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Seeing God as Father - Luke 11:2

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God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.

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6/21/2020
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Seeing God as Father
Luke 11:2
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
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20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

Over 175 million people in the United States need some sort of vision correction. From glasses to contacts and corneal reshaping to corrective surgery, there's no question that seeing clearly improves people's quality of life. But what about our spiritual vision? With so many religious, philosophical, and ideological lenses to look through, how do we find the right lens? In this series, Skip Heitzig brings the core doctrines of Christian faith into clear focus. These are the truths that define who God is, who we are, and the choices that every person has to make.

Outline

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  1. His Relatability “Our Father in heaven

  2. His Rule “Our Father in heaven

  3. His Reach “Our Father in heaven

  4. His Residence “Our Father in heaven

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: June 21, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Seeing God as Father"
Text: Luke 11:2

Path

God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. In this teaching, Pastor Skip considers the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let's turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
  1. His Relatability "Our Father in heaven"
  2. His Rule "Our Father in heaven"
  3. His Reach "Our Father in heaven"
  4. His Residence "Our Father in heaven"
Points

His Relatability "Our Father in heaven"
  • Jesus was the first to connect a personal Father to God in the world's most famous prayer, the Lord's Prayer. The opening phrase of the Lord's Prayer: "our Father," implies a close relationship, a family connection.
  • The image of the fatherhood of God is rooted in Jewish culture, where the father was called to be stable and family oriented. In other religions (Greek, Roman, etc.), God was seen as distant and angry. Even within Judaism, God was not necessarily a Father, but a Master, a Ruler, the Mighty One, and holy.
  • Jesus was the first rabbi to call God Father, even equating Himself with His Father (see John 5:17-18). In the Gospels, Jesus called God Father over 160 times. Paul even got more intimate, calling God Abba, or Daddy (see Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).
His Rule "Our Father in heaven"
  • God as Father implies Christians are His children. In the Ten Commandments, we're called to honor our father and mother, and if we're called to honor our earthly parents, how much more our heavenly parent?
  • Don't reduce your relationship with God to sloppy sentimentality; elevate it to reverence. Because we love and revere our heavenly Father, we should be concerned about doing the Father's will on earth. Lordship is tied to relationship (see John 14).
  • There seem to be two kinds of people today: those who say, "Thy will be done" and those who say, "My will be done."
His Reach "Our Father in heaven"
  • Notice the word our. God has other children besides you. The Christian faith is a community faith.
  • Many in the church have emphasized a personal relationship with God to the point of imbalance, even equating personal to mean private. You are not the body of Christ individually; we are the body of Christ collectively. There's no place in God's family for isolationism and individualism. Our relationship with the Father leads to fellowship with the Father's kids.
His Residence "Our Father in heaven"
  • God is not the Father on earth but in heaven, a place of authority and power.
  • We often impose our own limitations on God as if He was weak or overwhelmed. But God has ultimate power and calls us to tap into that power.
  • This phrase balances the opening phrase, "our Father." Together, they show us the intimacy of God and the sovereignty of God.
  • God as Father also raises the bar for us as earthly fathers. We never want our display of fatherhood to damage our kids' idea of God as Father. There ought to be a balance of authority and love.
  • It's significant that the first words to fall from the lips of the prodigal son as he returned were "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight" (Luke 15:21). What did his father do? He forgave. So, too, will our heavenly Father forgive all who turn to Him.
Practice

Connect Up: The word Jesus used for Father in the Lord's Prayer is pater. And the word Paul used for Daddy is abba. As Pastor Skip stated, both connote a combination of love and authority. Answer the following:
  • How does God demonstrate His authority and power in the world as Father? What words or concepts would you use to explain God's authority (sovereignty, rule, influence, command, etc.)? Have you personally experienced God's power and authority in your life? If so, how?
  • How does God express His love and intimacy as Father? What words connote a loving Father (care, consideration, compassion, mercy, etc.)? Talk about a time our heavenly Father expressed deep love and concern for you.
Connect In: How is the universal church to express both the love and power of God in the world? For example, Christians confirm His truth via teaching and preaching (doctrine), care for others (compassion ministries), and call people to Christ (evangelism). What else can you think of?

Connect Out: How can the terms Father and Abba bring solace to a hurting world? How would you reach out to a person whose earthly father was less than becoming and show them the heavenly Father you know and love?

Transcript

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Seeing God as Father - Luke 11:2 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

God isn't really something to worship.

He's just waiting to destroy all of us.

I guess there's a God, out there somewhere.

I hope there is a God.

God isn't really something I worship.

[CHATTER]

God is everywhere.

There was a dad who went to the fair with his five kids. He went to the shooting gallery, and he was a pretty good shot. And he did so well that he won the toy, the stuffed animal. Went over to his five kids to ask which of them should receive this gift, and this is what he asked them. He said, who's the most obedient to mommy? Who never talks back to mommy? Who does everything that mommy asks? And all five voices in unison said, you play with the toy, daddy.

[LAUGHTER]

I love being a father. I really love being a grandfather. If I'd have known it's this much fun, I would have had grandkids first.

[LAUGHTER]

Somebody once said that grandkids are God's reward for you not killing your kids.

[LAUGHTER]

I'm going to take you back in time before I take you to our texts in Luke chapter 11. I'm going to take you back to the year 325 AD, when a very important meeting took place in modern day Turkey, Ancient Asia Minor, in a little town called Nicea. There was a dispute as to who the person of Jesus Christ was. There was an argument, and the church leaders at the time thought, we need to get together and formulate a creed that expresses biblical belief in the nature of God, the nature of Christ, the person of the Holy Spirit, the role of the church, et cetera.

So they came up with a creed called the Nicene Creed, or the Apostles' Creed. Some of you know it by heart because you were raised with it. Others of you at least are familiar with it. But it begins by saying, we believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

So the creed begins by acknowledging God as Father. We come, in Luke chapter 11, to the world's most famous prayer, recited more than any other prayer by far, known by most everyone. Even unbelievers know this prayer. Luke chapter 11 verse one begins, "now it came to pass as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.'

So He said to them, 'When you pray, say-- our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"

That has been known, for the last couple thousand years, as the Lord's prayer, and that's really not a good title for it. That's not the Lord's prayer. That's the disciples prayer. That's the prayer the Lord taught the disciples to pray. The Lord's prayer would be John chapter 17, when Jesus gives that incredible, monumental, intimate prayer to his Father. But this is the prayer he taught his disciples to pray.

And though it is famous, not everybody understands it, especially kids. For example, a three-year-old said, our Father who does art in heaven. Herald is his name.

[LAUGHTER]

Another little boy said, when I was young, I thought the line read, lead a snot into temptation. He said, I thought I was praying for my little sister to get into trouble. Notice that the chapter begins with a request. The disciples are asking Jesus for instruction on how to pray. Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.

John the Baptist really taught his own followers how to pray. Even the enemies of Jesus made note of this. And they said, John the Baptist, his disciples fast and pray. But I think that the disciples of our Lord, after just seeing Jesus pray on this occasion and probably other occasions, thought, man, there's something different and fresh about the way he talks to God. And so they said, Lord, teach us to pray.

Now, I don't think it's necessarily as much instruction as motivation. It's not that they didn't know how to pray. They were Jewish. They grew up-- they had all sorts of prayers memorized already. They, for example, knew a certain prayer every morning when they wake up, every night when they go to bed. At noontime, there was a special prayer. There was one for meals. There was one for Passover, for Pentecost, for Tabernacles.

They had all sorts of prayers they already knew. And so when they said, Lord, teach us to pray, it's not so much teach us how to pray, but, Lord, teach us to be doing it. Teach us to connect with God like you are able to connect with God.

And so verse 2, he said to them, when you pray, say. You should know that this is one of two places that this prayer is taught by Jesus. The first time is in Matthew chapter 5 in the sermon on the mount, and the next time is Luke chapter 11. Two different places, two different occasions, two different audiences. In Matthew chapter 6, he's up in Galilee. In Luke chapter 11, he's down in Judea-- two different groups.

And probably, he taught them this prayer or taught people this prayer on several different occasions. I like Matthew chapter 6. Because when he teaches them this prayer, he says, when you pray, pray in this manner. Pray like this. Let this be a template. Let this be a guide. Let these be your values when you approach the Father.

This is a template. This is a pattern. This is an outline. Pray along these lines, not so much something to be memorized as something to be modeled. Although it is memorized by many, and recited by many, and sung beautifully by many-- and not so beautifully by many others. It is something to be modeled.

What I'd like to do with you today on this day, Father's Day, is look at one verse-- in fact, not even one verse. But in verse 2, one line, one stanza of verse 2, four words. Our Father in heaven. Believe it or not, I need a whole sermon to do that. You know me well enough. You go, yeah, we get it.

I want to show you, though, for attributes of God as Father. By the way, he's the only perfect father. So men, you're off the hook in that sense. God is the only perfect father, the only perfect parent. There never has been the perfect dad. There's never been a perfect mom. Although the closest to a perfect mom would have been my mom. She was an angel, but she had a temper.

But I want to show you four attributes of God as Father. First is his relatability-- his relatability. Notice the term "Father." When you pray, say, our Father. That's a term of relationship. That's a term of family relationship. It's always interesting to find out what people think God is like.

CS Lewis told the story of a little boy who was asked what God was like. And he said, as far as he could determine, God was the sort of person who's always snooping around to see if anyone is enjoying himself, and then trying to stop it. And I found a lot of people have that view of God. He's like a heavenly hall monitor or vice principal. No offense if you're a vice principal, but you do have a reputation.

If you want to know what God is really like, you look here, God is like a father. Now, I realize that that term is not a happy term for some people. For some people, they have difficulty with the term "father." Because for some, the term "father" or "dad" carries baggage with it because of their earthly dads-- baggage of disappointment, resentment, images of abuse, neglect.

For example, if you're a child who is abandoned by your father and raised by a single mother, you might find it hard to relate to God as a father in a positive sense. For you, God as an uncle or God as a coach, or God is a big brother would seem more suitable for you and more meaningful.

But here's what you need to know the image of God being a father comes from a Jewish culture, an ancient Jewish culture which was far more stable and family-oriented than our own culture. And the term "father" is meant to convey a warm, welcoming, convivial, intimate sentiment. In other words, God is not some impersonal ruler. God is a personal father.

To us, that's not revolutionary. We're used to praying Father. We're used to thinking of God as a Heavenly Father because we were raised with a biblical background, many of us. But what you need to know is that when Jesus used the term 2,000 years ago, it was absolutely revolutionary. It had never been done, and I want to explain that to you.

If you go back in time in ancient times to the pagan belief systems and the Jewish belief system, God as Father was unknown. First of all, in the pagan belief system the gods were distant. They were petulant. They were angry. In Greek mythology, they had many gods. All the gods had to be placated. You had to really watch your step around them, be careful what you say, what you do. You never quite knew where you stood with the Greek gods. So the idea of God as a Father was foreign to them.

Now, in Roman mythology, they did have a father figure called Jupiter. Jupiter comes from the words Jovis pater, which is Father Jove. Have you ever heard the term "by Jove?" It comes from the worship of Jupiter-- Father Jove, which means Father Day or Father Sky. So he was called a father figure, but it was a very vague idea of a hidden god-- a hidden deity-- who had no contact with the material world because the material world was bad, was evil. And so he was sort of tucked away up there, hidden away from what's going on here.

That idea gave rise to a system called gnosticism. Ever heard of the gnostics? You should know about them because First John is written against them. In fact, it was very prevalent in the early church, the idea of gnostics. They believe Jesus was the son of the hidden father sent to redeem the world from the work of the inferior creator.

So once again, the whole idea of a warm, familiar, Father God was unknown in the ancient pagan world. Now, let's turn to Judaism. In the Jewish religion, God wasn't Father. God was master. God was ruler. The Hebrew word Adonai means that. God was also mighty-- El Shaddai, another Hebrew term, the mighty God.

God is referred to in the Old Testament as a father only as the father of the nation of Israel, the progenitor of the Hebrew race-- never individually, never personally. Now, the Jews respected God, revered God. That's admirable. You listen to their prayers, and it's obvious that they respected God. A typical Jewish prayer goes, [SPEAKING HEBREW]. Translated-- "Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the universe."

That's beautiful, that's reverential, and that's holy, but it's not warm and fuzzy. It's not really intimate. It's not really welcoming. You probably know that the name of God was so holy they never spoke it. They referred to God-- they never called him Yahweh, his name. They simply called him Ha Shem-- Ha Shem-- which means in Hebrew The Name-- The Name.

A Jewish person, when writing out God-- even to this day, if you get an email, a text, or a letter from an orthodox Jew, they spell God this way, G-d. They never put the on because they feel human hands should never write out even the name God or the idea of God because he is so holy, and we are so unholy.

Here is a Jewish translation of Psalm 134. "Behold, bless ye HaShem--" the name-- "all ye servants of HaShem, that stand in the house of HaShem in the night seasons. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless ye HaShem. HaShem bless three out of Zion-- even he that made heaven and earth." Very distant, very remote, very transcendent.

A German scholar doing research in the New Testament discovered that in the entire history of Judaism, in all the existing books of the Old Testament and all the existing books of extra biblical Jewish writings dating from the beginning of Judaism until the 10th century AD, there is not a single reference of a Jewish person addressing God directly in the first person as Father-- never once.

So hear this. The first Jewish rabbi to call God Father directly was Jesus of Nazareth. That's why it was so monumental. It was so earth-shattering. And this is the reason many of his enemies wanted him dead because he so freely spoke of God as the Father, your Father, my Father. That assumed a certain intimacy that they didn't like.

John chapter 5, Jesus said, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making himself equal with God."

In the four gospels, Jesus calls God "Father" over 160 times-- in fact, about 100 times in the Gospel of John alone. Father, Father, Father, Father, Father, Father, Father everywhere. In fact, he never called him anything else but father, except one time-- one time.

And that it is when Jesus was hanging on the cross, and Mark's gospel said one of the things Jesus said from the cross is, [SPEAKING HEBREW], which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" That's the only time he addressed him not as Father, but as my God. Why did he do it then? Because he was quoting Psalm 122, anticipating the time when the Father would turn away from the son as the son was bearing all of the sin of the world upon himself.

But then he quickly, immediately reverted back to the familiar term "Father," into your hands I commit my spirit. So that is the history of our Lord Jesus, introducing God as the Father. And the New Testament, as it goes on, gets even more intimate than that, even more familial than that. Three times in the New Testament an Aramaic term is used, "abba." Remember that word? Abba.

Abba is what might be called baby talk. It's what young kids learn to call their mom and dad. In fact, the Jewish Talmud says, as soon as a child is weaned, the child says abba-- daddy-- imma-- mommy. You still hear it in Israel today when you walk around. You hear little Hebrew kids-- Hebrew and Aramaic are the same in that word-- abba-- daddy-- imma-- mommy.

So it is a very intimate term. And we are called to do that. Galatians 4, verse 6, we have received the adoption as sons. Because you are sons God sent the spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, abba-- Father. God is our Father, and Jesus gives you permission to call him that.

Before Jesus descended into heaven after his Resurrection, he met Mary Magdalene. And he said, go tell my disciples I am sending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. So beautiful. So all of that to say this. When we talk to God, we're not talking to the force. We're not talking to the first uncaused, the first universal principle. We are talking to our Father in heaven.

[APPLAUSE]

I got a question for you. What's your relationship with God like? To you, God might be ineffable, amazing, sovereign, transcendent, majestic. Good, but I hope that's not all. Sometimes people talk about the Good Lord, or the Big Guy. I'll meet people in the community that recognize me and goes, yeah, I've been talking to the Big Guy, or, I've been talking to the Good Lord. It's like-- it's a dead giveaway that you don't have any kind of close, intimate relationship with the Father if he's just the Big Guy.

JI Packer, in his great book, Knowing God, writes, "if you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. 'Father,'" he writes, "is the Christian name for God."

So good. So first attribute of God as Father in this prayer, his relatability-- Father. Second is his rule-- his rule. Because God as Father implies we are his what? Children. And children not only have a relationship with their parents, of intimacy, but it implies respect of their parents. Their parents are over them. Their parents superintend their upbringing. We are told in the 10 Commandments-- what are we told to do with our mother and father? Honor them-- honor our father, honor our mother.

Ephesians chapter 5, be followers of God as dear children. That implies obedience. So if we honor our earthly parents, certainly we are to honor, much more, our heavenly parent, which means we should never reduce our relationship to God to a sloppy sentimentality. It should mean that we elevate it to a reverence-- intimate reverence. We can be intimate with God, and close to God, and childlike before the Lord, and trusting like a child to a father, but also, at the same time, respectful, reverent.

Keep in mind the New Testament had a context culturally, and that was the Roman context. And the Romans had a law called patria potestas. Patria potestas us means the rule of the Father or, simply put, dad is in charge, in a legal way. Dad had absolute control of his family, including his children, even when they got into adulthood, if the father was still alive-- patria potestas, the rule of the father.

So this speaks of God's relatability, but also his rule. As father, we his children. Because keep following the prayer down-- our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. That's a term of respect, worship. Your kingdom come, that acknowledges that our Father is a ruler of a kingdom. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. God the Father's children should be concerned about doing God the Father's will.

See, lordship is tied to relationship. There's two kinds of people, those who say, thy will be done, and those who say, my will be done. Now, there are some people who say, thy will be done, but live, my will be done. The key is to come to a place where he is your intimate, loving, convivial, sweet, heavenly Father, and also you respect, and reverence, and obey him as the sovereign ruler of your life.

The third attribute is his reach. Because notice that Jesus does not say, and when you pray, say, my Father. But when you pray-- when you pray-- say, our Father. And what that reminds us is that God has other children besides you. There is not a single personal pronoun in the entire prayer. If some of us were to write this prayer, it would read, my father, who art in heaven, give me this-- my daily bread. It would be, for some of us, all about us.

Jesus said, I don't want you to pray that way. I don't want you to think that way. Say our Father. The words I, me, my, and mine never occur in this prayer, for a good reason. Jesus came to take those words out of our lives, out of our vocabularies, out of our thinking to replace them with our, ours, us, we. We are part of a family. And I don't just mean this church. We're part of "the" church, all who are under his rule, all who are in relationship with him.

I remember the first time I heard the phrase, a personal relationship with Christ. I remember the first time I heard it. It struck me. I had never-- I was never raised with that. So somebody said, Skip, do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? And I honestly said, no, because I didn't. Didn't know that was possible, didn't know that was expected, but I liked it. I like the concept of it. I loved the thought of it.

When somebody talks about a personal relationship with God, as I do now, I do believe the Bible does talk about a personal relationship with God. I believe the Bible expresses you need not just a formal acknowledgment, but a personal connection and commitment to God the Father and Jesus Christ, your Lord. I believe that. I believe that's a New Testament concept.

However, I also believe that we American evangelicals have emphasized, to the point of imbalance, the idea of a personal relationship with Christ or with God-- as if we mean a personal, private relationship with God, with absolutely no responsibility to others, no accountability to others. Look, it's me and God, man. Bug off. It's not just you and God, bug off. It's our, it's us, it's we.

Psalm 68, God sets the solitary into families. I am not a family, personally. You are not a family, individually. We are a family. I am not the body of Christ. You are not the body of Christ, individually. We, together, are the body of Christ. So in this prayer, there is an elimination of self and a recognition of others. Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Give us this day, our daily bread. The prayer is filled with that.

There is a phrase in the New Testament that crops up 87 times. it's the term "one another." You've heard me talk about this on a few occasions-- one another. Here's a sampling of those 87 time-- just a sampling. Love one another. Giving preference to one another. Be kindly affectionate to one another. Be of the same mind toward one another. Edify one another. Receive one another. Admonish one another. Bearing with one another in love.

You stack up all those directives, and you come to the conclusion there's no place in God's family for isolationism. There's no place in God's family for radical individualism. This idea of, I don't need anybody else, just me and God, is wrong. You do need other people. And even though we have been isolated and we have managed through the isolation, and we hopefully are doing it responsibly, that's an aberration. We're not meant to live isolated lives, but integrated lives.

I remember when somebody asked me a question many years ago. They said, can I be a Christian without going to church? Now, I knew what he was talking about because he was looking for an excuse not to belong to a church. And I get it. Christians can be weird. We can be weird people to hang out with.

Can I be a Christian without going to church? And I remember answering immediately, absolutely, yes, you can be. I mean, technically, you're not saved by going to church. You're saved by believing in Jesus Christ, period. Having said that, however, though you can be a Christian without going to church, you're not going to be a very good, or effective, or wholesome, or balanced Christian without going to church.

It's sort of like saying, can I be a soldier without having an army? Can I just do it alone? Well, you know, you'll miss the whole strategy of having one another's back and different kinds of deployments that exist. You won't be effective at it. It's sort of like saying, can I be a football player without having a football team that I'm on? Well, yeah, I mean, but what are you going to do, throw the ball up and down? [WHISTLES] Wow, that was fun. Do it again. [WHISTLES] Cool. OK, that'll last about three throws, and then you are absolutely bored. So you won't be a good football player.

Or how about this? Being a tuba player without an orchestra. You need an orchestra to make that baby sound good. You need all the other notes firing off. So you need the people of God to do it right. So the term "Father" calls us upward to God. The term "our" causes outward to others.

So we have three attributes-- his relatability, his rule his reach. There's a fourth attribute that is built into this little phrase, "our Father in heaven," and that is his residence. He is our Father-- not our Father on earth, not our Father next door, but our Father in heaven. I'm not going to do a whole thing on heaven, and where it is, and what it's like, et cetera. That's for another time, and I've done that.

But think of it this way. Think of this as God's base of operations. Think of this as the place from which he exercises all power, all authority, all provision that is necessary. Because he is in heaven, he has all of heaven's resources. Because he is the Father in heaven, whatever you need on Earth he's more than able to take care of.

In fact, if you look at it from purely a scriptural point of view, God in heaven is the only true God. Now, follow my thinking here. The Old Testament differentiates between all of the gods and goddesses that people believed in, and prayed to, and worshipped-- all of them versus the only true God in heaven.

So listen to Psalm 115, written by David. He said, "their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak. Eyes they have, but they cannot see. They have ears, but they can't hear. Noses they have, but they cannot smell. They have hands, but they cannot handle. Feet they have, but they cannot walk." Then he says this. "But our God is in heaven. He does whatever he pleases."

You see, to be the God in heaven is to be the ultimate God-- the God of power, the God of authority, the God of sovereignty, the God who can give you what you need to live on Earth. Why is that important to us? Why is it important that when we talk to him, we recognize he is our Father in heaven? Here's why. Because too often, when we pray, we come weak and overwhelmed, and we carry our limitations over onto God. We impose our earthly, physical, humanly limitations over onto God, as if God is weak, as if God is overwhelmed. He is not weak. He is not overwhelmed.

And so whatever issue you face, whatever issue we face, God's got this. I've often said, God rules the universe with his feet up. He is-- it's not like he's fretting, or biting his nails, or wiping sweat from his brow because it's just getting out of hand. There's a virus on Earth. God's got this. God's got this.

[APPLAUSE]

And that's why we can rest. I know I can. In Isaiah chapter 6, the prophet Isaiah was feeling overwhelmed by what was happening on Earth. He said it, was the year King Uzziah died. King Uzziah was a good King. He had reigned for 52 years. The fact that this good, godly King was dead was a problem because Israel was starting to backslide spiritually away from God. The prophet took this to heart and thought, so the people are already going downhill, and now a good leader is gone. We're in trouble.

And so he says, in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, sitting on his throne. The train of his temple-- the train of his robe filled the temple. And these angels are bouncing back and forth, holy holy, holy. The whole Earth is full of his glory. Isaiah needed to see that vision at a time when all he could see was desperation and lack of leadership.

The king is not on the throne, but God is on his throne. Things are bad on Earth, but God is in heaven. See, we often forget this. We have a tendency to forget where God is. He's on the top row, man. He has the fastest heat in the house. He sees it all. And this phrase brings balance to the first phrase-- first phrase, "our Father," second phrase, "in heaven."

"Our Father" emphasizes intimacy. "In heaven" emphasizes sovereignty. AW Pink-- Arthur W Pink writes, "these two things should ever occupy our minds and engage our hearts. The first without the second tends toward unholy familiarity. The second without the first produces coldness and dread. But by combining them together we are preserved from both evils." Our Father in heaven.

So that's God as our Father, briefly put. Now, the fact that it's Father's Day and we're talking about God's fatherhood-- and I let us all off the hook, dads, because we'll never be like that, but it does raise the bar a bit. When we talk about celebrating fatherhood, but this is the day we're starting the fatherhood of God, it raises the bar, and for this reason.

We never want our display of fatherhood to damage our kids' ideas of God as Father. Because our kids are growing up with a father figure, present or absent, good or bad, loving or stern. And that's the term they will know as they get old. And if they have a relationship later on that's intimate with God the Father, it could be very difficult getting past the idea of "father" in a good sense. So we want to do everything we can to promote God as Father by modeling fatherhood right.

I want to close with this thought-- and I am closing. Jesus told a story, one of his most famous stories ever, the parable of the Prodigal Son. You know the story. The kid who had a lot of money, took his part of the inheritance, spent it on riotous living, partied hearty, and was working with pigs, and woke up one day and goes, man, I got to change my life, right? He goes back home to the father.

It's significant that the first words that fall out of the lips of the Prodigal Son when he returns are these words. Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. You remember the father's response? Did the father fold his arms like this, wag his finger, shake his head, furrow his fuzzy brow? No, he embraced his son, put a ring on his finger, a robe on him, killed the fatted calf. Let's have a big party, man. My son who is dead is alive. He's come back home. He was lost, but now he's found.

Know this. If you have wandered from God as your Father, if you have wandered from the care of God, if you've gone your own way, if you've never come to God as Father, you've never let him manage your life-- know this. When you come like that, you'll have the exact same response. That's what Jesus was teaching. You'll have a heavenly Father who will, as it were, embrace you, put the best robe on you, ring on your finger, and go, welcome home.

I encourage you to do that, to come home to Him. I'm going to close in a simple prayer that I'm going to lead some of you in. If you're here today and you've never said yes to Jesus as Savior, as Lord, I'm going to give you an opportunity to do that right now. If you're watching on television, or if you're listening by radio, or you're watching on live streaming, you can do the same. Somebody will be there for you to respond to you.

Say something like this, just something simple like, Lord, I know I'm a sinner. I've sinned. I've blown it. Forgive me. I'm sorry. I believe in Jesus. I believe that he came from heaven to Earth. I believe he died on a cross, that he shed his blood for me. I believe that. And I believe he rose again from the dead. I believe he's alive right now. And I turn from my sin, and I turn to Jesus as Savior and as Lord.

[BAND PLAYING SOFTLY]

Welcome me, Father, into your family and me as your child. For I ask it in Jesus' name. Amen, amen. Would you all stand, please? If you are joining us by Livestream or on television and you just prayed that prayer, I want you to text the word "SAVED," S-A-V-E-D-- SAVED. Text SAVED to this telephone number-- 505-509-5433. 505-509-5433, text the word SAVED to that. You'll get a response back.

We're going to be-- that's a way we can make a connection with you. If you happen to be on a computer, then just go to calvarynm.church. And as soon as you go to that website, you'll see a little-- in the right-hand corner, a little button that says Know God. Click it. Give us the opportunity to get back with you and walk you through next steps.

Ready to close this off. Happy Father's Day to y'all, dads. God bless you guys. Thank you for what you do. I love seeing the videos of dads catching their kids right before that accident in the car or falling off the couch. Just love that. God put that in us, right, as protectors, as warriors, fighting for our families. God bless you guys. Let's worship.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/14/2020
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Seeing Truth Clearly
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Hiram Johnson said, "The first casualty in war is truth." God’s people have been in a cosmic battle since the fall. Satan’s first allegation against truth was in Genesis 3:1: "Has God indeed said...?" Deception regarding truth is Satan's primary occupation. We now live in what might be dubbed a post-truth culture wherein the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In this series, we will look to the "Scripture of Truth" (Daniel 10:21) to reinforce our foundation and engender biblical literacy. Here at the end of Paul's life, he could foresee the abandonment of truth, and he gave Timothy this antidote: "Preach the Word!"
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6/28/2020
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How Can I Relate to God?
Exodus 32-34
Skip Heitzig
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The subject of God is the loftiest of all themes and the pinnacle of all pursuits. For some people, the idea of God is absurd because He is not readily perceived by the senses, like a flower or another person. But as we learn who God is and how perceptible He is to us, I think we’ll be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. Today we trace the journey that every person must take who wants to relate to the God of the universe. Let’s examine five stages of this relationship.
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7/5/2020
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Biblical History: Fact or Fancy?
Dr. Steven Collins
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Dr. Steven Collins serves as the dean of the College of Archaeology at Veritas International University and a consulting research professor at Trinity Southwest University. He is also the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, which is believed to be the location of Sodom.
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7/12/2020
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Hello, I’m God!
Exodus 34:5-9
Skip Heitzig
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People have written and spoken about God for millennia. It’s what I have done for nearly four decades. But today we get to hear from God Himself as He gives to Moses His own autobiography. Here He introduces Himself by stating His name and His occupation as God. He states His primary character traits, thus framing what our relationship with Him is going to be like. This is a primary passage of Scripture, meaning other biblical authors make reference to it later on in their writings. Let’s find out what God says about Himself.
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7/19/2020
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Knowing the God Who Knows You
Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24
Skip Heitzig
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A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
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7/26/2020
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Here, There, and Everywhere
Psalm 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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One of the Beatles’ most melodic hits expressed a couple’s romantic desire to be together at all times and in all places and was simply titled, “Here, There and Everywhere.” This title also expresses a unique attribute of God (what theologians call an incommunicable attribute). He is everywhere present in the totality of His being! This may be one of the hardest-to-understand characteristics of God, but one that brings great comfort to us.
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8/2/2020
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The Unrivaled Power of God
Psalm 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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God is called Almighty fifty-seven times in Scripture. It means that the resources of His power are boundless. He is unlimited in His ability and unconstrained in His capacity. God’s attribute of omnipotence is helpful for us to remember when we are feeling overwhelmed with threatening circumstances. Just as we feel confident when our mobile devices have plenty of battery power to spare, we can live confidently knowing that our great God has power for any of our problems.
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8/9/2020
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Holy, Holy, Holy!
Isaiah 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Holiness sounds scary. Thoughts of dusty, cloistered halls of a monastery fill our minds when we hear the word. We might think of chants and long prayers rather than anthems and short prayers. It hardly seems like an appropriate word for the twenty-first century! But according to one theologian, God’s holiness is the one attribute that binds all His other attributes together. This is the characteristic that most uniquely describes God. Let’s consider it today.
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8/16/2020
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One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
John 14:1-18
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?
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8/23/2020
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Pain: God’s Biggest Problem
John 9:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Perhaps the biggest impediment to believing in God (as stated by those who don’t) is the presence of pain and suffering in the world. How can there be a God who is benevolent and omnipotent with the sheer volume of grief, misery, travail, and torment at any given moment? Today we explore the theme of a loving God in a universe pockmarked by pain. As Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, they came across a blind man. I’d like to show you four features of this most common and universal of human experiences.
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8/30/2020
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Christ Jesus Our Lord
Philippians 2:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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At the very center of history’s stage stands Jesus Christ. He has no peers. The Father in heaven sent Him on the mission of redemption and He humbly surrendered. When it was accomplished, He conquered death itself by resurrection and returned to glory. In what is considered by many to be the greatest single statement about Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Paul succinctly framed His humiliation, His exaltation, and His example to us.
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9/6/2020
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The Atonement: His Death, Our Life
John 12:20-33
Skip Heitzig
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Wasn’t there any other way for God to save human beings than by sending His Son to die? The very idea of a bloody crucifixion sounds brutal and barbarous to some, yet it is the centerpiece of our faith. What is the big deal about the atonement? Why the cross? Why had it been the plan of God through the ages? Today we examine the death of Christ for us and, in His own words, His own estimation of its necessity and consequence.
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9/13/2020
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He’s Alive! Proofs of the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Just as your own heart is the pump that brings life-giving blood to your entire body, so is the resurrection of Jesus that gives life to the gospel message. Without it, our faith would be totally useless; our message would be utterly powerless. The resurrection is also what separates Jesus Christ from every other spiritual leader and would-be messiah. It validates His teaching. It authenticates His claims. It substantiates His promises. And it corroborates our confidence in Him as our Savior and Lord.
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9/20/2020
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The Holy Spirit in the World
John 16:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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We are not alone in the universe! That’s the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but I’m not referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, I am referring to the Holy Spirit. He has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. In our series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we will turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?
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10/11/2020
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?
John 16
Nate Heitzig
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There can be a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding the Holy Spirit. When we look to Scripture, however, the third person of the Godhead comes into clear focus. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig describes the person of the Holy Spirit, His work both at scale in the world and individually in the hearts of believers, and how He helps you gain a deeper understanding of God's Word.
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10/18/2020
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Help Has Arrived!
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Someone said to me this past week, “Life is hard, but God is good!” We all know it’s true. To live for God in an ungodly world is challenging, sometimes daunting. But God never intended for us to try it alone! He has provided for us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is not only at work in the world around us but is very busy working inside of us. Let’s drill down into the promise Jesus gave to His disciples in the upper room about the coming Spirit.
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10/25/2020
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God’s Purpose for People
Genesis 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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After spending several weeks considering God’s nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one’s life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. Let’s go back to the beginning.
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There are 17 additional messages in this series.
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