in the entire universe. But there is nothing that says more about God than the creation of mankind.
Let’s turn to Genesis chapter 1 and review a little about the creation of Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” So God created us in his own image. That’s the first thing I want to point out in this sermon: that we are made to be like him, in his own image. We have many of the similar attributes together.
So that’s the first thing we learn: that we are made in their image. That’s a multiple. There are two, God the Father and Jesus Christ. The New Testament points out in the epistles that they’re all addressed to mankind from God the Father and Jesus Christ. We’ll just pick a few here and I’ll start in Galatians. Gal. 1:3. “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ.” Just two of them are mentioned: God the Father and Jesus Christ. Going to Ephesians one, verse two: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now I’m going to Philippians, over a few pages. Phil. 1:2 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” and so on. They are all written from the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, just the two beings. That goes to show you right there that there’s not a Trinity. Although it is not part of the greeting, there is something to do with the Holy Spirit. We need to address that.
We want to look at the fact that there is a spirit in man. That spirit is similar, since we’re made in the image and likeness of God, we’re made in a similar way to what God is composed of and what his power is. We’re going to look at the spirit in man by turning to I Corinthians, chapter two, and I’m starting with verse six. I Cor. 2:6 “However we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age or the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed them to us through his spirit.’ For the spirit searches all things, yes, even the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the spiritual things of God for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. He who is spiritual judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
So you can see here in I Corinthians chapter two that there are two types of spirit. There’s one that human beings have. When you’re born in the flesh you have what is called ‘the spirit of man.’ That spirit is shared throughout humanity. We each have a bit of it, and that is similar to what God has. However, what God has is called the Holy Spirit, and that means that it is vastly superior to the spirit in man. But we need that spirit to understand the spiritual things that God is trying to teach us.
Now there is a Holy Spirit and there is a human spirit. The human spirit is shared by all the human race. That means each of us has a bit of it. But since it is so far inferior to God’s Holy Spirit, it can be tempted, it can be influenced to become evil or to do sinful things. Now, we all do sinful things. Some people do horrible things. When we get into the situation where they are influenced to the point that Satan literally overtakes them, they become what we call ‘demon possessed’ and they’re capable of any sort of evil act.
It is up to us to control our spirit and to flee temptation to do our best to grow as people of good character. We can grow in good character without the Holy Spirit of God, but we can’t learn the spiritual things that God has to teach us without his Holy Spirit. So, just as Satan can influence our human spirit, God, when He gives us a bit of his Holy Spirit, can influence the spirit in man to become better and better and better. And that’s Jesus Christ working in us to purify us. So that is a gift of God to us to help us become more like him.
But in the meantime, if someone does not have the Holy Spirit, they must guard their human spirit so that they don’t fall into horrible temptation and do horrible things. So that’s the second thing we learn about God. He has a Holy Spirit. Mankind has a human spirit.
There will be ten things that I’m going to point out that we learn about God the Father. Now God the Father and Jesus Christ both have the Holy Spirit. We need to understand that God the Father possesses the Holy Spirit. God the Father and Jesus Christ share that Holy Spirit. That’s the third thing I want to point out. They share that Holy Spirit as humankind shares the human spirit.
Let’s turn to I Corinthians chapter fifteen. This is often called the resurrection chapter. We can see here what God talks about. I Cor. 15:35. “But someone will say, ’How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ Foolish one. What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not plant the body that shall be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same: men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the glory of the earthly bodies is another. There is one glory of the sun, another of the moon and another of the stars; but one star differs from another in glory. So also it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, but it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterwards the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust, the second man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust, and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthly man, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man.’” Saying that, once we receive a bit of God’s Holy Spirit, when we are resurrected, we are resurrected as a spiritual beings. We will more than ever be in the image and likeness of God the Father and Jesus Christ. So we see this difference in the spirit. God the Father and Jesus Christ share this Holy Spirit, and in turn it gets shared with the human race. This is what we mean by eternal life.
Human fathers, as we discussed before, have the ability to initiate life. Without human sperm there could not be any future generations. You have to have an initiator of life. God the father initiated life for mankind, and He gave us Jesus Christ to spread that life. Just as we have fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers, it’s the initiator of life that starts it but it continues on down through time. It’s similar to that with God the Father once He initiated life. We’ll see more about that as we talk about this a little further.
Go to John, chapter six. John 6:41 “The Jews then complained about him because He said, ‘I am the Bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven?”’ Jesus therefore answered and said to them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, “They shall be taught by God. For everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”’”
We can see then that the Father draws us to Christ. He is the initiator of life, and Jesus Christ imparts the Holy Spirit at baptism. It was done first in the book of Acts when Jesus Christ came to the one hundred and twenty who were assembled on that first Pentecost and brought the Holy Spirit. But as the Father drew the disciples to Christ, He draws us to Christ and that seed is passed on from one generation of Christians to the next on down through time. But it’s the Father who initiates it. There’s a physical example as we saw a few weeks ago in Genesis of Abraham being a type of God the Father.
Genesis 22:6. (Breaking into the story of Isaac being willing to be offered as a sacrifice.) “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 the knife, and the two of them went on together. But Isaac spoke to his father, and Abraham said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And Isaac said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering.’ And the two of them went on 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. He bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood, and Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him and said, ‘Abraham. Abraham. 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 up his eyes and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place ‘the Lord will provide.’ And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’”
Now that was a physical example when God wanted Abraham to be willing to offer up his only son, he enacted what God was going to do. And God certainly did provide. He provided for all mankind. Not just a ram for Abraham in place of Isaac, but He offered us Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, just as Abraham was willing to do. There is a beautiful story, but it led to the salvation for the human race, being able to receive the Holy Spirit of God, and having the hope of eternal life. It was God who provided us with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Let’s go to Luke 1:30 (This is when Mary was visited by an angel and was told she was going to give birth to our Savior. So breaking into the story in verse thirty,) “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God, and behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son and will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord will give him the throne of his father, David, and He will reign over the House of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there will be no end.’”
So Jesus Christ was brought to this earth because of an act of the Father, the Initiator of life. And that act, when He overshadowed Mary, brought Jesus Christ to life on earth as a man and that led to a perfect life able to be a perfect sacrifice for the human race to have their sins forgiven. It’s a beautiful story, but it was enacted in the Old Testament in Genesis by Abraham and Isaac thousands of years before. So the Father provides for us this sacrifice and that’s the first thing in his plan. God the Father is the Initiator of Spiritual life. Once spiritual life is initiated, just like a father on the earth wants to provide for his family, God wants to take care of His children. He wants to provide for them.
That’s exactly what He does through Jesus Christ. Not only does he forgive our sins – He died for our sins – He also provided spiritual food for us to grow in our spiritual walk with God. We need sustenance. Just like we need physical food and water when we’re physical human beings, we need spiritual food to obtain spiritual growth.
Going back now to John 6:44-45. Once again we see that “no one can come to me except the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets that they will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” Going back to verse thirty-two we see that once God has bought us, He wants to take care of us. John 6:32 “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the True Bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘I am the Bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” So Jesus Christ provides the food, the sustenance once God has called us toward him, and once we’re begotten of the Holy Spirit, we need food, and that food is the teachings and the Word of Jesus Christ which is why He is called the Word of God.
Let’s drop down to verse forty-eight of John, chapter six. “I am the Bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which one may eat and not die. I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven. If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” He was willing to die as a sacrifice for our sins. He also is the food that will sustain us as the begotten children of God. This is a tremendous gift from God the Father and Jesus Christ. But God the Father is the initiator of the seed of life and of every good gift, and Jesus Christ is the best gift that mankind has ever received. And to receive a bit if the Holy Spirit at baptism from the Father is a tremendous gift.
I want to go to James 1:17. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation nor shadow of turning. Of his own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.” So every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, and obviously Jesus Christ is the most perfect gift we could ever be given.
So we can see now that God provides like a good father should for his children. He wants his offspring to have the food that they need, the sacrificial offering that they need, and everything that they need to grow. He also wants to be a very merciful father. He wants us to be able to be forgiven which is why Jesus Christ is the sacrifice for our sins. Now the Father cannot tolerate sin. He can’t handle sin in any way. He turns his back on sin. So much so that He turned his back on his only begotten son when He died for our sins, when He took our sins upon himself. That is taught to us in Matthew 27. We’ll read about Christ’s death on the cross.
Matt. 27:45. “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabackthani?’ – that means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ That’s because as He was preparing to give up his last breath, He could see that the Father had turned away from him as He was preparing to take on the sins of the world as the sacrifice. That was the first time ever that these two beings, who had always existed, that the Father had to turn his back on Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, the only human being who had come down from heaven, who had to live as a human being, face temptation throughout his life and remain perfect so that He could die and be the sacrifice for the rest of us. That meant that the Father had to turn his back on his only begotten Son at the end of his physical life and let him die. It shows you the extent to which God the Father can’t handle sin. He doesn’t want anything to do with sin, but He wants us to be forgiven. He wants mankind set free from sin. He gave us his Son, the greatest gift ever given to the human race.
So He wanted to extend his mercy and He did so even though He couldn’t handle sin. They came up with a plan eons ago of how Jesus Christ would deal with our sin by dying as our sacrifice. Let’s go to Luke, chapter six to see just how merciful God is. Jesus speaks here and He knows the Father better than anybody.
Luke 6:36. “Therefore, be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Teaching us to have mercy for other human beings, because our Father in heaven is the source of mercy. He gave us Jesus Christ to die for our sins – the greatest gift the human race has ever been given. So, if we are to be more in the image and likeness of God we are to be merciful and forgiving human beings.
Luke 22:41. Jesus Christ offering up a prayer to his Father just before his crucifixion. “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me, yet not my will but yours be done.’” Showing both the love of Jesus Christ and the Father. Jesus Christ was willing to suffer and die for our sins. This prayer was offered up in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was just about to be given over to the Romans: “Father is there any to take this cup from me?” Of course the Father knew that if they wanted to be merciful to the human race, Jesus had to die. Christ loved us all so much, too, that He said “Whatever it is that’s your will, Father, I will do it.” So, it shows you the love that these two individuals have for the human race.
This is the seventh thing about the Father. He wants to be merciful and forgiving to us. He found a way to do it by offering up his Son. That was such a powerful thing that He did. I want to go to the Old Testament to a discussion between Jesus Christ and the Father in Isaiah chapter forty-nine. This discussion is very open, and it sheds light on the relationship they had, but also on the hope for mankind.
Isaiah 49:1 “Listen, O coastlands, to me and take heed you people from afar. The Lord has called Me from the womb. [that’s Jesus Christ talking] Before my birth he has made mention of my name. He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand He hid me; He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ But I said, ‘I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength for nothing. Yet surely my judgment is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.’ See, according to this prophecy, Jesus Christ ended up dying for the human race, and not seeing a whole lot happen before He died, waiting for the resurrection, and also, ultimately, his Father had to turn his back on him. So He is crying out to the Father, “I think I have lived in vain.”
Now continue in verse five: “Now the Lord says – He who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength – [Then God answers Christ in verse six] He says: It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
So God says, Don’t worry. You didn’t live and die in vain. You’re not only going to be the salvation of Israel, I’m going to use you to save the entire world. Whoever goes along with our plan, is baptized, is willing to live the true way, Christ’s way and the Father’s way and become ‘in their image;’ we will open up salvation to the entire earth.
Continuing in verse seven: “Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, the Holy One, to Him who man despises and who the nation abhors, to a servant of rulers, kings shall see and arise, princes shall also worship; because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you. Thus says the Lord, ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you and I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you. I will preserve you and give you as a covenant to the people, to restore the earth and to inherit its desolate places, to say to the captives “Come out” and to those in darkness “Show yourselves.” They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar. Look, those come from the north, from the west, from the region of Sinim. Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord has comforted his people and will have mercy on the afflicted.’” This is speaking of a restored earth, a beautiful planet for mankind to dwell on. That’s the plan of God. And it’s God the Father who initiated it. So that’s the seventh thing we learn: that God wants to be merciful and forgiving.
Now, the Father is very proud of his Son, for his Son’s willingness to suffer and die for us. Let’s turn to Mark, chapter nine, and verse seven. “Then a cloud appeared and overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son: hear him.’” So, some of the disciples were gathered together, and as they were gathered, they heard a voice from heaven. The voice of the Father saying to them, “This is my beloved Son. Hear him.” He was very proud of his Son and for all that his Son was willing to do for the human race. The eighth point is that God is very proud of his Son. I want to go back a few pages now to chapter one of Mark.
Mark 1:9. “And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven saying, ‘You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” So the Father was very proud of what Jesus was willing to do for the human race according to the plan that the two of them came up with before time began as we see in Titus chapter one. Christ was the one willing to do this, but his Father was the one who initiated it. He was proud that the Son was willing to follow through and to offer himself as a sacrifice. That shows how responsible God is for his creation and humanity.
So that’s the ninth point, that God has a great sense of responsibility for his creation. He didn’t just create mankind and the rest of creation to watch it all be destroyed by Satan. He wanted to fix it. He wanted to restore it as we just saw in Isaiah. So God is a responsible being. He followed through from the very beginning to the point where we’re on the verge of a beautiful Millennium coming to this earth so that all mankind can have a peaceful planet to live on. He wants to restore everything on this planet and teach us how to properly care for it.
Now we’re up to the tenth thing we can learn about the Father, and that’s this: The Father is the boss. He’s the one with the ultimate authority. He will not relinquish that authority to anyone unless He gives them something specific to do like He gave Jesus Christ authority to be his right hand; to be the Creator, to be the Word, to be a Sacrifice. But God the Father is the ultimate Boss. Even Christ himself got his authority from the Father.
Let’s go back to Mark, chapter eleven and verse twenty-seven. “And they came again to Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders came to him and asked, ‘By what authority do you do these things? And who gave you the authority to do this?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘I will also ask of you one question. Answer me and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men? Answer me.’ And they reasoned among themselves and said, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of men . . .” (They feared the people, for everyone counted that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We cannot tell.” And Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” This was a “trap question” for the Pharisees. They were always trying to trap Christ, but He got them here very clearly. Christ knew that He got his authority from the Father. We can see that by going to Matthew, chapter eleven.
Matt. 11:27. “All things are delivered unto me by my Father. No one knows the Son but the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Let’s go to the Gospel of John, chapter 15 and verse fifteen. “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I call you friends, for all things that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you.” So even though Jesus Christ is the Word and his teaching is food for us, it all comes from the Father. The Father is literally the source of everything that we’re given. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift from above, including the authority to give to Jesus Christ to be our Savior. That is how God is the ultimate Boss over the entire universe. Jesus Christ was always willing to pray to him, to ask for his blessing, to get us to seek the Father, to reveal the Father. Jesus Christ was there for us to see as a physical human being. The Father was hidden from mankind. It’s a beautiful relationship that they have, and God the Father is clearly the highest power in the universe.
I want to go back to Luke now, chapter one. We read it earlier, but we’re going to read it again and focus on the part that says God is the Highest. Luke 1:31 “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give him the throne of his father, David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” God the Father is the Highest. You can’t get higher. He is the ultimate authority, the ultimate Boss of everything. Jesus Christ was always willing to do what the Father wanted. That’s why He offered the prayer, “God, if there’s any way to take this cup form me, do it.” But the Father said “No. It’s my will that you be the sacrifice for the people. I love them so much. I want them to be able to be forgiven. I want to be merciful to them. But I cannot stand sin. You are my gift to the human race. And Jesus Christ said, “Okay. I’m willing to do that.”
So, for our final scripture, chapter two of Luke and verse fourteen. “The angels sang at Christ’s birth, ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men.’” That’s the greatest gift that the Father could give to the human race – his Son. And we’re ultimately going to bring peace to this earth, and we’re getting very close to a peaceful Millennium. God the Father is the greatest being there is. There will never be anyone greater. And his Son at his right hand is the second most powerful being in the universe, and there will never be anyone to equal him. Between the two of them, their love for the human race is so great that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to offer us salvation. It is our job to obey. It is our job to grow in holy, righteous character, to become more in the image of God the Father and Jesus Christ as long as we live.
So the universe is full of the love of God. We just have to tap into it. And our Father is there for us. He gives us food and sustenance. Once He has initiated this spiritual life in us, He offers everything we need to fulfill our destiny. He is willing to do anything for mankind. He has demonstrated that by giving us his only begotten Son to die for our sins. So now we understand a little bit more about God, the Father and what an amazing being He is. How much we owe him and his Son for what they do for us.
Until next time: enjoy God’s word, learn as much as you can, and grow in the image and likeness of God the Father and Jesus Christ.